A Wellbeing Economy sounds like the perfect solution to the anti-human system that I keep going on about. The only thing is though how much would we have to decolonise ourselves in order to make it work. Only the other day I was involved in a discussion that looked at the impacts of the free food market and how it might impact food producers in the long run. As availability of free food might impact the need for food consumption. For some reason it made me think of the French’s appetite for very freshly baked bread and how that particular corner of the market may never be undermined by late free food. Maybe there in lies the answer or at least part of it. The desire for fresh produce. After all, fish does tend to go off. I’m still worried about all those cold climate Vegans though. Who am I to judge? I’m not a permaculture specialist. I just wonder where all the soya and chickpeas come from. I’m sure somebody somewhere is going to give me a super intelligible answer.
I was listening to a really interesting radio show (How retro!) yesterday that was and examination of the Scottish Highland Clearances. It was a rather nuanced exploration tha looked at forced displacement and emigration as a result of the changing economic needs of society. When actually it was rather about the greed of the land owners within a feudal society. It was rather fascinating as it suggested that the uprising of the highlander or lack thereof came out of a deepening confusion of clan fealty. For me as an aforementioned splitter it’s hard to imagine that people would put such trust to a man of power, even your own kin. It’s a bit mental isn’t it. That basically you were made destitute and homeless by your own kin.
Anyways I wonder how all of that might work now. It’s had to imagine a world without hierarchical structures. Or even a world that agrees to a slow down of the economy for planetary welfare. Well I say that, that’s what we thought and knew only a few months ago. Yet here we are at the edge of The Great Pause, sitting a very different possibility of human and planetary existence. Who exactly is going back to work and why? Why have the government chosen to bail so many of us out? How are people surviving within the greatest known economic depression. Who is going to be the new Hitler and is there going to be a global war. Will it be based on a conspiracy theory or something that actually happened? Will the unmasked menace of white privilege finally wipe itself out with it’s own self-interested approach to life.
Five months ago I might have been writing about the possibility of a four day week and more localised work solutions and even mused on my own work practices (which allow time for emotional integration) .
Now when I think about the Wellbeing Economy it’s almost impossible to ignore that we might be collapsing into it. That I collapsed into it many moons ago after refusing to opt in to burn out culture. Things should take as long as they take. That’s the healer in me. Maybe even the creative. That the creative and the healer and instriabley link. Maybe that should be the basis of the Wellbeing Economy how creative and healers can work together to tell all the accountant to fuck off.
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It is a bit of a Buddhist troupe isn’t it and yet far more powerful than you might think. In the ‘spiritual’ realms in which I have been drifting of late there has been a lot of discussion about ideas of “The Highest Good For All”. Being flat structure kind of girl I’m sure you might instantly see that I might have beef with that much like “Some are more equal than others” Fuck that shit. You see I’ve been figuring out the idea of flat structured systems for a while and in fact there is nothing that I like to discuss more than a bit of circle work, common grounds, flat structures or indeed in the case of this week this ideas of a Wellbeing Economy and even more recently in my consciousness Sacred Economies. (No I am not an economist, nor do I intend to be).
In fact my latest community schism has really highlighted to me the very dire need for slow coaching (which is one of the names I first thought of for my business many moons ago). That called upon the ideas of In Praise of Slow by Carl Honore (look at the clue in that name). That for real unity consciousness to emerge we have to be willing to go at the pace of societies slowest member. Fuck I wish I’d known that years ago. This ideas came up for me a few articles ago using both and African proverb and a wolf pack as good examples. It really falls into the idea of what are we willing to sacrifice in order to get ahead. It also made me question my firmly held belief that principles might get in the way of progress. That being alive is a very complicated dance. That systemic trauma both upholds, neglects and enforces as a way of controlling. That I am part of that. Also that being part of something you disagree with doesn’t necessarily give it power over you unless you surrender your sovereignty. Yes there’s a lot in here. If you are keeping up, you are doing great.
