Human Process

I Am Celebrated

4EDBF04E-2251-4EC4-BDD2-1A023FF077CDOctober was my birthday month. As another sun cycle has hit me it became clear that it was time to celebrate. I have made it to the humble age of 38.  Life is getting better and better and I know it. The past week has felt lit up by my achievements and personal power. I wonder what life has got in store for me next it’s got to be something exciting. After all I am excited to be here, now. The must be something up? This Birthday has been another great opportunity for growth. Where I break further and further away from the idea of a permission based existence. That I need to stand up, take what I want from the counter and give back what I can in return. Imagine if at Birthday time we didn’t mop about waiting to be acknowledged or loved and that we just celebrated the life and love that we have. Celebrating is a step beyond gratitude. It’s like a love explosion.

For years I waited for someone to notice or for someone to love me just they way I might want them to. It’s an impossible task to hand to someone. Who else could know or celebrate me better than I can. It’s only very recently that I began to figure out that my Birthday Celebrations were being dictated to by a bunch of people who actually didn’t like me very much. Can you imagine that. Who wanted me to be someone else. Aspirationally demure filled with elegance and discernment. Ha ha ha ha I now sit back and laugh at all those unhappy birthdays that had nothing to do with me and realise exactly why I didn’t enjoy them. They weren’t for me they were for everyone else. What everyone else thought I should be doing. Getting taken out for dinner, etc etc etc.

So do yourself a favour, take time to celebrate you just as you are. Invite the people you actually like a long for the ride. The maybe just maybe a Happy Birthday will turn up for you.

Life Expectations

IMG-0172Yup this is the big stuff right here. Maybe Leonard Cohen summed in up best with Bird On A wire Expectations, if you can crack this well, there is reason to believe you can crack anything. Seriously. Expectations? Seriously most of us are born into this particular segment of our lives well and truly fucked. First of all people are always asking you “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Second of all we are all systematically bombarded by parents, media, the educations system with what the fuck we should be doing. Even Ted Talks ask almost every particpant to conform to “their” format of speaking. I mean fuck them. Really? Seriously? You want ideas to change the world yet we must all conform to your style standards. Right o then. I think fucking not. Can you sense my outrage. So here it is expectations. Born, Job, Buy a Car, Marry, Buy a House, Parent, Grandparent, Leave a Legacy, Die. And could you do all of that as gracefully as possible without upsetting anybody. No I don’t think so? Can you? No. Is this totally fucking unrealistic? Yes. What an excellent reason to free your mind.

Human Life expectations seem to present as some form of cultural dogma. That’s true. It’s fucking wild that our most basic of humans choices seemed to be being dictated to by some kind of cultural hive mind. That straying from the accepted norms may well fuck the system. God know that declining birth rates in the western world are freaking people out. We’re back to the feudal system here guys. Less people, less power (in case you haven’t figured that out, lets not talk about China. Look away now). The fact that any one of us does not manage to reach these “bench marks” is by no means a reflection on us. Most of us have no idea what we are doing here in this earthling experieince. Much less what we are doing here in the right now and seem to be completely boggled by the idea that there is already a pre-determined system that we should be slotting into before we’ve even figured out what our hands are for. Yes seriously people have decided that you will graduate university before you have even figured out how to use your hands.

Expectations for ourselves obviously have to become completely muddled and muddied as a result of the information that we are given. Now we have Facebook and Instagram I can only imagine how confused most youngsters are by there level of aspiration. Have you heard? They just closed The Beach permanently, our hedonistic quest for light relief in paradise is fucked also. So expectations? Really what do you expect? Is it realistic? And are you starting this quest with your self. I’ll give you an example? I expect people to be honest with me……..am I honest? Yes to the best of my knowledge. I expect to have beautiful things……..can I define beauty? Sometimes……Yup get right into your head and ask the big questions…….

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.

Clearing Space

IMG-9833There is nothing quit like cleaning your house to help get your mind in order “Tidy house tidy mind”. This week I’ve been totally deep cleaning. Pulling out the couch. Getting under the bed. Dusting the picture rails. Just getting fully committed to my dharma. That in order to start fresh each morning we need to have a clean slate to start from.That resetting the clock for what you want from life can start on a 24 hour countdown each day. How very liberating, exhausting and terrifying all that once. That everyday, exactly where you are you have everything you need. All we have to do is get down to the exact science of living. That the what if’s and the what only’s could be actioned in every moment. To live your life fully.

