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The Holy Bucket

Sometimes an anology just appears and that is it. It’s in your head and there is no way round it. First of all the concept started as a holey bucket and as I went about my days and weeks it became the holy bucket.

The idea of the holey bucket started with the understanding that I was leaking energy. That some how I needed to plug those holes in order to be of better service primarily to myself, so that I could be of better service to others. In the process of understanding that I began to appreciate that maybe my holey bucket was a holy bucket that was being worn through by the concept of sacraficial love. The we have to sacrifice ourselves in order to benefit the other, that we are not just the giver but the donor of alturistically fuelled ascension magic (there is a lot wrong with this idea). That we have to cut off and cut up parts of ourselves in order to be of service to others. There is a huge amount of ego attached to such ideas, selflessness can often be a guise for deeper misgivings that the self is not prepared to face yet. Of course the idea of sacrificial is deeply entwined with religious doctrine than many of us have been brought up with. that we much act in service of the greater good or risk condemnation. That self-service even now is something that is often demonised. In a world full of systemic trauma waht does it mean to be kind, good or obdient. Kind, good or obedient to what? What is the underlying narrative, there is always one there. Even when we get down to the nuts and bolts of trauma.

As a sacred container my cup was supoosed to brimmith over and nourish all around me with the overflow. Yet the early segments of last two years have been accompanied by critical levels of compassion fatigue. Where quite honestly I couldn’t give a fuck about you and your problems. Not so lekker for someone holding space for the most vulnerable in our society. It’s made me realise how important it is to put things down, even when you are self-employed, even when you run your own business, even when you have responsibilities to people in your care.

The idea of The Holy Bucket got me thinking about a spiritual text I found in church one day that wrote about the concept of water in a bucket. I know wild idea right? That when we think about ourselves as important we must get a bucket of water and roll our sleeves up and put our arms elbow deep in the water and then pull them out. That if we look at the water we will notice there is no space left where our arms once were. It’s only then that we are asked to consider exactly how much spaces is left when we die. The answer is none. A brutal and liberating anology for the space we take up. So we might as well take the space fully and know that when our time is up, that we will be relquished on any grasp we had on this life. I think about that passage often, when I think about my relational value; what I mean to people in their lives.

I now firmly know that I don’t have to sacrifice myself for personal, professional and systemic reasons that might be expanded on at a later post. I must say that I am relieved. I have also found that my inner rescuer archtype is very clever. It likes to transfer grandiosse ideas of saviorism onto people, places and things to avoid uncomfortable conversations with others and with ourselves. How exactly is your trauma making you behave if you cannot go around saving people? What do you do now? It’s one of the hardesst things for those called to the healing profession to get clear on. We can choose to heal ourselves rather than giving what we need to the other. What if you just fed yourself fruit and drank some water? What then? I wonder. The simpliest thing always seems to be the hardest and the most over complicated for reason the traumatised brain is yet to devluge to us personally in our secret midnight dialogues that nobody else hears.

Having now taken inventory I am busy patching up the holes re-setting boundaries and re-writing the guidelines.

This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

If you enjoyed reading this article I would be delighted if you can buy me a ko-fi here.

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Self-Betrayal

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.

This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

If you enjoyed reading this article I would be delighted if you can buy me a ko-fi here.

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Overthinking

It’s only in recent years that I have come to understand that I overthink. In previous years I would have never thought of overthinking as thing, instead it was possibly hyper intelligence gone mad. Something unique to me and my way of being in the world. It is hard for me to know where the overthinking began. In school I probably equated overthinking to being bored out my nut. Like where are we going with this? What’s the point? Seriously is that all we are covering in the lesson today. Is that all we are expected to learn in a whole year? Oh my god is any of this going to be in anyway relevant to my future life? It certainly didn’t feel that way. Yet I was always confused. Always overwhelmed. It couldn’t possibly be this simple? Yet alarmingly it always was, even now a lot of the time. Few of us get things right the first time around. Yet it seems to be something that is demanded of us in the western education system.