Which leads us back to May All Being Be Well. As species we can no longer afford to work at another living beings expense, whether it be human, river dolphin or the mighty Amazon. All life has it’s palace and deserves it respect. Though we have a long way to go to regain that knowledge. That it become more than just a Buddhist troupe. That we must accept the unconscious harm that we do by dismissing the intangible. As other previous posts point out clearly we are all woven together in way that way beyond what our neural pathways can store. That that weaving is never ending as we travel through time and space in both the micro and tha maco. Even if we stay indoors for all eternity and order everything we need from amazon. Even if we stay indoors for the rest of our lives and everything we need it brought to us by a well meaning stranger. There are so many was in which our existence can manifest and be supported way beyond what we are able to personally take responsibility for no matter our circumstances. There are also so many ways in which we can corrupt ourselves by believe that our need is greater than somebody elses or indeed that we have the right ot control influences and even report on other behaviour. It’s a big lesson for me especially as I watch and follow multiple relational Instagram accounts about what we need to expect from our partners and relationships. I’m still figuring that out. Where does a schism form the greater good and where does it simply abandon people in need. It’s not simple thing for one person to figure out. Whether we all move together in a slow and destructive pace or whether we leave the collective in order to get ahead. “I fucking hate splitters” yet I most definitely am one. If there has to be something as brilliant as a divine union there has to be something as brilliant as a divine split. Am I just kidding myself I wonder… Did I ever mention that I am a Libra?
The dance of union, separation and wellbeing seem irreversibly linked to each other it’s hard to think of this idea as anything other than a huge relational pondering.
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I’ll admit it took awhile for the penny to drop on this one. A long drop with gentle thud at the end. Even my brilliant brain couldn’t piece together the obvious quickly right up until it did. Did I ever tell you that the Systemic Informs the personal and the personal Informs the Systemic. It seemed highly impersonal that Family Constellations are also know as Systemic Constellations and I didn’t fully recognise the connection until much later on. To this day I have never done a Corporate Systemic Constellation. I feel to do so might risk my own suicide. Somebody once asked me if I might consider doing corporate “Wellbeing Workshops”. To this day if I was ever to do such a thing I’d take the fee and then give everyone the afternoon off. Like fuck them, fuck corporate power. Fuck the System. LOL. I don’t get triggered much I promise.
Anyways so yes systemic constellations are a way to find out exactly how fucked up your world is. The way I do them is entirely centered around self. They’re more like an ‘Emotional Map’ than a standard constellation and god only knows how my work has morphed over COVID. I barely do floor maps anymore and it seems to deepen my clients experience in much the same way.
I’m a way ahead of myself here. I think this is supposed to be some kind of useful and directive explanation of a systemic constellation. Let me back track…
A Systemic Constellation is a process used to understand either family or system dynamic and how they impact on the individuals involved. The process was appropriated by Bert Hellinger from IsiZulu cultural healing practices. The process relies on people taking on the varying roles of a family system and playing them out as part of a catharsis healing that allows us to alter patterns and dynamics within the family system. It allows for the pre-verbal and unseen thinking of family members to be explored in non-threatening ways.
As I have said, the way I work with this process is largely through creating an emotional map of a client’s interior innerscape to unlock relational aspects of their emotional field. It’s really cool. I use bits of paper and it’s really easy. What is also really cool is that you get to see how you feel in a physical map that’s all laid out on the floor. You also tend to realise that you have complete control over your feelings and indeed what you feel and how you think. That you have the power to break the pattern and indeed the cycles within your own behaviour and the family system. That you can become and observer of your feeling that you don’t have to embody them. It’s a lot easier said than done though. It takes practice, before practice comes awareness and that is what Systemic Constellations are all about.
There are loads of different methods as to how to do a family constellation or indeed a systemic constellation is done. Emotional Mapping is the method that works best for me and my trauma-informed practice. What I love about Emotional Mapping most is that it is entirely fluid and allows you to express and feel fully. It also allows for a deep personalisation of the process especially when I work with creative practitioners and healers. (yes I work with healers) It’s really cool. What I often find by the end of an Emotional Map is that creative practitioners have created the basis for a body of work or even created a body of work. This is either through a collection of their words and/or a visualization of what has arisen while working with me.
