Process, Uncategorized

Water & Rest

2020 has been my worst water drinking years since about 2016. A change in climates will do that. You’d think a global pandemic might make you up your A-game on self-care and yet on the other hand life is hard. We are all only ever doing the best we can. What I write below is largely a massive note to self. Drinking water is to this day is one of the number one things that I can ever recommend as a very fast way to wellness. Your energy levels go instantly up,  even in the winter all you have to do is drink it hot, though people often forget. (I mean me). For the most part, it is an easy cure-all, you should drink it with an empty stomach to avoid indigestion. 

I’m going to save you (and I)  about three years of therapy here. It only took five years of my kinesiologist telling me to drink more water to finally get the message. I had fallen out of the habit by way of some very disrupted times in my life, which included living on a boat (which made water consumption slightly more problematic than for the land dweller). When your brain brakes the basics can be really hard to get hold of again. 

So I am hoping to save you some time. Drink water, preferably the natural non-chlorinated kind. 

A number of years prior to my ‘mental break’ I had been quite an avid water drinker. In fact, I can tell you that my favourite water sources are the Speights Brewery, a rural well in Romania and Table Mountain Spring Water. Live water, it’s the best. I got hooked on the stuff during both my time in New Zealand and the Cape Town water crisis, as I was forced to drink water from the natural Newlands spring that emerged from under Table Mountain. To say this water was both good for and highly energetically charging is an understatement. In fact to drink water daily from one of the Earth most highly charges sacred points has been revolutionary. Water is a life force energy that flows through us and connects us to everything. 

I’d like to be able to say that I never drink chlorinated water. However, that is not to be. Now here I am in thoroughly westernised society and access to spring water that is not pre-bottled is problematic. Which raises much larger questions about mass state control, water sovereignty and of course access to untreated water and this pure life force energy. 

If you’ve been following me for any time at all it’s obvious that exhaustion can at time plague me especially the emotional kind. You see that’s emotional labour for you. When as a woman you are endlessly forced to explain breakdown and point out all the ways you are being violated. That we are being violated to people blind to the fact that most abuse is in fact systemic and is in fact in your home, your family and your community. Please don’t be calling out Prince Andrew or Trump on all their shit unless you are willing to take a morning of your life to listen to an abused woman or the racist experiences of a person of colour. Although it may be uncomfortable to hear that your friends, your co-worker and even you nearest and dearest have serious problems with there mental and emotional health. That is not an excuse to allow them to project their trauma into the wider spaces of the community. As adults, it is our responsibility to call ourselves out on our bullshit. To call or friends out on theirs. Yes, it is exhausting. That is why we must rest. Sleeping is an essential part of our recovery. 

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Process, Uncategorized

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

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Twilight under the Salisbury Craigs and I wonder why they bear this name? It’s certainly triggering a little bit of systemic trauma.

Aye that. It’s an illness that’s trending (well was). I can tell you that. Guess what they found a name for being proper fucked up beyond Gulf War Syndrome. Yup and a lot of us have it and we don’t even know it. If you have it you are a human superstar. It means you have lived life at the extreme more than once. Either actively or passively and you still survived. Good job!

I started writing this before the time of Covid 19 and now as I progress through my work for the next few months my pre-scheduled topics for the next few weeks, it’s going to be interesting how these topics pan out. You see before I was writing about all of this stuff in the time of normal. In the time of being outdoors, talking to people in person and having an attainable mission in life. Now all of that has changed. It seems it’s the perfect time to be bathing in our trauma. Why? Because we finally have time to do so. This time is time for healing. It’s a time for retreat. It’s a time to heal the soul and bring everything back into harmony.

Trauma is something I’ve been managing for years, even in the time of Covid when all is calm on the home front dissociation can be rife scatteredness can lose me as my brain tries to connect to itself.

