Most mornings I wake to an aching heart. I place a hand sometimes both, over my heart and remind myself that I am love, that there is limitless love around me, that I am not alone. I’m not even sure anymore what I am mourning but there’s an unbounded deep sadness in me. I just want it to end. I feel fragile, vulnerable and sensitive, there’s a cynicism creeping in and I resent it. I want my innocence back.
I spend the weekends in London with one of my best friends. Her company and way of being are soul-and-heart soothing. I feel so safe and content when I am with her. She has recently gone through her own kind of heartbreak. We are healing side by side. I am so grateful for her.
There are fine lines collecting under my eyes and a frown that is becoming more permanent and I refuse to buy into the idea of ageing. I know I can rewire any belief system and I recommit to my own vibrancy and wellbeing. I ask my intuition what I need and devote myself to it. She says: Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, exercise every day, vegetables, eating light, passion, creativity, relaxation, harmonious relationships, honouring what I want and need. Most of those things I’m already doing. I start putting Castor oil packs on my liver and reproductive system in the evening and see so much shift and move out of me. A gorgeous Russian woman teaches me face massage and I learn face yoga and begin sucking on little sachets of Vitamin C. Feeling good is my priority.
My relationship with myself changes. Perhaps I have never loved myself in this way before. There is a nuanced subtlety to it. A sensitivity and honesty that is new. The heavy heart, sadness and grief start to melt away and are replaced with anger, disappointment and confusion. I want it all to go away but I hold it close knowing that the only way out is through. Every now and then it overwhelms me and I weep. Big, ugly, noisy sobs shake my entire body until everything inside me feels loose.
One morning I eat a warm croissant and four tiny blue-veined mushrooms and spend the day drifting through a myriad of realities asking each one to bring back to wholeness what has been lost. I scribble endless pages in my journal and draw a card that tells me to restore greater harmony to our Earth. I have nothing to give but my words, I think and hope that this is enough as I write poems and stories and feelings that are meant to soothe and calm and soften the gaze inwards. I walk beside the English Channel over the pebbles until the sun slips behind the clouds transforming the day’s warmth into biting cold. I am restored.
There is an unexpected softness to the beginning of this month. My work feels inspired, fulfilling, joyful. I film and present a free 28 Day Journaling Challenge and receive the sweetest notes from women who feel held and carried through this practice. I develop a new program called HER WAY and sense that it is one of the best things I have ever created. I go to the farmers market every Friday and take time to touch, smell and choose local, organic produce for the week ahead. My body craves movement like never before and I blend pilates with yoga or running every day depending on what I am drawn to. I feel balanced, vibrant, satisfied. I make a new friend but crave community in the form of a village. I am excited and scared because I can feel myself embarking on a whole new way of living. It is unfolding before me even though I cannot yet make sense of it.
It is as if I have to be broken in order to become new again. I am creating a new perspective on what my reality looks like. It all takes longer in the physical world — like wading through molasses — than it does as the lighting-fast synapses activate these transformations that occur in my mind. The old ideas and paradigms around what formulates a happy, successful life are falling away and something new is revealing itself. I am left with a sense of curiosity and wonder and an imbued knowing that I can only give all of myself from a place of fullness and wholeness. I want to speak to this more but it requires a page of its own. I am awakening from tight bud to blossom, from maiden to mother, from immature girl to emboldened woman. At almost 40, I realise I have always been a little behind my time…
One of my lessons this month is that I am equally as eager to be loved as everyone else. The human in me sometimes neglects my integrity by way of my yearning for deep intimate love and connection. I wonder if I am a love addict. Then I wonder if it’s helpful to label it this way. I make a pact not to throw myself into love as easily next time.
The test comes soon after. My new friend begins to demands an unrequited intimacy from me that I do not feel. His approach is gentle and hopeful but skillless and artless and leaves me reeling. I want to find a way to maintain the friendship and connection without the promise for more but fail and hurt him with my refusal and lack of reciprocation but fail. Formerly, I would have let myself be swept away into the romance of it all but this time I stand steadfast and centred in my knowing that the love I truly want is spectacular, and not mediocre.
