Process, Uncategorized

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.

Process, Uncategorized

Merging Files

IMG-4081Exponential personal growth has been a massive feature in my life over the last 2 years. Over the last few weeks I have been witnessing my programming change. That for the last few years I am becoming increasingly savvy at figuring out what is my stuff and what is other people stuff. Creating clear boundaries and operating from a space of compassion without enabling. Which is can be very easy with clients. Yet increasingly  difficult within the personal relationships and friendships that I’ve been growing within over the last few years. All of a sudden I’ve been finding glitches in the system and I have felt for the last few days that I have been merging old and new files of myself within relationships. Who I am and who I was, who I can be and how everyone benefits. That the programmes of the past no longer serve me in my future.

It many ways it might appear that I am becoming what would classically be described as more selfish. That word alone makes me begin to understand how quickly and how early we are trained out of fulfilling our own needs. That somehow me buying myself flowers could be a whole host of things from uppity to attention-seeking or even doing it to make someone else feel bad. Not today, not in this home but you can feel where this is coming from, can’t you? That if nobody loves you enough to buy your flowers then why should you buy yourself flowers? Creating a cycle of depreciating personal value in your life.

What is more, other words than selfish are creeping into my insight of the shadow. I witnessed more and more how poorly the words manipulative and complaining are being banded around in response to emotion. If woman or children cry for example it is often classed and manipulative, in order for them to get her way. Or even when someone says how they feel “I don’t feel you are listening to me” “Stop complaining”. These words as defence weapons largely by people that have no connection with there own emotional landscape. It’s kind of like watching someone who’s been jagged by a thorn lashing out a thorn tree without removing the thorn. Painful very very painful to watch. As we see so many online videos of how to negotiate emotions with children it becomes clearer to me that who is doing this for the adults out there running the world and in need of so much more support than a paid therapist or councillor. Even who is looking after me? As I look round more and more I begin to understand it has to be me. That I have to learn to nurture myself deeply, on levels I have of yet to fully understand. That I need to get to my three-year-old self before anybody else can and ask her questions. A simple question like why are you standing outside a locked door waiting for someone who clearly hasn’t and isn’t showing up for you?  My heart breaks for her and then all of a sudden I adult myself, who are you waiting for and why? How long have you been waiting? Then all of a sudden I realise I’ve been waiting for me and it’s my job to show up and care for myself in ways I never was. Love myself in ways only I know-how and trust the adult in my life, me.

Process, Uncategorized

Fuck, Being Yourself Is Difficult

IMG-1561You may have guessed I’m trying to up my game, be deeply authentic, pretend that I know what the fuck I’m doing with my life in order to be able to guide you in yours. Yes really. So I’ve been reading some pretty awesome blogs of late where funny women with high standards and a heavy dose of reality are literally recording their daily fails to serve as an inspiration to us all. Me, Baby & The Beard.

My life which is very comfortable revolves round dysfunction that I’m still figuring out. In the last week or so I’ve been having flashbacks to my 24-year-old self who seemed very together and super capable of fitting into the capitalist dream. I was even using my anti-wrinkle cream a year early. I was soooo together and then whoops that millennial life crisis or should I say xennial life crisis hit. Since then it’s been a whole load of figuring out who you’re brushing your hair for? If Mrs Flemming isn’t going to scream at you?  Equally well who are you brushing your hair for if everyone isn’t going to fawn over you? Do you really have to pretend to look this good to get a job? To be noticed? To be valued? Is the amount of care I put into my appearance really representative of how much I love of value myself? Or am I really just buying into a value system that has been imposed on me rather than ascertained for myself? Or am I forcing myself to question something that should just be universally accepted? Would this idea then be dogma? Praise and blame they’re all the same. So that question [Who am I brushing my hair for?] alone has lead me down some long winding passages and thought trains, that have ultimately lead me back to the idea of nurturance. That we have to be able to invest in ourselves enough in order to create our own growth. It’s a step beyond caring. It’s practical love. At first, I thought of it as self-parenting. Lately, I was introduced to the idea that nurturance might be the process of learning how to mother. I think in many ways that nurturance is more radical than mothering. It’s a step beyond, as it releases the obligation of a perceived role that we may never have experienced. Why should we be mothering ourselves if we never had a mother? Why should we be re-mothering ourselves if the lead female in our lives didn’t meet up to the perceived norms of “mothering”.  Or that we should know how to parent when the truth of the matter is that anybody with an ounce of self-reflection will admit that parenting is nothing more than terrifying, experiment with no clear outcomes.  Self-parenting leaves us with nothing more than unpacking a parental programme that we have most likely survived rather than thrived through (that is certainly true for me, I’m open to the idea that I am projecting). Nurturance gives us an opportunity to ask a question of ourselves. What do I need right now? If I wanted to grow what would I provide for myself? If thriving looked a certain way, what would it look like? How would I feel? All these questions help us figure out what is true for us and find deeper alignment with ourselves. Making our lives easier in the long run.