For me, the main cure is sleep (if you can) and some better friends. There are some great online Facebook groups. If you’ve been involved with a or even some narcissists you might want to check out Melanie Tonia Evans. She got some great stuff on this. If you are experiencing flashback get on the EMDR it really works. TRE is also a great way to work with your body I have never done any extensive work with it what I can tell you though is that I used to suffer from disassociative fits. That means you are totally stressed to fuck and TRE gave me the ability to understand my boy in new ways. If you want to find out more about somatic experiencing then you can also check Iren Lyon. I also thoroughly recommend looking into the work of Mastin Kipp he’s the first person that I came across that truly gets it. If you are too traumatised to deal with him I’d say your next stop in me. Yes me. If of course, you live in the Edinburgh area. (I’m in the process of updating all my stuff after a big move) If you are in another are globally I mean then get in touch and I’ll do my best to let you know who I think is well informed and good in your area. I’ll put the shout out.

When it comes to healing trauma the number one thing is connection. (Please don’t throw your phone across the room) I understand how enraging that can feel when you are totally isolated. I know it’s shit, and it sucks. You can go eat the ice cream or lie on the floor if that’s what’s going to make you feel better. If this is where you are. All you need to focus on is feeling better. What makes you feel better. Do that until you get bored. When you get bored you are ready to feel different and that’s great. Anyways if you’re not there. It’s all about connection if not with other people with yourself. How do you feel? What makes you happy. What is happiness anyway? Do I like my clothes? It’s ok to hate yourself it’s not ok to pack up and live there. Look for colours and objects and things that make you feel safe. If you have a friend call them. If they are good friend keep calling them if they make you feel shit, don’t.

Process, Uncategorized

Death Care

 

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I took this photo on a walk to my last in-person Extinction Rebellion meeting. This was when the idea of hospicing humanity was merely an abstraction. I create my reality.

 

Well, now there’s a thing. When life ramps up to full volume and you wonder where your key priorities might be. In my journey as a life doula, I always believed that it was important to train as both a birth and death doula. Now it would appear that these skills are needed now more than ever. Especially surrounding Death Care with more and more reports coming in from Italy that the death system, like the medical system, is close to collapse. People are dying at home, unattended and alone, in one of the best medically equipped countries in the world. They are dying alone with their bodies being left ex

So it now poses all sorts of question about death care and highlights all the reasons why I have chosen my particular path as a life doula and the training that I am now undertaking. That we can’t outsource the human experiences and that the two most profound experiences of  birth and death are things that should stay wherever possible in community. Now more then ever this seems very clear to me. The situation here in the UK right now seems to be under control and contagion rates in Scotland seem to be happening much slower than in England.

The Dentist has just called and cancelled my appointment so they can be used as locum doctors. It’s another little tick as the on the upscaling of this crisis as preparations take a much deeper grip.

My thoughts are also with South Africa right now. It’s a privilege to be living in a first-world country where free health care is accepted as a norm rather than a given. There’s a lot of concern about when COVID 19 hits the townships and what is going to happen there. AIDS, HIV and TB are all going to take there toll on the survival rates. When I think of the measures that the UK government is taking with a fully fledge health care system my heart breaks for South Africa. There are dark days ahead for us all. While many of us are grappling with the impacts of marshall law on our civil liberties. I baulk at the potential death toll and the things people will have lived through at the end of this experience. Many accept that in a country that still struggles immensely with economic and cultural inequality COVID 19 is going to be a massive social leveller. It’s a situation that is going to affect everyone, globally. Few of us are able to buy ourselves out if this one and even if we could? At what cost? As martial law begins to get rolled out on a planetary scale it’s intense. The conspiracy theorist, the sceptics, the cynics and the gullible all take their view. All that we can rely on is our own subjective reality.

