I’ve felt broken, lost, inferior, dumb and unworthy so many times.
These feelings have cascaded into frustration, confusion, despair and depression.
I’ve expended mammoth amounts of energy desperately trying to get my shit together over the years, in an attempt to overcome all of these feelings.
I’ve expended vastly more energy feeling devastated that my efforts were in vain.
My foray into Human Design is bringing me so many gifts, but perhaps the biggest so far has been a sense of revelation, validation, and relief, from learning to truly understand that what works for some, won’t work for everyone.
The science of differentiation.
My unique Human Design has shown me:
Why I get frustrated (I am a Generator, and my strategy is to respond).
Why I get confused and lack clarity (I have 5 defined centres loudly vying to dominate my decision making; the spleen, sacral, solar plexus, head and root).
Why I need time to process information (I have triple split definition).
Why I need time to make decisions (I have emotional authority).
Why I often feel unworthy, and why I often feel the need to prove myself (I have an undefined ego).
Why I’ve felt like a failure for having experienced so many “false starts” (I have the 3/5 profile).
Why I sometimes don’t get heard, and why I sometimes don’t know when to STFU! (I have an undefined throat)
Why I’ve been so obsessed with finding my purpose, and why I’ve felt so lost and dead inside when I’ve tried to let go of that obsession (I have a defined G centre).
“If you ignore what you know deep inside to be true about yourself and compromise your internal sense of direction yielding to the expectations of others, this can lead you to experience a loss of identity and futility regarding your mission in life. … Don’t let your mind make you believe you are lost or have no place or direction in life.
Human Design is my coming home.
This exquisitely intricate, esoteric yet pragmatic system offers customised guidance on how to engage your magnificently differentiated energetic design. This allows you to find more ease, grace, and flow; life just works. It allows you to experience peace, satisfaction, success, and delight. You just feel good. And as a result, you’ll inevitably find yourself living out your life’s purpose. No need to obsessively seek it out.
I’m so freakin’ lit to be deep diving into the world of Human Design. My Human Design Reader Training Level 1 is almost complete, and I’m so excited for what’s coming next!
He was just days old. Our beautiful new baby boy, swaddled and sleeping soundly in his crib whilst I relaxed in my hospital bed, blissfully reverent of the miracle of nature (and a little smug despite the lingering pain and discomfort) in the afterglow of having birthed my 10lbs babe through my marvellous body. I was also revelling in the restful lack of nagging responsibilities facing my husband and I, that would otherwise be filling our minds if we were at home, not being fed and tended to. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the silence was broken with an unexpected, seemingly misplaced, divinely adorable sound. Stunned and confused, my head whipped in the direction of my baby, then my jaw dropped in amazement; my newborn boy was doing the seemingly impossible: asleep, and obviously dreaming, he was emitting a fit of giggles. Giggles! Those sweet baby giggles that melt your heart in the way only the laughter of a small child can. It lasted only a few seconds, but there was absolutely no mistaking it. My husband and I were in a state of delighted astonishment, realising our bundle of joy had just expressed he was exactly that – joyful. It’s a precious memory that warms my heart in the most profound way, knowing my baby boy was, from the very beginning of his earthly journey, beyond all logically understood capacity, joyful in his beingness.
Back at home a week or so later, I retrieved the borrowed name book from the bookcase. Given we’d chosen our baby’s name simply because we liked it, it occurred to me to look up the meaning before returning the book to its owner. I flicked through the pages, until I found it:
Isaac: from the Hebrew name Yitzchaq, meaning “he will laugh, he will rejoice”1.
This remarkable tale makes me both smile and awe at the mysteries of life. I love that I have such a wondrous anecdote to share, guaranteed to amaze and delight. But more than that, I love how this experience is such undeniable – to my mind – evidence of the mystical nature of how the Universe/God/Source/Higher Power communicates with us, if we’re open to receiving. I can see how easily such an occurrence – a newborn living up to his given name in such an improbable manner – could be written off as mere coincidence or fluke, how it couldn’t be scientifically validated as meaningful. No doubt there’s someone out there willing to burst my bubble and give me a logical explanation of why it wasn’t actually legitimate laughter or true expression. And yet something of its incredibility, synchronicity, and mystery appeals to a deeper part of me; it fascinates me, and feels sacred and significantly meaningful, and in its way it imprinted the healing my relationship with my beautiful boy brings me every day.
A few years after this experience, I learned about the concept of “nominative determinism” from Rebecca Campbell, who describes the phenomenon as “when people’s names fit their calling or purpose in life, like little clues from the heavens.”2 It reminded me of the experience with my son, and the idea appealed to me enormously, so I began investigating the meaning behind my own names.
Rachael (given name): Hebrew for ewe, a female sheep3.
Louise (middle name): Feminine form of the French Louis, from the Latin Ludovicus, from the German Ludwig (composed of the elements “hlud” meaning famous and “wig” meaning war or battle), from the Germanic Chlodovech; Louise means famous female warrior.4 A warrior is defined as a person engaged or experienced in warfare, or alternately a person who shows great vigour, courage or aggressiveness.5 Courage is defined as the quality of bravery that enables a person to face difficulty without fear.6 It’s derived from Middle English corage, from Anglo-French curage, equivalent to coer meaning heart, from the Latin cor7; this etymology explains an earlier definition of courage: the heart as the source of emotion.8
Barker (maiden surname): An English occupational name for a tanner, derived from the Middle English bark(en), referring to someone who converts animal hide to leather using the bark of trees as a tanning agent.9 Tanning involves a process which permanently alters the protein structure of skin, making it more durable and less susceptible to decomposition, also possibly colouring it.10, 11 Another (informal) definition of the word tan is to thrash or whip.12 Barker is also an English occupational name for a shepherd.13
Stella (married surname): Italian (derived from Latin) for star.14 Dictionary definitions of star describe self-luminous celestial bodies, visible in the clear night sky as fixed, twinkling points of light.15
At the time, I didn’t have the insight to decipher and apply these meanings thoroughly, but my basic attempt was I used to be a follower (sheep), and as I matured I rebelled (warrior) and began to forge my own path toward the light (star). And all along the way, as regularly corroborated by the many people who told me “You’re so hard on yourself!”, I was adept at giving myself a darned thorough mental flogging (tanning).