When I fist remember overthinking as an actual problem it was in my early working life. When I was a waitress trying to figure out how to get through the daily to do list and rather just starting with what needed to get done. Sitting down to figure out in what order to do them in order to be most efficient. Which of course lead to complete inefficiency and of course reflecting that there must be a way to think my way out of it or through it so I can get it done faster. Rather than accepting that doing was the skill set. That as I learned the work routines I would get faster because it would become easier and more instinctual. I know it seems obvious now. Linear learning is a long way from the circular learning of indigenous teaching where we repeat something over and over again until it is learned. However back then that seemed like a radical kind of learning that I am only beginning to catch up with now. I makes me feel like I should be doing better.

Of course you know capitalism and AI are about to destroy our human ecologies. So you know maybe I’m right and I’ll be standing right over here behind my organic ethically sourced, upcycled climate disaster barricade. Cause you know there’s no running from climate disaster, in case you didn’t know already. Sorry for the bad news. This sums up the relationship between overthinking and eco-anxiety.

If I could explain the opposite to overthinking I would probably describe it as something called flow.

Overthinking can be applied to anything from cleaning the house to responding to communications or finally sitting down to do our life’s work. No pressure there. We don’t know what to do or in that moment at the very least what to do first. Overthinking stops us from flowing and usually ends up with our minds and often our body’s in tail spin. We get caught up in the consequences of getting wrong rather than the process of getting in done. Overthinking often removes our impulses to create. Overthinking can be excrutiating and crippling.

Overthinking is a trauma response of a highly critical mind. When we overthink there are two things going on. One; we have internalised the highly critical dialogues of the people that surround us or Two; our egoic mind is overdrive drive trying to resolve the things we can’t feel. Ether way overthinking is trying to protect us from an unidentified threat. Overthinking is our mind trying to protect us from pain. Maybe we were critisise as childran, maybe we have a parent that always finds fault. Maybe that criticism and fault finding forced us into our shame body. Really I think that overthinking is born out of the need to create perfection to avoid crticism and the pain criticism causes. I’ve yet to hear overthinking as a disassociative state. As I think about overthinking, (no pun intended) I muse as to whether it is a disassociative state of the right handed mind that is desperate to execute fantasies of control. What I know is that overthinking has kept me stuck. Lost in anxiety and trapped in the pain of shame. That the confusion about what to do next has left me not doing anything at all. I’m glad that time is past now.

If I could explain the opposite to overthinking I would probably describe it as something called flow. Intuitively and instinctually humans do exactly what we are meant to in the right time in the right moment if we allow ourselves to trust. I use poetry as a meditation of presencing that brings me right back to the hear and now. I am able to flow through my work far more easily than I ever was. If something feels wrong I put it down until it flows. Pausing the thoughts, following my instincts, listening to my feelings and flowing through my instincts has helped me to gain a lot of momentum in my life.

It might lead to half finished projects. It also leads to a little more done than the perpetual interal gripping that held me back for making any moves at all. It’s more of a dance than a linear progression and it feels beautiful.

If you enjoyed reading this article I would be delighted if you can buy me a ko-fi here.

This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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How To Contribute To Planetary Shift

It’s all about frequency. In the case of the Cape Town water crisis that surrounded the frequency of visits to the bathroom. In your case, it’s probably not going to be that hard to master. Not drinking water in the middle of a drought. Think happy thoughts. Yeah, that’s a bit fucked up coming from a trauma-informed practitioner… Of course planetary shift isn’t all about positivity and solution-focused mentality. In fact, these days planetary shift for those of us willing to face terror face on is all about the climate emergency. Like other things you may think what has the climate emergency got to do with trauma? Where I have to invert the question, why do you think it doesn’t.

In fact much of what I do would say quite the oppostie. It’s time to dance with the shadow after all we a planet of contrast. Night, Day, Ocean, Land, Hot, Cold, Wet, Dry we live in a planetary space of polariastion and we have done for billions of years. Yes you and all your previous layers of evolution. It’s nothing to do with polarisation it’s about being able to accept the polarisation within you. I know you probably want to hear that contributing to planetary shift might be all about swimming with dolphins, meditating on mountains and of course running off to Bali. However what are you doing to feel better? That is all there is to it? What makes you feel good without increasing the Carbon footprint? (I truly do wonder for the world when I consider this (it’s really easy stop flying)).