90 women join me for an emblazoned month-long journey in HER WAY. 90 women that formed the most powerful alliance, supporting, uplifting, cheering one another on and created a fertile yet safe space for growth, vulnerability and expansion. Very quickly it was apparent that, when given a chance, women will rise most profoundly through alliance and collaboration. Each olive call left me more exhilarated than the last and I thought this, this is it. I can create the community I am yearning for. As we nudge towards the end of our month together I started receiving emails and messages from them. “I’ve never been in a group before where I’ve felt this kind of energy from the group. I’ve been in other group programs and they have been nothing in comparison to this energy that I felt from HER WAY.” “I’ve never felt so uplifted and supported before in my life! More, please!“. “I miss meeting with everyone every week already! Can we do it again?” “Can we keep this going?” I start wondering if we could find a way to create an even more intimate space for women to grow, develop and rise within their businesses. HER WAY. I listen to what is asked for: smaller groups, more 1:1 time, more support and guidance, more intimacy. And so the HER WAY — 7-Month Women’s Business Cocoon is born.
My days a full and fluid and lighter than those of the months before. I find pockets of joy in everyday things and reasons to smile and celebrate. Then suddenly things take a turn and the gods initiate a whirlpool in my little corner of the universe. Within 48 hours, I receive an actual letter (via email attachment) from my mama after not hearing from her for 6 years, a lover from the past asks me to come to Mexico, the love of my life ex (whom I thought was dead) finds me on Facebook and informs me that he has been released from prison and really needs to talk and I am left questioning the meaning of my existence. A calm seeps over me when I realise it’s all part of the closing of cycles, making space for the new way that is unfolding in my life, and I relax into the chaos of human life again.
My body always wakes before my mind does… I notice it start to slowly extend an ankle, a toe, palm out. I stretch and remind myself to take my temperature before I move much more and then sit to pull the blinds up. The morning light is hazy outside even past 8 o’clock. I lean my pillows up against the wall and read about Circe the Greek goddess, sorceress and witch. It’s Sunday. I don’t have to do anything. Hours later with several trips to the kitchen for water, coffee, tea my limbs feel restless. I feel restless in my life and in my body. A year of confinement to a small corner of the world is unfamiliar to me. I keep remembering that I chose this. That it’s good for me. That it has already taught me so much. And this too will pass. It’s the last day of lockdown in the U.K. and I will myself to go outside. I pull on leggings and layers, Spring has not warmed this part of the world enough yet, and tie the laces on my trainers. No headphones, I want to hear the world today. I walk to the sea and turn left. Past crowds of people in their Sunday best and worst, past a cute skater girl in baggy jeans and a tie-dye t-shirt, past a dozen fish and chip stands, past new outdoor seating and eating spaces prepared for the new world that begins tomorrow. The seafront feels like the day before a festival, the carousel being tested and repaired, the restaurants offering tents set up with carpets to provide outdoor dining options. I walk until my legs start to ache and the walkway runs out at a hidden car park filled with mobile homes and caravans and gypsy girls in long skirts eating from metal plates sitting on the black asphalt. They remind me of a decade past when I used to live like them and give me heady nostalgia for a life filled with freedom a few cares beyond the next meal and the next place to sleep. Here, I smile at them and wave, I spin around to return to the new life I call my own right now. I wonder what will happen next, I think to myself.
2020, in a poem:
I flew 5,740 miles across the Atlantic ocean to a new seaside town I’d never lived in before and cried when I couldn’t find a place to live midst pandemic until a stranger reached out with a little flat that’s been my home for 8 months now. I withdrew from the world into my own creative imagination when the world told us to stay home. I held in my heart all those whose hearts were broken through losing loved ones, leaving loved ones, and letting go. I tightly squeezed everything I could out of every sunny day and every friendship and heartfelt connection. I gave myself grace in my business and in my life, not to create too much or expect too much, but just to be here, every day, and show up fully present with openness, tenderness and love. I grieved the loss of an old version of myself, the loss of a family I never really had, the loss of love in its many iterations across my lifetime and went back to therapy. I have been up and down mountains this year. My heart broke open over and over again. I questioned my existence for days on end wondering where I belong. I received a note from a stranger saying “you’ve been very much on my heart of late. you are wholly and resoundingly safe, supported, and loved.” and wept at the intuition and kindness from a woman I’ve never met. The world cracked my heart open with all its beauty and its brokenness.
