Your parents fucked you up. Yes, they did. Welcome to the human story. If you think what I’m telling you is new information what you really need to know is that the above poem was written in 1971 and they still don’t teach it in High Schools Globally. This is not new information.
If you are looking for a get out clause you can always blame your parents. After all, they chose to have you. You did not ask to be brought into this world. Then again neither did they. Blaming your parents for how you turned out or feel right now is not the way. That does not mean to say that your parent has not done fucked up and heinous things. What we can say is that you are and adult now and how you choose to respond to this information is your responsibility now. Fucked Up, Unfair and True. This is absolutely the right time to have a temper tantrum. It’s not their fault.
Congratulations you felt your feelings all of them and you’ve come back. You see the thing is that if we are able to look at our parents as people we might, in turn, realise that it wasn’t that easy for them either. When I look back to my grandparents who were both involved in WW2 it’s very easy to imagine that no matter how safe their war experience may or may not have been to live through War must be a relatively traumatic thing. Not only this my Great Grand Parents would too have lived and survived WW1. Knowing this it’s really easy for me to correlate that both my parents must have been raised by traumatised people and then only then do you begin to get the just of it. Depending on what your upbringing was like you may feel the waves of anger and resentment wash over you. Now what of the anger and resentment that you might feel expected to feel in response to this new information or you may be experiencing an ah-ha moment.
If you think this lets your parents off the hook it doesn’t. Like you we are all adults and we are responsible for our own actions and behaviours. I am not offering an excuse, rather an explanation. Knowledge is power. Now more than ever we all have the ability to gain access to the help we need. I know it’s shit that it fell you. That no one has come along and said now, their, there. But you know what. You here, you made it this far. I believe in you lets keep going.
I’ve been working on niching for years, padding round the issues with a few ah-ha moments with very little actually landing other than a few keywords and concepts, from Self-Nurturance to Personal Activism. Healing Humans to Collective Futures. Earthlings and Bloodline Trauma. Emotional Environments to Land Healing and even Human Geography and the Wellbeing Economy.
What I was trying to say seemed too big and cumbersome to effectlively niche in. I’ve trotted around ideas of overwhelm and crisis. I’ve thought about secure attachment and support systems. Community building, emotional mapping, global patterns and issues. I’ve known for a very long time that they are all connected that it’s not any one thing but all of them without having the words to explain. Then all of a sudden trauma kinda became mainstream and the system became increasingly under attack. I have no idea how many times I have had conversations about “The System” in art studios, on beaches, basement flats and even in public talks. That it’s not just one thing it’s everything all without fully sinking into the idea of both systemic abuse and systemic trauma. They say if you don’t have a word for something you aren’t able to fully discuss it.
It finally hit me. All of a sudden it’s become clear to me what it is Systemic Trauma I actually deal with as The Life Doula. Systemic Trauma!!! It took a while and we got there. I’m not sure when it hit or even why then it was here and then it stayed and now I’m getting on with living with it. And saying hey I know you. Do you want a cup of tea? Can we talk about this a bit more? Luckily I’ve spent many years talking about all of the above. That seems to have made me perfect for the job I invented for myself.
That I have been burrowing down through form a very early age. Whether it by dysfunctional family life, cultural abuse, religious abuse, the education system, sexism, the capitalist system, violence, ecocide, racism, and colonialism. I write that list in no order of priority other than the chronological order in which I myself have experienced them.
There are many places where my journey started from family disharmony to hating school, rejecting the Catholic Church, the Capitalist System and the impacts of Colonialism. It was this big messy ball of string that never fully became unravelled until one summer when I had the privilege of being the labour partner of a friend and witnessing a stranger die in front of me with a few days of one another. These two events impacted me greatly for what might seem obvious reasons. Then of course in the mind of a seeking soul for which I surely have, I felt something deeper. A vortex of thought had opened that I couldn’t get away from. Why were these two things birth and death so alien to me? How had I as a human avoided up until this point (in my late twenties) the two events that mark every life? That somehow our humaness was being systematically removed from us. It was a call to action like no other, that seemed to under pin all of our human failings. How do we restore our humaness? Every since I have felt like I have been moving through time at a very deliberate pace. That has been holding in each hand the chains of the past and the liberation of the future. That the actions that I take now have the ability to echo through time. In my own journey and that of those around me. That everything that I am able to interact with can be gently and subtly transformed if we approach them in the right way. Including me.
