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.
First of all even though I preach love, light, compassion and nurturance you’ve got to know that I am human. I’m espousing about the mastery of the potential human condition that I myself have am still working on. I get angry. I’m far more likely to jump to angry than to sadness any day of the week and I have a reputation for resolving conflict somewhat aggressively, even in what should be serene moments of bliss. I kid you not. What has that got to do with love? The fact that I am able to love myself in that process. I don’t reject the feelings. I don’t judge anger bad, I don’t judge aggression as bad and I also know that we all make mistakes. That although at times I can be a dick, it’s because I am not yet able to permanently tap into endless universal love. Yup that’s me. Imperfect. Fuck it’s wild huh? To find the solution is always love. In 2019 I have finally come back to myself and my way of thinking. Where my own personal mantra is “I trust myself”. Yes little old me. I trust me.
Trust isn’t exactly love though? Is it? No not exactly and yet most people would say that in any relationship that you can’t have love with without trust. So they kind of go hand in glove. The connection of love and trust is far harder to put a finger on when we think about love and trust when it come to our own interpersonal relationship with ourselves. Through my own journey I am becoming increasingly aware that self-trust is the key to any kind of love. That we have to trust ourselves, our preferences, our feedback, our story in order to experience love. That if it feels right it is right. That something feeling right is only a hop skip and a jump into personal happiness. Happiness is only a 1/2 a centimeter from love. Any kind of love, love of a person, love of a situation, a place or even a thing. If we can create love by trusting ourselves, we can change our world.
Sooooo I trust myself.
This year after many years of trying to figure out how to be a coach I’ve made the decision to go donation based. Sounds crazy right? or does it really? I trained as a Life Coach as I wanted to find great tools in order to be able to assist the people that I talk to on a daily basis. I knew that if I was able access conversational tools that allowed people to truly feed into their own potential, that there was totally new way of accessing how each of us engaged with the world. For a very long time I have always known that each of us has the ability to create positive change in the world. For some of us it’s a lot easier than others. There are a whole plethora of situations, family experiences and personal circumstances that can seriously impede our ability to thrive as adults in what can be a cruel world. Combine a few short term problems with that physical or mental health concerns and it can create a maelstrom of events that have the ability to rip lives apart. All to often the people who need the most help are totally unable to access any positive support systems. Where a small intervention for a little bit might constructively allow someone to simply make a few better choices.
This anomaly has been something that I have witnessed and experienced over and over again. That entirely capable people end up living hand to mouth as they do daily battle with painful negative self-talk and limiting beliefs. All fueled by spiraling anxiety based on a perspective of lack and scarcity. For people on the outside it can be mind boggling and frustrating to witness what they consider an intelligent person making the same mistakes over an over. So that’s what I’m doing putting and end to this bullshit for free. I’m here to help. All you have to do is turn up.
Following along on the Dharma theme I’ve been doing my best to to stay focused and complete each task as it arises. This small errand can be far more complicated than it might seem. Especially when we know that emails make babies. So tackling the email list as your entry level task for the day can seem like sitting on a fast moving treadmill and getting hit in the face by the floor. Personal Development can be very far from graceful. The great news is that every time we fail, we learn something. So with each attempt we are creating small and substantial victories.
Double handle? What does it actually mean? Way back when in another time, another life and a totally different trajectory I used to be a Fine Art Handler among other things….true story. The process of Handling Art is an Art Form in and of itself. Imagine you had the responsibility of picking up priceless objects on an a daily basis and how that might inform the way you think about things literally. When something is sooooooo valuable? Holding, carrying, bearing become ways of being rather than merely chopping water and fetching wood. Forgotten, lost or even mishandled become mythical as the checklist pull you back constantly to this moment. The right now. There here. It changes everything.
