THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

Step 5 – Grounding

 

Cameron’s introduction

Nourishing the roots of our being is naturally and directly related to grounding. When our roots are down we feel more anchored in daily life and more able to partner our wishes, hopes and dreams. It is one thing to think and daydream about change, yet action on the things we think about constantly is what lands the shift in our lives. The things we regularly daydream about are signals from our soul, the deeper knowing part of ourselves that is forever trying to guide us in life.

Approaching change step by step is a wise way to manage the instability of change. During times of change we can feel wobbly, uncertain and insecure. At these times it’s the simple things like cleaning our house, eating regularly, time connecting with friends which help us to stay grounded in present time reality. Transforming through change is simpler when we approach it step by step and day by day. Slowing down helps.

 

Zoe’s story on Grounding

Grounding, grounding, grounding! It’s so powerful! This is because I believe grounding creates the sustainable, transformational change. By this, I mean, the type of transformation that is an unshakable connection that not only allows the shift and change to happen but also provides the platform to move forward. In the Nourishing Roots teachings from Cameron, she describes, that there are three important keys to grounding – transformation, transition, and step-by-step. This is my personal experience of how I used grounding to create the necessary change I have recently experienced.

 

Transform

To transform, I did need all the steps 1 -7 plus a constant reminder to slow down and to let go to be able to step forward. It may sound simple to walk away from a ‘bad’ relationship but it’s not when you are in love with the man of your dreams who is subjecting you to abuse. So, what transformed in me? I had thought Luke & I were transforming and growing in our relationship, but we weren’t – our relationship would go through a cycle of flourishing, growing and then the abuse or the impact of the abuse would arise, and it would feel like we were at the start again – a cycle, just like the cycle of abuse.

What I realised is that the transformation was not happening within our relationship. I thought (or was hoping) it was but when I stopped and accepted, I realised it wasn’t – the abuse remained. So, I then knew I had to transform OR I had to transform the relationship somehow. I’d hit my limit of counselling sessions, arguments, low self-esteem, being called names, having my things damaged, being put down and being confused. Because I’d hit this limit I knew the transformation I needed – it was for me to leave and the relationship to end, and for good (this time). 

 

Transition

The shift from transform to transition was initially not too bad. Actually, what I mean is, it was horrifying, heart wrenching, grief stricken, like I’d physically lost Luke. But when I look back now, those few months after leaving Luke where ‘easy’ compared to the following few months. Big changes ignite vulnerability – and for me this change did in all aspects of my life. I changed everything – work, home, where I lived and leaving my partner. The vulnerabilities I had were intense. I was confused, shocked and unsure of what relationship I’d just be in, I was now a female approaching 40, single, no children; and chose to leave the man that I adored, that my whanau loved, the same man that subjected me to abuse so I had all the stigma that goes with that.

The reason why I found the first few months easier was because I was on the road, I could move around and spend my time with people I wanted to and do the things I wanted to and then when it didn’t serve me I’d move on or do something different. I was deliberate on who I spent time my time with and focused on whanau who were compassionate, naturally warm, open and don’t get uncomfortable when someone is upset or try to stop others from feeling what they feel and/or that they had had experience or knowledge in abuse.

However, after I stopped ‘roaming’ and I started to think about settling somewhere again, I started to spin. I struggled to know who I was, what I was to do, who I wanted to connect with and spend time with.  What I realise now is, it was like I was shaking off all the things that didn’t serve me anymore and reviewing what I wanted when moving forward. Whilst I was reviewing and moving away from my intimate relationship with Luke, I was doing the same with my friendships, connections and all aspects of my life. There was so much change I was spinning. 

 

Step-by-Step

In some respects, that spinning was a good thing as it forced me to stop. It forced me to stop and just think okay, what can I do, what next, what’s that first step I need to do. Then from there I just worked out what the second step was. I started to look for my new town to live, then I found a house that I could call home, nurtured friendships and connections, worked out what type of work and people I wanted to work with, search for a job, got a job, looked after myself better, and bit by bit everything started to fall into place and I started to feel more alive and strong in my own presence. It came down to focusing on the now and grounding myself.

Question for Grounding – How are your individual shifts and changes/transformations also reflected in the life of the collective right now?