It’s all connected and as I have laid in bed over many years and even decades quandaring our unfolding human and planetary crisis, feeling all the feels. I have known with complete certainty for quite some time it is the human that lies at the centre of both the societal challenge and the solution. What I also know is that there are a million and one ways to “fix it” whether it be ourselves, our communities or “the planet”. That is we approach the human as the incredibly creative and unique beings that we are each one of us has a personal solution to immense challenges that face us both privately, personally, as a species and as earthlings. The planet is not endangered. We are, along with all the other Earthlings that we have imposed our human pain on. We are a danger to ourselves and it is something that needs to be urgently corrected.
So yes Systemic Trauma.
If you want to find out more please sign up to this website or click the link below that will take you to additional informations about what is Systemic Abuse, Systemic Trauma and how is it affecting you.
Yup, it’s a new word. Innerscapes. Not sure if I made it up or appropriated it, either way, it was out there in the either and I grabbed it. Several years ago during a conversation with a friend when we were having one of those deep down and dangerous shares about how we really felt. When we cast aside the sunshine and rainbows and where we found our hearts and souls alone in a room. That’s the innerscape. It’s the canvas of emotions on which we build our lives. Let me tell you there are some beautiful interpretations of the human mood board on show for all of us to explore.
What I can say and let me use my own innerscape as en example here is that over the years is that my innerscape has transformed like the outerscape has looking out a train window. That depending on where or how you are sitting, and who you are sharing the journey with can radically alter your experieince. My own innerscape used to be painted with terror, despair, helplessness, sorrow and on better day mild melancholia. Only ten years on I frequently swim in elated, dance with happiness and delight in delightful. You see the words we say emit the feeling and now my innerscape seems to be underplayed by neutrality and curiosity rather than anything slightly more sinister. Of course, hurts rear their head from time to time and the pain and suffering are real. I no longer live there, those feeling are an interesting side trip on my life odyssey that added a little more adventure.
Innerscape to me can be experienced over time. Over a day, a week, a month, a year, decades of even life times. Small units of time are the building block of the innerscape. I know it’s epic. So how you feel on a day to day basis is going to underpin the landscape of your lifetime story.
From tired in the morning to invigorated in the afternoon. If we can write it down maybe we can begin to figure out the arc of the story. What’s draging us down or raising us up? What can be witnessed and changed? Loved into form or even nurtured into beauty. How we respond to the way that we feel tells us all we need to know about our relationship with ourselves. That if we can speak kindly, extend a compassionate outlook then maybe we can learn to accept what is. Extend the concept of gratitude and see where our emotions are guiding us. That sometimes our emotions are guiding us into the darkness and that is ok too.
If you want to discover more about your own Innerscape you can buy and download the Innerscapes Worksheet below. It’s $3.
From a young age, I have always considered my life to be a circle that I operate from the centre of. This has informed a lot of what I do and how I behave in the world. Even before I became a Life Coach. You can imagine my delight and surprise that when I started out on my coaching journey, that one of the first tools that I came across was something called a coaching wheel. Coaching wheels help people learn and assess what is happening in their life. That by assessing your life as a circle can allow you to get an incredible overview of what was actually going on in your psyche.
If we are able to look outwards we are able to see what we have manifested. We get to decide if the picture we have created for ourselves matches our inward view. If there are things that lie in our hearts and minds that have failed to flow into existence. We need to ask ourselves why? What would it take to change that? Do I want to change that? Am I at the centre of a circle that I like?