Life, an initiation of heartbreaks.
It’s definitely been a wild one. For us all.
Collective grief is dripping off the walls at the moment. We have all experienced a loss of some kind and many of us, myself included, are navigating this in some sort of isolation. Bearing witness to each other’s pain is uncomfortable, but we have to learn to embrace it to create a new relationship with grief and loss and uncertainty.
I read somewhere recently that community is the antidote to grief.
The desire for community and belonging has been a strong one for some time now. I dream of living in a village of friends where we all have our own homes and come together daily to share and support one another. But there’s a caveat. I’m repelled and exhausted by the “new age spiritualism” narrative that seems to have taken over the internet. Big words and theories are thrown around by youngsters who’ve barely lived. I don’t want to be apart of it. I don’t want that in my community. To me, truth is simple and spirit is found in the subtle nuances of daily life, love and nature. We don’t need to complexify the multifaceted life experience with cognitive distractions. Everything we need to know is right here and it’s so uncomplicated.
For me personally, this year was hugely paradoxical. Incredibly beautiful and deeply painful. I had more space and time to myself than ever before. After having always been surrounded by people and communities I struggled with the loneliness of being without that and also cherished finally being able to soak in my own spirit for everlasting periods. I reconnected to people who have always lived in my heart and allied with new ones. The circumstances of the year uncovered deep-rooted trauma I didn’t know I had. Some stemming from childhood. Others from unpacking western culture and modern societal norms. I learned that if you look for trauma, you will find it. And that acknowledging and working through your trauma is one thing but carrying it around as wounding to negate taking responsibility is another. I’m working on owning my part in things and letting the rest go.
We still haven’t become mature enough to think of ourselves as only a tiny part of a vast and incredible universe. But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.Rachel Carson
The thing is, I have always been one of the fortunate ones. I have worked online for 7 years now. That didn’t change. My business thrived as more people joined the online sphere. I don’t have children to worry over. My life became my simpler, insular, contained into a smaller sphere than I’m used to. After a life of going anywhere and everywhere on a whim, I barely left the 10-kilometre radius of the seaside city I currently call home. And I’m still searching, still looking for the perfect place. A home to call my own. I feel like I’ve been searching my entire life and while home resides within me, it is also a place outside me that I am craving with some urgency to sink into.
I spent 20 years of my life following my heart across the globe whimsically exploring the lands of my planet. This year my heart led me to find a place to land and nest. While I fully intend to do that it doesn’t come naturally to me the way travel has. Its feels awkward and uncomfortable to allow my roots to take hold deeper than they have before. I sense a great resistance to the simplest, mundane things. Going grocery shopping. Paying council tax. Unblocking a clogged sink. And while I don’t miss airports or aeroplanes I do miss the momentum and spaciousness of foreign landscapes rolling past me while I centre myself. For years I practised anchoring myself within and finding a sense of grounding in the unknown. That’s always been my safe space. Now I am being asked to let go of that and connect to the land I find myself in in a whole new way.
What is left is a space of deep listening of what is wanting to be left behind and a claiming of what is coming next. It is a noticing and allowing of the energy to tell me what is wanting to partner with me to guide me into the new.
It feels like we have reached a point where the “old way” just isn’t working even though we have been told our whole life that this is the way it goes. Within each of us exists this natural force that wants to drive us forward in life. The caveat is that it doesn’t fit neatly into any pre-made boxes. It has a song and beat of its own. This is where the fear and uncertainty seeps in… the sense that this thing that we don’t know cannot be safe or trusted and all it is asking us is to commune with our own inner nature. It’s big, potent, powerful, necessary work. And it’s terrifying. We all meet each other here at some point in our lives, whether willingly or because life has brought us to our knees. Sometimes both.
It doesn’t require a noble purpose or a grand ambition; it’s okay to just wander through life following the threads of what lights you up until you die. Our western cultural narrative has tricked way too many people into thinking their lives have to have them looking for a great lightning strike, some flash of great meaning and deep insight whilst they miss out on everything else. In reality it’s mostly the little things that really matter.
The more I tune into my essential nature the more I recognise how much I have to override my innate gentleness, that softness and sensitivity in order to operate in this world. Having to adhere to linear, masculine energy undermines the powerful nuances and delicate nature of that feminine essence that resides in all of us which has messed up our human species and the planet considerably. I’m trying to find another way forward with all this.
