Growth

Holding Space

IMG-9379

Holding space has become a bit of a buzz term in recent years. Buzz strangely being the antithesis of holding space. I think many of us wonder what holding space really means?

For me It’s all about creating space for another person. What does that mean? Creating space is having the ability to literally invite someone into your life with the objective of sharing it. Many of us, that are on a go getting mission to live life to it’s fullest, are out there consuming people like they are products, we want cool friends, fun times and endless experiences. The truth is that very few humans are permanently on, and ready to party any time any where.

Creating space asks what we are able to give to another person simply by making time. That acknowledging another person’s humaness and need for connection is as much as anybody might need to heal. So when we create space it’s making time for those one-to-one chats. Turning off your phone and minimising interruptions, can be key to spending quality time with someone, whether it’s a friend, spouse or colleague.

Beyond the initial stage of creating space,  holding space for someone is the ability to be fully present and connect on their deepest level. Crucially when we hold space for someone, we are expectation free. We drop our agendas and we simply allow someone to be human. We create a safe space by dropping judgement and simply being. It’s kind of like a collaborative meditation. Where the other persona is allowed to say whatever they want and we sieve our soul for the kindest most generous way to respond.

Holding space for other people can be beneficial to your own personal journey of growth or self-discovery, you may find it very informative and insightful. Often from listening to other people, their pains and their challenges, we can develop our own personal insight. We can manage to catch what we think before we say it and realise that often that our internal dialogues are highly demanding, unfair and often unreasonable. So there is a lot to be gained personally from holding space.

Holding space is at the core of what I do. It’s one of the main reasons I am a Life Doula and not a coach. I believe that when people are experiencing serious growth that they deserve to be witnessed by another human. I often liken the human growth process the the human birth process. We don’t leave a mother alone and vulnerable to tough it out. We hold space for her and we understand that we are there to fulfill the roles that she is unable fulfill for herself. We also understand there is no time limit to this. Labour takes as long as it takes and postpartum support, is too, part of that process. Crucially when we are holding space we don’t need validation or approval. We are there because we want to be. We put our own needs aside and place another person at the very center of our focus. We are not attached to an outcome. That does not mean to say that we can’t take a boundaried approach to our gift of presence, it’s more a matter of providing powerfully with the time that we have. Holding space, sounds, looks and feels very different to different people. Creating space isn’t just about creating silence, it’s opening up to another persons possibilities. Finding out what it is that we want to share. As humans we all have so many complex multi-facted frames of reference it’s absurd that to think that we might have all the answers to somebody else’s problems. The best we can do is be there.

 

 

 

Self-Sabotage

IMG-9319

First of all Self-Sabotage doesn’t fucking exist. If you’ve been running round with a self-sabotage dialogue in your head? I am here to release you completely from that idea, mantra or path. It’s not true, it doesn’t exist and the idea and concept of self-sabotage actually doesn’t serve you as an idea or in any other way. The idea of self-sabotage, may be, one, of the most toxic, damaging concepts that you have about yourself. It’s like a snake eating  it’s tail. You don’t understand, I just can’t make a million, I just can’t hold down a job, I just can’t have a loving relationship……..the list goes on. I always manage to fuck it up. Everything is there all lined up and then at the last minute I just do something completely inexplicable, like I forget my happy life passport.

There is also the possibility that you have absolutely no idea what it is that ailes you. That you behaviours are fueled by some mystical energy force that seems to come from outside of you. Though you may be able to identify it’s features you have no idea of it’s origin or meaning. It’s OK.

The truth is, and this is the absolute truth, which is even more painful than the idea that you self-sabotage; is that you value something more than money, a steady income or even a loving relationship. There is something deep within you that you refuse to acknowledge, actively ignore, repress, deny and are deeply ashamed of. Yes all of that. You keep it in a deep dark dungeon, you never talk about it and quite frankly it disgusts you.

When you even consider it probably feels like a stabbing sensation in your chest, makes you want to vomit and the mere idea of it probably make you unsettled, agitated, anxious, possibly panicked and nauseous. Contemplate what makes you uncomfortable. Then hold it and stay there. We can’t release pain fully until we understand the cause. Believe me it can be surprising.

Really? I’m not sure you quite understand? I’m caught in a loop of self-destructive behaviour that is far from savoury and you think it’s ok? Yes I do. Growth is far more painful than stagnation. Personal growth is all about diving deep cutting out the distractions and finding new ways to feel that take you to different territory. We need to move past numbing, self-medicating and the beautiful anxiety of stagnation. We have to be brave enough to dare to grow. Growth is painful. So the thing is what ever is going on for you, is protecting you from the pain of growth and you have to decide if you want to keep your hand in the fire. The worst thing that you ever experience can often be the best thing. It’s like trial by fire. Failing is the way through pain….

Self-Nurturance

IMG-9159

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

EDB5B3A6-9CE9-4871-B2B5-53F74075C14E

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

IMG-9080

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.

 

Energy

IMG-8140

These days when we talk about healing, the subject of energy is almost certainly going to come up.  For many not adept in the concepts of healing, energy can feel like a non-sense and hocus pocus that can be applied to almost any situation and can appear to be for hippy types a universal explanation for anything. Even for myself I often stand on the edge of a yoga class or spiritual practitioner listening to all this energy being banded about. From personal energy, other peoples energy, the energy of a space or institution to even talk about global energy. I can be a bot overwhelming not least trying to pin point exactly what energy you may or may not be tuning into. Never mind believing that energy can work in such etheric ways.

