Being Zen in our Primal World

Is it possible to be blissfully Zen while also being Survival of the Fittest?

Short answer: Yes.

I like to believe myself to be an aware and socially/environmentally conscious person; a being who feels connected. However, if I think my kid, spouse or friend is being harmed or threatened, niceties go out the window.

Storm is coming? We got to prepare? All of a sudden I’m Queen of the Scavengers.

Cut me off will you?

In the dating world it especially surfaces for us all too, right? We want someone that has simpatico genes if we’re inclined to procreate, many of those instincts can even be subconscious.

City living is especially heightened because the wrong street, wrong date, wrong eye-contact, might severely alter your physical world.

I find myself looking for an alternative exit in a bar or movie theatre, as well as hiding places and such, in case we need to evacuate unscathed from potential harm.

How are we then able to tone down our defenses while also keeping our survival instincts?

We shouldn’t ignore our primal nature or deny it’s existence because it has kept us alive. It keeps us surviving. The distinction I make, is about thriving, not only surviving. Are we thriving in our primal state or do our defense mechanisms wear us out, exhausting our mental, emotional, spiritual and/or physical state? Are we a prisoner to our surroundings and circumstances? Spending my youth growing up just outside Chicago and then many years in the city, exhaustion and anger are familiar traits from having stress and I had to unlearn many behavioral patterns, but alas, it can be done.

I keep a safe space in my mind where no one can do or say anything to bother me. If they have a crappy attitude, that’s on them. There are a variety of reasons why a person is negative and it has nothing to do with you personally, so don’t react. This is where practicing deep-breathing exercises comes in handy.

Understanding that your space is yours and nothing less than kindness can penetrate it. (This is different that blocking everyone out and avoiding people altogether or not allowing anyone to get close.)

Practice visualization. Often I image myself being protected by an invisible force field to keep me safe. This field can be 1-2 feet around you, whatever feels right, really, some refer to it as an energetic boundary. I visualize steps I make during my day, the routine I have. I imagine how I will react to uncourteous drivers, rude attitudes, hectic morning children surprises, that hostile co-worker and so forth. I practice my reactions because that is what I have control over. Instead of letting all the things build, I breath in the moment, I pause, train myself to react in a manner that keeps me together and go on. As it turns out, I still keep my alarm signals strong, but don't have to be constantly defensive using this practice. Therefore, I am not drained by mid-day.

Pick your battles. This process may or may not be new to you. Sometimes it felt like the only control I had was over the placement of my living room furniture! It is amazing how much freedom one has once we let go of other people’s problems. Once we decide we need not make choices for other people, it frees up a lot of energy as well. If you feel compelled to tell others the choices they have to make for their life or take on the problems of the world around you, you need to take a step back, likely get a neck massage and perhaps with professional guidance, follow the path(s) back to your need for this behavior. Writing a list of what you do and do not have control over might help you identify stress. How this is beneficial for a person that cares a lot about many, but is drained, frazzled or angry, is to acknowledge how long the list is and what can be eliminated. What can you let go of? What can be delegated? Can you let go of having it be your way?

Are there deeper underlying issues in what we project onto others or situations? You bet. If you need some tools to guide you through thoughts or perhaps you can identify the emotions you need to release, please reach out to me. If your health severely suffers from stress in your day to day life, speaking with a professional therapist/psychoanalyst might prove most beneficial. I love therapy and feel grateful to have been able to use it several times throughout my life thus far.

To circle back, stress and pain are life; danger is real. We do not have to be hostage to our own mental cage. I come from a place where I used to roll my eyes at the word meditation or emotional healing and now it's what keeps me sane! However, I wanted sanity; I wanted relief. I chose to not let the stressful world and traumatic experiences define me or keep me from going out and having experiences. I learned what to let go of, what was no longer serving me and I still continue to work on it. Conquering thoughts and developing a healthy inner dialogue is absolutely obtainable but it's up to the individual to take those steps in doing so.

This is where I promote natural and holistic body care, CBD oils, massage, acupuncture, energy work and so forth.