Self-development

Consistently Inconsistent

IMG-9492(1)“Consistently Inconsistent” My father said this to me once as an insult. it’s a terrible shame that it wasn’t actually true. Yet beyond this it has become a kind of mantra for me. Everybody has the right to change there mind, find another way, all in the hope of becoming who we actually are. In recent months I’ve picked up the pace a bit on my wee coaching business and as always adjusting course as I move forward and figuring out what it all really means anyway while attempting to be the truest and best version of myself all at the same time. Which means from time to time my standards slip life gets in the way and I have to consider How best am I serving my clients. If you are looking for a guru I’m not it. I’m as human and broken as the best of us and sometimes I’m envious of Mandela and hid imposed daily routine. Can you imagine enforced spiritual awakening by way of prison regime. That no matter how hard it is. How you might be feeling or even how important you are you have to get out there and get down to the lowly work of breaking rocks. If that isn’t dharma in action I don’t know what is.

In the meantime I’m caught between, I’m busy feeling. How much can I journal about this? Do I journal before I do the dishes? Do I do the dishes before I journal or the other way round. Which one is going to make me feel better faster? Then all the justifications that go with it. Never mind that I actually can’t do the dishes because I can’t find the ecologically friendly dish washing liquid I usually use in my local supermarket, that means I have to drive into town, which kind of defeats the purpose of eco dish washing liquid. Yes it’s the small things. How do you write inspirational posts when you can’t manage the basic and well you’re very busy feeling? The thing is we all have the right to be consistently inconsistent. We are humans. As much as we are drastically trying to reclaim our lives from the endless monotony of daily work for a corporate company we also need to reclaim our lives from the constructed demands of time. No one here is pulling in a harvest no one is going to dye if you Instagram feed is not up to date and should I really be Instagramming while spending quality time with friends. Personal work is for me the new work work. Prioritising me as a radical step in self-care. That doesn’t mean never commit it just means do you best and been happy with the results. Also please bare in mind here absolutely no-one has criticised me for inconsistency or praised me for my eco washing up liquid. This is all self-imposed limitations and critiques. The mind can be crazy even when it is well trained.

Inner Guidance

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Sometimes I wonder what our inner guidance system would operate like if it was a GPS system and what kind of warnings it might give out when you were steering onto the wrong course. Would it say things “stop immediately”? Or would it say “A better decision can be found to your left” or even “reconsider current trajectory” or in the most desperate of cases “abort mission” I suspect if you’ve gone this far there isn’t much hope of finding a safe and effective exit route.

I often override what my inner guidance and then I wonder did I really? Hindsight is a wonderful thing and even when we have live clues it can often be hard to decipher what the next best step is. We’ve all be there, I’m sure, in that situation where someone says or does something that lets us know that we are not on the same path, have the same shared values. There are no mistakes and no matter where we are heading you better be sure that your GPS system is working overtime to get you there. When we ignore what we believe were tell tale signs of trouble ahead isn’t it just our own way of saying life is an adventure.

In the last few decades the rise in adventure sports of even excursions have been supposedly been the best way to get out of a comfort zones as we all try escape desk jobs and boring routines. The things is even with the life jackets and the bungee cords there is never any guarantee that we really will be safe, that we will get home safe and dry after a harmless flirtation with exhilaration.

When we override our inner guidance system it’s just our spiritual way of saying “I’ve got this”, come what may. That actually we have a belief in ourselves beyond what is explicable or even sane. After all what sane person would actually through themselves off a structure with noting but a rope tied to their ankles? As a kiwi friend once said to me “New Zealand the nation that invented bungee jumping. A nation in some serious need of entertainment”.

Recently when I am thinking about my own personal growth journey the book “The Four Agreements” has been coming up for me a lot. I find it very reassuring to look at them and use them as a tick list to see how well I have served my self in the process of life.

  • Be impeccable with your word.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Always Do Your Best

If I read these four agreements and I know that I have applied to the best of my ability. Then my inner guidance system is totally in tact. No matter the outcome.