Last year I thought I’d cracked it with a course in Dharma (My own personal course) which involved largely getting water in my mouth first thing in the morning. Resolving situations as they arrive and then realising that largely I was doing a very good job of doing an all singing all dancing performance of sweep it under the carpet. Humans -they don’t do what they say they will even the one you actually control.

Getting married will do that. Then, of course, the minor shit storm becomes a major one and oh well. Back to Dharma, Carry Water, Chopping Wood. Pay Attention to your feelings. They are fucking wild and take you on the craziest adventures without even leaving the room. The stories that we tell ourselves.

 

Process, Uncategorized

I Nurture My Human

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Do you every get to a point where you think I might never nail this? I think that’s where I am today. I’ve got unfinished projects, new progressions and self-nurturance projectories that I just can’t keep up with. Then I fall back let go, look around and realise my head is driving me crazy. My life is great. I have enough insight to know that my life is on a gentle upward trend. I have a secure homes, running water (Which this time last year might have seemed an impossibility. Find out more here) money in the bank. More importantly I like myself and for someone who often feels like that there personality seems to be bouncy castle embedded with hidden razor blades I love myself plenty. I just have no idea what that looks like to the outer world. For the most part I don’t really care much about that, excpet of course I’m always doing my best to serve and love other people. Cause after all who wants to end up with a personality that’s a bouncey castle with hidden razors blades. quite frankly that’s a lot of what I deal with – Yes my personality me. Sometimes I wonder how it is that I make it into the future and other times I wonder how I used to managed that so well way back in the day.

Working for yourself is such a different ball game when it’s almost entirely customer facing and perfectionism isn’t the end goal. That you need to keep it real that you need to say. You know life? It’s fucking hectic and messy. There are so many things that act and do exactly what they want and they are wonderful. Sometimes I just want to follow my intuition down rabbit holes or do what’s easiest in stead of what’s hardest. That sometimes placating a situation is far easier than drawing lines in the sand. Every day feels like a negotiations tournament of priorities of me, my clients, my husband and then the things you own that own you. And of course then there are such things as the greater good. The collective will. Collective futures and better ideas of how life is. Then you stop and take it all in for a minute. I’m here for you. I really am. If you reach out to me I’ll pick up the phone, I’ll answer the mail and I’ll get to you where every you are if it your fucking falling apart and it bits and their is nobody else to call.

So from here on in – with my consistantly inconsistant self I’m letting me off the hook. Cause I live a real life where Mondays aren’t predictable. I don’t know most days what time my husband comes home from work (cause he does shifts) and well feelings are important to me. That my feelings almost always come first because thye dictate everything that I am and am able to do in the best possible way. That if I can manage my emotions. It might take coffee, it might take sleep or even some kind of meditation. If I can make that time for myself then fuck I’m doing the best you can and showing you what that looks like.  That it’s part of a greater goal of what a wellbeing economy really looks like.

Process, Uncategorized

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.

Process, Uncategorized

The Importance of Sleep

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They say that “Life is a choice”. That we are our choices, and that all we have to do is choose something else to make major life change.  I have to say I’ve figured this out much later in life than I would like to admit to, it is the small things that build stability and actually they are the massive things. In the days where we’re sold quick fixes via ten step programmes that will transform our lives in 5 days. Changing one thing can seem minimalist.

