I recently stumbled across the song “Creep” by Radiohead and boy can I relate. I’ve often felt completely out of place in this world, feeling lost and frozen. My overactive mind spins the webs of connections between past experiences, relationships, decisions and perceived future to create a story that feels so real. It feels like this story makes sense, that I’m a weirdo and a creep. All of the “facts” seem undeniable and irrefutable so why even argue with it? Why not just accept the fact that life sucks and figure out a way to just step out of it?
I thought about the “stepping out” option many times over the decades and the main thought, the main reason I’ve always stayed around was because of my family and what I know it would do to them if I made that choice. This has kept me alive up to this point. The reason is sound and workable, but even that reasoning has limits and loses its power over time. The mind will find a way to rationalize why it really doesn’t matter to my family either. Where does this leave me? Am I out of excuses?
I’m writing this because I want you to know that I’ve thought all of these thoughts, I’ve created all of the scenarios of why I don’t belong here, I’ve imagined all the reasons why no one really cares. And finally here is what I’ve discovered. All of the shit I’ve been making up and believing is a big fucking lie! The world I’ve imagined is just that, an imaginary, twisted, false, narrow minded, nightmare.
Now, for those of you who are feeling pretty shitty about yourself or your life, I want you to know you are currently under a spell. Yes, you read that right, you are under a spell that was cast by you and by many in your life, and you know not of what you are thinking. Your mind is been hacked by the repetition of negative thoughts, experiences and the environment of doom and gloom news, movies and other media.
It’s all just a bad dream that has no basis in what is really true. If you only knew a small fraction of who you really are, you would laugh about the ridiculous notion of what your mind has cooked up! You are much larger and much more significant than your human mind can even fathom, and that my friends is the really shitty part of growing up in the human mindset we’ve been lead to believe is true or real.
Hush now baby, baby, don’t you cry.
Mama’s gonna make all your nightmares come true.
Mama’s gonna put all her fears into you.
Mama’s gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama’s gonna keep baby cozy and warm.
Ooh baby, ooh baby, ooh baby,
Of course mama’s gonna help build the wall.
– Mother by Pink Floyd
What if I told you that everything you know is not what you might think it is? Much like the movie The Matrix, we live in a made up construct that has rules that we (I mean everyone) have developed over time. These rules include language, social structure, traditions, what we can wear after Labor Day, and so on.
If you think about it, when you were first born and just out of the womb what did you really know? Some say we know everything we need to know. Some say we are just an empty shell waiting to have knowledge poured into us by our parents and teachers. I don’t really know whose right, but I do know that we can breath, blink our eyes, cry when we are in pain, pee and poop, and we learn through our experiences with the world around us.
You’ve likely heard of stories of people being found in remote jungles or forests that have thrived quite well without the modern day structures of language or drive through coffee shops. Even so, they have developed a structure to live within. Even though it may not have been “given” to them by others, it does still exist to them. The difference between the person in the remote jungle and someone growing up in south Minneapolis is that the person in the jungle is more likely living as close to a true version of who they really are.
What you might consider as real is really just a dream. Your perspective has been trained to see the world around you inside of a framework that you’ve created over time (even if you had no idea you were doing it). There is nothing inherently wrong with this idea, but the important thing to remember is that you created it and you can also change it. This means that whatever shitty life you feel like you’ve been given or fell into, you have complete control over what you think about it and how you react/respond to it every day.
I’m reminded of a storyof a man who had a job working in a toll-booth (obviously years ago) and every day, people would see this man dancing inside this small booth all while doing this job. One day a woman was so curious that when she stopped to pay her toll fee, she asked him, “Why are you dancing?”, and the man replied, “I’m having a party. One day, I’m going to be a dancer and my bosses are just paying for my training.” This story has always stuck with me over the years because it’s a lesson in how we can decide how to look at and see our own circumstances. We can decide how we are going to view them and how we are going to feel about them as well.
There are a few ways to look at how you view your life. One of them is the scientific perspective that over time with repetitive thoughts and emotions, your mind creates common pathways for the “energy” of your thoughts to travel and come to a normal endpoint or reaction. This is known in the scientific realm as Neuroplasticity, which is “The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. It allows nerve cells in the brain to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment”. From this perspective, it only makes sense that if you repeatedly think or are exposed to negative thoughts or beliefs, the brain will simply follow suite and create the necessary pathways to accommodate this thought process.
Consider this, when humans were first walking the earth trying to figure things out, our brains began to develop from a more primitive (survival) method to our current human abilities. We learned to create and express ourselves all while still holding on to some of those primitive survival modes. This primitive “default mode network” is sometimes called the “reptilian brain”. The whole purpose of the “reptilian brain” is to survive and to avoid harm.
When you are exposed to a trauma or threat of some kind, that part of your brain builds the necessary pathways to make sure if you ever get into that or any similar situation, you would be ready. This sense of “readiness” puts us into a fight or flight mode, which served us well for thousands if not millions of years. Now, fast forward to modern day man where our traumas are a whole different level of threat to us. Most of them are not life or death level concerns; however, that part of your brain doesn’t know any difference between the threat of a saber toothed tiger and the bully at school who is relentless about making your life a living hell! Even so, the reaction and purpose of this is the same, to keep you alive and prevent you from harm.