It’s at this point we start to journey inwards. We are able to question ourselves. Question our thoughts, our words our actions. We consider what we want to flow. Then think about all those emails that you send. The things that you make tangible though all the communications that you make. You may be reading this and thinking. So what’s your point? That’s obvious. Yes, it’s obvious we make magic every single day by the things we think about, the things we communicate and the things we act on. It’s the winning combination. Why thinking is important. Why the intention setting is powerful. Why action creates change. Learning that we are the centre of that change. That what we create ripples outwards.
Over the years pens and paper have come to fascinate me as I understand that they create their own brand of magic. Whether it’s being able to fluidly channel your thoughts through writing clearing your head and heart to hear the language of your soul. Creating lists of manifestation. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? What skills do I want to share? It’s a little bit crazy that marks on paper can totally alter the trajectory of your life. That the words we write cast spells that make the wheel of fortune spin in our favour.
So get yourself to the website and sign up for Your Life Wheel.
Globalisation and colonialism are permanent fixtures in my life. Living in Observatory, Cape Town I live in one of the oldest human settlements in the world. Quite literally the birthplace of the village and where hunter-gathers walked out of the bush to settle down. No agriculture, just a whole load of land to forage and some cattle to tend too. Fast forward a few thousand years and the culture and history has been all but obliterated by development, all as a result of the expansion of empire, first the Portuguese, then The Dutch and lastly the Britsh. The Khoi San seems to be a tribe lost in time to the trauma of colonialism and development. Even now what are protected Khoi San sites are under threat of development for the ever-present threat of the land developer. You see the land isn’t automatically protected and communities are not automatically awarded a say in how their place should be developed or not. Even when that land is the site of the oldest village in the world. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Add the strain of apartheid and the pressure to create ’employment’ and the unresolved trauma of the capitalist system that has been largely enforced on the world. It’s a global challenge and here I am as The life Doula sitting right at the centre of it. We all are.
As an immigrant to South Africa, I have been reluctant to take my place at the council table. There are so many more voices that need to be heard than mine. There is so much more healing that has to happen in front of mine and there is so much more growth that has to happen in front of mine. I take a back seat wherever I can and I think very carefully about what I have to offer. Where I offer it. Why I offer it and if indeed it is appropriate at all, given that I am in essence a colonialist. Only here as the result of privilege and the legacy of empire and of course love. I am a love migrant after all chasing the dream of a happily ever after.
Yet the Amazon is on fire and it feels like your rolling the dice on who you want to share the apocalypse with rather than the rest of your life. It’s not just the Amazon it’s everywhere. From Scottish Land Reform, Standing Rock, Botswana, Aboriginal tribes of Australia or protecting Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The challenge is global and there is nowhere left to run. We have gone full circle and land management, rewilding and human connection all lie at the centre of the solution.
Greta Thurnberg is crossing the ocean in a racing yacht to spread the message of being Earthbound. Yet here in Observatory tens of people arrive everyday soaring in with lofty ideas of ascensions and personal expansion, transplanting their own trauma on a place that has enough of its own. No matter where you are the human journey at this point in time appears to be the same. What we can’t fix we run from. That strategy isn’t working anymore and I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. About how my ‘business’ fits into this. That increasingly I seem to be moving backwards and forwards through my own timeline as much as anybody else. That I am deeply excited for the next 15 years of human evolution and yet so much of the progress lies in unlocking human trauma and healing humans. While recreating sacred cycles and circles. Moving backwards and forwards through time, recalibrating the past, changing the future. Getting to grips with systematic trauma. It’s real. We are the challenge. We are the cause. We are most certainly the cure. We can be human again. And although it’s a bit of a pun in the mindfulness game. Our challenge is to be here now.
This is the work of The Life Doula upskilling humaness witnessing the circles and the cycles and most importantly making the circle bigger while standing in its centre.
