It’s an interesting thing to sit at the core of what you do and understand that it is about something as basic as creating connection. Recently I’ve come to the conclusion that therapy is only needed as a result of the conversations that we are unable to have with a secure attachment. A secure attachment is someone we trust, that cares about us, that believes in us and wants nothing more than for us to be both healthy and happy. The sad truth that secure attachments have become rare.
More than this I have known for quite some time the power of deep conversation, that isn’t so much therapeutic as it is real. You see we all grasp for depth especially when life has challenged us. Secure attachments are the number one thing that guarantees our success in life as well as minimises the impacts of trauma. Do you know who your secure attachments are? Do you have a good friend? A relative or even a work colleague who is there for you?
Most of us are so caught up in the superficial we barely make time for the real stuff. We barely make time for eye contact or the space to feel exactly where we or someone is at. We are so controlled by time and external commitments we are unable to see or experience the things that are right in front of us. The things that are just as magical as all the others, if we took the time to appreciate them. You see life isn’t one long to-do list. Even if it was we have to ask exactly what it is that we are ‘doing’ it for? We cannot take the material with us. It’s just a sideshow to the main event. I wonder sometimes if life is not laid out something like The Crystal Maze. Where these fantasy worlds are created only to distract us and let’s face it it’s easy to get distracted by all the beautiful shiny things. After all, they were all created too. In the meantime, we are walking around in flesh suit ignoring one another even though we know that we are the most finite thing on the planet. Only existing once. So what is it that drives us away from one another? What drives us to disconnect us from the uniquely exquisite human connections that we face every day?
This year has been a breakthrough year for me. Most of my breakthroughs delivered to me by way of my own clients. That most of our sources of pain are systemic rather than personal. That our childhood wounds are not necessarily the results of bad parenting, rather the results of the inhumane conditions in which parents are expected to parent. We can’t hold our parents accountable for the circumstances and systems that they too were/are struggling to survive in. That we can only take responsibility for our own healing, that everyone’s healing is unique and that I heal to be taught as much as I am to teach. I have learned that trauma is about spectrum and range and that we simply can’t help people if we do not understand the depth of their feeling. That you can never walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes, you can only share the road. That is what connection is all about. Taking the time to experience one another.
The creative adult is the child who survives – Unknown
What is that you want to create? It’s a very short question with infinite answers. Yet most of us get stuck. We think money is the answer or qualifications might get us the kind of recognition and validation that we ‘deserve’. What if we can just figure out a way to operate within the system then we will be safe. What if we can earn enough money, buy the house, or the land or even the car that it will bring happiness. For the most part, it doesn’t work that way, unless of course, you know the love based reasons as to why it is important. If we are thinking beyond our selves we know that things have to change especially when it comes to the small event of climate change. So much of what we are encouraged to create is not sustainable. Our ‘success’ is too often based if indirectly on the exploitation of other or our environment, not just on the personal level, on the planetary. The ice caps are melting. Water levels are rising globally along with the temperature. This does not mean that we all have to step outside our doors and run off to be a climate activist in fact possibly quite the opposite.
So what do you want to create? Maybe it’s a feeling? Maybe it’s a lifestyle? Maybe it’s a community or even a new awareness. Some things are more abstract like experiences or even new inventions.
Why do you want to create it? Does it serve a larger purpose? Is it a solution? Or pose another response on completion. How do you want it to look, taste or feel? The thing is we can create whatever we want with our lives. We can manifest whatever we want from our lives.
It’s time to liberate yourself and create a new vision for your future. Isn’t it about time that you thought about what brought your joy? What fulfils your soul? What would bring you deeper purpose and a better reason to get out of bed each morning? Creating your life really is a massive visioning process. That asks you to dig down into the core of who you are and ask very deep questions about what really does serve you.
They say that self-love in the answer to everything. I tend to focus more on nurturance and I wonder now how much we nurture our creative tendencies or desires. Imagine if everyone was working on creating the life they wanted, rather than the life they feel stuck with. The art of creating can be so precious and difficult. Sometimes it includes destroying the old to make way for the new. This is certainly something we might have to grow to accept in 2020.
