Wow that sounds great! Doesn’t it?
A solution and a person to help all in one?
Yep, that person is YOU?
Can you handle it?
I want to take some time to ‘set my stall out’ so to speak. I want to share the wisdom I have gathered. I want to give you the opportunity to see if you resonate with where I am. I want the best for you, your wellbeing and your creative self. I want you to believe that you are your own hope. So let’s explore………….
What does it mean?
I have always been fascinated in finding out about what allows people to shift in their thinking from a place of believing that they can only get better, or change their life if someone else saves or rescues them, to a place where they truly can see and believe that they have everything they need already within them. It’s a huge leap into radical self responsibility.
What does it even look like? What does that actually mean on a daily basis? How can I measure how well I’m even doing? Is there a scale? Is there a criteria? Welcome to inside my head.
I’ve always been somebody who really needs things to be spelled out. I need it broken down into small, tangible bits of info and example before I can begin to identify with it and take action. I’m a dreamer, I like abstract thinking and symbolism. This is great for musing and visualising possibilities for myself and my own future, but it’s not a practical approach.
If you’re telling me that I can change my life, that I can heal, that I can change my beliefs, improve my mental / physical health and make my own decisions for my wellbeing, I want proof. I want to see that you walk your talk. If I’m going to let you hold any kind of space for me to explore my own inner resources, I want to know that it’s safe to do that, with you. I want to see you doing it first.
Does this resonate with you?
I ask this every time I consider participating in a workshop.
As a space holder who wants to invite you to support yourself through arty things, I expect that you would be asking the same.
What is self-responsibility?
I’m a survivor of childhood trauma, manipulation, emotional blackmail and emotional incest. I didn’t trust anybody, definitely not myself. There wasn’t a self that I could access. I was totally lost in service to others’ needs, entangled in co-dependency and without any sense of my own autonomy. Well, any sense of a healthy autonomy. I was a rebel for sure. I knew at a deep core level that my soul had been trashed by pathologically unhealthy parenting. I was bruised within and people-pleasing without. I blamed them for a long time. I fought, prescribed and tried to get them to see what they’d done. Pleaded with them to get help, to process their stuff and set me free. I was asked, in all the unwritten and written ways a family system can utilise, to hold the responsibility for everyone’s mental health, for the fall-out from their passive aggressive behaviours, for the suicide attempts, for the boundary-less interactions and for the shame, guilt and anger of their unprocessed childhoods.
It was the perfect learning ground to experience utter powerlessness and total separation from my own autonomy.
Did I ask for that? At a soul level, yes I did. Did it provide me with an exquisite baseline to grow from. Yes it did.
Now you may not have any spiritual beliefs, or give value to ideas about Soul Contracts. And that is totally OK. It helps me get a much broader perspective about meaning in life. It also helps me to complete forgiveness cycles and find compassion for my family. I don’t need to have them in my life to value their contribution to my healing path. I’m not healing from them, I’m healing something bigger through them. However you come to accepting that you can take your own power back is great. It’s a choice.
For me it’s going all in to accept that everything I think, say and do is in my control. It may be at an unconscious level but it’s still me. When I accept that, it means I can change it.
What would it actually take to fully accept that for yourself. I mean there’s no place to hide there.
How do you recognise that?
How do you come to trust that?
How do you come to give yourself permission to follow through with that?
This is not an overnight process. Where do you start?
You cannot rescue anyone else, no one else can save you. You are not powerless, but I’m interested in the conditions that need to be in place for you to continue believing you are powerless.
Ask yourself now – do you really think you are powerless?
Why do people change? Why do people turn inwards, finally? Or not?
How difficult is it for people to accept that they manifest what’s in their life?
When I say I want you to create a toolkit for yourself, I’m asking you to say yes to that journey.
A journey where you accept that you are the hope for yourself.
The tools are tools of empowerment. You have to accept your own agency to use them. You can’t help but do that. So if you are still in the energy of old paradigms where you need someone else to fix you, whether that be the doctor, hospital, partner or even government, you might look at Soul Sofa and reject it outright. Why wouldn’t you? I’m asking you to believe in you. I’m asking you to remember that you have what you need within you.
