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The Courage to Craft a New Paradigm

"I am going through a change - of which there have been many.

In the West, career is all about concretising what we do over time, and I am not sure that this serves us. Perhaps our work should permit more fluidity, allowing what we do to be an ever-shifting expression of something much deeper within us - ever reflective of the moment we find ourselves in. I am an advocate of being consistently inconsistent in pursuit of ourselves – not in a manner that makes us flaky or incongruent, but in a manner that keeps us close to the person emerging over time. I also believe that when we move from an inspired place, that inspiration is in some sense infectious, so I endeavour to stay alive, to stay close to my own journey and internal world to prevent the work I do with others from drying out and becoming rote.

I spent some of my morning chatting with a client about how hard it is to embrace ourselves and our innate gifts if they are not celebrated or ascribed value by our current paradigm.

I entered into this work through my own path. My deep suffering drove me to seek change and it demanded me to be creative, courageous and curious - because the answers didn’t appear to be offered up tidily on one convenient plate. As I began to heal, others asked me to help them, and so within my humble limitations, I did. I sat with them. I have learnt a lot over the last decade and a half – both formally and informally. But essentially, I seem to possess an innate capacity to read, feel and see others, and support them in turn. “Frighteningly intuitive, in the best possible way” was what someone once said to me. Our society doesn’t accept “gift” within certain realms of work.

You can be a gifted artist or musician, or even a chef. You might even become one of the most revered in the world – hailed as a “raw talent”. But to be a gifted healer is a lot more controversial. Some might argue that’s because it is ok to be a natural talent as a creative, but not within more scientific fields. I think it is interesting that healing got moved to the patriarchal mental paradigm of science, and away from its natural form as a more feminine art (regardless of the gender of the practitioner). Perhaps in purest form it sits somewhere between the two. I think my own work continues to find its expression in this middle way.

To even quietly claim such gifts can leave us quickly branded as nut jobs or narcissists. And indeed, it is important to note that the more repressed or overlooked these gifts are, the greater the risk of us actually becoming nut jobs or narcissists for it is all too easy to over express our “specialness”, in a thwarted attempt to make contact with it. All gifts require a lot of sculpting. I have needed and still need excellent mentors to support me to harness, mature and refine what nature has bestowed. Without such skilled and loving guidance, our trauma and human wounds can twist our gifts to project in dangerous ways and become self-appointed sages. Social media is saturated with them right? I have probably danced close to that line myself and its an important thing to be able to take ownership of, however sticky.

We bring these seemingly spontaneous gifts in from other lives – they are prior learning being expressed, deep memory. But again, to speak of this openly is far from socially accepted and can appear sensationalist. But in another time and place, those of us with such gifts were the natural shamans, medicine women and wise ones of our tribes.

This is a free flow piece of writing. I know where I started but I don’t know where its taking me yet. Flow with me. Stay for the ride.

I started from a place of working with the body and the spiritual path through the medium of yoga and meditation – both personally and professionally. But as I learnt more about trauma and began working within the field in a more therapeutic capacity, deep feelings of inadequacy surfaced. I toyed and toyed with doing a conventional psychotherapy degree to validate myself and the depth of work I was doing with others. I never felt like I was operating irresponsibly – my astrology dictates that ethics are a deep part of my being, and as an obsessive over learner I was always professionally evolving – but I also recognised that I had not trained in a conventional manner. I couldn’t bring myself to pour thousands of pounds and hours into a degree that didn’t make sense to me. Every time I looked at a syllabus, I felt flat - I would be learning against the grain of everything I had come to understand over many years of personal and professional learning. But I didn’t want to be seen as fringe… I didn’t want to feel “less than”. I wanted to be seen as legitimate.

At some point I decided to move past this and just get on with what I was doing. Or at least I thought I did. Spirals, spirals.

Sat next to many traditionally trained clinicians today, many would view me as less than, or would pass a rapid fire judgement of my work as in some way inappropriate or irresponsible, because I don’t have a clinical underpinning. But I also have many highly trained and respected clinical colleagues who have walked away from everything their training and clinical paradigm taught them, seeking to begin again and wanting to learn more from me about what I do and how I do it.

I have hundreds of people who want to train with me, work with me, years of waitlists, and yet…

I realised this week that I am still on some level trying to energetically clinicalise myself – legitimise myself.

It is reflected in my brand photography – trying to find a midway way between my deeply spiritual self and an appearance that doesn’t look too “floaty” or “hocus pocus”. It is reflected in the way I have offered my support – sticking to a standard therapeutic weekly hour with my clients for more than a decade. It is reflected in my obsessive over learning – as though I might arrive at some place where I can prove that I “know as much as the clinicians” and therefore am “equal”. I don’t judge myself for any of this - the motivations are mixed, some driven by trauma and some by more altruistic motivations.