For me, I believe my individual shifts are being reflected back to me by the people I want to spend time with and the activities I want to do. This is because as I’ve been on this journey over the last 10 months, and there have been a small select group of people that I have deeply opened up to. What I realise is that these were people that had compassion, compassion to me, my situation AND Luke and his situation. I connected with how they responded – it just felt so easy. I couldn’t connect with ‘but you can’t leave, you two are awesome together’, or ‘no, you don’t deserve that (DV), you can do better (which I translate to, ‘kick him to the curb he is not worth it’), or ‘don’t call it violence, that is too strong a word’. I believe DV Is a collective issue and therefore a collective solution is needed. I see this in talks from the CEO of Aviva (a domestic violence agency) and the language and approach she uses, refer to her ted talks here. I see this in my DV counsellor, when she says to me ‘Luke can and may re-learn new behaviors based around equality so how would you feel about that? How would you feel and what would you do if one of you wanted to connect again in some way?’. I see this from Jacinda Ardern, our NZ Prime Minister when she spoke at the UN see here and she talks about kindness, compassion and refers to the #metoo movement as the #wetoo movement.

 

 

Domestic Violence

There were a couple of approaches I took to really ground me in relation to the experience of Domestic Violence. Firstly, I wrapped people around me that gave me the support I needed and if you are not sure where to start, start with a DV agency or DV support services. Secondly, understand and gain knowledge on DV from these agencies, and finally, stop, reflect and take stock. This was one of the quotes from the 19 week DV programme I attended:

 ‘When a relationship is changing, whether this is because your or your partner have initiated change, it is useful to stand back on a regular basis and evaluate what is taking place. Because a form of abuse may be replaced by another, it is important to look at the overall pattern of control’

This quote not only helped give me knowledge on DV, it also helped me to stop, reflect and be in the now, a key component of grounding.

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

Step 4 – Presence

 

Cameron’s Introduction 

Presence is a power we all have simply by being in the world. When we show up to life, to others, to an environment we bring a quality of energy to life - our presence. Presence is something we feel. When we become more conscious of how we show up to life, we can bring more of our best Self forward. We can all consciously choose to use our presence to support, heal and honour others.

Presence can also be used to dominate, overpower and threaten. People exposed to threatening environments will often shrink their presence to avoid being seen. As we become more established in steady, loving, grounded presence we can bring to life the true nature of ease, flow and freedom. Presence is a power we can build through conscious intent and here-now awareness of ourselves and others. 


Zoe’s story on Presence

For me, when I am truly and deeply connected in presence, I am the most empowered and at ease I can be. With my experience of leaving Luke, this presence was THE BIGGEST turning point in creating the change I needed. There are three components of presence that led to this turning point - Knowing what I stand for; being myself and simply ‘being ‘with others; and connecting with others through pure presence.

 

Knowing What I stand for

I have a strong core belief that great relationships are built on respect, love, laughter, kindness, support, communication, commitment and mutual partnership. My parents taught me this and I have chosen to take these beliefs into my life and relationships too (Thanks Ma and Pa, you rock and are my rocks too!). What I experienced in my relationship with Luke is that I wanted to ‘fix our relationship’ and I had become attached to ‘us’ and the ‘dream of us’. However, I knew mentally and emotionally that there was something not working for me in our relationship. It was when I stopped trying to fix things and acted with more compassion, something changed. It was both compassion for myself and compassion for Luke. It was extremely stressful for both of us being in the type of relationship we had, we had both gone through stress, anxiety, depression because of trying to make sense of things and work it through and we were both exhausted. However, when this compassion came in because I had slowed down, accepted where I was and worked through the previous three steps – connecting to source energy, generating power, and flow - I felt a deep connection to a deeper truth that I knew I had to leave. It was like my mental, emotional, spiritual and physical aspects all lined up because I cognitively knew I had to leave. I felt I had to leave. I believed I had to leave and then, I could physically get up and leave. 

 

 

Being Myself & Being Together

I have been told many times that one of my strengths is that I am comfortable in my own skin, have a strong and calm Mana, am present and simply hold space for others, and I’m told it’s a wonderful trait that others appreciate. However, when being with Luke, I would sometimes run through my mind of how to be around him and he would often say, ‘where are you?’ or ‘you’re not here, who are you thinking about or don’t you want to be here with me?’. It was uncanny as at times we didn’t even need to talk for him to say these things – he would simply sense it somehow. He was right, I wasn’t present with him. This was because I’d re-learnt some new behaviors to protect myself around him – be on guard, watch out, hold your body this way or not that way, say this, don’t say this. I was trying to avoid anything that might trigger a bad reaction.

To build my strength at the time of leaving Luke and after leaving him, what I now realize is I was naturally choosing to be with people who had a steady calm presence. I was being drawn to those people, and the wonderful way about them of just being present with me, just a calming energy or something about them, with no need to say or do anything necessarily, but just to be there with me.

 

 

Connecting with others through Presence

The most powerfully defining moment of understanding the power of presence in Luke’s and my relationship was when I could be in my presence around him. This meant I would not get drawn into dancing around him or taking my lead from him on how to be. I became totally present, stayed true to myself and simply went with the flow and not his flow. The interesting part too is, I didn’t set an agenda (not this time) to ‘work out what I needed to do in our relationship’ - I simply set an intention to be my true self.