Whilst I’ve long appreciated symbolism and hidden meaning, and deep thinking has always come naturally, my spiritual path has allowed me to develop a capacity to decipher the messages available in virtually anything I perceive. I recognise I can utilise my intuition as a guide in discerning meaning, from amongst endless possibilities, that resonates with truth for me.
Reviewing the meaning and etymology of my names, with the increased insight time and experience have gifted me, I have a renewed take on my nominative determinism:
Rachael: In the early years of my life I followed the crowd, not quite fitting in but desperate to be just like everyone else. I was terrified of my weird uniqueness being exposed, believing it to be shameful, and so I denied and endeavoured to hide it. I attempted to blend in like a sheep in the flock, in the best way I knew how, hoping desperately it would offer protection from my mortifying strangeness being revealed. My efforts felt excruciatingly in vain; my peculiar physical appearance regularly drew notice and comment, I felt like I didn’t know how to behave and conform to social norms, and I had a confusingly conflicting yet uncontrollable urge to put myself within the centre of attention.
Louise: As I learn and evolve, I’m becoming a warrior; my strength and courage is in forging the self-acceptance to come out of hiding and speak my mind by telling all of my heart. I increasingly recognise my need to be seen is a valid and valuable aspect of my purpose as I use my voice, distinct from the urge to be in the spotlight that was a manifestation of denying and suppressing my need. I’ve found my flock where I feel I truly belong, whilst concurrently owning my uniqueness as part of my power.
Barker: In the beginning, my (Barker) family of origin shepherded me in my sheep-like ways. They also gave me the gift of experiences that served to thicken my skin, and coloured much of my perception of life through familial conditioning and loving. I used to psychologically self-flagellate, but as I spiritually and emotionally evolve I gradually depart from the habit, as I have relinquished the use of my maiden name and increasingly identified with my married surname.
Stella: I have grown to recognise my inherent divinity. In doing so, I radiate my inner light that then guides others as they navigate their way through the dark to discovering they too possess the same divine light within themselves.
This stuff is utterly fascinating to me. It’s not a precise science, but rather a playful intuitive exploration, and the interpretations derived are variable and dependent on the interpreter. I could have elucidated from the meaning of Louise I’m a fighter, destined for warfare. But that didn’t resonate; I reject the notion of taking sides, and I don’t even believe in fighting “the good fight.” Instead I looked deeper and sought a meaning that did resonate. The definition of star included “a hot gaseous mass that radiates energy” – that could be interpreted in a most unflattering light, so I chose not to take that onboard! Whilst I’ve relinquished the use and much of the symbolism of my maiden name, that doesn’t mean all other Barkers are doomed in their nominative determinism – there are positive interpretations available, relevant to the uniqueness of the individual.
The point is, we all make sense of our own individual experience of life from our own one-of-a-kind perspective. The internal stories we create through our various perceptions give meaning to, colour and inform our experience of life. As author Andrew Holecek describes so succinctly, perception is creation.15
As I’ve grappled with the challenges borne of the global events these past weeks, I’ve yearned for relief from the uncomfortable and unpleasant emotions triggered with regularity. Whilst traversing the lows of the emotional roller coaster, a part of me is desperate to get off the unpleasant ride and move on. And yet another part of me knows the roller coaster can’t be avoided, and there is meaning to be derived from my emotions, worthy of being understood and acknowledged rather than eliminated in a rushed attempt to alleviate my suffering.
During a recent dip, I recognised I was secured in my roller coaster seat and unable to get off mid-ride, so I would be better served by accepting what was. I decided to sit with my emotions and observe what they were and what was triggering them. I wrote it all out, for completeness and clarity. I pondered the symbolism. What did each emotion represent? How could I honour the inherent meaning? Each emotion was about something deeper than what appeared on the surface. Anger was about asserting moral superiority in order to feel virtuous. Grief was about resisting what is. Anguish was about fear of the unknown.
Giving my emotions this space and permission to be, rather than judging and resisting them, gradually reduced their potency. Understanding their meaning made them feel valid and acceptable, even if not necessarily helpful, and therefore less painful to feel. Sweet relief.
It was only then I was truly ready to transcend my negativity and suffering, and transmute it into healing.
I recognised we’re all living within an internally created story of the global situation. An illustration of this point came to me in the form of this video,17 a coronavirus themed parody of the well-known children’s story book “Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox. From what I’ve observed via social media comments, it seems there are two main interpretations of this story (though there are no doubt more). To some, it’s a cute representation of our current experience of life amidst the pandemic, the green sheep representing the hero scientists, hidden away in their labs developing the vaccine that will end the crisis. To others, it symbolises a sheep-like mentality of the masses who are seeking a saviour. Same story, different interpretations. People often don’t realise there is more than one way to interpret a story; with blinkers on, they only see the version that aligns with their views. I’m fairly certain even the makers of this video didn’t perceive the subtext they’d created, hidden in plain sight.
I love to be precise with my words; the dictionary and thesaurus are my friends, etymology intrigues me, and I’ll gleefully be magniloquent18 if I feel it’s justified! Also, as is no doubt obvious, analogy and symbolism turn me on, they are my language. I don’t even care I’m guilty of mixing my metaphors, I love the magic they conjure through painting a clearer picture of the essence of what I’m attempting to convey. Whilst we don’t necessarily think of them as such, words are, in fact, symbols used to transmit meaning. A word is a meaningful group of symbols (letters and corresponding sounds) that represents a thing or concept, and learning language is learning to decode the meaning inherent within these groups of symbols.
Inspired by other thoughts on the symbolism of the global situation,19,20 it occurred to me I could create my own more positive story from my personal perspective. I could redefine how I perceive this whole state of affairs and create a new positive vision and narrative that would serve me. I could apply my own brand of nominative determinism to coronavirus.21
Please note: in no way do I intend, through this reframing, to disregard or downplay the tragedy of each individual death, the grief of loved ones left behind, the challenges faced by those suffering with severe cases, the commitment, efforts and caring of the healthcare workers, or the suffering of the multitudes of humans who have been affected in a variety of ways by this entire situation. There are fellow human beings experiencing utter devastation as a result of coronavirus, and my heart aches for them. I acknowledge my suffering barely even begins to approach that which others have experienced, and I am incredibly grateful for my blessings and the privileged circumstances I find myself in. One person’s suffering doesn’t discount another’s; I honour all experiences, and I look towards the light from which these shadows have been cast, as a means of healing all suffering.