For obvious reasons, my phone has been ringing. I’m distracted, grounded and weirdly focused on the conversations that matter, as I do my best to stay present. Emotions are high and I feel the writhing of collective consciousness flowing through my nervous system. It doesn’t feel surreal to me. It feels normal like the world is only just catching up to what life is like for the poor, disabled and the elderly on a daily or even yearly basis. Millions of people live like this locked in their homes and in their neighbourhoods all completely socially isolated all the time. Many of us are going to be lucky enough to die like this, in our gilded cages. Figuring out that all that really matters is life. All of it.

This is a situation that you can’t buy your way out of.

Process, Uncategorized

Self Healer

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There’s has been a lot of rainbow weather lately. I’m going to miss this as follow through on my commitment as a Self Healer. Remember lots of people live lives of isolation and desolation daily.

Yes that is me. I’m fucked up too. I’m traumatised too. No I don’t have all the answers and even if I did I wouldn’t tell them to you anyway. Yup it’s fucked up being fucked up.

All those marketers say to tell your story, make yourself vulnerable and as a Systemic Trauma Specialist I say bollocks to that. You know why? Because I’m trauma-informed. We tell our stories in the hope of being heard. That people will both consider and validate our experiences, views or opinions and the truth is they don’t always. The internet is not a safe place. It’s not safe for women. Yet here we are asked to bare all in the hope of attracting, a following, a tribe, a crowd, a mob. All this when we actually have a word for trolling.

We have to be brave to tell our stories to be unheard, ignored, overlooked, criticised, mocked, ridiculed and even humiliated then carry on telling them anyway. You see we need to be partway to healed with a minuscule droplet of self-belief in order to survive the process. This is what it really means to be a Self Healer. It’s having to go against the mob when you are at your most vulnerable. You have to take on those arrows of misfortune and pull them out your back one by one. While everybody is shouting die.

Of course I believe in the best of humanity and that is because I have learned from the worst. I’ve learned from the property developers, the business leaders, the corporate managers, educators, and even the well-meaning exactly how cruel the world can be. People with power prescribe how they are going to help people, largely by deciding who is the most deserving, because they have the power to do so. Abuse of power is rife and most of us have given up our divine sovereignty for a monthly paycheck. We are employed doing things that go against our values or even common sense inflicting undue pain on our immediate and planetary communities.

This is what it really means to be a self healer it’s to pick up your pain and stop inflicting it on anybody else. It’s all about mitigating your trauma and recognising that trauma is largely systemic. When I fully understood this, that I couldn’t consume my way out of it, my only choice was to take what measures I could to detox from a toxic system. That I had to change everything that I believed conscious and subconscious. That I had to dig through all the ways that I had been programmed for somebody else’s benefit. That I had to claim my own humanity for my own sanity. That I had to be kind to myself, supportive of myself because love is the revolution.

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Systemic Collapse, it’s here.

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The view from the bedroom window as we begin the process of social distancing.

I heard the news this week that a good friend of mine had finally secured some land for growing willows where they could live out the end of there days as a basket weaver. It’s a delightful story  I’m sure you’ll agree. I congratulated them on their commitment to the revolution, that includes many key elements like slow the fuck down, stay local, grow your own food and do you know your neighbours? Forcing us to aks the much bigger question like do you like where you are?

It’s been a question many of us have been asking as we chose to travel the world looking for better places to be all without taking on the full consequences of our actions. That includes me. Honestly, I was well into my twenties before I realise the impact or air travel on our environment or even seriously started to consider where my food came from. Back then it was all about food miles and now it’s all about community resilience.  Here we are at the end of capitalism and many of us are still living in a bubble where we have very deliberately chosen not to engage with collective responsibility. As we jet set from one global conference to another, barely conscious of the communities we live in and how they might function in a period of systemic collapse.

