My Story

There are many stories of course, but I call this one ‘my story’ to catch your attention. Yes – I need your attention to be able to communicate my messages, and yes – I am afraid of being viewed as an attention seeker therefore, as well as being judged for it. I care what others think of me, because I am still afraid.

I am afraid. That will be the strand running through this story. I am mostly afraid of being falsely accused of something, when I am in fact innocent, and that nobody will believe me.

This particular story takes as its point of departure my work with essential oils. I think I ordered my first batch of essential oils about four years ago. I hardly knew anything about them, but a voice inside said I should order them. I was sick during this time, exhausted and feeling lost after a divorce the year before, and struggling with my commitments as a mother of two young children. My daughters loved the oils, they used to fight over who would get to choose the oil for the day to diffuse in our flat. I would also use lavender oil on all three of us at night to calm down before going to sleep, which was a good routine for our neurodivergent family with hyperactive brains and sensitive nervous systems.

A few years later I came in touch with a woman, Maria, who was working with essential oils and through her I was introduced to a larger group of women whose calling I shared. It was no other calling than the calling to know God, but in a ‘feminine’ way that had previously been unknown to me. I decided to partake in a two-year long priestess training, which I am about to finish within a few weeks from now. During these two years I have gone through a number of initiations, passages from one stage to the next, where I’ve had to face fears to reach a more expanded place on the other side.

You might wonder what my fears have to do with essential oils, what is the ‘red thread’ (Swedish expression meaning core idea or theme) here? Essential oils are pleasant, have a lovely scent, and the pursuit of working with them seems harmless and kind of sweet, no? Perhaps this is true for many people, but for me it brings up deep seated fears of persecution. I’ve worked very closely with the 1600s witch hunts for a number of years and through this work it’s become very clear to me how this collective trauma still hasn’t been cleared, and I suppose some of us are more attuned to it than others. Claiming to possess any ‘earth based wisdom’, for lack of a better generic word, might not get you killed nowadays, but it may very well lead to the accusation of quackery, heresy or ridicule.

I have been afraid to publicly announce that I work with essential oils precisely because of those fears, and oftentimes when we summon the courage to face such fears, what we are scared of will take place. This happened to me a few weeks before Christmas last year when I announced on Facebook that I would take part in a workshop with essential oils, to make Christmas gifts. (This was also a time when the Covid and vaccine public debates polarized us into “good” and “bad” citizens in a very toxic way.) A male relative saw that I was going to attend this workshop and attacked – verbally and virtually – my friend and indirectly me in a disrespectful, shocking and totally inappropriate way. He later apologized and is forgiven, and I know many of us carry (internalized) contempt for ‘the feminine’ (I do too), so me telling this is not at all to make him look bad – he is on the contrary a lovely person – but to make the case that these fears that I am talking about still have a meaning to this day.

I am going to co-host an essential oils-infused workshop later this week and this is the first time I publicly announce that I do this sort of work, on a larger scale at least, and yet again it brings up fears in my system. I am scared of being judged or publicly ridiculed for what I do, even though I know I am called to do it. I am especially called by the Rose and her medicine, and I can trace this calling back to my early childhood. In February this year, I woke up in the middle of the night and I could feel an intense smell of rose in my nose although there wasn’t any around. In both Islam and Christianity, smelling the scent of roses when there are none nearby is said to signify the presence of the divine. The same day I received the message that I should call my healing treatments ‘Rose healing’ instead of reiki (which is only a part of what I do).

I don’t want to remain scared of the work that I am called to do. I am Ellinor Cajsen Maria, three names with the meanings ‘God’s Light ~ Pure ~ Beloved’ (Maria is also said to signify a title of a priestess).