Where is your ego in this process? What are you trying to control? What things are you holding on to make you feel powerful? There are things that we want to create and there are things that we want to have. The things that you want to hold onto are the things that actually control you.
Your parents fucked you up. Yes, they did. Welcome to the human story. If you think what I’m telling you is new information what you really need to know is that the above poem was written in 1971 and they still don’t teach it in High Schools Globally. This is not new information.
If you are looking for a get out clause you can always blame your parents. After all, they chose to have you. You did not ask to be brought into this world. Then again neither did they. Blaming your parents for how you turned out or feel right now is not the way. That does not mean to say that your parent has not done fucked up and heinous things. What we can say is that you are and adult now and how you choose to respond to this information is your responsibility now. Fucked Up, Unfair and True. This is absolutely the right time to have a temper tantrum. It’s not their fault.
Congratulations you felt your feelings all of them and you’ve come back. You see the thing is that if we are able to look at our parents as people we might, in turn, realise that it wasn’t that easy for them either. When I look back to my grandparents who were both involved in WW2 it’s very easy to imagine that no matter how safe their war experience may or may not have been to live through War must be a relatively traumatic thing. Not only this my Great Grand Parents would too have lived and survived WW1. Knowing this it’s really easy for me to correlate that both my parents must have been raised by traumatised people and then only then do you begin to get the just of it. Depending on what your upbringing was like you may feel the waves of anger and resentment wash over you. Now what of the anger and resentment that you might feel expected to feel in response to this new information or you may be experiencing an ah-ha moment.
If you think this lets your parents off the hook it doesn’t. Like you we are all adults and we are responsible for our own actions and behaviours. I am not offering an excuse, rather an explanation. Knowledge is power. Now more than ever we all have the ability to gain access to the help we need. I know it’s shit that it fell you. That no one has come along and said now, their, there. But you know what. You here, you made it this far. I believe in you lets keep going.
I’ve been working on niching for years, padding round the issues with a few ah-ha moments with very little actually landing other than a few keywords and concepts, from Self-Nurturance to Personal Activism. Healing Humans to Collective Futures. Earthlings and Bloodline Trauma. Emotional Environments to Land Healing and even Human Geography and the Wellbeing Economy.
What I was trying to say seemed too big and cumbersome to effectlively niche in. I’ve trotted around ideas of overwhelm and crisis. I’ve thought about secure attachment and support systems. Community building, emotional mapping, global patterns and issues. I’ve known for a very long time that they are all connected that it’s not any one thing but all of them without having the words to explain. Then all of a sudden trauma kinda became mainstream and the system became increasingly under attack. I have no idea how many times I have had conversations about “The System” in art studios, on beaches, basement flats and even in public talks. That it’s not just one thing it’s everything all without fully sinking into the idea of both systemic abuse and systemic trauma. They say if you don’t have a word for something you aren’t able to fully discuss it.
It finally hit me. All of a sudden it’s become clear to me what it is Systemic Trauma I actually deal with as The Life Doula. Systemic Trauma!!! It took a while and we got there. I’m not sure when it hit or even why then it was here and then it stayed and now I’m getting on with living with it. And saying hey I know you. Do you want a cup of tea? Can we talk about this a bit more? Luckily I’ve spent many years talking about all of the above. That seems to have made me perfect for the job I invented for myself.
That I have been burrowing down through form a very early age. Whether it by dysfunctional family life, cultural abuse, religious abuse, the education system, sexism, the capitalist system, violence, ecocide, racism, and colonialism. I write that list in no order of priority other than the chronological order in which I myself have experienced them.
