Let’s face it – we don’t have wise women or medicine men anymore – no elders in the tribe to consult. We have to reconnect with our own wisdom. Yet, we don’t know how to connect with our own wisdom. We have become so disconnected that we RELY mostly on outside –> in approach to our wellbeing.
To me, the biggest and most direct way to understand and know your wellbeing, on a holistic level, is through fertility.
I have a lot of lifestyle theories about why our ancestors lived more fertile lives than us, but I think at the heart, it all boils down to two mindset plateaus…
THE #1 REASON WHY WE ARE NOT LIVING HAPPY FERTILE LIVES:
Self Improvement. According to popular spiritual belief, spiritual awakening gurus, and mainstream media – self improvement is good right?
How could self improvement be bad, let’s start there. Well if you believe you need to improve, then that means there’s a deeper belief that you are not good enough right NOW.
If you’re not good enough right now, then you need to seek out ways to improve yourself from outside, like through yoga to become more flexible in mind/body for example.
I’m not saying doing yoga is bad – hell, I dedicated 15 years to a career as a yoga instructor. What I saw in that time however, in myself and in my students, made me realise that the entire industry is built on self improvement.
So when you believe you need to be fixed, that you aren’t enough, that there is always room for improvement… you are playing a very different game than the rest of the animals on this planet, and than your fertile ancestors.
Imagine this analogy:
You’re playing a team sport, let’s say basketball. You are enjoying yourself, feeling the exhilaration of being in the moment with other humans, collaborating, passing, scoring, relating…
Suddenly you remember that there is a scoreboard, and someone is keeping track of the score – and you look up to see how you measure up. You’re 10 points down! The other team is winning! There’s not much time left!
Stop and think for a moment, about how your body felt before you looked at the scoreboard, and after. Before you were in the flow of life, just playing, just being, your lungs were filled with oxygen, your body was moving, you were in connection with other humans in joy.
After you looked at the score however, all the benefits of playing the game came to a screeching halt, and instead of good endorphin hormones, you produced stress hormones like cortisol. Your breathing shortens, your body contracts, and you create imaginary scenarios based in fear, worry, anxiety about the future.
THE WORST PART: You’re no longer playing the game.
You are standing there, in the middle of the court, like a liability instead of an asset to the team – staring up at the scoreboard. Into a mirror of your own worst-case scenario thinking. AND you’re the one keeping score! In reality – no one else gives 2 shits about your performance.
Your teammates are passing you the ball, but you don’t see it. You’re too busy figuring out how you are fucking it up. You’re busy looking at all the ways you are drowning under pressure, how you are making mistakes, how you are failing. Worse, you see them trying to hit you with the ball, instead of them passing you the ball to invite you to play. The entire court becomes adversarial, instead of collaborative.
And we name this insanity SELF IMPROVEMENT.
Because if you could improve, you would be a better player. For some reason, just playing the game, and learning as you go, improving naturally and incrementally – making mistakes and growing from them… no that’s not acceptable.
THE #2 REASON WE ARE NOT LIVING HAPPY FERTILE LIVES…
Perfection. This would mean that you had to play IMPERFECTLY for a long time before you got good. That would mean something about you. That would mean you would have to really be a human being (like everyone else) with flaws, and apparently that’s the most despicable kind.
Everyone is a perfectionist – in fact if you look around, most everyone is just like you – standing there staring up at the scoreboard.
IS ANYONE ACTUALLY PLAYING? This question makes me laugh really hard. Because when my coach brought up this analogy for me, I got really hard on myself for not playing the game – more perfectionism! Then I realised that everyone else is most often doing the same, and it suddenly became so hilarious and adorable.
Do you think this is what the enlightened ancestors were talking about – or is there a difference between self improvement, and self awareness?
It’s a bane and a blessing to have such incredible technology to measure ourselves with. In the realm of ‘personal growth and improvement’ – I happen to think we have a serious disadvantage than our ancestors. Facebook is great for keeping in touch, but how much time do you spend on social media to get people to like what you’re up to, to share how you’re doing in order to get validation, and appreciation.
I don’t have the answers, but while considering my own fertility and wellbeing, I am left with some questions:
- Isn’t this just a tactic to skew the scoreboard?
- Isn’t it just more attention on the scoreboard, instead of actually playing?
- What if the scoreboard is totally arbitrary?
- What is no one else sees it but you?
- What would it be like to play in life without keeping score at all?
- What would flowing in life without the need to self improve look like?
- What would it feel like in my body to totally drop all that thinking?
- How could I allow myself to become more fertile and well just by NOT doing all that scorekeeping stuff?
Well these are some ideas to play around with, and if you’re wondering why I framed everything around the concept of fertility, stay tuned for my next article on WHY FERTILITY IS IMPORTANT FOR EVERY ONE (not just people trying to have babies!)