One false move and you can undo centuries of painstaking work. Lose something irreplaceable. If ever broken, you can’t go back and “fix” it and even if you could it has to accepted as forever changed. That’s the thing with art you you aren’t actually meant to seamlessly repair it. You have to leave the repair visible so that anyone handling it in the future can see the damage. It’s a strange idea right? That the damage no matter how severe has to be accepted and adds value to the art work over all, and proves it’s originality. It’s really quite remarkable to be able to see an art work as an original thing, with a life of it’s own. Then witness the number of restorers, dab hands, forgers and chancers, that have had a go at trying to preserve a treasure. The repairs tell all kinds of stories. You can microscopically examine paint and figure out exactly what it is made from. How it might have been constructed and even who or where it was made. We get insights into whole worlds histories and even daily stories. Repairs gone wrong, disasterous work days, and work extraordinaire. As well as master craftsman’s signatures that far surpass the talents of the original artist. All this painted out for you as the story of an object.
As an Art Handler we need to learn these stories the way that a health professional might take a patients history, so that we are best able to evaluate treatment, movement and transportation. Right down to what we wrap it in, what love it might need, to survive a journey of only a few feet and well it’s individual needs. The real moral of the story is that we always do our best to only pick something up once to minimise impact. As a result incredible planning and care it taken to ensure that each piece is given the best possible care. We always have an extra pair of hands, we always have an extra pair of eyes and we always have an expert there to guide us. We only get to pull this off once and once only. Everyday is a remarkable experience of presence, zen awareness and total focus. There can be no foreseeable mistakes. We talk about double handling as a last resort. Imagine that you only get to do everything once. It’s a lot like those exploding keys of last week.
Is it really all snakes and ladders? Is it a roller coaster ride? Or is it the hamster wheel of hell? I suppose that all depends on where you are on your journey. It also depends on what are the best choices for you. We all have patterns and any one of us has the right to make there own decisions. Anyone of us has the right to decide what is the best feeling for you. What I can tell you based entirely on my own experience is that we create our own reality. That your current reality might seem like the best choice that you can make at any given time. I absolutely believe you. At any given time you have the access to the best decision possible for you. The thing is that you are perfect just as you are. That the place where you are is exactly where you need to be right now. You can also choose to go somewhere else. Of course this might not be the case if you are experiencing some form of modern slavery. Yes that’s a real thing. Do you feel better now?
You see we can all allow ourselves to be drop kicked into next week. Any girl with PMT (and her unsuspecting partner) can tell you that our physiology, never mind environment or human connections have the ability to fuck you over. Throw you off the playful merry-go-round that we thought we were in charge of spinning for ourselves and leave us bruised, broken and temporarily scarred for a few weeks. If this happens to you then of course we will feel the searing pain of being thrown to the floor, literally hitting rock bottom. Then we can stay there and allow ourselves to bleed to death while picking at scabs at on our elbows. Crying for everyone else around us to help us. Then wonder why they don’t or in fact why they shout at us to get up, causing us even more distress. The thing is that we have the solution, other people can see it and we can’t. That’s fucking scary, I know. That we might not be able to see the obvious. Even more terrifying is that we might not able to feel the obvious. I don’t want to get up. I don’t want to feel better. Fuck you for not helping me. Can you see the challenge. Few people want to have to tolerate another person’s pain. You know why? It’s painful. The truth is is all anybody really wants is love. All anybody really needs to heal is love and you can access that at anytime. All you have to do is think of something nice. Maybe it’s sunshine or rainbows or your favourite Death Metal Punk Band. Yes life experiences and your reaction to them (which you can’t necessarily control) can kick the shit out of you but if you can find something to reach for that makes you feel better. You are going to find it easier and easier to feel good.
There is nothing quit like cleaning your house to help get your mind in order “Tidy house tidy mind”. This week I’ve been totally deep cleaning. Pulling out the couch. Getting under the bed. Dusting the picture rails. Just getting fully committed to my dharma. That in order to start fresh each morning we need to have a clean slate to start from.That resetting the clock for what you want from life can start on a 24 hour countdown each day. How very liberating, exhausting and terrifying all that once. That everyday, exactly where you are you have everything you need. All we have to do is get down to the exact science of living. That the what if’s and the what only’s could be actioned in every moment. To live your life fully.
