TRAUMA

 


Trauma is something most experience at some point – it forms part of this life experience. I would love to hear if you are someone who has been given a free pass.
This being said, we all deal with a traumatic event and the aftermath in our own unique way. Some of us run and then never seem to stop. Another might fight and will continue to find any reason to pick another fight; or others freeze, and then stay frozen.
It’s important to acknowledge how we deal with trauma. How we react initially and how we internalise and deal with it afterwards.

Living back in South Africa for the last two yearshave made me aware of the effects of traumatic events on our daily lives and its impact on our interaction with others.

We live in a diverse society. There are those with so much money that they they don’t know how to spend it and there are others whose lives could be changed with a mere R10…
I don’t know how to explain these vast differences and how to cope with those who take without asking or feel hurt or traumatised and just keep repeating the cycle. Or how to try to be there for everyone who asks or for those in desperate need. Living in a place where the loss so many have experienced over an extended period of time is severe; where the ongoing emotional, spiritual and mental tax is not paid up; where the laws seem so misplaced and the suffering so unnecessary, is hard. I am exhausted from watching the cycle repeat itself, it is traumatic just witnessing it all first hand.

A few weeks ago I participated in an event in a part of town I really enjoy being in, a place I feel I belong. There I was hit in the face by someone, it was an accident, but I was caught up in the ripple effect of some extraordinary bad behaviour. A woman’s drink was spiked with some drug and she lost all her mental and physical control. I was running past her, stopped and tried to give a hand as she was spinning out of control, cars driving by, people running while she was falling about, getting hurt. I frightened her and in her effort to get away from me she hit me in the face. I got the fright of my life, having to stop my urge to fight back (being a fighter when facing danger or shock), I gathered her stuff and waited a moment to make sure she is helped. Then I moved away and, needless to say, ran the last kilometer at a very fast pace.

I have learnt that controlling one’s initial reaction during a traumatic event such as this can show up later if it’s not acknowledged or processed. So when the tears want to flow I try not to suppress it. Or when I feel the need to scream or vent or punch, I run and scream at the sky or the trees. I know I need to do better about finding more of an outlet though. I think most of us do.
I believe that once we all give attention to our mental and spiritual health and call on the amazing therapists, counselors, coaches and doctors out there, we might start finding it easier to be kinder and a little more tolerant with each other no matter our differences.

img-20181114-wa0005My character I play in 7delaan, Connie, was a victim of domestic abuse for a number of years. She fled for her life and then was brainwashed again, desperate for love and to not end up alone. In the process she almost repeated the cycle of abuse.
Connie is a compassionate, smart but very innocent persona, one who forgives easily and loves big. She recently went through a severe physical trauma, a hand grenade blew up near her and her face was badly burnt. Suddenly, her reaction was one of blaming and being hurtful as if she has lost herself.
Yet, we forget that all of us have two sides, every single one of us carry within us both the light and the dark. Of course it is choice that sets us free. At times of trauma our sense of that choice feels lost and every reaction is raw and dark. The moment Connie felt trapped and in danger her mind was lost in her past trauma. Then she is hurt and the scarring of her face becomes a real issue.
That people react different and with some severity to scars and burns is true.
During the shoot, I walked around with the scar and bandages on set and found that people could not help but react differently to me. This reaction made it easier for me to imagine how Connie must feel for whom the scaring is a reality. Being sensitive to people and being used to people always commenting on her outer looks would suddenly change for Connie.
We don’t realise how much we value or grow accustomed to what we look like. Having your face change so dramatically through trauma is like someone calling you by a different name without you choosing it and then insist on calling you by that name. It’s disconcerting. No it is not the end of the world but it takes some doing to find acceptance and love for it.

We all need help sometimes, and the bravery it takes to admit to it and to seek help is what we should celebrate. Indeed, the therapists, counselors and natural practitioners should be very busy in this land of ours.
I have learnt that its mostly how we treat each other and not what we give each other that makes the biggest difference. Don’t forget that we are all people and we are all equal.

