The destruction of avoidance has a long history and a well-honed path for the future unless we develop new skills to navigate a new direction.
By avoidance I mean all ways we choose to leave our direct experience. It could be boredom, fatigue, fear, any emotional state, a conversation that rubs us the wrong way, pain of all types – body, mind, emotion, relational. We are taught this, given an exit strategy, now at our fingertips through the portals of our smartphones. And, we have a biological propensity to avoid the unpleasant to move toward what might indicate our survival.
By destruction I mean all ways we destroy the vitality of life. We can understand this close in by examining the micro personal moments we choose to wander on news feeds instead of Focus on our creativity, burning precious energy, depleting resources that might lead toward a generative act. Or, that one plastic bag for a moment’s convenience, and all personal consumption that burns the planet and atmosphere into macro destruction. In all ways we discard or abuse ‘other’ because their difference makes us uneasy. The destruction by blades, bombs, bullets that bludgeon outright the life of individuals en masse. And the final destructive act of suicide.
In short, anytime I am unable to be with my own experience I am at risk of inner or outer destruction.
So, the question is, how can I learn to be with my own experience. Moreover, can there be a shift in a value for non-avoidance, for active approach, for meaning beyond limited definitions of ‘happiness’, ‘success’, ‘competency’, and the like?
The missing key is the competency of somatic intelligence
My operational definition for Somatic Intelligence is
The skill of bodily sense perception awareness and conscious disruption of automatic interpretation from threat to challenge.
If we take one specific emotional state such as anxiety
1. We learn how to sense the bodily experience – fast heart rate, shallow breath, sweating
2. Separate (decouple) the automatic threat interpretation from direct sensation
A sensation is just a sensation –
our thoughts and stories build the momentum of what we call anxiety
If you chose to be on an amusement park ride, same sensations,
different interpretation of the informational cues
Then we can take in new information from the present context. Might well be we are in a fear inducing situation like a presentation in front of an evaluative panel, but what else is here? Given any context we can begin to remind the body that the ‘lions’ are not here, that the cascading threat reaction loop needs some help to remember more information, correct the miscues, the misinterpretations.
Become the Translators in this Somatic Culture
More, we might discover the true competency – to be uncomfortable AND be able to be present without leaving, focused on larger objective beyond comfort-seeking, constructing our sustainable energy and generative force in the world.
More to come in upcoming book
©2019 center for healthy habits, Ltd.