It’s easy to let things stagnate, plonk a whole load of things on the to do list without every really getting round to doing them. Stuff can hold us back. Whether it is things in our head, the endless to do lists or just getting round to doing our dishes.

Even the random things that have crept into the seams of the couch, whether it is a business card or a penny, can absorb our energy as we mull these objects over. Seriously if it doesn’t bring you the ecstatic joy of discovering a lots pound coin. Then get rid of it. Quick smart and pronto.  So much mental space can literally be taken up with stuff.

That is exactly what clearing space does. It allows us to live most fully in our present moments. Our richest day in the one we are living right now. Where everything is in order. Yes it’s a lot to aspire to everything in order and in it’s place. Committing to the work, likes it’s groundhog day. Diligently setting aside that which no longer serves us day after day and setting the intention for the next. Inviting in the lovely stuff, that bunch of flowers some incense or your favourite tea. Clarity is sure to bring abundance. After all you can’t take it all with you and we do have all we need to thrive in this world. Creating a space that brings instant joy for the moments we have is clearing space on the deepest level.

We can free ourselves of the emotional baggage and the burdens of limitation in any moment. We only have to change our minds and choose something else. Having a deep clean and a de-cluttering can be as effective way as any of getting clarity in you life and figuring out all those priorities. It can certainly make you feel better to lie out on an open space, free from distractions. It make room creativity and master planning of the best kind. Yes clear space so that abundance can flow.

Consistently Inconsistent

IMG-9492(1)“Consistently Inconsistent” My father said this to me once as an insult. it’s a terrible shame that it wasn’t actually true. Yet beyond this it has become a kind of mantra for me. Everybody has the right to change there mind, find another way, all in the hope of becoming who we actually are. In recent months I’ve picked up the pace a bit on my wee coaching business and as always adjusting course as I move forward and figuring out what it all really means anyway while attempting to be the truest and best version of myself all at the same time. Which means from time to time my standards slip life gets in the way and I have to consider How best am I serving my clients. If you are looking for a guru I’m not it. I’m as human and broken as the best of us and sometimes I’m envious of Mandela and hid imposed daily routine. Can you imagine enforced spiritual awakening by way of prison regime. That no matter how hard it is. How you might be feeling or even how important you are you have to get out there and get down to the lowly work of breaking rocks. If that isn’t dharma in action I don’t know what is.

In the meantime I’m caught between, I’m busy feeling. How much can I journal about this? Do I journal before I do the dishes? Do I do the dishes before I journal or the other way round. Which one is going to make me feel better faster? Then all the justifications that go with it. Never mind that I actually can’t do the dishes because I can’t find the ecologically friendly dish washing liquid I usually use in my local supermarket, that means I have to drive into town, which kind of defeats the purpose of eco dish washing liquid. Yes it’s the small things. How do you write inspirational posts when you can’t manage the basic and well you’re very busy feeling? The thing is we all have the right to be consistently inconsistent. We are humans. As much as we are drastically trying to reclaim our lives from the endless monotony of daily work for a corporate company we also need to reclaim our lives from the constructed demands of time. No one here is pulling in a harvest no one is going to dye if you Instagram feed is not up to date and should I really be Instagramming while spending quality time with friends. Personal work is for me the new work work. Prioritising me as a radical step in self-care. That doesn’t mean never commit it just means do you best and been happy with the results. Also please bare in mind here absolutely no-one has criticised me for inconsistency or praised me for my eco washing up liquid. This is all self-imposed limitations and critiques. The mind can be crazy even when it is well trained.

Inner Guidance

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Sometimes I wonder what our inner guidance system would operate like if it was a GPS system and what kind of warnings it might give out when you were steering onto the wrong course. Would it say things “stop immediately”? Or would it say “A better decision can be found to your left” or even “reconsider current trajectory” or in the most desperate of cases “abort mission” I suspect if you’ve gone this far there isn’t much hope of finding a safe and effective exit route.

I often override what my inner guidance and then I wonder did I really? Hindsight is a wonderful thing and even when we have live clues it can often be hard to decipher what the next best step is. We’ve all be there, I’m sure, in that situation where someone says or does something that lets us know that we are not on the same path, have the same shared values. There are no mistakes and no matter where we are heading you better be sure that your GPS system is working overtime to get you there. When we ignore what we believe were tell tale signs of trouble ahead isn’t it just our own way of saying life is an adventure.

In the last few decades the rise in adventure sports of even excursions have been supposedly been the best way to get out of a comfort zones as we all try escape desk jobs and boring routines. The things is even with the life jackets and the bungee cords there is never any guarantee that we really will be safe, that we will get home safe and dry after a harmless flirtation with exhilaration.