Learning to discern energy comes to be like understanding the flavours of a fine wine. Conversations about energy can make you feel like you are living on another planet, when people don’t feel as you feel, energy is a a deeply nuanced thing.

Really though, what does the term energy mean beyond burning fuel for your car or the electricity that conducts through copper wire? When we talk about ethereal energy that seems to be everywhere can it ever be a little more scientific? The answer is yes. On a very base level, every single human transmits their own energy force field. You can call bullshit on that if you want. However the science is quite clear, we would not be able to to operate our touch screen devices without one. The energy force field that we radiate comes directly  from the energy that our hearts generates as it pumps oxygenated blood through our anatomic systems. The speed and power of your heart rate help dictate your frequency of energy you emanate. Sounds weird doesn’t it? Possibly a bit improbable? Then let me ask you to consider other energy generating or fueled devices or even something as simple as fire. We can feel fire before we touch it. A petrol generator we can both hear and feel before we see it. Cars too also vibrate and most animals, as well as humans are at the very least warm to the touch. When we think about it this way maybe then the idea of personal energy might not be quite so impossible.

 

The Digital Age

IMG-8049

I’m a Xennial. In case you don’t know what that means I am of the generation x that became the generation y? and then off course it was the end of the alphabet and a millennium, so here we are Xennials. We grew up in analogue and fueled the digital age with our endless drive for new technology. The changed the way we communicated were a composite part of creating its culture. When SMS (Short Message Service) became text and well text is so l8r  we depend on WhatsApp. We grew up with black and white television, had to teach ourselves how to plug in the internet, there wasn’t even a world-wide-web. We had noticeboards, forums and chat rooms. We started out local and rapidly became global, even if you didn’t live in London. It’s been wild.

Now this information download starts before you’ve even had coffee or tea or taken a piss. My morning journaling is rudely interrupted by Trump updates and app reminders, in order to navigate my best possible self. Planning, scheduling and productivity are the core components of human life as we now understand it. While we absorb inane information that rarely impacts change on our increasingly precarious species.

Does any of this matter? No not really as we will bumble along in our relentless lives regardless. It is making me search longingly as I realise that technology has deeper roots into our connectivity than ever before and the slow act of natural community is both corroded and enhanced by our digital age.  I realise how hooked I am, I think I want to connect. Yet I am connecting with myself and others through the glow of a MacBook screen, or the flicker of a phone message in a room alone. If I walk out the door there may not be anyone to connect with. The local shop keeper perhaps? If you are lucky enough to have a shop nearby.

Which begs the question? How do we connect? Is it by WhatsApp message only? Is there something I am missing out on here? I still like to walk places. I still like to pop in, without an invitation. These days it’s becoming an increasingly rare activity; living your day fully connected with the moment as it is, information transmitted over the natural super highway of thought feeling and intuitions. I used to call it real time existence where I would wander off into town on an errand and find myself lost in the world of living. It was so liberating.

I am constantly seeking connection and I now wonder what more I can do? Switch of the phone? Work mornings only? Stop writing emails and start writing letters, to regain control of time. We should not be instantly available or constantly contactable. No, no, no.

So it’s time I think that I personally begin to claim my life from the digital database. Go rogue and pay cash. Like in the old days before every interaction was trackable on the cloud. Every instant message a fingerprint in time. Time to change, time to get out of the connectedness trap.

Back With A Bang

IMG-7990

Social Media and tech in general would have us believe that we can have perfectly curated lives. Only showing what we want the world to see. Only allowing us to share what we want. Then sometimes not sharing is as telling as sharing everything.

However to have things curated in our lives to the point that our human lives become a seamless production takes a volume of extraordinary planning. Guess what though? Life happens. And as my mother often says “It never rains but it pours”. Here deep down at the tip of Africa that is the blessing that we are waiting for. I’ve been standing looking at the skies waiting for the rain to come not thinking about what to do with the rain when it gets here. So please excuse me while a run off and get some buckets.

 

Growth

IMG-7266

Too easily we talk about change, building new lives or making drastic choices in order to move swiftly into the next stages of tomorrow. That all of a sudden everything will be different, that the slate is wiped clean and we can start again without a shadow in our minds or a cloud in a clear blue sky. That’s not reality and that is quite simply not how life here on earth has been designed.  To make radical change and to cut off what we were doesn’t make sense, especially when we look at an old tree or our elders, we see that those that we most respect embrace the age and status, the scars of life and are happy to tell their tale without shame or remorse. They have learned to accept who they are and their choices, they embrace the subsequent consequences as part of who they have become. Growth really is a process of integration more than anything else, where we learn to accept the things that cannot change, especially the past, no matter how painful or terrifying.

We have to learn how to embrace it as part of ourselves and then ultimately set boundaries as to how much power the past has to impact on a flourishing future. After all, it’s only our memory of what happens and our wilfulness to breathe life into that memory that gives it any power to persist to remain.

There is also a lot to be said for growth not being possible without a certain amount of decay or destruction. We only have to look at plants themselves in order to understand the order of things. Plants grow naturally in the debris of their own decay. Letting go of what no longer serves them, is the fuel that sustains their growth. It’s quite an incredible thing really when you think on it. Trees only grow in unison of the trees and plants that surround them, all growing together. Letting go and standing together, their roots and branches all intertwined.

The greatest growth happens as part of a symbiosis through friendships, families and communities that support and carry us. The greatest challenge can be to find those who are going to encourage and support you as you follow through your natural progression in life.