Being a human being, a woman, a creative, running her own business making her way in the world on her own is a ride. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve reinvented myself and my work and the ways that I share pieces of my heart with you in the last 7 years. I’m currently unveiling the next version of myself and look forward to meeting her with you.
As this year comes to a close I don’t come with big, grandiose statements or insightful revelations. I simply have a commitment to myself to keep my heart open and trust the unfolding.
2021, may you be gentle with our hearts.
Thank you for continuing to share your heart and life with me on this online journey. It’s fun, weird, wonderful, awkward, inspiring, and confusing. I’m deeply appreciative of the watching, liking, commenting, communicating, and connecting. Truly, deeply, from the depths of my heart, thank you. No really, I mean it. Thank you. No, you hang up first.
Photo by the lovely Fern.
Best advice I ever got was an old friend of mine, who said you have to go the way your blood beats. If you don’t live the only life you have, you won’t live some other life, you won’t live any life at all. That’s the only advice you can give anybody. And it’s not advice, it’s an observation. James Baldwin
There are times in life when it feels like I am holding my breath waiting for something unexpected to happen. I’m scared to exhale in case my next deep breath will fragment the moment. It feels like anything is possible.
Most of 2020, particularly these past 6 months have felt exactly like that. Something entirely new is emerging in my world as I know it. I don’t have the answers yet, but I can feel which way my heart is pulling me and I’ve lived my whole life by that pull.
My entire body aches for human touch and interaction. We’ve been under strict lockdown for almost 3 months. The days feel long and hard and lonely. I’m grateful for Danger being so tactile and snuggly.
Slowly moving between my bedroom, the sofa and the balcony I sometimes toy with the idea of working in a cafe 1 day per week. I’ve had Zoom-fatigue since April. I record a free video course called ‘Pause & Pivot‘ in my living room inspired the uninterrupted stillness I’ve faced the past few months.
The black lives matter movement further unsettles my already stressed nervous system. It’s all coming to the surface right now: the trauma, the wounds that want to be healed, the indoctrinated unjust that permeates our society. I am stunned by the cruelty and saddened by my ignorance and feel overwhelmed.
Sometimes overwhelm is unprocessed grief and trauma from the challenges we have to face in our lives and the world.
In an attempt to bring my physical and emotional wellbeing back into balance I do a 7-day water fast days before the summer solstice. The psychological impact of this strange time is hitting harder than I want to admit.
Lockdown has been unlocked and the streets are teeming with people and it feels like a reverse culture shock as we all try to reintegrate into society.
He stabs a short succession of sharp needles into my stomach while guiding me to breathe. It’s my first acupuncture treatment this year. The past few months of psychological stress and emotional eating have done a number on my health and hormones. He works on my digestion and tells me I have a blood deficiency that he intends to work on. I book an appointment every week.
On a hot summer’s day, my doorbell rings and the voice on the other side of the buzzer informs me that my book delivery has arrived. I run down in torn denim shorts and a little white vest expecting a couple of strong men to start carrying the 500 Plannhers I had developed and printed up to my 3rd floor.
The small, stout delivery man at the building entry informs me that the enormous palette of boxes wrapped in layers of plastic will be dropped off on the street and I’ll have to find my own way of getting them in.
Panicked, I text my neighbours while violently cutting at the packaging with scissors. Ed, Eve and Stuart emerge and start hauling boxes with me until we are sore and tired and sweaty and every last box has filled my tiny seaside flat. I buy them chocolate and wine that we drink instantly lightheaded and tipsy from the heat and action.
I spend the first 3 days filling 100’s of orders, marching my suitcase full of perfectly packed books to and from the Post Office to fly around the Earth to their new homes until I feel like my arms might fall off and my body aches but my heart is full. Plannher has been so well received I feel I am living in a dream.
On the first page of my own Plannher I write:
I’ve always used journaling to identify the under-currents of my subconscious thoughts — as a way to bring awareness and clarity to patterns, habits and beliefs — those that bring joy and gratitude, and those that offer a portal for change. Alongside that, I have discovered the magic of making gentle frameworks of plans, dreams and aims to guide my way. It’s this beautiful weaving of mapping out, contemplation, and being in the journey that is life, that Plannher is created for. A feminine way for women to invite structure and dreaming into her life.