There are many places where my journey started from family disharmony to hating school, rejecting the Catholic Church, the Capitalist System and the impacts of Colonialism. It was this big messy ball of string that never fully became unravelled until one summer when I had the privilege of being the labour partner of a friend and witnessing a stranger die in front of me with a few days of one another. These two events impacted me greatly for what might seem obvious reasons. Then of course in the mind of a seeking soul for which I surely have, I felt something deeper. A vortex of thought had opened that I couldn’t get away from. Why were these two things birth and death so alien to me? How had I as a human avoided up until this point (in my late twenties) the two events that mark every life? That somehow our humaness was being systematically removed from us. It was a call to action like no other, that seemed to under pin all of our human failings. How do we restore our humaness? Every since I have felt like I have been moving through time at a very deliberate pace. That has been holding in each hand the chains of the past and the liberation of the future. That the actions that I take now have the ability to echo through time. In my own journey and that of those around me. That everything that I am able to interact with can be gently and subtly transformed if we approach them in the right way. Including me.
It’s all connected and as I have laid in bed over many years and even decades quandaring our unfolding human and planetary crisis, feeling all the feels. I have known with complete certainty for quite some time it is the human that lies at the centre of both the societal challenge and the solution. What I also know is that there are a million and one ways to “fix it” whether it be ourselves, our communities or “the planet”. That is we approach the human as the incredibly creative and unique beings that we are each one of us has a personal solution to immense challenges that face us both privately, personally, as a species and as earthlings. The planet is not endangered. We are, along with all the other Earthlings that we have imposed our human pain on. We are a danger to ourselves and it is something that needs to be urgently corrected.
So yes Systemic Trauma.
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Yup, it’s a new word. Innerscapes. Not sure if I made it up or appropriated it, either way, it was out there in the either and I grabbed it. Several years ago during a conversation with a friend when we were having one of those deep down and dangerous shares about how we really felt. When we cast aside the sunshine and rainbows and where we found our hearts and souls alone in a room. That’s the innerscape. It’s the canvas of emotions on which we build our lives. Let me tell you there are some beautiful interpretations of the human mood board on show for all of us to explore.
What I can say and let me use my own innerscape as en example here is that over the years is that my innerscape has transformed like the outerscape has looking out a train window. That depending on where or how you are sitting, and who you are sharing the journey with can radically alter your experieince. My own innerscape used to be painted with terror, despair, helplessness, sorrow and on better day mild melancholia. Only ten years on I frequently swim in elated, dance with happiness and delight in delightful. You see the words we say emit the feeling and now my innerscape seems to be underplayed by neutrality and curiosity rather than anything slightly more sinister. Of course, hurts rear their head from time to time and the pain and suffering are real. I no longer live there, those feeling are an interesting side trip on my life odyssey that added a little more adventure.
Innerscape to me can be experienced over time. Over a day, a week, a month, a year, decades of even life times. Small units of time are the building block of the innerscape. I know it’s epic. So how you feel on a day to day basis is going to underpin the landscape of your lifetime story.
From tired in the morning to invigorated in the afternoon. If we can write it down maybe we can begin to figure out the arc of the story. What’s draging us down or raising us up? What can be witnessed and changed? Loved into form or even nurtured into beauty. How we respond to the way that we feel tells us all we need to know about our relationship with ourselves. That if we can speak kindly, extend a compassionate outlook then maybe we can learn to accept what is. Extend the concept of gratitude and see where our emotions are guiding us. That sometimes our emotions are guiding us into the darkness and that is ok too.
If you want to discover more about your own Innerscape you can buy and download the Innerscapes Worksheet below. It’s $3.
From a young age, I have always considered my life to be a circle that I operate from the centre of. This has informed a lot of what I do and how I behave in the world. Even before I became a Life Coach. You can imagine my delight and surprise that when I started out on my coaching journey, that one of the first tools that I came across was something called a coaching wheel. Coaching wheels help people learn and assess what is happening in their life. That by assessing your life as a circle can allow you to get an incredible overview of what was actually going on in your psyche.
If we are able to look outwards we are able to see what we have manifested. We get to decide if the picture we have created for ourselves matches our inward view. If there are things that lie in our hearts and minds that have failed to flow into existence. We need to ask ourselves why? What would it take to change that? Do I want to change that? Am I at the centre of a circle that I like?
