Jasmine – Flying Away
Mummy – Shutting down
Daddy – Personal Power
Jasmine – Flying Away
Mummy – Shutting down
Daddy – Personal Power
During cooking time in the communal kitchen at Bulungula Backpacker we made a friend, Mbali Marais, and Jasmine made fast friends with her impish companion, little Sepinkosi. We told her our story and she told us hers, and she offered to do a healing ceremony for us, at the place where the river flows out into the ocean. It was kind of a letting go of the wounds, letting go of the pain and grief after our baby boy, Rohan’s passing, and speaking to him, and speaking to all our ancestors. Mbali explains about the Ancestral Legacies, the primordial wound oscillating down the generations.
Reprocessing Traumatic Memories
with Anna Nieuwenhuis
at Bulungula Backpackers, E-Cape, South Africa
Towards the end our stay, we met two lovely, friendly Dutch ladies who were touring South Africa, and during cooking time in the communal kitchen, we became friends and discussed recipes for adventure and healing. Jill was very talkative and musical, Anna was more quiet and I assumed that she didn’t speak much English, but when I discovered that she was a Psychologist, I persuaded her to talk a bit on camera, and I was surprised by how articulate and knowledgable she was about the subject nearest and dearest my own heart, how to heal from trauma. I love how she talks about reprocessing memories to remove the intense emotional charge from them, I love how she talks about everything to do with trauma; the effects, the symptoms, and the healing process and treatment!
The best thing about staying at a backpacker, especially one as remote and rustic as Bulungula, is the interesting, amazing, cool people you meet, getting to know them, and their stories, and having long meaningful chats about whatever. Vita and Francesco were on an adventure of their own around the entire south coast of Africa, part of it on bicycle. We really connected with them and took our meals together and talked endlessly, and just before they left I asked Vita to tell us abit more about what she does back home: What is Music Therapy and how can it help with healing Trauma?
Music was what kept me almost sane, growing up. I loved all kinds of music, but I would say that Rock, Raggae, and Trance always found a way to lift my spirits, and guide me. For the longest time music really was my religion. And then learning to play the guitar wasn’t easy for me, but I stuck with it, and eventually it became a way for me to express myself, to be creative and artistic which was what my soul yearns for, and to find away to transmute my wounds and the tight anxieties into beautiful words and sounds… the songs of my heart came pouring out.
We got Jasmine a little ukelele that fits her perfectly and I try to encourage her to play, but not push her but just let her take it at her own pace. She loves to sing and make up her own songs, no encouragement needed on that score (at times we have to ask her to calm down) but sometimes she comes up with these spontaneous truly inspired pieces, and towards the end of the video is one of those: “take a little time to heal” she says.
On our second day in Hoggies we visited The Edge Mountain Retreat and discovered that there was a weekend course taking place about “The Power of Presence” and it had something to do with Eckhart Tolle’s the Power of Now. We love Eckhart, and so we booked a spot for Varkha for this one and I would be with Jasmine. That’s what this expedition was all about; healing, meeting new people, trying new things, relaxing and having fun!
The ability to be present is going to be essential if we were to heal the terrible baggage of the past that was preventing us being free and living in joy; if we were going to really make our relationship work, and do better for Jasmine.
The retreat was called “Awakening the Shift” by John Homewood. We didn’t know that we were in for something very rare and special. It just shows when you put yourself out there and take a step or two in the direction of healing, life, the universe and everything unfurls to meet you half way. John kindly agreed to give a brief interview about healing from trauma.
I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle for years, and listening to his audio books and watching viedos etc. and I could certainly talk the talk of the Power of Now, and very often walk the walk, that is, access real stillness, real peace and joy in the moment, but very often, my day to day, moment to moment consciousness, was still dominated by anxieties and fears, especially when there’s some stress or trigger. But it somehow goes unnoticed, slips underneath the radar, because we are on autopilot, and then we mask it with religious and spiritual striving and bypassing. Meeting a true practitioner of Presence, planted the seeds of transformation, and really did awaken a shift in both of us.
Overcoming the burden of the past, so deeply entangled, interwoven and patterned into the biology and neurology of the body and mind, is not so easy, and those who have experienced chronic trauma and abuse from a young age will know very well the challenges. A superficial ‘letting go’ of the past doesn’t cut it, but we learnt a very important first lesson on the journey of healing that it is very important to be grounded in the joy of presence and to be able access that peace and fun, so that when we delve into our past and encounter our shadows and skeletons, we do not get lost and enmeshed, but can always find our way out again.
It’s not another way of running away from or patching over our past and our wounds, but rather it is a new awareness and way of observing feelings and thoughts, being honest with ourselves as we look at our behavioural habits, emotional routines, and mental patterns, and taking responsibility for how we really feel inside.
It’s a strange paradox that we can only really change when we allow and accept ourselves and our lives and realise that it is all arising out of the highest wisdom and the purest love. Doesn’t feel that why when those attachments are being shattered, but eventually we realise it when we are one degree more free.
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness.”
“Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.”
― Eckhart Tolle
with Tumisi Rearabetsoe Motaung and the crew
The Struggle to be is what defines the whole human experience.