I’m invited to a party but am not inclined to spend time with so many people all at once yet.
Instead, I go to Norfolk for 4 days with a quartet of friends to frolic around wild beaches, gasp at the seals and sit in the sun with icy glasses of gin. We talk about love and life and what it’s like being single in your mid-to-late 30’s. I write about it.
I start dating someone. A man I’ve known for 14 years who on one kismet day in early August reenters my little corner of the universe. In my journal, I note Oxytocin is an amusing and cruel mistress. How a simple intimate connection can cause a shift so great that I can go from thinking about a man 1-2 times per year to wanting to have his babies. It’s ludicrous. Anyway, I continue, this too shall pass and find its own way with time. It’s good to remember that casual thoughts do not reflect reality and that being human is so fucking weird.
It’s my birthday. My best friend Lilly is staying with me. We’ve been through so much together. I am deeply grateful that she is one of the people in my world that I know will be right there whenever I need her.
I wake up excited like a child, thrilled to be alive, to dance another year around our sun. I feel hot, so hot it feels like my body is burning up. I take my temperature just in case. The thermometer reads a cool 36.4. I have a suspicion what I’m feeling is the love directed at me from around the world at this moment that is causing my body to burn.
We sit on the sofa as I open presents. 2 beautiful handmade ceramic mugs. beautiful houseplants. books. a rose. more flowers. a card game. there’s a parcel from him. out falls a thick envelope and something bubble-wrapped bigger than both my hands. It feels like a candle I say to Lilly as I unwrap the gift first. Inside is a large jar of coconut oil. I laugh, hard. It’s an inside joke. Then I open the envelope. There are four handwritten pages that I rapidly devour bursting into ugly tears at the end. I run to the bathroom with the letter in my hands to hide my fragility and quiet my concurrently brimming and breaking heart. It’s the most beautiful love letter I’ve ever read.
After I compose myself we make granola with coconut yoghurt and berries for breakfast and get ready for my birthday picnic party on the beach. I laugh and smile and drink champagne with everyone but a small part of me stays with that letter the entire day.
August peaks in energy and intensity in every way. It’s dry and hot and the 10.30 pm sunsets followed by restless nights and 4.30 am sunrises make the days long. In an attempt to make up for all the lonely months prior I throw myself into every convivial activity with enthusiasm.
At the same time, I navigate the challenges that arise from the gentle, fierce commitment I have to live a life that is my own. There’s a sense of closure of one chapter of my life, a cycle that began 5 years ago and ended here. My life is steering into foreign waters.
To process, I write:
People love to ask me what my plans are. What’s next? Where are you going? It always makes me smile. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’m very comfortable in the uncertain vulnerability of not knowing the future.
Here’s what I do know.
I will love in ways I’ve not loved before. I will take pieces of my heart and soul and turn them into things. I will see beauty I’ve not witnessed previously. I will seek out new experiences to inspire me. I will learn and grow and change and the world around me will do the same. I will follow the threads of what feels good: what inspires, interests, captures my heart… until those threads run out… and then I will follow new threads. Some threads last for moments, years, lifetimes…
I won’t get attached to knowing how life will happen because I know that people are terrible at predicting the future. I trust the kismet unfolding of life as it happens, now.
I will meet life, every day, with all of myself. I will show up to it fully. I will pour my heart and creativity into everything around me. I will touch each moment with all the presence I can muster. And it will be enough. It will be enough.
A yoga class abandoned to make it to an appointment as I slide into my 1950’s cropped slim leg trousers and cashmere jumper. Wrapping up warm in a fluffy coat and wool baker boy cap to traipse across town for brunch with a woman I’ve only recently met but already adore and admire. Lying on a rug on the floor with her and talking about love, pain, growth, sex and the lives past that we lived in this one with sticky flakes of pain au chocolat on our fingers and ginger tea cooling too quickly beside us. Walking home through the rain feeling smugly untouched by the wet on account of my coat and cap humming songs to myself. Sleeping in after a week of full-moon restless nights, a 5k run through soft drizzle and a lit-up carousel on a pier to greet me. Roasted vegetables in the oven, neighbours that meet me on our adjoining balconies as the wind and wet tear at our hair and clothing to exchange baked goods over the side and work that requires my creative words while my phone lights up with sweet messages that flutter my heart. Danger-Zone squeezing his furry body between my ribs and hip bone to settle into that nook that he loves. A perfect weekend. The sense of freedom. My life is my own.