It’s easy to let things stagnate, plonk a whole load of things on the to do list without every really getting round to doing them. Stuff can hold us back. Whether it is things in our head, the endless to do lists or just getting round to doing our dishes.
Even the random things that have crept into the seams of the couch, whether it is a business card or a penny, can absorb our energy as we mull these objects over. Seriously if it doesn’t bring you the ecstatic joy of discovering a lots pound coin. Then get rid of it. Quick smart and pronto. So much mental space can literally be taken up with stuff.
That is exactly what clearing space does. It allows us to live most fully in our present moments. Our richest day in the one we are living right now. Where everything is in order. Yes it’s a lot to aspire to everything in order and in it’s place. Committing to the work, likes it’s groundhog day. Diligently setting aside that which no longer serves us day after day and setting the intention for the next. Inviting in the lovely stuff, that bunch of flowers some incense or your favourite tea. Clarity is sure to bring abundance. After all you can’t take it all with you and we do have all we need to thrive in this world. Creating a space that brings instant joy for the moments we have is clearing space on the deepest level.
We can free ourselves of the emotional baggage and the burdens of limitation in any moment. We only have to change our minds and choose something else. Having a deep clean and a de-cluttering can be as effective way as any of getting clarity in you life and figuring out all those priorities. It can certainly make you feel better to lie out on an open space, free from distractions. It make room creativity and master planning of the best kind. Yes clear space so that abundance can flow.
“Consistently Inconsistent” 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.
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.
Today as in today I’m not feeling so great and I’m wondering what I can write that will best serve you. I want to work on something that will be mutually beneficial as a navigate a some lingering emotional turmoil and wonder what is the next best step? If speaking our truth is really powerful, and what really serves us, and grants other people the right to be themselves; is it my job to tell you what going on with me? Or is it my job to pretend that everything’s ok and not to bother you with my business? When the business of healing and therefore healing myself is the business I’m in. It’s a question I keep asking myself. I like to belief that in holding space for myself I am holding space for you. That maybe, in my unorthodox approach you find some light relief from your own shit.
Reaching out for help is often one of the bravest things that we can do for ourselves. Talking about our shit, coming right out and saying it is often as little or as much as we need to say about a situation, our emotions or our thoughts. To remove the taboo. We can’t always be sure of how any one person will receive what we have to say. The truth of the matter is that we have the right to freedom of expression. It’s something that we often forget. That instead or being nice, kind or generous that we have the right to be honest. Honesty can serve us. Keeping up a facade hides us from what we want most. It stops us from being who we really are even if that might be perceived as ugly, inconsiderate or thoughtless. Other peoples feelings are not our responsibility. This is something that I often need to remind myself of as I pick away at the great puzzle of my life. That often I choose to be nice, kind or generous and betray myself in the process. That I don’t get what I want as a result and people don’t see me for who I really am. It makes me wonder if I am failing at being me and why I feel the need to protect someone from me. Aren’t all thoughts, feelings, emotions valid? I say all these things in safe spaces. Why not here? Why not now? Then I see that I am protecting myself as much as I am protecting the other person. That I want people to be kind to me, cause in some moments that is all I want to handle. That the person opposite me has their own struggles and challenges and we are all just doing the best we can as we work this deeply collaborative process called life.
Beyond drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. If there was one thing that I would recommend for a good life it is friends. Now first of all this might seem obvious. Second of all it wasn’t to me. I have spent much of my life chasing good friendships. If you really want to get to grips with what is going on for you in your life, friendships will act as a mirror to your challenges as much as any romantic relationship that you might have.
The impact that your close knit support can have on you can be profound, to the point that they may very well deny your basic needs, from a glass of water to unbroken sleep. It’s true and many of us humans are in deep denial about the impact that dysfunctional relationships can have on our basic survival even as adults. If you are indeed in a situation where none of your basic needs are met, where you don’t feel supported, then as challenging as it might be it’s time to leave.
