Warfare

 

I don’t buy food with chemicals in them. We do not spray any chemicals on our grass, fruit trees or garden. I do not put chemicals inside or on the outside of my body. But yesterday, I found myself within the stroke of a pen to agree to cover the outside of my house with chemical toxins. Why?

Wasps. Always the wasps with me.

I have such a live and let live attitude outside of them. Even with the ticks. But when it comes to wasps, I see red. I want to annihilate them. I hate them. And I look for every chance I get to seek out their presence as a kind of affront to me and my life. How they are ruining it for me. How scary and dangerous they are.

They have no idea of course that I feel this way. But if they did, I just wish they would know how uncomfortable I am and be different. Not so waspish. Not so “sting first and ask questions later.” Not so ugly with that weird thing hanging down. Not so swarmy and floaty around the front of my house. Or in the places where I want to be outside and not feel like I am in the middle of a war.

In the midst of all of this, I lose myself. Enough to have a pest control company come to my home. Truly, nothing could be further from the truth of who I am and what I believe. Caught up in my feelings, I just wanted them gone and I did not care what it took. I think the hardest thing of all is to stand in relation to another being (human, insect or animal) whose very behavior you do not understand. Or hate. Or are afraid of. And still say “yes” to their right to be here. To their right to live as they see fit. To move as they move. To choose as they choose.

I know, but what about how it impacts me, might be what a part of your mind is thinking. To that part I would say, open up your perspective to include more than just you and your particular beliefs. Root out the fears you hold about something or someone that is different than you. Especially when that difference brings up fears in you around how your life will be affected.

In the end, I did not sign the contract. Why? Because in the midst of talking this out further, suddenly the knowing that I was going to harm other forms of life, like the honey bees we are keeping, was enough to stop me cold in my tracks. Was enough to bring me to my senses. And therein lies a Truth. We cannot eradicate Life on any level without harming all Life. We cannot coerce living beings into being what they are not, or doing what we want them to do, just to make ourselves comfortable, without bringing great harm to All.

Weighing In

 

For more than a year, I have been taking a very deep, at times painful and at times empowering, journey into my own unconscious. Specifically, being with old, long-standing beliefs around who I feel I need to be for others. It has been eye-opening and humbling. And it has been sad. Deeply sad. It has been downright grief-filled in a way that bypasses any thoughts or stories I might have about what is going on, and instead, expresses itself throughout my entire body in a way that feels like every single cell in my being is relentlessly sobbing.

I have come to know this experience as a state of mourning. A state that I now know intimately, having grown accustomed to its presence such that when it shows up I no longer fight it. Instead, I let it wash through me when I can. I cry it out when I need to. And I give myself lots of TLC in between. Sometimes it stays for days. My last go around was for more than a week. It feels like someone I love has died, but that now I must go on. Some days are better than others. But always, either near or far, it is running in the background.

What has brought me to the place of such heart-break? Witnessing within myself, while watching it unfold in the world, a belief system that says, “Do everything you can to make sure you are never wrong in the mind of another.”

I will never be able to explain here all of the nuances, all of the devastation, all of the ways I have distorted who I am to make sure no one thinks I am doing anything wrong. Suffice to say, it goes deep, and it is pervasive. It is soul-crushing and it is life-wasting. It is maddening and it is deadening. And it is something we are doing now to each other en mass.

I suppose I should not be surprised. For years, we have been being primed for this. For years we have been creating a model of weighing in on each others “wrongness” and “rightness” across social media platforms. We have made it desirable, acceptable, and even required, that we weigh in on each others lives. That we rate one another. That we desperately put ourselves out there looking for others to tell us how we are doing. Begging for the answer to Am I right or am I wrong in your eyes? Do you approve or disapprove of me?

Please, please weigh in on how I am doing, and I will change myself accordingly.