I am a Dragon

I may have mentioned it before, but many neurodivergent people feel as though they are aliens dropped on Earth trying to figure out how to be human. Some people believe this in a literal sense while others take ‘alien’ as a metaphor. I myself am very fond of the Symbolic and often use the creatures from the Lord of the Rings to illustrate what I see as different wiring in humans, and for my online course Highly Sensitive & Neurodivergent Life I’ve chosen a picture of an Elven woman as a symbol for the kind of person I am speaking to. I wonder sometimes if Tolkien did the same, i.e. if his characters were made in our image?

Lately I have been playing with two new ‘types’ – dragons and bears. I have done so in the context of love and relationships and based on real life ‘cases’. Basically I have observed the incompatibility of these two types in relationships as the reason for many of my own difficulties with coming to terms with who I am, what I need and what I can and cannot give.

I used to think I was a bear, I was dressed as one and I was playing with the other bears, doing their bear games and the stuff that bears naturally like to do. I of course didn’t know that all of it was so natural for them and so much more ‘mechanical’ for me, because I was never aware of the fact that there are dragons and I really believed we are all bears – I just happened to be a somewhat clumsy one!

But then I slowly discovered I am something entirely other. I don’t have that warm and cuddly fur – it was just a fake costume – I have weird scale and feathers, and I have fire within! I may be able to walk on my feet but my natural place is in the air, stretching those large wings that I had to keep tucked in the bear costume all this time and never put to use. I finally understood that I am a dragon, and that there are other dragons too!

What am talking about here? I am referring to my past relationships with bears and the pain of not being able to enjoy the ways of the bears as much as I was expected to, and never really fulfilling their expectations of me since it never came naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong – I also love to hang out with the bears and come visit their dens sometimes. I just don’t want to have to live in one myself. I want to be free. Free to be my dragon self. And I am longing to play with my fellow dragons!

It is not always easy for people like us to have fulfilling relationships – because we are weird! So we have to go out and find other weirdos, nothing else will truly make us happy. That is why I see the need to reclaim our identities and our spaces so that we can stop hiding from ourselves and each other, and so that we can start playing our own games, not pretend to be bears that we may love but aren’t fully compatible with.

Cyclical life

To me, living in harmony with and honoring our natural cycles in this world is a true act of rebellion. I have really suffered from my conditioning to be doer in the world, in the traditional sense of the word, which I take to be active constantly. I am also a doer though, but in a different way, but to be a doer in that commonsensical, constant tasks kind of way absolutely drains me and leaves me temporarily exhausted or – if ongoing for too long – burnt out.

To claim a different life for ourselves we have to give ourselves permission to actually explore our preferred rhythms, which in turn means we sometimes – I guess often – need to rebel against conditioned and internalized norms as well as actual, concrete stuff like a 9-5 job that isn’t in our best interest for instance. Once we’ve done that, we’ve created a container for authentic exploration. What we find then will differ depending on who we are.

My own rhythm comes across as “unbalanced” to many people who don’t have the same wiring, and I used to believe I need more balance because people said so. But what happens for me if I listen to other peoples well meaning advice is that I cannot channel all the energy I have when it’s time for Crazy Creativity – “balance” here would mean stifling that energy. Similarly, if I would get out of the house to go for that “healthy walk” when I have my three days of decadent indoors time in my pjs I wouldn’t get enough of my kind of rest. I understand that my way of life isn’t compatible with a normal job – and that is why I don’t have one!

A cyclical life is one in which we are attuned to the phases of the Moon, our menstrual cycles, the cycles of the year and so on. Most of my readers are familiar with this stuff. But we also have to be able to individualize them and sometimes you might be in an inner state of “Winter” when others are in their “Summer”. In the Winter things are happening under ground, and we have lived in a world where we are taught to live as though it is Summer all year round, so we try to achieve that. But it simply isn’t sustainable! That’s not how Nature works, that’s not how life works, and that’s not how we function either.

I suspect that all people suffer from the abovementioned expectations more or less, but highly sensitive people suffer more from them. I truly believe that we who are sensitives will be able to create a positive ripple effect on the world if we ourselves summon the courage to create a life for ourselves where we honor our cycles fully. It doesn’t mean that everyone will end up living like we do, but it means opening up a space in which it will be possible for more people to live in accordance with their own preferred rhythm.

