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#Mood

5AB40A8A-F6B6-4C11-AC7A-CFEBF3A74ED3#Mood wasn’t this so 2015 or something like that? Where did that go? #Mood. I loved it. All these emotionally literate hipsters trying to visually capture the idea of a late afternoon sugar rush.  Yes that’s a thing, especially if your begrudgingly British like me. I recent weeks for reasons yet to be disclosed I’ve been hanging out with an Art Director friend of mine and we’ve been talking a lot about aesthetics. Me being a trained curator and her being, well, an art director that’s hardly unusual. What has been coming to me though recently on my pathway to Zen Goddess that aesthetics are important. You’d think a four year degree in Art History might have taught you that? That’s why no one should go to left-of-center art schools I suppose (winky face).

The study of The History of Modern Art and Design taught me something else entirely that revolves around the word arbitrary. As I soon discovered much of what we think is meaningless, subjective and well pointless and the only value that anything actually has is the value you give it. Quite liberating actually. If you want to find out more you might want to read up on the power of cult. Modernist Theory is so closely related to creative means of production; that if studied indepthly, it’s hard not to become nihilistic about art, life and well everything. You see how easy it is to spiral down? Thus explaining post-modernism.

Great works of art, whether it be painting, sculpture, architecture, all forms of design or indeed explorations of visual culture (lets say Instagram) have to power to uplift, motivate, inspire and in fact connect us to the divine. One walking tour of Paris confirms that. We all want to be moved, comforted,  reassured our at the very least served by the environments that we occupy.

It is also possible to deliberately evoke feeling with aesthetics, as you would with music. Que the cheesy background music over almost every motivational infomercial these days. It’s kind of boring. These perfectly curated and complied content. Show me the mess. I do like to get high on little bit of rainbow. I’ve even have a Pinterest board about it Colour Me Happy.

Given my theoretical basis for understanding aesthetics and on related issues of beauty and the fact that we live in a construct. I am firmly of the opinion that we create our own inner realities.  Spiritual development is largely related to non-attachment. That the material world is nothing but a distraction from the metaphysical quest of wholeness. Except of course we are all whole already. The thing is, this curious idea of mood, that can be summed up in dusty old railway stations, a Christmas trees or even the colour of a painted wall and how it detracts and refracts the light as is dances round the room, morning to evening, winter to summer. As celestial being affected by matter and intrinsically connected to material a world it’s hard to not let our visual reality impact our inner reality. Isn’t that after all why we have embodied ourselves in the first place. Whoa this seems to pretty advanced stuff on here today.

Consistently Inconsistent

IMG-9492(1)“Consistently Inconsistent” My father said this to me once as an insult. it’s a terrible shame that it wasn’t actually true. Yet beyond this it has become a kind of mantra for me. Everybody has the right to change there mind, find another way, all in the hope of becoming who we actually are. In recent months I’ve picked up the pace a bit on my wee coaching business and as always adjusting course as I move forward and figuring out what it all really means anyway while attempting to be the truest and best version of myself all at the same time. Which means from time to time my standards slip life gets in the way and I have to consider How best am I serving my clients. If you are looking for a guru I’m not it. I’m as human and broken as the best of us and sometimes I’m envious of Mandela and hid imposed daily routine. Can you imagine enforced spiritual awakening by way of prison regime. That no matter how hard it is. How you might be feeling or even how important you are you have to get out there and get down to the lowly work of breaking rocks. If that isn’t dharma in action I don’t know what is.

In the meantime I’m caught between, I’m busy feeling. How much can I journal about this? Do I journal before I do the dishes? Do I do the dishes before I journal or the other way round. Which one is going to make me feel better faster? Then all the justifications that go with it. Never mind that I actually can’t do the dishes because I can’t find the ecologically friendly dish washing liquid I usually use in my local supermarket, that means I have to drive into town, which kind of defeats the purpose of eco dish washing liquid. Yes it’s the small things. How do you write inspirational posts when you can’t manage the basic and well you’re very busy feeling? The thing is we all have the right to be consistently inconsistent. We are humans. As much as we are drastically trying to reclaim our lives from the endless monotony of daily work for a corporate company we also need to reclaim our lives from the constructed demands of time. No one here is pulling in a harvest no one is going to dye if you Instagram feed is not up to date and should I really be Instagramming while spending quality time with friends. Personal work is for me the new work work. Prioritising me as a radical step in self-care. That doesn’t mean never commit it just means do you best and been happy with the results. Also please bare in mind here absolutely no-one has criticised me for inconsistency or praised me for my eco washing up liquid. This is all self-imposed limitations and critiques. The mind can be crazy even when it is well trained.