[This is all based on my experience. I am not a medical professional or an expert in mental health, I am purely sharing my experience and opinion about what I am witnessing in this world.]

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Autumn dawning…Winter looming. Conversation with self (a process revealed).

I sit in my spot waiting for it all to fall into place, ha…

Rather I am remembering to inquire rather than demand. The message is to let go of the need, the need to control an outcome.

I sit here and in this space thoughts do form through words and sentences that I can sometimes not believe is mine.

I sit and I am always in disbelief over time passing.

Second term in school has started and my oldest has turned another year. We have traveled and moved and played and change is our constant, routine our anchor and consistency my personal challenge.

I was asked what is your flaw, the answer flew out of my mouth as a truth for me…one of my biggest flaws/challenges is inconsistency, suddenly I understand my struggle with routine and ongoing demands. Being mother is the biggest learning curve yet.

So how do I master this challenge, how do I overcome inconsistency, because suddenly the world and its players are in a synchronised way showing me that it’s a truth for me and it’s time to grow and face this one. My children need it, my work does too and maybe when I understand it, the next road I will be going down will reveal more of itself. It is looming through a misty haze, but still very unclear.

Letting go of the need? hmmmm… I am in pondering phase and answers are showing up slowly.

But this letting go of the need seems significant? The need for the outcome to be specific? the need for a constant? Being consistent is maybe different from being constant?

consistency
kənˈsɪst(ə)nsi/
noun
  1. 1.
    consistent behaviour or treatment.
    “the consistency of measurement techniques”
    synonyms: evenness, steadiness, stabilityconstancyregularityuniformityequilibriumunity, orderliness, lack of change, lack of deviation; More

  2. 2.
    the way in which a substance holds together; thickness or viscosity.
    “the sauce has the consistency of creamed butter”
    synonyms: thicknessdensityfirmnesssolidityviscositycohesionheaviness, degree of thickness, degree of density;

    texture
    constant
    ˈkɒnst(ə)nt/
    adjective
    1. 1.
      occurring continuously over a period of time.
      “the constant background noise of the city”
      synonyms: continualcontinuouspersistentsustainedabiding, round-the-clock; More

      noun
    1. 1.
      a situation that does not change.
      “the condition of struggle remained a constant”
      synonyms: unchanging factor, unchanging state of affairs, unchanging situation, given

      “dread of cancer has been a constant during the last 100 years”

      Ah suddenly it dawns on me, the difference is significant. It’s understanding what remains unchanging, what beliefs I carry and which ones are fluid and only ideas I play around with. Knowing this will show up as being more consistent yet not constant, meaning I still have room for change and the fear of not being able to be fluid and change my mind and change direction might be stilled as it is one of my biggest fears.

      Seeing the difference, and in the process acknowledging my true depth and not feeling trapped in a constant, might give me courage to be brave enough to be consistent. Knowing my weight and density and trusting my equilibrium and moving in whatever direction steadily and evenly.

      We can be consistent without being constant. See, it’s the sense of the constants that suffocates me. Yet, my own integrity comes into question, when I don’t trust my way, myself, my depth.

      Sporadic moments do exist where my experience leads me to a sense of self within that I do trust and potentially this gives me weight. My consistency lies in allowing myself this space more.

      There is mistrust that it might not keep being true. So I rest in the inconsistency of the experience to justify my mistrust and disbelieve. Leaving myself unaccountable and in the same breath rather unreliable. This cannot be a great experience for littles or anyone relying on me.

      How do I move towards my own greatness of being? How do I challenge this weakness and make it strong? What are the steps to take?

      Ahhh yes practice. Practice to show up trusting yourself, needing it not to look a specific way for others, confident in the experience of it. Allowing others the room to react, to have their own experience without needing to take responsibility for their experience.

      DO the work. Make the time. Don’t shy away, thinking it will get itself done. You spoke it, You do it, You write it. Live the truth, the belief that right and wrong might not exist. Don’t shy away from consequence positive and negative.