For the Love of Diversity

The name of this blog and the slogan I use for my company – For the Love of Diversity – carries multiple meanings. One can interpret a love for diversity as a position within a political context – one in which one endorses human diversity as cultural, religious, sexual identity and orientation, etc. This is an area I’ve worked within for much of my adult life – on different levels and in different capacities. It’s only relatively recently that I’ve discovered my own neurodivergence and found that my thinking on cultural diversity in terms of different ethnic cultures (typically oppressed minorities and indigenous peoples) actually can be more or less directly applied to the neurominority that I myself – unknowingly for most of my life – belong to.

What I’ve found, and what I’ve argued previously (outside the context of various neurotypes, that is), is that we have a right to know, explore, cultivate and be proud of ourselves on our on terms. What do I mean when I say “on our own terms”? I mean that we have the right to claim ownership of our own self-expression – not in relation to/in comparison to the majority culture, neurotypical culture, the norm, the state, the official religion, etc. – but in a standalone container. This is essentially what I am trying to create through my advocacy work, mainly directed towards the highly sensitive and neurodivergent population as of lately (however I still care deeply about those groups I used to advocate for).

I actually care for everyone! I often get questioned regarding my separatist groups – I also work a lot with women only – on the grounds that it is leading to separation and division. But I disagree. I’m sure it can lead to that, but it all depends on the intention. If the intention is to create safe space for those who belong to a certain category of humans with certain shared experiences, because there is an need for doing so among those affected, then it is a need that should be accommodated. People who belong to a majority typically don’t feel this need, but it doesn’t mean they are less important – it simply means they have a different set of needs.

To love diversity is to understand and appreciate that we have divergent perspectives, preferences and needs. It means that we appreciate people for who they actually are, not who we want them to be. We will not compare a lily to a rose to determine who is “better”. We will not argue about the usefulness of an insect in relation to a lion. We understand that all creatures have their own and very specific role to play as a part of the whole.

In human terms, it is not just on a group level that we need to love diversity, we also need to do so on an individual level. If we think about a tribe, much smaller than how we organize society today – but also larger that a family unit – we can more easily imagine how every individual needs to be specializing at their “thing”, whatever that is. And leave the things that are not theirs to those members who are designed to do them. If we start to trust that we are made by Divine Design to be who we are and do our designated tasks, there would be less wasted potential as well as overuse of human resources.

Loving diversity then, is a way to restore balance and cultivate peace. It is to view all beings as inherently Sacred.

Withholding our gifts

Perhaps our gifts weren’t valued because they weren’t understood properly, or sharing them may have felt uncomfortable or even dangerous for other reasons. Perhaps we noticed that people didn’t like our honesty so we found ways to not share what we had inside of us.

We have all been gifted with something that we can offer to others. What we have been given to give doesn’t look the same and some of the gifts are more subtle than others. Being highly sensitive is a wonderful gift if treasured appropriately and if one is given the right support to deal with the difficult side of it. In my understanding, this has rarely been the case for must of us and so we come to experience the sensitivity as a curse rather than a blessing.

This past week I have been reflecting on some of my own gifts that I and others have often viewed as more problematic than as beautiful gifts. Which isn’t strange considering the nature of them. I have began to think about them as weapons – a spear and a hand-grenade – but they aren’t used from a bad place at all, but from a place of love. Sometimes, I suppose often, they fall into the category of “tough love” rather than the soft and gentle type of love which is equally important – it just depends on the context. I had a reading a few months ago by a very talented woman who I trust a lot, and she said one of my core tasks in this life is to be a catalyst for other people. That really resonated with me and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I can see that I do this when interacting with people (not everyone of course – but those who need it). Often these people are stuck in some way – in confusion, stagnation or fear – and they (often unconsciously) seek me out for me to set that dormant spark in them on fire. This is the hand grenade.

