“Being cut off from our own natural self-compassion is one of the greatest impairments we can suffer. Along with our ability to feel our own pain go our best hopes for healing, dignity and love. What seems nonadapative and self-harming in the present was, at some point in our lives, an adaptation to help us endure what we then had to go through. If people are addicted to self-soothing behaviours, it’s only because in their formative years they did not receive the soothing they needed. Such understanding helps delete toxic self-judgment on the past and supports responsibility for the now. Hence the need for compassionate self-inquiry.”
~ Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
From time to time, those of us who are activists, family breadwinners and givers and/or work in areas where we support community projects or other people, need to take a break and treat ourselves with something that nourishes our souls and reconnects us with what matters.
And what matters?
What are we under and beyond all the things we have been programmed to accept as “truth”?
In many ways, we have been “colonized”, no matter whether we perceive or we really are privileged or disempowered, we all, from all walks of life, skin colours, cultures and genders, have been deeply colonized: we have been programmed to believe and accept certain things and function in certain ways and this has become our “jail”: the main reason why we feel chronically tired, depressed and sometimes also in pain, frustrated and angry.
Specially women, and more in the case of women from visible minorities and vulnerable groups, we have learned to silence or put aside many of our needs, accept things that are abusive and oppressive and postpone our self-care, dreams and expressions until everyone else has first been served…
Dr. Gabor Mate mentioned in a recent workshop I attended, that the reason we don’t live in the “now” is because we are almost always reacting and responding from something we use in the past: something that was helpful, or necessary, or the only option we had when we were two years old (or six months old or any young age) and became a “pattern of response”, sometimes reinforced by culture, examples from others or by continuous subjection to the same type of dysfunctionality and abusive relationship.
The root for all the challenges we experience today in the world (from environmental to social, including economic and spiritual) is the same: disconnection. A huge disconnection created thousands of years ago that has pervasively and progressively hurt one generation after another, spreading through the world as an invasive weed.
This “weed” shows up through our institutions and the dynamics and processes of our culture, making “normal” things that would be otherwise unacceptable.
We all have been hurt, either by things said or done to us or by things that needed to happen or be said and never did. The only way to stop this pervasive practice that is making people sick and crazy (and by extension, making social dynamics more difficult and full of oppression and privilege), is by making these behaviours, patterns and believes conscious, understanding they were programmed long time ago and approaching both ourselves and others with compassion…
Another way to do this is by intentionally visioning, designing and implementing new patterns of being in this world, something my friend Heather Jo Flores calls “decolonization”.
Heather is an activist, author and permaculturist who uses her amazing life experience to coach people (particularly women) in areas that empower them and allow them to find and express their voices.
Her courses are practical and focused, you’ll feel supported not only by Heather but also by other amazing women who are taking the same steps. Heather is authentic, courageous and sometimes hilarious, and definitely a role model for many of us no matter our age…
If you are curious and want to give them a try, follow the links to the courses depending on your interests:
Have an idea, a goal but not sure how to make it work? Or are completely uncertain about what’s your place in the world and how you can contribute? Try “Find Your Niche: Use permaculture to find your purpose, unleash your magic, and make money.”
Have a lot of new patterns or new year resolutions you want to work on but don’t know how to start or keep the momentum? Try “Design Your Daily Practice 10-day Habit-Changing Bliss Blitz”
Or you may be into writing and want to use it as a tool for social change? Try “Ecofeminist Archetypes: How to write characters that subvert patriarchy”
Or, if you want to go deeper into writing, try “A Heroine’s Journey: Feminist storycraft workshop for radical women writers”
If you want to start from zero and have the time to commit to a really engaging program that will turn your life around, I suggest to take a look at “Decolonize Yourself Creative Immersion”
If you need 1-1 support, contact me!