Likely there has always, or at least for a very long time (probably when we acquired language), been opinions offered up by other people about us. Been fears inside each of us around being accused of wrong doing by another. Judgment, gossip and criticism used to mold and manipulate us to conform. Ways that we have been overtly and covertly coerced and shamed into doing things according to someone else’s agenda. Or else. But up until this time period in history, there was always a limitation to the scope, reach, power, pervasiveness and level of pressure that could be applied against us.

No more. There is virtually no end now in terms of how we can make each other wrong. How we can use the technologies to bend people to our will. Sadly, we have been going willingly. As a matter of fact, even though social media leaves us depressed, lonely, disconnected and suicidal, we can’t seem to get enough of looking outside of ourselves to determine who we are, and whether or not we are okay. Whether or not we get to be here. Whether or not we are an asset or a liability to the world.

Enter 2020. A year that not only sacred us all to death-but one that has both accelerated and birthed the narrative that says, “I have the right to weigh in on what you do. And if you do not subscribe to my version, you are less than, wrong, a danger.” Having grown accustomed, expectant even, of having our lives weighed in on by another through the platforms of social media, we are primed now to believe that we owe it to one another to be told what to do and how to feel.

This is a dark and troubling road to walk down. One that traps us in a never-ending hell where we believe that it is only by the approval of another that we are valuable, and “allowed” to safely be here. I will you from first hand experience, if you walk down this road unaware, you will not only waste your life by agreeing to all of the wrongs things, you will have created the path to the most wrong you will ever go on to create in our world.

Watch your mind. Listen closely to the explanations you are giving about yourself and your behavior. You may notice this in real conversations or in the imagined ones you have in your own mind when you are defending yourself. Listen to, and feel for, the narrative you have about your own wrongness. Watch the way you shift yourself in conversations when you sense, or imagine, another’s disapproval.

We are wired to herd together. To belong to one another. This sets us up to bond over what others expect of us. But that should never, ever, come at the expense of your healthy expression or your innate, felt sense of your own goodness and value. Nor should you ever acquiesce to a demand that comes from a sick herd. This is a tricky one and can only be ascertained by experiencing yourself beyond the demands of the group. This one place alone may be the hardest thing you will ever do. But in so doing, you will live and experience joy in who you are, instead of mourning what you have allowed yourself to become.

Engineering The Nature Out Of Humanity

As the technologies continue to make their way into more and more aspects of our lives, our biggest challenge becomes, how do we continue to recognize and honor real human needs? How do we stay human? Such a strange thing to say, or even think about. Of course we’re human. What else could we be? Well we could, we actually are, becoming lesser and lesser versions of who and what a human being can be. Sadly, the examples continue to mount.

Our basic needs for sleep, downtime, sharing a meal, time spent in nature and more have all been hijacked by the endless parade of shows, Youtube videos, social media, and gaming.

Our children’s truest developmental needs for face to face contact, exploration of the environment, movement, and creative time have been commandeered by the digital babysitters.

We exist physically in the same house with our loved ones while we spend increasing amounts of time separate from one another; preferring to hunch over our screen companions instead.

And our Western physicians are losing their diagnostic skills; choosing to use the technologies as the modern day diagnostician rather than to observe, listen to, and collaborate with the person who sits before them as a way to come to an educated medical opinion. Believing machines superior over human-to-human contact and healing.

Basic human needs, the ones that keep us alive and keep us healthy, the very ones that define the human experience, are being engineered out of us at great cost. Many of us no longer have any idea what those needs are, or how to satisfy them. No longer connecting to what feels good, right, natural in our own bodies, leaves us opting instead for what distorts, undermines, and confuses. And then, at a great loss for what to do, we look outside of ourselves.

With all of the technological insertions into our lives, how will we know not only who and what we are, but as importantly, what we need? This is such an enormous question to even ask. Maybe that is why so many of us don’t. Maybe that is why it feels easier to hand ourselves over to the technologies. God knows the screens will never demand an answer to that question. Nor will they provide us with a healthy answer. Despite what we have been conditioned to believe, the technologies are not the great white savior.

