Share a little bit about yourself and maybe describe yourself in five words?
I am a mixed-heritage, complex shadow worker. I would add lover and fighter. And, obviously, what I do is I’m a psychotherapist. I’m a transpersonal, transcultural, integrative psychotherapist
Tell us about your journey. What brought you to where you are now?
A lot of things. I have a very complex history. I think you know a bit about – But, basically, my mother is a Sri Lankan immigrant who came to this country in the ‘70s, when she married my dad. My dad was a Dutch Auschwitz survivor. I’m really starting to understand through my own psychotherapeutic process how that background has really informed everything that I’ve ever done, from my – Yeah. Everything. From my previous career as a fashion editor and a – and a magazine editor to what I’m doing now as a psychotherapist, it’s really been in the background of – It’s been – really been a whole story about identity and discovering, you know, the roots of my identity and the roots of my generational trauma as well. And I think the early part of my experience in the fashion industry, which I had, you know, quite an extensive career there, was very much about exploring the expression in my identity, so much more the outward-looking, kind of the external facets of my identity. And then when my father passed away, I really felt called to go inward and to start the journey on the in – the internal process of, you know, what drives me and what has been going on, kind of, internally, whilst kind of like the external stuff has been happening and what – And then I kind of started to piece together like a puzzle my whole identity, really, in the past, like, five years that I’ve been studying psychotherapy. And now I’ve come to the end. I’m coming to the end this year, and, yeah, and I’m kind of bringing it all together, all the creativity with the psychotherapy. And my cause is very much a – a creative-based kind of – very experiential. It’s transpersonal, so it goes beyond the self into the spiritual. We work – It’s very Jungian-based. We work with creative imagination, dreamwork, all that good stuff. So it does all come, sort of, full circle, actually, but, yeah, it’s certainly been a journey.
Tell us what your biggest inspiration is with the work that you do and share?
I think my biggest inspiration is healing and bringing healing. Like the thought of – Everywhere I go, that’s what drives me and that’s what’s always driven me even when I was working in fashion. I always had at the back of my mind, how can I inspire people? How can I make them feel good? How can I make them feel better? And I think because my background, historically, is so much about suffering, you know, with my dad being an Auschwitz survivor, my mum, you know, coming from a – colonialism and, you know, all of those experience being buried. And from me as a child and as a young adult, watching their suffering, you know, that – that’s been my mission in a way, that I want to bring healing however I do it. Whether it’s through – You know, and the – and the – the – the artwork and the kind of creativity that I have always been engaged in all along my journey, no matter what the medium, whether it’s music, whether it’s painting, whether it’s styling, it’s just always been part of the healing process. So I think really – really it’s healing and – and, you know, that’s – drives me.
What are your favorite soul or self-care practices right now that you can share with us?
I’m doing a lot of deep breathing at the moment. Really breathing to sort of really try – Because I’ve got – You know, my nervous system, generationally, it doesn’t work in the way that, you know, I would – You know, I’m sort of working towards the ultimate kind of nervous system action, shall we say. And, yeah, trauma brings a lot of breathing issues. And – And also with my existential issues with my family background, in terms of breathing, is such a traumatic experience. My dad had a lot of issues with breathing. And, yeah, so I’ve been really practicing breathing very deeply and really trying to take very, very deep breaths like right down to my belly. And really observing, like, how that is. Not trying to – Not trying to put any pressure on me, but just allowing myself to do that. So that’s one of my favourite things at the moment. I do a lot of tarot and oracle cards. You know, I’ll often pull a card just to – Yeah, just to meditate on, really. Just to kind of sit with a card and intuitively hone into what I’m feeling, what’s coming up for me. And I find that that really, really helps me if I’m in sort of difficult situations or, you know, emotionally overloaded, or – I find that sometimes pulling a card – I particularly love The Modern Witch Tarot Deck.
I love tarot as well, anyway, as a kind of journey of – you know, the journey of life and all of the things that can come up. And I don’t really have any – You know, I’ve really done a lot of shadow workaround, like, the – the negative cards, the one that people say is negative. Because, yeah, they’re not really negative. They’re just shadowy cards. So, you know, if anything like that comes up, then I really sort of sit with that and really kind of radically accepting and try to work with what comes up in that. But, yeah, that’s sort of – They’re my favourite thing at the moment that I’m doing.
Tell us what sparks joy in your life, that really, truly lights you up. It could be big or small?
I honestly think the sun. It’s such a simple thing, but the sun on my face is just what lights me up. It’s the best thing in the whole world. And I think over COVID because we’ve had to sit with, you know, very simple things, simple pleasures, you know, because we can’t go out, we couldn’t do the things that we normally do, we couldn’t, you know, just do that escapism thing that we would normally do as easily, I think, for me, going to the park when it was sunny, you know, or going for a walk when it’s sunny was just – is just the best thing to make me feel good. I mean it’s – its vitamin D. It’s – It’s everything. I think just the sun is enough for me to make – to sort of bring joy.