This intention of true self, restored my power and I had the clarity that I needed to leave as well as maintain this clarity in his presence to have the conversation with him that I was leaving. I acted and spoke from the heart and was able to tell him that I loved him and I didn’t want to be without him or leave him, however, as he is subjecting me to abuse and this is a DV relationship I must leave as this is not acceptable for me, and it’s for that reason I am leaving. It breaks my heart to write these things because I know we both loved one another and that just like me, he too was grateful for what we had and didn’t want to end either. I recall him saying to me ‘thank you for showing me the things I didn’t want to see or hear and for being my greatest teacher’. I truly believe we wouldn’t have been able to end our relationship with openness, love and honest if I hadn’t have been able to connect with my true self presence.

 

Question for Presence What am I doing when I feel most centered?

I feel most centered when I am around others and can talk and act in a way that is naturally me. I don’t even think or consider how to act or what to say and that it just flows. I feel this mostly around some dear friends, family members and colleagues. There are still times now when I am around someone, mainly males, that I don’t feel centered and I think that I shouldn’t say anything or do anything or don’t be too friendly or almost check over my shoulder to see if someone is watching. I do know however, this is irrational thinking as it’s the residual impact of being in a DV relationship. After 9 months of leaving, I am pleased to say that this is infrequently happens these days, and I believe that this will subside all together in time.

 

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Finding my presence in a relationship where P&C was being subjected on me was a rollercoaster.

During the relationship, it was hard and frankly, impossible at times.

To exit the relationship, it was extremely empowering, liberating and it gave me the strength to leave and create the needed turning point in my life.

However, to my surprise after leaving the relationship, I found it super hard to stay centered in my true presence.

 

After leaving Luke, I was thrown into extreme grief and sadness for so many reasons but I believe one of the biggest struggles was I just didn’t know how to ‘be’ anymore. I was so off kilter as to how to simply be in this world, how to be myself and just generally be. I didn’t know who I was or how to be and it terrified me. During week 8 of the DV programme, we talked about the Journey of Change and I was shocked into reality and gained clarity on why I was feeling this way.

 

What I realized is because I had been in a P&C relationship, I had come to rely on Luke and how he was that day or moment and what his behaviour was so I could adjust and work myself around him so I knew how to behave. He became my compass and I spun around him. Whilst there may not be an ‘episode’ for a few weeks or months, there was always an underlying knowledge that things could change on a dime. I was ‘controlled’ by someone else’s behaviour (or the threat of this behaviour) and this then gave me the direction on how ‘to be me’ … scary right?!? It shocks me to write that … for two reasons, firstly, because I never thought ‘that would be me’ and secondly, because Luke was the person I loved and the man I wanted to be old, wrinkly, grey haired with and still having our fun adventures and laughing together.

 

During the DV programme, we discussed the diagram (source unknown) below, and specifically the seeking independence and separate stage, and this was where I had this light bulb moment. The bumps in the circle of the separate stage shows as an individual separate from a P&C relationship, there are parts of them left behind because the other person has determined how they are to be and behave to survive - whether it be financial, sexual, physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual survival. When I recovered from the shock of this reality and the weeks of upset and tears, I stopped, connected and then set my next milestone to reach - to understand out ‘how to be again’ after being moulded by someone else.   

 

The Stages of Partnership Change Model diagramme. We can look at where we are by using this Partnership change model as a way of mapping our journey in the DV relationship. As mentioned in my story, it was understanding the phases of separation that gave me the mental clarity however, reviewing this model and each stage, individuals will resonate with different aspect. A specialist DV counsellor and/or agency will be able to support you (or your loved ones) through this with the right care and support.

Diagram step 4.png

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

Cameron’s Introduction

In Step 3 we look at how the flow of our lives is working or not working. Like a river which flows freely when the volume of water is high with an active propelling current, we are more likely to be in flow in life when our heart, mind and emotions are in harmony. One of the ways we can observe our flow is to examine where we are out of flow.

 

ZOE’S PERSPECTIVE OF OUT OF FLOW  

A tool that we use at work for brainstorming is if we find we are having a block and can’t define what we want or why something works, we flip it to get the creative juices flowing, and start with what we don’t want or what doesn’t work. So, this is where I’m starting with Flow. What I observe when I’m out of flow are the following images, descriptions and outcomes:

1.     A big boulder has rolled off the cliff and into the river = the boulder is the heartache, stress, pain, and the water, my flow, is splattered everywhere, outside the river onto the riverbed and the water is weak and thin and may in time make it back to the river or evaporate. This then makes me feel confused, my mind is scattered, and I’m disorientated and not sure where to go/what to do/how to be.