It’s at this point we start to journey inwards. We are able to question ourselves. Question our thoughts, our words our actions. We consider what we want to flow. Then think about all those emails that you send. The things that you make tangible though all the communications that you make. You may be reading this and thinking. So what’s your point? That’s obvious. Yes, it’s obvious we make magic every single day by the things we think about, the things we communicate and the things we act on. It’s the winning combination. Why thinking is important. Why the intention setting is powerful. Why action creates change. Learning that we are the centre of that change. That what we create ripples outwards.
Over the years pens and paper have come to fascinate me as I understand that they create their own brand of magic. Whether it’s being able to fluidly channel your thoughts through writing clearing your head and heart to hear the language of your soul. Creating lists of manifestation. Who do I want to be? What do I want to do? What skills do I want to share? It’s a little bit crazy that marks on paper can totally alter the trajectory of your life. That the words we write cast spells that make the wheel of fortune spin in our favour.
So get yourself to the website and sign up for Your Life Wheel.
I have lists of good ideas, half drafted, that never landed. When I sat down to write about the idea I became stuck. The words never came. The idea never flowed and imagination never took me on the adventure I was hoping for. Since the New Moon in Leo at the beginning of August magic is manifesting. Ascension journeys have been both palpable and tangible within my friend group and clients. While the trauma trap plays havoc with others. Heart Chakras have literally been popping. Thinking has been made redundant, as we feel our way into the next paradigm. Manifesting everything we can touch with our hearts. Has this been happening for you?
The Aquarian full moon invites us to gain an overview. For me, my crown chakra has blasted open in ways I’ve never experienced before. My sleep cycles seem to be filled with dreams and revelation of other worlds. Imagination seems to be key in focusing on new pathways of being. That we need to go beyond ourselves and somehow we can’t think our way there. Only feel it. We have to imagine it, touch it with our hearts and breath in the colours as frequency. Bright, crystal clear, tangible. That what ever we can conceive we can achieve. We need a compelling future, to strive towards.
Trauma steals all of the above from us, as we rerun the past so that it becomes concurrent with our future. Trauma is tricksy like that. The nightmare is the dream. The dream becomes the reality. How do we forget when we live it daily. How do we breathe in something new when the past takes up all the space in our heads? How do feel something different when the expansion of love impels us with the swords of pain? Yes as the Three of Swords would suggest in the Tarot. The new paradigm calls. What if we can’t feel our ways there? It feels like the separation of heaven and hell. A thin line we dance and create ourselves.
I’ve been fortunate enough to suffer from severe depression in my own life. A regular Eyore, defeatest, lost, hopeless and even hapless. Where existential crisis of the human experience was tangibly pointless, heavy, a dead end. Now I seem to live in the polarity of that. The connectedness of it all. Then I considered triggers. Where synchronicity is now magical through the lense of trauma thier bombshells and an explosion into hell. The human experience is complex. Signs and symbols are gateways of meaning that we use to tell stories. Deeply personal ones. It may be a news flash to some that we are in charge of those meanings. We get to decide. The water in the tap can be something to be grateful for or it can be mass poison used for mind control. Our feelings dictates how we integrate the information that has been given to us. Trauma is a human hell that we can’t think our way out of. Where we flow and synchronise our pain back to us. Yup life can be that cruel. In these situations, we humans with the abilty to use connection for good need to learn the ebb of love. That there are some places that it can’t reach even if it can be felt. That’s why when we truly love we have to learn how to sit with people in the dark because the only thing they’ve ever loved are monsters.
The world is a mess. I stopped paying attention to the news a very long time ago. The point of my official disengagement was when Trump got elected. Though every so often Brexit gets the better of me and climate change alarms me. Then I remember how much of it is true anyway? What do ‘they’ want us to believe now? This has been something I’ve been playing with for a while. As a radical curator, I used to often think about news and global events in terms of a real-time existence. What is actually affecting me, in my now? What is real to me at this moment? This physicality, this moment, this day, this environment. It’s something that I have done my best to adopt over the last ten years. That the things that are upsetting us are constructs. When the things that we can impact with our attention are real and immediate. That’s how I got really into community building. That community building is the best panacea that I know, along with conversation and a good nights sleep. That in isolation most humans live within the reach of terror, with anxiety and depression as intimate friends. May we could only pick up the phone and call anxiety and depression? What do you think they would say? The things we have to reach into and delve in to face our own challenges.
