In my yard, there are a lot of lizards. Every morning I sit with my coffee and watch them jump from one rock to another. Then they stop and do these little push-ups. Don’t ask me why but somehow it sparked an analogy for how this society understands our instincts. Or mis-understands. And of course, how it might be affecting you.
Let’s pretend we trapped one of these little lizards in a glass jar. What do you think would happen?
We can only speculate because I’m not about to catch a poor lizard to prove a point. But my guess, it would first panic and try to find a way out. Maybe even thrust against the glass if that’s something lizards do. For the sake of the metaphor, let’s say they do. Then it would get tired, rest and try again. All its energy would go to trying to survive and get out, not to actually being a lizard and do lizardy stuff. Like those little push-ups. (I could look up what that is but I won’t because it doesn’t take much for me to get distracted, like I am now, writing about this.)
Now it’s been days, maybe even months, and the lizard is still trapped in the jar. The little body is in pain from thrusting against the glass so much. It’s losing energy and getting weaker. And not only that, it’s starting to forget how it was to be a lizard.
The life it once had, jumping from rock to rock, grass tickling its belly, doing push-ups (to impress the others, maybe), and feasting on cockroaches. Maybe it was only a dream– not a memory imprinted in its body and DNA.
Tap tap tap. Someone’s smiling from outside the glass. “You just have to learn how to live in there. Accept that this is your life now.”
The glass jar is the belief of this society, trapping your instincts in your body.
Whoever shut the lid is the same person (society) that is making you believe that the lid has to remain closed at all costs. Like something horrible would happen if you opened it. (It won’t. Only great things happen.) They even make you believe that the lid doesn’t open at all. Anyone who tries to convince you that you can’t let go and heal, that you can only learn to manage your pain– they are the ones tightening that lid because they make you believe it’s true.
But it’s not true. Our instincts are energy. They need to be able to move through their cycles and be able to do what they came there for: help us.
Here’s the thing though, and this is what makes this society go bananas because they want to control every little thing: you can’t. No one can. No matter how much you want to just talk your way out of it or strike a deal with it, you can’t.
Yes, you can take things (alcohol, drugs, medications) to help you numb and forget. Make it less painful for a short-lived moment.
Yes, you can tighten the jar extra hard and then put a nice rug over it and pretend it’s not there.
But it doesn’t change reality.
The longer the lid stays closed, the longer it will take for you to heal. You can’t heal until the lid opens and the survival instincts get to physically leave your body. That’s how they complete the cycle.
The problem is: “out,” that lid that we are talking about, it’s not obvious for people anymore. Isn’t strange? Our natural responses, our born abilities as human beings are now considered “unnatural.” Or weird even.
What smarty-pants made that happen? Someone did not think this through.
Most people (not saying you, but you know, those other people) see themselves as separate from other animals and nature. They believe that because we’re humans, we don’t have instincts and natural responses. At least not like them. The animals. And if there’s ever a sign of us having instincts, we should control ourselves as fast as possible so no one notices that we are not robots after all.
This is taught. When we are born, we knew how to exist without anyone telling us. We didn’t rationalize what we “should” be doing, we just did. The knowledge comes with us like a built-in manual and is as natural as taking a breath. But as we grew older, someone told us to throw that out the window and become someone else. Someone this society wants us to be to fit in.
I often find myself chewing on this.
Maybe this is why so many people feel like they are never enough, or that something is missing. Living a life ignoring who you are, your instincts and how you were born to live. No freakin’ wonder.
How does one even begin to open that darn lid after years and decades of hammering that thing shut?
The first thing you have to do is stop focusing on trying to control your instincts. That only tightens the lid.
What you have to do instead is try to listen to them. Notice when they are there to help you, and notice when they say it’s time to leave. Let yourself laugh and cry. Move your body the way it wants to; whether it’s dancing, shaking, twitches or spasms.
Somewhere along the way, you learned to believe that being you is wrong. You learned to ridicule what this society looks at as a sign of weakness. So if you want to stay in that jar, accept these beliefs that were handed to you.
But if you want out, become hellbent on finding the truth.
Catch yourself when you’re trying to stop your instincts because believe me, you will. These beliefs are so deeply ingrained in us, we shut ourselves down without even thinking twice about it.
You come with tools that are already inside of you. Tools that open that lid. You just have to learn how to listen and recognize them.