Systems collapse is here and for me it’s exciting. It’s the real stuff of life. The imagined structures of the world are exactly that, imagined. There are no effective borders for air born illness. We live in a planetary system. We know we can’t eat money. It certainly can’t cure Covid 19 and yet we worship this imaginary substance, that is nothing more than a digital commodity, that has no other purpose than control what people can or can’t do. Imagine if everything was free. Imagine if living was free. What would we be doing then? Most of us would be resting. Most of us would be in deep recovery after centuries of abuse. If our worth wasn’t caught up in money or the idea of productivity. A very different world is now emerging where community resilience is key. More than that where human connection is at the forefront of how we interact. How are many of us going to live if we actually have to stop? What is going to come up for us? That we are isolated? That we are alone? That it’s uncomfortable? That we need to make changes to our lives that doesn’t involve chasing down a mystical cash cow. What if you just did what you love? What if just if you believed that rest was resistance and it’s powerful? What if we just change how we thought about everything even ourselves. what if we didn’t have to call it fancy things like systemic change or human-centred design? What if we deeply took on board how interconnected and interdependent things are. So that when we have global emergencies governments didn’t have the power to make decisions that might condemn us all to death with on decision. It’s too much power for any one person to have. These are decisions that need to be taken collectively and we must all play our part.

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Life Doula

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I came back to Scotland, joined extinction rebellion and got sent a beautiful letter that was signed off, with Love & Rage. It gave me all the feels.

 

There is more than one life doula out there. I might not be able to say exactly what they do or how they do it but it’s certainly a thing. More recently I came towards the idea that the best way to really describe a Life Doula is as a Trauma Doula. Life can be very traumatic you know? The number one cure for trauma a secure attachment and that is the core of my work. I will literally sit with you in the dark, you can cry on me, snot up my favourite clothes and I will be very happy to be of service. Yes, I do appropriate hugging and holding. It’s all part of the healing process.

Not only that this year, yes  2020 I’ve finally been able to reach out to both Birth and Death Doula’s who get it. That makes me happy because have felt tribeless as I push towards the kind of care I know the traumatised deserve.  I’ve been claimed and that makes me feel like I have a tribe. It’s better than that though, I have found The Red Tent Doulas and am going to be training with them this year as both a birth doula and a death doula. Which makes me very very excited. What makes me most excited is the Alexandra Wilson who is also of Sacred Circles described “Doula work is like a trojan horse” that the work of the doula does much to bring into question current systemic approaches to life as we currently understand it. Doula work asks us to step away from the idea that we are human robots and take us back to both our origin stories and end stories. That we all belong and that in the process of being born, living and dying we are all far more deeply connected than we might like to acknowledge.

Healing both our lives and for me at least acknowledging our life-cycles is a very important part of our innate sovereignty as humans. You see the work that I do has hashtags for days. All of is important because all of us are important. We are living lives in defiance of our very nature. It’s why we are sicker, unhappier and yet at the same time healthier than ever. A return to some form of understanding of our sacredness can do us every kind of good as long as it is not informed by dogma. There is no right or wrong way to do things. No right or wrong way to be. Even no choice, is a choice but to be careering along with no connection to your greater being is something other. We were not intended to live like this. Being a Doula is taking ourselves to a very basic understanding of the deep value of life. That as human bodies we are witness to something, profound and unique. That we only have one of. That only we know. That only we get to live. Doula’s honour that process. We honour life. We want to use our lives to honour you in your deepest vulnerability. We are here in service, for the love of humanity.

Process, Uncategorized

Ego Death & The Crushing System

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I’ve been tramping round Edinburgh to get to places cause money is a bit tight. The funny thing is that people feel sorry for me. After 7 years of being unable to walk around in the evening or at night, It feels like a total privilege to be able to enjoy what has come to be known to me as zombie time. Oh, twilight it’s nice to know you again.

So in my process of processing the term, Ego Death comes up. First of all, I do not in any way shape or form claim to be egoless. What I can say is that I’m stepping into me every deeper and exploring the inner landscape of shame in ways I’ve never been able to before. Maybe its because I’m turning 40 this year. Maybe it’s because I’m changing my approach.