What if you just sat down for a bit, without screen time, with the radio off and your phone deep underwater somewhere? What would happen then? How long would it take for someone to turn up at your door? Like seriously? Good experiment in a global pandemic. Have we got compassion fatigue yet? Fuck knows, it’s exhausting just maintaining our own space right now. By space I mean immediate space I mean in the physical realms. Brush your hair, make your bed, wash your clothes, stay sane that kind of thing. I managed to tidy my room today. That’s correct not the house. My room. That’s where I am at how about you?

You see we set our goals high (at least I do) and think that we can bring about planetary shift through a forced kind of militancy. Even if it’s just by holding our daily routines in place. We are told to dream big, aim higher or get out of our own way. Often. The last few years have been a roler coaster ride of what you should be doing for yourself, your community and for the planet. Including getting vaccianted and not questioning our right to bodily autonomy. In the next few weeks and years we will be encouraged to support Ukraine, the way we did Palestine, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan when none fo those situations have been fully resolved to this day. Nor have the victims received the indepth trauma care required.

For over a decade now I’ve been watching Life Coaches, Spiritual Advisors and Gurus all dish out there advise as to what the meaning of life is. How to be happier? How to manage anxiety? How to identify high functioning depression? Explaining that addiction is emotional numbing. What I’ve learned? Is that most of these forms of personal development are directly related to how you participate in the capitalist system. What can you consume to make you feel better? Who knew that learning to breath properly is actually a chargeable product? You’d think someone would just help you breath? Especailly at a time were being able to breath is a critical life skill to tackle a respiratory virus. It appears not. Which leaves me personally with a lot of questions? Where is the collective human consciousness when we are charging people to improve their breathing. Just saying? How low have we sunk in our ability thrive if the most basic of human needs at the center of a global crisis still falls within the bounds of chargeable product? Very few coaches that I have encountered have ever truly got to the core of our human issues. Most of them are just tiptoing around healing fads to figure out how to profit. People might talk about slowing down for personal well-being without mentioning the benefits of local community living. People might talk about creating heartbased frequencies without explaining how to apply them in a practical level. How do we generate loving environments when our vibe is based on being handed the perfect coffee.

More than this how do we address the seemingly perverse approaches of most western societies to promote an experimental vaccine with unknown health risks over access to clean air, clean water, sufficient personal space and a healthy diet? We are told to breath in, the air is poisonous. We are told to control our thoughts when the world is playing mindgames. It’s hard to practice wellness and even safety in a word the practices harm withour consequences. We are told to maintain our frequency as disregulated light workers attempting to avoid pain. t’s hard to practice wellness and even safety in a world that practices harm without consequences. We live in a traumagenic world. Where each individual act that we take ripples outward with untold consequences, in unseen spaces that don’t apply to us. My current macbook (which I am using now) was created through exploitative extractive economies that benefit from human right violations. Yet I continue to use it and remain an Apple customer. I am complicit in the toxic systems that I attempt to disrupt.

I have often heard the wiccan wisdom “Do as you will and harm no one” As I travel through this life this simple suggestion for a living way forward is far more complex than many might imagine. After all “Salad is murder”. Never has this become more clear than with the growing interest in plant medicine and never has it been so misunderstood. The modern homo sapien thinks that plant medicine is a consumptive process that does not allow for the consent of the plant medicine. There has also grown to be an outsourcing of intution that goes with it. “My guides” strikes huge alarm bells from the get go. What guide exactly? I mean exactly? And are you sure that this isn’t the plant talking to you? You see going inwards can be an avoidence of what is, much like alcohol consumption or an over eager stoner.

I don’t think it’s any great news to explain that over the last eighteen months many of us have been going through a ‘shamanic’ breakthrough. Yes, the world is fucked. Yes, we all knew about it. Yes, we have all been complicit in it. Yes, everything is connected. No, that doesn’t mean you feel perpetual joy and wonder. Actually your ‘spiritual’ awakening is about becoming clear; you’ve got a shit tonne of work to do. Yes, you have a calling. Yes, that calling is to find your purpose. I know right? Who knew it was that simple? More than this you need to stick to your guns. Stay comitted, even when it is hard to stay motivated.

