There is more than one life doula out there. I might not be able to say exactly what they do or how they do it but it’s certainly a thing. More recently I came towards the idea that the best way to really describe a Life Doula is as a Trauma Doula. Life can be very traumatic you know? The number one cure for trauma a secure attachment and that is the core of my work. I will literally sit with you in the dark, you can cry on me, snot up my favourite clothes and I will be very happy to be of service. Yes, I do appropriate hugging and holding. It’s all part of the healing process.
Not only that this year, yes 2020 I’ve finally been able to reach out to both Birth and Death Doula’s who get it. That makes me happy because have felt tribeless as I push towards the kind of care I know the traumatised deserve. I’ve been claimed and that makes me feel like I have a tribe. It’s better than that though, I have found The Red Tent Doulas and am going to be training with them this year as both a birth doula and a death doula. Which makes me very very excited. What makes me most excited is the Alexandra Wilson who is also of Sacred Circles described “Doula work is like a trojan horse” that the work of the doula does much to bring into question current systemic approaches to life as we currently understand it. Doula work asks us to step away from the idea that we are human robots and take us back to both our origin stories and end stories. That we all belong and that in the process of being born, living and dying we are all far more deeply connected than we might like to acknowledge.
Healing both our lives and for me at least acknowledging our life-cycles is a very important part of our innate sovereignty as humans. You see the work that I do has hashtags for days. All of is important because all of us are important. We are living lives in defiance of our very nature. It’s why we are sicker, unhappier and yet at the same time healthier than ever. A return to some form of understanding of our sacredness can do us every kind of good as long as it is not informed by dogma. There is no right or wrong way to do things. No right or wrong way to be. Even no choice, is a choice but to be careering along with no connection to your greater being is something other. We were not intended to live like this. Being a Doula is taking ourselves to a very basic understanding of the deep value of life. That as human bodies we are witness to something, profound and unique. That we only have one of. That only we know. That only we get to live. Doula’s honour that process. We honour life. We want to use our lives to honour you in your deepest vulnerability. We are here in service, for the love of humanity.
So in my process of processing the term, Ego Death comes up. First of all, I do not in any way shape or form claim to be egoless. What I can say is that I’m stepping into me every deeper and exploring the inner landscape of shame in ways I’ve never been able to before. Maybe its because I’m turning 40 this year. Maybe it’s because I’m changing my approach.
Two things have happened to me recently one is getting a message from my Mother (who I’m currently estranged from) the other is having to get in touch with my old art college about course transcripts. Both have been triggering. Both have made me investigate my emotional landscape a little deeper. Even as I start to write about about it my anxiety rises and my self-harm ideation emerges and I very literally have to right now go deep into some somatic experiencing. I can feel the tingling of my skin the tightening of my chest and the emergence of ego as it’s rage and anger filled rant starts to emerge in my mind and I’m already getting up to the cup of tea and Instagram scrolling distraction therapy to not go there to deep. So I can stay here with you. You see I don’t think I talk about this part much. The fight. The fight to be here, to stay present, to keep going. T function while feeling and why the idea of ‘normal’ screams systemic abuse at me and makes me feel incredibly unsafe. You see for some of us and I’d like to think the growing part of the population that is becoming truer. The trauma levels are too high. The greenwashing, gaslighting bullshit is too toxic and I have to train hard to be able to deal with any of it. I know I am not alone.
Yet when I am out there posting my at-home selfies that don’t cater for outward appearances I feel like a failure. Like OMG seriously Kimberley again? You haven’t brushed your hair. How is anybody going to relate to this really? This must be so off-putting and then I realise that that is how most women feel all day, every night. That the pressure of appearance is crushing them, even when they have it all done. The hair, the make-up. The panic of office wear that has long left my life was a major liberation. I know for a lot of people that kind of freedom isn’t even on their radar. That I literally live a life of privilege every single day at home in a warm house with and internet connection in my pyjamas. You see and that’s when I think about it. That even the idea of self-care can be crushing. I mean I do brush my hair and teeth and I do do my four-step skincare most days. It’s just that because I work from home I don’t have to do those things immediately when I get up. Then some fab idea comes up and now I just hop online. Then even though I may be feeling good on the inside confident about what I’m saying my appearance doesn’t match my words. It poses big questions that although self-care might be for us what is it about ‘presentability’ that might be toxic. That people can’t see us as ourselves, at home in our pyjamas and does that work differently for men? So on that now I’m off to wash my face and grab some tea. To think about this a bit more.
