My guiding principles &
what I believe in
My work lives at the crossroads between spirituality and social justice, between healing our selves and healing the world.
Why I Care About Mental Health
A toxic culture will make people’s psyches ill.
To stay mentally healthy, people need a healthy society, a healthy “culture”, and a connection with spirituality.
Industrialised Western culture, globalised capitalism, patriarchy, etc, they drive all of us neurotic. All of us. It just manifests differently in different people. And it’s more often than not the “sensitive ones” who turn that neurosis inwards, into self-destructive patterns.
I have come to understand that the best way to heal is to not charge towards our “illness” with the intention to “heal”, but rather to nourish our minds and hearts with soulful, honest ideas. Our minds work with stories, and if the stories are healthy, so will our minds be.
Mental illness is directly related to the stories we believe, the stories we tell ourselves. And these stories in turn come from the culture we live in. These are the stories our culture tells about itself, about its people.
“To experience sanity outside of this culture is to come to know this culture as insanity.”
Choosing sanity and mental health means changing the narratives we tell about ourselves and the world we live in. I believe good, healthy narratives are the medicine we need for individual and collective healing.
I want to help people to not be afraid when everything in their lives falls apart, when they feel like complete failures.
As the world crashes further and further, normal will stop working for more and more of us.
It’s quite simple, really: if we are meant to live in this time of critical collapse, then we are meant to help birth the new world that will emerge from the ruins of this one.
I too wished for a “normal” life
To be sure, we don’t all experience this collapse in the same way. Some people are doing fabulously, living fantastically successful lives for all the world as if this collapse wasn’t happening. Social media ensures these people get the most attention, further enhancing the perception that everybody’s life looks like this.
Mine doesn’t. My life is made of the collapse of all the mainstream narratives.
I too wished I had had a “normal” life. You know, “The Life”. A stable, secure job in an office, a husband, a mortgage, maybe some kids. The life I grew up with, and the only “story” I used to know. I too wanted an easy life inside the mainstream.
But then I think about the transformation I went through, and how I wouldn’t have gone through it any other way. No one chooses failure. No one chooses self-annihilation. No one chooses the multi-headed hydra of poverty, failure, single-ness, homelessness, unemployment.
I wasn’t asked whether I wanted to follow the path of most awakening. I was relentlessly forced into it.
I believe the world no longer needs more people living inside “the mainstream story”. Humanity needs to step into a new consciousness.
This relentless insistence in keeping our eyes shut, in staying asleep in the comforting bosom of the status quo and life as we know it, is dangerous.
I believe we must break our emotional dependency to the system.
The Mainstream Stories are Breaking Down
We can no longer rely on mainstream culture’s stories and narratives to stay healthy. We must find other sources.
How do we cope with everything that’s going on?
We are losing a lot of what we grew up taking for granted. Security, predictability, knowing that so long as we lived more or less like our parents did, we would be ok.
How do we cope with the reality of not being better off than your parents. How do we cope with not having a stable home, or a stable relationship, or a stable community.
How does our psyche cope with the gap between the life we have been told to expect and the life we actually have?
What narrative do we live in, once we “fall off” the old one.
We need to recognise the shape our lives have taken, rather than the shape we expected them to take.
The Dominant Culture is in Denial
The dominant culture does not want to acknowledge this collapse. This is done in many ways, but one that I prefer to focus on is this: by systematically ignoring the people whose lives embody the collapse of these decaying stories.
In other words, there aren’t any “unemployed” people, there aren’t any “single” people, there aren’t any poor, hardworking people, there aren’t any “homeless” people. On and on, the system refuses to acknowledge the existence of people for whom life isn’t “working”.
Unless we speak out, the world will continue to tell these stories, and as more and more people bear the brunt of this collapse, they will blame it on themselves, getting sicker and sicker.
(I am trying to write a book about this. So if you feel this is playing out in your life, and you want someone to talk to, do e-mail me.)
There’s only one way to go, when life presents itself like this, and that way is down. Into despair, and further still, into the roots of the Underworld itself.