For the largest part of my life, I felt isolated, removed from the collective. The more isolated I felt, the more isolated I became. That my inner landscape was reflected in the world outside of me or was it the other way round. I didn’t fit. Why is that? I don’t tolerate hypocrosy well.
That common sense dictated that our approach to our local environments were deeply flawed. That what we were taught in school and what we were expected to aspire to was contradictory. That although I was expected to have moral value I was to be squashed questioning the value systems of authority. That no big company I have ever worked for has been able to hold to its values. That NGO’s swim in emotional toxicity of the unresolved trauma of the people that run them. All along the watchtower people will sacrifice everything for financial security and a stable home. Imagine that. That those are the two pillars that keep people chained to dying broken system. That nobody wants to swim the moat if it means giving up emotional safety.
There it is humans are hard-wired for safety. Yet empirical structures have managed to isolate us completely in our search for that. That seperated they can control us through isolation and distance. It’s the basic principle of divide and rule. What if you realised we are all bordering on terrified? As dogma attached to exponential economic growth can increasingly be identified as a concern for human society and our only home planet Earth. One has to wonder when will we stop eating the poisoned fruit. Where do we realise our financial security is important and our emotional safety is a valuable resource. That self-healing can only fully be achieved in conjunction with a supportive community of people on the same mission.
For the first time in a very long time, I was off in search of wisdom outside of myself. Where I thought the answers might come from someone else other than me. This was a process that I started a few months back when I decided to undertake some Family Constellation work. During this process, I was fortunate enough to meet a pretty elusive creature in the realms of healers. A land healer who came with a massive piece of selenite, who low and behold had lived in Cornwall and learned her craft from an Englishman who was living there. Oh, the irony. Why are we all so busy trying so hard to fix somewhere other than here?
It was after this session that some strange channelling happened. (I’ve already told some strange things were going on in my life). We were talking about land healing, systemic trauma and the return of the light (that’s a thing) and how all the work that we do is directly connected to healing the Earth, when somehow Credo Mutwa came up and next minute he seemed to be talking to me (Yup I was channelling). That created the beginnings of last weeks mini-adventure and an intention was set that I/we might actually go to see him. As people within the group had already met and had contact with him.
Two weeks that intention was manifested at literally sonic speed that started with a phone call to one of my healer friends, who had continued to express an interest in going. The intention was set. Phone calls were made and from nowhere it was a potential fantasie to go. You see not everybody gets to see Credo, only those who are invited too. That’s what they say anyway. In the meantime, I felt like I was being energetically checked out. Yup, I’m beginning to really believe that that is a thing.
So just like that, we hit the road and never looked back. Then of course as always, it hit me. Narratives, language, the imaginary lines of state and the brokeness of us all. Including me.
What you really need to know is that South Africa is a complicated place. Far more complicated than most people can ever imagine and a road trip is just the kind of adventure that brings that right back to the fore again. For the most part I am lost in a sea of “white” people who live in fear, who have no insight into their own systemic trauma, of not fully belonging and spend a lot of their time writing off “Africans” for not being able to to pick up their own rubbish and the ongoing dialogue of plastic pollution, their poor education and of course underlying threatening nature when in uncontained groups. You think I’m kidding maybe? I’m not. It’s something you might term as “Systemic Racism” which is really just a way of talking about trauma in relation to race. Do you want to know one of the most fucked up things about South Africa or in fact racism? Is that race isn’t really a thing? In fact, skin colour strangely is not representative in any way of a cultural group. This is the fuck up of identity politics. Instead, people go around talking about “Africans” as if that is somehow definitive. Like white South African’s are actually European. It’s a weird idea, as many of them have never been to Europe.
Yet here we are off to expropriate wisdom from Credo Mutwa because we are unable to find it for ourselves.
In recent weeks I’ve recently started thinking about the idea of skin shaming as a term. It’s so much more accurate. There can be no dividing lines between humans. All humans are supposedly genetically 10% Khoi San, we are all from here in Observatory where I write this blog from. The oldest human settlement in the world. Yes, that. We are all one tribe.