Corona: Derived from the Latin, corōna, meaning garland or crown. In anatomy, the word describes the crownlike upper portion of a body part or structure, such as the top of the head. Corona is also used to describe a crownlike appendage. Other dictionary definitions describe a corona as a circle (or set of concentric circles) of light around a luminous body, a halo, or a luminous ring around a celestial body such as the sun.22
Virus: Derived from the Latin, vīrus, meaning slime or poison. A virus is an ultramicroscopic infectious agent, not considered to be a living thing in the conventional sense. Virus is also defined as a corrupting influence, including on morals or intellect. In computer science, it’s a self-replicating program that damages or shuts down computer operations, systems or networks.23
So, what is coronavirus from my newly defined perspective?
The corona definitions bring to my mind the crown chakra – the seventh centre of the body’s energy field, located at the crown of the head, perceived by those who see energy as a luminous circle or sphere of violet light. As such, I’m choosing to see coronavirus as contagious ascension. It’s a global healing occurring through a corrupting influence on the morals (or lack thereof) and intellect that are at the root of the self-destruction of humanity. This influence is driven by ascension into the crown chakra where one connects with inherent divinity and oneness. With every individual who claims this evolution, the resultant ripple effect is the infection of others through the higher vibrations being generated, healing all and shutting down the outdated and destructive paradigms now rendered obsolete as we experience this new way of being.
That’s a contagion I welcome with open arms.
So why does this matter? What relevance does my personal perspective, intentionally chosen, have for the lived reality of what is playing out in the world?
Before I begin to answer that question, I think it’s important to consider who’s asking it. I imagine you fall into one of three categories:
You’re nodding your head in eager agreement as you read my words, because you and I are like-minded, and that’s what drew you here in the first place. You’re fully onboard with redefining your perception of 2020 and coronavirus (if you haven’t already), and you recognise the hidden, deeper and more profound impact of conscious intentionality. You already know why this matters.
You catch my drift, and you think it’s a cute idea, but you’re not certain this is quite the sort of thing that floats your boat. You’re open to pondering it for a bit, and you’ll consider giving it a whirl, but you’re not fully committed and there’s a good chance you’ll forget about the whole concept after a while.
You’re not entirely sure how or why you made it this far through reading, because this woman who identifies simultaneously as a sheep, a warrior and a star is a bit too woo-woo for your liking. You dwell in reality, and this redefinition business sounds like crazy talk.
Given you’ve come this far, don’t let any differences between you and I put you off. My intention is to offer you something of value that makes meaningful sense in your world. Your new story doesn’t need to be as flowery or esoteric as mine. I’ll attempt to clarify the idea as logically as I possibly can, with real life examples of how the concept plays out in everyday life.
There are multiple realities
When we look at the world, we believe what we see is unquestionable evidence of reality. Ponder then, what we see is a function of the design of our organs of sight; our eyes. Other animals, with differently designed eyes, have different sight perception to humans; when looking at the same thing, what they see is a different reality to what we see.24 Additionally, various imaging technologies can show us what we cannot perceive with the naked eye. Therefore, it’s incredibly presumptuous to assume our version of what we see with our human eyes is the only true reality. Instead of confining ourselves to our automatic perception of what we assume is reality, we can rewrite the story of our reality by selecting an alternate way of viewing.
Your perception may be incomplete
Horses are sometimes made to wear blinkers, intended to control and narrow their focus to keep them on track and prevent them from being distracted or spooked. What they can’t see is still there, but it’s no longer part of their reality. The fun animated short film Snack Attack25 beautifully illustrates how easily we can forget there’s potentially something we haven’t seen when our focus is narrowed, and the consequences of such, particularly in our interactions with others. It’s always worth asking the question, “Is there something I’ve missed?”
There is always a different interpretation available
The law is perhaps thought of as black and white, definitive, a set of enshrined rules, clear cut contractual agreements designed to ensure certainty. Legal experts are paid handsomely to draft painstakingly precise legal documents, the more complex ones in a highly organised fashion, with the intention of effectively eliminating any skerrick of ambiguity in meaning or potential for misinterpretation. And yet we all know legal experts are also well paid to argue the complexities in interpreting legal matters and their loopholes, often in lengthy, drawn out cases. This example highlights no matter how carefully we attempt to approximate perfection in communicating meaning, there is always potential for an alternate interpretation.
Which story is worth choosing?
You might be of the opinion overcast, rainy weather is unpleasant; you might even describe it as horrible. Consider the truth that a beautiful, sunshine filled day is happening concurrently with any given moment of inclement weather, except it’s temporarily hidden from view behind the veil of clouds currently spread across the portion of the sky below which you stand. You may well have a valid preference for sunshine, but you can recognise clouds and rain have their valuable and essential place in the cyclical nature of our environment. You have a choice in which story you live by, and my suggestion is you consider which perception is helpful, useful, and valuable; which one makes you feel better, irrespective of external forces outside of your control? When you feel better no matter the weather, you are better able to experience and create positivity in the world.
You can’t avoid challenges – and you wouldn’t want to
Please don’t be mistaken I’m suggesting it would be useful or helpful to ignore, deny or avoid anything that arouses discomfort or negativity within you – big or small. Recall I sat with my uncomfortable unpleasant feelings about the current global situation, intentionally allowing myself to find a way towards accepting them before I could transcend and transmute them.
Ponder the concept of driving from your current location to a desired destination some distance away. Your route will likely include a mix of 2 types of roadways: larger highways and motorways where you can surge ahead towards your destination with speed, ease and few hindrances; and smaller roads and streets that require you to make slower progress as you observe speed limits and negotiate your way safely through intersections, traffic control, and past pedestrians and various landmarks. To get to your destination, you need to traverse each type of roadway appropriately.
Similarly, in life, whatever your desired destination, you must recognise along with the free-flowing good times on that journey, there will also be times of challenge that arouse negative feelings. Attempting to barrel through, denying and ignoring these challenges in an effort arrive at your desired destination of good times sooner, is like ignoring all the road rules and speeding through the suburban back streets at 100kph – you’re pretty well guaranteed to come to a crashing halt at some point, wreaking chaos and destruction in the process. Avoidance of challenges can be likened to encountering an accident along your route and driving on by, hoping or assuming someone else is sorting it out because you don’t want the inconvenience of getting involved. This sort of behaviour has implications for those you’ve avoided, as well as your conscience.
