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.
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.
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.
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.
Fuck. You can probably gather from my last few posts that I have been having a challenging time getting my trauma responses under control. I love it when people reach out to me to check that I am ‘OK’ because I’m posting about real life. About the true emotional landscape where I’m not just throwing around #blessed and showing off a #getawayfund. Fuck it, when I think of those things most of the time I just feel incredibly grateful that I have a life I can live with; even with anxiety, trauma and the odd sleepless night. Yes, these things are all normal, to be expected and in fact for the average human life mandatory. I know I’m not into the boom and bust gaslighting effect of your every day coaching tactics. Fuck that.
Given that I’ve been going through rebirth and reinvention. I think it was a little crazy for me to try and follow through with a marketing plan that I pulled together at the end of last year when I lived in another continent. In fact, it was a wee bit crazy fo me to think about marketing at all. Cause lets face it’s not something I believe in. Though all the marketing gurus in the world will tell you it’s something you should be. I understand why they want to sell you something meanwhile little old me I’m trying to give you something; as simple as a realistic perspective laced with magic.
Of course yes I am a Life Doula ( A profession I have in essence invented) I do have services for sale and please do feel free to contact me should you want something from me. I think the big BUY NOW button should be flashing somewhere below (NOT). Does that work for you? Just wondering? I personally find it mildly traumatising. That my only value to the people who might want to emotionally help me is monetary. For all the love-bombing out there I think we’ve got to get real about the nature of true attachment, it is for the most part value-based. That loving unconditionally is premised at the very least on personal safety. Given that here in the ‘west’ we’ve been worshipping martyrs for the last 2000 years, we are all a bit fucked up about this.
Martyrdom is brutal and might explain why most of our boundaries are a bit messed up most of the time. It may play a role in why Europeans have become land grabbing, bloodthirsty maniacs that we are. Living out the polarities of give and take in extreme and destructive ways. If you can imagine that someone in the third world is probably selling clean water the way the European diaspora is currently selling emotional safety, you might begin to understand the scope of the challenge. Contemplate this further and you might begin to clarify exactly how messy the human psyche can be. In the last few years, we have been commodifying the nurturance of family and tribe. It’s what I do reticently I’m really not in it for the money. Though I really do like eating. You look after me I’ll look after you. Mutual respect and fair exchange is all I’m asking. Good Samaritan or not. The truth is we all have to be strong enough to support one another and part of that is making sure you have something for yourself.
Which brings me swiftly to my point I write for me. Writing is one of my ongoing ‘high functioning coping strategies’, these days I am daring to move beyond this and saying it’s one of my not so repressed gifts. When I write I get clarity and I get back to the core of who I am. So if I don’t do it makes me anxious, irritable and restless. It’s a key part of my own personal nurturance programme. Its something I need to tend to be well. More than this blogging has become a way to manage journaling as a result of a nomadic lifestyle. I have neither the physical strength nor the mental capacity to carry the weight of my thoughts in physical form and thus blogging has liberated me. I do, I write for myself and every so often I get lost in the idea that I’m writing for someone. Maybe I am I’m writing for someone like me. Someone who has found life traumatising. Who has been confused and baffled by a system that promotes planetary and human destruction even when they mean well? Trauma interrupts thoughts, experiences and ways to understand the self in relation to a fucked system.
I don’t want to write some jingoistic idea of what you might be interested in. That’s a load of bullshit because really if you are reading this you should be interested in me and more succinctly what I have to say. What’s really exciting in this now moment is that I am finding a place where the curatorial meets the coach. The trauma intersects with the system and that doulaing seems to be the platform that can bring it all together in an appropriate way.
Last night I looked at my website. It’s was better than I thought (though I am still working on it). My message is clearer than I expected. I’ve been using the last few months to hone down what I do even further. You see until I had discovered the systemic trauma thing; what I was working on felt very nebulous because it is. Systemic trauma has many many sources. From the way, we are taught to write in school to how systemic trauma can be passed down intergenerationally. From land misuse, ecocide to forced displacement. It’s not one thing. It’s everything and it’s all connected. It’s literally taken me 20 years to find the language. Systemic Trauma. It’s not one thing. It’s everything. It’s not just the professional it’s the personal.
Here at the centre of several global emergencies, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, highly emotional and reactive. Many of us have been forced to the street or retreat into binge-watching fantasy. While some of us swing wildly between both. Few of us are comfortable taking a selfie crying and yet society seems to be screaming toxic vulnerability. It’s a very specialised skill palpable emotional distress. Yes, that and for those of us in the trenches highly functional coaches can be re-traumatising. Even though you are going to kill yourself I will only give you the solution if you give me… It’s pretty fucked up given that access to care should be a primary human right if it isn’t already.