The spear works in a similar way but this is more connected to someone being very stuck in a false narrative that they hold on to, either because they took it on willingly or because they had to for survival in their cultural context. What I do then is that I poke them a little with my spear, not in a harsh or violent way but they have to feel the sting a little bit. This one is very much connected to my autistic identity for me and I have to say it can be quite uncomfortable to carry this spear around, it’s not always received very well. Between perhaps age 17-37 (37 being last year) I have been trying very hard to hide my spear, or to compensate for it with being overly – and faked – nice to people. However, even though I’ve tried very hard sometimes it hasn’t worked anyway – I just can’t help myself – and the spear has come through my thick layers of synthetic cotton. That word of truth that feels like “ouch”. But the thing is, it is medicine. It just tastes a bit bitter, like some medicine do.

Then there are other kind of gifts that we may hide for other reasons. It can be our own beauty and magnificence or our wonderful talents that we hide because we don’t want to show off. Perhaps others will be offended.

My whole point with this text is to say that whatever the reason we are withholding our gifts from the world it is that – an act of depriving others from our medicine, a medicine that they need. It may not always be comfortable for us to share it, but it is what we are meant to be doing.

What are my boundaries when I’ve stopped fawning?

I’ve had a revelation this week regarding boundaries. There are outer boundaries, and there are inner boundaries. I’ve worked very hard on my outer boundaries during the past few years, and I have come to see myself as finally quite good at placing outer boundaries in relation to others (barring a few examples, one of them being my children). I now realize I don’t actually know much about my inner ones.

You’ve probably heard of the trauma responses fight-flight-freeze. There is a fourth one, called fawning. This survival response is an attempt to avoid conflict by appeasing people. It is apparently common in neurodivergent people as it is a way for us to hide our neurodivergent behaviours and appear what is deemed to be “normal”.

I realized this week that I fawn all the time. It is so normal to me, that I don’t even think about it. So how can I have boundaries when I don’t know what they are? What would I be doing if I wasn’t fawning by default?

I’ll give you an example. I am very sensitive to being around lots of other people, where the place gets crowded with lots of noises. When I am in such a situation, I am already in a strained relationship with my own senses. I am already uncomfortable, and when I am negotiating my needs vis-à-vis the needs and preferences of another person (for instance, the volume of background music) I don’t know where to place my boundaries – because I am already feeling uncomfortable to start with. Meeting a person “halfway” in compromises are often at my expense and I don’t know whose standards I am comparing mine to. How much are you suffering in comparison with my suffering?

If I were to listen to my inner boundaries that are not in relation to another person, that aren’t relative to something other, I might quit a lot of things, because when I have negotiated my true needs things that I used to put up with won’t pass anymore. Perhaps that is what I will come to experience in the future. I wonder what that will be like, because I truly don’t know yet.

When wellness is bad for you

How do I begin to describe this? I am someone who is in favor of what we call ‘holistic health’, i.e. a view on health that takes the physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a human into consideration. However, I often feel like advice that are branded as ‘holistic’ – and should therefore take more than one of these aspects into account – are instead overly simplistic, does not always take context into consideration and operate from a ‘one size fits all’ kind of world view. This can lead to more harm than the good it is aimed for, especially if it is received by individuals who are internally very complex human beings. Sometimes something is good advice only given that the external conditions that are assumed to be in place are in fact, in place. If not, they can have the reverse effect.

I have witnessed many friends who all share that they have a perfectionist trait, who – depending where they are at in their lives – seem to have suffered more from certain health advice than the health they gained from them, unless they could do it all perfectly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the information in and of itself was wrong, but that the net effect on the person absorbing this information turned out to be negative.