Taking the time to negotiate the slower roads will ultimately show you they hold beauty that would otherwise be unseen in the blur of motorway speeds. Accepting challenges are a necessary and valid part of the journey, that take time to be carefully traversed, means a slower journey, but your patience will ensure you arrive at your destination in one piece, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Sometimes, road accidents are unavoidable, and we can wind up suffering injury. At these times, we can’t just get up and walk away as though nothing happened; we might need emergency medical assistance, road clean up, car repairs, time to convalesce. The necessary degree of assistance and time to recover and get back on the road varies depending on the severity of the accident. Similarly, the length of time it takes to come to acceptance of suffering in life is often a function of the degree of intensity of the emotions involved; if you’re experiencing immense or overwhelming suffering, it would be unwise to expect you could wake up tomorrow with a brand new shiny perspective, ready to move on. Patience, and willingness to seek and accept help and support is key.
Learning and practising how to appropriately traverse challenges, through the acceptance that comes with finding a way to perceive them in a positive light, provides you with a set of skills akin to having a road map that allows you to plan your journey to make best use of the freeways, enjoy the slowed scenic portions of your drive, avoid unnecessary traffic, and have an alternate route up your sleeve should an unexpected road block arise.
If you relate to 2020 as the year from hell you’d rather escape and forget, if you relate to coronavirus as a disaster and something to fear or be angry about, what does that do for your mood? Your emotions? Your stress levels? Your health? How does that affect your loved ones? How does that impact your relationships? How does that affect the way you show up in your work and communities? Does relating in this way produce positive outcomes for you and others? Or negative?
Everything in our experience of life is subjective. The way we perceive our individual reality impacts our thinking, emotions, choices and actions in the world. These all have ripple effects, influencing – whether directly or indirectly – all that is. When we perceive our world from an empowering and positive perspective, our thinking, emotions, choices and actions are positively influenced. If we live in anxiety, anger or fear of coronavirus, we spread anxiety, anger and fear. If we live in trust and faith there are opportunities available within our chosen perspective of coronavirus, we spread trust and faith and opportunities. It’s a deceptively small step with mammoth long reach implications.
Andrew Holecek puts it eloquently:
“We are not the […] helpless, hapless victims of the world. We are the victims of our projections, our imputations, our hopes and fears, what we bring to that world … We can transfer that power back to ourselves, and realise that we are in fact the ones that create these versions of our hardship.”26
The circumstances of your life are not always within your control – such as with many aspects of coronavirus. Lockdowns, mask mandates, remote learning, foiled travel plans, industry shutdowns, job loss, illness or loss of loved ones – the list goes on – these situations are largely outside of your command. Your supreme power lies in how you choose to experience these circumstances through the lens of your perception, to then impact your response and the resulting effect.
I’ve said it before,27 and it bears repeating: opportunities for personal development, which have always been available but often go overlooked, are being thrust in our faces in 2020, as though some higher power is desperately attempting to grab our attention and initiate the next step in our evolution. The way I see it, it’s these most extraordinary challenges we’re faced with this year that present extraordinary opportunities to evolve.
Will you see your circumstances amidst coronavirus as problems, injustices, hardships, or battles? Or will you see them as opportunities and growth experiences? Perhaps you will simply see them as neutral situations to make of whatever you will. Whether you realise it or not, you’re the author of the stories of your life. And your story impacts the larger story of the world and all that is. It’s not about living in an imaginary fantasy land of rainbows and unicorns; it’s about crafting a vision, grounded in acceptance of what is, that sets the stage for positive, aligned action.
As Eckhart Tolle says, “You are here to enable the divine purpose of the Universe to unfold. That is how important you are.”28 The story you are writing for your life is the story of the Universe. That might sound intimidating – no pressure! – but the simplicity is you have complete creative license. Realise it’s as simple as a change in perspective, and all you need to do is turn to face the light.
I for one intend to hold firm in my vision of contagious ascension, guiding me forward in my actions. I trust as I do so, global healing is becoming the pandemic that shifts the world into alignment.
Anything by Dr Zach Bush MD – I’ve listened to a number of recent podcast interviews with him which have lit me up in the most beautiful way. He has the ability to logically, clearly and passionately explain the current devastation and self-destruction of humanity, whilst concurrently imparting tremendous hope by way of the path forward being enlightened by the lessons of our mistakes. His qualified perspective is heartening. Find his statement on coronavirus here.
Dr. Edith Ubuntu Chan: A Trillion Points of Light (E50) on A New and Ancient Story: The Podcast with Charles Eisenstein. A beautiful and fascinating discussion, covering altered experiences of reality, stories and perceptions of coronavirus and more. >>>”We live in a time now where … it sure is confusing if you look at the world outside of you and you only listen to one narrative, one perspective, and you only go into intellectual analysis and don’t listen to your heart, or only go into your emotional or intuitive states and don’t listen to logic, this is a time now where we are being challenged to integrate all those dimensions.”
Amy Lansky: Synchronicity and the Impossible (E02) on A New and Ancient Story: The Podcast with Charles Eisenstein. This interview took place in 2015, but it’s SO pertinent to the current global situation. It includes discussion on synchronicity, perceptions within science and openness to paradigm changes, expanding your view of reality, conspiracy and more. >>> “I don’t think of these other realms as nebulous or metaphorical, I think they’re just deeper forms of science that we just don’t know about yet.” >>> “There isn’t an objective reality out there … the basic elements of reality are not hard physical Newtonian objects but are themselves stories, narratives… there are no facts, there are only stories.” >>> “Things aren’t as bleak as they seem… synchronicity is just a different form of causality at a higher level or a deeper level of reality, and so the world is more mysterious than we think, which should give us hope … we don’t have to follow the prescriptions that everybody is telling us.”