 

 

Prioritising Self and Fluidity

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Negotiating the emotional landscape has got to be one of the most complex things that we humans have to do. If we were all robots getting on with our to do lists just think how boring that would be. Work schedules, family schedules and daily routines can be the glue that hold our lives together and then from time to time, the computer says no. Our conscious tells us other otherwise. Things don’t make sense and well life happens. We have to figure out how to navigate it. All of a sudden we are on unfamiliar territory and well as my old pirate self might say, “There be Rocks!!!” Even when we know where we are going there can be all sorts of hidden obstacles and emotional battles to overcome in order to make sure that we are ready for the task, journey or event ahead.

In the meantime if you are indeed engaged fully on your own personal journey you may well feel or in fact know, that this is all for a reason. That you are here to learn for yourself.  To share your journey, so that other way finders may just steer clear of the rocks.

We complicate the idea of getting ahead with helping others. That if we are caring, kind compassionate humans we priortise other people. Is that absolutely true?

It makes me think of a Gardener who spends his life planting flowers so that everybody can enjoy their blooms. For the advanced Gardner it’s about planting trees that will never reach their full magnificence in a human life time. So we wonder who is he planting them for? Only for the simple satisfaction that he has imagined something beautiful.

That we can’t possibly  support another person while moving at an incredibly slow pace, it might even be mistaken for being stationary. It’s bit of a double edged sword, personal work. We want to support and love others to heal themselves, while being continuously called to heal our own wounds in the act of serving. It’s and incredible balancing act actually.

It has taken me a long time to fully understand what it is to prioritise myself. In fact it’s kind of startling to me when I ever do some deep soul examination of how little I give myself and why. It also troubles me what spiritual observations that many of us take on the path to wellness. Chastity, obedience and poverty being three main ones. It makes you wonder what is left for joy, happiness and growth.

In today’s world where even in our own personal journey consistency is considered to be key. It can be challenging to think of new more relaxed ways to embrace personal growth, that don’t revolve round people pleasing, gym membership or a punishing daily regime that is guaranteed to push all the money juice out of you.

Then we return again to the Gardner where the seasons and the weather dictate their routine. They plan on rainy days. Plant and harvest on sunny days. Wait out the frost. Every day and changing season brings with it a new challenge of how and when they will get the job done and yet they always do.

Self-Sabotage

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First of all Self-Sabotage doesn’t fucking exist. If you’ve been running round with a self-sabotage dialogue in your head? I am here to release you completely from that idea, mantra or path. It’s not true, it doesn’t exist and the idea and concept of self-sabotage actually doesn’t serve you as an idea or in any other way. The idea of self-sabotage, may be, one, of the most toxic, damaging concepts that you have about yourself. It’s like a snake eating  it’s tail. You don’t understand, I just can’t make a million, I just can’t hold down a job, I just can’t have a loving relationship……..the list goes on. I always manage to fuck it up. Everything is there all lined up and then at the last minute I just do something completely inexplicable, like I forget my happy life passport.

There is also the possibility that you have absolutely no idea what it is that ailes you. That you behaviours are fueled by some mystical energy force that seems to come from outside of you. Though you may be able to identify it’s features you have no idea of it’s origin or meaning. It’s OK.

The truth is, and this is the absolute truth, which is even more painful than the idea that you self-sabotage; is that you value something more than money, a steady income or even a loving relationship. There is something deep within you that you refuse to acknowledge, actively ignore, repress, deny and are deeply ashamed of. Yes all of that. You keep it in a deep dark dungeon, you never talk about it and quite frankly it disgusts you.

When you even consider it probably feels like a stabbing sensation in your chest, makes you want to vomit and the mere idea of it probably make you unsettled, agitated, anxious, possibly panicked and nauseous. Contemplate what makes you uncomfortable. Then hold it and stay there. We can’t release pain fully until we understand the cause. Believe me it can be surprising.

Really? I’m not sure you quite understand? I’m caught in a loop of self-destructive behaviour that is far from savoury and you think it’s ok? Yes I do. Growth is far more painful than stagnation. Personal growth is all about diving deep cutting out the distractions and finding new ways to feel that take you to different territory. We need to move past numbing, self-medicating and the beautiful anxiety of stagnation. We have to be brave enough to dare to grow. Growth is painful. So the thing is what ever is going on for you, is protecting you from the pain of growth and you have to decide if you want to keep your hand in the fire. The worst thing that you ever experience can often be the best thing. It’s like trial by fire. Failing is the way through pain….