When we override our inner guidance system it’s just our spiritual way of saying “I’ve got this”, come what may. That actually we have a belief in ourselves beyond what is explicable or even sane. After all what sane person would actually through themselves off a structure with noting but a rope tied to their ankles? As a kiwi friend once said to me “New Zealand the nation that invented bungee jumping. A nation in some serious need of entertainment”.

Recently when I am thinking about my own personal growth journey the book “The Four Agreements” has been coming up for me a lot. I find it very reassuring to look at them and use them as a tick list to see how well I have served my self in the process of life.

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Always Do Your Best

If I read these four agreements and I know that I have applied to the best of my ability. Then my inner guidance system is totally in tact. No matter the outcome.

 

 

Prioritising Self and Fluidity

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Negotiating the emotional landscape has got to be one of the most complex things that we humans have to do. If we were all robots getting on with our to do lists just think how boring that would be. Work schedules, family schedules and daily routines can be the glue that hold our lives together and then from time to time, the computer says no. Our conscious tells us other otherwise. Things don’t make sense and well life happens. We have to figure out how to navigate it. All of a sudden we are on unfamiliar territory and well as my old pirate self might say, “There be Rocks!!!” Even when we know where we are going there can be all sorts of hidden obstacles and emotional battles to overcome in order to make sure that we are ready for the task, journey or event ahead.

In the meantime if you are indeed engaged fully on your own personal journey you may well feel or in fact know, that this is all for a reason. That you are here to learn for yourself.  To share your journey, so that other way finders may just steer clear of the rocks.

We complicate the idea of getting ahead with helping others. That if we are caring, kind compassionate humans we priortise other people. Is that absolutely true?

It makes me think of a Gardener who spends his life planting flowers so that everybody can enjoy their blooms. For the advanced Gardner it’s about planting trees that will never reach their full magnificence in a human life time. So we wonder who is he planting them for? Only for the simple satisfaction that he has imagined something beautiful.

That we can’t possibly  support another person while moving at an incredibly slow pace, it might even be mistaken for being stationary. It’s bit of a double edged sword, personal work. We want to support and love others to heal themselves, while being continuously called to heal our own wounds in the act of serving. It’s and incredible balancing act actually.

It has taken me a long time to fully understand what it is to prioritise myself. In fact it’s kind of startling to me when I ever do some deep soul examination of how little I give myself and why. It also troubles me what spiritual observations that many of us take on the path to wellness. Chastity, obedience and poverty being three main ones. It makes you wonder what is left for joy, happiness and growth.

In today’s world where even in our own personal journey consistency is considered to be key. It can be challenging to think of new more relaxed ways to embrace personal growth, that don’t revolve round people pleasing, gym membership or a punishing daily regime that is guaranteed to push all the money juice out of you.

Then we return again to the Gardner where the seasons and the weather dictate their routine. They plan on rainy days. Plant and harvest on sunny days. Wait out the frost. Every day and changing season brings with it a new challenge of how and when they will get the job done and yet they always do.

Holding Space

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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.

 

 

 

Expand Your Circle

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Beyond drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. If there was one thing that I would recommend for a good life it is friends. Now first of all this might seem obvious. Second of all it wasn’t to me. I have spent much of my life chasing good friendships. If you really want to get to grips with what is going on for you in your life, friendships will act as a mirror to your challenges as much as any romantic relationship that you might have.

The impact that your close knit support can have on you can be profound, to the point that they may very well deny your basic needs, from a glass of water to unbroken sleep. It’s true and many of us humans are in deep denial about the impact that dysfunctional relationships can have on our basic survival even as adults. If you are indeed in a situation where none of your basic needs are met, where you don’t feel supported, then as challenging as it might be it’s time to leave.

Everyone is deserving of support. Everyone is entitled to a glass of water, a safe place to sleep and to feel connected and held by the people who surround them. Often time depending on how we have been raised we can believe that just because people are there that and that they have not chosen to abandon us that they are our friends. This is not always true. Often people try to hold on to us in there lives in order to feel powerful. They get power out of demeaning us, undermining our own thought and ideas, or belittling and berating what brings us joy or purpose. You may suspect that people don’t want what is best for you. As you feel that they corrode your self-worth.

You are in control of how you feel about yourself. You are always able to love yourself and as you take steps towards self-nurturance you will soon understand that although it is nice to have people in your life. You can choose who those people are and how you want to feel. The next time that you are in someones company, what I would encourage you to do is to become aware of how you feel. If someone makes you feel special then that is the person you want to be round, if someone makes you feel a little knarly round the edges, maybe it’s time to examine what’s going on there.