This is nowhere more evident than with our very own bodies. The very thing that makes us human. The only way we can be here, be in relationship, and know how to care for not only ourselves and others, but for the very body of the earth Herself. It is the ground out of which we exist. The only place we can inhabit to discern what is real and true, and what is not. Without an authentic and present connection to the body based on basic, directly experienced biological Truths and needs of the body, we are lost.

To be in a body is to experience Life. It is to know our wholeness. And our brokenness. It is a doorway into Self-discovery. A portal that takes us from the mundane to the lofty. To be in a body is to know yourself intimately. It is to be confused and scared, gain clarity, and do it all over again. It is to endure and to remain committed. It is to be sovereign and to surrender to Something More in a world mesmerized with the material accomplishments of man.

It is to walk a unique path that Graces you with compassion, patience, wisdom, and tolerance. And it is to find your courage while claiming personal responsibility for your own health. This is the gesture we need from you right now. An agreement with yourself to do some growing up. To know that you cannot outsource your health to another. Nor to the technology du jour. And it is to know that no one, or no thing, can lay claim to your sovereignty in this regard.

This is a big task. And a necessary one. Every single issue we face in the world has its origins in each one of us and how it is that we are showing up. Every single way we are hurting as a species can be found within the fears, imbalances, and abdications of personal responsibility living within each of us. This is the good news. This is the fix for all that you see around you. This is where you can weigh in and help change what must be changed.

So, begin within. Begin with one simple question and observation: “Beyond anything outside of me, what am I feeling in this moment?” This is not a thought. It is not based on outer expectations. It is you, being in you, while feeling and sensing what is there. It is a lifetime practice, and it is your way into the direct experience of the Truth of being alive. Something that can only happen by being in your body while claiming full and total responsibility for what you do with it.

Who Will You Be?

 

There is nothing I love more than when I am working on something, wondering about something, or making changes in my life, and then, the world reflects that back to me. It happened this morning while I was taking a yoga class, coming in the form of a question posed by the teacher.

“Who am I in this?”

She was referring to the choices that we are presented with personally and collectively each and every day. The decisions, small and large, around what we will do with, how we will be with, what we are faced with. This matters. Perhaps more than at any other time in history. It is showing up on every single level of existence. And it is born out in the astrology of our times which is asking, will we choose control or will we choose freedom? Will we choose the old or will we choose the new?

This coming year is a year of choices; with the decisions we make being really big. What’s happening now has literally been marked in the heavens. And it is calling each one of us forward in our own way.

This takes a lot of courage, and I know this one personally. Other than the experience of having children, I have never been as challenged on some level as I have this past year when it comes to who I will choose to be through all of this. I find so many similarities between now and when I was a young mother. The steep learning curve. The lack of control. The challenges in deciding outside of the mainstream. The search for the like-minded. The judgment; mine and others. But most of all, the deep call from within to choose from within. As it was with raising kids, it has been a messy, glorious, confusing and strengthening journey.

In my best moments, I would not change any of it. To decide who and what you will be, separate from what the external pulls for, I think, is the very point of being here.

To know yourself, sovereign unto yourself, is what every living being, except human beings, do and do quite well. I know I have written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. Nothing, not a single thing in nature changes its Nature because of external demands. No animal stops doing what it does because we do not like it, or agree with it.

The wasps on my porch, the porcupine that eats my fruit trees, and the anonymous animal that has burrowed into the barn and pooped all over the place, will never, ever, stop doing what it is doing because I don’t like it. Not one of those creatures will change its Nature to fit in with my expectations of them. We humans, on the other hand, regularly do this.

This is a hard one. We all want to belong, and so we all do things against our very nature. Fearful that without the adjustments and the distortions we will be left out. Ostracized. Harmed. But there is a big difference between belonging and fitting in. So, where do you decide how to be in this based on the need to fit in? Based on the stories you tell yourself about what a good person is? Based on what you watch coming across a screen? Based on your fears of being who you actually are?