2.     The river is flowing too fast = this is me when I want to get away from where I am right now so it might be the ‘hurry up and heal and move on’, ‘quick, I need to achieve this or do that for it to be okay or feel good’ or ‘if I keep being busy then maybe I can fight off or ignore this feeling of sadness or whatever it is’.  It is like the water that overflows and spills out of the river as it takes the bend.  As a result, I miss things, I flood things or in other words become overbearing, I retreat, I miss connections, I’m not present, I’m rushing, I’m at work before I’m at work, I hurt myself, I spill things … etc.

3.     The river has turned into a little stream = I’ve overdone it, I’m low on energy, I’ve lost my mojo/motivation. This ends up with going into hibernation, so I lay low, recuperate and recharge.

4.     The river has become a dam = I’m frightened. The water is stagnant, still, almost frozen.  For me, when I was subjected to emotional or psychological abuse and at times now when I’m reminded of it, my typical response is to freeze.

 

CHANGE TAKES ENERGY

At times I still live these out of flow experiences however I feel I’m more aware when they start to appear, and I feel better equipped to get the flow back to the state of optimal experience.  What I am also more aware of is, how change requires energy. Even if it’s exciting and desired or heartbreaking and dreaded, it takes energy.

 

I intuitively and cognitively knew something had to drastically change in mine and Luke’s relationship. We were happy most of the time and we thought we are working things through - although we weren’t really, as we were getting the wrong counselling and support and not addressing the core problem. It wasn’t until another part of my life changed, my work, that this required more of my energy that I hit breaking point. Essentially, it felt like my hand was forced on what to do in Luke’s and my relationship because I was spiraling out of control as I didn’t have the energy to cope with both

 

SLOWING DOWN

I considered what was most important – my relationship or my job. I quit my job. I recuperated first, relaxed, slowed down. I gave myself time, space and learnt to be present again and go with the flow. I started to simply allow the arguments, the happy times, the abuse just to happen. I no longer tried to stop it, resist, attach myself to it or hope that he would stop using power and control behaviour over me. I simply accepted. I recall at that time, us chatting and him telling me of a story of something his Mum, at 82 years old, had done to him that week. It was in my state of acceptance that I really FELT the impact of the story. She was again, using a form of power and control over him and he didn’t see or understand it – it is the upbringing he had from both his Mum and Dad and he has not taken responsibility for changing this behaviour. It struck me – I could be 82 years old myself, still in this relationship with Luke and still be subjected to abuse.  By slowing down and accepting what I could now see, I regained clarity, perspective and reality. It was at this time, I knew in those next few months what I had to do. I had to leave someone I loved.

 

RESTORING FREE FLOW

The time came when Luke and I had ‘the chat’ (about breaking up and separating) and even though it didn’t go too well i.e. yelling, unsafe driving, having to walk home etc, I recall how I felt after we finally broke up and he had driven off  – the feeling I experienced was - it was like almost nothingness or peace. Sure, I still cried my eyes out, got angry that day and for months afterwards but at that defining point, there was a feeling of confirmation that this was right. I recall when I got home, I scratched my head, spun around in circles as in a ‘what do I do know?’ state. So I slowed down and stopped, then laughed at myself spinning in circles scratching my head and then from there, I jumped in the car got out into nature and visited friends. What I realise now, I was intuitively gathering my energy and power (step 2) as nature and connections/relationships do this for me.  This was because I needed to rebuild my power and get back into flow of the bigger life around me. I continued to keep this as a focus and as a result within 4 months, I had packed up and left my home, relocated to another town, found a job, started the DV programme, built new friendships and connections, found my new home and was on the path to rebuilding myself back to me being me without someone else’s power and control on me.

 

Cameron's closing comments

When emotions are all over the place, to slow down and connect with what we are feeling offers perspective. Zoes moment of recognition “this is over” came with the feeling of acceptance. The resistance/blocks to flow/boulder in the river finally shifted and she could finally see what she had been avoiding. 

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

·       I want to ensure that anyone reading this who has, is or knows of someone experiencing any form of domestic violence (emotional, psychological, emotional, sexual, physical, financial or spiritual) - there is support out there for you.

·       Safety from all forms of abuse should be the priority.

·       The most high-risk time is when someone leaves an abusive relationship.

·       I would not like anyone to think that the only option if in a DV relationship is for the relationship to end. There are couples seeking support together, by both attending the men and women programs separately.

·       The men and women who subject others to abuse and genuinely want to change (and are not just a bum on a seat e.g. there cause they want to please their partner or the court order says, etc) and have awareness and self-insight into abusive behaviours and commit to the change, can actually transform rapidly.

