i know it would be good, in the maelstrom of information and misinformation, to be able to turn towards your internal guidance system and know, just know down into your bones, what to do, who to listen, what to think, what course to take.
I can feel my body soften at the idea that i could have a failsafe method of sifting the poppy-seeds from the dirt, hardwired in. I long for that kind of ease.
But i know that tuning my ears to the voice of my heart and instincts, my breath and deep listening as i was encouraged to do by a well known "influencer" today, might not be the panacea i am longing for.
We are designed to be a self righting organism. To manage harm with care we need to be able to make quicker-than-consciousness decisions. We have instincts preloaded to ensure we don't have to reinvent the coping strategies our ancestors developed. Flight or fight response is a great example of this; we immediately size up a threat - if we can run from it we take off before we know it, if we feel we can take it out we are likely to fight. We don't sit and make a pro-con list, we just (and yes i think Nike knows it's coopting our wired nervous systems) DO IT.
But that's assuming mostly our healthy settings are intact. That's assuming we come through life without things we learn and have to respond to getting overlaid over our healthy settings.
"Psychologically, Jung speculated that the instincts derived from the psychoid unconscious , that layer of the psych where biology and spirit might touch. I am of a considered same mind, and would like to go further to venture that the creative instinct in particular is as much the lyrical language of the Self as is the symbology of dreams.
..... The idea of instinct can be valued positively as an inner something that when blended with forethought and consciousness guides humans to integral behaviour. A woman is born with all instinct intact.....
Through wildlife studies of various species of captive animals, it was found that no matter how lovingly their zoo plazas are constructed, no matter how much their human keepers love them as indeed they do, the creatures often become unable to breed, their appetites for food and rest become skewed, their vital behaviours dwindle to lethargy, sullenness or untoward aggressiveness....." Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés; Women Who Run With The Wolves.
When we grow up we all receive injuries to instinct. When we grow up female in Western culture we are taught to be "nice". Nice, in my opinion is one of the worst weapons to be used against instinct.
Nice stops us being honest. It stops us speaking up. It stops us reacting. It stops us protecting ourselves. It makes us say yes when we want to say no. It makes us be polite when we are being harmed. It makes us turn against ourselves in ways that shrivel our soul.
When we grow up in these pretty cages we are, by definition, instinct injured.
Many of us are unable to act on an instinct long silenced. We are unable to hear our hearts, so long have they been unheard.
Many of us have had so many overlays one on the other on the other about not doing what will serve us.
If in these days of heightened distress and misinformation, of deserved fear about a pandemic and climate catastrophe, we think the answer lies in our heart we might be making a mistake.
Is it wrong then to listen to my heart? To trust myself?
No no of course your heart is wise and your Self is a loving force.
What i am saying is that instead of hearing your heart you might instead be hearing the static of the overlay. The buzz of trauma.
Has the system been consistently untrustworthy. Has authority let you down, harmed you? I think many of us would say yes to that.
Are you living in an age where people are vulnerable to scams and greed seems to be destroying the planet unchecked?
Of course the answer is yes. Does this hurt our hearts? Yes! Does this leave a scar? Yes.
Does this mean when we listen to our hearts and we hear the alarm and the fright and longing to flee into the safety of our own protective response and think it's our hearts telling us what to do? That we can trust that distress and follow where it leads us?
I think no.
I think that the distress is real. The alarm is real. The mistrust is real. I think that we need to be able to hold that and look at how much this has been a trauma response, a rush to flight programmed from long ago mistrust of authority, hurt from the system.
I think we have to look at how we feel alarm and assume something nefarious has to be at the root of it.
I think we have to look at the way we find a theory that, in its far reaching evilness seems to justify and match our alarm (NATO, COMMUNISM, BILL GATES,) and say that this is trusting our instinct. Is it instead matching our untended distress, our trauma response?
Are we saying others are sheep and mindless and responding to fear pumped out by Government and media, because we need to feel safe in our systems, our psyches and our bodies, at a time where our usual coping strategies for managing our dysregulation and trauma are not working any more?
Are we all, and i am one, believe me, walking talking reactive beings who are thrust into a time of threat without the healing necessary to help us discern the voice of our instinct from the voice of our instinct injury, the voice of our heart from the voice of our scars, the voice of the land and spirit from our own projected distress?
I would love to say there's a simple answer to all of this, but from where i sit, all we can do, the best we can do, the best we can hope for is that all of us do our trauma work. That we share the privileges necessary to do the work to clear a path to instinct and find a way to respond to these crises, and to each other, from a clear heart and not from the hurt and distress turning up in so many places.
If you feel yourself overwhelmed here is some free stuff to help.