This morning I rose late, it was an active choice one of the benefits of working for yourself. In fact Monday is my lazy work day. I brush my teeth, I wash my face, stay in my pyjamas, I switch on my laptop and work from the couch. It’s part of my personal self-care routine. I work less and that’s what I want, 4 full days a week max and I like it that way. It means I have time for me. Lazy Monday gives me a work day without masks where there is no pretending or being polite. It is in essence and day of hermitage. Where my own emotional landscape is my priority.

A massive part of my self-nurturance journey is sleep, it’s always been sleep, if you remove it my world  falls apart rapidly. I become cranky, irritable and unreasonable. A toddler heading for tantrum territory. Sleeping and snoozing sometimes in the middle of the afternoon is one of my own keys to emotional filing. If I am disturbed or perturbed it’s my first go to solution. Napping can almost instantly transform your outlook. Its been a learnt process. I often feel that it is one of my greatest indulgences, especially in a society that suffers from chronic sleep deprivation.  Sleep deprivation is one of the greatest healing crisis facing the western world. Beyond this many of us have lost our ability to dream and find the imagery that helps us process our waking worlds. If I sleep without dreaming my emotional filing systems is failing I feel bereft, disconnected. I can’t process my days. I can’t find the symbolism that helps me interpret my life.

We have also undermined the importance of rest. Meditation and yoga are prescribed as cure alls, as they may well be. As we hope to live energised and tireless lives these are the  snappy tools for productivity. However if we are still and take time to rest we create the opportunity to delve into life and appreciate it for what it really is an endless chain of fleeting moments strung together for our entertainment.

As I travel through my own journey and envision a smooth tarmacadam surface that takes me through the dream like landscape of my own life. I often wonder about those people who have the perfect routine, that eat clean, are happy with their organic fair trade  chardonnay and bio degradable yoga mat. Of course that’s what I aspire to too and if I was ready to sink deep to the early morning fog of clarity that waking yoga brings I’d be there in a moment.

Process, Uncategorized

Expand Your Circle

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Beyond drinking enough water and getting enough sleep. If there was one thing that I would recommend for a good life it is friends. Now first of all this might seem obvious. Second of all it wasn’t to me. I have spent much of my life chasing good friendships. If you really want to get to grips with what is going on for you in your life, friendships will act as a mirror to your challenges as much as any romantic relationship that you might have.

The impact that your close knit support can have on you can be profound, to the point that they may very well deny your basic needs, from a glass of water to unbroken sleep. It’s true and many of us humans are in deep denial about the impact that dysfunctional relationships can have on our basic survival even as adults. If you are indeed in a situation where none of your basic needs are met, where you don’t feel supported, then as challenging as it might be it’s time to leave.

Everyone is deserving of support. Everyone is entitled to a glass of water, a safe place to sleep and to feel connected and held by the people who surround them. Often time depending on how we have been raised we can believe that just because people are there that and that they have not chosen to abandon us that they are our friends. This is not always true. Often people try to hold on to us in there lives in order to feel powerful. They get power out of demeaning us, undermining our own thought and ideas, or belittling and berating what brings us joy or purpose. You may suspect that people don’t want what is best for you. As you feel that they corrode your self-worth.

You are in control of how you feel about yourself. You are always able to love yourself and as you take steps towards self-nurturance you will soon understand that although it is nice to have people in your life. You can choose who those people are and how you want to feel. The next time that you are in someones company, what I would encourage you to do is to become aware of how you feel. If someone makes you feel special then that is the person you want to be round, if someone makes you feel a little knarly round the edges, maybe it’s time to examine what’s going on there.

Like relationships, no friendship is perfect. You are in a friendship to give too. We have to accept another persons humaness and do our best to not make our humaness another persons burden.

If you genuinely have no friends, feel isolated, and have no support network it’s time to get out there and find your tribe. They exist and they are just as flawsome as you. The only way that you are really going to find the friends that your deserve is by being  yourself. Only then can you attract people that are the right sort of weird to your irresistible flame. What you might also like to do, is to make sure, that you are clear about what kind of friend that you want to be. Do I call people back? Do I keep in touch when someone who is having a tough time? Do I remember peoples birthdays? Be the friend that you want to be and a beautiful human is sure to turn up with the right kind of food for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Uncategorized

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.