I personally don’t struggle with this particular kind of perfectionism, but for much of my life I’ve had this terrible feeling that there is something wrong with me that needs to be fixed. Coming from this place, and desperately looking for answers, makes one try all kinds of things in order to overcome the thing. I’ve tried so many different therapies, diets, supplements, healing modalities, treatments, classes etc. and I’ve learned a lot and I don’t think I would not recommend any of them. My concern is rather “who I was when I was asking for help” and what I hoped that the therapist or practitioner could do for me, and/or what they said they could do for me. If I think I am broken and ask for a remedy to make me whole, and they say – yes do this thing and you will be – then wellness can become nothing but a rabbit whole. I am not saying that most therapists and practitioners work like this, but sometimes we have hidden questions and this is going to be the answers that we hear, irrespective of what they actually say or intend to mean.

I have booked an appointment with an alternative medicine person on Friday, just like I have so many times. I am a bit lost regarding something and I hope she can help me. Perhaps she will be able to help me, perhaps she won’t, but I am more than willing to seek help both inside and outside of the conventional health care system if I feel that I need it. In this case, I need advice from someone who is able to look at the physical, emotional and spiritual, not just the physical body although that is also important.

But I am no longer trying to fix anything, because I know I am not broken. Knowing that makes me meet any practitioner – whether a physician or psychiatrist in the medical establishment, or in the complementary and alternative sector – on the same wavelength. They probably know something that I don’t, otherwise I wouldn’t seek out their help, but they don’t know what it is like to be me and what really works for me. I do, and I am finding out more from a place of knowing I am worth to live my best life.

I see people go into polarized positions when it comes to health issues, one side vilifying the other, but I don’t think either of those ‘sides’ have the right answers. What I do think though, is that many simplistic answers are not good enough for complex humans.

Is time to be managed?

I am hosting an online course for the first time, Highly Sensitive & Neurodivergent Life, with a group of people who are either hsp or both hsp and also neurodivergent. I have promised to teach them all I know about boundaries, as this is an important skill for people like us to master if want to spend our very precious energy on the right things and to be able to feel good in our lives. Ironically, because I’ve had the guts to claim that I know something about boundaries, I’ve been shown this week that I am absolutely clueless. But in a specific case, with my own kids. I find that having children is what challenges me to look at the areas in my life where I need improvement more than anything else, they are – through their very existence – my best teachers in the school of life, and they are not letting me get away with things.

One could question then, why I would teach something that I seem to really suck at. However, I don’t necessarily think that is how it works. Often the very things we struggle with the most is what we come to know best eventually and what we can then teach to others. Think about a person who is learning a foreign language, who needs to study the grammar and get acquainted with all kinds of things that a native speaker knows instinctively. Who will be able to pass on the tricks and the analyses of the language that another learner of this foreign language will need? You’re right, the one who didn’t know how to do this instinctively!

By the same token, I have said I will teach time management in this course. Which is perhaps true and not true, because is time even something to be managed? Are we to conquer it and be masters of it, or is there another way to engage with time? If we talk about time management in a mainstream kind of way, I totally don’t know how to manage it. I get lost in time all day every day, and I absolutely abhor the feeling of being governed by it. So in that sense it is different from how I know/don’t know boundaries, because I haven’t gotten any better at managing time. If anything, I am probably even worse than I used to be.

What am I here to teach then? I want to say I have come to know a way to dance with time. I am not always in that dancey space – if thrown out of balance I cannot access it – but when I am in alignment I don’t feel stressed about what I am supposed to do with my time, or in my time. Perhaps this is simply an experience of flow. Everything that needs my attention is flowing to me at the right time and place, and if it doesn’t it means it isn’t meant for me to focus upon that thing in that moment, but it might come later. This way of being in the world requires a huge trust in life. I noticed yesterday when I was very out of balance due to both sleep deprivation and difficulties with my children that I was thrown of this trustful flow-state and into a metallic, controlling state when I felt as though had to push through and use force, and how sick this state makes me feel.

I don’t know to what extent this way of being in the world can be taught, or indeed if it is for everyone. We all function differently and have different preferences. But what I can do it to bare witness, and I can also share the outer conditions that seems to me to be necessary to make this work. So here is my recipe for a system of non-management of your time:

~ Don’t mix it up with other systems. Either you go for the trust-flow system, or you try to manage your time the conventional way. Mixing them just creates confusion.