Here’s something to try. The next time you are in an interaction with someone, and the conversation is creating some kind of pressure in you, pause and feel. Is there a fear, an anxiety, or a stifling of what you really want to say or be? Are you pretending to feel one way, when you actually feel another? Instead of leaving yourself, becoming what you believe the other person expects you to be, stay with what is happening for you. Feel it. Be it. Let it reveal its Nature to you. Staying with yourself is the essential ingredient.

Then ask yourself, “If I had all the courage, integrity and authenticity I needed, who would I be in this right now?” 

 

The Brilliance of a Body Supported

 

Last night, after teaching a class, I awoke to a “small” miracle. The tension and pain that had been in my neck for months and months, was gone! “All” I had led the night before was attention in the body, breathing, and some simple movements focused on the neck and head. Can you imagine if this kind of an approach was the messaging we got around health and the body? I can.

But it takes an enormous shift of perspective. As big as going from the earth is flat to the earth is round.

It is not a movement of the mind as much as it is a return to embodiment.

It does not come from the outside-in, but the inside-out.

It is not in the hands of another, but found within the deeply lived experience of being in a body.

It is not dogma, but instead a kind of original faith and knowing in what the body is capable of.

It is not determined by the times nor the technologies available, but by an enduring and timeless understanding.

In essence, it is a return to the Natural Truths of our fully inhabited biologic sovereignty. Wow! What does that even mean? Beyond anything I have ever done, one of the greatest sources of personal freedom and empowerment has been to cultivate an honest, loving and respectful relationship with my own body.

Not based on a number.

Not based on a reflection in the mirror.

Not based on perfection or another’s expectation of me.

Not based on an expert opinion.

Not based on any system that would deny any part of me.

In the beginning, it was a lot of unravelling from what it “was not” in order to get to “what it is.”

The unmasking effort though is so worth it, for there is a profound solace, safety and sacredness waiting for each and every one of us to claim this inherent experience and healing potential. Is it hard? It is. In the beginning it was perhaps the most terrifying and difficult thing I have ever done; for both my own body and for the bodies of my children. There have been confusing times, painful times, and ugly times. But every single time that I could stand in the fear or the discomfort, something real and true grew inside of me. A kind of intimacy and courage that has gone on to serve as the ground on which I stand.

One that cannot be duped. Or coerced. Or bargained with.

Beyond even that, is the knowing that this body serves as a doorway to the Truth of who and what I am. Given that, why would I ever put that in the hands of another? And therein lies perhaps the most difficult of all paradigm shifts to be made. That being, personal responsibility. The arduous journey of shifting out of the mindset of the child who says, “Tell me what to do. Fix this. Make this go away,” to the exquisite status of a fully realized human being.

But it takes time, and your effort. It takes beginning where you are. So, where are you when it comes to your body? What might it be like to begin to ask questions like, “Into whose hands have I placed the Intelligence of my own body?” “What fears drive my choices?” Let the answers, as uncomfortable as they might be, guide you into your own unravelling process.

For a little support, check out: Reclaiming Your Body by Suzanne Scurlock-Durana or Heal Your Body by Louise Hay.

 

Transitions

 

Like all of us, this past year plus has been a daily and even moment to moment exercise in trying to catch up to the reality that stands before me. Sometimes I am graceful, accepting, and even grateful. At other times I am tense, striving, angry and frustrated. In those times, the Buddha would tell me I am suffering because I am unwilling/unable to be with what stands before me without wishing or needing it to be different. Without grabbing, pushing away, or trying to manage what is most decidedly beyond my sphere of influence.

But in this day and age, what exactly would that reality be? The old, broken down dying systems crumbling (thank god) before my very eyes? Or would it be the gathering voices and movements saying there is another way? It is both, and it is neither. And that is maddening. We are not where we once were. But neither are we where we most want to be. Instead, we are in a place unto itself. A place that is neither here nor there. A place that does not feel like a place as much as it feels like something to get away from.