The Power of Myth — The Hero’s Adventure with Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers (#456) on The Tim Ferriss Show (transcript available here). A fascinating conversation about how myth and story can be a model for life. >>> “JOSEPH CAMPBELL: You see, this thing up here, this consciousness, thinks it’s running the shop. It’s a secondary organ; it’s a secondary organ of a total human being, and it must not put itself in control. It must submit and serve the humanity of the body. (Clip from “Star Wars”) DARTH VADER: Join me, and I will complete your training. JOSEPH CAMPBELL: When it does put itself in control, you get this Vader, the man who’s gone over to the intellectual side. (Clip from “Star Wars”) LUKE SKYWALKER: I’ll never join you! DARTH VADER: If you only knew the power of the dark side. JOSEPH CAMPBELL: He isn’t thinking, or living in terms of humanity, he’s living in terms of a system. And this is the threat to our lives; we all face it, we all operate in our society in relation to a system. Now, is the system going to eat you up and relieve you of your humanity, or are you going to be able to use the system to human purposes?”
This interview with Robin Wall Kimmera on the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett (transcript available) has a profound message about our perspectives on and connection with nature (note we are nature, as are viruses). The discussion is both scientific and magical, and covers the way in which language influences our relationship with the natural world. >>> “Science polishes the gift of seeing, indigenous traditions work with gifts of listening and language … What I mean when I say that “science polishes the gift of seeing” brings us to an intense kind of attention that science allows us to bring to the natural world, and that kind of attention also includes ways of seeing, quite literally, through other lenses — that we might have the hand lens, the magnifying glass in our hands that allows us to look at that moss with an acuity that the human eye doesn’t have so we see more. The microscope that lets us see the gorgeous architecture by which it’s put together, the scientific instrumentation in the laboratory that would allow us to look at the miraculous way that water interacts with cellulose, let’s say. That’s what I mean by “science polishes our ability to see” — it extends our eyes into other realms. But we’re, in many cases, looking at the surface. And by the surface, I mean the material being alone. But in indigenous ways of knowing, we say that we know a thing when we know it not only with our physical senses, with our intellect, but also when we engage our intuitive ways of knowing, of emotional knowledge and spiritual knowledge. And that’s really what I mean by listening. By seeing that traditional knowledge engages us in listening. And what is the story that that being might share with us if we know how to listen as well as we know how to see?” >>> “Tippett: Another point that is implied in how you talk about us acknowledging the animacy of plants is that whenever we use the language of “it,” whatever we’re talking about — well, let’s say this. We don’t call anything we love and want to protect and would work to protect “it.” That language distances us. Kimmerer: It certainly does. And the language of “it,” which distances, disrespects, and objectifies, I can’t help but think is at the root of a worldview that allows us to exploit nature.” >>> “In a way, we’ve been captured by a worldview of dominion that does not serve our species well in the long term, and, moreover, it doesn’t serve all the other beings in creation well at all. So we are attempting a mid-course correction here. And I think that it’s really important to recognize, that for most of human history, I think the evidence suggests that we have lived well and in balance with the living world. And it’s, to my way of thinking, almost an eyeblink of time in human history that we have had a truly adversarial relationship with nature.”
Beautiful girl, it’s ok. Really. Everything is just fine, and nothing is wrong. In fact, everything is perfect. You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. And any which way you go will be the perfect way, too.
You haven’t failed, expectations are worthless, and you don’t need to do anything. Really, not anything. You are worthy as you are, simply because you are. You don’t have to earn your worthiness; it’s inherent. And you don’t owe anyone anything. Not anyone, not anything. Nothing at all.
It’s ok to relax. It’s safe to trust the process. Your journey will give you everything you need to learn and grow.
And that journey, it has no destination. There’s nowhere to arrive. It’s all simply an experience. An experience filled with both light and dark. It helps to remember that the dark can always be transmuted by the light.
You are perfect, whole and complete, right here, right now, as you are. You are so loved. Unconditionally. And nothing can change any of that.
You are already playing your role – perfectly – in enabling the divine purpose of the Universe to unfold. It’s incredible and breathtakingly beautiful. And it’s impossible to mess up.
During a recent kinesiology session, my kinesiologist asked me to share about what is going well in my life right now. I faltered, and struggled to come up with much, apart from some aspects of my parenting that I’ve been working to improve.
I’ve been reflecting on the conversation, because it bothered me that my perspective has been so negative, that I’ve been thinking that there’s something “not good enough” about just about every aspect of my life. This tends to happen when I don’t keep up my gratitude practice, or when my meditation practice falters, or any number of other reasons. I recognised that when I focus on the positive, I feel better, so I decided to write a list of all that is going well in my life. I’m pleased to say that I almost filled the page.
I was also reflecting on all the things that I’ve been thinking aren’t going well/aren’t good enough, and thought it might be helpful to shift my approach and write a list of “what I want to improve in my life”. As it turned out, that list was actually much shorter, less than half a page. Writing it out helped me to realise that I’d been catastrophising.
I also realised that a lot of what I wrote, in both lists, matched a bigger list I wrote 2 months ago, of all my desires. I realised that many of my desires have actually manifested, and for the ones that haven’t, it’s much more helpful to focus on desiring them and how good their manifestation will feel, than to lament that they’re not yet my reality, which only serves to propel me onto a downward trajectory.
It seems to be a recurring theme for me (ahem, I suspect I’m not the only one!) that I cycle through phases of feeling good about where I’m at, and feeling not so good about where I’m at. I’m realising with greater clarity that the circumstances don’t need to change for me to feel good about where I’m at, but rather it’s a matter of focus. It can be a conscious choice, rather than a result of what’s happening externally in my life.
I’m becoming much clearer about what I truly desire, what’s working for me, what’s not working for me, and how I’m willing to invest my time and energy. I’m learning to let go of outdated and unhelpful standards that I set for myself in the past regarding what success means and looks like to me. I’m learning, slowly, to let go of basing how I feel about where I’m at in my life, on how I think other people are judging me about where I’m at. It hasn’t been easy to let go of that one – it’s a work in progress. I’m so aware that a life filled with choices based on the opinions of others is not a happy life. And I’m aware that even if I make choices for myself, constant angst about what others think about my choices is not a happy way to live either. Awareness and understanding do not necessarily equal integration … to be continued!
It is the tool through which my challenges and muddled thoughts alchemise into alignment, clarity, and wisdom.
Speaking the words doesn’t have the same effect for me – with the right person, it can be helpful to a degree, but the clarity fully crystallises only when my words are expressed in written form.
It works best when I share it. My most potent words refuse be hidden in my journal. I no longer question the urge to share – I just know it’s a given, a force that effortlessly moves through me. To not share would be a challenge – it would require effort to halt the impulse. I used to do battle with my ego, who would tell me I’m an attention seeker, a show off, an exhibitionist. But the urge always won out anyway, and the replies from those who read suggest that my sharing is of value, is meant to be.
