Process, Uncategorized

Emotional Labour, Community Activism, Boundaries and The Rise of the Divine Feminine

IMG-4499This year it feels like I’ve taken a crash course in all of the above. I’m also feeling pretty proud of myself in the process.  For the first time in the history of my own community activism, I have refused to take on other peoples shit. True Story.

Emotional Labour is the work of me, The Life Doula. I create space, I hold space and I offer up time as if it is an infinite resource and utilising a lost healing magic that seems to have been long forgotten in the realms of 21st-century healing. You can’t hack everything. It is at the very moment we can become grateful for the ageing process, proud of the whispy grey hairs and that wisdom usually has to be earned.

The truth is that Emotional Labour is, for the most part, the work of women. The absorbing, the explaining, the understanding, the coaxing and sustaining of families and communities. It’s the care of the dying, the nurturing of children, the comforting of the ill and distressed and the perpetual maintenance of the household. It’s also the commitment to healing, healing ourselves to be of better service. Healing our selves to create better homes, stronger families and resilient communities and yet so little of this work are appreciated and honoured even though it is the very stuff of life.

These days as healers and let’s be honest here as women we now have to resolve to set boundaries for ourselves. We have to decide to take care of ourselves first, heal our selves first before we ever hope to have a deeper impact on the world at large, even though there is so much to heal. Too often now I have had the call to action. “Kimberley we need your help” and too often now I have learned that the help I have to offer is mistaken for something else. That somehow I can do the work for you. That by me showing up and listening to the problem at hand is a cure and that due to my caring nature I might be willing to solve the problem by taking on the role of community enabler. That I will be project manager, researcher, facilitator,  admin assistant,  fundraiser and counsellor. All for free of course.

The answer is I can and I won’t. The truth is my house isn’t in order. I expect too much from hurt people. The best remedy I have for this is, of course, is getting back to the drawing board and straight back into dharma. Chopping water and fetching wood, figuring out where the mix up happened and re-committing to healing myself first, loving myself best and serving reason from a cup that radiates joy.

The age of Aquarius is here. The divine feminine is on the rise and emotional mastery is calling to us. Nurturance is key and taking on the emotional labour of others is over. Nothing is disposable. The energy we put out into the world is the energy we get back. After all, it’s the circle of life.

Process, Uncategorized

Re-Parenting

IMG-4176Re-parenting has been a theme that has been coming up again and again over the last few weeks. When I very first started out on what we might call the coaching journey; which is an entirely different thing to the healing journey  I thought I might advertise myself as a Self-Parenting Coach. Only now do I realise, one how ironic that is in terms of my own personal journey since then, and two how ahead of the game I was. Even now The Life Doula as a concept seems so way out there that only one of my clients so far has actually got it. (Hey ho) without me having to explain it. Re-birthing yes that too is a thing. Re-birthing as you can well imagine goes hand in hand with Re-Parenting or Self-Parenting as I have termed it.

So here we are talking about terms. What I really want you to know, is that although I might think up terms regularly,  I do try to think about the terms that I use at great length. Especially what they might mean to people or make them feel. So, for example, the term Re-Parenting, though very valid, automatically brings up the for me a bubbling kind of resentment and shame. Filled in with exclamation points!!!! Like “For fuck sake, like being parented wasn’t horrific enough as it was without having to take on the actual role of my parents as well in order to gain insight into how truly fucked up they were.” After all, assaulting a four-year-old wasn’t bad enough as it was without having to relive through both parties. Yup, it’s full-on inside my head. Then I get to Self-Parenting and it lets me give out this resigned sigh of “Well I suppose somebody’s got to do it” as I look round the room for an imaginary adult that might be willing to take on the task. After all, wasn’t that what you were always looking for another adult that might help and then, of course, didn’t….. Yup, it’s a bit fucked up no two ways about it. The abandonment buttons are very real in this process. As well as that it also leaves a certain element of blame on the parents part, like they should have done better, known better behaved better. When in fact they are fucked up, still fucked up and very committed to the process of avoiding that reality. Oh well and to leave yourself with the role of re-parenting or self-parenting leaves bigger questions about the need for the do-over or the very real neglect and abandonment, that may never be answered or might indeed leave us more traumatised. It’s not our job to re-parent ourselves it never was and it’s a mild form of victim-blaming to suggest that we should have to take on that role for ourselves.  So both terms linger within me with a mild toxicity. That seems to be corrosive over time.

