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.
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.