Healers also get deepening insights into their own healing practices. As my sessions often form a fusion healing unique processes that may only occur through healing collaborations in a singular time in space of these sessions.
Guided entirely by intuition very little of what I do is replicable. Very little of what I do is replicable because it is centered around your own very unique experience of both trauma, healing and self-expression. Very recently I was described as a Master of Soul Retrieval and I have to say I loved that description of my work.
I’ve probably been saying this while holding a joint and putting the world to rights since about 1998 when Fight Club seemed to capture the mood of a generation. Is it any wonder why Xennials are so fucked up? I still get really excited and explosively joyful when I watch the end scene of that film. At the same time very curious about Helena Bonham-Carter’s particular role given her inclusion endorses the artistic aristocracy. Hypocrisy lives everywhere. (Just in case you hadn’t noticed). Do you need me to critically unpack this further?
All sorts of things seemed to appear when I start to explore the systemic. For the last 30 mins I’ve been watching Brad Pitt on YouTube talking about his career. Brad was one of my favourtie actors right up until Angela Jolie happened. Even here in a flat in 2020 it came as a bit of a revelation that my flatmate and I might be on the different sides of Team Jennifer and Team Angela. Luckily about 20 years has passed for passions to subside. It’s moments like these that you glad that time machines don’t exist and that we can’t walk through them, or god only knows where that discussion might have ended up. Anyways what has all that got to do with The System? Sadly everything, from the media you consume, to the films you like or even the books you read. Like Girl Interrupted for example. What might cause someone to end up in a mental institution and at what point did that become glamorous? Or indeed necessary in society? After all it was quite clear the main protagonist wasn’t nuts. That the system she was being asked to operate in was, even the nut house.
Culture and The System has been portrayed in literature and art for a very long time. We only have to look to Dickens, Oliver Twist or even Great Expectation to see how The System or societal pressure dictates how our lives may or may not work out… Before that Jane Austin with all her matchmaking prowess. Until we get all the way back to Asops Fables. Stories about the way things are, rather than how they should be. They all relate to the stories that we tell ourselves, endlessly. More than this, the stories that we tell ourselves to build an anti-human system based on control. How did I get from Fight Club to this? Hmmm curiouser and curiouser. Do you have a smouldering pile of ikea furniture sitting outside your apartment, that you blew up during a psychotic break down? Recently I’ve been getting more and more interested in Shamanism and not for the ways you think? Why the fuck I would presume to know what you think is a little beyond me… More than this given that I write about trauma a lot it is probably highly probable that I might at some point reach out to grab hold of the idea of shamanic illness.
So yes Shamanic illness. Guess what? Your ancestors are fucked up. Your geographic location is fucked up? Your relationship to land is fucked up? Your relationship with wealth is fucked up? Your relationship with family is fucked up? Your relationship with yourself is fucked up? And you are surprised that you are ill? It’s fucking obvious isn’t it? We are so controlled and dependent on The System that we outsource our own liberation to the next well meaning movement of our time. That some governmental organisation might actually skip to our aid and look to ‘fix’ everything that is broken. Yet they can’t because what is broken within that system is broken within us. Why would you outsource your power like that? We are the ones we have been waiting for and yes I still retain the right to stand with a joint complaining about The System.
This is probably the most unimaginative title for a blog post ever. No matter how inane it might be is that it has been a huge process to arrive at the idea of a Three Hour Session. That has as much to do with my own healing process it does to do with decolonising time. Two very big ideas and exploration to fit into a 500 word blog post. Yet let me make a wild attempt.