So after all that and all that feeling and how I felt and how I thought other people in the same situation as me might feel I came up with the idea of Self-Nurturance, and I love it. Self-Nurturance seems light and fluffy and cuddly. It’s all the things you might want and need from a responsible adult. It’s all the things that you might want and need for your responsible adult, that makes me love it even more. It’s not as lofty unavailable as Self-Love nor does it seem as socially weighty and thus drudgingly boring as Self-Care it’s somewhere snuggly in-between. More than this it also signifies that its role is poised to create growth. That if we nurture ourselves we can have whole vibrant lives. That we are getting fully prepared for new adventures. Where lemon water is exciting and yoga can feel nourishing. Where we step away from what we are supposed to do, into what we want to do and that those things though separate in our head are exactly the same thing. It’s just no one ever told us. Do you know why? Because no one ever told them.

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Merging Files

IMG-4081Exponential personal growth has been a massive feature in my life over the last 2 years. Over the last few weeks I have been witnessing my programming change. That for the last few years I am becoming increasingly savvy at figuring out what is my stuff and what is other people stuff. Creating clear boundaries and operating from a space of compassion without enabling. Which is can be very easy with clients. Yet increasingly  difficult within the personal relationships and friendships that I’ve been growing within over the last few years. All of a sudden I’ve been finding glitches in the system and I have felt for the last few days that I have been merging old and new files of myself within relationships. Who I am and who I was, who I can be and how everyone benefits. That the programmes of the past no longer serve me in my future.

It many ways it might appear that I am becoming what would classically be described as more selfish. That word alone makes me begin to understand how quickly and how early we are trained out of fulfilling our own needs. That somehow me buying myself flowers could be a whole host of things from uppity to attention-seeking or even doing it to make someone else feel bad. Not today, not in this home but you can feel where this is coming from, can’t you? That if nobody loves you enough to buy your flowers then why should you buy yourself flowers? Creating a cycle of depreciating personal value in your life.

What is more, other words than selfish are creeping into my insight of the shadow. I witnessed more and more how poorly the words manipulative and complaining are being banded around in response to emotion. If woman or children cry for example it is often classed and manipulative, in order for them to get her way. Or even when someone says how they feel “I don’t feel you are listening to me” “Stop complaining”. These words as defence weapons largely by people that have no connection with there own emotional landscape. It’s kind of like watching someone who’s been jagged by a thorn lashing out a thorn tree without removing the thorn. Painful very very painful to watch. As we see so many online videos of how to negotiate emotions with children it becomes clearer to me that who is doing this for the adults out there running the world and in need of so much more support than a paid therapist or councillor. Even who is looking after me? As I look round more and more I begin to understand it has to be me. That I have to learn to nurture myself deeply, on levels I have of yet to fully understand. That I need to get to my three-year-old self before anybody else can and ask her questions. A simple question like why are you standing outside a locked door waiting for someone who clearly hasn’t and isn’t showing up for you?  My heart breaks for her and then all of a sudden I adult myself, who are you waiting for and why? How long have you been waiting? Then all of a sudden I realise I’ve been waiting for me and it’s my job to show up and care for myself in ways I never was. Love myself in ways only I know-how and trust the adult in my life, me.

Process, Uncategorized

Alarm, Articulate, Assertive

IMG-3350These have been three words floating in and out of my thoughts for the last few days. Alarm came to me when I realised that most people woke up to one each morning. Articulate I considered when I realise that so many of us can’t say how we really feel and assertive I was pondering when I thought I was being a lower vibrational bitch. You know cause we all have these thoughts sometimes.

