The truth is, it didn’t start with any of us. We were created as catalysts. A disastrous miracle in a mastermind’s head, bashing ourselves against each other’s shadow and light, from one generation to the next since the very beginning of time, until one day we finally implode back to nothingness. It’s all so foolishly serious. We should probably play more and like, pool our money, fly to the Maldives and swim with sea turtles.

Some guy named Joe has suggested the reason we’re not all living in earthly bliss is because we’re choosing to relive our nightmares. These gurus drive me nuts. If you know so much about the brain Joe, why are you ignoring the fact that, with the exception of deeply disturbed folks whose name rhythms with ‘bird’, none of us want to be abused, oppressed, discriminated against or otherwise ‘victimized’. I hate that word. We’ve really weaponized it. People don’t choose to stay poor, homeless, addicted or otherwise living in a state of chronic activation, unless it’s become a default survival strategy. It’s a matter of science…and you call yourself a scientist. Allow me, a nothing from nowhere, to explain.

It takes the average human body one hour to return to homeostasis after a split second of activation, like getting cut off in traffic. Cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine course through our veins, ramping up our heart rate, increasing perspiration and respiration while shutting down digestion, curiosity, trust, and creative problem solving. If we don’t have access to enough safety, time, love, money or resources in which to recover, we remain in various states of fight, flight or freeze. Essentially, we remain primal as part of a 200,000 year old survival response. Basically, animals. Basically, the world.

Now, let’s assume you’re someone who experienced daily exposure to unpredictable threats that included but were not limited to witnessing community violence, food insecurity, domestic violence, theft, fire, assault, physical abuse, emotional abuse, social abuse, bullying, sexual abuse, predatory stalking, neglect, parentification and housing instability in really janky apartments, all in the Petri dish of a compassionless society sending a barrage of insulting messages essentially telling you’re a worthless tax burden who should’ve never been born.

So, that’s a lot of activation, right? Now multiply it by twenty years and add rape, homelessness, an apartment fire, a spouse with a secret addiction, college, graduate school and about ten thousand jobs with virtually no down time. If you’re still alive, it’s fair to assume your nervous system might be a little crispy.

According to manifesting guru’s, if we haven’t actualized a life of abundant bliss, it’s our fault for not believing in ourselves and the gracious majesty of an infinite universe that radically loves us. People hate us but god loves us. Begging the question, then why am I here dude?

Their advice is to tell ourselves a fairy tale about getting everything we ever wanted because we’re divinely worthy of a jackpot inheritance of radical awesomeness. As a clinician, I sort of thought that was one of the recipes for grandiose narcissism…but I could be wrong.

Back to science. Our foundational neural network takes anywhere from 24 to 26 years to fully develop. If horrible things happen to us during that time, it affects our entire biopsychosocial functioning. Reconstructing a single neural pathway using an evidenced practice like Cognitive Behavior Therapy require us to practice a new skill for at least 40 days before it becomes a habit. Some studies say it can happen faster, others say it can take much longer, so this is a very rough estimate. But just roll with me here. If someone has a history of complex trauma, the expectation is that they will wake up in the same conditions that hurt them and start thinking happy thoughts to produce happy feelings to produce productive behaviors that will lead to manifesting the life of their dreams. In other words, delude yourself.

Oh pumpkins. Pardon my sarcasm. It’s been raining and all I’ve wanted to do for the last three days is go for a walk.

Anyway, we can’t be expected to heal in the same environment that’s hurting us. And yet, billions of us do it all the time in spite of enduring intergenerational trauma, oppression, sexism, discrimination, toxic workplaces and cancel culture. We persevere. There are beautiful examples of people throughout history who chose to take their power back from all the nightmares and live out their dreams. It is possible. We don’t have to stay stuck in our wounds, but we sure could make it a hell of a lot easier if we actually applied what we know about basic neurobiology.

It’s an absolute miracle that so many us of are still here foraging our way through the wilderness back to love. But, why should we be expected to achieve enlightenment in order to meet our basic needs? Who made that rule?

Why are we expected to become energetically ‘perfect’ in order pay rent, buy furniture, clothes, a car, an education and healthcare? And why are we deemed spiritually defective if we don’t? Where’s the consideration for concrete barriers like nepotism, misogyny, tokenism, fascism, capitalism and whatever other labels describe the exploitation of power by the ruling class?

All that to say, where’s the mute button for these podium prophets selling us rhetoric about how all our wishes would come true if we just believed harder? Excuse me little girl. But the reason you didn’t eat today is because you haven’t read my latest self-help book. Cha-ching.