So really what I am saying is how about you combine you self-medicating with some community building. How do we do that? How do we contribute to planetary shift when so much of our world is dictated to us through the back rooms of power? I have to stay connected. Not online, out there in the ‘real’ world. Breath the air, clean the air you have. Drink the water, find your nearest fresh water supply is. Stand on the ground, find some a patch of earth that has a complete biome, that hasn’t been curated into being by some town planners idea of green space. When we begin to look at personal wellbeing indepthy we begin to appreciate that much of it is caught up in our living and working environments that are not designed to foster wellbeing either. We are beginning to realise that we cannot buy our way of a planet with finite resources. Nor can we avoid the consequences of living in a unified planetary field. The smoke of the Amazonian fires cross the atlantic and end up in southern Africa. Climatic changes that occur over the Atlantic, as a result, create hurricanes that wipe out the Southern States of the USA. Everything is connected. The dilusion that we have any control at all is a big one. Yet freakishly self-control is pimped as a superwork, when medical textbook might say the opposite, especially in relation to trauma.

Its easy to believe that planting a million trees is the way forward. Its also easy to get caught up in the well being or some poor unfortunately orangtuan. The things is what I know for sure is that whatever you think the problem is. It is never very far away. You don’t have to get on an intercontinental flight in order to make a difference. Begin where you are. Begin with yourself. You see so many of us are coming from a space of spiritual lack as much as physical lack. That we don’t know where to belong, what to stand for and more importantly who will stand with us. We only have to turn to Jerry McGuire to learn how little most people are moved by or inspired into change. Most of us are just looking for a safe base from which we can view tha madness. Until the madness comes for us. If you are reading this I trust that you are already all to aware of what a precarious point in humanity we exist in. This weeek alone I have heard of terms such as the end of civilisation, and the end of history as Vladimer Putin plays power games with his nuclear deterent. In such times many of us are asked to examine what really matters? We are asked to examing how we feel. And for many people that can look very different too.

In order to contribute to planetary shift we have to begin to appreciate that if it is about frequency. You get clear on what you want to create, whether it’s a clean room or a happy life. That means finding out what makes you happy is the most important part of that calling. More than this finding a team of people who are going to support you in that mission is paramount. Find your thing, then you’ll find your people. You need to have people that share in that dream that are working to create it. We cannot get there alone. I don’t know if you noticed it’s fucking crazy out there. Masks on, masks off, pandemic or plandeminc, anti-vaxers vs the anti-human, fake news vs your own inteliigence. Our whole world is being held in relief to be questioned, dismantled, weaponised and if needs be detonated. Lucky the UN have already outlawed nuclear weapons. Has anybody told Boris? The buzz word for the last year or two has been polarisation. It’s not something that I buy into.

Purpose and meaning are now touted as cure all approaches. Paolo Nutini to has been weighing on my mind “Nobody can give you the power to rise.” So that’s where the fuck are you in your life? Where do you want to be? Are we moving forward? And yet that may be part of it. However, is what are you doing making you feel better? That is all there is to it? What makes you feel good without increasing the Carbon footprint?

This article was written to accompany the Trauma Wise Circle by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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Just Start

It feels good to be here again. Writing. Writing what I want. Finding my way back to the blank screen only to find that it brings a refreshing calmness and healthy jolt that I have been away for a long time. WordPress has changed its layout again and I’m worried what challenges that might bring me in putting this article together. I really do wish I could have gotten to you sooner. It feels like a revisitation. However, I have been stuck. Stuck in an internal maelstrom for quite a while which has only just realised me to some slightly more gentle water rapids. The long and short answer is that I have been waiting on a visa as well as waiting on the opportunity to move. Even though I have been applying for visas in what is now close to a decade there are few that can describe the chronic anxiety of the state, that I have yet to master. So there it is my anxiety got the better of me and hopefully, that lets you off the hook too.