·       I would strongly recommend that you seek support from a domestic violence agency or group, or a counsellor who is experienced and knowledgeable and specializes in domestic violence.

The Family Services Directory page here is a great resource, search by choosing Family Violence and your region.

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

CAMERON’S INTRODUCTION TO STEP 2

The Nourishing Roots journey has seven steps. Each one is its own independent learning step and when considered in context to the others, each step can help us view the whole picture. After we explore where we come from - Step One - the inherited ancestral power of source essence - we then look at how we gather and fuel our power on a daily basis.

ZOE’S STORY ON STEP 2 - GATHERING POWER

As I sit down to write this week’s story, I have the same thought when I wrote last week’s story … “Wow, this step seemed like THE hardest AND most powerful … AND I feel I’m still learning this step!’ I do believe I’ll be thinking this every week.

How I interpret generating my power is how I fuel and manage all that I do to give myself the right energy, and therefore power, to be my true and best self. What I realise now, is that there are some key areas where I generate my power, or not, and these include:  understanding how my body, mind and emotions naturally work and supporting these through setting boundaries specifically in relation to nature, food and relationships.

NATURE

I grew up in nature out in the bush on 20 acres in Queensland. We had all different trees and bushes and animals (cows, dogs, horses, chooks and the occasional snake – I was in Australia!), a swimming pool, a garden and veggie patch, and as kids we would spend most of our time outside which I loved as I am also naturally active. I still have a pull for this now. I need to live by the water and have good bush tracks nearby, I sleep with the windows and curtains open so I can hear the waves, feel the fresh air and wake up to see the plants outside. I even decided about 6 years ago I would only work part-time so I could have less time indoors and enjoy the outdoors more. When I feel out of sorts, upset or angry, I have a strong desire and almost like a physical pull to get out into the water or amongst trees, and most of the time I feel relief, calm or am energised from just being in nature.

NUTRITION

Observing the food and liquids I consumed became a real focus for me. Whilst I generally have good habits, I start to observe more how my body would respond to different foods and liquids. I experimented with different foods, portion sizes, number of meals and when I would eat to see how it supported me or not. I do believe too, for some time (about 1 – 2 years) I was probably sabotaging my power by eating well but then drinking or smoking cigarettes as I felt it was my ‘treat to relax’ from the confusion of my relationship. I feel a big turning point was when I committed to 8 weeks of no alcohol, cigarettes, and a poor diet and eating habits, and replaced them with other things, non-alcoholic drinks, a vapor and healthy treats i.e. dark chocolate, etc. I believe and feel, that this not only re-set better habits, it also triggered my mind to focus on self-love and self-care. 

RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships are pivotal to me. I am by nature an extrovert (albeit with a low preference) and I’m often described as a people person, or the life of the party. I get energy from being around others and like to talk things through rather than thinking about it too much.  I know a ‘warning sign’ for me is when I overthink, withdraw or do not have an outlet or opportunity to talk to others who are good listeners. I enjoy connecting with and am inspired by my parents, family, whanau, colleagues, the community and the mentors/teachers in my life and they all generate a huge amount of power for me.

When I think about relationships and generating power and where I’ve been recently, I realise now with hindsight, as I was in a power and control relationship (domestic violence), for me to generate power used to be a real mind f*&k!!!

The reason this was so hard is because my power was being blocked as someone projected their power over me, and in one of the most powerful and impactful relationships in my life (other than with myself and parents) - my partner that I loved. I had never experienced domestic violence prior and whilst I thought I knew what it was – sh&t I didn’t when I was in it!  My family wasn’t going to be able to help me as they couldn’t identify it, as they didn’t really know what it was either.  I mean how could it be domestic violence ??? that’s not me or where I’ve come from … and we loved one another and we were great together and happy a lot of time … but then he made me feel like absolute crap (if I had a dollar for every time I was called a slut, bitch, c*nt, I’d be very rich) … and then he would be nice again, and was nice to everyone else so others wouldn’t see how he was treating me.  As you can see from what I write, it was confusing and I feel I don’t do it justice to describe it … it’s like constant confusion, uncertainty, like your completely disconnected to others and yourself and you are constantly spinning or having an outer body experience. These cycles of highs/lows, or ups/downs is how power and control relationships work, you are great, happy, in love and all the nice things happen in a relationship, and then there are power techniques used, and then it’s back to being happy, and then power techniques used again, and then it’s back to being happy … and so on, it’s a cycle. I have done a lot of exploring and understanding on DV and I once read that just like food, alcohol, work, etc can be addictive, so can abuse. It’s the cycle of the highs and lows and the desire of euphoria of the next high or happy time that we long for. 