Pain Threshold

IMG-9349I’ve been deep in a mid-winter dirge. It feels like a lot of things have been ruminating and maybe it about time to start letting go.  It’s all good and well talking about healing the emotional wounds of our pasts without addressing that some people are so caught up in their emotional landscapes, that it dominates our physical futures. A lot of people might think that mindset and a wellness are not related to each other. That I might pose this as a concept, is a to put it mildly, a bit suspect to many minds. I believe that humans can and are able to heal from anything if we are willing to do the work, to liberate ourselves from the beliefs that we have been born to.

Our beliefs can be very hard to unpack. Even as someone who has spent a serious a mount  of time in therapy as well as on a long course of self examination it startles me sometimes about how little I know about my own psyche. The healing work that I do on myself alone is a lot to do with leveling up. I think I’ve got it all sorted, that I’m hitting the kerb. There might even be only one single heart beat between me and Elysium and then suddenly I’ve been knocked out into a cold mud coated street, from nowhere. There is literally shit going on in my being I have no awareness of. Or alternatively I do have awareness of and that I grossly underestimate the power of. If something, no matter how trivial is getting your goat, troubling you, drawing your attention then you better believe that it has power over you in ways you can’t begin to imagine.

Yes you can unpack it, yes you can let it go, yes you can scratch it pick at, worry over it and even talk about but only you know when you have begun to fully understand it. No one can tell you other wise and no one can navigate it for you only you know. Maybe it a loosening of your shoulder, a relaxing in your gut, a stretch in your legs. Only you know how when or where you got free of it.

When you are in these moments of pain, deep resentment, anger, discomfort, frustration and even growth, it’s easy to reach for a bottle or a book to ease the irk. It’s also easy to dive into someone else’s pain and prescribe a cure all action. You need to let go of it. When are you going to give this up? Why are you still holding on to this? Don’t give your power away? Why do you give a fuck what they think? Even the more positives of “Live you life” “Free yourself” “Don’t let anybody dull your sparkle”. I mean for fuck sake there are reasons why people sign up to be nuns and monks or even  run of to an ashram in India, or find themselves on a pilgrimage, or lose themselves in an iowaksa retreat.

The fucked up thing is, that no matter what it is and no matter how far you run  you will always have to face it. You might be lucky enough to design the circumstances under which you do but you always will. Look to your pain whether it be emotional or physical  and you will find beliefs and all the ways that they limit you. If you can push through the pain threshold it’s possible to find freedom.

Mind Overtime?

IMG-9234For the last few months my sleep has been disturbed. Having gone through a major life change my wee brain has been on overtime to align. Unpacking what I thought should have happened, what actually happened and what is. Even God can’t change the past (Not that I necessarily believe in an omnipresent super being that has the ability to fix everything).

Our mind is a problem solving tool, that desperately wants to fix things. It’s like a massive computer crunching data so that we don’t make the same mistakes, so we can avoid pain and make new choices. In the self-development sector there is a tendency to demonise the mind as the enemy of the soul and a barrier to enlightenment. Like any other part of the human body it has a purpose, which is to protect us. It provides us with memory and allows us to access some kind of logic to avoid pain and even death. Yet when it runs on overtime like it has done for me for that last few weeks the mind can become an unsettling place to own, given that it can be all consuming. Its a difficult thing to deal with and face sitting fully with a painful thought process, especially when we know there is another way of being. Which includes allowing and accepting. Far easier said than done. Conversations are good, they provide insight. We know we need to let go. However often we need a secret piece of information to let go. That is what our mind is doing it’s running the numbers to find the glitch in the system. We have to keep the conversation going.

Having worked on myself for many years and largely operating from the space of the quiet mind it can be alarming to find yourself in a spot you thought you had half mastered. These are only thoughts, these are only images, these are not real, this does not define me. In every pain there is a gift. As we know and understand that life is supposed to be fun. When our body is in pain whether it be our mind, our leg or even out heart our physical being is working very hard to tell us something in order to grow. As humans we must listen, it can be laborious painful, excruciating even. We must sit with it and slowly is will unpick itself. The puss will ooze out and we can see the messy programing and mutated thinking that we have designed to attack ourselves. We keep on getting presented with the lesson until the lesson is learned.