Alarm, like really? How many of you are waking up with this each morning? I’m hoping that my days of waking alarm are now long behind me. I sleep when I need to and have the luxury of waking up gently most mornings. I forget regularly what a privilege that is and how it’s improved my mood over the years. Lack of sleep and waking up with alarm are literally two things that have the ability to push so far over the edge of mental hell that a good sleep routine has been a priority in my life for years. It’s all about knowing your limits. 4 am starts and 12 hour days are not for me. As a result of this, I have been slowly implementing and changing my work schedule over several years to make sure that I am at an optimum and that I even have time for a nap in the afternoon. It’s just as effective as meditating in order to clear your mind (you should try it sometime).

Articulate it’s a word that has often been used to describe unless of course, I’m getting up at 4 am. I have often wondered what that has meant to the people around me. Now I think I know what it is. I’m always searching for the right words. The right string of thoughts in order to express where I am in any given moment. That expressing a genuine reflection of the world, my life, my mind, my heart, my soul all at the same time.  As always there is a lot to consider. My honest personal enquiry has always engaged people and now more than ever I am beginning to understand why. That even though my emotional environments changes and my ideas about life are shifting as I grew that I am able to share who I am and how I feel.

Assertive, sum how this about expressing how we feel to people even when it’s uncomfortable. This is something that I have been working on for years. As not expressing ourselves honestly can lead to pent up emotions. For me, assertiveness can cut out a huge amount of confusion in interpersonal relationships when we let the small things become big things. I see it so often with people and how they cope with life if they had just said something the moment it started it may have prevented an outburst or explosion late down the line. We always have the right to say how we feel. We are not responsible for how people receive the information that is given. It also opens the doorways of communication to help us gain insight into other peoples experiences. Sometimes as a woman I think that assertiveness is often what is mistaken or interpreted as being a bitch when actually we all have the right to live in our truth and be heard.

Process, Uncategorized

The Morning After The Week Before

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It’s officially winter here, now, in the Southern Hemisphere and in the last two days I have awoken to thick mist on the slopes of our beloved Mother City’s Table Mountain. It’s quite a change after a week in the desert, where only the wispy clouds of the upper hemisphere were visible.

We are meant to go on a journey to change things, shift things and find a new connection. Increasingly, more and more as I get older I find myself even more earthbound. That no matter how big the adventure, no matter how far I go, that the physical journey barely changes me. The beauty I find is no more transformative than the cinematography of a good film. The things I find wow for a moment and then they’re gone. I am left with a photograph, a story, maybe a new friend and a slightly shifted future transmuted to help me discover another side story. These days I head off on adventures curious to find something new and instead I always end up anxious to get back. When before I would have longed to stay now I’m always ready to come home. Maybe that is because of something better waits for me here.

If there is one thing that I have learned in the last 12 months is that our life journey is more caught up in the emotional environments of our friends and relationships than they ever might be from escapist journeys of travel, about who we are in our day to day lives and the intricate weaving of the shared emotional journey we seem to embroider each other with. That relationships are the stitching that holds us together.

It seems for me now that mystery and adventure somehow seem to hold far less magic that the long drawn out conversation that occur between two people. That the pasts that the histories that people share are far more imbued with wisdom than the idea that we might learn something from leaving the lives we are in. People are valuable they are all round us with ideas, dreams and understanding that moved beyond our own life experiences, that no matter where we go we take ourselves with us. That we view the world from the paradigm in which we occupy and that magic only truly finds us when we are ready to upgrade our own frequency. That, that frequency only every changes on the basis of how much we are willing to give of ourselves. That sharing is, in essence, is caring and that holding space for people including ourselves is the best chance that we have at deepening the connection we have with the world around us.