Everyone is deserving of support. Everyone is entitled to a glass of water, a safe place to sleep and to feel connected and held by the people who surround them. Often time depending on how we have been raised we can believe that just because people are there that and that they have not chosen to abandon us that they are our friends. This is not always true. Often people try to hold on to us in there lives in order to feel powerful. They get power out of demeaning us, undermining our own thought and ideas, or belittling and berating what brings us joy or purpose. You may suspect that people don’t want what is best for you. As you feel that they corrode your self-worth.
You are in control of how you feel about yourself. You are always able to love yourself and as you take steps towards self-nurturance you will soon understand that although it is nice to have people in your life. You can choose who those people are and how you want to feel. The next time that you are in someones company, what I would encourage you to do is to become aware of how you feel. If someone makes you feel special then that is the person you want to be round, if someone makes you feel a little knarly round the edges, maybe it’s time to examine what’s going on there.
Like relationships, no friendship is perfect. You are in a friendship to give too. We have to accept another persons humaness and do our best to not make our humaness another persons burden.
If you genuinely have no friends, feel isolated, and have no support network it’s time to get out there and find your tribe. They exist and they are just as flawsome as you. The only way that you are really going to find the friends that your deserve is by being yourself. Only then can you attract people that are the right sort of weird to your irresistible flame. What you might also like to do, is to make sure, that you are clear about what kind of friend that you want to be. Do I call people back? Do I keep in touch when someone who is having a tough time? Do I remember peoples birthdays? Be the friend that you want to be and a beautiful human is sure to turn up with the right kind of food for you.
It’s a cliche, “You should talk to someone about that”. “About what? About how fucked up my life is? That it’s always been fucked up? My family could open a step by step guide of how to be dysfunctional if they’d only stop fighting.”
It isn’t what happens to us that necessarily matters to the people that surround us. It’s the way that we respond to the circumstances that surround us. So if we pretend that everything is ok and nobody ever gets a whiff of the problem, then it might be easy to imagine that that problem doesn’t exist. Especially when it comes to work turn up perform and nobody cares. Meantime you’re drinking yourself into oblivion. Setting fire to your anger with each cigarette. Rising above it all with each joint. You could even be so obsessed with your perceived rate of productivity as a human machine, that you might be denying yourself a much better quality of life.
Much of what we do masks our vulnerability, right down to the way we look. Few people enjoy being vulnerable. From women desperately dying there hair to conceal their aging to hiding tears about the death of a relative. Open emotion can be shaming for many of us. The visible demonstration of emotions are viewed as weakness, a character flaw, an inability to cope. Emotions highlight our vulnerabilities. Not all of us are ready to face them. That we love. That we care. That our humaness can often be uncomfortable and at times even painful.
In recent years and with the advent of Social Media more and more we are witnessing a change in dialogue about emotions, that seem to centre around mental health. More than this in my daily life I have discussions with people and sometimes clients who declare that they are getting depressed, or that they are suffering from anxiety. The truth is that maybe we went from summer to winter and there more likely having some seasonal blues…or maybe they had a fight with a friend that is getting them down. Or they are anxious due to a big project they are working on. These are normal human responses to everyday human situations. Yet we seem to believe that if we aren’t firmly grounded in the perceived “positive” human emotions spectrum, that it almost directly translated to a mental health issue. That all of a sudden we need to suit up, get medicated and fight a diagnosis. We’d rather fight our vulnerabilities rather than embrace them. We will do anything to protect ourselves from feeling.
The real answer is that we have to be open to our vulnerabilities and that our emotions have the ability to teach us as much as our physical sensations. When something feels wrong it often is. If we engage in our emotions they can teach us far more about the human experience than we ever imagined. That without a rich tapestry of all the emotions it’s hard to understand, our deepest purpose and where we belong. Sharing our vulnerabilities is one of truest ways we can show up in our lives and inspire others. By being ourselves and being honest about our personal challenges we give other people permission to admit and work through the same stuff. We find out flawsome.