I see him a few more times since that first. We are taking things slow. I want to protect the sacred, fragile, first flourishings of this love as we are exploring each other’s lives and landscapes. I am astounded by the depth and intimacy met with the freedom and sovereignty that I never knew possible before. Within it breathes a tender vulnerability and rawness that makes my heart ache. It feels innovative… like we exist at the very edge of the world in the way we are relating. We are experimenting with relishing each other absent of expectations of what might happen next.
A second love letter arrives. I strive to take my time reading it this time. I want to savour the words. To feel them touch my soul one by one. Once more, giant sobs escape from me before I even finish. I’ve never before met a man who can touch my heart with words in this way. I don’t contact him for 3 days out of fear of lacking the depth I want to express under the welcome guise that my friend Anna is staying with me. When I finally reply I choke up during a voice note as I try to reveal how I feel and begin to cry.
He invites me to come to Italy with him. I say I’d love to. It’s equal parts exhausting and mesmerising. We harvest olives and play with babies, eat too many pastries alongside Italian cappuccinos, run through Tuscan countryside, see each others’ humanness flake through in difficult moments, and gently soothe those moments with intimate conversations and lovemaking.
I am discovering so much. About myself. About love. About relating. I don’t have the answers yet but I am willing to learn.
I read a sentence that said something like we are watching each other go through withdrawal from the emotional addiction to the myth of certainty and those words… they have stayed with me as I see the world shapeshift over and over again trying to make sense of things that we cannot: the mystery of life that is uncontrollable and beyond our intellectual capacities.
We need to come to a place in ourselves where we are to be able to hold the paradox in our hearts and minds that we can endlessly grasp for more our knowledge is limited. That while discovering and learning about ourselves and the world is exciting and fascinating we can never access the whole truth of anything because we are limited by design.
Truth reveals itself in layers.
There is no certainty. We cannot predict the future. Anything is possible. We can only choose, moment-to-moment, what feels “right” right now and have faith that everything will work out. Learning to feel safe and secure and happy within uncertainty is a skill we all need to learn.
Everything is always changing. Nothing remains the same.
Photo: Nadia Meli
Growing older is such a luxury and honour. Every year I become more myself, stronger, softer, wiser, kinder, happier, I let go of and move with things easier. This year was one of my favourite birthdays yet surrounded by friends, new and old, by the sea in the sun, laughing a lot.
There’s a really powerful shift that happens when you embrace exactly where you are. No chasing other things/places/people. Not wishing they were different. Fully allowing yourself to be exactly where you are and celebrating the eternal motion of life.
When people ask me what’s next my answer is always “I’m enjoying what’s right in front of me. That’s where I believe life gets really good.”
At 39 I have lost the care for counting years in numbers. Instead, I want to count the number of times my heart swelled with love, the times I lived fully in rapturous joy, the times I broke down in tears and fell apart entirely succeeded by a new version of myself. I want to measure my life by my ability to stay soft when things are hard, to approach things gently when they are sharp, and to choose trust and tenderness in any conditions.
Over my lifetime I developed a high resilience for uncertainty. At first by circumstance and later by choice and further on by habit I chose uncertainty in my home environment, in my work, in finances, in relationships. The more I stripped away at the external sense of certainties the more effectively I was able to anchor myself in my centre letting go of the illusion that anything is for sure.
Over the past 2 years, the rebuilding began for me. It feels so good to be able to create and fully grasp this physical life in both hands without attachment, treading through it lightly. Once nothing was left I had everything to play with without the illusion is that things are solid in their certainty.
It is an illusion that has melted for many of us this year.
There was an innocence to the beginning of this year that none of us can ever reclaim. A hopeful naivety. We were invincible in our optimism that things would continue the way we know them. There was no hint of how the year would unfurl. No evidence of the ways it was yet to break us open and the ways we would have to stitch ourselves back together again, never quite the same as before.