Now that my brain has run every single potential out come and finally realised that everything is in divine order and also manged to unpick some deep and damaging programming. Its time to repair. How do I know? It’s ready to sleep. To slumber and bask in another world of consciousness. It’s just decoded a massive information stream and it is now willing to let go of the work. It’s handed over the project and looking a clean desk and waiting for the next pile of paperwork. Or mind can be an incredible tool and as I deepen my skill set and witnessed the brain going haywire, from an objective point of view I now know that it is working to my benefit.

 

Expand Your Circle

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Beyond drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. If there was one thing that I would recommend for a good life it is friends. Now first of all this might seem obvious. Second of all it wasn’t to me. I have spent much of my life chasing good friendships. If you really want to get to grips with what is going on for you in your life, friendships will act as a mirror to your challenges as much as any romantic relationship that you might have.

The impact that your close knit support can have on you can be profound, to the point that they may very well deny your basic needs, from a glass of water to unbroken sleep. It’s true and many of us humans are in deep denial about the impact that dysfunctional relationships can have on our basic survival even as adults. If you are indeed in a situation where none of your basic needs are met, where you don’t feel supported, then as challenging as it might be it’s time to leave.

Everyone is deserving of support. Everyone is entitled to a glass of water, a safe place to sleep and to feel connected and held by the people who surround them. Often time depending on how we have been raised we can believe that just because people are there that and that they have not chosen to abandon us that they are our friends. This is not always true. Often people try to hold on to us in there lives in order to feel powerful. They get power out of demeaning us, undermining our own thought and ideas, or belittling and berating what brings us joy or purpose. You may suspect that people don’t want what is best for you. As you feel that they corrode your self-worth.

You are in control of how you feel about yourself. You are always able to love yourself and as you take steps towards self-nurturance you will soon understand that although it is nice to have people in your life. You can choose who those people are and how you want to feel. The next time that you are in someones company, what I would encourage you to do is to become aware of how you feel. If someone backs you feel special than that is the person you want to be round, if someone makes you feel a little knarly round the edges, maybe it’s time to examine what going on there.

Like relationships, no friendship is perfect. You are in a friendship to give too. We have to accept another persons humaness and do our best to not make our humaness another persons burden.

If you genuinely have no friends, feel isolated, and have no support network it’s time to get out there and find your tribe. The exist and they are just as flawsome as you. The only way that you are really going to find the friends that your deserve is by being  yourself. Only then can you attract people that are the right sort of weird to your irresistible flame. What you might also like to do is to make sure is that you are clear about what kind of friend that you want to be. Do I call people back? Do I keep in touch when someone is having a tough time? Do I remember peoples birthdays? Be the friend that you want to be and a beautiful human is sure to turn up with the right kind of food for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Vulnerability

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It’s a cliche, “You should talk to someone about that”. “About what? About how fucked up my life is? That it’s always been fucked up? My family could open a step by step guide of how to be dysfunctional if they’d only stop fighting.”

It isn’t what happens to us that necessarily matters to the people that surround us. It’s the way that we respond to the circumstances that surround us. So if we pretend that everything is ok and nobody ever gets a whiff of the problem, then it might be easy to imagine that that problem doesn’t exist. Especially when it comes to work turn up perform and nobody cares. Meantime you’re drinking yourself into oblivion. Setting fire to your anger with each cigarette. Rising above it all with each  joint. You could even be so obsessed with your perceived rate of productivity as a human machine, that you might be denying yourself a much better quality of life.

Much of what we do masks our vulnerability, right down to the way we look. Few people enjoy being vulnerable. From women desperately dying there hair to conceal their aging  to hiding tears about the death of a relative. Open emotion can be shaming for many of us. The visible demonstration of emotions are viewed as weakness, a character flaw, an inability to cope. Emotions highlight our vulnerabilities. Not all of us are ready to face them. That we love. That we care. That our humaness can often be uncomfortable and at times even painful.

In recent years and with the advent of Social Media more and more we are witnessing a change in dialogue about emotions, that seem to centre around mental health. More than this in my daily life I have discussions with people and sometimes clients who declare that they are getting depressed, or that they are suffering from anxiety.  The truth is that maybe we went from summer to winter and there more likely having some seasonal blues…or maybe they had a fight with a friend that is getting them down. Or they are anxious due to a big project they are working on. These are normal human responses to everyday human situations. Yet we seem to believe that if we aren’t firmly grounded in the perceived “positive” human emotions spectrum, that it almost directly translated to a mental health issue. That all of a sudden we need to suit up, get medicated and fight a diagnosis. We’d rather fight our vulnerabilities rather than embrace them. We will do anything to protect ourselves from feeling.