Process, Uncategorized

Change

IMG-2579Well, I can assure you that change is something I’m pretty good at with 34 house moves under my belt, I might even say that I am a master craftswoman or something like that. It’s something that many businesses and corporation go on about a lot these days, change management. Let’s face it the world has been speeding up for a while. Technology is outdated before it’s even hits the shelves and everybody wants to be everywhere all at once. FOMO seems to permeate the millennial life and more than that there is already a whole new generation getting ready to emerge. Millennials are already old news and insta perfect lives seems to a get to be a less manageable delusion. We all make mistakes. We all have bad days. Most of us crave more than we already have. Something different, something new, even if it is just that new restaurant that opened up in town. While other stick to the daily grind stay in their rat runs of existence and do there best to protect themselves for unseeable forces or simply embrace making the best lives that they can (Gold stars for them) My mother once said to me a long time ago that “Life is change”. My life of all people’s is certainly demonstrative of that.

For me right now it’s not so much what is going on for me in my personal life than is the challenge. It is the world at large. We often hear people talking about this period in history, as if nothing like this has ever happened before. Like religious, political, racial and gender persecution hasn’t been a thing. It is hard to acknowledge that it always has when we have experienced 75 years of relative peace in the western world. It’s so easy to forget that that peace is built on conflict. That the privileges that we have right now were developed in response to deep crisis and that most of the world systems have developed through exposure to disaster, whether it be in health, education or governance. Like Game of Thrones and the White Walkers, the biggest threat that we have right now is the preservation of life itself. It goes beyond what little scrap of Earth we may be able to dig out and protect for ourselves. It goes beyond our individual materialist needs and individual survival. It’s about land, waterways, communities and respect and believes that we are now on the very brink of a major paradigm shift where the world as we know it is about to change. Every ten years or so there seems to be a massive emergence of what we might call the radical left. Last time it was the Occupy Movement this time its Extinction Rebellion. Fundamentally what you need to know that movements evolve that many of the people involved in the Extinction Rebellion were involved in Occupy. The goal posts have moved somewhat but what you need to know is that the requirements for a successful resolution to our global challenges have not. What we need is a wellbeing economy that put the needs of the planet first. As The Life Doula, this is at the core of my work as I believe that in order for that change to happen that we need in essence to heal humans of the sickness of greed and the disconnection that fuels so much of our insecurities. That we need secure attachments, strong communities and the ability to sustain ourselves, having all the resources that we need for survival within walking distance. It’s time to get back to where we belong, in loving families, intentional tribes safe from the disruptive forces of capitalism.

Process, Uncategorized

Digital Drag

Well, this is a first. I’m writing from my phone as my computer has been taken over by the beach ball of doom. I’m wondering if it has any deeper significance. That maybe it’s time to stop or maybe it’s time to push through. Or even commit to digital filing in a profound spiritual way. Can we be essentialist about digital data too? My phone and computer seem to screaming out with overload. I wonder if this is a new dilemma for a new age digital dharma.

I wonder what tales of self-love and neglect my computer might tell me if it was fully sentient. Is that a question I can answer clearly? Increasingly I’m inclined to say no. Our psyches are spilling out all over the place, into google and all those other platforms. Can the hardware really be unaffected as we wonder how near into the future that robots will be the norm? How might they help one another? It makes me pleased my computer doesn’t have limbs or any of my other household appliances. Our minds seem to be morphing with tech and I wonder how long it will be before you are able to literally call your own car. What has all that got to do with Life Doulaing? Well, life is change and it’s our ability to adapt that ensures that we can thrive.

Already here in South Africa digital disparities seem to field the landscape of society as the world steps further and further away from the ideas of traditional work. Many people without digital access are already being excluded from the digital workspace, much the same way you can if you don’t have access to a car. In the business of global storytelling so much is being left unsaid. Then I laugh a little because I’ve made a proposition in my head. That somewhere out there in The Lost City of Khayelitsha that everybody’s up for telling the sad story. When human evolution forces the opposite to be true. We want to tell our best stories, show our best lives. Maybe not because we are frightened of judgement but maybe because we want to attract what we want. Clean clothes, running water. You’d be amazed at other people’s paradigms. It makes me consider all my internal landscapes and emotional environments again.

