It all started with a road trip down the longest dirt road in South Africa, a car crash and a desert retreat and it ended up right here telling this story to you. I first met Karyn when I drove into into the Tankwa Padstal on the way to a small festival in the middle of the Tankwa Karoo. I drove in alone after a 4-hour drive to be immediately approached by a guy asking if I was alone? Of course, I was a little perturbed by this as I had essentially arrived on what seemed like post-apocalyptic film. I was completely vulnerable. This guy had been in a car crash and inside the bar, I found his new girlfriend and her mother, Karyn. Who were all heading the same place as me. It would have been anti-human to refuse them a lift and that is how my relationship with Karyn of Purple Chilli started. We spent the weekend talking about unicorns, universal energies, past-lives, her role in Afrikaburn and her plans than to set up a new burner festival called Sentella, never mind her role as a Consultant for the South Africa FIFA Football World Cup. She was an is an impressive lady.
Fast forward a couple of years and Karyn found her self reaching out over Social Media over a personal crisis she was going through. I can easily class myself as a crisis specialist, having recently self-diagnosed my self with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and being a Master Life Coach. Due to my own life experiences I am always happy to reach into the unknown, wade into the dark, then swim in the abyss for a while to witness someone’s pain. It’s one of my superpowers and I’m very good at it. It’s also an intrinsic part of what I do and even who I am. In the process of engaging in what was Karyn’s radical transformation, I discovered that she was changing career. That she was setting up a digital marketer. I have been building a business for nearly a year I was very interested in this. As I had been trying to push up engagement on Social Media in order to get some clients. In exchange for some coaching work, I got a full marketing review with some great feedback on how to build on what I’ve got and invited to join the Purple Chilli 21 Day Accelerator course when it was up and running.
I have to say I was excited to sit down to the challenge when it came but I had no idea how hard it would make me push myself in the process. It feels like it has cracked open my soul and made me meet my source purpose and this is even after being a qualified Master Life Coach for quite a few years. This process has made me step more deeply into my own healing journey. I won’t bull shit you at moments it’s been terrifying.
I started Karyn Reynolds Purples Chilli’s Accelerator 21 Day course with the intention to build confidence & strategy for digital marketing (I have achieved so much more than that). My intentions for The Life Doula was to create radical community focused business grounded in my local area that works on a donation basis that creates emotional health and promotes a wellbeing economy.
All very straight forward until you get into the why story…..the thing is it’s complicated and within that it was complicated and scary because explaining my “why” meant I had to delve deep into the origins of my business and thus into the origins of me…… which was something that will become obvious from this developing story.
My why is because I wanted a better world and in order to have a better world I need to to be a better person. I’m a good person with a challenging history. I grew up in a highly dysfunctional family where physical, verbal and emotional violence is accepted as a norm to this day. What even more shocking is that my family comprise of well read highly educated and professional people. Some of them even in the healing professions. Yup it’s fucking mental. In essence, I was terrorised as a child and for most of my life, I’ve been riding a roller coaster of emotions. Intense emotions have always been very difficult for me to self regulate which have to lead to issues with self-harm and co-dependency. As well as attracting some very unhealthy associations. The truth of the matter was that from a very young age all I’ve wanted to do was run away from it all and express myself freely. I wanted to be a gypsy. However for many years the trauma from my childhood has prevented me from engaging in almost anything creative. As being myself was essentially continually scorned or violently punished. After years of attempting to appease people to no avail, I fell prey to an incredibly abusive person. I had a complete nervous breakdown at the age of 26. Where I was signed off on the Uk welfare system for five years fully paid because I was a risk to myself and others. It was like being given a golden ticket you could never cash because you were too unwell to go anywhere. What it did get me was a stable home and a place to call my own, with the greatest luxury of all time.
Separately to that my own mental health and sense of wellness had been greatly diminished by the destruction of my village’s natural environment when I was a teen. The places that I had run away to to escape my family were removed from me. I was completely discouraged at all times from standing up for anything I believed in. All my joy was stolen and I ended up falling into a deep depression. The destruction of the environment had in essence spiritually crippled me.
As I progressed through my adult life the environmental theme kept coming up everywhere I went and there were no easy solutions to it. You couldn’t outrun the concrete, you couldn’t escape plastic pollution and the further you ran you destroyed a little bit more of that thing that your sought and hoped to protect.
It was an endless list of catch 22’s. Then luckily I got paid for 5 years to sit down and think. The pain of development and the capitalist system had crippled others too and that is why vast swathes of people were moving out of London and taking over villages in the hope that a beautiful spot in some quaint countryside may ease their suffering. Gentrification spurring on a new pain of displacement and community disintegration. The dislocation of tribe and creating new intergenerational trauma. People with no way to connect, no tradition to guide them, to places to gather. Town councils obsessed with money, developers obsessed with profit. The word was a sick place with no end game. Yes this had always been in the word, yet now it seemed somewhat critical. Clean air, land access and environmental security and personal wellness were rapidly being depleted all in the name of progress. We had to change the way we think, the way we consumed, what we valued. I had always wanted to buy a big house by the sea, plant some trees, grow some food and dance and paint on the lawn. That now seemed increasingly part of the problem?
My solution we had to deal with ourselves. We had to sit with our emotions however painful or destructive to stop them from having any power. Hurt led to hurt. Pain grew more pain. Unless we just found the strength to quietly sob into our pillow or even better found someone who had seen it all before and listen to our story without judgement. We were destined to run forever taking our pain with us where ever we go. Fuck it’s a mission. Fuck it’s relentless, brutal and exhausting. This was the work that needed to be done.
Then hope upon hope the world conspired to support me, I had a counsellor and a kinesiologist that worked with me for free. The held me together with masking tape and glue until eventually, I could hold myself again. Then I acquired a friend, a proper one. The kind that actually gives a shit, that turns up listens, helps.
With five years off (and all the therapy) I actually became a person that people wanted to be around, even if I was ill. Before you knew it I had a regular flow of people who would come to my door and overspill their challenges, despair and often dreams with me. I ended up with a caseload of informal client referrals that simply started with a cup of tea and a long chat. A morning, an afternoon and sometimes dependent on the unique dilemma a three-day intervention. Everyone left feeling better, even me. In exchange, I got just about anything I needed from anybody that asked because I had helped them sort there shit out and that is how The Life Doula was born.
Why did I do that – It eased my own personal suffering, made me feel useful and minimised the pain and curtailed anyone else from making the same soul-destroying life choices I had based entirely on fear. Yes, I was ruled by fear. However, I was able to offer love. Love in the shape of a sandwich, love in the shape of a bath, love in the shape of kindness and this was something I came to know as nurturance. Love was the answer, love was the question. It just needed one simple act of kindness that was intended for another person’s growth and that was enough. Nurturance offers an action based solution that created secure connections for people that had none. I started building communities in sustainable ways. Started to propagate the skills of nurturance. Taking back the human life cycle, so that grief is recognised, love is celebrated, mothers are supported, the elderly are respected, children are heard, babies are cherished, the dying is held. That we needed access to humaness. That life purpose is only a part-time pursuit in experiencing the joy and beauty that we already have. That is the work of The Life Doula to get everyone to create their global awakening. Time for a change.
If the ideas of self-nurturance, healing humans, communities, human geographies, wellbeing economy, global awakening and collective futures appeal to you? You can find out more here
Sooo if you want to grow balls big enough to write this story, that will help you explain your painful past and find out how that informs a powerful future. I’d get hold of Karyn immediately and gently coerce her to tell you her magical unicon secrets. It’s free for now. Purple Chilli