 

BOUNDARIES FOR SUPPORT

There were two purposeful boundaries I set up to manage my energy around relationships which were complete life-changers for me. Firstly, I was super deliberate with who I spent my time with.  Whilst I believe it’s improving, there is a real stigma with DV and I was so low on energy that any unsupportive comment would set me back.  I had a few dear friends that were experienced in DV and/or were non-judgemental, were great listeners, showed compassion and helped me talk, which in turn meant they could support me and I’d generate more power within myself. Secondly, I sought professional help and signed up to a 19-week domestic violent programme. The emotional and psychological support and knowledge I gained was one of the most empowering and liberating shifts I had, and I guess this was because this was primarily the type of abuse subjected to me by Luke (emotional and psychological).  The knowledge I gained from the DV programme allowed me to understand more about DV and what are acceptable and unacceptable boundaries me. For Luke, he knows that if there was any consideration of a reconnection of us, he must attend a similar programme AND that there is observable behaviour change to an equality-based relationship.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE KEY POINTS

Some key things I learnt about DV that supported me and I believe are important to be aware are below. Domestic violence:

•       can be covered up by minimising it, such as calling it anger management, stress, a relationship issue, etc.

•       is NOT a relationship issue. It is a DV issue and must be dealt with in that way

•        is a learnt behaviour that stems from our core beliefs and family of origin.  It is in this environment that we learn how to do relationships, and if this has not been modelled well, outcomes are likely to be negative.  For me, the abuse did not stop after the 1st,  4th, 34th, 94th or even 100th time. New behaviours on how to show love and how to be in a relationship needs to be re-learnt.

•       Can end when there is awareness and self-insight into abusive behaviours, and then replacing these with those behaviours that support and maintain equality, love and respect, resulting in a mutually beneficial relationship as opposed to one wherein there is a power imbalance.

•       comes from either upbringing, being a narcissist or/and trust has been broken in a previous relationship. None of these reasons make it okay for someone to subject abuse on someone or to be subjected to abuse. I share this to help understand where it has come from and why a specific DV programme is required to re-learn behaviours that allows an equality relationship to form.

•       can appear in several forms outlined below. All these listed are all forms of abuse and are all illegal in New Zealand now – not just sexual or physical. The outline below shows the different forms of abuse and includes one or two examples that I am aware of through my own experience or experiences from friends, the community or from the DV programme I attended.



- Sexual:

Being made to have sex when it is not wanted. Using sex as an act to be safe i.e. to ‘calm’ the other person when they are being abusive.

- Physical:

Losing an eye when an ex tracked down their ex-partner and beat them so badly they lost sight in one eye. Death – either with intent or caught in the cross-fire of something being thrown / smashed.

- Emotional:

Called derogatory names, being told that they did not deserve or will find anyone better than themselves, raising voices and yelling to the point that it makes the other person feel scared or unsafe.  

- Psychological:

Throwing things at the other person or breaking and smashing items around the individual to intimidate them and make the individual feel that they could be next if they continue with their ‘unacceptable behaviour’.  

- Financial:

Not paying any money to a partner when running a business together, and/or saying that they don’t deserve to be paid as they did a sh*t job.

- Spiritual:

Being told that their choice in religion or spirituality is unacceptable, and they must believe in what they are told to believe in.



REFLECTIONS

In the Nourishing Roots - Power of Yin healing journey we use reflection and self-questioning as a way to discover our own truth and connect with what has real meaning to us and our lives.

QUESTION Where and with whom does my power shrink or feel over powered?

ZOE’S RESPONSE:

These days, I feel my power shrink when I am in a one on one relationship or conversation. This is not something I recall feeling previously to being in this P&C relationship. I feel that even though I’ve left, at this point, I still have the overhang of the P&C aspects of this relationship. I know in time this will pass however currently I feel that I don’t know how to just ‘be’ because previously I was so wary of what was going to set off the grizzly bear and when, where and how it was going to happen. So I was either consciously or subconsciously on edge, unsure of how to be, watching what I ‘should’ say or do, etc. The times I feel overpowered is if I’m in a conversation or meeting with someone and they show signs of frustration or disagreement. I feel I get scared, worried or anxious that they will react in a way that I have experienced with my ex to react and I almost go into what was my default setting of fight, flight or freeze – which for me I would mainly freeze, sometimes flights and occasionally fight. I do feel as each day goes by, this will subside and in time this will no longer happen to the point where it has a negative impact on me being me.

 

CAMERON’S CLOSING COMMENTS

In the Nourishing Roots - Power of Yin course we use reflections to draw out our deeper understandings of our lives which are often buried in the world of our feelings. We use questions to help guide our quest for understanding and steer our thinking mind. It is a kind of research into our inner world which is not fact based, so understanding from the process of reflection can unfold across years.