So in that, I realise that social media is my vehicle for connection. Because I actually do have my dream job. Wandering around in my pyjamas and not brushing my hair is good for me. This is why I enjoy Instagram because I am taking the time to connect with myself. That’s a privilege. It’s a privilege to have gained this much emotional safety and to have a support system that can hold me emotionally to do this. I swim in thoughts and feelings trying to find some idea of true north. These days what I am grateful for is that more and more I find myself reading things I agree with like my tribe are emerging from a very long hibernation. That I am not fighting this fight on my own.
You see being yourself is difficult. Don’t let people tell you otherwise it’s bullshit. Finding the strength to really embraced yourself is a tough task. The thing is no one can help you find you. You have to do it all on your own. What that means is that you have to be able to love the things you love. Find joy in the things that bring you joy. You have make yourself distinguishable. In a world that wants cardboard cutouts and easy consumables, it’s hard. Believe me I know. I’m there all the time with the complex thoughts and the big questions, that make people uncomfortable. That’s my job. I’m a provocateur. I’ve spent my life challenging the system.
You have to be able to stand up for yourself. Claim what is rightly yours. Then figure out how much it’s going to cost you emotionally to get to your destination (without becoming an addict. (I might be one of those.) ) When I have enough money, respect, self-care, love. You know how it is. I have to consider this more deeply as part of The Total Re-Think. Yes I’m writing, thinking, considering and very aware that it’s a messy, unorganised process reconfiguring. I’m an unfinished artwork awkwardly collaging mediums and genres. All the more work for wanting to make it perfect trying to get it right hoping to be representative, document and find myself all at once.
In my last blog post, I wrote all about hashtags and I’m feeling a little bit sorry for you as I am probably going to have to write about that all over again. I mean for fuck sake. I basically posted a new Instagram post that made me realised my cracking or let’s say wack plan for writing in 2020 was now totally out of sync with where I was going and what I am doing. Now as seen above I have a very specialised niche. Which covers the below values. The other hashtags are still very relevant and an important part of my work
Although it isn’t always easy to own I like the way I align with my values. I don’t want to have a pre-plan what I write about and why. Do you know why? It’s important to stay connected to your emotions to process them to think them? Although personal marketing is meant to be liberating its hard not to fall into a formulaic or systemic trap.
So I’ve decided to continue with the approach I’m taking. Emotions are important. How the fuck they are fully connected with my webpage and blog writing is a little bit beyond me at this point. I do have some ideas. Kind of like grabbing my The and rewriting a whole post. It’s really interesting to be able to grab the roll of the crazy boss. Have you ever been there? Whey you are working on a project of a theme or a roll-out, sometimes for days sometimes for weeks, even months than all of a sudden the boss walks in and say “OK everyone we are changing everything”. Yup that.
I am a systemic trauma specialist. I help you identify toxic patterns and how to change them. I work with global changemakers, humanitarians and environmental activists of Europe and it’s diasporas.
This my friends is called niching. It’s the core principle of both marketing and coaching and holy fuck after four years of daily deep diving I have finally gotten here. Like seriously someone open the champagne.
I’m on the edge of something deeply tangible with this and I think you are going to like it. It feels like integration. I’ve often said that my work began when I lived in a small cottage in Cornwall when I had more time on my hands than I would have liked as a result of recovering from trauma. People need to be able to talk about stuff, in a safe warm environment and it pretty much became my specialisation. You know why because I had become experientially trauma-informed. How did I do that? I thought about the things that came out of my mouth and I wondered how much of what I said had everything to do with me or to do with the person I was speaking to and that’s when I became a good listener. Listening not only to the world that weer flowing out of other peoples mouths but of the feeling I was jostling within my soul. Where did they begin and where and I end. As much as I wanted to be helpful I also knew that I needed to have boundaries. Being able to offer people a safe space knowing that is was a community service rather than a calling allowed me to be able to say no. Allowed me to become my own person, with my own house and my own rules. Not just that the radical intervention of emotional self-care. Yes that. Even now I struggle with where that might begin and end, when you know danger as a safe space. It made me wonder hard, to dig deep and find new perspectives on everything. I had to consider myself what my needs were? Who I was? Most importantly what I needed to heal. Mainly long conversations and the occasional trip out of the house.