The idea of a Three Hour Session probably emerged in my consciousness over 10 years ago as I attended a consultation for a Mental Health Day Clinic at which I had to run through my immediate traumas in super quick time in order to beat the one hour clock. I was completely unable to stop for breath before gazing across at the Mental Health Practitioners and witnessing their own unguarded expression of shock and awe at the tail I had unveiled to them in the search of some Mental Health or rather Emotional Support. It was only this year that a rather lovely somebody was able to describe it rather eloquently to me as a Trauma Shopping List. That somehow we are meant to trail off an ever expansive list of the tumultuous events that has led you to need Mental Health support in the most inconvenient space of any hour. It’s bullshit. What’s even better if you get to hang out with a load of nutters in a similar state they will also tell how alarmingly inadequate and hour is to unpack and life time of trauma. Like seriously. Not only that, the very real impacts of retraumatising are completely debilitating as you try to prevent complete emotional collapse on public transport. Aye it’s fucked up. I myself have had more than a few very serious public meltdowns as a result of the unconscious, unboundaried approach of careless professions to my trauma. Seriously unless you going to talk to traumatised people right up until they are finished talking, don’t fucking talk to them. Just don’t.
So that’s me and my position of Three Hours Sessions. I want you to be able to talk until you are finished, not stare and the clock in terror nor spend the first 20 minutes panicking to find out if you trust me enough to speak to me. Or that when you do get to the source of your increasing distress it isn’t just a matter of handing you an elastoplast and saying thank you so much for sharing would like to spend even more money to feel worse next week. Fuck that.
So in greater news Three Hour Sessions are about reclaiming time from the capitalist system and in fact healing too. You can’t heal trauma in an hour. You just can’t, nor can you address it appropriately. It’s like a surgeon hoping to do a 12 hour operation in an hour because well a botched job won’t kill you. Fuck that. Primarily I’m interested in healing. I’m interested in making sure that you have the scope of the issues you are working with before you even begin to unpack the more sensitive topics or unfold the healing journey. How do you expect to ‘treat’ someone’s trauma in an hour when they have a twenty years trauma history and actually in the current climate most of us do. As more and more of us start unrolling our healthy histories that start at eight or even younger. Seriously it’s a thing and it’s common. What even more common is the volume of people that have been seeking medical help since that time and are still fucking ill. It’s mildly enraging for me and that is why the work I do centers around the systemic.
So for me Three Hour Session are a way of decolonising time. Where I like to think that back in teh day you wandered up to witches hut and it was a half day immersion. Yet if you think about it, not so long ago , you would have spent a morning of your life able to talk to your gran, or your aunt or actually just anybody able to listen. You see this would have been the role of the elderly back only a couple of decades ago to listen and hold council. Now the elderly are part of the on mass societal narcissistic discard. You have no economic contribution to make and now you are not of any value, It’s pretty sad imagine if we all had a kind older person to speak to. Imagine none of us had to feel lonely or isolated. Imagine how that might cure trauma?
I’ve always found it incredibly short-sighted of the human race how we go about both tearing up and carving out land. That land ownership is even considered a thing and that land custodianship is not that important to us as a species. Which is kind of remarkable given that we are almost entirely dependent on it as a species? That somehow it’s considered acceptable for humans not to have access to land.
I have look at churches and at malls and felt the negative impact that they have had on land. Why is it in our desire to worship god and even consume we seek to destroy the creation of nature? It’s a question that has pressed on me for quite sometime. I’ve struggled with the idea that as humans that we can engage in worship that and honouring that endorses nature destruction. Like so many other things these questions are easily dismissed as a ‘necessary evil’. People need a place to live. People need a place to shop. The work that we do is so important it somehow it’s ok to overide nature to perform it. It’s a bizarre kind of corrupt lie that we are all complicit in. That we can ‘operate’ detached and separate from nature. That our very existence is entirely connected to the honouring of land and the ecologies it hosts.
Beauty spots, Areas Of Outstanding Natural Beauty and even World Heritage Sites can be protected yet the unique and sacred relationship that humans have with land isn’t. This can be clearly demonstrated with the eviction of the San of Botswana
from the lands that they had lived off of for millennia. This was in order for a newly classified nature reserve to be undisturbed by human interaction. Even though the San had been living there in harmony with nature for all of their history. That begs the question who gets to decide what happens with indigenous lands? I’m getting bored of Autocratic systems within my life and even the planet. Where one person holds the final decision on what is to happen with our land. A person who doesn’t live there, wasn’t born of it, yet through a corrupt capitalist or even well meaning benevolence believes that they own the right to what happens to land. We live in a system that seeks to displace the sacred human from his home environment. It is an issue that lies at the very core of what believe is an anti-human system.
