A weekly dose of dauntlessly dealt reality from the What It Is Wednesday Blog Carnival…
For the last couple of years, for me the theme has been a refinement of what I’m doing here. I’ve realized that in my adulthood, I don’t have to do anything. I mean, I have to earn a living and stay healthy, though there are no specific trappings around which I’m required to do that (mostly). I’m not in survivor mode anymore, by which I don’t mean the childhood abuse kind of survival, but the childhood to adulthood kind of survival–the kind we’ve all luckily managed to be blessed with.
We don’t think of growing up as survival, because air conditioning, three squares a day + snacks, and access to decent education doesn’t seem like hardship. However, if you’ve ever watched a toddler deal with frustration sans language, fall thirty times a day, or grapple with atmospheric distress, it’s one personal crisis after another. The fact that we learned to walk upright, figured out how to feed ourselves, navigated our own emotions (let alone those of others), and somehow made our way into self-sustained ongoing-ness attests to the fact that we all survived recurrent stress into adulthood. We learned how to establish and sustain a baseline of coping.
Because we began this process as our brains were still forming, we don’t really remember how we got here. We don’t remember how stressful that journey was. We don’t remember on what models we based our behaviours and actions (or maybe we do, and they no longer jive?). We don’t remember the choices we made (for the most part) that created what’s on our plate, now. So it’s not a surprise that we don’t know how to un-make them, when what’s on our plate is unwanted.
Most of us didn’t get an early education in learning and living what we most deeply want to do in our time here. Gen-Xers and Millennials have grown up in the age of self-help and relatively abundant mental health resources, though our parents and Baby Boomers didn’t. We modeled what we were taught, which–good or bad–enabled us to come through childhood and early adulthood. We got an education in a trade or skillset that enables us to independently sustain ourselves and build life and relationships around that. That’s the survival stuff. Ultimately, emotionally, interpersonally, psychologically, even spiritually, those skills only stand up to the test of how well they serve us, now. Maybe they do. However, what to do if they don’t? Our discontent for life circumstances now and how to manage it is directly related to how we managed it the first time. But how do we do that if we can’t remember it?
I can’t tell you how often clients come to me wanting to know their life purpose, meanwhile they’re in an abusive relationship, dealing with addiction, or some other very present survival scenario. I’ve learned that we can’t mine the deeper stuff, until we’ve mastered survival. We can’t be figuring out how we’re going to pay the bills and secure enlightenment. We can’t reveal our authenticity while running from the past. Pay the bills, first. Deal with the past, first. Higher awareness will wait. Until we’ve managed to create a reasonably sustainable base for ourselves, we can’t get to the deeper stuff of what we want and who we are. Indeed, spiritual healing is helpful and supportive in dealing with stress; it can’t teach you how to deal with it.
Spiritual healing can’t and won’t skip the personal process of healing.
The question remains, if we don’t remember the survival skills we learned that got us here, how do we remember them, now? How do we change now?
We don’t have to remember, which is the beauty of human consciousness. We don’t have to trek back through the muck to rewire a healthier process for the present. We do, though, have to set a baseline that su
pports us. Whatever gnaws for attention, give it. Surround self with the resources that support stability, whether that’s therapy, a different job, a move, ending a relationship–do it. Give self time and support to move out of survival mode. It won’t happen overnight. The distress of the immediate everyday has to be manageable before the deeper self can be accessed.
Then, realize the need to learn skills to identify what the deeper conscious wants. Understand that we never had time to develop that awareness before having to rise to more practical demands, and that it’s possible to go back and explore it, now. Just because we realize we don’t have to do the survivor walk anymore, doesn’t mean we suddenly come into the skillset of knowing who we are and what we want. We think we should know, because nobody else is us. Who else can know? The New Age has taught us that everything we need to know, we already do. Yet, mining that deeply buried data isn’t necessarily just a meditation away.
Though it could be several meditations away. This is the point that spiritual healing can dig in, where deeper awarenesses can be facilitated through shamanic work.
The only path to that wisdom is inward, and how it’s revealed is likely as unique as each of us. My path is to journey to my deepest held values, and talk with them, to talk with guides and allies who can help me with this work. Through that direct relationship, I can access the childhood aspects of me that know what my heart wants most. I can return to and restore a purer perspective of why I came here, and what I want to do with this time. Then, with the survival baseline in place, I engage my life skills to make them happen. This is where the rubber meets the road, where the practical means the divine.
How do you connect with who you most deeply are? How do you live this you on the outside?
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