So I am here back in Mkhanda here to complete what I didn’t finish the first time around. I think really what has really spinning me out is how complex my life is as well as the work that I do. I wonder what you must all think as look at me going through this process which is my life that is all about trauma, when I can’t tell you exactly what I am working with because it is bound by confidentiality. Maybe at this point, I should probably be referring you to my other website which is also deeply neglected. Make you wonder why I have them at all if I am just going to ignore them. It makes me feel like an errand mother. However, that’s life sometimes we have to juggle. Something that seems negligible one week is critical the next as we attempt not to rock the boat from running from one task to another. That’s where my life has been at and although I have been very well looked after over the last several months, sometimes we just have to accept the innings we have and play from there.

Part of me wants to make promises or tell you what I will do next or even more about where I am in terms of work and who I am working with. the things is that belongs on the other website and maybe that just tells me where my next piece of writing should lead me.

This article was written by a dyslexic with a punk attitude.

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Rebirth

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I’ve owned this book for a long time, wondering ho long it might take for me to claim the wisdom inside. A fortune is more than just money it’s about forgotten treasure and secrets. All of which can be hidden in a cup of tea. Rebirth is a process guided by intuition where we have to trust out inner knowing.

It’s the 1st of May. It’s Summer what a bummer that we are still trapped indoors feeling thoroughly confused about the unkownness of our butterfly existence. Just the other day I got into a fankle about what I was doing with my life. Then realised that a global pandemic was no the time to start future faking yourself about the intentions you have that right never be fulfilled (the things we do in our head).

If you go look at my Instagram you’ll see that I’m in the middle of rebirthing right now. What exactly does it mean? Well it’s all about the Heroes Journey, Life Cycles, Rites of Passage and much much more. I’m right in the middle of my story so I am unable to outline the predominant themes. When I do know I’m sure I’ll be writing about them. Right now though in this moment it’s the know and unknown of birthing and rebirth. It’s epistemic or as some therapists might say;It’s preverbal.

What exactly is rebirth? I suppose it’s a bit mystical. It’s about making changes and knowing that who you are, has intrinsically changed. Birth, Death & Rebirth it’s like life is an endless loop. That’s why I’m all about the Trequetra. A repeating cycle caught in infinity.

Rebirth is fucking painful, most modern-day coaches or gurus might talk about, transformation. I myself might even talk about crisis, or crises (I kinda specialise in that, the more fucked up the better if you ask me) as an opportunity (I know it’s such a cliche).

Mainly it’s about living inside the body of a disintegrating caterpillar rather than the moment of the emerging butterfly. Does a butterfly even know it is a butterfly? If it had a word for itself what might it be? So seriously this is what all Life Doulaing is all about it’s witnessing you in your protective cocoon and figuring out what might cause you to break out. You see you need to be safe to be effectively vulnerable. What might you be if you believe in something, anything? Even yourself?  That’s all it is. That is what secure attachments are all about. That is the work of a doula. Push, breath, take up space. Birth. Then at some point, you do it all again knowing that you can.

When it’s time to rebirth we often don’t even know what we are birthing. We don’t even know what it is that we want to create or even that we might need to let go of something. All we know is that we can’t spend one minute, not a moment longer tolerating that which doesn’t serve us. We are evicted from the lives we live. We are liberated and it’s up to us to find out what is next. Where are we going? You lose all your friends, become estranged from family and actually it’s ok. It’s time to move on. As they say in Scotland “What is for you will not go by you”. And as it stands you just have to trust in the universe as you take a huge leap into the abyss. Its ok monsters can be friendly and incredibly kind. Dancing with the devil in the sea of the blind. ‘Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose’.

Then all of a sudden it’s time for reinvention and you literally get to decide how to invent yourself. What a wonderful thought….

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The Birthing Process

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The blossom on the tree is not the end product yet it is the most beautiful part of the process. It seems to tell us a story about beauty that it is the blossoming. That real value can be hidden from us that the red flesh of the cherry tree might warn of danger yet if you are brave enough to bite through the dangerous flesh you will find delcious fruit

Right up until this week the primary focus of my work as The Life Doula has aways been Emotional Labour. Louiza Doran very kindly reminded me of.  Emotional Labour is largely the work or women and is the internal unpaid work we have to do in order for The System to function effectively. In addition to this Emotional Labour is our way to embody our collective wisdom, it also the way in which we navigate our own trauma; release and mitigate it on behalf of the collective. I was first introduced to Emotional Labour via a friend Natalie Swan, who had been reading Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown (which I still haven’t read yet due to the clusterburach that was 2019). Part of that Emotional Labour has been the slow-moving realisation that there just hasn’t been the language or terminology to explain what I do. Which left me somewhat forlorn and frustrated in my slow diligent movement forward through life. I’ve been delighted to discover that the language that I am looking for is that of decolonisation. And beyond this I discovered a knew word this week epistemic – relating to knowledge or the degree of it’s validation.

