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.

It’s All Here

 

Just before I step into morning practice, I poke my head out the front door to greet the carpenter who is here doing some work on the house for us. “Have everything you need,” I ask? To which he responds, “I always have everything I need.” A long pause ensues during which the profound Truth of his statement hovers in the space between us. And then, it gets even better. As he walks away, he adds, “Of course, it’s really about whether I know that or not.”

Whoosh. Again Something passes over and between us. So stunning in its clarity that no more words are needed. Except, for me to thank him for blowing my mind.

Beyond a practice. Beyond reading something. Beyond the news, the fears, and the conjured complications of it all, can we quiet ourselves down long enough to lay back into that knowing? Can we choose to do that whether things are going our way or not? Whether we understand the comings and goings of others or not? Whether the world is of our making or not?

Like so many of us who are just beginning to pick our heads up, I have found these times honing me. Ever refining and chiseling me down, and down and down into depths I did not know I possessed. Into fears I did not know owned me. Into gratitude I did not know was available to me. Into abundance beyond belief. I have gone easily, and I have gone kicking and screaming. I have accepted, and I have refused. I have taken responsibility, and I have blamed. I have been a champion, and I have been a victim.

I have been it All.

And while at times I have believed one state preferable to another, at least in this moment, on this particular day, I can tell you that these times have required it all. Continue to require it all. From all of us. Whether messy or clean. Clear or obscured. Calm or tumultuous. Sane or insane. Courageous or fearful. Everything has been required so that we can say we left nothing on the table. So that we can sort through it all; deciding what to step forward with, and what to leave behind.

To do this though requires a willingness to imagine that things could be different. Need to be different. Not different out there, but different, in here. That it is not about enduring or acquiescing until we can get back to the way things were. That is not only impossible, it is not desirable. We are not here to expect some lesser version of life because that is all we can expect now given what we have been through. No. What is required is to rise up from within the very Life inside of you. Sourced from the place that knows you have everything you need. Sourced from the place that knows a lot has to fall apart and be chaotic and confusing. Sourced from the place wise enough to engage with it all; trusting that once the dust settles what is wanting to be born will be revealed. And that it has been worth waiting for.

Everything we need is already here. The question is, will we see that? Will we use that knowing to disrupt old patterns, old ways of being that keep the wrong things alive? Or will we settle for a less than alive version of our lives here? That choice always is, always has been, and always will be, ours alone to make. Difficult? Yes. Arduous? Absolutely. But always, and in all ways, a way back to the knowing that we have everything we need, that how we use that, or not, is always up to us, and that how it all shows up is not within our control.

Therefore, perhaps the wisest course of action is to do what we do, feel what we feel, and see what we see through the lens that it is All Here For Us.

Big Choices

 

Years ago, I did a training with a doctor who was steeped in the indigenous healing ways of his native culture. He told a story to highlight how sidetracked we can get in Life around Truth. According to his tradition, there is an evil spirit by the name of Iktomi. It’s diabolical power? To get you to believe the wrong thing, and then act on it. To quite literally, make the wrong choices based on false and misleading assumptions.

When I look back over the past year plus, and look for a pattern to help explain what has been happening for all of us on a macro level, I would say this: On every single level of life, to the person, we have got some very big choices to make as we step forward. The first one being, What frames of reference will we choose when encountering the world as it currently is? Next, How will we choose to live with ourselves and with each other? Which is of course, based on how we perceive what stands before us. In other words, what will we choose to believe and what choices will be born of those beliefs?