Two things have happened to me recently one is getting a message from my Mother (who I’m currently estranged from) the other is having to get in touch with my old art college about course transcripts. Both have been triggering. Both have made me investigate my emotional landscape a little deeper. Even as I start to write about about it my anxiety rises and my self-harm ideation emerges and I very literally have to right now go deep into some somatic experiencing. I can feel the tingling of my skin the tightening of my chest and the emergence of ego as it’s rage and anger filled rant starts to emerge in my mind and I’m already getting up to the cup of tea and Instagram scrolling distraction therapy to not go there to deep. So I can stay here with you. You see I don’t think I talk about this part much. The fight. The fight to be here, to stay present, to keep going. T function while feeling and why the idea of ‘normal’ screams systemic abuse at me and makes me feel incredibly unsafe. You see for some of us and I’d like to think the growing part of the population that is becoming truer. The trauma levels are too high. The greenwashing, gaslighting bullshit is too toxic and I have to train hard to be able to deal with any of it. I know I am not alone.

Yet when I am out there posting my at-home selfies that don’t cater for outward appearances I feel like a failure. Like OMG seriously Kimberley again? You haven’t brushed your hair. How is anybody going to relate to this really? This must be so off-putting and then I realise that that is how most women feel all day, every night. That the pressure of appearance is crushing them, even when they have it all done. The hair, the make-up. The panic of office wear that has long left my life was a major liberation. I know for a lot of people that kind of freedom isn’t even on their radar. That I literally live a life of privilege every single day at home in a warm house with and internet connection in my pyjamas. You see and that’s when I think about it. That even the idea of self-care can be crushing. I mean I do brush my hair and teeth and I do do my four-step skincare most days. It’s just that because I work from home I don’t have to do those things immediately when I get up. Then some fab idea comes up and now I just hop online. Then even though I may be feeling good on the inside confident about what I’m saying my appearance doesn’t match my words. It poses big questions that although self-care might be for us what is it about ‘presentability’ that might be toxic. That people can’t see us as ourselves, at home in our pyjamas and does that work differently for men? So on that now I’m off to wash my face and grab some tea. To think about this a bit more.

I’m back.

Which takes me back to the thing I found triggering and why they interest me.  One I’m deep diving more and more into trauma recovery and the causes of systemic trauma which means a lot of deep diving for me personally. You see for me the personal informs the professional. I recently read somewhere (which I can’t remember) that they were thinking about naming CPTSD as a systemic disease. I’m not sure exactly what that means, except for me personally. So many things can be triggers if we are even slightly aware of the interconnectivity of everything how you connect with yourself is directly driven by how you were brought up and the family system you were or were not born into, will inform how you interact with the world.

Recently I’ve been thinking about that a lot. I am not ready to expose all yet. What I can say is that despite my trauma I do know that my family system made me into a change maker. You know why? Because I am playing out a polarity and using it to resolve my own trauma,  for which I am very grateful. It’s also allowing me to individuate in ways that I never imagined or managed. I’m learning so much about myself and my somatic experiencing about my family I’m quite simply shocked at the bodily feelings that come up for me. Like a few paragraphs before tears just started flowing down my face. It was purely a bodily response, a release.

The whole art school thing…well that. What I realise that through that horrific (Yes I do mean that) educational experience I would never have learned our understood exactly what it is to be complicit. How Systemic Abuse can be branded to look safe and how if we aren’t directly affected by Systemic Abuse we will still use corporate power to propel us personally and professionally even if we are well-meaning hippies.

So Ego Death…. what is it? Right now for me, it’s ending the idea of who you think you are or what you present to the world. I’m a lady that works in her pyjamas and old jumpers that don’t brush her hair until or wash her face until she is leaving the house. The weight of that truly feels enormous. Ego death isn’t anything to be afraid of. Most of us have already embraced it in some form or another when we donned our first uniform.

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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.