During these times that we’re experiencing as a collective, in what ways are you seeing the importance of community?
Hugely important. I really would have struggled without my community. I co-chair the Students of Colour and Allies group on my course, and that kind of started last year, just after George Floyd, and that was an opportunity for me to kind of get involved with the community within the college and – and meet with other students of colour that were also kind of going through similar experiences to me about what was happening with Black Lives Matter and feeling, you know, that they really wanted to do something in – in – in therapy spaces. And that community just kept me going the whole time. It was just – It was so amazing to meet them, too – to – to kind of, you know, meet with my co-chair, you know, who – who is another mixed-race student that was in the second year, actually, at the time, and I didn’t know her. But we came together because of this – you know, this feeling of social responsibility that we had in therapy. And, actually, then through – through that group, I met so many other students of colour and – and also White allies as well, who – You know, we were all working together for kind of a common cause and that has really been so inspirational as – you know, in terms of community, a community that has been – I’ve been involved in through the COVID experience. And it’s really – It – It – You know, we’ve – we’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together, we’ve – we’ve done so much together, and, actually, that has just been wonderful.
Tell us what was the last sign you received from the universe if you had one?
I get signs all the time. I’m always looking around nature, really. I think that’s probably my last sign. Because I’ve been going to the lake near where I live a lot, and there’s like loads of birds. And the last time was there was this white goose. I mean I just look at the birds anyway and I – and I kind of take all kinds of messages from them, but I just remember this very prominent white goose that was there amongst loads of other kind of geese, and – and a few swans, and – and ducks, and – But he was just kind of on his own. And, yeah, and it was when it was snowing as well. It was – It was sort of a little while ago. And it just looked so beautiful to see this white kind of, sort of, you know, goose just, like, doing his own thing kind of thing. And I just really took – I don’t know, I just took a lot of courage from that – that what – Kind of, why he – why he – why is he there on his own? And what’s he doing? But he looked quite chilled and, yeah, he was in the snow. And I just thought, “Oh, yeah, that – I’ll take that,” you know?
Share with us something that you are really proud of?
I think what I’m really proud of is the work that I’ve done on myself, the shadow work, the therapy. You know, how far I’ve gone with the generational trauma. It’s not an easy journey and it’s – it’s not for the – You know, it’s – You need – You need a lot of stamina to – to do it. Psychological stamina. And I’m really proud that I’ve done it because it – at times along the way, I have kind of questioned myself and thought, what – why am I doing this? Why don’t I just go out and, like, have fun and, you know, enjoy myself, rather than – you know, escape this, rather than actually sitting with it. But, actually, now I just feel like it’s – it gives me such an enormous perspective on – on the suffering in the world. Like I have – I have a really good, deep understanding because I’ve connected so deeply with my own and my family’s, you know, and done the work that nobody wants to do. So I – I feel very proud of myself, you know, for doing that.
What will you never take for granted?
For sure, my life. Just… It’s such a – You know, again, sort of relating it back to my history, it’s like when you come from history like mine, I’ve always felt lucky to be here, you know? So it’s – it’s always with me. And I think that’s why the simple things can easily make me happy because I’m just so connected to that life – You know, the fact that I – The life force within me. And, you know, that -that my ancestors couldn’t have, you know. So that’s a very precious gift that, you know, I’ve not always been that connected to in the past because of, you know, the healing that needed to take place. But now, you know, I’m very – I try to be present as much possible.
What are your favourite practices that connect you to heart energy? It could be a tip or a tool, or a, you know, technique?
Reiki, I use your book, you know, quite a lot. All the different practices that you can do and just – It’s really good reminder if it’s like a full moon or, you know, however, I’m feeling, that I can do a five-minute Reiki practice to just connect myself with my heart. I do it often when I go to bed if I’m lying down in my bed. And, you know, I’ve had an – I feel exhausted, for example, and I need some energy, or I have a pain, you know, that’s come up. I’ll bring – You know, because the Reiki is something that, you know, it’s – it’s within myself to do, so it’s – it’s just this – the greatest gift and an amazing, you know, tool to have that – You know, I often just put my hand on my heart for a few minutes, however long I need, you know, depending on the day, and just give myself that energy back.
Rest the palms of your hands on your heart centre and take a soft breath and share with us a message that you’ve received from your heart today?
Just to be authentic, to have authentic connections, and speak from your heart, and not to be afraid that you know, what you say might be, you know, wrong or… You know, just – just to – to – trust that what you have to say, if you’re speaking from your heart, it will connect with other people and they will feel you, and that will be a positive thing. Because I think sometimes we’re so scared to speak our truth when, really, that speaking the truth is what brings people together.
“Be authentic, have authentic connections and speak from your heart.”
Namalee Bolle is Transpersonal transcultural psychotherapist, a Generational trauma activist, and a writer and speaker.
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This interview has been transcribed and taken from our Breathe Love audio series. To listen to Namalee’s full interview (recorded May 2021) in full, please click here
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