Many of us now feel and embody this dis-harmony as we attempt to buy ourselves outside of this system by going off grid. However no matter how far we run or even how well we plan that consumption of land is chasing us. It is chasing us from the very land we stand on and even own.
There is so is a plethora of information out there about land conservation, management and in recent even the idea of re-wilding. That also continues to be explored withing the collective psyche of our species. Where we search for the wild spaces in which to heal both within and without ourselves. That seem to be forever seeking to be in harmony with one another. Once again the challenge with Land Healing much like the other forms of healing of which I write starts with us, where we are. The soaces we occupy and forces us to ask the questions in the most basic way. Where doesn my water come from? Where does my food come from? Do I have access to green space? Why are these things important to me? In or current society we know that we need to deeply engage with these question in order for our species to have a sustainable future. What is your relationship with land? Is it consumptive? How do you give back, conserve and even preserve your balance with nature? How has this balance been corrupted? Are my choices or lack thereof consensual?
In recent generations it has become very clear that we have forgotten who we are. Our ancestral stories and oral histories have been thrown out the window in favour of Netflix. Yet if you were really to ask? Or rummage around in the family history book what might we find there? In fact maybe that is why you are watching Netflix? Maybe it’s a bit to difficult to embrace our origins stories.
Are we uncomfortable yet?
Ancestral healing is pertinent right now as we sit here trying to figure out the rights and wrongs of the past. Where the ancestors might sit in that? What insights they might share from their perspectives if they could share their stories? What might they say about slavery, indentured servants, colonialism and/or capitalism. It’s probably as deeply personal to them as it is too all of us right now. I’m sure if there were a round table there would be a plethora of opinions playing out, where most may not even be heard. So here we are wondering what needs to be shared, released of embraced from the past in order to heal the future?
As we attempt to understand how our ancestral experience has informed our own. Just because ‘his-story’ got away with bad behaviour doesn’t mean that it’s impacts aren’t still felt in very deeply personal ways. It’s a bit disturbing to finally realise that your nice life still costs somebody else something. Whether in the here and now, in the historical and possibly even both. Shocker. You see our lives are unsustainable built on the physical and emotional labour of less ‘advanced’ economies. We need people to stay poor and dependent on the capitalist system in order for us to be safe. At this moment in time we are barely able to reconcile our current sins, misalignment and exploitative habits whether it be in the personal or the planetary. Now we’re being asked to fix the past with no idea how to fix the future. Here in the now the very presence we ascribe to being fully alive.
Our systems are inherited from the people that came before us that were both unable and/or unwilling to make the changes possible to live in and equitable and fair society. Systemic racism, perpetuates that trauma as does all systemic abuse. It stems from the point at which we drew our attention away from the human story that accompanies all our goods, services and even cultural practices.
We also inherit our DNA and within it unresolved inter-generational trauma. If you are the descendent of slaves it would be almost impossible for you to not to carry the inter-generational pain of that trauma in your very DNA. If you are finding yourself being branded in with privilege you’re probably wondering what did I do other than inherit the sins of the father? Well exactly.
Sometimes it blows my mind how disconnected we are from our own ancestry much less anything else. That somehow just because something happened hundreds of years ago we don’t have to ability to make amends. That because we ourselves did not commit the crime or weren’t involved in the wrong doing we can’t take steps to rectify those misdemeanors on behalf of something as abstract as universal balance. Isn’t it what we are meant to be doing anyways even in our most intimate relationships. The knowledge and acceptance that we often get it wrong and that we are willing to make it right. It’s the very essence of grace.
I call bullshit on that idea; That what’s done is done, and we just have to move on.