The place we are in, is Transition with a capital “T.” The territory of where the old still stakes its claim while meeting up with what is yet to be born. Where hardest of all, the old must die to give way for what is coming. A space I remember well when I was delivering my first baby. For when I got to the moment I am describing, I experienced a felt sense of annihilation of what had been, without knowing what would come. In that moment, I left my body. It felt easier to leave then to be with such a Great Unknown. It’s funny to think back on that moment, and how I uttered “I am out of here” inside my own mind. Thankfully, my midwife felt the leaving and called me back, saying “Susan, we need you here.”

Yes. We need all of us here now. Every day. In every way that we can muster. Every one of us choosing to be here as fully and authentically as we can. Feeling all that we are feeling, while being open to being broken open in preparation for some possibility we cannot even name, yet somehow yearn for. A time way past due. A time not tied to our limitations, fears or habits. Instead, a place of pure potential and possibility. Not yet here, but arriving.

This is not easy to do. It would be so much easier to leave. So much easier to choose “I am out of here.” This is exactly where we need our midwives; those people and perspectives to remind us of both the reality that stands before us, and the one to come. To remind us that we are needed. Here. Now. To remind us that yes, we can do this. That in reality, there is no other choice.

While we continue to labor, not yet with what is wanting to be born, who and what are your midwives? What keeps you here, and open to what is coming?

 

The New Look of Discrimination & Oppression

Over the past several weeks, I have run into some things I believe important to point out. All of them related to what we think we must do now in order to be allowed to be here, and all of which relate to the plight of the minority.

The first red flag came during a conversation with a couple who told me that the only reason they were getting vaccinated was because otherwise, their friends would not associate with them. Then, I was with a woman who told me of her concerns around the experimental shots, and how she had made up her mind to not do it. Until she heard that the kids could not go back to school until a certain percentage of us had been vaccinated. At which point she said, “Well, if I grow an extra limb, at least I helped the kids.” And then there is the health care professional of a friend of mine who is getting the vaccine not because she wants to, but because her work requires it. She did it, while begging her husband to not get his. Why? Because she feels that if both she and her husband take the shot, there will not be a healthy parent left for her children.

And now, pilot programs all over the world are rolling out digital vaccine passports that will either give you entry into the world. Or not. All depending on whether you have taken an experimental shot. (One, by the way, that is not approved by our own FDA, or ever been used on human beings.)

In essence creating a caste system. A world of have’s and have nots. All based on some arbitrary standard of the times around who is clean and who is dirty. Who is deserving, and who is not. Sound familiar? It should. We have already seen this kind of discriminatory policy in the form of “red lining.” The practice of drawing a line around communities of color; refusing them basic rights and access to things like mortgages and insurance. Groups deemed “high risk” by the very nature of one maligned criteria.

No matter what your personal beliefs are, we have got some enormous questions to ask of ourselves that far exceed whether or not to take an experimental drug. Questions like, is it in the best interest of our lives together to shame, coerce, and even force another person to do something they do not feel is good or right for them? Is it humane to discriminate against people, while getting them to agree to a system that does not recognize or include them? Is this the kind of world we want to be creating? One where we oppress others based on their individual beliefs? Have we not already had enough of this as a species? Enough persecution because someone believes or acts differently than you do, or are comfortable with?

We have seen this played out on every level of human life. With race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and more. Now we are doing it again. Only it is more insidious because now we have hired public relations firms to drive a single message to the exclusion of all other viewpoints. But when you strip it all down, we have also been here before. We have also created messaging across history that certain ones of us were dangerous, contaminated, and not to be trusted because we looked, or acted different than the status quo.

And then there is the tried and true hegemony where we convince people to such a degree of their inferiority that they claim the role of the oppressed who can only expect the dregs of life. It is a most dangerous precedent to set to condition a populace to violate themselves all while believing they are doing it because they deserve nothing better, or because it is all part of playing their role for the “common good.” What goodness is there to be had for the community when we are convincing people to deny their own naturally endowed God-given rights to the sovereignty over their own bodies?

