Someone mentioned during a diversity training today their experience of term “black” as evil, dark and scary as opposed to the pureness of white and I found it initially shocking and then, well, true.
I remember in high school my priest (last year of my connection with Church) asking us all to name the colour of love – I was the only weirdo who chose black – it’s rich, deep, endless and all-encompassing, of course, it’s love.
But I was raised to see things my way, not the way it was dictated by culture. I was raised to be a rebel. Sometimes I say wrong things to my BAME friends because I do not operate based on mainstream principles so I am finding the current diversity movement really helpful.
So many layers of systemic abuse of power and privileges… I cannot imagine living entire life thinking about belonging to the shadows of “civilised culture” whatever that means.
But I do know how it feels to be different, ostracised, abused and humiliated due to our identity and I cannot stand it. We need to be careful not to overuse the word “polarised” these days not to get used to it. We are all the same – humans, we must celebrate (not tolerate) diversity and we must see each other for fellow humans.
Three years in Bristol, four years of counselling studies and so many changes around us. We’ve grown stronger and kinder. This weekend I was also in my new home, because that’s how my new course feels, so I consider myself very blessed. I worked hard for it, but so did many people supporting me along the way (you know who you are). So just sending quiet thanks for that ❤️
After the English-Ojibwe dictionary this is my second book read in both languages. What a story! You can find out more about the main character, a real figure fighting for the health of water, Mother Earth and people in general over at motherearthwaterwalk.com – I cannot believe just how much easier it is to research and connect with Ojibwe stories in 2020 comparing to the 90’s when I was a student and I came across one of them on IRC.
Such generous and honourable people – even then I was sent their dictionary by post and encouraged to study their stories. Back then I waited for the book for weeks, today I got it the next day….we are so well connected now…but are we making the most of it? I so wish in this divided world people would celebrate the diversity and acknowledge that regardless of our bloodlines, identities and passports we are all one kind. I’ve learned that from Ojibwe and all other tribes.
Today we see @gretathunberg doing the same as Nokomis Josephine-ba Mandamin did back then, I just wish she lived to sit down with Greta for a good chat. I am hopeful that we are all waking up. Thanks to those wise, courageous women who carry us and bring us water.
So needed this! After few weeks of colds, tests, new routines and new school I feel I am starting to adjust to the new balance. It’s all fluid, much of it is responsive but that ok – that’s life. Mother Nature is here, we just need to reach out. So we did. Why travel far if we have all this beauty at our doorstep??
I never really agreed with summer holiday travels as such – I prefer to travel to meet people, learn about new lands or for meaningful events – but I studied climate change in early primary school so I guess that forms my travel habits. I am so glad we relive times of renewable energy finally entering the transport industry. I have loads to learn and do still, but for now, we keep it down as much as possible. Every little helps the planet.
Tonight I learned about the Seven Stages of Life – Ojibwe (or in the US Chipewyan) approach to life story. As I venture on my second winter journey with Julia Cameron’s books and journaling reflections I am now going a bit deeper into my self and my story (it’s important for trainee counsellors to get their own story right).
The tribal tonality of the Vein of Gold is perfectly aligned with my past interest in Ojibwe culture. (It also resonates with the emerging need for nations to go to their tribal cultures – something I’m noticing in many public conversations). So I am going to look at my seven stages of life: the good life, the fast life, the wandering life, truth, planning, doing and being an elder too, even though the last one is still ahead of me. What a brilliant framework for life, but how sad that we no longer nurture our elders.
I feel sad I have no access to a trusted group of those wise teachers. I am lucky enough to know a few elders in a more fragmented way so when I’m done with the current “doing” stage I might consider a ritual, a journey of some kind. Last night discovered the work of Stephen Jenkinson (Due Wise book), and it moved me deeply.
Anyway, this update was inspired by my evening but also this branch from @freddiesflowers – when I was a child we’d pop them under our shoes and giggle so there were hardly any left around. Receiving such a rich branch is quite astonishing and so abundant. I actually don’t want to ruin it! (Still tempted time sneak out at the back and pop a few, mind you).
Not sure if life happens in stages, possibly in circles, but the Ojibwe approach makes sense to me.
It’s worrying but not unexpected to watch the news. I am utterly sad that I won’t be able to meet a few people in person as planned but I much prefer to know each of them is safe. Learned a lot about Polyvagal Theory today and so I now understand even more the importance of social connection and psychological safety. Meeting online is not the same but it is safer and healthier than not meeting at all or risking meeting and harming someone. So take time off screens and online work when you need to but stay connected, people. This winter is going to be formative for us all, in so many ways.
It’s my first counselling diploma weekend tomorrow (for context, this course allows me to open private practice soon, finally, after few years of studies). I am in bed, immersed in an ordinary, classic cold, resting. Thinking a lot about rest still.
Summer was all about reframing my relationship with fitness – I made immense steps and breakthroughs there – to close it off an old fellow journalist asked me to join a book project about running so I am collecting my thoughts on the topic.
But today I am also mentally preparing for the next phase of my development – new group, new mentors, new theories and a lot of work on developing my own therapy style. So far I was lucky with amazing teachers and some really terrible ones (for a change, I guess). The new course feels safe, like home, so I am confident it will be good. After a few years of work in mental health, I am learning to choose kind and carrying teachers. I am also thinking about endings – I like to think about those when I start something.
When I finished UWE counselling level 4 I got myself an olive tree (I grew wiser and more peaceful on that course). When I finished the UWE organisational coaching course, I got a eucalyptus plant (to me a symbol of steady, humble, rich and healing power of nature). Both are stunning and I love to see them grow on our patio – reminding me to take good care of those two journeys still.
I cannot wait to see how this new course ends – what plant will I get then and why? I love change and growth so really cannot wait. It’s a bliss to be able to study from home and join the first weekend with a bit of a sniff and time to think.
Finally arrived at the point where I can just sit down and write pages of my journal. Since the year before Brexit referendum I suffered for a severe writing block (rather naturally I did not feel safe in the UK for quite a while, so I was stuck a bit creatively and I had no idea how traumatic racism can be, I needed to heal).
What helped? Two years of therapy, moving to a friendly city, making new friends, BLM movement and also a lot of self-reflection, healing and such good people around me. As we enter the hardest period of Brexit I am happy to say I am exceptionally calm. Comparing to the time in the Shire, even this year was light and kind to me, so that’s probably telling;)
So today I urge my friends: do stay good people and look out for those around you who suffer in silence. And yeah, call out racism because it’s dangerous, I tell you. Don’t just call our racism – celebrate diversity actively – if you are surrounded by one type of people, if you see people climbing on to the pedestal of power in any form something is not right! Call out the lack of kindness on the spot!
This personal Brexit experience rewired my coaching practice and helps me today see the invisible, the subtle, the silent. Ultimately I am grateful I am resilient enough to bounce back, but I have met many people less capable of doing that. Humbled to have tools to help now ..so…back to writing smoothly… such joy 🙂
This autumn is quite exceptional – still rich, still full of fruit and veg, still giving. One lockdown spring gave Mother Earth so much space to breathe. Can we please rethink our lives and systems to allow for a few weeks of calmness like this every season? I am supposed to be making an important application today but this apple tree spotted during a walk with a friend is calling me. I might just escape to the allotment for an afternoon… such bliss.
Emotional day – in a good way. Last VR coaching session of this summer and two coffees with people I mentored last winter. How nice to see an old mentee waking her path steadily still.
So impressed and humbled to know them. Fantastic chats about identity, nations, heritage, our story, gender and power. Love the people I meet in Bristol. I cannot wait to help more individuals using this not so innovative environment anymore.