ARE YOU GROWING? OR ARE YOU PROTECTING?
Bruce Lipton, author of “Biology of Belief,” asks this very question. Honestly, I haven’t read the entire book. I have skimmed portions of it. It got a little too much into the science of everything than I wanted to go at that time. So what is the idea?
There are two main modes for animals (including humans) to be in. Growth and Protection. Let’s look at a few characteristics of each of them. There is no good or bad here, just observations.
GROWTH: Anabolic, building, healing, repairing, relaxing, recovering, digesting, eliminating, love, joy, laughter, etc. This is the phase most animals like to be in. It is one of peace with the world around us. It is one without fighting, fear, or striving.
PROTECTION: This is the realm of fear. Fighting. These are mechanisms in place that help us defend against “threats” in our world. These threats can be real or “perceived.” The belief is what truly makes it real for you. Worrying about work. Worrying about our children. Fear of getting in car accidents. Fear about the economy. Fear about our lives.
Now, I don’t want to criticize protection mode here guys. I believe it has its uses as well. But you have to take an honest look at your life and figure out which one you are living in most of the time. This is not a black and white thing. More like a scale. The greater your level of protection, the less your level of growth and healing will be. Most people do not have to worry about being too stuck in growth mode. But what happens when we get stuck in protection mode?
On the short scale we may worry about the little things. Will we be late to our appointment? Did we forget to check the mail? Maybe there was something that NEEDED done that we just couldn’t remember to do. This scale unfortunately progresses. Are we making enough money to feed our family? Will our child survive his health challenge? Will we be able to comfortably retire? Is our mate going to be happy with who we are? Will the people in my life accept me with all of my faults and flaws? These are all questions that tend to provoke protection reactions in us. These reactions are a bit more severe. They tend to focus on LONG-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS. As humans, we have the ability to look into the future with greater accuracy than animals (for the most part). As such, we plan more. We worry more. This has it’s benefits and drawbacks. Finally, there are SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL NEEDS. These are those which immediately snap us into protection mode. This is the realm of PTSD. Of trauma. Of terrible accidents. Of health crisis. Of war. These are things that we cannot ignore “for the day.” Hostage situations, torture, mauling by animals, and terrible car crashes all fit into this category as well. These are actually scenarios that often demand protection mode. I would hope that if you were getting attacked by a grizzly bear you would not be in healing mode =) So what is the problem? In nature, these events are not meant to happen for long. But what happens when they are continuous? War veterans. Serious health challenges. Our energy and psyche tends to get so locked in fighting for survival that it can get stuck there even when we are through the trauma. So what is going on with all of this? WE GET WOUND UP!
We get wound up so tight in the modern world. When is there a day that goes by that we don’t worry about something? We worry about work. We worry about our families. We worry about bills. We worry if we are doing a good enough job with taking care of ourselves. When does it end? This is not about ignoring the issues of our modern world. It is about learning to live in harmony WITH them so that we don’t take the burden of living in protection all of the time. Is there anything we can do? There is always something you can do =)
INVENTORY: This step is often the most painful. It requires us to take a good, hard look at what we are afraid of. Are we worriers? Are we living in the past? Do we have unresolved emotional trauma or conflicts that are keeping us locked in protection mode? Maybe an old scar from a past relationship. Maybe some health problems that have plagued you for years. Did we not have enough food or money at a time? Looking at your fears means looking at yourself.
DECIDE: Decide on the things that are WORTH being afraid of. The problem with our modern world? There are a lot of small things that we let ourselves get wound up about. Most of them have nothing to do with SHORT-TERM SURVIVAL. Decide on the things that you can let go.
WORK: Often the things most worth doing take the most work. This may mean taking a good hard look at the “man in the mirror.” Are you trapped in an abusive relationship? Are you fearful for your health? Maybe you are a war veteran with PTSD. This stuff is not easy. It’s like a muscle that has been holding on for a REALLY LONG TIME. It gets really tired and probably cramps up a lot. The way to fix it? Massage, unwinding, meditating, rest, etc. I would like to point out that sleep and rest are related but different things. You can sleep in a very stressed out state. True rejuvenation comes when we blend the two together.
TOOLS: Use tools to help you work through the tough stuff. This doesn’t happen over night. Often, we need tools to work with to help us along to our goals. There are no right or wrong tools here. Whatever helps you unwind. Good tools may include massage/bodywork, meditation, affirmation exercises, EFT, self-care, water-work, laughter, joy, love, etc. Anything that makes you SIGH RELIEF afterwards is probably a good thing.
ULTIMATE SOLUTION: The ultimate solution is to realize every day that we have limited power on this planet. We REALLY don’t like that do we? We want to be able to control all the little details? Why? Because we were taught that this was the only way to control the outcome. But is it really? Is living in fear really the way to go? Most people I know live with some level of fear in the background at all times. Maybe not death-fear. But fear. Figure out the things you can let go of. You may find that you need to make some changes in your protection mode along the way. There are many people blissfully unaware of things they are doing that thwart their long-term survival, health, and happiness. Listening to the universe is the correct step to figure out where we are off-balance with it all. Protection mode has its place. For most of us however, its “place” has become the norm. Let’s scale back on the protection and move back into growth where we belong 90 percent of the time =)