~ Live a decluttered life. Don’t include ingredients in your life that you don’t actually, really really want, and that are based on other peoples expectations and preferences. This may involve quite dramatic life changes such as leaving your current job, ending certain relationships and learning to say no (boundaries).

~ Create a solid container based on your true preferences. If we want something to flow, we need something for it to flow in to give it direction (otherwise it is just all over the place). For me, this can be to dedicate time to nothing. For example, having an empty day when absolutely nothing in particular needs to happen. Some of these days nothing does happen, and other of days these turn out to be the most productive and get-shit-done days ever. With flow, never with force.

~ Know what you really want in life. What is truly important to you, and what is outside of the essential. Cut the crap.

I suppose non of this is a quick fix, and as I said – it may not be a recipe for everyone. I think if this text sparks a longing inside of you, then there might be something there. If not, then this is probably not your medicine.

Next time I offer my course, I will not put “time-management” as one of the features in the course as this is actually false advertising (sorry to anyone who feels misled!). I will call it non-management of time instead.

Taking back the Misnomers

A lot of people are skeptical of the practice of ‘labeling’ that comes with our current view on deficit-based diagnoses of neurodivergent humans. It’s understandable that one would reject a label that describes one personality type when it is described in relation to another personality type, listing what the former lacks in relation to the latter. Fundamentally, this is not respectful of the beautiful diversity that exists – and always has existed – among humans.

The neurodiversity paradigm is an alternative to the medical model of understanding that has been the dominant thinking and largely still is. This alternative view offers a way to talk about the fact that we as humans do function differently from one another – and therefore we need labels that are accurate descriptions of the reality we experience – including how these can be disabling for us in certain situations, while not in others. What it doesn’t say though, is that neurodivergent humans are therefore flawed, broken or somehow out of order.

We are all created differently by Divine design. God doesn’t make any mistakes. I don’t know what your beliefs are, but this is where I am coming from. As well as being autistic – an invisible disability (sometimes, but not always, also a superpower) – I was also born without a left hand. We may interpret this as a mistake, as an unfortunate malformation, and indeed if we look at it from a purely scientific, biologistic perspective – it certainly is! It’s not something I wished for my own kids (it isn’t a genetic thing though) or anyone else, but I believe this is an experience that my soul chose for me in this life journey, as it would strengthen my ability to overcome difficulty. It was the perfect playground for a path towards life mastery, if you will. Other people on a similar life path may be given other types of hardship to overcome, it doesn’t really matter to the soul, the point is to set us up for growth.

I have been working with new labels for us that aren’t coming from the medical model – hence the title “taking back the misnomers”. These are viewed as a theoretical construct, or as archetypes that one can work with, so please don’t come to me asking for any scientific evidence. This doesn’t work like that, and I am not interested in disputing science in any way. I am simply offering a new lens with which we can look upon the world, should we want to. Also, one person can embody more than one of these at the same time, so they aren’t mutually exclusive categories. Although, you’re not going to be all of them, that wouldn’t make any sense. But please understand that this is a theoretical construct that you can use to identify with if it is helpful to you, not a label that I ascribe you with and that you are obliged to be carrying around with you, as if it were a mandatory primary school uniform – ok?

Here we go. The four types are The Farmer, The Fairy, The Hunter and The Shaman.

The Farmer is the typical, neurotypical person. Most people fall under this category. Because most people do, there is naturally a huge variation within this population. This is the type of person who is able to function relatively well in our current society. Even if it may not be the optimal life style for this category of human, a life that is governed by an imposed schedule to follow and hard work in a top down system, it is still manageable. This personality type is able to notice and conform to most social codes in the particular social system they are finding themselves in, whatever that may be.