The real answer is that we have to be open to our vulnerabilities and that our emotions have the ability to teach us as much as our physical sensations. When something feels wrong it often is. If we engage in our emotions they can teach us far more about the human experience than we ever imagined. That without a rich tapestry of all the emotions it’s hard to understand, our deepest purpose and where we belong. Sharing our vulnerabilities is one of truest ways we can show up in our lives and inspire others. By being ourselves and being honest about our personal challenges we give other people permission to admit and work through the same stuff.  We find out flawsome.

 

 

 

Self-Nurturance

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If you go to my home page of this website you will find that I emphasis the importance of basic self-care. The importance of breathing, sleeping, hydration, eating and safety. I mean the absolute basics. One thing that has truly revolutionised my life was drinking water I spent years feeling exhausted and it was only once I truly committed to drinking 500ml of water first thing in the morning that I really noticed a peak in my energy levels. When before I might have rolled right over and forgotten that there was a schedule to keep. Instead I went to bed with a full water bottle next to me and when I woke up it was the first thing I reached for. I slowly began to realise that if I drank the water and continued to stay in bed by the time I really needed to get up I was refreshed, energised with a clear head. It was like finding the secret on switch to my body.  I was far less lethargic and getting up in the morning turned to a joy rather than a slog.

Almost all of us are capable of self-care unless we already suffer from chronic or acute illness. Self-care is simply the process of keeping ourselves alive, which can be a lot more challenging than you might think, dependent on our physical environment, access to basic resources,  family circumstances, access to education or healthcare.

The current westernised system attempts to propagate the idea of exponential growth, where monetary profits are more important than the human condition or even that of our fellow earthlings.  Where the colour of money comes shining through, depriving many of us humans the ability to breath clean air, drink clean water or eat fresh and nutritious food. Much of the above is far out of a person’s reach. Safe housing is for many quite simply a luxury. Instead the majority of humans are eating poison, masked as food, that will take many of us to an early grave and where life expectancy in modern countries looks like it might start to drop rather than increase. Now when we look to these circumstances, especially when you live in a city like Cape Town, we have to dig deeper for an understanding of where we are heading as a human race. Survival is self-care at it’s most basic level. If we want to push through that and step out on the path for of personal growth it’s time to take a step towards self-nurturance.

Self-nurturance lies somewhere between self-care and self-love and for me is based in the idea, that we alone, hold the key to our prosperity. It’s about gently raising our vibrations so that we no longer experience the world as a hostile place and see the potential of love. Some of us have never felt this strange fluffy thing that is largely represented by a bouquet a thorny flowers.

 

 

Post-Wedding Anxiety

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Post-Wedding Anxiety, who the fuck knew that was a thing? Apparently it is and everyone who has been married has now told me so. Since I’ve got married I’ve been doing re-runs in my head and wondering what the photographer is going to come up with.

I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever experienced anything like it. The only thing that I can imagine that it might be like is an athlete at the Olympics, all that training all that investment, one chance, one winner and then massive anti-climax. Winner or not. It’s what all the great stories tell us isn’t it? That the goal was not really the goal, the growth is in the journey and what did the surprising twist at the end tell us?

Every since I trained as a life coach I’ve consider working specifically with brides. Really? Yes really. Now I am absolutely sure that that is not as frou-frou as it might initially appear. Being a Bride is challenging to say the least of it. People you have never met, never spoken to you, that don’t even know you, take an opinion on how to do your nails, how to do your hair, who should be your dressmaker. There are even points in the process where you might be discussing how exactly it is that you want your genitalia to appear. No jokes. I’d hate to imagine the day when a beauty therapist decides how to decorate your pubic area rather than doing exactly what you want. Brides are under a lot of pressure.

To be beautiful, look perfect, to be thin, to not swear, ‘act’ dignified, the perfect host, the perfect venue, the perfect setting for the venue, perfect perfect, perfect. And there is only one day in your life to glide elegantly like a swan through it all. Not saying a word, only smiling, happy and delighted at how wonderful it is. Whether we pull off perfect or not, the come down is dramatic and intense. In the blink of an eye it is all over……the happily ever after has begun.

The quest for authenticity is epic, wild and surprising. There are so many things that we hold onto because of societal programming. Even though we know they are there and that they act somehow as false prophesy, we can’t help but believe in the fairy tale.