Like relationships, no friendship is perfect. You are in a friendship to give too. We have to accept another persons humaness and do our best to not make our humaness another persons burden.

If you genuinely have no friends, feel isolated, and have no support network it’s time to get out there and find your tribe. They exist and they are just as flawsome as you. The only way that you are really going to find the friends that your deserve is by being  yourself. Only then can you attract people that are the right sort of weird to your irresistible flame. What you might also like to do, is to make sure, that you are clear about what kind of friend that you want to be. Do I call people back? Do I keep in touch when someone who is having a tough time? Do I remember peoples birthdays? Be the friend that you want to be and a beautiful human is sure to turn up with the right kind of food for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Authenticity v Positivity

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From where I’m sitting within the self-development community Authenticity and Positivity seem to be the two pillars of personal growth.  Through my own journey I am witnessing my responses to these two bath and found that I have a very interesting inner battle going on. In my role as a life doula I really dig deep to engage with people. Us self-help types, I promise you are interesting and diverse bunch, largely because there are so many different ways to heal. From laughing yoga to detoxing your yoni, there really is something for everyone.

Quite often I come across super smiley types who I can’t easily be mistake for cuddly fluff balls they might want to be mistaken as. I find them unsettling and I think my f-bombs might flatten a few of them. Consciousness asks us to be aware of our thoughts, our words, our vibration and what it is that we are actually manifesting.

Positivity is for me very much about trying to alter your inner dialogues. Changing the way you think, banishing the bad and focusing on the good. It’s a great idea in principle however for many of us it can sap a lot of energy trying to uphold a representation of yourself that isn’t exactly you. Unless of course it is. For twenty years I’ve been observing my dialogues and wondering how much the words and thoughts that appear in my head influence my feelings and how they impact others. There is a lot that can be tweaked. From gratitude diaries, to saying thank you rather than sorry (Which is a mini form of gratitude). Or even switching your words round…. I hate Mondays, to I love Fridays. I don’t like coffee to I prefer tea. What ever we say or do it is a reflection of our inner world including a grimaced smile.

I do believe that there is a huge amount to be gained from having a positive and loving outlook towards ourselves and the world at large. However the positivity trap seems to be adverse to the reality of the world that we live in. There is day and night and we have broad vocabularies so that we can identify a multitude of thoughts, feelings,  ideas, theories, or even objects. No object is inherently negative, not even a weapon. It’s the ways in which we use or label our language, dialogues, thoughts, feelings, ideas, theories and objects that can be either supportive or chastening.

Positivity is a lot different from authenticity. Authenticity is where I am at.

Authenticity is about taking the good with the bad and not having any judgement about it. As far as I am concerned emotions are the magic thread that takes us to our deeper truth. The subtleties of how our emotions connect is a language that has it’s very own personal code and only you know what it is.

I, like anybody, have my dialogues. As I work this process I find it’s more like ironing, some of those creases just come right out and then there are the folds that are stuck right on in there, like they are part of the sheet itself.  We can twist it anyway we like, we can silver line it, re-frame it look for the gifts and it still sucks. What we want is a pristine flat white sheet. The fold in the sheet has absolutely nothing to do with the sheet’s purpose or it’s ability to fulfill it’s role of protecting our bodies. We even get disgruntled at the experience of a sheet protecting our bodies. That it ends up with stains or holes as the result of protecting out bodies. We deny a white sheet it’s very being. Instead we have projected ideas of cleanliness, purity and our own moral value and even work ethic in the appearance of a white sheet. When actually it acts as a beautiful canvas of our lives. When really there just ain’t no way round all those creases and stains other than to accept them and love through the process. That’s true.

It’s the same for us. We deny ourselves the right to be human. We can’t even get the sheets dirty even though we have orifices that leak fluid and we have to sleep 8 hours a day. I’m more interested in being able to shit myself accidentally in public without shame, than forcing myself to view it as a positive experience. In truth all experiences that force growth in the end have a positive up-spiral. Those experiences can  still embarrassing, painful and traumatic. We can own that.

I’m happy to cry in public and say thank you to the people holding space for me. I’ll also happily lose my shit in a particularly pressing moment and again be grateful to those who continue to hold space for me.  There it is again though in the quest for the authentic how many of you out there are willing to hold space for sadness yet not tolerate anger?

We all play dress up with our emotions and appearance. Where do we draw the line between real and make-believe.