Mine is covert vulnerable narccists. What is yours? I fucking swear to god I thoroughly dislike having to write this. I dislike having to write this beacue it is rare, rare indeed that I attempt to falsely diagnose someone. As it is entirely not my place. I dislike having to write this because I dislike the poultist use of the term narcissit and the way that it is thrown around like skittles at the moment. The go to offhand psychological term that lets everybody off the hook for their part in our on mass global mental health breakdown. How could I possibly have anything else to do with another person’s behaviour or mirroring?
Step One: I have to own that saying this a uncooberated personal projection.
Step Two: I have to examine his projection and figure out the part that I am playing to maintain it.
Step Three: Become unfuckable with. Even when you are unfauckable with. Do not get into a false sense of security. You cannot handle this. It is not your job to pick up the flaming pieces of persons life and piss on them. Do you ever fucking listen to me. That myself that I am talking too. Of course I do. Not….
Step Four: I have noticed that I repeat myself a lot. A lot. It’s due to a lack of acknowledgement.
I f only it was this easy. We so often see the patterns that we carry and yet we fall right into them again. At the moment I am currently in the process of re-evaluating my delivery of the Trauma Doula Preparation Course and coming to the rapid and concrete understanding that trauma-boudaries need to be the foundatio of this course and of trauma healing. It’s feels very strange for me that i have only come to understand this now. I have sat for many years on the foundation of compassion. What is it to have compassion. Not just compassion but deep compassion and how that helps someone in their trauma healing journey. Of course being compassionate is a powerful foundation for all trauma healing. However the deeper I go into this jounrney and the more people I have to carry as Iwalk forward I realise that it really isn’t possible without boundaries. Of course I enact boundaries regularly and I do my best to maintain a certain amount of emotional distance from the people that I work with while being both compassionate and empathic. Yet every so often that one person sneaks into the field that seems crushed by life and you can’t help yourself from reaching down to try to grab them and almost drown in the process. That’s when you have to apply live saver rules. You have to let them drown. You have to be willing to swim away to save your own life. It’s brutal. Even though you might try to help them many times. Even though you’re sure you can bring them to shore. You have to be willing to let them drown. No matter how much you want to help.
The lesson here is that our lives are valuable. Far more valuable that we often give ourselves credit for. That we are precious jewels that have been brought to this incarnation to work. That our work is our work and we cannot do anybody elses work for them. It feel cruel and brutal. Except when we remember we have responsibilites to ourselves and the other people in our lives that are showing up. That are showing up for themselves and for everybody else and that you are an important part of the mission. That if you die in serviece this is where the journey ends for you and many of the people round you.
Sometimes having boundaries are super difficult when we see that another is in dire need. Especially when we have been raised on the idea of sacraficial love. That is we do everything we can for another that we will find redemption in that saving even through our own death. I don’t think that is true. I think there are deep lessons in accepting that we cannot help someone. Especailly when we have responsibilites to others.
Several years ago now I wrote a blog post called self-sabotage. That it wasn’t possible to self-sabotage as the sabotage was a deliberate way in which to protect some unconsious part of ourself. Knowlingly or unknowlingly we all have pattern that we play out and repeat some deeper than others. Self-sabotage could be considered as small scale undermining and diminishing of self that can be accompanied by shame and unworthiness. That we don’t think that we are good enough to have what we want to value what we offer or show up for ourselves in the way that we want to. Self-sabotage can arise in response to dysfunctional family relationships, that require us to stay small to stay safe. Sometimes require us to be something entirely other to who we are in order to be cared for or loved. It sucks when we grow up in familes like this. Often it takes a life time of self-sabotage and some really good therapy to figure out wha tis really going on for us.
Self-betrayal differs slightly from self-sabotage. Self-betrayal is like designing the path, laying the path, sign posting the path and then letting someone take you on a wee detour because they convinced you that they knew the path better, that they were better able to guide you. Which is impossible you built the path. The truth it everything that we make for and of ourselves is entirely from and for us. We ignore our own internal compass and self-naivigations system thinking that someone knows better than us, has deeper insights, or access to better information. In essence we delegate and allocate our own journey to someone else.
There are numerous reasons as to why this might do this. Sometimes it’s an attachment issue, that we to be more connected to other people than our own journey. Letting someone take you on a wee detour because there way or path is better, that they know the way. When people make us feel good it’s easy to get distracted. Sometimes we’ve been actively persuaded and then convinced. That somehow we believe that sombody else has the keys to our health, wealth or happiness. Self-betrayal has a sting in it’s tail is when we incrementally wander off the path in order to be amiable, connected or in services to others. Sometimes we wonder off of our path in the promise that eventually another way will take us where we are going. We often don’t even notice that we are doing it. It’s one small misstep after the other that can go on for years and we find ourselves in a very differnt place than we had hoped to end up. When we know the way ourselves. When our path keeps calling ‘Over here, over here, over here’.