      Showing up is essential. As you are… but do the work. Trust yourself. this is essential, trusting your experience and truth and heart.

       

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Musing

 

 

 

 

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Anniversaries…what is happening?

The month of May carries one of my saddest anniversaries of loss. My dad passed this month 14 years ago. I am sometimes caught of guard by the sadness that still come alive in my body around this time. His physical presence in my life lost, was one that really shocked me. Even though the carry of this loss does get easier, like a back pack that you learn to carry and pack in a way that distribute the weight. Once you unpack it though, the pain and loss is still the same and the longing still true. Alas my father was an adventurer and a superman. A man willing to look at life and not afraid of inquiry. He was the one that took us on safari and fun adventures. He had me running next to him on holiday to stay fit and taught me how to rollerskate. I wish I could know what type of grand parent he would be. He was a very solid presence in my life and gave me courage to be me. I miss him.

My dad was gentle and kind and yet a warrior. I always felt safe with him around. I have men in my life and around our daughters that I trust with my life, that I witness with appreciation, that has a similar presence. With them around I feel safe as a woman. My daughters feel safe.

What is going on?

Who are these hurting cowards, taking from and hurting young ones and women.

Why would this be happening? Are we repeating a cycle, a pattern or is this chaotic destruction of all that is vulnerable and beautiful a breakdown of a different kind?

I am at a loss of what we condone and allow, how is some of the highest authorities example of bullying and the worst crimes, yet we justify our choosing of them with how they spend money or we believe their lies willingly? I am at a loss…

Let’s call to action the warriors who will stand in protection of beauty, wisdom, growth, space, vulnerability and love. Let’s not lock up our doors, build higher walls or point more fingers, but rather let us break down the walls and take each others hands. Let us call and name and find the cowards that inflict pain and hurt to still their own, that is taking the space of our children’s creativity and filling it with the expectation of fear, now I am mad.

Let us drown out their fear and destruction with the sound of love and what is true of this game(life). How about we fill this space with our fierce need for connection. How about we counter. I am a dreamer. I am a team player. I am a believer in love and life. I know their are many of us, ready with action plans representing love and light. I am ready to show up. Can we all show up as our truest selves? What would that look like? OOh I almost feel like quoting John Lennon….

As a woman I want to sing louder, jump the fences, hold each other longer and gather our forces of light and love.

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Monthly Musings begin

Watch this space for Monthly Monday Musings.

Ha! working on finding discipline. So hold me to it… if you don’t hear from me. Sometimes I am just plain scared to put my words into this permanent space, called the internet. Sometimes I am plain lazy and other times I plainly have more pressing priorities. Yet making time for the things we love and prioritising my favourite way to share and process, seems worth finding the discipline for.

I first discovered what discipline feels like when I joined a hockey team in high school. Realising that I am a team player. It’s actually one of my strengths. One of my joys. After a year travelling alone around Europe, I found it when I joined the crew and cast on 7delaan. It was my greatest joy to then not only again find a sport/activity I love but also a tribe of people I feel absolutely at home with. I was again part of a team and felt myself wanting to participate with only my best. In San Francisco after exploring and walking an isolating path of growth I again found a tribe, that made me feel at home and at ease, yet always challenged to be my best “actual” self. A tribe of women and a few men with who I created and manifested and cried and played in the story telling realm of Northern California.

And then after working as a full-time mother, for a lonely 5 years, I am so happy to be part of the 7delaan team again. Noticing now how the different worlds fulfil each other. Also noticing how every integration into a team followed a definite time of isolation and aloneness.

Becoming a mother, wife and doula, discovering my strengths as an actress along the way. Every day calls for noticing anew what needs attention. Sometimes the walls come tumbling down, and everything one deemed important once, is of no consequence. Our world is rummaging at the moment. destruction it seems, maybe looking for a new path forward?