That is if we work hard we will end up rich, that if we love deeply love will come, if we dare greatly surprising rewards will follow. That their is a predictable cause and effect with regards to the universe. There isn’t. All we can do is deeper our understanding and adapt our approaches, which is both liberating and terrifying. Which is exactly where the magic happens in this brilliant journey called life.

 

Silver Linings

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So I fucked up! The great thing about having ICF certification is that we are trained to find silver linings. Drop the judgement and figure out exactly how everything that we do as humans serves ourselves, even when it doesn’t feel so. I may have said this before one of the greatest pieces of information I have been given is that “You learn far more from a bad day than you ever will from a good.” Now whenever I’ve had a particularly challenging day or event I think of what a great gift it is for my own growth.

As we smooth out the edges of our humaness, to became the stellar being that we actually are, vibrating in unison with our home planet and greater universe, some how the bad days seem to get worse……What?

Yup in my personal experience on the path to, lets say enlightenment, and lets put it out there transmutation, what I find is that my average day scores high on the satisfaction scale and then I have day when it basically all goes to shit. I get very confused, cause you know I thought I was hitting the kerb, in total flow, that the universe was aligning. That everything that I’m manifesting is being delivered promptly by the awareness super highway. Then the train derails and wonder what the fuck happened.

The shock hits you, you try to stay in flow and then your humaness comes to the fore. You have emotions you can’t manage, expectations that you didn’t realise, over invested and there at the heart of it we find our flawsomeness. That we cared to much, or to little, that what we wanted the project to deliver had not been truly discovered of exposed, there was some part of ourselves that we didn’t account for. Bam it exploded in your face. We get to grips with the thing as it truly is. The vanity project….The emotional triggers. Then the real work truly begins. We have found treasure. We have found an attic room in our soul and a trap door in our mind filled with junk, that even we have managed to keep secret from ourselves. That hold values, beliefs, dogma, doctrines and ideologies that we didn’t even recognise, that we might deny openly to friends or family, that might know us better. We then precariously have to unpack those dusty boxes, get our hands dirty and find out exactly what it is that is going on there. It might start with quiet contemplation of what we might find. How it makes us feel or what it represents about who we were, who we are and who we hope to become. Then a conversation with a friend. Followed by a long letter to no one or someone in particular.

We give ourselves the time to uncover ourselves. The freedom to explore our own histories and wonder what it is that we must drop, what chink in the human armor must we soften or remove. We think about all those people sending us painfully exquisite lessons that we must learn for growth. Then we see the intricate detail and subtlety of the story, that we will forget by next the next Tuesday as the human mystery continues to unfold.

Once again it is back to process. As we spiral up through our learning at an intersection of growth that we are sure we have witnessed before.

 

Flawsome

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When you work in personal development and especially as a Life Doula there is the idea of an invisible and imaginary line that separate your work from your personal life. As I get further into my own personal development, life journey and a deeper knowledge of self, that line becomes increasingly more blurred. I started out with a clear idea of what I wanted to write about, as the The Life Doula, themes that I wanted to explore. Now I know that our greatest learning is from our own direct experience of our own lives. It seems strange  trying to write at a distance about life with self-help references while in truth learning the most from the non-refracted processes that we experience daily. All the while wondering, what was that all about? Is it me? Is it my family? My romantic relationship? Is it the world at large? Is this reaction or response definitive or is it a phase. In fact could it be the stars? Could it be the moon? Do I really need to engage with all this to fully understand myself? Is self-development a deeply personal act or should I be following some kind of shared doctrine? Is religion a feature? Is yoga truly necessary? Is meditation a must? Are spirituality or faith key in all of this? There are so many quests towards personal truth and an infinity of experiences that can take us there. I have to embrace my own complexity and thus fuddlings in the quest for the authentic representation of myself as The Life Doula.

This blog is where life interplays with representation. Who we truly are versus what we present. The masks that we uphold and fake plasticness of a branded stereotype that fits or maybe confounds a business model of a polished finished perfection that has inbuilt imperfection to seem more real.

Why am I writing about all this now today? Flawsomeness it’s a thing? I just got married, more succinctly maybe hosted a wedding. . Even as a Master Life Coach I did not perfectly segway the last few weeks of working, to bride to be, to bride, to married in a smooth pre-planned perfectly coordinated show. I fucked up. I became overworked, overwhelmed, and even exhausted, I broke under the pressure and I failed to deliver both privately and professionally on the level I would have liked. Even though I knew it was a big deal, even though I had planned well. Even though I took time and even scheduled the minutia. Big moments can knock us of course and they are supposed to. Life changing events change our priorities, even though we my have already planned to be perturbed.