My take on this: God is using me. The urge comes from Source. The felt impulse is God’s way of communicating with me, encouraging me to do that which is in alignment with Source energy. The love that the Universe is comprised of, wants to expand. And the more I align with the Source within me, the more the words flow.
I’m learning to own it.
That God uses me as a vehicle for the expansion of the universe makes me no more or less special than anyone else.
We are all of God, and so the intelligence of the universe flows through us all. We all have our own unique medicine and magic.
This Source of which we are all a part, is in constant communication with us, encouraging each and every one of us to embody our gifts. Even if you don’t believe you have anything special to offer, you do. There is medicine and magic within you, and it is unique to who you are.
That thing you love to do. That thing that makes you smile. That thing that lights you up. That thing that you get lost in for hours. That thing that feels like home. That thing you find yourself absentmindedly gravitating towards. That thing that comes so easily to you. That thing that takes effort and practice and persistence, but that you joyfully persist with. Perhaps even that thing that you kinda suck at, but you love so much that you revel in sucking at it.
Even if you believe that none of this is part of you’re experience … there is something. You’ve simply lost your way, forgotten. You’ve fallen out of alignment with your soul. It’s possible (and probable) that your “thing” is right in front of your nose, but you’ve fallen out of alignment to the degree that you’ve become blinded. You can’t hear the whisperings of your soul over the raging of your ego.
When you learn to find alignment with your soul, you can’t help but hear the messages that Source has been whispering to you all along. With alignment, you recognise what it is that lights you up, feels so good, and contributes to the healing of the world.
You were meant to thrive. When you feel good, that’s God’s message that you’re on track, because you’re in alignment with with Source instead of resisting God’s will.
You possess medicine and magic within you. Own it, and thrive. And in doing so, you allow God to work through you.
I’m noticing, with curiosity and (my best attempt at) non-judgement, that I’m in a strange place at the moment.
These past few months have seen my health improve dramatically, after a really challenging period, in response to committed effort with the help and support of my health practitioners and family. This is such a joyful relief.
As I’ve improved physically, mentally and emotionally, I’ve become inspired to write and share again, after what felt like a long period of hibernation. It feels so good.
And yet, there’s a part of me that is holding back.
I am learning to accept and embrace that I love putting myself out there and sharing. And with my words and imagery, that is so joyful and satisfying. But it’s also safe, because I can hide behind my screen to achieve this. But there is a part of me that yearns to share more – more intimately, more of me. I don’t want to hide, I want to express myself.
There have been instances where I’ve contemplated sharing a photo or video of myself. Nothing outrageous, just more me.
But the contemplation doesn’t last long. I’m experiencing a period of self-consciousness & my self-confidence is shot, because it seems that the final frustrating and baffling hurdle of my health journey is stubbornly plastered across my face for the world to see. Painful cystic acne that has returned with a vengeance, rosacea, and eye problems that refuse to be hidden under makeup. It all got too much today, and I felt sore and sorry for myself, and the tears flowed.
I’m not fishing for sympathy or reassurance (or advice!). Reassurance is useless when you don’t believe it for yourself. And I trust that there’s a lesson for me in this experience, and that working through it myself, with selective support, will bring me to a place of acceptance and healing.
I’m sharing for the reason I always do – sharing about my experiences is part of who I am, it feels good, and it might serve someone who is reading.
It’s interesting to observe how this has rattled me. I take pride in my appearance, and like to look my best, but I didn’t consider myself to be vain or overly concerned with my looks. And yet, this experience has demonstrated that when my perception of my appearance falls so far short of what I believe to be an acceptable standard, it affects me in so many ways. How I show up in public. How I feel about socialising with friends and family. How I panic when a loved one moves to kiss me on the cheek. How much I avoid interacting with strangers. What my inner voice says when I look in the mirror. And how I hide as much as possible.
There was a point when I thought that the best thing for me to do would be to overcome this self-consciousness by feeling the fear and doing it anyway – selfies, videos, just rip off the bandaid and get over it. But on reflection, I don’t think that’s what I need, I don’t think it would be helpful, and it’s just not where I’m at. Vulnerability can be a beautiful thing, but it needs to be held in a container of trust. It’s self preservation to know the difference between baring your soul in a trusting relationship compared with the local gossip. And putting my face online right now would feel like giving the town gossip flyers to hand out to everyone with the headline “Doesn’t she look hideousl!”
I’ll come out of my shell and grow my visibility when I’m good & ready. It’s healthy to acknowledge that I don’t possess the trust required to so yet. And it’s ok to be gentle with myself. I make the rules.
In the meantime, I’ll keep sharing from the heart, from behind the screen, in the way that feels good. 😘
I’ve been recognising a pattern in myself lately, that I teased out in a kinesiology session with my miracle-worker Sarah from Ignite Kinesiology (note: I do acknowledge that our sessions are actually a collaboration 😊) .
I’ve been a people pleaser, I’m an introvert (some would scoff, but it’s truth!), and I often experience (mild) social anxiety. The truth is, on some level, I’m kinda scared of people (or more accurately, the power I give others to determine my self worth is scary). I’ve recognised lately that the combined energy of these traits has me modulate the way I interact with people, in an attempt to accomodate their energy, and therefore avoid being negatively judged.
A simple example is when I’m taking my morning walk. A while back, I decided to be brave and to greet passers by, something that felt like an uncomfortable stretch. The friendliness/volume/energy of my “hello” to passers-by will depend on how I assess their energy – Do they look friendly? Are they likely to reply? Will they think I’m a weirdo? … I’ll offer a hearty greeting to the person with a big smile and a jaunty step, I’ll be brave enough to mumble a “Morning” to the quiet-looking person minding their own business, and I’ll keep my mouth shut if someone looks grumpy or judgemental.
I acknowledge the importance of situational energy assessment and behaviour modulation in relating with others. But I think there’s a line to be drawn between appropriately managing/negotiating an interaction, and dimming your light.
It’s so easy to shine your brightest when you feel confident in being well received. When another person is on the same page, likes you, supports you, and openly demonstrates all this, you feel held and encouraged to be your best.