See you on another Monday about a month from now.

Till then, remember what the world needs now, is LOVE.

Charaiveti.

[it took me nine months to complete this piece, finishing it a week before we boarded the plain to Johannesburg.  I am now ready to share with you part of it nine months after moving home….]

…..soon our life as we know it in South Africa will be 9months old!!!

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Hello 2017

This new life we have founded in South Africa, is as consuming as a newborn baby.

Much is pushed aside as we have to prioritize and learn our new life.
And now it’s 2017. And this new life is 6 months old. We are about to sit up and try some new food and potentially even do some babbling with a giggle. 😉 we might even try to crawl, watch out….
2016 brought immense change to the world and our lives as our path took us across oceans. I have felt so many different feelings about numerous issues and events that took place, my mind, body and spirit felt a little discombobulated . The second half of the year especially. When we made the long trek over, the USA and South African elections took place, the big rains happened, causing floods, we all found our work and school, reconnected with loved ones and set up home. So much was revealed about the state of the world. Personally, it’s left me in turmoil. I felt disappointed to be honest. My heart became heavy and my body overwhelmed with the amount of misunderstanding and falsehoods out there being represented as the truth.
[I don’t like to express too much of an opinion on social media or public pages. I find that we all have reasons and perspectives that make sense to us, based on past experience, our own stories and perspectives. And life is so full of contradictions. I don’t believe I know the answer or  a right way of being.]
Yet, I listened and got mad, I tried to understand and became sad. We are all trying to continuously justify why we do what we do. And when there is unjust/hurtful/harming consequence for the earth or a someone or a people, it just doesn’t seem to ring a good song. History keeps repeating itself and I ask, are we not bored?
Those close to me will tell you that I can become quite fired up in the moment. My actual process remains private and only once the tears dry up am I able to share some.
I had to tune in and let my phone rest. Allow the media and world to go on without me paying too much attention. I love Decembers in South Africa, there seems to be such an allowance for that(in my experience at least). I stared at the ocean, swam in her waves. Sat in the sand with Lara, ran up the dunes with Charlotte and talked with Ryan. I felt myself reconnect with my source and truth. I found perspective. I found a “peace” of knowing…and then I lost it again.
I rested.
And now I move forward facing the truth of love and where that takes me. The question remains: “what is the most loving thing I can do for myself? What is the most loving thing we can do for ourselves? ” The answer I find, is at times the most uncomfortable thing. It’s not all spa days and flower fields. Sometimes it’s having sleepless nights about people you don’t know, but who matters. It’s giving time when you have nothing else to give. It’s doing dishes when all you want to do is watch tv.
The bubble seems to be bursting every where, and I am interested to see what the healing of the open wound is going to look like. Our world is bleeding. Maybe all we can do is not look away, not pretend we are not also affected, staying interested.
We have our work cut out for us in 2017. May we do it with great patience and compassion for each other, ourselves and this process called life.
I will be active as Doula Quinne and out there hosting spaces for women to share their stories and in our small way we might start boosting the immune system of our world, our country.
Look out for a Red Tent near you.
lOVE and Light
Charaiveti

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???Why South Africa when the USA could be our home???

imagesHa! Why? you ask with a frown upon your brow and disdain in your voice.

 

Why what? I want to ask, but I don’t, because I know what you are asking and my heart fills with tears.

Tuesday was Women’s day and we were celebrating with hundreds of Joburgers at Emmarentia Live. With legendary vocals like Freshly Ground and Mango Groove and less familiar to me; Goodluck and others.   It stood out how much we have to celebrate as women in this country and many parts of the world. It was also glaring how much of the intricate work now has to be faced. It’s an uprising, and an understanding of the feminine, not only as women, but as humans raising each other and our children. We have to learn how to listen like mothers do. How much we should care to teach our boys how to be gentle with each other and women. There is too much that is still so destructive to our evolution as man, so disruptive to the harmony that could exist. My heart burns with passion for all that still needs to be handled and for all the voices being ignored when we should be quiet and listen, seeing how we can make it better.

