As much as I am committed to engaging in the creation of a meaningfully sustainable life for mySelf, I am mindful that my life unfolds within a larger collective of others. My life is touched by and affected by the perspectives and choices of others, that include my family and friends; my colleagues and clients; and the cumulative impact of those whose faces I may never see and yet, their choices can shape the context within which I find myself unfolding, from one day to the next.
Rarely, if ever, do you and I stop… take a breath… and ask ourselves: how much of my day-to-day living is determined by the habits of mind and behaviour of others? How much of this habituation do I simply fall into… like the swift current of a raging river… rarely, if ever, even noticing that I’m in the water! Such is the power of collective habituation.
When habituation has reached the point of becoming both pervasive and transparent, our ability to calibrate for its presence; our capacity to notice the pull of the current and even consider making a choice of other than simply going with the flow leaves us without the slightest pulse of recognition of the waters edge; or any passing moments that would allow us to remove ourselves, entirely, from the river’s flow. Such is the power of collective habituation.
None of this would really matter were it not for one small problem: our willingness and ability to simply ghost our way through our lives is, in fact, reaffirming and holding that very life, in place! We are so powerful that without our capacity to toe the line and capitulate to the cultural expectation, that culture would naturally morph into something more reflective of that which sources it: the individual, living, organic beings that are at its core and without whom it cannot exist!
The following closing thoughts can be found at the end of:
Episode 44 of ‘Reclaiming Your Self: Women Unedited and Engaged!’ on the topic of ‘Penetrating Cultural Coma’.
Here are a few thoughts to consider that may well help YOU begin to notice cultural coma and choose other than its perpetuation.
- Begin to pay attention to when you’re feeling that state of ‘frenzy’ or ‘agitation’ in your body. This is your body’s way of calling to you and encouraging you to STOP…. take a breath… and open your eyes! In the sleep-walk of a responsible life, we often begin our day by pushing the ‘start’ button and noticing very little, from there. That state of agitation or frenzy is an intelligent response in your body, designed to bring your awareness to the present moment, that you might choose differently. When you notice, stop and breathe, you create the Space within which a mindful choice becomes a possibility. Without that stop, habit prevails!
- Pay attention to how frequently and how easily we actually notice those inner cues and ignore them! We tell ourselves that we can’t… that we shouldn’t… and we press ourselves into the service of denying our own bodies and tolerating the intolerable moments that far too often make up our days. This time, allow yourself to know that simple truth; to claim it and breathe into it, and let it flow through the tissue…. and let go. There is nothing to fix; nothing to take control of and wrestle to the ground! There is just that single moment of owning it all! That, in itself, can change your life.
- And finally, give yourSelf the gift of your own truth. In all the collectives that you spend time in, let yourself hold both realities in your awareness, at the same time : the reality that is defined for you by others, ‘out there’; and the reality that is defined for you, by you, ‘in here’. You need not choose between them – you need only take ownership of them both. As you hold them both in awareness at the same time…. like holding up both hands at the same time, rather than one hand and then the other… you begin to notice that you are the immensity of the Space in which they can move. Without your ability to do this, each takes its turn in owning your thoughts and , ultimately, your life… and nothing changes. As much as you may have been told otherwise, you can take it; you are up for it and your life is yours to design.