Right at the center of the conundrum lies systemic trauma that somehow we aren’t responsible for the wrongs of this world. That we are not complicit in allowing those wrongs to continue. That making amends seems to be a weird concept from another time and place. That something has gone so wrong for so long that nobody is responsible for fixing it in anyway and we should all just carry on as normal. This is literally the world we live in, racism isn’t my responsibility, the environment isn’t my responsibility, sexism isn’t my responsibility. Response-ability would anybody like to jump into some Polyvagal Theory here. Fight, flight freeze, fawn and I’ll add in my own face-off. FFS. Being unable to respond in a trauma response. Something I read only yesterday; ‘Just because you ignore the facts doesn’t change the facts.
It’s been extraordinary watching all the video footage of the racists online. Getting all triggered by the burning of flags, the destruction of statues and the uprising of the oppressed.
We know that attention and intention has the ability to alter and change things. Imagine that you became present in your life, turned off Netflix and just witnessed for while. You don’t even have to watch the news you can talk to your neighbours if you like? What’s going on. Event though your story is not my story how might I be able to to help you? How might we be able to fix this. In what ways can we help one another.
I wonder what The Great Council or The Karmic Board might say about all of this? As they sit round the fire observing this potent period in human history. I can imagine all the people that have come before us rubbing their hands together and reaching for the popcorn. How are they going to handle this? How are they going to wipe clean my wrongdoing. As the whole of humanity pick up the collective failings of his-story.
No matter which side of the fence you are sitting on right now, you got here. You just happen to be alive for this experience. It’s an extraordinary time to be alive. And yes you were sent to be better, do better, live better than anybody else before you.
Is Generational Healing confusing you? Why exactly are people out marching for equality 150 or so years after slavery? Trauma is inter-generational. The inequalities and injustice of slavery have never been fully healed. Why did slave owners get compensation? Yet the newly freed slaves didn’t? And why has this never been addressed? Ah I think you’ll find it’s something called systemic racism. Just because you ignore something it doesn’t mean it goes away. So here we are witnessing a nation demanding the generational healing it should have received 150 years ago.
I work with systemic trauma. Maybe this is a good opportunity to explain exactly what that means. I believe that overall we live in an anti-human system. If your looking for references why not ask your nearest essential worker about their day to day lives? You can ask a woman what it is like to feel silenced? You can ask a person of colour what it is like to live in their body? (Ask for consent for the conversation first and remember enthusiastic consent is the only form of consent that is acceptable) You can ask an immigrant what it is like to be treated as ‘foreign’. Speak to a disabled person what it is like to be discarded or for the old to be abandoned. These individual stories are important, relevant and pivotal at this time. And Yes Black Live Matter.
If you preference the book of an academic or a well respected figured over the personal stories of your locally marginalised ask yourself why? Why do we trust the published, the legitimised over our neighbours and friends? Published and legitimised by who? and what? Why do we value the opinion of a Oxford Don over a Cape Flats Builder? Where does your reasoning come from? In what way have you been prejudiced in your thinking and why?
You’re carrying the weight of institutions and ideas that you have never actively consented to be part of.
Even if something can be reasoned does it mean it’s justified?
Ideas of race are non-scientific invented by the powers that be in order to keep us separate. Our institutions and governments are built on a race based fantasy. You inherited these systems and you have been forced to accept them as your own. Paradoxically even though the system is based on unconscious bias the impacts of non-scientific belief systems are very real and have measurable impacts on the demographics affected. Systemic racism demands that you believe that people of colour are inherently disadvantaged as result of ‘race’ rather than by systemic racisim. The system is of course narcissistic in it’s characteristic gaslighting of it’s participants with lies and propaganda. It is the most extreme tool of oppression. The idea that any human is superior or lessor based on any physical attributes, belief, creed or ability is of course anti-human.
That is why systems of governance are very much about keeping you stuck, as we wage war within ourselves and against each other. Information overload is designed to bamboozle you. To stop you from taking any concerted action about most things.
All my personal questioning has led me to the understanding of collective systemic trauma that affects everyone in the system. Yet negatively impacts the quality of life of those marginalised by the system. The privileged have a responsibility go on a decolonisation journey to understand how our choices impact everyone in society.