Mind Overtime?

IMG-9234For the last few months my sleep has been disturbed. Having gone through a major life change my wee brain has been on overtime to align. Unpacking what I thought should have happened, what actually happened and what is. Even God can’t change the past (Not that I necessarily believe in an omnipresent super being that has the ability to fix everything).

Our mind is a problem solving tool, that desperately wants to fix things. It’s like a massive computer crunching data so that we don’t make the same mistakes, so we can avoid pain and make new choices. In the self-development sector there is a tendency to demonise the mind as the enemy of the soul and a barrier to enlightenment. Like any other part of the human body it has a purpose, which is to protect us. It provides us with memory and allows us to access some kind of logic to avoid pain and even death. Yet when it runs on overtime like it has done for me for that last few weeks the mind can become an unsettling place to own, given that it can be all consuming. Its a difficult thing to deal with and face sitting fully with a painful thought process, especially when we know there is another way of being. Which includes allowing and accepting. Far easier said than done. Conversations are good, they provide insight. We know we need to let go. However often we need a secret piece of information to let go. That is what our mind is doing it’s running the numbers to find the glitch in the system. We have to keep the conversation going.

Having worked on myself for many years and largely operating from the space of the quiet mind it can be alarming to find yourself in a spot you thought you had half mastered. These are only thoughts, these are only images, these are not real, this does not define me. In every pain there is a gift. As we know and understand that life is supposed to be fun. When our body is in pain whether it be our mind, our leg or even out heart our physical being is working very hard to tell us something in order to grow. As humans we must listen, it can be laborious painful, excruciating even. We must sit with it and slowly is will unpick itself. The puss will ooze out and we can see the messy programing and mutated thinking that we have designed to attack ourselves. We keep on getting presented with the lesson until the lesson is learned.

Now that my brain has run every single potential out come and finally realised that everything is in divine order and also manged to unpick some deep and damaging programming. Its time to repair. How do I know? It’s ready to sleep. To slumber and bask in another world of consciousness. It’s just decoded a massive information stream and it is now willing to let go of the work. It’s handed over the project and looking a clean desk and waiting for the next pile of paperwork. Or mind can be an incredible tool and as I deepen my skill set and witnessed the brain going haywire, from an objective point of view I now know that it is working to my benefit.

 

Vulnerability

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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.

 

 

 

Self-Nurturance

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If you go to my home page of this website you will find that I emphasis the importance of basic self-care. The importance of breathing, sleeping, hydration, eating and safety. I mean the absolute basics. One thing that has truly revolutionised my life was drinking water I spent years feeling exhausted and it was only once I truly committed to drinking 500ml of water first thing in the morning that I really noticed a peak in my energy levels. When before I might have rolled right over and forgotten that there was a schedule to keep. Instead I went to bed with a full water bottle next to me and when I woke up it was the first thing I reached for. I slowly began to realise that if I drank the water and continued to stay in bed by the time I really needed to get up I was refreshed, energised with a clear head. It was like finding the secret on switch to my body.  I was far less lethargic and getting up in the morning turned to a joy rather than a slog.

Almost all of us are capable of self-care unless we already suffer from chronic or acute illness. Self-care is simply the process of keeping ourselves alive, which can be a lot more challenging than you might think, dependent on our physical environment, access to basic resources,  family circumstances, access to education or healthcare.

The current westernised system attempts to propagate the idea of exponential growth, where monetary profits are more important than the human condition or even that of our fellow earthlings.  Where the colour of money comes shining through, depriving many of us humans the ability to breath clean air, drink clean water or eat fresh and nutritious food. Much of the above is far out of a person’s reach. Safe housing is for many quite simply a luxury. Instead the majority of humans are eating poison, masked as food, that will take many of us to an early grave and where life expectancy in modern countries looks like it might start to drop rather than increase. Now when we look to these circumstances, especially when you live in a city like Cape Town, we have to dig deeper for an understanding of where we are heading as a human race. Survival is self-care at it’s most basic level. If we want to push through that and step out on the path for of personal growth it’s time to take a step towards self-nurturance.