While not much makes sense right now I know that this is happening for us. It’s a coming of age for all of us as a society. A chance to strip away the stuff that made our foundations weak and crippled our society. An opportunity to burn it all down. We are creating space to rebuild a new way of life.
I feel so strongly that the air is thick with thousands of new different ideas and new ways of living and doing life right now. So much is coming through.
We are being propelled forward. We don’t have time to indulge in the unhelpful dogmatics like our fears and pity ourselves or play the victim game. We have to continuously clear all the ego-debris that comes up along the way to keep the space open and be a clear channel for what needs to come through.
These past months and those going forward I am keeping tremendous amounts of time and space open for me to hear the new ideas, concepts and ways of being to allow them to drop in so they can move through me.
One of the huge pieces that I feel is being released collectively right now came through yesterday around working hard and doing things that create socially valued results and how we can start doing work and showing up in a way that is entirely new. I think the concept of jobs as we have known them is starting to fall away.
Ultimately amongst all this, I feel a sense of vulnerable patience knowing what really matters is moving with this stream of the unfolding of my life and trusting that while we don’t know what is next, or how it is all going to pass, it is all exactly as it should be.
This is 39. I like it here.
From previous years:
This is 38.
This is 37.
This is 36.
Photo by Ste Marques
I sit on the sofa, knees pulled over to the side with Danger snoozing on them while I balance my laptop on my thigh. Before me are the large French doors leading out to the balcony of the flat that currently is my home closed tightly against a British summer cold front and rain. I’m so grateful for this space despite the uncertainty of how long I can remain. I hope at least until the end of the year.
It’s mid-July. I feel a lot of emotions, I don’t have words for all of them.
There are no words for what 2020 has delivered so far. It will take many more months, perhaps even years, for us to process this turning point. But I feel we have reached the next step forward. We have arrived at a place the is potent with new beginnings.
I felt the shift, I think we all did, with the Full Moon and Lunar Eclipse. We are ready now, to look towards the future.
Five months ago, when all this began, I wrote these words:
I hope this is the beginning of a new world. One where we view ourselves as part of a breathtaking miracle: a rotating sphere of life suspended in an infinite galaxy. And honour it as so.
I hope we learn to remain soft, gentle and kind. That we make every choice with loving mindfulness instead of rushing back to what we once knew.
I hope we are at the tipping point of a transformed perspective. One where creativity, beauty, love and connection override capitalism, consumerism and selfish greed.
I hope we all do our part in activating drastic change. That we reflect on how we can act as a community that includes not only every race and background but animals, plants and oceans.
I hope we use this fragile time to see everything with new, clear eyes. That we can envision what we need to do to steer into a new revolutionary direction.
I hope this is the beginning of a new normal.
My hopes haven’t changed.
Lockdown has been unlocked. The streets are filled with busy-ness and humans going about their days. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. It will never be the same as it was before but we have reached something new.
I am impatient. So much is changing. Yet I feel frustrated when I see the long queues of people outside Primark and McDonalds and wonder why they are there.
We have a lot of work to do.
I’m halfway through reading ‘Me and White Supremacy’. I am not enjoying it. It’s taking me longer because sometimes I feel triggered and I need to spend additional time journaling to understand why and my role in it and how I can change. It’s part of my commitment that I made to do the work.
Journaling has graced a whole new level of joy.
Plannher was released into the world this weekend along with all these potent energies. A quarter of the stock sold within the first 3 days. I have never felt more supported and held by my community than now. It’s a testament of consistent hard work across many years and a reflection of the genuinely beautiful souls that find themselves in my sphere. I hope they sell out by the end of September.
From the bottom of my heart, I am so deeply grateful. For all of it.
…the human race.”
When I heard anti-racism educator Jane Elliot utter this profound statement I wondered why this simple truth hadn’t saturated our education since the beginning of time.
Allow me to preface the words ahead with: I am learning so much right now and trying to navigate all these issues that have risen to the surface with a dedication to do better and to change. And I’m going to fuck up along the way.
I didn’t know.
I didn’t know that in some parts of the world there are people who have to actively advocate for their lives when they do everyday things like go for a walk or use medical services. Having opted out of the traditional workforce before I even entered into it I had no idea that people of colour are sometimes paid less than white people for exactly the same job.