I have lists of good ideas, half drafted, that never landed. When I sat down to write about the idea I became stuck. The words never came. The idea never flowed and imagination never took me on the adventure I was hoping for. Since the New Moon in Leo at the beginning of August magic is manifesting. Ascension journeys have been both palpable and tangible within my friend group and clients. While the trauma trap plays havoc with others. Heart Chakras have literally been popping. Thinking has been made redundant, as we feel our way into the next paradigm. Manifesting everything we can touch with our hearts. Has this been happening for you?
The Aquarian full moon invites us to gain an overview. For me, my crown chakra has blasted open in ways I’ve never experienced before. My sleep cycles seem to be filled with dreams and revelation of other worlds. Imagination seems to be key in focusing on new pathways of being. That we need to go beyond ourselves and somehow we can’t think our way there. Only feel it. We have to imagine it, touch it with our hearts and breath in the colours as frequency. Bright, crystal clear, tangible. That what ever we can conceive we can achieve. We need a compelling future, to strive towards.
Trauma steals all of the above from us, as we rerun the past so that it becomes concurrent with our future. Trauma is tricksy like that. The nightmare is the dream. The dream becomes the reality. How do we forget when we live it daily. How do we breathe in something new when the past takes up all the space in our heads? How do feel something different when the expansion of love impels us with the swords of pain? Yes as the Three of Swords would suggest in the Tarot. The new paradigm calls. What if we can’t feel our ways there? It feels like the separation of heaven and hell. A thin line we dance and create ourselves.
I’ve been fortunate enough to suffer from severe depression in my own life. A regular Eyore, defeatest, lost, hopeless and even hapless. Where existential crisis of the human experience was tangibly pointless, heavy, a dead end. Now I seem to live in the polarity of that. The connectedness of it all. Then I considered triggers. Where synchronicity is now magical through the lense of trauma thier bombshells and an explosion into hell. The human experience is complex. Signs and symbols are gateways of meaning that we use to tell stories. Deeply personal ones. It may be a news flash to some that we are in charge of those meanings. We get to decide. The water in the tap can be something to be grateful for or it can be mass poison used for mind control. Our feelings dictates how we integrate the information that has been given to us. Trauma is a human hell that we can’t think our way out of. Where we flow and synchronise our pain back to us. Yup life can be that cruel. In these situations, we humans with the abilty to use connection for good need to learn the ebb of love. That there are some places that it can’t reach even if it can be felt. That’s why when we truly love we have to learn how to sit with people in the dark because the only thing they’ve ever loved are monsters.
The world is a mess. I stopped paying attention to the news a very long time ago. The point of my official disengagement was when Trump got elected. Though every so often Brexit gets the better of me and climate change alarms me. Then I remember how much of it is true anyway? What do ‘they’ want us to believe now? This has been something I’ve been playing with for a while. As a radical curator, I used to often think about news and global events in terms of a real-time existence. What is actually affecting me, in my now? What is real to me at this moment? This physicality, this moment, this day, this environment. It’s something that I have done my best to adopt over the last ten years. That the things that are upsetting us are constructs. When the things that we can impact with our attention are real and immediate. That’s how I got really into community building. That community building is the best panacea that I know, along with conversation and a good nights sleep. That in isolation most humans live within the reach of terror, with anxiety and depression as intimate friends. May we could only pick up the phone and call anxiety and depression? What do you think they would say? The things we have to reach into and delve in to face our own challenges.
For the largest part of my life, I felt isolated, removed from the collective. The more isolated I felt, the more isolated I became. That my inner landscape was reflected in the world outside of me or was it the other way round. I didn’t fit. Why is that? I don’t tolerate hypocrosy well.
That common sense dictated that our approach to our local environments were deeply flawed. That what we were taught in school and what we were expected to aspire to was contradictory. That although I was expected to have moral value I was to be squashed questioning the value systems of authority. That no big company I have ever worked for has been able to hold to its values. That NGO’s swim in emotional toxicity of the unresolved trauma of the people that run them. All along the watchtower people will sacrifice everything for financial security and a stable home. Imagine that. That those are the two pillars that keep people chained to dying broken system. That nobody wants to swim the moat if it means giving up emotional safety.