The good news is that with our new super fancy brain, we now have something we didn’t have before: awareness. Awareness allows us to supersede the reptile mind and make a different choice. It allows us to decide to train our minds and brains to create new neural pathways simply by choosing and practicing. There are likely many methods to do this, and some of them are through guided mediations, daily journalling, affirmations, daily positive mindful rituals, etc. Choose what is best for you and give it at least two months to create a new “habit” in your mind. I read recently that it takes 66 days to fully create a new habit, so get going!
Another way to consider your “life view” is from the perspective of generational trauma (including past lives and current familial lineage). You may have even heard of the idea of coming into this life with a particular plan, a purpose that you wish to experience or even having a karmic debt to pay. I believe that karmic energy is always seeking balance and if you’ve experienced trauma (or if you created the trauma) in your life. This can create an imbalance that needs to be rectified in this life or in a future one. All of this is just another path that gives you the opportunity to grow and expand beyond the narrow, or possibly ignorant, view of life you had before.
In my own experiences, it’s those times when the Universe has presented a situation (giving me the opportunity to step up and grow) where I’ve run away from the opportunity because I was too afraid. What I’m learning is that the fear I’m holding on to is directly related to one or more experiences in my life where I felt un-safe or like I was not enough.
As I grow older, the events where I experience anxiety are becoming not only more frequent, but also from things that are less and less dramatic. I’ve been doing work around this phenomenon by working with a coach, reading about various strategies around my own anxiety and keeping an open mind about all the possible reasons I feel the way I do.
I believe people who feel anxiety have been “trained” to cover up the pain by using some sort of coping mechanism like prescription medication, recreational drugs, meditation, sex, alcohol, etc. Basically utilizing external means to cope with the anxiety rather than to discover its true source. I have used several of these methods over the years only to be in the same place I was before. But that is just part of my journey. I had to go through each of those things in order to grow in my own awareness around my issues.
I’ve learned that my anxiety is not about me being broken or not enough. My anxiety is simply a “language” of my physical and mental bodies trying to tell me that something needs to change. When I’m out of alignment with my true path or purpose, the Universe has a way of sending you little (or not so subtle) messages to help you course correct. It’s really up to you to listen to what you are feeling and then dig into the source to find the best path to healing.
Sometimes the feeling of anxiety isn’t from trauma. In my case one of the big things I found was that my body was overloaded with Candida which was causing and manifesting other kinds of chronic illnesses including respiratory, joint pain, depression, gut issues, mental focus, etc. I learned to listen to my body and then take the necessary steps to resolve as much of these issues as I could with alternative methods. Many of the steps I took had to do with adjusting my diet and discovering what my body needs or does not want.
Some other steps I took included working with a personal coach and healer who helped me develop daily practices including gratitude, forgiveness, self love and setting boundaries. The healer was trained in several modalities that helped remove “stuck energy”, allowing my body and spirit to be released in order to heal. This was a really important step to help me feel lighter and more focused.
Another avenue I’m working on is learning more about my own past lives and how they are connected to the anxiety I feel now. It was fascinating to learn that in a past life where my father was highly abusive to me. He found every opportunity to belittle everything I did and make me feel unsafe. In that same session I saw how I began to treat my own son in a very similar way. This showed me how the pattern is just handed down, generation after generation, lifetime after lifetime.
The cool part of the session was when my coach had me imagine what my father’s life was like. Why was he so unhappy and mean? I saw a vision of him also being physically abused by his father. This perspective allowed me to have empathy for him and to open my heart to send him love and forgiveness. In this simple act of forgiveness, I felt a great weight lifted from my own heart. I felt that some of the lost power from this generational trauma was reclaimed to me!
It’s interesting to see how these practices and experience are directly in alignment with developing new healthy neural pathways I mentioned earlier. It’s important to harness the power of the human mind and body to truly know what needs to be changed. We are discovering every day through our advancements in science that many of the old traditions (where some people find them “whoo whoo”) actually have truth backing them up by science. Don’t you think that’s pretty cool!?
At this point you many be wondering why I’m telling you all of this and what does it have to do with you and your issues? I’m telling you this because I think it’s a powerful way we can collectively grow beyond the negative cycle we find ourselves in. Not everything I said in this piece is going to resonate with you. Heck some of it might even piss you off, but that’s okay.
My purpose of sharing this is to plant a seed. I hope to create an opening for a slightly different perspective on your life and your purpose. I believe that down deep, we all know what we love to do and what we are passionate about.
We’ve just gotten stuck in the limiting beliefs that were handed down to us in one way or another. You have the power to break the spell you’ve been living under. Perhaps you will help free some of the other people in your life to wake up to who they truly are and what their truth really is. When you take your power back, you have the opportunity and duty to help others gain their own power.
I invite you to step back from whatever belief system you have and just for a moment, consider one of the perspectives I’ve presented above. Try it on for awhile to see what you might discover for yourself and about the world around you. I’ve found that traveling and putting myself into the world of others has really helped me shift my perspective on many things. You can do the same right here and now and not even leave your neighborhood.
Dwight J. Raatz
Originally written: April 7, 2019 – Updated: January 11, 2022