A Case Against Positivity

life sucks

Hear me out.

I overheard a girl talking to her two friends on the way down from the Chief a couple of days ago saying:

“I’m really trying to be more positive in life and look at the bright side of things.”

There were excited mini-cheers of endearment and support following from her buds.
Which is cool n stuff…truly, if you’re at a place in your life where equanimity floods your daily conduct, and Muggle things like getting eggshells out of your scramble leaves you unphased, or running through the pissing rain has you all “extra shower”, or your roommate’s bass from their music upstairs (why is it ever OK to listen to Pit Bull okhmmm?) then (*cough cough Buddha) you’ve past some lifetimes and #jahbless.  But this is a case for being Human and understanding that the only way out is through.

Enter the concept: spiritual bypassing.  Basically, this is when we try to act as if we’re already where we want to be in life, without taking the truck through shit to get there.

This is not a negative striving though, truly, it’s actually pretty damn (not darn, never darn, sweet Jesus) beautiful.  The fact that we really genuinely want to be the best people we can be as quickly as possible is lovely.  The problem is that the very experience of human states and accepting our annoying complaints without superimposing rainbows and butterflies into our life is what leads eventually to that learned lesson in life.  When we go through the acceptance, the ability to let go of Life’s little annoyances I think eventually lets go of us.  Because the thing is, maybe we can teach ourselves to plaster a smile on our faces whenever we feel a frown, and conditionally impose the stimulus-response Pavlovian science on our human habits, but for how long? How long before we see a puppy shit on our newly planted vegetable garden and just lose it? Before Pit Pull comes on in the checkout line when we’re hangry and our blood curls and we take it out on a loved one when we get home after seeing that dinner’s not prepared as was promised?

My point is that I believe if we are on the path to self-betterment, then naturally we will want to achieve what we aspire towards.  Of course, ideally, I really wish that I wouldn’t get to frustrated when my gut is fucked up (STILL) from antibiotics and I’m shitting like 10x/day.  Of course maybe you don’t want to feel anger running through you when you hear yet another vegan rave about cashew cheese or zoodles (is that just me?), or when your latte tastes burnt, or your yoga class is cancelled, or or or or…but fuck, we feel those things though, don’t we?  Is it really our faults we came to this earth, learned our behaviours, got shit passed down from neurological pathways and evolutionary tendencies for survival of the fittest such that our minds are wired to be little pieces of shit?

Nope.

So, I stopped the group of friends on they way down and 1.5x podcast speeded through the above to them (thanks for not telling me to fuck-off), and they were like “Whoa, true, hey?”

I honestly trust that there’s a process we go through to get to where we want to be, how we want to feel.

I don’t let go of my thoughts.  I meet them with understanding, and then my thoughts let go of me.

–  Byron Katie

So, I’m choosing to acknowledge the suck.  I choose to accept that I feel pissed right the fuck off sometimes, and others, maybe pissed a little the merde ouf.  Either way, I feel it, name it (powerful practice to name the emotion–creates a distance from living it, and observing it.  With this space, we can see it pass through us and not embody us), accept it.  That’s step one.

I think if I tried to just press fast-forward, I would end up exploding and throughout the process, most likely indulge in more coping mechanisms to dissipate the excess “scabbing” that takes place to bottle-neck the emotions.

e-motion: energy in motion.

A.K.A. that shit has gotta move.  Somewhere.  So avoiding it just traps it.  Facing it is bloody bold and courageous.  Feeling the feeling, and acknowledging it is both empowering and admirable.  If we simply express the anger without acknowledging it, then we are no more awake that were we to superimpose happiness on shitty situation.  So the golden formula is:

Feeling + Acknowledging = Growth

The whole point of spirituality is connecting more deeply with ourselves.  And what better way than to let ourselves feel.  After all, truly, our soul genuinely is love, and with compassionate understanding, the shit will eventually brush off of us, and with gentle insight and inquiry into our feelings, we’ll uncover what’s beneath them.

Something like that.

Namaste, mother lovers.

Ps. If you haven’t yet listened to Iliza Shlesinger saythatfivetimesfast then you have so much room for activities!