I didn’t manifest this couch. I went to therapy, did codependent recovery, learned how to set boundaries, failed, tried again, worked a lot and talked to god until I felt safe enough to buy it, which took about ten years. While I have my doubts about people, despite unconditionally loving them, I have no doubts about god. I entrust my life to the plans of a creator I can’t see or comprehend and that’s what keeps me here following cryptic breadcrumbs. In which case, I have no explanation for complaining about wayward, albeit dominant voices attempting to convince me I should not only be and do more but also, the reason I’m not ‘successful’ according to their definition, is because I’m somehow stuck in thinking I’m a helpless victim. Yes, the reflexive, intrusive thoughts of trauma survivors are all their fault. Such a shame they don’t have private jets to fly them to luxury wellness centers till their nervous systems finally have a chance to calm down. I wish I could somehow download files from my past, from streets on fire, waking up too paralyzed to scream, the invisible twenty year climb it took to evict myself from a dead-end existence, along with maintaining the coherence of my heart, firmly rooted in incorruptible faith, and then have them attempt to feed me elaborate instructions on how I could’ve done it all better.

After writing this I realize, I have nothing to prove. Not to them anyway. It’s more like hand-me-downs; well-worn thoughts that aren’t yet ready to be forgotten because, as it turns out, they might actually be worth something. ~

5 thoughts on “Hand Me Down

  1. I did some writing this morning before catching up on my emails, where I read your post. It’s like we’re dipping from the same well. First, I looked at Joe’s stuff a few years back. What most of these guys are selling is money. If I were to guess, an authentic guru wouldn’t charge for their wisdom. Wisdom is another point. There are some genuine good points these folks make, which catches people’s attention. I’ve heard that smarter people are more susceptible to scams. Maybe that’s a stat that was made up by smart people who got taken… To me, manifesting is nothing more than a business plan. I’ve discovered that I really had no direction, for most of my life. Now I know, I just want to make quality connections. Off topic, to a degree, the fact you have white furniture is a sign of your faith. I’d probably spill on it within five minutes. On how we’ve based our society is exactly on target. Even if we question it, how can we possibly turn something with such momentum? Maybe the answer isn’t so difficult. We need to adapt. I recently read something Vonnegut wrote that really sums up our lack of social creativity. From the moment we’re born, we are told who we are and how to interpret the world. Darwin said that brains have nothing to do with survival. Adaptation does. For humans, we tend to accept that we are in pain all the time, in conflict with ourselves, others, and nature. You’re right. We are cave people. Personally, I’m stuck on a few primal effects. It’s hard not to, with the bombardment of perpetual cycles, which likely root in commerce, to some degree. Subsistence living doesn’t have to be shabby. It can be the healthiest way to live. Unless you’re a squatter, it’s hard to live this way without land, which costs to purchase and maintain taxes. Then you’re less likely to have community. I just started a new job, the first regular job I’ve had in decades. I feel I was both spoiled and suffered by running my own small business. It was a close as I can get to subsistence living. It was hand to mouth. But I had the quality of time. I could do more with my day than just work. Because I didn’t make much money, I didn’t travel, or go out with friends, or visit my daughters. I could have gotten a full time job. Should I feel guilty? Sometimes I do, when I think about what people expect of me. But I persevered until it fell apart completely. Then I mourned it, my freedom. I had to act kind of fast. My dad was suffering the loss of his companion and wanted to leave that apartment. I was out of money and my apartment is much more extravagant than it could be. So, I got a subsidy from my church to cover some rent while I wait for my dad to move in, by the end of the summer. We’ll both live here until the end of the lease in February, next year. Then he’ll move to senior living and I’ll find a place. I was going to move to Omaha, where the rents and costs are better. Seriously! I could live in a beautiful home there. But I decided to stay here and live in a lesser space, small, because there are people here who depend on me. It’s one of the things that came to me as I recovered from my losses and am clearing out my mind. I’m not sure how long it’s been since I started meditating again, maybe two months. The app I use starts out with orientation, about twelve days, followed by a thirty day challenge. It’s a good way to start, like you said, “forty days” for the habit. The puzzle on how we are meant to be, might always be a puzzle. But maybe adaptability is a key. I have a sense that simply living in a calm space will have an undercurrent effect on others. We make ourselves whole, the world will notice. I believe we are here for the experience. As part of the Creative Spirit, we are unique witnesses for it, of it. That’s my guess, these days. It takes some of the pressure off. Instead of trying to figure out what we’re supposed to do or be, we live, experience, adjust, and be the best to ourselves and each other as we know how. That will be different with each of us. I still have utopian ideals. But I’m not under the pretense that anything I do will make a difference, but will it? Sorry about the long post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Best rant I’ve read in months! Yes yes yes. Funny how the people of privilege seem to be enormously blinkered in their world views…and how many of them seem to be male and white and from privilege…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, they’re likely not all bad but sometimes things must be said.
      Catching up on a bunch of life admin stuff but I’ll email you tonight ‘godmother’ things are happening! 😁❤️


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