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