I sit here writing this having become brutally aware of my own pattern of self-betrayal. It’s an interesting one I trust to much in other people, rather than trusting in myself. My own wellbeing. My own priorites. My own process. My own judgement. Sometimes I wonder at all the ways I might have fucked myself over too. Then I consider what I have also gained from trusting others. I’ve gained a lot. You can’t get very far without trust. In fact trust is the key ingredient that allows me to live my life the way that I do and faith is it’s ascended master. Everything is always working out for me.
Yes this is a thing. Yes if you bring it up in random converstation you are destined to find that this might be a activating thought, of course this depends what demographic you are talkign to. After all how are we supposed to get rid of all those colonial and imperialist statues without creating a revisionist history? As it is often touted ‘history is written by the victors’. I wonder what that says about the relics of ancient Egypt? As of yet ancient Egypt’s epitaph to pagan living has yet to be entirely derided as savage. In fact quite the opposite. We continually look to ancient egyption society for the keys and secrets of modern day life, in the hope that it offers a more advanced understanding to life, the universe and everything than our current defunct human existance. As well as the Egyption artificats continued to prized and revered even though we might consider the ancient culture for which they sprout to be both archaic or offensive to our modern day sensibilites.
I suppose that casting our eyes to ancient egypt does give us the perfect opportunity to consider what is meant by decolonisation. Understanding decolonistaion also invites us to take a wider lens on human thinking and understanding. We didn’t always believe what we do now. Nor did we always think the way that we do. In fact much of the way in which we think can easily be understood as modernity. That human society and culture should alwaye progress towards a utopian dream scape of human living. Of course living here in the early 2020’s we can easily say that the dystopian present is quickly catching up with us. Beyond Bladerunner life on planet Earth is probably worse than we could have imagined existing in a pandemic and the center of a climate ermgency that the masses fail to be waking up to. We are still driving cars for fuck sake. Yet here we are scoffing at the concept of decolonisation. That maybe the people that came before us have a better understanding of how to maintain the balance of life than we do.
I always found it fascinating when I used to look at documentation of life in Africa how simple life was and how beautiful it seemed to live in balance with nature. These dasy I understand that as not much more than a pastoral idyl that denies the ‘developing’ world the self-detemination of the eurocentric model that was built through exploitation. At the same time I also recognis that eurocentric models have got a lot wrong. This is mainly beacuse they have built there world view on strange things like logic and reason while complete undermining the interconnectedness of everything.
A butterfly flaps it’s wings and somewhere in the word a monsoon starts. This was once called chaos theory. I now have to sit and wonder what is so chaotic about it? It makes perfect sense to me especilly when we are playing the game of consequences. Everything has both an equal and opposit balancing action in science. Yet her we are wondering why consumption is killing us, and yet we still do it?
Of course if you have be following me for any length of time you will know by now that I premise that the underlying cause of most human behaviour in this time is an embodiment of systemic trauma. That as humans we are being called to review who we are, where we come from to indentify the traumagenic points in our lives. These are the points in our lives that are generating trauma, not just for us, for our families , communites and future generations. It makes sense then to examin the roles of our ancestors. The good ones , the bad ones or lets keep it basic the known ones. Then oh what a surprise it must be to discover that African spirituality has ancestral reverence as it’s focal point. How much more surprising who it be to find that these are the references that a littered through our bible, even within the new testiment. As I get older I wonder how much more anceint human wisdom is hidden in plain sight. How much more of this wisdom has been corrupted in order to center the Eurocentric take. How much longer are we meant to sit here and believe the illusions of modernity, progress and exponential growth on a planet with finite resources. These days playing stupid equates to playing dead.
So decolonising your thinking become more about creating a reasonable critic that moves us away from the psychopathic and sociapthic thinking of both the imperialist and the colonialist. Where may be just maybe we begin to value the wider human narrative more than that of the ruling classes. After all why do we need rulers? When nobody else seems quite so commited to breaking all the rules? Why do we seek to maintain the current structures of power when they do not serve us.
Re-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.
These 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.
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.
Our Bacon Tree is actually a Spekboom (Which is Afrikaans for Bacon/Pork Tree) that were given as a token reminder of our wedding. At the moment it lives on our balcony and has had a pretty epic year on its own. Having survived two moves, re-potting and being devoured by caterpillars. (Yes your right that is very symbolic, our wedding token was devoured by the Earth’s universally accepted animal change agent.) It has also given up a limb to spawn a fully independent mini-me.
The good news is that is has survived the process. Like most living things it has a variety of moods that I now use it as a relationship weather vain. Which has forced me to create a new relationship in my life and I find a place to focus the nurturing qualities of marriage. I talk to it. I encourage it and I tell it how beautiful it is. That it belongs in with us and that I am very grateful to have it in my life. That I love the work it does and how much it is doing for the planet. I make sure it’s loved, though I’m not sure it believes it after the caterpillar incident. I wonder at what lengths people go through to keep a plant healthy and happy. Especially in the times, we live now. I know it is a miracle in my life and it represents hope for the future. Especially as it loves munching carbon. Over a decade ago someone once told me “If you think you are ready for a relationship to get yourself a plant and if it lives a year, you are ready for a pet”. In recent weeks it has also been highlighted to me that a husband is a sort of pet. (I know it’s terrible) As we shouldn’t have such high expectations of people. After all most pets behave and do as they like and we love them anyway regardless of how inconvenient that might be.