It is most interesting to observe that the very same among us who would take to the streets to protest discrimination for marginalized people are the very same ones who would stand behind discriminatory digital passports. The very people who would rise up if a disenfranchised group was silenced, being the same ones who would censor anything that questions the safety and efficacy of Operation Warp Speed. The very ones who would rail at anything less than full consent in a sexual encounter, being the same ones to deny informed voluntary medical consent for others. And the very same who would put their life on the line for a woman’s right to choose what happens in her own body, would now take that right away from others.

I know. Some would say this moment in time is different. But isn’t that exactly what others across history have said when it was believed that a gay teacher would corrupt children, that a member of a lower caste would foul something they touched, or that a woman was the property of her husband and therefore subject to harsh demands that had nothing to do with her?

History aside, let’s follow the argument that this is different because personal choice impacts us all. Are we ready to say then that there is no more smoking, drugging, alcohol, and yes, even caffeine? Will we go so far as to take away Netflix because of the way it interferes with a good night’s sleep? Will we remove sugar from the stores because of its impact on the immune system? In short, will we take away every health-depleting substance and activity because of the way it compromise individual health, and therefore impacts the health of the rest of us?

Let us never forget that ALL of our individual choices impact every one around us. All the time. While the effects may not be immediate or always easy to see, the detrimental impact is there nonetheless. Therefore, will you find it in you to put aside your personal beliefs, fears and conditioning in favor of health freedom for all? Or will you use this time as another opportunity to continue a long and devastating tradition of the human psyche to diminish and demonize what is not in agreement with your limited, biased and temporal world view?

Most of all, will you look deep inside of yourself and flush out the ways where you will stand behind concepts of liberty, fairness, freedom and human justice just as long as it does not get too personal for you?

Knowing Where You Are

 

This week my husband and I were out walking in the woods on a trail we affectionately call “the little loop.” I have done this loop so many times I could do it with my eyes closed. Oftentimes I have been alone. At other times accompanied. I have ran it and walked it. I have been here in both the day and the night, and through every season and under every weather condition there is. I know it like the back of my hand.

But on this day, I do not. The loggers have been working here for months; leaving the trail and its surrounding landscape absolutely unrecognizable.

At times we can find a part of the trail, and at other times we have no idea where we are. The look and the feel of the woods is so unfamiliar. Where once there was a well worn trail, there are now branches and the tops of trees littering the landscape. Where once the woods felt enshrouded, it now feels wide open. Where once it was lush and warm, it now feels raw and exposed.

As I make my way, there is no just dropping into the motion of my own body. There are so many obstacles to navigate. So much footing to be aware of. At times, an agitation inside of me begins to arise. Over and over I have to remind myself that this is normal; that I am feeling as I do because what was so familiar, so easy, is no longer so. What once held me so effortlessly, now requires all of my attention. There is no going on automatic pilot here. And with the glass beer bottle I have retrieved from the ground, I struggle even more. Because the risk of falling is so great, I do not dare to put it into my pocket. Awkwardly I struggle to climb over things and keep my footing while still holding onto the bottle.

And even though my husband has got a compass, I am not convinced he has an understanding of the actual direction we are aiming for. Frustration shows up as we try and figure our way through this. At one point, I realize I need to do something different. I need to stop bashing up against what is. Stop fighting with how I want it to be. So I begin to look around to see if there is anything that looks familiar. Anything that hasn’t changed. There is. The little rolling “mountains” that encircle the area remain as they always have. I locate the top hump, and start to remember other times on the trail. Times when I knew where I was when I saw this landmark.

It is only then that something starts to open up. That I begin to locate myself. For me, this is one of the most profound gifts of Nature. Her ability to reflect back to me where I am.

What are we to do when the inner or the outer landscape changes so dramatically that we cannot recognize ourselves, or our lives anymore? Will we wander around aimlessly? Will we rage at the unfairness? Will we lament that the well-worn path we have always travelled by is no longer there?

Or will we orient ourselves to that which is steady, enduring and beyond surface level changes. What are those things for you? Do you even know?

Individually and collectively we are in a time that demands we become aware of what no longer is, for surely there is no going back. To even hope for a return to the way things were would be to miss the point. Completely. More than that, it would stand as a detriment to us All.