Self-nurturance lies somewhere between self-care and self-love and for me is based in the idea, that we alone, hold the key to our prosperity. It’s about gently raising our vibrations so that we no longer experience the world as a hostile place and see the potential of love. Some of us have never felt this strange fluffy thing that is largely represented by a bouquet a thorny flowers.

 

 

Flawsome

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When you work in personal development and especially as a Life Doula there is the idea of an invisible and imaginary line that separate your work from your personal life. As I get further into my own personal development, life journey and a deeper knowledge of self, that line becomes increasingly more blurred. I started out with a clear idea of what I wanted to write about, as the The Life Doula, themes that I wanted to explore. Now I know that our greatest learning is from our own direct experience of our own lives. It seems strange  trying to write at a distance about life with self-help references while in truth learning the most from the non-refracted processes that we experience daily. All the while wondering, what was that all about? Is it me? Is it my family? My romantic relationship? Is it the world at large? Is this reaction or response definitive or is it a phase. In fact could it be the stars? Could it be the moon? Do I really need to engage with all this to fully understand myself? Is self-development a deeply personal act or should I be following some kind of shared doctrine? Is religion a feature? Is yoga truly necessary? Is meditation a must? Are spirituality or faith key in all of this? There are so many quests towards personal truth and an infinity of experiences that can take us there. I have to embrace my own complexity and thus fuddlings in the quest for the authentic representation of myself as The Life Doula.

This blog is where life interplays with representation. Who we truly are versus what we present. The masks that we uphold and fake plasticness of a branded stereotype that fits or maybe confounds a business model of a polished finished perfection that has inbuilt imperfection to seem more real.

Why am I writing about all this now today? Flawsomeness it’s a thing? I just got married, more succinctly maybe hosted a wedding. . Even as a Master Life Coach I did not perfectly segway the last few weeks of working, to bride to be, to bride, to married in a smooth pre-planned perfectly coordinated show. I fucked up. I became overworked, overwhelmed, and even exhausted, I broke under the pressure and I failed to deliver both privately and professionally on the level I would have liked. Even though I knew it was a big deal, even though I had planned well. Even though I took time and even scheduled the minutia. Big moments can knock us of course and they are supposed to. Life changing events change our priorities, even though we my have already planned to be perturbed.

 

Dyslexia – It’s a thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Energy

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These days when we talk about healing, the subject of energy is almost certainly going to come up.  For many not adept in the concepts of healing, energy can feel like a non-sense and hocus pocus that can be applied to almost any situation and can appear to be for hippy types a universal explanation for anything. Even for myself I often stand on the edge of a yoga class or spiritual practitioner listening to all this energy being banded about. From personal energy, other peoples energy, the energy of a space or institution to even talk about global energy. I can be a bot overwhelming not least trying to pin point exactly what energy you may or may not be tuning into. Never mind believing that energy can work in such etheric ways.

Learning to discern energy comes to be like understanding the flavours of a fine wine. Conversations about energy can make you feel like you are living on another planet, when people don’t feel as you feel, energy is a a deeply nuanced thing.

Really though, what does the term energy mean beyond burning fuel for your car or the electricity that conducts through copper wire? When we talk about ethereal energy that seems to be everywhere can it ever be a little more scientific? The answer is yes. On a very base level, every single human transmits their own energy force field. You can call bullshit on that if you want. However the science is quite clear, we would not be able to to operate our touch screen devices without one. The energy force field that we radiate comes directly  from the energy that our hearts generates as it pumps oxygenated blood through our anatomic systems. The speed and power of your heart rate help dictate your frequency of energy you emanate. Sounds weird doesn’t it? Possibly a bit improbable? Then let me ask you to consider other energy generating or fueled devices or even something as simple as fire. We can feel fire before we touch it. A petrol generator we can both hear and feel before we see it. Cars too also vibrate and most animals, as well as humans are at the very least warm to the touch. When we think about it this way maybe then the idea of personal energy might not be quite so impossible.