Mental & Emotional health have been colonised by the limited insight of science that is bound up in matter. The only way I have been able to explain The Life Doula being “that you wouldn’t leave someone in labour. Why would you leave someone in emotional pain?”

In the process of becoming The Life Doula I have had to unlearn and challenge much of what I have been told is true. That one-hour sessions are optimum so that clients don’t learn dependency. That offering too much value undermines the financial stability of your business. The thing is I’m interested in healing. In ways that only The Great Pause could highlight. Our world is fucked because we failed to pay proper attention or take due care. That all of my work and the approach that I take is painstakingly considered through the teaching of my own healing journey. Now the science is catching up with my own theory and I find that I have allies in the shared work of trauma healing. To my disbelief, I stand on the precipice of being an educator nor just a dessentor.

You see the informal healing culture of the west is covert, as it has needed to be to survive. “You’ll be needing a cup of tea” is short form code for you’ll be needing a long chat and some ritual connection. We have always known how to heal each other. It’s that our wisdom has been removed from us in favour of the linear precision of the surgeon’s knife. We would rather have things cut out of us than gently resolve our inner wars through presence of mind.

Our healing challenges are now systemic. That we have outsourced our intuition, sovereignty and our ability to heal; to people that have no connection to us. Our being, our lives, our place. That somehow the human spirit and body is one miraculous generic creation that can be ‘fixed’. I think not. This is why I am a doula, not a coach. I’m not interested in your productivity, functionality or civilisation. I’m interested in the jagged edges of your soul and how they cut you to ribbons at night, silently in the dark where your screams consume you. Maybe this can be best described as your Emotional Labour. Now we long for something else beyond the pain of oppression, repression and survival. We long to be heard honoured and cared for. These radical ideas of worth are the decolonisation of a species. The decolonisation of a planet. Where the forced extraction economies of Mother Gaia may be coming to an end, it’s all very symbolic.

One of the most valuable lessons that I have learned this year is that you can’t have true love without respect. Which seem very pertinent as I start my Birth Doula training. You can’t extract a baby and the creation of one under force isn’t recommended. All creativity stems from vulnerability both sex and birth are representative of this act. The truth is you can’t achieve human life through human individuation, nor can you achieve optimum human status without the support of community. It is our human connections that make us capable of bearing human life, as well as bearing the wait of pregnancy. Like everything birth and birthing are a process. Where it is once again hard to know where is begins and ends. Where thresholds are crossed both literally and metaphysically, a baby is born, just as the mother is birthed. Birthing is painful, life is painful. It is also exquisite, miraculous, beautiful and extraordinary as The Great Pause is amplifying that stillness, waiting and gestation all hold purpose. Nothing is conceived fully formed. Where would the fun be in that anyway? We have to honour what emerges.

I started out this year following a theme of rebirth returning to Scotland after several years abroad. What occurs to me now is that I am deep in a birthing process; is that I am only now creating a life, a practice and knowing that I conceived years ago. That I was not ready to bear. The deep truth that I was not ready to bear being me and all the very real things that I would have to lose in order to find respect aka love. That the birthing process is one of love, protection and care that cannot be commodified and doesn’t belong in a system that wishes to do so. That my real work is birthing the sacred in all of us where birth, death and trauma are inextricably linked.  Where the light meets the dark and the shadows create the sparkles.

