Have you wondered what you can believe lately?
What I think? Believe you. Unearth the you that is ever-present underneath all the years of conditioning, and believe what you know.
I’ve heard it over and over, have you? These times are unprecedented. We’ve never had a POTUS like this, a government as dysfunctional. Meanwhile, the intensity of animosity within our country seems unmatched, the level of hostility unparalleled.
Of course, there is no way to measure any of this. The Internet, and its ungainly child, social media, make contagion among like-minded groups nearly immediate. (Check out this recent article in Time Magazine describing how “Toxic anger spreads like a disease–and it’s making the country sick.”) It is impossible to step back and have any way to objectively measure the impact of what is in front of us. Fake news, lies, more lies, have made anything like “proving” an idea nearly impossible. Each side gets louder, more insistent, desperately trying to win the argument. When it’s clear that simply trying to convince the other won’t work, each turns to the next level of age-old influence strategies: Outright attack through contempt, abuse, and threat. The righteousness index for all sides continues to climb, as does the risk of further escalation.
So how does a person navigate these unfamiliar, unprecedented waters?
I just heard a faint bugle call of the Cavalry in my head (I get these “soundtrack” moments), calling the charge. I’ve said it before.
It’s time to dig down, way, way below the cultural conditioning that immerses us. While that conditioning has taught us important survival tools–look both ways before crossing the street, wash your hands, pay your bills—it really is only good for that, helping us to stay alive. Due to Reactive Brain’s insistence on being right at all costs, these tools have transmuted from simple ways to stay alive into entire belief systems and mythologies. We each have our own version of this, rules for survival within our world that eventually sound to us like moral virtues. They sounds like: “Good people…” (let’s fill in the blank together): Pick up litter; are free; make their own decisions; follow God’s plan; value women; value authority; carry guns; hate guns; are compassionate; aren’t weak; want healthcare for all; don’t want to enable scofflaws; are educated; aren’t elite. And on and on and on. Each of these dictums of certainty offer no way out from their rigidity, and little way back to actually connecting and valuing anyone who disagrees.
If we want to actually move on to thriving with each other, co-creating from our best selves, and actually solving the social issues before us, we must go further. Because once the statistics, counterarguments, diatribes, and debates are scraped away, it’s clear that all we’re really vying over is whose survival plan, er, conditioned beliefs, is more valid. And there’s no way to ever pronounce a winner for that competition.
So, what’s way down there, underneath the rules about who to pray to, how to dress, who to have sex with, what to do with money, how to walk through the world? If we can’t resolve whose rules are correct and whose are “evil,” what is a touchstone that we can count on ?
We can count on every person’s true knowing.Like the serene waters that lie beneath the roiling sea, once we each quiet down the emotions rolling through us and step away from the stories in our head, there’s a place of calm and clear wisdom. We know what’s right for us. We know our own truth. And the good news? It’s unarguable. That means we don’t have to justify it or fight over it. We can lean back into that as our strength, our real power.
Reminding you of what I don’t get to argue with you about—I can’t argue with your
And what you really want.
S.E.W. That’s how you find you.
Here’s my current example. At lunch, politics came up in the conversation. I noticed my immediate adrenalized response: My pulse quickened, I felt a familiar slight nausea. I watched my mind being captured by the topic, while simultaneously feeling the repulsion from my body’s activation. Thus my sensations were: quickening pulse, nausea, a pulling forward (as my mind wanted to jump in), and a pushing away (as my body felt sick). Putting this together with my emotions? There were lots of fear signals and no anger, sadness, joy, or sexual signals. Bottom line: When I heard about politics today, my survival brain generated a sense threat about the future, aka fear.
So I sat back in my chair, looked away, and breathed. I let the fear move through my body, then wondered what I really wanted. (The “W” of the S.E.W.) I leaned forward and…changed the subject. My body felt open and expanded as we chatted about the beautiful Olympic Peninsula that we’d just visited.
So, you might wonder, how will S.E.W. solve the issues before us?
How will believing you through S.E.W. help with climate change, racism, militarism, violence, the opioid epidemic, and economic inequity? As each of us steps into our own authority, our own true knowing, we can shift out of survival mode. We can move beyond Reactive Brain, and expand out into Creative Brain. When we’re in Creative Brain, we access our natural resources: our clearest thinking, our most creative ideas, our natural connection to all other beings, and our ability to generate possibilities. From Creative Brain we can actually answer the best question of all: How can we all get everything we want?
Right now, in an unprecedented way, we are called to inhabit our own true knowing.
Way under your adrenalized states, beneath all of those stress chemicals, is a place untouched by someone else’s thoughts and words. From your essence, you don’t need a belief systems to know who you really are. You will directly experience the joy, love, and peace of your true nature. And from there, you can find the rest of us. We’re all in this together; and each of us can trust the best authority there is: ourselves.
I’m teaching two relationship boot camps and a video series based on my book, “The Relationship Skills Workbook,” all coming up in the fall. For more information, go to www.juliacolwell.com.