Process, Uncategorized

Dance Into The Fire

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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

 

Process, Uncategorized

The Ride of Your Life

IMG-0031Is it really all snakes and ladders? Is it a roller coaster ride? Or is it the hamster wheel of hell? I suppose that all depends on where you are on your journey. It also depends on what are the best choices for you. We all have patterns and any one of us has the right to make there own decisions. Anyone of us has the right to decide what is the best feeling for you. What I can tell you based entirely on my own experience is that we create our own reality. That your current reality might seem like the best choice that you can make at any given time. I absolutely believe you. At any given time you have the access to the best decision possible for you. The thing is that you are perfect just as you are. That the place where you are is exactly where you need to be right now. You can also choose to go somewhere else. Of course this might not be the case if you are experiencing some form of modern slavery. Yes that’s a real thing. Do you feel better now?

You see we can all allow ourselves to be drop kicked into next week. Any girl with PMT (and her unsuspecting partner) can tell you that our physiology, never mind environment or human connections have the ability to fuck you over. Throw you off the playful merry-go-round that we thought we were in charge of spinning for ourselves and leave us bruised, broken and temporarily scarred for a few weeks. If this happens to you then of course we will feel the searing pain of being thrown to the floor, literally hitting rock bottom. Then we can stay there and allow ourselves to bleed to death while picking at scabs at on our elbows. Crying for everyone else around us to help us. Then wonder why they don’t or in fact why they shout at us to get up, causing us even more distress. The thing is that we have the solution, other people can see it and we can’t. That’s fucking scary, I know. That we might not be able to see the obvious. Even more terrifying is that we might not able to feel the obvious. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to feel better. Fuck you for not helping me. Can you see the challenge. Few people want to have to tolerate another person’s pain. You know why? It’s painful. The truth is is all anybody really wants is love. All anybody really needs to heal is love and you can access that at anytime. All you have to do is think of something nice. Maybe it’s sunshine or rainbows or your favourite Death Metal Punk Band. Yes life experiences and your reaction to them (which you can’t necessarily control) can kick the shit out of you but if you can find something to reach for that makes you feel better. You are going to find it easier and easier to feel good.

Process, Uncategorized

Spirit v.s Wound

IMG-9790Did you know that Facebook posts can actually be deeply inspirational and thought-provoking? A few weeks ago I saw a post that read “Are you guided by your spirit or by your wound?” Big fucking question right? And it might take you quite a bit of discernment to figure that bad boy out. This has been a question that has plagued me for years, especially when you feel like you’ve been rocking the wounded healer archetype for a while. Getting jiggy with Chiron can be as complex and messy as astrophysics for
toddlers. Somehow though I think toddlers are better a grasping the bigger concepts. So here I am, figuring that out, and I wonder how my own discussion about it might best serve you…….

We all have pain — emotional pain, physical pain, psychological pain and maybe even spiritual pain. If you’re feeling particularly advanced, you might even hit me with your psychic pain. Wait there a minute! there is more; there may even be collective pain, generational pain, ancestral pain…oh! and even national pain. That is a shit-ton of pain to distinguish between. It’s hard to know what is ours and what is somebody else’s. In fact, it’s a whole story that can probably be reserved for another blog post.

The thing is, no matter what kind of pain you are feeling and how it manifests, it has amazing and incredible ways of guiding us. So for example, if you have been raped, you may opt to work for a rape crisis charity, or with other men or women that have experienced the same. Yet, before the rape occurred it hadn’t really been a topic of interest to you. Following your wound becomes your way of both healing and giving back to society. Which is, of course, very admirable.

If you are led by your spirit, there are things that have always brought you joy, that have always made you happy, made your step a little bit lighter, your laugh a little bit louder and, well, your smile a lot brighter. When you are in crisis it can be hard to think about the things that bring you joy. Just getting down to the deep work of bringing joy back into your own life for yourself is all you can do to lighten somebody else’s burden. You just bring joy by being joyful. How incredible! Yes, you can choose this way to heal too.

Anyways, just so you know, vibrationally, it’s always better to follow joy, and maybe peace for a little while too. Yes, be guided by your spirit and know that your gifts are not your wounds but the things that bring you joy in the face of them. Be yourself and shine to thrive.

Uncategorized

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.

 

 

Process, Uncategorized

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.

 

Process, Uncategorized

Energy

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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.