Then for the 50 millionth times, I had to doggedly explain the impacts of trauma. That sometimes I thank my lucky stars that I am and “Indigent White” (another new term I’ve been figuring out) that understand how complex it is to be a bastard Scot, (Half English, Half Scottish) never mind anything else. Then I have to remember all the traumas of the empire. All the way back to the crucifixion and before that the idea that we have to use our own children as a human sacrifice to know god (Just a couple of ideas embodied in religious (Empire) abuse). The land grabs, the displacement, the exile, the colonialism, the oppression of culture, the loss of language, the forced labour, the concentration camps, the industrial revolution, the enforced education and removal of children. That very few people to this day have got smart to the idea of divide and rule. That very few people are able to see through the lens of their own systemic prejudices (even me), that often revolve around the importance of hierarchies and of course the fawning effect it incurs (which can now easily be attributed as a trauma response). For me, my trauma response has always been the railing against the existence of them. As I fall further and further down the rabbit hole of trauma. I’m single-handedly teaching myself not to be a human granade. How to remove myself, protect myself and love myself in the face of the insurmountable odds of all the traumatised people that engulf me. We are all fucked up we are all traumatised. Now its something many of us openly admit. Then you have to wonder what if we weren’t what if we all knew love, intimately? What if we all felt joy daily? What if we all were able to see another’s pain as our own.
So you’re probably wondering about Credo? A lot more happened on a life time scale than you might imagine for an impromptu visit with South Africa’s last Sanusi. I read that again and realise how strange it was to think that this meeting and the events round it might be ordinary. Personally, I’m more intrigued about Virginia his wife and why she uses an English name instead of her own? and why I didn’t write down the spelling of her real name so I could write it here unbastardised, honoured and witnessed. None of us are untouched by trauma, especially the great ones. It runs through us like great tsunamis of wisdom if we could only stay afloat in its torrents.
I keep going on about how the last 2 years have brought forth radical transformation in my life. Without telling you what is going on. Nor am I going to share here and there is a reason for this. Sharing isn’t always safe and it’s a privilege to hear my story, it’s going to be gritty and chewy and eyewatering when we get there, and still, I’m not there. I’m not ready to share and you know what that is totally ok.
In the meantime what I am truly finding out is how hard it is to actually share who you are and that people shouldn’t feel entitled to all of you. Yet they do. Like in my previous blog post when I talked about basically being utilised to do the admin work for community activism when it would have been far more beneficial to be put to work doing what I actually do. Which is healing trauma.
I can’t even begin to tell you how long it’s taken me to get here to the whole trauma thing. It’s an origin story of note, that probably started ten years ago. That started with a friend of mine called Cait where we sadly concluded that more people were suffering from trauma than we might even be able to identify. That back then we had no idea how we might tackle the epidemic. That we didn’t know what all the answers were. All we knew really was that people were suffering, even ourselves. We knew that symptoms of trauma tended to isolate people and that most people had no clue what to do when their friends and family were in crisis. That we were more likely to ostracise them for their behaviour, rather than include them out of love. That diagnosis was woefully unable to define the true human story behind the tears, the tantrums, the self-medicating, and the withdrawal. That even Eeyore deserved to be invited to the party. Yet what if the symptoms were more pernicious? What if the behaviours were more troublesome and asked people to question everything that we knew and understood? That the school systems was fucked and equated to child abuse. The corporate working world was nothing more than wage slavery, that made us complicit in a planetary tragedy. That governance was built on nothing more the imaginary lines in the sand and maximised on the idea of human separateness. That modern medicine was looking to kill us. That communities were deliberately under threat from the sickness of greed. That it all felt vapid and soulless and no one had the depth of character or will to dive into another’s pain, because they were totally unable to face their own.
Yet here I am tens years on and I’ve garnered some answers, secure attachment, trust, nurturance, time, and the old fashioned idea of succour. Succour, we even have a word for it, long since forgotten. We know how to heal ourselves, it all boils down to human connection, inclusiveness and of course love.