Human Process

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 backs you feel special than 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 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. The 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 is 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 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.

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.

 

 

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.

 

Dyslexia – It’s a thing

IMG-8166I’m amazed I can spell Dylslexia all the letters seem to fit together so beautifully that they paint a picture in a word. The letters seem to make perfect sense even though they are arranged so unusually.

I re-read my blog post and find the mistakes and have to hurriedly fix them before anybody notices. People have noticed, switched off to the inaccuracy and skimmed over the top deciding my work is inadequate. I invite the the reader to overlook them and consider the content.

Dyslexia has been given the classification by many as a bullshit diagnosis. Maybe it is? Then there is my diagnosis that is over a decade old and took the acceptance into university to find. I can’t keep up. Never have, and now these days don’t hope too. It’s a challenge  sifting through the thoughts trying to make the right connections to create something linear. How do you create something linear when linear doesn’t come naturally? When the dharma of trying to think straight, it is a full time job that that actually takes you in circles.

As I get older it is not just about the misspelt words or even the misread signpost it’s the continuing ways in which dyslexia still side blinds me. The planning, the thinking, the over working of a thought, the lack of execution and then the disappointment attached to endless planning and organisation. Maybe that is just life the, sods law of the missed spelling mistake. The big dreams in your head that formulate differently in in our earth space reality. I get still get confused between my ability and my barriers to participation and forget the constant, long and arduous reality of working to a standard that is often beyond my own scope. This shit is real.

My free thinking gets me considering discipline and routine in order to create structured life development. What does that mean structured life development? When is most commonly means acquire until you expire.

So much freedom, so much dharma. Progress is slow.

Dyslexia/Free/Creative thinking are they one and the same? Is an explosion of creative vision on a daily basis a good thing? Einstein seemed to know so. How do you manage your ideas? How do we know which things to follow and complete, and which things to abandon on the big to do list of life? Is it a feeling or a thought? A passion or a knowing? Reluctance or embracing? Or all of the above mishmashed together in 24 hour sun ritual?

 

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.