But suffice to stay, after all these years of work and healing, and all the fruits it has bared, at a deep level, it is still very frightening to just be me.

But I am not sure that there is much long term use in me trying to partially mimic a paradigm I have chosen not to be part of. Obvious though that may sound, its been hard conclusion to come to. There are amazing clinicians doing incredible work, many moving more towards a holistic paradigm. But the clinical model didn’t work for me. Nor for the 100s of people I have worked with be it one to one or on retreat over the years. I am not those clinicians, and they are not me. We simply do something different, that at times, may seem similar or present areas of overlap.

So, without in any way rejecting my therapeutic skill set, I am in a process of consciously de-clinicalising myself. I wouldn’t be offering to train others if at a deep level, I didn’t know that what I was doing had legitimised itself long ago. So now I need to breathe that more deeply. I don’t know what this next evolution will look like. I hope you might stay with me as I metamorphosise again.

I am taking claim of where I come from, who I am, what I do, and how I do it. As I jokingly said to someone today – “Im a little more woo woo than I make out!” It may take some time. Some lifetimes perhaps. I remember a student saying to me on retreat 10 years ago that she still felt she was in the spiritual closet, and I recall thinking how sad it was that people felt that way (sitting as I was in a white turban and robes thinking that I was oh so comfortable with my “spiritual self”, chuckle chuckle) … I realise now that I too am only just emerging in a way that is real.

If I cannot unabashedly embrace and quietly display who I am, then how can I invite you to do the same? I know you’re out there too, aren’t you? The quietly gifted ones. The witchy ones and modern mystics, the shamans and knowers. We tend to be skilful at fostering socially acceptable forms, but what if we were to shed skin and just embody the deepest, humblest expression of who we really are? Who might we be then? What goodness might we be able to bravely transmit from that place? What is it they say? If you feel you don’t fit in to this world its because you are here to create a new one? To do this humbly is actually a very hard thing. We tend to pendulate between over-valuing and under-valuing ourselves. I am learning to find the middle way. The latter is easy to own – the former is harder for it feels more shameful to name.

I am not sure I need to mimic an old model of healing. And perhaps you don’t either. Forming a new way is brave and it is risky We must have the courage to check ourselves often, without drowning in doubt. What an artful balance that is. It’s a dance I am learning. I trip often.

Beyond the therapeutic paradigm, I also believe that at this time in human history we are being called to foster a new Way. A way that doesn't commercialise, rob, rape or appropriate spiritual teachings ... but equally ... one that does allow for evolution, integration and synthesis of the wordly wisdoms of eternal time to be slowly formed – as occurred thousands of years ago during the emergence of alchemy and Hermeticism. I feel we are at the embryonic stage of moving beyond religious dogmas and the constrictive structures of systemised spirituality, but we must also be cautious not to get tangled in a messy form of pick and mix. I am interested in supporting others to find their own inner way during times of simultaneous collapse and creation.

I no longer work in a rigid, patriarchal, linear way - attempting to model a system that didn’t work for me to begin with. I don’t take clients on for regular “sessions on a Tuesday at 12.00”. In true Feminine form, my schedule is now open and fluid, I am available. I am working more as a therapeutic mentor and spiritual friend. Sessions are 1 hour and 20 minutes at £120, because I have discovered this is how long it takes to turn the wheel fully, satisfyingly with someone. The hour doesn’t cut it – its not relaxed enough, not spacious enough. The lack of scheduling wards of stagnancy and keeps us in full accountability for our process – I am here to serve and support, but not carry. The journey is yours and I will meet you on your path anytime you need me. Every week. Once a month. Once a year. Feel it for yourself and sit with me when you’re called to. I noticed over years that regular scheduled therapy often results in stuckness and dullness – as stabilising as it can be in the beginning.

I am open to work with those with a decent therapeutic or spiritual foundation behind them – those looking to deepen. I am as interested in helping people walk in to the woods these days as I am in supporting them to walk back out. I'll also just hang out with you in the wilderness if that's what you need. Those earlier on in their path seeking support are welcome to reach out to the school for referrals to practitioners trained with me personally.

At this time I can offer these human services to a small number of people. I have a little room because of these recent changes. Reach out if it speaks to you"

. A safe space to unpack, anchor, speak, be heard, and held

- a conscious container for the mythopoetic human journey.

. Deep processing work for acute singular or complex traumas.

. Meditation guidance/teaching to advance and refine your practice and personalised practice creation

. Guidance around the advancement or exploration of an authentic spiritual path

. Business mentoring, collegial support, or supervision within the therapeutic/wellness fields for those in transition or seeking support or guidance on an emotional or practical level.

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