If you want to find out more about my work with the The Red Tent Doulas please do get in touch. In the meantime please enjoy the below meditation from The Soul Matrix

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An Introduction to Trauma & Abuse

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#aminext this photograph was taken after violence against women march in Cape Town, South Africa that asked for the South African Government to declare a state of emergency. This was as a result of the ongoing and increasing gender-based violence across the country. What I thought was fascinating about this photo was how it represented cycles. The monument is to General Louis Botha a Boer War veteran and first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa after making peace with the British.  The statue can be taken to be representative of standardised ideas of the patriarchy and thus worthy of being defaced during a GBV rally.

What came first the chicken or the egg? Like seriously? Which one? That’s what I’m still trying to figure out here. What I can say is that there is a very intimate and complex relationship between Trauma and Abuse that as of yet has not fully been unravelled though we are now well on the way.

Trauma is something that I have been deep diving into over the last few months. I’ve been doing my best to compartmentalise in the human life span and what it means for both me and my clients. What has become clear is it’s not just one thing that traumatises us it’s multiple. That these traumas combined are a result of nothing less than systemic abuse, that as humans we have been expected to behave and operate in ways that are not natural to the human condition.

It’s clear that modern life traumatises us and that increasingly as both individuals and communities that have we have been left mitigating the symptoms of trauma as ‘health issues’ rather than accepting to impact of cause and effect. We are living lives far separate to our natural ways of being. Whether it be the home environment within which we live, the communities within which we operate or our places of work. We are all largely existing in lives that do not serve our highest potential of that of the planet’s. It’s all connected.

So what is trauma? That’s the whole thing it’s complicated. It can be caused by a ‘traumatic’ event or even a traumatic environment, children are far more susceptible to it. It switches on your whole brain in a fight, flight or freeze response. There is now evidence to suggest that there is also a fawn or face-off response too, especially in response abuse. We store negative memories in the brain far more prominently in the brain than positive ones as the result of an evolutionary glitch that is intended to protect us from threat can keep us trapped for years. That means that often we end up living in the past.

Symptoms of trauma are numerous and include disorientation, disassociation, anxiety, anger, rage, fear, terror, panic, depression and much much more.

More serious diagnosis of truama include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Complex Post Tramatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). PTSD is an extreme repsonse to one truamtic incident meanwhile CPTSD occurs as result of multiple traumas.

Trauma can occur as a result of naturally occurring events such as accidents, natural disasters and medical interventions.

More often though as I am discovering it is as a result of abuse, paradoxically though the abused often become abusers and starts a trauma cycle that can be hard to break. Abuse too can be hard to identify. When we think of abuse we often think of physical and sexual abuse however abuse can often be far more pernicious than that. ‘The Silent Treatment’ being a good example of this. Ultimately abuse can simply be characterised as a lack of both respect and boundaries in all areas of our lives. This can simply mean that someone might fail to respect your wishes and be dishonest about it. Emotional abuse can include invalidating somebody else’s feelings, ignoring the impact that our behaviours have on others or inflicting our emotional pain on others. Psychological abuse involves using mind games and lies to manipulate other people’s thoughts, behaviours and feelings and may involve threatening and controlling behaviour.  Physical abuse is violent. Sexual abuse can include molestation and rape but is not limited to these two acts. This link may help you identify if you are being abused within a home setting. It’s important to remember that abuse can also happen outside of the home. In the workplace of other areas of your life, this article offers a good outline of the nature of abuse.

With relation to the field that I’m interested in which is systemic abuse and trauma, the intersectionality of systemic trauma which creates slow and structural violence means that what might appear as the impact of a singular trauma can actually be indicative of multiple cases of abuse that are co-existing in any one person’s life over long periods of time, this can be defined as chronic truama. That generational, gender, religious, educational, land, institutional as well as economic abuse all have the ability to impact most humans alive today. That it isn’t just one story of personal violation it’s multiple and they are multilayered and crosssection society. That if we can create a deeper understanding of our own story we might be able to see beyond what is impacting us, as it is.

What is the most incredible thing is that in the last ten years as a society we have made such incredible leaps and bounds forward in trauma that with the right support it is now curable.

Here is a video of  Joe Dispenza & Gregg Braden talking about trauma how it affects the brain and how it can be cured.

Update June 2022:

This is a comprehensive article on the impacts of domestic abuse Understanding the Signs of Domestic Violence

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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.

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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.