We can continue to approach the world with out-of-date narratives; unconsciously and willfully continuing to do what we have always done. Or…

We can begin to question. For if you look closely enough, everything that is before us now, has already been there for a very, very, long time. Many would say, too long. The depression, anxiety, and despair that has recently skyrocketed has been quietly devastating us for years now. The chronic, life-style related illnesses that are driving the death rates, have been stealing lives for decades. The soul-sucking and heart-robbing consequences of children spending too much time in front of a screen, have been insidiously, and unfortunately agreed to, long before a culture decided to close schools. The growing disparity through recent job losses, between the have’s and the have-nots, has been a condoned social structure for longer than we can admit. A broken medical system that can’t keep up with cases because it does not possess the medicine we need, is the very same one whose death throes have been spinning off harm for far longer than we should have ever tolerated. And then of course, there are the “Big Everythings” that have changed how we live, relate, and understand what it means to be human. Big Tech. Big Pharma. Big Money. Big Marriage Between Industry and Government. All of which have been controlling a greater portion of our lives recently, are the same unregulated and un-thoughtful industries that have been moving in this direction for years.

One little virus has revealed, exposed, and unmasked the very sickest and the most inhumane in us. So, is it a devastation? Or an opportunity? Most important of all, what are we going to do about it? Will we hunker down, praying someone else will make this go away? Will we desperately choose whatever we are fed to sidestep our own responsibilities in this? Will we continue to feed our minds on fear justifying why we get to do what we are doing?

Or will we rise up? Demanding that money not be the driving force behind the decisions being made on our behalf. Refusing to accept any longer “medicine” that harms. Taking back childhood from predatory interests that do not care about their well-being on any level. Finding our own voice and being willing to respect that in another. Regardless of, and maybe even despite, what that other voice is labelled as.

These are big times. Very, very big times. But not in the way we have been told. For as hard as it is to be going through what we have been going through, that would be easy compared to the personal choices that sit before each and every one of us. That being, to decide what seems fair and life-affirming TO YOU. To get clear on what health is and how best to support it. To stand for what is worthy of your precious attention. To put your voice into the conversations being had that impact us all.

But here’s the really hard part. Deciding to take the long and arduous journey of coming to know your own mind. Not what you have been told and sold. But the thoughts and beliefs that are uniquely yours; having been carefully and painstakingly cultivated by deeply questioning all that you see, hear, and think. A questioning that dives below the constant noise, cultural messaging and imagined fears, until it comes out on the other side to the place where you know your own mind as yours and yours alone. Claiming this noble and awe-inspiring power instead of allowing yourself to be a by-product of a paradigm that cares not for you.

Biological Truths

 

These are curious, confusing, and even dangerous times to be living in when it comes to the truth. In a world that is being described as a post-truth era, it is time we chose for something else. It is time to say we have had enough. Enough of political agendas, for-profit motives, fear-driven mandates, and control by the few, that have got absolutely nothing to do with the health and well-being of a life.

But where can we go? What truths can we tap into that truly are in the best interests of Life itself? And are there some Universal Truths that transcend the times, fads, opinions and agendas? Yes. It’s called your body and your breath.

Swami Kripalu, the Master Yogi who inspired the yoga lineage of which I am a teacher, practiced something called Sanatana Dharma. The Way of Eternal Truth. Where the practitioner, through practices focused on body and breath, comes into direct experience of Reality. As it really is. No filters. No preferences. No hidden agendas. Bias suspended. This becomes, as they say, guide, guru and god when it comes to the Truth of being alive.

This is the opposite of what we typically encounter where many of us are looking to sources outside of ourselves to tell us what to feel, what to put on and in our body, and now through “social currency,” how to behave.This only works because of how many of us are so disconnected from our very own bodies. This is dangerous not only in terms of health outcomes, for we do not care for what we do not value, there are also major sovereignty issues at play here. As in, if you are not inhabiting your own body, there are plenty of agendas and mandates that will.

But the Truth is, your body is your proving ground. It is the home of your soul and psyche. It is the only place where you can experience the world from. If you are not fully connected and fully embodied, the transmissions and signals of your inner world, along with information from the outer world, will be lost to you. Therefore, you will be lost to yourself. Victim to things that have got nothing to do with the real needs of a human life.