This descent is fraught and potentially fatal. Yet if we learn how to navigate the deadly currents of the Underworld, we can reach a deeper truth, that can heal us from the malaise of mainstream civilisation.
Our goal shouldn’t be to try and go back to the “old story” that didn’t work for us. Our goal is to move to a new story, whatever that may be.
The end of this world, our world, our familiar world, doesn’t have to be the end of THE world. (See: The Uncivilisation Manifesto)
The best way to stay sane in an insane culture is to drink deep and often from the well of ancestral wisdom and truth.
This is not a metaphor.
We are outgrowing the Mainstream Story
We are living through the Burning Times, when all the Official Narratives of our culture are crumbling right before us. We can no longer follow a certain path and expect good results.
There is no path anymore.
The whole world is undergoing a deep, radical transformation to its very foundations: its core stories.
On a global level it looks like we can no longer answer questions such as “what does it mean to be human” and “where are we going” and “how do we even get there”.
On a personal level it looks like being confronted again and again with a “mis-shape life”. Not feeling like an adult, never having a stable job, permanently being on the move between houses, cities, countries, veering from one sort-of-relationship to another.
Previous generations weren’t this lost because what *their* ancestors had done had more or less “worked”. Today we must rethink everything. And it is *exhausting*.
“We have lived by the assumption that what was good for us would be good for the world. (…) We have been wrong. We must change our lives, so that it will be possible to live by the contrary assumption that what is good for the world will be good for us. And that requires that we make the effort to know the world and to learn what is good for it.”
The institutions that used to hold us are falling apart. Science, medicine, politics, journalism, justice, education.
It’s only a matter of time before we are all touched by their collapse.
Normal is not coming back. Systemic breakdown of life as we know it. More and ore people will be going through this, yet when it happens, it’s terrifying.
The old certainties no longer apply. These are the times of uncertainty and the unknown.
We live in an age of collapse
We need to look at it, recognise it, name it, describe it… and accept it.
I want this space to be a home for those people who aren’t living the “official stories”. Whose lives don’t look the way they are “supposed to”, according to mainstream narratives.
The Future will not just come to us, we have to make it happen
There’s only one way: many of us must step outside of the mainstream story and evolve our consciousness and learn to live under a different paradigm. When enough of us do this, then maybe things will change.
The future is all of us spending most of our time restoring the Earth. Restoring our Culture. Restoring our Psyches and our bodies and our relationships.
That’s the future. Farming, yoga, cooking. Planting, weeding, composting. Cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning. Restoring, mending, repairing. Getting to know ourselves and each other, so we can better relate to ourselves and each other. Growing up and waking up.
“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and that when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey.”
- Wendell Berry
My Guiding Principles
* My work aims to offer “sustainable, anti-capitalist self-care in service of collective liberation” (hat tip Rachael Rice)
* Collapse conscious, focused on deep adaptation, uncivilisation, decolonisation, “living creatively in challenging times”
* reconnecting with ourselves and with the natural world, reclaiming true narratives, initiations, our own intrinsic worthiness, the sacredness of the earth
* Questioning the ideas we inherited from mainstream society about what our lives are supposed to look like, what we’re supposed to value, the ways we conform to society
* Becoming fearless, choosing love, because we have shed the expectation of our life conforming to what we have grown to accept as “normal”
I believe we must break our emotional dependency to the system.
I aim to help the spread of sanity by writing truthful, heartfelt words. Sometimes these will take the form of politics. Sometimes it will take the form of culture. Or my own personal struggles. All that matters is that it’s written truthfully, for it to have a healing effect on our psyches and hearts.
I want to live and embody the “new story” of the world that is being born right now.
You are welcome to join me as I explore these new stories we are living through, as we tread on unknown territory.
Can I interest you in some links to give you a clearer idea of what this is all about?
Hey, a whole page about me!
Read my story and what I’m up to these days.
Find out more about the basic principles behind what I teach
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