Which takes me back to the thing I found triggering and why they interest me. One I’m deep diving more and more into trauma recovery and the causes of systemic trauma which means a lot of deep diving for me personally. You see for me the personal informs the professional. I recently read somewhere (which I can’t remember) that they were thinking about naming CPTSD as a systemic disease. I’m not sure exactly what that means, except for me personally. So many things can be triggers if we are even slightly aware of the interconnectivity of everything how you connect with yourself is directly driven by how you were brought up and the family system you were or were not born into, will inform how you interact with the world.
Recently I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I am not ready to expose all yet. What I can say is that despite my trauma I do know that my family system made me into a change maker. You know why? Because I am playing out a polarity and using it to resolve my own trauma, for which I am very grateful. It’s also allowing me to individuate in ways that I never imagined or managed. I’m learning so much about myself and my somatic experiencing about my family I’m quite simply shocked at the bodily feelings that come up for me. Like a few paragraphs before tears just started flowing down my face. It was purely a bodily response, a release.
The whole art school thing…well that. What I realise that through that horrific (Yes I do mean that) educational experience I would never have learned our understood exactly what it is to be complicit. How Systemic Abuse can be branded to look safe and how if we aren’t directly affected by Systemic Abuse we will still use corporate power to propel us personally and professionally even if we are well-meaning hippies.
So Ego Death…. what is it? Right now for me, it’s ending the idea of who you think you are or what you present to the world. I’m a lady that works in her pyjamas and old jumpers that don’t brush her hair until or wash her face until she is leaving the house. The weight of that truly feels enormous. Ego death isn’t anything to be afraid of. Most of us have already embraced it in some form or another when we donned our first uniform.
Fuck. You can probably gather from my last few posts that I have been having a challenging time getting my trauma responses under control. I love it when people reach out to me to check that I am ‘OK’ because I’m posting about real life. About the true emotional landscape where I’m not just throwing around #blessed and showing off a #getawayfund. Fuck it, when I think of those things most of the time I just feel incredibly grateful that I have a life I can live with; even with anxiety, trauma and the odd sleepless night. Yes, these things are all normal, to be expected and in fact for the average human life mandatory. I know I’m not into the boom and bust gaslighting effect of your every day coaching tactics. Fuck that.
Given that I’ve been going through rebirth and reinvention. I think it was a little crazy for me to try and follow through with a marketing plan that I pulled together at the end of last year when I lived in another continent. In fact, it was a wee bit crazy fo me to think about marketing at all. Cause lets face it’s not something I believe in. Though all the marketing gurus in the world will tell you it’s something you should be. I understand why they want to sell you something meanwhile little old me I’m trying to give you something; as simple as a realistic perspective laced with magic.
Of course yes I am a Life Doula ( A profession I have in essence invented) I do have services for sale and please do feel free to contact me should you want something from me. I think the big BUY NOW button should be flashing somewhere below (NOT). Does that work for you? Just wondering? I personally find it mildly traumatising. That my only value to the people who might want to emotionally help me is monetary. For all the love-bombing out there I think we’ve got to get real about the nature of true attachment, it is for the most part value-based. That loving unconditionally is premised at the very least on personal safety. Given that here in the ‘west’ we’ve been worshipping martyrs for the last 2000 years, we are all a bit fucked up about this.
Martyrdom is brutal and might explain why most of our boundaries are a bit messed up most of the time. It may play a role in why Europeans have become land grabbing, bloodthirsty maniacs that we are. Living out the polarities of give and take in extreme and destructive ways. If you can imagine that someone in the third world is probably selling clean water the way the European diaspora is currently selling emotional safety, you might begin to understand the scope of the challenge. Contemplate this further and you might begin to clarify exactly how messy the human psyche can be. In the last few years, we have been commodifying the nurturance of family and tribe. It’s what I do reticently I’m really not in it for the money. Though I really do like eating. You look after me I’ll look after you. Mutual respect and fair exchange is all I’m asking. Good Samaritan or not. The truth is we all have to be strong enough to support one another and part of that is making sure you have something for yourself.
Which brings me swiftly to my point I write for me. Writing is one of my ongoing ‘high functioning coping strategies’, these days I am daring to move beyond this and saying it’s one of my not so repressed gifts. When I write I get clarity and I get back to the core of who I am. So if I don’t do it makes me anxious, irritable and restless. It’s a key part of my own personal nurturance programme. Its something I need to tend to be well. More than this blogging has become a way to manage journaling as a result of a nomadic lifestyle. I have neither the physical strength nor the mental capacity to carry the weight of my thoughts in physical form and thus blogging has liberated me. I do, I write for myself and every so often I get lost in the idea that I’m writing for someone. Maybe I am I’m writing for someone like me. Someone who has found life traumatising. Who has been confused and baffled by a system that promotes planetary and human destruction even when they mean well? Trauma interrupts thoughts, experiences and ways to understand the self in relation to a fucked system.
