Sunday, May 14, 2017

Danger Signals

     Immediately from one or a few obvious cause(s), or more gradually from unknown numbers of straws on the camel's back, we're regularly bombarded by many, many danger signals.
     'Danger' sounds acute, even life-threatening. But as social creatures, we sense danger even when someone we consider important, isn't as friendly towards us as usual. So the innumerable variables in life, coupled with our 'negativity bias' conspire to more or less constantly keep us on edge! And the greater our history of trauma, the more exaggerated the alarm bells & our responses. One can sustain major trauma without ever having experienced combat or sexual abuse.
      “By far the most important predictor of how well (people) coped with life’s inevitable disappointments was the level of security established with their primary caregiver during the first two years of life.”
     Bessel Van Der Kolk. “The Body Keeps the Score. Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma.” Penguin Books, 2015. 

     So we can see that we should be gentle & understanding with our own & others' odd behavior. We're all, to some degree, scared, needy kids who just want to be safe, secure, loved & happy. Our behavior hints at how patient (to desperate) we are to get there, as well as how healthy (to dysfunctional) our idea of "there" happens to be. All of us are always doing our best, no matter how that may appear to others - and even to ourselves when we look back (with dismay & gratitude for the great tolerance we received) later!
     But identifying with our level of dysfunction is unsatisfactory - intentional wallowing simply won't do. We must tirelessly dig ourselves out of this hole. We can learn to quickly & easily recognize the felt sense of false (ego) danger. There's a distinct difference between danger to our ego vs actual life. We must learn to identify this difference, because our quality of life definitely depends on skillfully managing these two vastly different dangers.

 The Space Between by Alice Mason

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