I’m curious to know how as humans of the digital age creating deeper interlocking patterns with tech how we might approach this ever-encroaching condition. These days the digital interface is so pervasive it’s hard for me now to really capture where community begins and ends. Where the boundaries of human relationships truly lie. What is the physical? Bringing a whole new meaning to what is the matter? Yup, it’s full on. I’m really interested to know if you are sharing the same questions.

Process, Uncategorized

Dharma & Karma

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For the last few weeks, I’ve been walking round saying that I’m just going to spend 2019 getting over 2018. If that is all I managed then that is enough. It’s more about keeping an even keel than it is about making progress. It’s been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. How do we overcome ourselves when everything is a mess. Or we are moving backwards and forwards at the same time. When it feels like Karma is deeply influencing your Dharma. When that Dharma is endless in this lifetime. Sitting down to check on yourself and make sure you are all right, is as much as anybody can do on any given day to keep things on a straight timeline. What can we do for ourselves when life is chaotic?

This weekend I’ve been checking out youtube figuring out trauma and trying to get my head round the things that I am still trying to drag into future, keep in my present and file in my past. They say that staying present in this very moment is all we ever need. Yet how do we get to all those accumulated past projects when staying in your present is literally taking up sooo much time. It’s a crazy idea. And what is it that you just need to let go of. Fuuuuuuuck that might be the longest list in the world if you really wanted to sit down and keep it going.  All those things that are left unresolved.

I used to believe that life was just a to-do list and the quicker you could do it the quicker that you could relax. Now I wonder if that is true? If keeping busy is a distraction from the deeper work.  My ideas for the future, always seem to be caught up in the past. How long have I been thinking about this? This is a dream, a long time in the making. Will this ever happen? Do I dream too big? Am I kidding myself, when personal circumstances just seem to swamp you? What is this swamp all about? I certainly can’t seem to find Yoda. There are some great sign posts that seem to be leading into the either.  I wonder how all those unresolved things that we let slide affect your Karma. Is that what Karma is? All that stuff that you send out into the either that never gets done. Fuck me that’s a mental idea that if you can stay permanently in the present that you might be able to resolve everything right then and there, as it turns up. Is this possible? Is this something I’ve thought or written before?

Maybe I have enough. That being right here in this year is all that is required of me. That getting from one moment, one task, one day to the next is all that is required. That we must slow down and embrace what is. That it is good enough. It is all we know that there truly is. That we embrace the breath, the sweetness of time and the wonder of it all.

Process, Uncategorized

Fuck, Being Yourself Is Difficult

IMG-1561You may have guessed I’m trying to up my game, be deeply authentic, pretend that I know what the fuck I’m doing with my life in order to be able to guide you in yours. Yes really. So I’ve been reading some pretty awesome blogs of late where funny women with high standards and a heavy dose of reality are literally recording their daily fails to serve as an inspiration to us all. Me, Baby & The Beard.