Fast forward 5 years and it’s clear I should train to be a life coach, even though I might be trauma-informed I am no good at sob stories. I can handle trauma like a boss. Yup, you’ve been in an accident. A near-death experience I can totally get you through it. An unexpected death? The afterbirth blues. Yuh-huh? I’m here but I’m not going to sit with you while your hair gets matted and the dishes go moldy. You got to get up off your ass and do something. Extreme life coach wading into trauma to help you. Here I am. yet at the same time how do you claim to be a Life Coach when you have got absolutely no interest in someone financial productivity? Like none. Unless of course, it comes down to a matter of survival… Unless your job is serving the planet I have absolutely no desire to work with you. So yes I wanted to train as A life coach thinking it would teach me things. Which it did, a lot. What I didn’t appreciate in signing up was exactly how much I might wanted to offer to the profession, so much so that I had to start a new one. I mean fuck talking for an hour. I mean things can be discovered in an hour but they can’t be resolved especially when you are really fucking stuck, traumatised, repressed or your own very special brand of fuck-upness (flawsome). That Mastin Kipp might describe as “High functioning coping mechanisms” – If you’re self-medicating like a boss with herbal tea and yoga, you are pretty much there. The good news is if you are doing anything at all you are doing a great job. You see being trauma-informed is easy it’s endless love and encouragement. Yup endless. That’s the hard part, get the ego in check. Cause you see we don’t leave people in labour. Why would you chose to put the most vulnerable in our society in situations they aren’t comfortable with? It seems bizarre.
Why would you ask someone to meditate on their relationship with their family, when in fact incest is common. Why are we gaslighting ourselves as a society? Even in healing circuits.
You see I’m always thinking, highly critical, forward thinking and running what I think I know and certainly what I’ve been told through the mincer. I mean I was on 14 when I figured our that low fat diets must be a crock of shit cause the body can store fat and that was in biology 101. Anyways wait until you get the physics – if every colour is a reflection of a light wave what colour is it really? You see that’s what it’s like to be paying attention. If it’s all about connection why am I actually paying you for your time? And do you really believe in the work you do. Yup that stuff.
So yes I am The Life Doula – I rebirth people and have grandiose ideas of rebirthing the planet through trauma. We will get to all that later. I don’t do workshops either cause I have no need to re-traumatise you or the people around you. I’d rather not take the risk life happens to us anyway.
Also looking for collaborators that are interested in working on the Glasgow UN COP 26 in November. Get in touch if you are keen.
It’s an interesting thing to sit at the core of what you do and understand that it is about something as basic as creating connection. Recently I’ve come to the conclusion that therapy is only needed as a result of the conversations that we are unable to have with a secure attachment. A secure attachment is someone we trust, that cares about us, that believes in us and wants nothing more than for us to be both healthy and happy. The sad truth that secure attachments have become rare.
More than this I have known for quite some time the power of deep conversation, that isn’t so much therapeutic as it is real. You see we all grasp for depth especially when life has challenged us. Secure attachments are the number one thing that guarantees our success in life as well as minimises the impacts of trauma. Do you know who your secure attachments are? Do you have a good friend? A relative or even a work colleague who is there for you?
Most of us are so caught up in the superficial we barely make time for the real stuff. We barely make time for eye contact or the space to feel exactly where we or someone is at. We are so controlled by time and external commitments we are unable to see or experience the things that are right in front of us. The things that are just as magical as all the others, if we took the time to appreciate them. You see life isn’t one long to-do list. Even if it was we have to ask exactly what it is that we are ‘doing’ it for? We cannot take the material with us. It’s just a sideshow to the main event. I wonder sometimes if life is not laid out something like The Crystal Maze. Where these fantasy worlds are created only to distract us and let’s face it it’s easy to get distracted by all the beautiful shiny things. After all, they were all created too. In the meantime, we are walking around in flesh suit ignoring one another even though we know that we are the most finite thing on the planet. Only existing once. So what is it that drives us away from one another? What drives us to disconnect us from the uniquely exquisite human connections that we face every day?
This year has been a breakthrough year for me. Most of my breakthroughs delivered to me by way of my own clients. That most of our sources of pain are systemic rather than personal. That our childhood wounds are not necessarily the results of bad parenting, rather the results of the inhumane conditions in which parents are expected to parent. We can’t hold our parents accountable for the circumstances and systems that they too were/are struggling to survive in. That we can only take responsibility for our own healing, that everyone’s healing is unique and that I heal to be taught as much as I am to teach. I have learned that trauma is about spectrum and range and that we simply can’t help people if we do not understand the depth of their feeling. That you can never walk a mile in somebody else’s shoes, you can only share the road. That is what connection is all about. Taking the time to experience one another.