We can’t reason with the unreasonable. So for me the far deeper question is what do you feel about it instead? Is whats happening out there on the street inhumane? Is what happening to you and your family unjust? Are you finding it hard to survive in anti-human society? Are you bamboozled by the cognitive dissonance of what is presented and what is actually happening? Have you found a way to reconcile that?
In my work all I ever do is listen to stories, powerful deeply unique stories. There is no one size fits all solution to systemic trauma because it is all so deeply personal. How I was treated in school is very different to how you were and so we draw different conclusions.
I wonder what would happen if we listened to each others stories. Personally I feel that the systemic racism that occurs across the western world is abhorrent and that the best solution that I have is to continue to discuss and explore systemic trauma in response to that. I care about people of colour or whatever politically correct term, we are using this this month to identify people, people who are actually more than capable of identifying themselves.
You see experience has endlessly taught me that I don’t get to pick someones descriptive, pronoun or identity. When it comes to the classification of people we are only every following guidelines and ultimately how someone chooses to identify is down to them. If you really want to talk about race, you can ask someone how they self-identify. You might find that they don’t even identify with colour. Lets face it I’m a white person that wouldn’t use white a my first descriptive, that’s white privilege at work in case you didn’t get the memo. You see white identity is normalised inside the white system this = whiteness.
In the last few weeks I have been on the most extraordinary journey with The Red Tent Doulas. All based in birthing and story. I never knew that birth stories could be quite so powerful if shared with intention. What is more generationally healing than a story about birth? Your own birth. The birth of a movement or a nation? What are our origin stories? That tell us who we are and the ways in which we were brought into this world? What’s your birth story? You might be very surprised at what you find here. It’s not sugarplum fairies and the stork. Did you know that in the UK a black women is 5 times more likely to die in childbirth that a white woman? That’s 3 times higher than the US’s known statistics on the matter.
Isn’t it interesting this is a uprising starts with death and a grown man’s cries for his mama. What would it take to heal this injustice for one family? What would it take for this injustice to be healed for all families dealt the same brutal state orchestrated execution. What would it take for us to heal all the people involved in those stories? What would it take for the trauma not to be catching? Could we heal a community? Could we heal a nation? What would it take to heal three continents that the story triangulates round? Only to find that we’d excluded all the places in the world where slavery and colonialism have co-existed for millennia. This affects everybody and we can only heal together. We can only heal in community. Where it is safe. Where we feel safe, heard and loved. The answer is in listening to stories.
In the healing circuits we say continually that healing is non-linear. I believe the only reason for this is that we have not been allowed to heal. That our emotions have been disregarded as non-fact. That our humaness has been denied in order for us to fit into a system that values our profit making abilities more than our innate human gifts. We have to change everything about ourselves to undo this reality as it stands at this moment. I’m asking you step beyond individualised trauma here.
I’m asking you to build a bridge between the relational, the generational and systemic. That the way that we relate to people how we treat one another gets passed on. We are all equal we are all valuable and we are all worthy of each others love and respect. To step out of this we have to move beyond our own pain. As someone with privilege I need to use all the skills I have to minimise harm and utilise the resources I have to support those who are highly vulnerable at the hands of the oppressor. Which happens to be, me, someone who is complicit in an oppressive system. Yup don’t look away now. The problem is you. We are complicit in a system that is designed to traumatise.
I have to admit that when I set out this heading I was more focused on a climate emergency, than a global pandemic or indeed the continuing questions of decolonisation that systemic trauma is always posing.
Yes WTF? I was taking a very privileged stance as they might say. My privilege affords me the right to take a ‘wider view’ to consider the big questions. Do you know why? Because I don’t live my life in abject terror on most days. Fight, flight does stuff to your brain. It’s called trauma.
Yet at the same time, I’m still interested in root cause, you see. The root cause is trauma and trauma in my experience is largely systemic. For me trauma is the question of our generation. That is why I’m always talking about it. It affects everything and my hashtags might teach you.
The earth is not the issue, a global pandemic is not the issue, nor is race. It’s the way that we relate to each other and the world at large that needs to change. It’s why I am interested in the oppressor. I’m interested in a deep examination of self. How to use that personal power to fall out of the system, redirect my attention and create the new.