The purpose of asking the question is to go on a journey and discover for ourselves what’s important. Asking ourselves the same question at different times in our lives will yield different answers. In the Nourishing Roots course a variety of questions are posed for each step.  Participants are encouraged to choose the questions with the most meaning for them at this time.

In addition to the reflections, participants are encouraged to do rest based Yoga practices to help calm and settle the energy systems. The practices are especially powerful when peoples nervous systems have been over-energised as a response to longterm emotional/mental/physical stress.Restorative Yoga can help reset the nervous system to re-establish feelings of calm and peace in the body. In time these bodily sensations of ease can then generalise to the rest of our lives.

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF - BY ZOE - PART 1

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THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF - BY ZOE - PART 1

THE 7 STEPS TO MY AUTHENTIC & BEST SELF

The Power of Yin / Nourishing Roots 

Introduction and Background to Zoe’s story

I’m Zoe, a mid-30’s female living in New Zealand after almost 10 years in the UK. I’m a professional pencil pusher (the corporate world) that enjoys my work and all that the beautiful outdoors offers which I love to enjoy with my whanau and community. 


I met Cameron mid-2017, when a friend recommend I see her as I was not in a good place, I was stressed, anxious, getting by on destructive habits, a job that was taking most of my energy and a relationship that was confusing. It was seriously impacting my mental health and wellbeing and subsequently my physical and emotional states.  Anti-depressants had been offered to me from my GP which for some reason, just didn’t feel right for me at that time. I had a number of one on one session with Cameron as a Chinese Medicine Practitioner and acupuncturist and then attended her Power of Yin 7-day retreat.  This is my story based on the 7 steps that I learnt (and continuing to learn) from the retreat.


Background to the Nourishing Roots - Power of Yin pathway to well-being 

The 7 steps of the Roots healing pathway offer ways of seeing ourselves from Chinese medical and cross-cultural wisdom teachings. Step 1 which is where we begin to map Zoe’s story explores the influences of our ancestors and conditioned patterns of behaviour which for most of us are largely unconscious. The four bones come from traditional African teachings on how to stay connected to our authentic Self - Note from Cameron


STEP 1 - SOURCE ENERGY 


How I interpret my source energy is a combination of firstly, understanding what has come before me and my ancestors and to bring forward what serves me best into the present. The key for me in this, is to approach it in a compassionate way.  A compassionate way that is built on curiosity, understanding and meaningful conversations and action to firstly serve me, and then secondly others, and not to be too harsh, have unhealthy judgments or project onto others. The second part, is to understand these 4 bones … my funny (related to humour, fun), back (about standing up in my power), wish (connecting to my hopes, dreams), and hollow (listening to my calling). 


When I am my true self, at ease and completely me, I am doing all of the above. When I am off kilter and saying to myself, ‘who I am? I don’t know’ or ‘what am I, what do I do’ – I do my best to remind myself of my ancestors, myself, to have a laugh, stand up, believe in my dreams and follow that little pull inside me that is telling me/prompting me to do that ‘something’ – whatever it is.   


For me I have gone through another one of those ‘life changing’ times in the last 10 months.  I lost my future husband, Luke, to domestic violence (DV). He did not die but my dream ended of us together forever died when I did not accept the ring he was going to offer me. Whilst I hadn’t stopped loving him, I had to stop myself loving him as he was subjecting me to abuse. A loving, caring, witty, fun, energetic, resilient, positive, calming and talented man and my best-friend and lover. He bought an even greater version out in me, and we had a love that was connected and true. We also enjoyed a life living and doing things together like, adventures, sports, travel, caring for children (not ours), socializing, building a business, contributing in the community, singing and dancing, work and a community we felt a sense of belonging with.  We would muck in and share the house hold chores, there was no the ‘women does the cleaning and cooking’ , and the ‘man does the mowing of the lawns’, etc. We’d farewell and welcome one another with big hugs and kisses and would have our own little rituals that we shared together … date nights, taking time to show gratitude at dinner, , etc. We’d laugh in surprise at times and look at one another and say ‘we’ve cracked it’! 


It was this same man that was subjected to abuse as a child, and still is as an adult. This manifested in him subjecting abuse on me. I find this hard to say/write/accept … I was in a domestic violent relationship with a man that I loved. 


For those of you that read that and think … that is not acceptable, she must be a dick or had a sh*t upbringing to end up in a relationship like ‘that’, he is a pig, she doesn’t deserve that, it will never happen to me, so I guess the whole relationship is violent all the time, and why do people (she) stay. Let me tell you it was not like that. No, you are absolutely right, DV is not acceptable or that I was treated in that way. It is also not acceptable for Luke’s ancestors to treat him that way either. I remember at a time of hurt and pain from him, him saying through tears, ‘I just wish I had better role models to show me’. 