I’m refusing to rescue you. I’m saying no to fixing you. I’m asking you to step up and value yourself.
And this may feel incredibly uncomfortable. Because being stuck is safe. Believe me I know.
What light bulb, penny drop moments do people have that help them to finally turn inwards?
Is it human nature to get to crisis point before you take action?
What examples, however small, in your life have given you some proof that you are effective in some way?
What examples, however small, in your life have shown you that putting yourself first in that instant was the best thing you ever did?
And equally, what examples, however scary, have given you some evidence that putting yourself first and knowing you are powerful, have created trouble, loss, anger and negative response from others?
To whose response are you beholden. Yours, or theirs? And why?
It’s a deep question.
Check in with your body now. Do you want to run? Do you want me to stop talking?
Have you suddenly remembered something else to do?
I’m a radical seeker of truth. Are you?
I just can’t keep quiet or dress this up any other way.
There is no transformation without loss. There is no change without shedding of old layers. I know that if you choose to invest in yourself that you know it’s not ‘just an art class’ you’ve signed up for. You know you’ve answered a call.
“And the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin
And this is not always a dramatic process. This is often a silent process within. A gentle knowing that is preparing itself for reveal.
‘You are the hope you’ve been looking for,’ sounds almost romantic.
It’s a kind yet steely notion
It starts with you. It has a real expectation within it.
I want to really nail the boundaries inherent within my mission, the safety framework that I operate in. So that you feel safe.
I’ve really come from a place of rage in the past when I’ve said ‘you need to take f****** responsibility for yourself because quite frankly you are a massive burden on me.’
I could not save my mother. I was enraged that she couldn’t save herself. It was a childhood scream for survival. ‘Please mum, save yourself because I can’t survive if you don’t.’
Now I can observe someone and say with compassion ‘I can see that’s where you are. I can see that you do feel powerless. I can see that there’s a lot of benefit for you to stay there’
Now that is a provocative statement.
In my Reiki training the first thing I learned was to consider the pay off for keeping hold of your symptoms. What’s the pay off for staying stuck, staying sick, staying powerless.
If I’m offering a space for you to develop and discover tools for yourself using your creativity, I’m going to want to know where you are with your understanding of that. Are you ready to give up the benefits of your current position? Mental, physical, situational? However dire that position seems to be.
What the hell? What benefits are there to staying stuck, sick, emotionally unwell? I hear you! I demanded those answers from my mother. She could never answer. It’s a hugely brave leap to name them. Naming them is self-responsibility.
People see me
People show me love and caring
I get special treatment
I feel noticed
I feel safe
I can control how people treat me
No one confronts me
I’m learning to accept help
My pain helps me to stay in my body and reminds me I’m alive
Staying small and weak stops others attacking me
I want to remind you that these are beliefs. Beliefs that you needed to keep you safe and possibly alive. But are they outdated now? Are they still serving you? Really?
Instead of saying ‘f****** sort yourself out’
I want to be able to say ‘I wonder if I can show you, through my example, how to get there’
That would be an enormous mirror on my own healing process that I’m able to say that without raging, accusing, judging or criticising. I started there. I’ve understood my own powerlessness and my own inability to support myself. Soul Sofa was my way into realising that I might have some inner resources.
I’d like you to remember that you also have inner resources.
I’d like to offer you the space to explore those creatively
I cannot save you.
The space is not there for you to meet others who could save you.
The space is not there for you to recruit others for you to save.
Only you can save you.
I cannot shy away from that clarity.
When we explore a code of conduct about how we can share our experiences in a way that feels light, warm and healthy we reduce our need to ask others to hold our ‘stuff’ for us. We can see ways in which we can hold our own stories.
That’s where you are the hope for yourself.
In that acceptance of that willingness to hold your own story.
Soul Sofa is that place of refuge within yourself that is willing to hold your story, with love and compassion. It’s about remembering that you have that possibility within you.
I want you to know that you can decide to live. I want you to know how empowering that is.
Name a time in your life when you knew you could change something for yourself.
Everyone has this kind of story, even if no one else knew, even if it was a private thought that you would be able to get yourself out of something, someday.
When you get here you can start building your toolkit.