Like your very own breath. Like how without a continuous supply, your cells will go into survival mode. Can we still be alive on reduced breath to the body? We can. But not without consequence in both the short and long term. Have you felt it in yourself? The shortness of breath? The dizziness? The mental agitation? The headaches? The lack of clarity? The laboring? The sleep troubles? This does not even include the more “invisible” effects on the immune system, nervous system, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.

When does the cure become more deadly than the disease?

Learn to inhabit your body. Make your breath your companion throughout the day. Pay attention when something hurts. Don’t tell yourself a story about why it is okay to keep doing what you are doing. Feel closely into what changes when the breath is free, and when it is obstructed. Learn to take your cues from the inside. No matter what the outside insists upon. Be your own personal experiment into Biological Truth.

 

Each Other

 

The air is cold and crisp. The sky clear blue. New fallen snow sparkling everywhere. I am where I most want to be; out on a run with the person I most want to be with. Pure perfection. Except for one thing. I feel like shit. My legs are heavy. My mood is murky. My motivation and energy level barely enough to keep me going.

How did I get here? By violating myself because that’s what I thought I needed to do to stay in belonging.

It all started innocently enough the night before when we had our neighbors over for dinner. They brought a bottle of home-made wine. Now, at this point in my life, I rarely drink, but it seemed worth the experience, so I accepted truly the most minuscule amount. The first few sips were great. But then I was done. Only some part of me would not let myself be done. So I took a few more sips. And that was all it took.

Now I could argue that it is ridiculous that a grown woman can only handle a few sips of alcohol, but that would be missing the point. That being, that my body and mind responded the way that it did out on the run, and for the rest of the day, because I overrode what I actually wanted in order to do what I thought I needed to do to keep in connection with others. I saw my mind as I took those extra sips, believing I was doing it because I did not want to hurt another person’s feelings. But below even that was the fear that I wouldn’t somehow belong. That I would be seen in an unflattering light. And that is what we often do, make it be about hurting or offending the other person, when in fact, we are terrified to be on the “outs” with another.

I am going on my sixth year of writing this blog. When I think back, I see some themes that regularly show up. One of them is life with other people. Specifically, how it is that we can be the truth of who we are while being in satisfying relationship with others. It is something that I daily work on, write about, and contemplate; having become some kind of lifelong puzzle and pursuit of mine to figure out.

I do it because I was raised in a family, in a time, and in a culture that did not include who I was. Did not recognize or support what I really and actually needed, and so I became what others wanted of me. It left a big, painful imprint. One that I thought was exclusive to me because for the longest time it didn’t seem like others were struggling with this. It seemed to me that others were just fine making concessions and leaving off parts of themselves in order to fit in.

Lately, I see that many of us either do not even know that it is happening, or that we are too afraid to exert ourselves for fear of losing the relationship, being shamed, or being accused of being a problem. As I have written over the past year, this terrible dilemma has gotten worse. For me, culminating today in a piece I heard on NPR, where a health professional was describing people who were getting the vaccine as being on the V.I.P. List; vaccine injected people who were going to receive “the promise of future privileges.”

My god, what have we become that we would do this to one another?

As far as I am concerned, one of the central Truths of human existence is to come to know who you truly are, and learn how to live that openly and courageously in the company of others. And that, and here is the difficult yet necessary part, that who and what you are is honored and met; by both yourself and others.

But as long as we are creating V.I.P. lists, and ways to make some people “in” according to mandates and fear-based standards, the precious expression of Life as it runs through each and every one of us will never happen. Why? Because we will never dare to not be on that list.

Please everyone, learn to live what truly makes sense to you, and let us honor the same in others in ways large and small. Even if we don’t understand it. Even if we fear it. We are all subject to violating ourselves for the exact wrong things just to belong. Let’s not do one more thing to each other in this regard.

 

“No man, for any considerable time, can wear one face to himself and another to the multitudes without finally getting bewildered as to which may be true.” Nathaniel Hawthorne