It’s not so easy to bring your best self to a situation if your ego feels threatened or vulnerable. If someone doesn’t like you, is focused on their own problems, or holds strong opinions in opposition to your own, there’s a good chance that your ego will take a battering if you share yourself in all of your fullness.
But what has become more apparent to me recently, is that when I allow my egoic protection mechanisms to modulate how brightly I shine my light, a beautiful opportunity is missed.
What if, I took a chance, recognising that an ego slam isn’t death, and opened my heart, despite the fear?
I could be laughed at.
I could be ignored.
I could have to engage in an uncomfortable conversation.
Unpleasant experiences perhaps, but not the end of the world.
I could brighten someone’s day.
I could remind someone to smile.
I could make someone feel good.
I could re-ignite the light in another.
I’ve been avoiding these opportunities, allowing my ego to dictate my actions. Survival mechanisms are hard-wired, and it takes a willingness and conscious effort to move beyond them.
But as I clarify my desired energy, experiences, interactions and impact in this lifetime, I can recognise that letting my ego steer the ship doesn’t support any of that. Engaging with others from a higher perspective – a soul perspective – is what will. As Sarah helped me to realise, when I’m embodying my desired energy, people receive my light, and this is the driver of my possibility.
So I’ll start with my morning walk. And I’ll continue experimenting.
For the longest time, the negative voice in
my head, that I had always thought was me, ruthlessly scolded and shamed me for
my dissatisfaction, for desiring more. And for the longest time, thinking that the
voice was me, I believed every word. And so, for the longest time, I felt so
much guilt. I thought it meant I was ungrateful for my blessings, and
undeserving of more. I felt so guilty and ashamed, that the very idea of ever
actually attempting to achieve that “more” would be immoral. And of course,
when I worked up the audacity to try anyway, subconscious self-sabotage
But now that I know that the negative voice
isn’t me, now that I’m recognising that I can hear it and disagree with it, I’m
realising something else. I perceive bodily sensations that come along with
these thoughts, and I realise, in hindsight, that they’ve been present all
My body bristles, seething in rebellion
against the restriction of denying my desires. I previously mistook the
discomfort of these feelings to be confirmation that my yearnings for better
and more were wrong and should thus be quashed. But I know now, on reflection,
that this visceral sensation is my body communicating to me that my thoughts
about my desires are out of alignment with the divine source within me.
Desires are meant to feel good. Their
purpose is to drive us to achieve or obtain something. They’re the motivation
behind virtually everything we do. Even when we’re pursuing seemingly selfless
aims, we do so because we know that doing the “right” thing will make us feel
good (or at least prevent feeling bad), and we desire to feel good and avoid
feeling bad. Desires are part of our design; they are of the divine.
Nothing is inherently good or bad, right or
wrong. It is our critical mind, with all its conditioning, that makes
judgements of right from wrong, good from bad. It is only when this judgemental
mind gets involved that we work ourselves into a mess over our desires. We load
them with meaning, heaviness, and struggle.
By all means, use the gift of your critical
thinking to assess and confirm whether a desire is truly in alignment with your
highest good. But once you’ve confirmed that it is, leave it at that. Continued
analysis is likely to be that critical voice, hijacking your desires.
Dream your dreams. Revel in your wishes. Fill your imagination with the glories of all that your heart and soul desires. Allow yourself to feel the light-hearted, deep joy that their manifestation will bring. It’s all a part of your divine purpose.
Thoughts: What am I doing? What do I want to do? What is my purpose? Motherhood isn’t my be all and end all, I know there is more. I try stuff, but it doesn’t quite feel right. I get excited about stuff, but I eventually lose my enthusiasm. I don’t know what to do. I’ve been floundering with this for ever. I think I’m destined to live, stuck in this limbo of “not knowing”, for the rest of my life. I’m a failure. Always have been. Always will be.
Thoughts: Hold on. Practice presence. Observe the thoughts. They’re not the truth. They’re not me, because I’m the one observing them.
Frustrations climaxed as I struggled with my ego one again. When I finally began to quiet my mind and go within last week, this 2 word phrase – LIFE INTENDED – came to me. Since then, it has continued to flutter into my awareness, seemingly wanting to make itself known. Something about it feels so right, but it’s taken some reflection to tease out exactly what this phrase is about for me.
My life experiences, especially since becoming a mother, and even more significantly over the past 12 months, have ignited a rage within me. A rage about the fact that we, as a species, have fallen so out of sync with what LIFE INTENDED, and that this is hurting us deeply, even destroying us. I want to share with you (a non-exhaustive list of) what is enraging me.
In our modern society, we (mostly mothers) raise our children largely in isolation, brewing stress, emotional disharmony, mental illness (particularly post-natal depression), and overall ill health. So many of us believe that if we’re not attending to everyone’s needs, maintaining our home, contributing to the household income, keeping up a social life, looking hot, and following our dreams, we aren’t doing it right. We even believe that if we’re not super busy and stressed and exhausted, we must be lazy.
We live in climate controlled, airtight (even energy efficiency has its down side) homes and workplaces, cut off from the nature of which we are a part.
We eat chemically-laden, highly processed foods that our ancestors wouldn’t even recognise, that mess with the intricate and perfect physiological design of our masterpiece bodies, causing imbalance and ill health. Even if we eat what most would consider a “healthy” diet filled with real food (fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, meats, seafood etc.), if it’s conventionally farmed, it’s still hurting us thanks to all the chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, antibiotics and more that are considered essential for modern farming practices.
We sit and stare at screens, often for hours at a time, straining our eyesight, destroying our posture, and addicting ourselves to passive digital entertainment, social media, and the dopamine rush of “follows” and “likes”.
We expose ourselves to artificial light, messing with our circadian rhythms, our hormones, our ability to get the quality sleep that our bodies need.
We expose ourselves to thousands of chemicals via air pollution, transportation, off-gassing from furniture and household fixtures and fittings, cleaning products, personal care products, air fresheners, medications and more, again messing with our physiology.
We visit doctors, expecting pills to cure our ills, creating side effects and failing to address what caused the issue in the first place.
We consume media, believing the hype, forgetting to question the source, the purpose, the money trail.
We have ravaged our environment: polluting seas and lands, decimating forests, triggering mass extinctions, slaughtering fertile lands, depleting natural resources and instigating catastrophic climate change.