There it is humans are hard-wired for safety. Yet empirical structures have managed to isolate us completely in our search for that. That seperated they can control us through isolation and distance. It’s the basic principle of divide and rule. What if you realised we are all bordering on terrified? As dogma attached to exponential economic growth can increasingly be identified as a concern for human society and our only home planet Earth. One has to wonder when will we stop eating the poisoned fruit. Where do we realise our financial security is important and our emotional safety is a valuable resource. That self-healing can only fully be achieved in conjunction with a supportive community of people on the same mission.
For the first time in a very long time, I was off in search of wisdom outside of myself. Where I thought the answers might come from someone else other than me. This was a process that I started a few months back when I decided to undertake some Family Constellation work. During this process, I was fortunate enough to meet a pretty elusive creature in the realms of healers. A land healer who came with a massive piece of selenite, who low and behold had lived in Cornwall and learned her craft from an Englishman who was living there. Oh, the irony. Why are we all so busy trying so hard to fix somewhere other than here?
It was after this session that some strange channelling happened. (I’ve already told some strange things were going on in my life). We were talking about land healing, systemic trauma and the return of the light (that’s a thing) and how all the work that we do is directly connected to healing the Earth, when somehow Credo Mutwa came up and next minute he seemed to be talking to me (Yup I was channelling). That created the beginnings of last weeks mini-adventure and an intention was set that I/we might actually go to see him. As people within the group had already met and had contact with him.
Two weeks that intention was manifested at literally sonic speed that started with a phone call to one of my healer friends, who had continued to express an interest in going. The intention was set. Phone calls were made and from nowhere it was a potential fantasie to go. You see not everybody gets to see Credo, only those who are invited too. That’s what they say anyway. In the meantime, I felt like I was being energetically checked out. Yup, I’m beginning to really believe that that is a thing.
So just like that, we hit the road and never looked back. Then of course as always, it hit me. Narratives, language, the imaginary lines of state and the brokeness of us all. Including me.
What you really need to know is that South Africa is a complicated place. Far more complicated than most people can ever imagine and a road trip is just the kind of adventure that brings that right back to the fore again. For the most part I am lost in a sea of “white” people who live in fear, who have no insight into their own systemic trauma, of not fully belonging and spend a lot of their time writing off “Africans” for not being able to to pick up their own rubbish and the ongoing dialogue of plastic pollution, their poor education and of course underlying threatening nature when in uncontained groups. You think I’m kidding maybe? I’m not. It’s something you might term as “Systemic Racism” which is really just a way of talking about trauma in relation to race. Do you want to know one of the most fucked up things about South Africa or in fact racism? Is that race isn’t really a thing? In fact, skin colour strangely is not representative in any way of a cultural group. This is the fuck up of identity politics. Instead, people go around talking about “Africans” as if that is somehow definitive. Like white South African’s are actually European. It’s a weird idea, as many of them have never been to Europe.
Yet here we are off to expropriate wisdom from Credo Mutwa because we are unable to find it for ourselves.
In recent weeks I’ve recently started thinking about the idea of skin shaming as a term. It’s so much more accurate. There can be no dividing lines between humans. All humans are supposedly genetically 10% Khoi San, we are all from here in Observatory where I write this blog from. The oldest human settlement in the world. Yes, that. We are all one tribe.