My life which is very comfortable revolves round dysfunction that I’m still figuring out. In the last week or so I’ve been having flashbacks to my 24-year-old self who seemed very together and super capable of fitting into the capitalist dream. I was even using my anti-wrinkle cream a year early. I was soooo together and then whoops that millennial life crisis or should I say xennial life crisis hit. Since then it’s been a whole load of figuring out who you’re brushing your hair for? If Mrs Flemming isn’t going to scream at you?  Equally well who are you brushing your hair for if everyone isn’t going to fawn over you? Do you really have to pretend to look this good to get a job? To be noticed? To be valued? Is the amount of care I put into my appearance really representative of how much I love of value myself? Or am I really just buying into a value system that has been imposed on me rather than ascertained for myself? Or am I forcing myself to question something that should just be universally accepted? Would this idea then be dogma? Praise and blame they’re all the same. So that question [Who am I brushing my hair for?] alone has lead me down some long winding passages and thought trains, that have ultimately lead me back to the idea of nurturance. That we have to be able to invest in ourselves enough in order to create our own growth. It’s a step beyond caring. It’s practical love. At first, I thought of it as self-parenting. Lately, I was introduced to the idea that nurturance might be the process of learning how to mother. I think in many ways that nurturance is more radical than mothering. It’s a step beyond, as it releases the obligation of a perceived role that we may never have experienced. Why should we be mothering ourselves if we never had a mother? Why should we be re-mothering ourselves if the lead female in our lives didn’t meet up to the perceived norms of “mothering”.  Or that we should know how to parent when the truth of the matter is that anybody with an ounce of self-reflection will admit that parenting is nothing more than terrifying, experiment with no clear outcomes.  Self-parenting leaves us with nothing more than unpacking a parental programme that we have most likely survived rather than thrived through (that is certainly true for me, I’m open to the idea that I am projecting). Nurturance gives us an opportunity to ask a question of ourselves. What do I need right now? If I wanted to grow what would I provide for myself? If thriving looked a certain way, what would it look like? How would I feel? All these questions help us figure out what is true for us and find deeper alignment with ourselves. Making our lives easier in the long run.

Last year I thought I’d cracked it with a course in Dharma (My own personal course) which involved largely getting water in my mouth first thing in the morning. Resolving situations as they arrive and then realising that largely I was doing a very good job of doing an all singing all dancing performance of sweep it under the carpet. Humans -they don’t do what they say they will even the one you actually control.

Getting married will do that. Then, of course, the minor shit storm becomes a major one and oh well. Back to Dharma, Carry Water, Chopping Wood. Pay Attention to your feelings. They are fucking wild and take you on the craziest adventures without even leaving the room. The stories that we tell ourselves.

 

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I Nurture My Human

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Do you every get to a point where you think I might never nail this? I think that’s where I am today. I’ve got unfinished projects, new progressions and self-nurturance projectories that I just can’t keep up with. Then I fall back let go, look around and realise my head is driving me crazy. My life is great. I have enough insight to know that my life is on a gentle upward trend. I have a secure homes, running water (Which this time last year might have seemed an impossibility. Find out more here) money in the bank. More importantly I like myself and for someone who often feels like that there personality seems to be bouncy castle embedded with hidden razor blades I love myself plenty. I just have no idea what that looks like to the outer world. For the most part I don’t really care much about that, excpet of course I’m always doing my best to serve and love other people. Cause after all who wants to end up with a personality that’s a bouncey castle with hidden razors blades. quite frankly that’s a lot of what I deal with – Yes my personality me. Sometimes I wonder how it is that I make it into the future and other times I wonder how I used to managed that so well way back in the day.

Working for yourself is such a different ball game when it’s almost entirely customer facing and perfectionism isn’t the end goal. That you need to keep it real that you need to say. You know life? It’s fucking hectic and messy. There are so many things that act and do exactly what they want and they are wonderful. Sometimes I just want to follow my intuition down rabbit holes or do what’s easiest in stead of what’s hardest. That sometimes placating a situation is far easier than drawing lines in the sand. Every day feels like a negotiations tournament of priorities of me, my clients, my husband and then the things you own that own you. And of course then there are such things as the greater good. The collective will. Collective futures and better ideas of how life is. Then you stop and take it all in for a minute. I’m here for you. I really am. If you reach out to me I’ll pick up the phone, I’ll answer the mail and I’ll get to you where every you are if it your fucking falling apart and it bits and their is nobody else to call.

So from here on in – with my consistantly inconsistant self I’m letting me off the hook. Cause I live a real life where Mondays aren’t predictable. I don’t know most days what time my husband comes home from work (cause he does shifts) and well feelings are important to me. That my feelings almost always come first because thye dictate everything that I am and am able to do in the best possible way. That if I can manage my emotions. It might take coffee, it might take sleep or even some kind of meditation. If I can make that time for myself then fuck I’m doing the best you can and showing you what that looks like.  That it’s part of a greater goal of what a wellbeing economy really looks like.