For Luke, he was shown love and relationships based on Power & Control, and me I was shown and had experienced relationships based on Equality refer here.  From the experiences Luke shared with me of his upbringing and what I observe into his adult life, it appears to me that he has been subjected to psychological abuse, specifically manipulation, witnessed financial abuse and watched the physical abuse of his brother. None of this would be a surprise to Luke, as we would at times talk of this. 


I believe the strength of my source energy that allowed me to love and be loved -  also supported me to know when it was time to walk away. Luke and I tried, cried, loved, yelled and had our hearts ripped apart while trying to work through this learnt behaviour of his. We had a couple of years of counselling, attending workshops on compassionate communication (or non-violent communication) and the abuse would end for some time sometimes months, or it would be less intense and frequent, until a time of stress or something similar, and it would happen again. 


Just like Luke and all of us, I had to take ownership of my situation.  At times of hurt, anger, and upset I’d blame him for the DV relationship I was in however, I don’t blame him or anyone – that doesn’t get anyone anywhere. I had to take responsibility and ownership for the whole relationship I was in. 


I do not regret or wish that I hadn’t had our relationship. Sure, I wish that there was no abuse and neither Luke or I, felt the impacts of being subjected to abuse. I also would wish that the support that I’ve received since relocating was available where we lived, and that I and everyone else in these situations had the knowledge that I now have. One of the first key things I learnt is that abuse and DV is NOT a relationship issue, it’s a DV issue and it is to be worked with in that way for e.g. it is advised that those in a DV relationship do not do couples counselling, it does not work, I can vouch for that. I do believe that for all the Lukes, Zoes and their whanaus out there, greater awareness, knowledge, support and talking is at the heart of the required change.  


SHARING OUR STORIES


This story is too frequent for me these days …. you share with someone that there is abuse in your relationship and they are shocked because they experienced you as a great couple, a couple that were so happy and loved one another and ….bla bla bla … and then they might judge (if they are that way inclined), then accept that’s what it is and go on with their own lives. Sure, we gotta keep moving and changing, but I believe that discussion and action is a must.


For me, I believe if I do not share my story and do something to make some sort of contribution or change, then my silence or inaction is contributing and perpetuating the problem, pain and heartache of DV. I do not wish others and their families to experience the heartache that Luke or I felt … or the ongoing psychological issues, physical harm or even death that can be associated with DV.  


I also feel I’m not living my true self if I do not stand up and share the strength and positive role modelling that has been gifted to me from my ancestors, as well as challenge some of thier stereotyping and social expectations of the role of men and women in our society and our conditioned and projected way of being. I don’t want to be a raving feminist or ‘blame’ our men or women (both men and women can subject their partner to abuse) – what I want is to give thanks to those that helped me and potentially help a man or woman (maybe more) to end the cycle of DV. It’s only now that I have the understanding, words and voice to talk. 


In New Zealand, a bill has just been passed to allow annual leave for those subjected to DV, view here,  DV is also against the law, yes I am sure we would think yes, sexual and physical BUT it is also against the law for other forms of abuse such as, financial, psychological and neglect view here and here



REFLECTIONS 

In the Nourishing Roots - Power of Yin healing journey we use reflection and self-questioning as a way to discover our own truth and connect with what has real meaning to us and our lives. Note from Cameron 


Questions for Source Energy What are my natural strengths ?

  • I am someone who cares about people, am open minded, passionate and kind.


What are the emotional patterns of behaviour that are normal for my family which may present challenges to my authentic self-expression ?

In my family we were encouraged to be team players to pull together and work things through when they were challenging. This way of being was my normal.

 

  • What has ‘sticking together and working it through’ given me? To maintain the ‘family unit’ through the ups and downs, as well as the flip side, hanging on longer than I should have in a domestic violent relationship. I reflect now and feel I should have left a year earlier. 

  • What has a ‘stiff upper lip’ or ‘she’ll be right’ mentality given me? A lack of desire or fear to speak up or express myself openly. 

  • What has comments from people I know well looking in on my situation done for me ? eg comments like, ‘are you sure you won’t get back together with him’? asked again and again; or ‘don’t use the word violence, that is what happens on the rugby pitch’ given me? It’s given me the passion to raise awareness, create conversations and educate that these are unhelpful stereotypes that contribute to the perpetuation of DV. 


 

INTERESTED TO KNOW WHAT IS AVAILABLE IN NEW ZEALAND FOR DV SUPPORT ?

This site helped me find support and the 19-week living without domestic violence programme I recently finished. 

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