Why even Relax, Though?

S’Ho moved to Squamish.  I feel much better here than on the island.  It’s a different vibe here.  It was a really easy transition minus the actual move: I just truly put the intention out there, and a lovely little suite of my own surfaced.  It was right.

I’m in a space of working with compassion. Compassion for parts of me that trauma has led to feel really unsafe.  Somatic Experiencing is the therapy I’m doing which is basically a way for me to slowly reconnect with the parts of myself that I basically unplugged from the umbilical cord of my own prana, my own life force energy.

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You know when you’re in just like, a haze of feels, and can’t find a release? Man it’s tough; the face of the Human Condition.  Somatic Experiencing is a therapy modality that recognizes that through trauma, the young parts of ourselves that experienced the pain that was too much for our current coping abilities at that time in our lives, those parts learn to cope through fight, freeze or flight, so that they are able to survive.  They cannot handle the stimulation because it feels like a threat to survival, so they build an armour around those parts to shield, to blunt the blow.

I realized that the state of utter terror that I felt growing up, I still feel that during everyday life.  It was a big realization, not one for words.  It’s been a journey with the therapy, to experience a state of functioning that wasn’t the modality of terror; and in that space I could come outside of my habitual state of functioning to see just how frightened and threatened those parts of me still feel.  They still feel very threatened, and haven’t been taught how to feel safe and nurtured in the world.  The somatic, the bodily feeling that I was able to see outside of myself was a feeling like I was going to be beaten, physically, it was terrifying and terribly insightful.  WHOA.

They have begun to relearn how to feel safe in the world, this is what I’m teaching them, teaching parts of myself.  It doesn’t work to “suck it up” and “just do the things” that terrify me, and to name a few;

  • abiding by authority
  • rules
  • restrictions
  • control
  • time constraints

The way my little soldiers fight back when threatened show in the following fight/flight/flee ways;

  • skin picking
  • terrible gut pains and digestion
  • exercise
  • restriction of food
  • restriction of nurturing (in all senses of the world)
  • somatically by thumping heart
  • migraine
  • depression
  • indecision
  • mean self-talk
  • rushing like a chicken without a head

So this therapy is to begin by identifying when these soldiers are mobilizing; basically anytime the above presents itself.  Those are survival-mode soldiers.  The process is slow AF. And it’s supposed to be.  Because the moment I go too fast for my parts to feel safe, they latch onto a coping strategy.  This is where a quote sums this shit up eloquently:

I don’t “let go” of my thoughts.  I meet them with understanding, and then my thoughts “let go” of me. – Byron Katie

Beautiful description.  An explanation of why “ripping the bandaid off” won’t work.

I often forget why I’m changing, though, because this way of life has become so normal and change is fucking hard.  And parodies have showed up to reinforce the need for this shift; the need to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system– the relaxation response (that sweet spot that basically initiates our own knowledge of how to heal ourselves);

(in jot dots because Ho’s tired):

  • in physio for alignment while running; tight hip, tight glute, literally stemming from tension and stress where I am not belly-breathing, such that a rib isn’t aligned in my thoracic/lumbar spine area.  why breathe deep?  whoa this is why…body is so wise.
  • gut health: shits on run, shits all damn day, gut = second brain = depression and incomplete poops. worst. feeling. ever #amirighttho?  Relax, tune into my soul; make different food choices, or at least begin by watching and observing my choices and how they’re affecting my body.  Further than that- when eating in a relaxed state, food can actually digest better.
  • Cramp on run: alltheabove

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So the body is telling me and I’m actually beginning to watch myself, and am slowly actually becoming open and even able to feel that I want to relax.  This is so new.  Some things I’m doing:

  • child’s pose
  • letting my belly go out to breathe
  • unstructured meditation nightly
  • legs up the wall (did this once, forces body to belly breathe literally because the chest and shoulder muscles aren’t physically able to fire)
  • physio to flex at hip while breathing with full belly breaths, which actually disinhibits the response of my hip flexor firing in place of my glute

Ok, that’s it.

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