We put our heads in the sand, because it’s all too hard – someone else will deal with it. Or we seek all of the answers outside of ourselves, having long forgotten the access we have to eternal wisdom within us. We’ve lost our way.
This was never what LIFE INTENDED.
Sometimes, I yearn to escape this madness, to get off the grid and back to nature to reconnect with that which LIFE INTENDED. To live how LIFE INTENDED us to live. Don’t scoff – I’m as attached to my modern conveniences as the next person, but a part of me knows that this way of life comes as a tremendous, devastating price. And so I fantasise.
The rage has bubbled up within me again this year as I’ve suffered the consequences of living out of sync with what LIFE INTENDED. Multiple hormonal imbalances. Depression. Anxiety. Overwhelm. Brain fog. Memory and word recall problems. Addictive behaviours. A crippling lack of self-esteem. Disconnection. And more – all of the cascading set of symptoms that essentially stem from the same source: not living as LIFE INTENDED.
These consequences – this was never what LIFE INTENDED.
So, what was it that LIFE INTENDED for us?
To live in harmony with nature, because that is what we are.
To be in community (in person, not just online). To raise our families with abundant support. To rest when we’re tired. To spend most of our time outdoors. To eat from nature’s bounty. To move our bodies every day. To rise with the sun and sleep when it sets. To utilise nature’s gifts. To value and care for our environment. To be attuned to our own intuition, our connection with Source.
I know that I’m not off my rocker in recognising this. I do appreciate many of the modern marvels and gifts of our ingenuity, the advances that we’ve made in medicine, technology, science and more. I’m not suggesting that we throw this all away to live as the animals do. But I believe, with all of my heart, that we desperately need to find balance, back toward what LIFE INTENDED.
Changing our ways, globally, is a dauntingly massive task, but the ache in my heart knows that it’s vital. The rage within is a gift, communicating the urgency and importance of such an undertaking.
I don’t want to focus on the problem. It was necessary that it to be brought to my attention, so that I could crystallise what it is that I’m aiming to achieve. And now, I know.
It’s time to focus on living as LIFE INTENDED. It’s what I’ve been trying to work my way towards, without having specifically identified it as such. But all the research, reading, podcast listening, documentary watching, meditating, diet changes, lifestyle changes, habit changes, purchasing changes … everything has been geared towards this: supporting myself and my family to live closer to the way LIFE INTENDED. The purpose I’ve been searching for has been weaving it’s way into my life for years now. It’s not something else “out there”. It’s here, what I’m already doing, for me and my family.
If you’re so inclined, I’d love to support you to do the same.
I’ve spend much of the past three months forgetting to apply much of what I’ve learnt over the past three and a half years. I’ve been focused on the future, attached to a specific idea of success, falling into old habitual thought patterns, and failing to practice presence.
The effects of this have not been pretty. Yearning, worrying, failing, and then judging myself for said failures, criticising myself, and then feeling self loathing, shame, despair, anguish, and excruciating frustration. All of which continues in a negative loop.
Self analysis comes easily to me and I am self aware. I’ve been able to see what I’m doing and how it’s affecting my world, but the excruciating part has been feeling powerless to change it. Especially when I know that I have the tools.
None of this is actually all that surprising. You see, this new journey I’m on with building a dōTERRA business is stretching me like nothing before. It’s taking me out of my comfort zone, and forcing me to address blockages and pain points that I’ve avoided and hidden from for years. And as a result, my ego is going bananas, fighting tooth and nail to survive.
You see, the ego is an ancient evolutionary survival mechanism. Its purpose is to keep us alive and safe. It evolved to ensure that we would focus on danger, threats and negativity (such as the tiger that might be hunting us or the condemnation of our tribe that might see us thrown out and left unprotected) and then do whatever it takes to prevent them from eventuating. And it’s bloody good at its job – because back in the day, it was quite literally a matter of life and death.
So my ego is keenly aware that if I am to achieve the vision I’ve created for my business, I’m going to have to do things that feel very threatening:
Share and speak my truth in ways that will resonate with some, but that will be negatively judged by others: there will be people who won’t like me and my message.
Drop negative subconscious programming around “success” and generating income, which will take me into unchartered waters i.e. unfamiliarity and discomfort.
Drop my habitual thought patterns of “I’m a failure”, “I’m incapable”, “I’m ashamed of myself”, “I’m not good enough”, and “I’ll never succeed”, which are all very effective at keeping me small and safe and dependent.
So whilst I’ve been wallowing in despair, anguish, self hate and frustration, my ego has been high fiving itself for a job well done. Cause there ain’t no one gonna build a successful business off the back of that!
I writhed with the pain and frustration of knowing that I have the tools to move through this yet felt so completely stuck. I could observe my thoughts and see what my ego was doing and why. Yet I couldn’t separate myself from it. I watched helplessly as my ego took the driver’s seat, and pummelled me down even further as I hated on myself for being so stuck.
Then one day last week I had an instant of clarity. I was in the kitchen, despairing about my latest results, when I suddenly realised I was buying into a story of failure and what that meant. I realised that I actually had a choice as to whether I allowed these results to send me into wallowing self-pity and despair. I could actually conjure any alternative story of my liking – for example, I could accept the results, and recognise them as a step towards learning and progress and ultimate success. Or I could drop any idea of story altogether – the results are the results, and without my mind-created thoughts and judgements, they have no meaning. Whatever the case, I could instantly let go of the story that this was a situation worthy of despair and self criticism. And importantly, I noticed that buying in to the negative story is what comes automatically. And despite the pain, there is an aspect of the negativity that is comfortable and so easy to choose, because it’s familiar and safe. Choosing differently requires bravery and diligent effort.
It hasn’t been a fast and complete turnaround since that revelation, but it’s reminded me to come back, once again, to my mindfulness and presence practice. Without ongoing and intentional diligence and persistence, I will continue to be overcome by my ego, finding it in the driver’s seat of my life again and again. She’s got staying power.
So it’s back to The Power of Now. Back to my mindfulness resources. Back to my practice. Back to the continual, moment by moment remembrance that I have a choice – to identify with my ego, or identify with my higher self. I’ve remembered that results are subjective. Whilst they hold importance when we consider things like being able to pay the bills, put food on the table and a roof over out head, focusing on them is not conducive to success. When we focus on the now, and act from a place of love, service and faith, our needs are met.