The Real. The Imagined. The Distorted.

 

We have becomes addicted to, and obsessed with, bad news. The scarier and the more alarming, the better. We are hooked on the adrenaline rush; unable to pull away from the charge that revs us up. The over-stimulation that makes us feel so frenetically and uncomfortably alive. Without which we feel bored, numb, out of the loop and disinterested. Obsessed with the erroneous assumption and false belief that if we have anything less than every last detail, in every moment, in real time, somehow, somehow, we will be unsafe.

In the meantime, we miss that in any given moment, we are not in imminent danger. Death is not in the air. Peril is not contained in the person who stands before us. Because our perceptions have become so distorted, we miss that the body does not know the difference between the real, the imagined, and the distorted. That our survival system will get turned on and stay on based on an image, a story, a repeated piece of information. Ironically enough, the very thing we believe will help to keep us safe (the news, more numbers and maps), becoming the very problem itself. Why? Because a chronically hyper-aroused nervous system becomes the culprit of poor health, death, and lack of well-being and safety in a far more widespread and detrimental way than not knowing what is on the news ever will.

This is within our control. This is a choice we can make each and every time we decide what to turn to. It is a commitment to knowing what works in our lives, and what it is that makes us sick.

One way to begin to understand ourselves better is to become aware that as human beings, we are hard-wired with something many refer to as “the negativity bias.” A proclivity, if you will, of our species to favor paying attention to what is not working. To where the danger is coming from. This is a real asset when assuming for the worst kind of winter when focusing on how much food to store in times when there were no grocery stores. A survival essential when overestimating the likelihood of an attack from a warring neighbor. A must-have when speeding away from wild fires covering the ground quicker than you can run.

But, an absolute disaster in a world being run on fear-based messaging 24/7 in the form of “news” and “entertainment.” Marketing strategies, PR firms, and persuasively designed devices are all intimately aware of, and making use of, our deepest needs. Wants. And fears. Our own biological, personal and social “triggers” being used against us to keep us watching; knowingly and intentionally stimulating and manipulating the wrong things in us for profit.

What is a person to do?

Begin by deciding that you deserve better than to walk around terrified all the time. Create space in your life where you absolutely refuse to be yanked around by external messages that frighten and depress you. Turn away from using the screens in ways that leave you overrun with other people’s thoughts and beliefs to the exclusion of your own. Begin to contemplate some thought-provoking questions. “Is this choice making my life better or worse? Is the sheer volume and repetition of information distorting and exaggerating an issue beyond what is real and true?”

You might even try a thought experiment. “What if there were no screens?” How would that change how things play out? Would we have a different level of understanding, fear, or hope without the constant input of something outside of us?

While some minds may go to the place that says we need all this information to stay informed and safe, is that actually true? And even if it were, when does the “cure” becomes worse than the disease?

Bioindividuality

 

We live increasingly in a world that loves the one-size-fits-all medicine. Depressed? Take this pill. Heart troubles? Have this operation. The wrong thing out of control in your body? Here’s the chemo. Can’t sleep, digest your food, settle down, have the energy you need? Have we got something for you. Don’t worry about the side effects. We’ll play some nice music and pair it with uplifting images so you don’t have to notice what’s actually happening to you.

But it’s not working. The observable evidence is everywhere. You do not even need to wait for the research to know this. Instead, look to your own life. Look to the left and to the right of those standing next to you. Look forward to those ahead of you, to the older generations. Worse yet, look behind you to the children. What’s going on? Why is there so much dis-ease? With all of our pills, procedures and technologies, why has it become so common, so “normal” now for so many of us to be so sick? Talk about a devastating new normal.

Many years ago, during a Holistic Health Counseling training, I was introduced to a concept called bio-individuality. A perspective that says, while yes there are universalities to our biology and experiences as human beings, we are all also, individuals. For us to be truly healthy and well, on all levels, inside and out, all of us must be taken into account. Hearing this was like being in the desert for decades, my parched needs unmet, only to discover there was an oasis of understanding and inclusion that deeply resonated with what I most needed. A perspective available that included all of who I am. One that could go to the depths and breadths of the truth of my experience. One that did not deny, exclude or override my truest needs.

