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Our Bacon Tree is actually a Spekboom (Which is Afrikaans for Bacon/Pork Tree) that was given as a token reminder of our wedding. At the moment it lives on our balcony and has had a pretty epic year on its own. Having survived two moves, re-potting and being devoured by caterpillars. (Yes you’re right, that is very symbolic, our wedding token was devoured by the Earth’s universally accepted animal change agent.) It has also given up a limb to spawn a fully independent mini-me.

The good news is that it has survived the process. Like most living things it has a variety of moods that I now use it as a relationship weather vein, which has forced me to create a new relationship in my life and I find a place to focus the nurturing qualities of marriage. I talk to it. I encourage it and I tell it how beautiful it is. That it belongs with us and that I am very grateful to have it in my life. That I love the work it does and how much it is doing for the planet. I make sure it’s loved, though I’m not sure it believes it after the caterpillar incident.  I wonder at what lengths people go through to keep a plant healthy and happy. Especially in the times we live now.   I know it is a miracle in my life and it represents hope for the future. Especially as it loves munching carbon. Over a decade ago someone once told me “If you think you are ready for a relationship, to get yourself a plant and if it lives a year, you are ready for a pet’.

The marriage process has made me confront things that I literally never thought possible. Miya Angelo said, “When people tell you who they are believe them”. All of a sudden I do. There are many things that we choose to overlook when we get into relationships. For all the right reasons. We want to love through it. We believe that anything is possible. That we can love far beyond our own truths and live somebody else’s. Then we begin to understand just how wild that is. What a massive adventure is laid out before us and that in undertaking this path we are reconstructing the world in which we have chosen to live. That our world is no longer controlled by our personal truths and that shared realities are complex. That living with another person is like living with another reality that we might never fully discover. That we can’t colonise another person’s mind with ideas that aren’t true for them, any idea, and that somehow we might be able to navigate that together. That these are the decisions we’ve made and that we resist them at our own peril. Alternate truths are real. Yet somehow we are surprised by this. As if politics alone wasn’t enough to play that out for all to see.

The thing is though we don’t have to convince anybody. We don’t need to change anybody’s mind. We don’t need to make them understand how we see it and we certainly don’t have to expose facts in order to be heard. All we can ever do is turn up and be ourselves and live our lives as fully as we always intended, love ourselves enough that there is space for another perspective. Live our truths and through the process know that we are enough and the world’s madness doesn’t change that.

They say that there are lessons in everything and that what we see is our mirror. What we don’t fully understand is how deep that reflection goes. Of course, what I’ve just said is a paradox. As there is no depth in a mirror. All we have is a flat perspective that can move and change giving us all the information that we need in it. Reflecting back all the details of our backstory and simultaneously our present. It is soooo magical! It’s totally understandable that we would be highly confused by it. Relationships take personal understanding deeper, as we unpick everything. We find that our internal traits, have external matches. Cause meets effect, openness meets rigidity, reflective meets reactive, embracing meets denial, truth meets reason. There’s also no telling where each of us may take that ground in the ever-shifting sands of life.

We all like to believe that we know the best way forward and that we can talk through everything. Then honestly what if you can’t? What if after nearly eight years of being together you finally realise that actually, you have totally different belief systems that literally took seven years to show up. That the veils have well and truly fallen and love can still dwell in the places where we can’t meet.

We may be very familiar and safe with our own demons and the process it might take to coax them into a ferral state of benign co-living. When all of a sudden you find yourself discovering somebody else’s lurking in the previously unexplored recesses of their mind.  We don’t know where they start and end or even their true form.

We can liken personal relationships to revelations in history. Where the nature of the universe even now is under debate. That the best ways forward are often argued about. Great breakthroughs are often dismissed and even ignored until we find ourselves in a new reality depending on who has the fortitude to push through. The lesson will be repeated until it is learned. Love always, especially when it is hard, confusing and frustrating. Yup.

Kimberley Stone is originally from Scotland, lived in South Africa for 6 years and is now based in Cape Town. She is an ILS and ICF Master Life Coach, with a knack for manifesting in the most unusual ways and says “I certainly have a very unique world view. My power animal is a Unicorn (The National Animal of Scotland). I love storytelling and I believe that personal storytelling can be both cathartic and transformative for both the teller and the listener. That by being our deeply flawsome selves we give people the ability to find themselves. I’m not into prescriptive advice. That if you balance on one foot for an hour a day you’ll become grounded. That if you only eat tofu for 18 months you gain quadruple ecowarrior points and the universe will award you with the ability to see fairies. Every person is unique, everyone has to find their own way and that if you manage to drink even a litre of water a day you are actually taking incredible care of yourself. If that water gets swapped out every second day for a litre of synthetic banana milk and that’s what make you feel good, right then and there, you are also taking amazing care of yourself. I will applaud you for all your efforts.”

Kimberley can be contacted on kimberley@thelifedoula.com

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