The Fairy is the highly sensitive, neurotypical person. This is a person who is highly empathic and is able to sense other people, rendering them vulnerable to social situations. They often struggle with the expectations of our current system as it makes them depleted, but they are able to understand most other people’s thinking and ways of being in the world.

The Hunter is the ADHDer who is on a constant discovery of what is behind the next corner of the horizon. They are looking for change, stimulation and excitement and are very reactive to the environment so as to be able to catch the next object of their current interest. This type of person is struggling with making sense of time and is somewhat more prone to addictions compared to the neurotypicals due to having less access to dopamine – by design.

The Shaman is the autistic or bipolar type of human. The have a different sense of space and time and aren’t entirely in this world, but are visiting others spaces as well. This is often experienced as confusing for the person, who has to compensate for their rich – and sometimes chaotic – inner life by striving for control in the outer world. This type of person typically has some kind of disability or something unusual about them that also makes them access something other. This type of person is wired for autonomy and isn’t therefore designed to conform to the ways of the masses, however a society can be set up in ways that are more accommodating of this type of person as well as having a greater appreciation and understanding for the gifts that they bring.

Again – this is just something to play with. I can personally see myself in both the Shaman, Hunter and the Fairy – but not in the Farmer. Others will see themselves in another combination of the types. Take what resonates, and if nothing does, just forgive it and move on with your life.

Devotion of self instead of self-devotion

Devotion of self might sound a little narcissistic in our culture. We are taught that sacrificing ourselves for others is the noble thing to do, right? I am going to suggest a modification here. I do think it is noble and right to sacrifice ourselves for something larger than ourselves, only if we understand that we are also part of that Thing – that which is larger than ourselves.

A few years back I was working with the theme Motherhood & Codependency, deeply frustrated with both my own private situation in regard to these phenomena but also collective norms on Motherhood and love that – I will say boldly now – ain’t real love. We are still sold the idea of sacrificial love – I mean the kind that is at our own expense and to our own detriment – and that this is essentially what it means to be a good person. I want to challenge this view. I am not talking about temporarily putting your own needs aside to care for another, like a mother does when she has a small baby who needs constant care.

I am talking about that toxic, codependent energy that sucks the life out of you. That guilt and shame-ridden bad conscience arising within when I do not cater to another person’s request, even if I don’t have any time and energy to spare. Do you know the one I am talking about? Not everyone knows this feeling, but many of us do. And I do think this is embedded in our collective understanding of the meaning of Motherhood, sadly.

We can change this, if we choose to not agree to previously agreed upon norms. If we challenge it in our own life, we become the agents of change.

A good friend called me yesterday, and we were talking about this topic. She knows I have been working very hard with codependency, people-pleasing and boundaries in my life for many years, and is just embarking on her own journey in this area. For some of us, we have a lot of work to do, while others will find other areas of their lives to be more challenging. But this particular friend of mine is on a similar path to my own, and she described this pain of wanting to be there for this other person in need, but not finding the strength for it due to her own circumstances. And I can so relate to this feeling.

But there is a fallacy here, that I haven’t been able to spot before. The false assumption one makes, is to believe there are just the two of us in this equation, when this isn’t true. It is true – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy so to speak – to the extent that we believe that it is so. “I am in need and you are the only person in the world who can help me”. This ‘truth’ becomes very toxic when the person who is on the receiving end needs to go into self-betrayal and stretch themselves further than they have the capacity for. The reason why a person does this is usually because they themselves need something, unconsciously. They need to be liked and that voice of guilt within is screaming louder than the voice that says you cannot be of service at the moment.

The real truth is, that we live in an abundant universe. There aren’t just the two of us in this equation, but there are always going to be some component out there, another person perhaps, who is a better match. Someone who is available and willing to give from an overflowing cup.

If we devote ourselves to give to ourselves and to each other from this Wellspring – not from an empty reserve – we need to say NO sometimes and we will say YES at other times. We need to remember that we ourselves are part of that larger thing we want to give our devotion to, otherwise we don’t fully honour it.