Then for the 50 millionth times, I had to doggedly explain the impacts of trauma. That sometimes I thank my lucky stars that I am and “Indigent White” (another new term I’ve been figuring out) that understand how complex it is to be a bastard Scot, (Half English, Half Scottish) never mind anything else. Then I have to remember all the traumas of the empire. All the way back to the crucifixion and before that the idea that we have to use our own children as a human sacrifice to know god (Just a couple of ideas embodied in religious (Empire) abuse). The land grabs, the displacement, the exile, the colonialism, the oppression of culture, the loss of language, the forced labour, the concentration camps, the industrial revolution, the enforced education and removal of children. That very few people to this day have got smart to the idea of divide and rule. That very few people are able to see through the lens of their own systemic prejudices (even me), that often revolve around the importance of hierarchies and of course the fawning effect it incurs (which can now easily be attributed as a trauma response). For me, my trauma response has always been the railing against the existence of them. As I fall further and further down the rabbit hole of trauma. I’m single-handedly teaching myself not to be a human granade. How to remove myself, protect myself and love myself in the face of the insurmountable odds of all the traumatised people that engulf me. We are all fucked up we are all traumatised. Now its something many of us openly admit. Then you have to wonder what if we weren’t what if we all knew love, intimately? What if we all felt joy daily? What if we all were able to see another’s pain as our own.
So you’re probably wondering about Credo? A lot more happened on a life time scale than you might imagine for an impromptu visit with South Africa’s last Sanusi. I read that again and realise how strange it was to think that this meeting and the events round it might be ordinary. Personally, I’m more intrigued about Virginia his wife and why she uses an English name instead of her own? and why I didn’t write down the spelling of her real name so I could write it here unbastardised, honoured and witnessed. None of us are untouched by trauma, especially the great ones. It runs through us like great tsunamis of wisdom if we could only stay afloat in its torrents.
I fucking swear this post is hard to write. When this external landscape becomes an emotional environment. Maybe because I’m about to break through the eco-warrior sound barrier like a fucking boss (who doesn’t actually want any power). For fuck sake, how is exactly you go about proclaiming your non-whiteness when you are in fact white? Whatever the fuck that might that look like? Having thought about that for a bit……The horrific truth of that, is, being Scottish who was surrounded by people growing up that wanted to be tanned. It looks a lot like Trump. That’s given me a chuckle.
Sitting here in the Rainbow Nation that I’m actually trying to figure out if your skin colour should preclude you from contributing to conversations regarding equality? It’s a discussion that has nothing to do with my South African experience of course. It is one that has been presented to me online. Where my main theme over the last few days has been that words matter. Everyone is valuable. Which is deeply embedded in my own personal work.
I’d also really appreciate it if someone could just send me all the quotes about the overriding power of love to be found in The Bible, The Quaran, The Tora or any other religious or spiritual text. So that I no longer have to scramble for the words that unite us.
Social Media algorithms shelter me from the far right, a lot of Muslims and probably even more Christians, as well as a lot of people of colour. Controversially, I choose my friends because I like them, share interests with them, and enjoy their online content. Yup being alive is awkward uncomfortable and at times painful. Should politically correctness dictate how I live my private life? Should I curate my social group on the basis of being representative. I invited you to the Braii because I really needed someone of your ethnicity to make up the group. Braaing in and of itself is a controversial act with regard to our collective futures, should you want to bring food politics to the party. I’m personally having a hard time navigating it all. Internally and externally I am doing my best to figure it out. Step in Marie Forleo where everything is figureoutable.
I lose my cool and if I was feeling safer maybe I’d share some of my worst moments and why, or even the very long journey to the conclusion that only love is the answer. I struggle with that too. I struggle with Englishness, the class divide, inequality, The Union Jack, The Union Jack as my flag, austerity, (I’ve managed to get over the Tories and Margaret Thatcher, except when someone is totally ignorant to their motives, that’s something to add) ignorance, my whiteness, bloodline trauma, other people’s trauma, my own divisiveness, my own outbursts. While waiting for Brexit outcomes. All this when I’m doing all the work I can to be tolerant, inclusive, sensitive, aware, responsive (I’m not necessarily a believer in the idea of calm). All emotions are valid, everything can be rationalised. The deeper truths live in the ever-increasing work of getting to understand ourselves better. Loving ourselves better. Getting deep down in the awkwardness of our own being. You are the cause of your own discomfort. The occasional emotional health novice that thought hurting/killing you would help them feel slightly less terrified. If that doesn’t do it there is always a Cyclone to put things into perspective. Acts of God, Climate Change and all that. If you believe in them.