Regain the power of your awareness
I have begun to write so many potential blog posts over the last couple weeks. And I say “begun” because I just couldn’t finish, the stress and the anger I felt over each of the many events that have been occurring back to back in the US have left me in a very negative space. Then turning around and doing deep dives into the cause and effects of each of these events just amplified these negative feelings. And then there was the fact that, even though all of these events were widely reported, very few people seemed to grasp the deeper import of it all. Sure, people have been pissed and confused and depressed about these things but the vast majority have been so caught up in the surface level that they hadn’t even realized there were deeper ramifications. That just left me feeling pretty hopeless for the future, hell, the present, of the world. If the people of our country were all so inattentive, and uncaring, of the massive impact that these back to back volleys of crises will have on other elements of our lives beyond the obvious then how could we as a society possibly react to them and have any chance of fixing things before they go too far? The answer is we can’t. And that is entirely by design. With politicians selling themselves to the highest bidder, corporations and special interest groups pushing fear based propaganda and pushing their pet politicians to sow chaos and disinformation, as well as all of the other things we all personally have to deal with from financial issues and inflation to the truly personal things like maintaining our relationships and dealing with our very real, very personal fears, we couldn’t possibly keep up. Those who are creating the problems and pulling the strings of this country at present are always going to be a step ahead because they have the money and the time to plan ahead and to deal with anything that life throws their way. So many in this country can barely think about the now, let alone next week or next year. And that is the answer to what I was asking myself earlier, why aren’t more people seeing the underlying ramifications of these crises? Because they are being intentionally burned out and desensitized. The human body can only handle so much stress. At some point a high level of stress kicks us into survival mode and forces us to prioritize our stress. What is deemed most important at the moment gets priority and gets dealt with and we just bottle up the rest of it until we are capable of processing it. Much of what we experience in survival mode that doesn’t get fully processed can be stored as trauma and that can impact our lives in an unbelievable number of ways, and I will likely make a whole separate post just to talk about a few of them. Also when we are in survival mode, and as the levels of stress and the backlog of traumas we experience increase, we tend to also act and react emotionally rather than with logic and the breadth and scope of our awareness closes further and further until we are stuck thinking only in the short term and yo-yoing between anxiety over the future and sadness or anger over the past. And as a result we never rest. We get locked in so thoroughly that even when we take time off, or a moment to ourselves, we aren’t ever truly in the moment. We are desensitized to the moment and therefore can neither truly enjoy it or find the rest we need to process and unplug. But if we are going to change things for the better we need to first step out of the cycles we have been forced into. A book I once read had a line in it that has always stuck with me. “You have to stop thinking about the problem and start thinking about the solution.” This line is apt here for two reasons I believe. First because it describes how to deal with our current circumstances. And second because it gives us a way to self correct or to hold ourselves accountable in how we react to new stresses or circumstances. Yes it is incredibly infuriating that our Supreme Court is systematically taking away our rights and also single-handedly stripping away the powers of the federal government and handing them to the states so corrupt politicians can have more freedom to operate with little to no oversight. And yes, it would feel great to rant about how angry that makes me and to explain to anyone who will listen all of the many ways it can impact us all. But for me that would be a waste of my energy. Why expend so much just to keep reiterating your situation to yourself and indulging your base emotions. How much more effective could you be if you instead redirected that energy towards finding a way to correct it? Now that is easier said than done, I know, but it is absolutely possible to break out of this emotional reaction cycle. Everyone is going to have different ways that work for them. Some will respond better to something more physiological like resetting the Vagus Nerve, but I would recommend looking up mindfulness exercises. Mindfulness is simply the practice of bringing your focus and awareness back to the moment. Some Mindfulness exercises are various forms of meditation and even the quicker exercises can have a seriously calming effect on your mind and body. When practicing these exercises it is incredibly important that you try your best not to think about any worries or stresses or anything that is not being picked up directly by your five senses. It’s also equally important that you realize there are likely to be a lot of thoughts that pop up no matter how hard you try and that’s perfectly normal. Your mind will take some repetitive reminders before it can learn to step fully out of survival mode. When these thoughts happen it’s best not to react negatively to them, just acknowledge them and redirect your thoughts back to whatever mindfulness technique you are working on and allow the moment to pass as if it had never happened. I have been working with these techniques for a while now and not only have I been able to greatly reduce my emotional responses to things that were once triggers, but I have also been able to process traumas and free up processing power in my mind for new information. I have been able to expand my awareness beyond the obvious and I can more readily and easily find solutions to my problems. I also never realized how much energy I really spent being angry or anxious and viewing my problems as insurmountable. They were; but only because I didn’t have the bandwidth to figure them out. I think if we can all implement some form of mindfulness into our daily life we will see a drastic change. More people will begin to see an increase in their problem solving ability, which will allow them to free up even more bandwidth and then we will be able to start casting off the various methods of control that keep us vulnerable and easily manipulated.