I don’t want to write some jingoistic idea of what you might be interested in. That’s a load of bullshit because really if you are reading this you should be interested in me and more succinctly what I have to say. What’s really exciting in this now moment is that I am finding a place where the curatorial meets the coach. The trauma intersects with the system and that doulaing seems to be the platform that can bring it all together in an appropriate way.
Last night I looked at my website. It’s was better than I thought (though I am still working on it). My message is clearer than I expected. I’ve been using the last few months to hone down what I do even further. You see until I had discovered the systemic trauma thing; what I was working on felt very nebulous because it is. Systemic trauma has many many sources. From the way, we are taught to write in school to how systemic trauma can be passed down intergenerationally. From land misuse, ecocide to forced displacement. It’s not one thing. It’s everything and it’s all connected. It’s literally taken me 20 years to find the language. Systemic Trauma. It’s not one thing. It’s everything. It’s not just the professional it’s the personal.
Here at the centre of several global emergencies, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, highly emotional and reactive. Many of us have been forced to the street or retreat into binge-watching fantasy. While some of us swing wildly between both. Few of us are comfortable taking a selfie crying and yet society seems to be screaming toxic vulnerability. It’s a very specialised skill palpable emotional distress. Yes, that and for those of us in the trenches highly functional coaches can be re-traumatising. Even though you are going to kill yourself I will only give you the solution if you give me… It’s pretty fucked up given that access to care should be a primary human right if it isn’t already.
So in that, I realise that social media is my vehicle for connection. Because I actually do have my dream job. Wandering around in my pyjamas and not brushing my hair is good for me. This is why I enjoy Instagram because I am taking the time to connect with myself. That’s a privilege. It’s a privilege to have gained this much emotional safety and to have a support system that can hold me emotionally to do this. I swim in thoughts and feelings trying to find some idea of true north. These days what I am grateful for is that more and more I find myself reading things I agree with like my tribe are emerging from a very long hibernation. That I am not fighting this fight on my own.
You see being yourself is difficult. Don’t let people tell you otherwise it’s bullshit. Finding the strength to really embraced yourself is a tough task. The thing is no one can help you find you. You have to do it all on your own. What that means is that you have to be able to love the things you love. Find joy in the things that bring you joy. You have make yourself distinguishable. In a world that wants cardboard cutouts and easy consumables, it’s hard. Believe me I know. I’m there all the time with the complex thoughts and the big questions, that make people uncomfortable. That’s my job. I’m a provocateur. I’ve spent my life challenging the system.
You have to be able to stand up for yourself. Claim what is rightly yours. Then figure out how much it’s going to cost you emotionally to get to your destination (without becoming an addict. (I might be one of those.) ) When I have enough money, respect, self-care, love. You know how it is. I have to consider this more deeply as part of The Total Re-Think. Yes I’m writing, thinking, considering and very aware that it’s a messy, unorganised process reconfiguring. I’m an unfinished artwork awkwardly collaging mediums and genres. All the more work for wanting to make it perfect trying to get it right hoping to be representative, document and find myself all at once.
In my last blog post, I wrote all about hashtags and I’m feeling a little bit sorry for you as I am probably going to have to write about that all over again. I mean for fuck sake. I basically posted a new Instagram post that made me realised my cracking or let’s say wack plan for writing in 2020 was now totally out of sync with where I was going and what I am doing. Now as seen above I have a very specialised niche. Which covers the below values. The other hashtags are still very relevant and an important part of my work
Although it isn’t always easy to own I like the way I align with my values. I don’t want to have a pre-plan what I write about and why. Do you know why? It’s important to stay connected to your emotions to process them to think them? Although personal marketing is meant to be liberating its hard not to fall into a formulaic or systemic trap.
So I’ve decided to continue with the approach I’m taking. Emotions are important. How the fuck they are fully connected with my webpage and blog writing is a little bit beyond me at this point. I do have some ideas. Kind of like grabbing my The and rewriting a whole post. It’s really interesting to be able to grab the roll of the crazy boss. Have you ever been there? Whey you are working on a project of a theme or a roll-out, sometimes for days sometimes for weeks, even months than all of a sudden the boss walks in and say “OK everyone we are changing everything”. Yup that.