Some people are born with an innate sense of freedom.
I’m not one of them. I’ve spent a lot of my life feeling trapped:
by my circumstances, my thoughts, my body, my expectations, other people’s expectations, etc.
It’s a long list, trust me.
Only Chuck Norris knows why this is. I think that even if I’d grown up on a prairie riding wild horses naked all day long I’d still have this feeling. My whole life has been driven by this insatiable need for freedom. It has informed my choices and shaped the course of my life.
For lack of a better way of saying it, growing up in South Africa back in the seventies and eighties was a decidedly black and white affair. It was the height of a forty-six year Apartheid regime that was ended by Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk in 1994.
If you live in an oppressed society (even if you are the one doing the oppressing) fear pervades everything. It permeated my childhood and, in retrospect, informed a lot of my choices.
Then, things got interesting.
In my early twenties I started manifesting all kinds of strange, inexplicable symptoms that propelled me on a mammoth four-year journey to figure out what was wrong with me.
I couldn’t sleep, I had blackouts. I had visions and saw things that no one else did. My body went hot, then cold. I had debilitating pains, and sometimes woke up with a lame, dead body that couldn’t get out of bed. As time went by things got worse and worse.
I couldn’t work, I had no money. I was certain I was going completely round the bend.
I went for brain scans, saw psychologists and psychiatrists, a range of natural healers and the like. They all had their opinions, but none of them really understood what was happening to me.
The psychiatrist wanted to put me on heavy medication. The psychologist eventually wanted to take me out of society. I was by all accounts, including my own, going mad.
A Sangoma is traditional African doctor found in different shapes and forms in the southern parts of Africa. For a white person to go and see one was literally like walking over to the dark side.
When I eventually mustered up the courage to go and see one, it completely changed my life. I was diagnosed with the “calling illness”, meaning that my ancestors were calling me to become a Sangoma, and that my illness was a manifestation of this calling.
From the moment that I accepted this interpretation of my illness as valid and agreed to be initiated, my life changed. I started looking at the world in a new light. I have no doubt that if I hadn’t been initiated as a traditional African doctor (in 2001) I would be wearing a little white outfit and living in a padded cell somewhere right now, or I’d be dead.
Frightening as it was, becoming a traditional doctor put me on a clear path to my own freedom. It gave me the practical tools I needed to create more space in my own life. It allowed me to recognize not only what is seen, but also what is unseen. It taught me to think about myself in a much more expansive way.
This website is the place where I ramble on about freedom, what it means to me and how you can get more of it. As Richard Bach puts it, “We teach what we have to learn most.”