The rescue we all need sometimes

This scene is the aftermath of deep emotional work. Where all the lights… and eyes, were on me. An experience unparalleled except for in ceremonies where all my people showed up just for me – like our wedding or my beautiful blessingways. I have shared a fair bit on Facebook about how I have recently been going through an intensely emotional time. I have had to face several really hard things this year, culminating in an excruciating situation which triggered two core hurts from childhood. This pain I had spent my whole life avoiding finally found a way out in the shape of a breakdown where I spent four months unable to do much beyond feeling, shaking, crying, raging. I was deeply distressed most of the time, waking each night for several hours distraught, frozen in angst and horror. I was exhausted and out of my mind. My capacity to think has been very much inhibited, as well as my ability to parent or hold space. I have leaned on my community a lot. My listening partners have held me through this with such presence, patience, love and dedication. And somehow through the shame of being so needy, broken and unable to give back and feeling that this was all my own fault and I deserved it, I knew I needed to ask for even more. So I rallied my listening partners and asked if they would be willing to perform what Patty Wipfler has developed as a ‘Parent Rescue Squad’. This is where a parent in crisis summons support through one way extensive listening time. An intervention that...

Healing is messy

Healing is messy. Sometimes it looks like chocolate coconut water on a plate, having snorted it out of your mouth and nose. I’ve not been OK at all recently, (which probably signifies being more OK than I’ve ever been). Ive lost my drive, run aground. In short I’m having a disproportionate reaction to a heartbreak, which is triggering the early trauma of not being met. Coincidentally, trauma they are working on my brain to release daily with the neurofeedback this month. Last weekend I wept and laughed hysterically for four hours. Thankfully two of my best women were with me and knew exactly how to keep me crying; one of the benefits of having trained everyone around me to listen really well. At one point I started speaking nonsense that I really believed at the time. “I shouldn’t be allowed to live in this house, they should keep me in one of those ‘safe houses’ for special people. I should have a warning sign on me” “What would that say” urged my sister “Keep upright. Handle with care.” I wailed. And then I pissed myself laughing and remembered all the times where being horizontal with a certain person recently has got me into this mess. The relevance of being kept upright on loving skin as a baby rather than horizontal in an incubator was not lost on me either. It was an epic release. Snotty tissues piled up. My tearstained tshirt became a beautiful piece of art that my friend Alice dubbed ‘Rainfall on heartache’. We continued with our ritual Sunday pancakes until someone said the words ‘fragile friends’...

Love tickles, knee squeezes and licks

While I’d consider us as a fairly loved up, snuggly, nuzzly clan, the truth is I’ve had to actively force myself to be physically affectionate with my kids. Not because I wouldn’t want to show them affection, but because it wasn’t wired in my brain under Mothering 1.0. I’ve had to actually train myself to kiss them goodbye each time I go out. Children need to feel connected to us as much as they need air. Affection is like a beautiful thread that strings the connected moments of a day together. I don’t know when I started using love tickles, but they are a sweet way to say “I’m right here” particularly if I’m driving. I usually just slip my hand into my child’s lap and that’s the code to say “I love you”. Their part of the code is to tickle my hand. It feels warm and fuzzy. Or let me know they are feeling off track by whacking my hand, which is fine too. Other little check-ins between chores or separations might be hugs or nuzzles, knee squeezes or running my fingers through their hair. My kids never want to be touched if they are feeling upset, so I back off if they resist my touch. We do lots of kisses and little licks in our house too. I’m really grateful to my husband for injecting abundant use of the words “love you” into our family; something that was rarely said in mine. And I think we need to make the effort to connect physically even when our children grow beyond the sweet intimacy of the early...