It might take a long time to live like this consistently
I want you to know there are more tools you can learn
The fact that you might even be considering coming to a Soul Sofa day or a Doodle Cafe tells me that you’ve already made that little pact with yourself at some point.
We can hold the space for it, but always on the understanding that you’re here consciously. And if you have feelings that come up that’s fine. Of course it is. Feelings are normal. You can write, draw, dance it through. We can show you where to put the intensity of it in the arts, so that you can step back with love and compassion and see yourself. When we are in the throws of a big trigger all we need to know is ‘will I survive this?’ Being able to put it somewhere else is what we need, but the choice of how we do that is our responsibility.
Dumping it on someone else is an example of putting it somewhere else, but it’s not a healthy one. But what do I mean by dumping? If someone else allows you to just offload on them and there’s never a change in your behaviour, then there’s a boundary issue. Do you allow people to offload on you? Do you have people you avoid or have to brace yourself for before you talk to them? I’ve avoided people, and I’ve been the person people avoid. My boundaries weren’t in check for a long time. I didn’t know about them.
Have you ever asked a friend if they’re able to hear what you need to say? It takes a lot of self love to say to another person ‘actually I’m just not able to hold that information or emotional need for you’. It’s part of a personal integrity with a code of conduct that allows us to consider where we tell our story and why we tell it. Sharing our story for pure cathartic release without any sense of processing or change, and then going back and doing the same thing again, is not healing. The idea that ‘it’s good to talk’ is of course great. We absolutely need to communicate. With good boundaries. Therapists are paid to allow you to offload in whichever unprocessed fashion you like. That’s the point. They are there to hold that for you and help you see patterns, however long that takes. Art allows you to do that too. The canvas is never going to say ‘look love, that’s just too much bloody raging red paint, I can’t cope with it!’ That’s the beauty of the arts, they can hold the intensity of expression. Much better to destroy the paper with a bonkers biro spiral than to destroy your friendships.
Unprocessed info is not for facebook or youtube videos either! Or loved ones. But you need to learn how to do that differently.
I’ll have a conscious conversation with anyone. I’m not interested in colluding with you in your perpetual belief that you are powerless. I don’t believe you are. I understand that you think you are.
Join me in remembering who you are and how awesome you are.
What’s the scale you can measure yourself on to see if you’re ready. I’d like to create one.
It’s not for you if you are still in blaming others mode.
It might seem like all your circumstances are pointing towards you seeming powerless. I want you to know you are not.
Is this you?
You have become aware of your own suffering and the impact your choices are having on your own life but you are also aware of your own resilience and ability to affect some kind of change in your own life. That’s when you are ready to start expanding your self-help toolkit.
Whilst you are unconscious to your own suffering, giving your power away and your own patterns, Soul Sofa won’t work for you. You have my compassion.
It’s not therapy, but it is therapeutic. A safe, mindful space where we can help each other in trusting that we know how to help ourselves with our own emotional wellbeing, and we model that in everything we do, in the way that we listen, in the way that we support without rescuing, in the way that we share our story with awareness of others, in the way that we engage in the arts with curiosity. We model it all. You have the power, you are the hope you are looking for.
I am the hope I was looking for.
I only work with people who have embraced that too.
Together we hold that space for you (and your inner child, there’s a lot of laughter)
The intention is deep but the method is light.
I hear you, you want to trust. You want something that helps you with your everyday life.
You may well want to go deeper at some point, or this may be enough.
This may be another tool in a kit you have already but you need something creative.
Are you willing to be curious?
Can you dare to dream a bigger dream for yourself?
Can you dare to explore the unknown?
Build your resilience through takings risks.
Life is wonderful from a place of curiosity instead of fear.
When I use the hashtag #sortyourselfout it’s with loving provocation. Because I know you can. It’s no one else’s job.
Hope to see you at a Doodle Cafe soon. Book here
Let this year’s Creativity & Wellbeing week be the start of keeping a promise to yourself to step into your own wisdom and illustrate your life with a new set of colours.
Hey, if you’re like me, you can’t get me out of the art shop, literally and metaphorically.
All our spaces are drug and alcohol free. Mindfulness and growth begins with clarity in mind, body and spirit.