The secret of change is to focus all your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new. – Socrates
Many of us believe that the world and it’s current systems are in the process of undergoing critical collapse. Of course the world, media is largely lying to us about this while openly telling the truth. Yet many of us are in despair. Even last night I was talking to a new collaborator about his imagined terror of a world with no order and how the current human population might cope without the existing structures. Me on the other hand I’m feeling quite chipper and excited about the whole prospect. The idea of Earthly liberty are what my Earthly dreams are made of.
You see I’ve been working hard at this human thing. I’ve also been working hard on what might be the right thing to do at any given moment with regards to the planetary situatuion. That does not mean to say that I always get it right either. Fare from it. What experience has taught me is that fighting what is is both exhaustive and pointless. That we are far better capable and efficient at building new lives, new pathways and new communities than anything else.
You might ask: What’s the point? and spin yourself into a sate of anxiety paralysis and indeed you may be totally correct in your assumptions. Then on the other hand do you want to spend your life staring at the bedroom ceiling. Or indeed looking our wistfully from the living room window in hope of a better world? There is now way round it. The world is changing as it always has. Now faster than ever. Tech is changing everything and before you know it we are all going to be half cyborg is smart phones haven’t made that abundantly clear already. Here we are humans the cutting edge of life force as we currently know it, trying to figure out how best to use our time. Did I mention that time is imaginary…
We are literally getting ready to enter a new paradigm where thw world becomes a far fairer, happier and interconnected. In case you didn’t know it always has been it’s just that the dark forces that be have been busy convincing us other wise. Creating the new is largely about believing that another way is possible that threats, dominance and coercive control ware all rapidly becoming things of the past as we learn how to connect with ourselves again. That new sacred councils are coming forward in families, communities and nations. That in order for us to get through what is coming next we have to view the world very differently and that wellbeing economies have got to be at their core.
Your parents fucked you up. Yes, they did. Welcome to the human story. If you think what I’m telling you is new information what you really need to know is that the above poem was written in 1971 and they still don’t teach it in High Schools Globally. This is not new information.
If you are looking for a get out clause you can always blame your parents. After all, they chose to have you. You did not ask to be brought into this world. Then again neither did they. Blaming your parents for how you turned out or feel right now is not the way. That does not mean to say that your parent has not done fucked up and heinous things. What we can say is that you are and adult now and how you choose to respond to this information is your responsibility now. Fucked Up, Unfair and True. This is absolutely the right time to have a temper tantrum. It’s not their fault.
Congratulations you felt your feelings all of them and you’ve come back. You see the thing is that if we are able to look at our parents as people we might, in turn, realise that it wasn’t that easy for them either. When I look back to my grandparents who were both involved in WW2 it’s very easy to imagine that no matter how safe their war experience may or may not have been to live through War must be a relatively traumatic thing. Not only this my Great Grand Parents would too have lived and survived WW1. Knowing this it’s really easy for me to correlate that both my parents must have been raised by traumatised people and then only then do you begin to get the just of it. Depending on what your upbringing was like you may feel the waves of anger and resentment wash over you. Now what of the anger and resentment that you might feel expected to feel in response to this new information or you may be experiencing an ah-ha moment.
If you think this lets your parents off the hook it doesn’t. Like you we are all adults and we are responsible for our own actions and behaviours. I am not offering an excuse, rather an explanation. Knowledge is power. Now more than ever we all have the ability to gain access to the help we need. I know it’s shit that it fell you. That no one has come along and said now, their, there. But you know what. You here, you made it this far. I believe in you lets keep going.
I’ve been working on niching for years, padding round the issues with a few ah-ha moments with very little actually landing other than a few keywords and concepts, from Self-Nurturance to Personal Activism. Healing Humans to Collective Futures. Earthlings and Bloodline Trauma. Emotional Environments to Land Healing and even Human Geography and the Wellbeing Economy.
What I was trying to say seemed too big and cumbersome to effectlively niche in. I’ve trotted around ideas of overwhelm and crisis. I’ve thought about secure attachment and support systems. Community building, emotional mapping, global patterns and issues. I’ve known for a very long time that they are all connected that it’s not any one thing but all of them without having the words to explain. Then all of a sudden trauma kinda became mainstream and the system became increasingly under attack. I have no idea how many times I have had conversations about “The System” in art studios, on beaches, basement flats and even in public talks. That it’s not just one thing it’s everything all without fully sinking into the idea of both systemic abuse and systemic trauma. They say if you don’t have a word for something you aren’t able to fully discuss it.