Systemic oppression is complicated if you are witnessing it through the lens of trauma. We’ve been taught to believe that feelings don’t matter. That only objective facts matter. Except objective facts aren’t human or humane. This is an inherited tool of oppression. It’s been passed down through the generations. It’s one of many. If we don’t care how people feel we don’t care about people.
It’s for that reason that the killing of George Floyd is so powerful it’s an objective fact that he was murdered on film by an organisation that is intended to protect him. We can’t argue with it. It’s truth. Yet at the same time, we aren’t taking the same heed of what ‘isn’t’ happening in the UK, Israel, The Yemen, Brazil or even South Africa. Our social media is biased, or news platforms limited. We are all bound up in systems of oppression. We are all oppressed. That is what the powers that be don’t want you to know. It’s divide and rule all the way.
We need to come together to debase systemic abuse on all fronts, on all levels, in all nations. That until we take control of our own trauma it’s almost impossible to take care of the people we need to help most. I’m ready to be torn down in flames over this. Fuck like really. Decolonisation work is scary. The reason that it is scary is because there is so much trauma involved. You say the wrong thing you hit a nerve and a whole situation explodes. I’ve been there. I’ve been there plenty and still, I need to learn more so I have to ask more questions. Read more books and wonder what is actually going on. Really it’s trauma. The questions that we need to ask is how is our trauma preventing us from acting?
In recent months I have come to a conclusion, even though I’m writing now, even though I am centralising myself and even though I don’t understand everything and I will never get it all right. Oppressors need to be quiet. Unless of course, we are speaking to oppressors about oppression. We need to be able to hold space for the oppressed. We need to do some deep listening if anything is going to change.
The challenge that we face is that we seem to think that emotions aren’t’ real. That rage isn’t justified. Everybody’s rage is justified and it’s the result of not being heard. Black Lives Matter.
I wish I had better news for you. That you could heal your self and your trauma without feeling anything, It’s just not possible unless of course, you are talking about the physical pain and even that is a little tricky. I have believed that emotional healing is at the centre of all physical healing. That our bodies react and even responds to how we feel. That our bodies are constantly and continually responding to emotional information.
We need to pay attention to how we feel or can’t ignore it or it won’t be long until we are in the myre. Like seriously. I know that there is a lot of talk about plant medicines these days and alternative therapies. Really all they are is guiding you on a journey back to yourself to visit your core wounds see where the hurt lies and get you to sit with yourself for a minute. It’s a lot of what I do too. When all you have to do is sit down and talk to me. Imagine that. What you will discover is that you are actually making time to have a conversation with yourself. When was the last time you did that?
You don’t have to believe in some secret kind of woo that somebody just discovered from some archaic branch of ancient knowledge. All you have to do it sit down and speak. Speak the language of your soul and realise whatever has been vexing or stealing you out into the world. It’s wild huh? This is the world that I know. Holding space talking, tea, chat and conversation or in Scotland we call a wee blether. A wee blether and even a long blether offers us the opportunity to fix just about everything. To get it all out in the open in a safe space. Where it’s all about you. Where there is no reciprocity required and you can just be heard, find space to feel and even cry. Sometimes rage. I don’t mind the raging and in fact, it’s important that we are able to feel into those spaces of anguish and desire. That we don’t drink run or dance them away. That we own them and then realise we can bear them like new life that we can carry their weigh, love and care and find ourselves there. I know it all sounds very hippie and trite and maybe even a little bit shite, yet it is true. What more could we want from this world other than to be witnessed and heard and at the very least by ourselves? Have you learned to lick your wounds and love yourself in the dark spaces beyond what you have already known? Have you swam in the abyss? I know, I have lived there for years of my life. If I could find a comfy sofa I’d probably sit down. You see we enter the inner scape and make it real with our own metaphors. that is how we tell our stories, that is how we heal, for Churchill it was the black dog for me it’s the abyss and for others, it’s the dark side of the moon. It’s the pushing beyond and just like that… self-realisation happens.