I loved being under the African sun, smelling the warm Joburg winter, people watching and being among such a diverse crowd. There was groups of people from so many generations. Walking from one end to the other, all the different languages spoken was like its own kind of music. When I looked at all the different little groups set up under their umbrellas I also became aware of a separateness among us all. There seemed to be understanding, freedom to be and a beautiful tolerance for different sentiments. Seemingly natural. Yet I hope that there is not a silent hypocrisy and pretence building among us. I hope that when opportunity affords us we engage each other and listen with open hearts not judging with stereotypes leading our perception and giving us the excuse to only hear part of a story.

Excuse my tangent, I am in observing mode. I became a mother in California, in the US I became an adult. I do not want to assume too much about my new landscape. Even if familiar, I am different and the emotional, economical landscape of my once very familiar home has changed. I am desperate to have a clear understanding of her again. The one thing that has not changed is my love for this land, these people, voices, faces, smells and tastes. We landed during a harsh dry winter. Trees are bare and it all has a yellow-brown glow. Days are short and nights long. Its nose-biting cold. People are standing in icy wind blasts trying to get by on the generosity of strangers. Yes this is the home of my heart. A place where you are faced daily with contrasts and your participation feels questioned. How much to give to those that seems stuck in a reality of harshness and how to protect or rationalise those living within walls of great luxury. A constant existential question seems to hang over ones head here. This can be exhausting and exhilarating, I guess it depends on the day, and what is going on at home:)

I loved being in California, San Francisco to San Diego. Good people, beautiful seas, beaches, mountains and desert. Great learning and many opportunities. And yet I felt disconnected. Always working to reconnect, finding the truth of it lies within. My relationship with self strengthened and my true purpose, passion and place became evident. In California I found the space to figure it out. Once I did, I longed to be here, in South Africa, among people and a place where I wanted to share and participate.

Why Johannesburg then? Why not the beloved Cape, “your husband brews and wouldn’t it be more fair to take him there?”.  He does not surf. He will miss the ocean, but I promise to take him at least once a year for a good get away. His real passion is “die bosveld”, it’s game and the adventure of it. He would love to learn how to be a game ranger “for-pete-sake”! He’s other passion, business. Johannesburg is where my family is, and my brother is always visiting from the Cape(we make him). Johannesburg has a vibe and a people/business sense that we crave. It’s alive with possibility and trees. We are supported and surrounded with love here. Having been away for almost, not quite, ten years, my being craved the familiar.  I have always loved Johannesburg. It’s wonderful to listen to those passionate about being here, choosing to stay here, feel the same. They have also fallen in love. This city is rich with people, it’s neighborhoods are gems and is buzzing with creative business minds.

Still you look at me like I am crazy…Ok, so we needed change. We were only surviving and living, to pay rent, suffocating in roles that did not serve us. It was time to give ourselves the opportunity to breathe and create our lives, to live with daily passion. To wake up to work that serves our passion and purpose. One of the priorities, for our children to witness this kind of living. For them to be part of both worlds. It’s South Africa’s turn and they are at a great age to make this change and integrate.

Here is another big why… we can afford it. We are lovingly supported on two continents, family that has surrounded us with incredible safety nets, passports that give us freedom of movement. We can afford to take a risk and try this path and life. We stand humbly in gratitude for the grace with which we are afforded these changes and opportunities.

I can only stand on the outside for so long, then I also want to join the dance or process. South Africa, it seems we are like a beautiful teenager trying to figure ourselves out. It’s so destructive and in many moments the choices and behaviours makes no sense, and consequences are great. I am still an observer but at least an engaged one now. Soon I hope I can become part of the process and be part of what helps our country heal from the inside out.

 

 

 

Why? because this is what we want to do right now, this is where we want to be right now. Here is where we want to raise our children right now. Here is where we want to create and play right now.

With love and light

charaiveti…..

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