It finally hit me. All of a sudden it’s become clear to me what it is Systemic Trauma I actually deal with as The Life Doula. Systemic Trauma!!! It took a while and we got there. I’m not sure when it hit or even why then it was here and then it stayed and now I’m getting on with living with it. And saying hey I know you. Do you want a cup of tea? Can we talk about this a bit more? Luckily I’ve spent many years talking about all of the above. That seems to have made me perfect for the job I invented for myself.
That I have been burrowing down through form a very early age. Whether it by dysfunctional family life, cultural abuse, religious abuse, the education system, sexism, the capitalist system, violence, ecocide, racism, and colonialism. I write that list in no order of priority other than the chronological order in which I myself have experienced them.
There are many places where my journey started from family disharmony to hating school, rejecting the Catholic Church, the Capitalist System and the impacts of Colonialism. It was this big messy ball of string that never fully became unravelled until one summer when I had the privilege of being the labour partner of a friend and witnessing a stranger die in front of me with a few days of one another. These two events impacted me greatly for what might seem obvious reasons. Then of course in the mind of a seeking soul for which I surely have, I felt something deeper. A vortex of thought had opened that I couldn’t get away from. Why were these two things birth and death so alien to me? How had I as a human avoided up until this point (in my late twenties) the two events that mark every life? That somehow our humaness was being systematically removed from us. It was a call to action like no other, that seemed to under pin all of our human failings. How do we restore our humaness? Every since I have felt like I have been moving through time at a very deliberate pace. That has been holding in each hand the chains of the past and the liberation of the future. That the actions that I take now have the ability to echo through time. In my own journey and that of those around me. That everything that I am able to interact with can be gently and subtly transformed if we approach them in the right way. Including me.
It’s all connected and as I have laid in bed over many years and even decades quandaring our unfolding human and planetary crisis, feeling all the feels. I have known with complete certainty for quite some time it is the human that lies at the centre of both the societal challenge and the solution. What I also know is that there are a million and one ways to “fix it” whether it be ourselves, our communities or “the planet”. That is we approach the human as the incredibly creative and unique beings that we are each one of us has a personal solution to immense challenges that face us both privately, personally, as a species and as earthlings. The planet is not endangered. We are, along with all the other Earthlings that we have imposed our human pain on. We are a danger to ourselves and it is something that needs to be urgently corrected.
So yes Systemic Trauma.
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Yup, it’s a new word. Innerscapes. Not sure if I made it up or appropriated it, either way, it was out there in the either and I grabbed it. Several years ago during a conversation with a friend when we were having one of those deep down and dangerous shares about how we really felt. When we cast aside the sunshine and rainbows and where we found our hearts and souls alone in a room. That’s the innerscape. It’s the canvas of emotions on which we build our lives. Let me tell you there are some beautiful interpretations of the human mood board on show for all of us to explore.
What I can say and let me use my own innerscape as en example here is that over the years is that my innerscape has transformed like the outerscape has looking out a train window. That depending on where or how you are sitting, and who you are sharing the journey with can radically alter your experieince. My own innerscape used to be painted with terror, despair, helplessness, sorrow and on better day mild melancholia. Only ten years on I frequently swim in elated, dance with happiness and delight in delightful. You see the words we say emit the feeling and now my innerscape seems to be underplayed by neutrality and curiosity rather than anything slightly more sinister. Of course, hurts rear their head from time to time and the pain and suffering are real. I no longer live there, those feeling are an interesting side trip on my life odyssey that added a little more adventure.
Innerscape to me can be experienced over time. Over a day, a week, a month, a year, decades of even life times. Small units of time are the building block of the innerscape. I know it’s epic. So how you feel on a day to day basis is going to underpin the landscape of your lifetime story.
From tired in the morning to invigorated in the afternoon. If we can write it down maybe we can begin to figure out the arc of the story. What’s draging us down or raising us up? What can be witnessed and changed? Loved into form or even nurtured into beauty. How we respond to the way that we feel tells us all we need to know about our relationship with ourselves. That if we can speak kindly, extend a compassionate outlook then maybe we can learn to accept what is. Extend the concept of gratitude and see where our emotions are guiding us. That sometimes our emotions are guiding us into the darkness and that is ok too.
If you want to discover more about your own Innerscape you can buy and download the Innerscapes Worksheet below. It’s $3.