There is so much I don’t know and I recognise now that that is part of the problem.
Tucked safely in my privileged bubble, I believe in oneness, in unity, in inclusion. But I diligently excluded racism and racist behaviour thinking that if I erased it out of my view and didn’t participate in it, it didn’t exist. I thought that not being racist and ignoring those who are, was enough. I thought that not seeing race or colour was sufficient.
My neutrality made me complicit.
I’m embarrassed that it took this for me to be brought to awareness and more importantly, willing to take action. I have a lot of work to do around understanding how to encourage and support diversity, how to create inclusiveness in my personal life as well as my online business, while also remaining genuine and real without engaging in tokenism. I am committed to educating myself around how I can use my privilege in the world to enhance and empower the wellbeing of others to a greater extent than I have.
There are nuanced differences in how racism plays out from culture to culture, and of course, racism occurs across many skin tones, yet I am clear on two things. One, that just because it doesn’t impact my immediate environment that I have no role to play and two, that we can only dismantle things piece by piece and one by one.
When I teach clients to redefine their lives by undoing and unlearning their blocks and triggers we don’t say “yes, there are blocks and triggers in the way of me being a fully flourishing human being” and then hope that a blanket statement like that will be enough. No, we look at each one individually, break it down and replace it with a new narrative and new actions. The clearing of one might create a domino effect in clearing many but we must bring awareness to each one individually. In this case, we are looking at racism directed at black people in every nation. One by one we create systematic change.
I am deeply grateful for this wakeup call as I unpack all of this.
I am grateful to be held accountable for my actions. I’m grateful to add fuel to the already hard-burning fire around the systemic breakdown of our corporate culture. Racism is earned out of the greed for gain on the backs of human lives.
My intention has always been to liberate and empower women, all women, to be fully expressed, safe, and fulfilled. I have been privileged in my whiteness to never consider race. I thought that all women are equally oppressed and we all have the same dismantling to do. It never crossed my mind that my coloured friends might be fighting a battle that runs deeper in layers than my own.
It is my aim to make the topic of race and racism an ongoing conversation in my circles. I am educating myself on the lived experiences of people of colour in my communities. I am seeking out solutions to dismantle systemic oppression by learning and teaching methods that prioritise human lives over money, power and materialism.
I have a lot to discover, it’s going to take time for me to assimilate and integrate it all, and as and when I make mistakes I will apologise and course correct.
Here are some UK-specific useful resources I’m diving into at the moment:
ARTICLES & POSTS TO READ
BOOKS TO READ
- Taking Up Space: The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change by Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- The Good Immigrant: 21 Writers Explore What It Means To Be Black, Asian, And Minority Ethnic In Britain Today edited by Nikesh Shukla
- I Am Not Your Baby Mother by Candice Braithwaite
- Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala
- Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
- “I will not be erased”: Our stories about growing up as people of colour edited by gal-dem
- Black and British: A Forgotten History by David Olusoga
- Don’t Touch My Hair by Emma Dabiri
FILMS/SERIES TO WATCH
All Day and a Night (2020
Queen Sono (2020)
Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C.J. Walker (2019) a personal favourite of mine
Miss Virginia (2019)
For Colored Girls (2020)
Murder to Mercy: The Cyntoia Brown Story
She Did That (2020)
Who Killed Malcom X (2020)
Kevin Hart: Don’t F**K This Up (2019)
They’ve Gotta Have Us (2018)
When They See Us
Dear White People
I Am Not Your Negro
Noughts and Crosses
OTHER THINGS TO DO
- Complete this important survey on the lack of education UK students receive on Black history, colonisation and slavery, The Impact of Omission – it only takes a few minutes.
- Watch Injustice by Ken Fero & Tariq Mehmood/Migrant Media.
- Support Black and minority voices by subscribing to gal-dem.
- Sign up to this free course by the University of Exeter.
- Diversify your feed with some brilliant voices, including but not limited to @MunroeBergdorf, @Akala, @EmmaDabiri, @UKBLM, @TravisAlabanza, @UKBlackPride, @galdemzine, @cocobyname, @ReniReni, @entrylevelactivist, @nirushika.
- Check out BFI’s Black Britain on Film collection, films tackling issues of race, representation and identity.
ORGANISATIONS TO SUPPORT