The marriage process has made me confront things that I literally never thought possible. Miya Angelo said, “When people tell you who they believe them”. All of a sudden I do. There are many things that we choose to overlook when we get into relationships. For all the right reasons. We want to love through it. We believe that anything is possible. That we can love far beyond our own truths and live somebody else’s. Then we begin to understand just how wild that is. What a massive adventure is laid out before us and that in undertaking this path we are reconstructing the world in which we have chosen to live. That our world is no longer controlled by our personal truths and that shared realities are complex. That living with another person is like living with another reality that we might never fully discover. That we can’t colonise another person’s mind with ideas that aren’t true for them, any idea, and that somehow we might be able to navigate that together. That these are the decisions we’ve made and that we resist them at our own peril. Alternate truths are real. Yet somehow we are surprised by this. As if politics alone wasn’t enough to play that out for all to see.
The thing is though we don’t have to convince anybody. We don’t need to change anybody’s mind. We don’t need to make them understand how we see it and we certainly don’t have to expose facts in order to be heard. All we can ever do is turn up and be ourselves and live our lives as fully as we always intended, love ourselves enough that there is space for another perspective. Live our truths and through the process and know that we are enough and the world’s madness doesn’t change that.
They say that there are lessons in everything and that what we see is our mirror. What we don’t fully understand is how deep that reflection goes. Of course, what I’ve just said is a paradox. As there is no depth in a mirror. All we have is a flat perspective that can move and change giving us all the information that we need in it. Reflecting back all the details of our backstory and simultaneously our present. It soooo fucking magical. It’s totally understandable that we would be highly confused by it. Relationships take personal understanding deeper, as we unpick everything. We find that our internal traits, have external matches. Cause meets effect, openness meets rigidity, reflective meets reactive, embracing meets denial, truth meets reason. There’s also no telling where each of us may take that ground in the ever-shifting sands of life.
We all like to believe that we know the best way forward and that we can talk through everything. Then honestly what if you can’t? What if after nearly eight years of being together you finally realise that actually, you have totally different belief systems that literally took seven years to show up. That the veils have well and truly fallen and love can still dwell in the places where we can’t meet.
We may be very familiar and safe with our own demons and the process it might take to coax them into a ferral state of benign co-living. When all of a sudden you find yourself discovering somebody else’s lurking in the previously unexplored recesses of their mind. We don’t know where they start and end or even their true form. Like the film, Alien we don’t fully understand what we are seeing. It takes a while for the nature and intentions of the wee fucker to fully come to light.
We can liken personal relationships to revelations in history. Where the nature of the universe even now is under debate. That the best ways forward are often argued about. Great breakthroughs are often dismissed and even ignored until we find ourselves in a new reality depending on who has the fortitude to push through. The lesson will be repeated until it is learned. Love always, especially when it is hard, confusing and frustrating. Yup.
You 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.
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
Really are we doing this? It’s kind of a must, to get a little bit of self-reflection into the programme. End cycles are such a crazy time for all of us. By the time we hit December we are already hitting 2019 hard and we are trying our best to get a clear idea of what worked and what didn’t. 2018 has been one of the hardest years that I can remember. I got married the planets went background and what was meant to be a clear trajectory to the finish line of life got all muddled up. Things were not what they were supposed to be and life long dreams coming true can mess with your head more than you can imagine. You don’t hear about this stuff much. That wedded bliss doesn’t last long or that a solution only presents a whole set of new challenges, it’s been a bit brutal. Add into the mix living on another continent from where your from, living in a dual language/culture family and well, these are a mix of challenges that a lot of people never have to deal with. For me I think 2018 has literally been the end of a 10 years cycle of wait and see. Yes 10 years of wait and see. What does that mean? It means if you are not sure what to do. Do nothing, it’s sitting back and letting it unfold knowing that the master plan may not be of your making. 2008 probably heralded my journey into personal healing after having ticked all the boxes and still not having resolved what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be in my life. Since I gave up the idea of an end game I can promise you I have over all been much happier and had a much more fulfilling life.
Saying that in that 10 year cycle I have moved continent, so I’ve done plenty. It might be better to say that life had other plans. Sometime we are dead certain on on thing and then whoops you fall in love with a man half a world away and you find yourself literally on safari. It’s been an incredible blessing.
On the other hand you adapt. You change you grow. You forget parts of yourself simply because they don’t get spoken about much being a #scotabroad experiencing #diaspora and all the complications that might bring. When even the person closest to you only occasionally see your true tartan colours a complex mix all woven together in a peculiar way that only a Scottish person might understand. Then on the other hand, doesn’t, cause after all how many Scots have lived in Cornwall and the South Africa, studied Art History and well married Boer. More people than I might imagine and then of course they aren’t here. All of the above can make for a very strange affair. Where we constantly have to negotiate our beingness to be. So very counter intuitive huh? The main news is I trust myself.