This flies in the face of our conventional western model of medicine which has its roots in splitting the body from the mind, while completely ignoring the soul. A paradigm that says the mind is too unwieldy to include; and therefore not applicable. One that sees emotions as too hysterical to be part of the equation; except as they can be medicated away. A model that sees environmental factors as irrelevant. Social connection fine, but not health worthy. A perspective that does all that it can do to exclude the energetics and soul of a human being; with any mention of it being viewed suspiciously. One that separates us from the very fabric of the natural world and our ancestral lineages; believing they have no basis in real medicine.

That’s a whole lot of us left out. Not to mention the interactions and the interplay between all these aspects of a life that would need to be included to offer a full picture of what was going on for someone. But from the conventional model of medicine, all of these things are too messy. Too uncontrollable. Too unknown. Too beyond the scope of doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. Too much care to manage.

What’s left? The view of body as machine with parts that can be replaced. Where physiological mechanisms, pathways, and our genetics can be altered and fiddled with, without consequence. Body as machine requires its mechanics. It requires technologies that are superior to Nature. And it runs on a level of money, expertise and influence we do not possess. Nor ever will. So, of course, we must follow their mandates. What else is there?

But the Truth with a capital “T” is that our health is not separate from our thoughts, how we feel, what we eat, how we move, where we work, the environments we find ourselves in, and the company we keep. It is not separate from our past, from the times we are living in, from the media messages we receive, from the fear we hold and the disappointments we harbor. It is not separate from how many hugs we get, whether or not we feel safe and whether or not we are engaged in Life in a meaningful and satisfying way. It is not separate from how we breathe or whether or not we sleep well. It is not separate from a personal sense of sovereignty when it comes to the agency we experience over our own health and well-being.

There is not a single thing we experience that is not part of the equation of a healthy, or sick, human being. This is not acceptable in a system that puts the expert at the center of the equation. It is not welcome news in a system that promotes the quick fix, the 7-minute office visit, the inputting of date into a machine, the proper codes for what insurance companies will pay for and what they will not. None of this fully considered in a system where the experts themselves are so uniformly un-cared for, that they themselves have no basis for what real health is. Basically cogs in a machine that must go on. No matter the cost. No matter the level of pathology.

It could feel daunting to consider breaking away from such a system. Or you could feel excited by the possibility of what it might mean for you to be part of something where all of you was considered. Where all of us were considered. Can you imagine it? Health care that was actually based on health, and not pathology, what’s covered, or conflicts of interest? One that recognized and honored the exquisite interconnections that make you who you are? One that said I see you. All of you. And I will surround you with the support you really need as you make your way into your remembrance of wholeness.

Could you open to that? Could you step beyond the force-fed, shame-inducing model that says “Do this or else?” Could you as the person whose body and life this is begin to insist upon health care that invites you further into yourself while aligning with real biological, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual truths around what it is that a body, mind and soul actually need to be well? One that had no hidden costs or agendas?

This would take some re-imagining. But here’s the thing. You’re worth it. We are all worth it. Our children are worth it. We deserve better.

Try this. Take out a piece of paper and in the center draw a little stick figure. That’s you. All around you put the names of the things you do and need each and every day to be alive. Put the things you must have to feel supported. Write down all the encounters you have. The places you go. How you feel. What you think. Put down your hopes, your dreams, your fears. Include your ancestors and your past. Write down the things you worry about, and the things you feel inspired by. Jot down how you move, eat, sleep, breathe and relate. Include it all.

Look at how much impacts you. How could a drug ever begin to do justice to all of you?

Use this exercise to begin to create your own personal model of health. What are your must-have’s? What would you get rid of? What would it be like to create something that honors the totality and the preciousness of who you are and what you need? What would it be like to claim your basic sovereign right over your own health?

You do deserve better.