Everything Shapes us

Day # 4 of 30 Days of Insights, and how I turn them into actionable wisdom that changes my life.

Photo by Elijah Macleod on Unsplash

The first part of this insight…

…is how magnificently and relentlessly the environments we live in, as human beings in a body, are constantly shaping us. I’m about to incredibly oversimplify things, but you’ll understand.

And everything does shapes us. Absolutely everything. By design we are in constant communication with our environment and everything in it. And by environment I do mean the ‘conditions of everything.’ Go ahead and include anything you can possibly think of and then know there is even more.

We always have been and always will be interacting on this unfathomably complex level. We are continuously signaling and being signaled by the environment just by virtue of being alive.

Life is a perpetual instruction in cause and effect.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Our shaping starts with everything that influences us

Influence is defined as ‘having the power or capacity of causing an effect in indirect or intangible ways.’ There isn’t any time of the day when we are not being influenced by some stimulus.

From the moment the sun comes up each day for example, light (pure energy) is signaling us from a quantum to biochemical to sensory level -influencing things like hormones, telling the body what systems to turn on and which to turn off, and countless other activities many of which we are only just now learning about.

A reaction, a perception, a novel behavior become conditioned with repeated reinforcement from that influence, that signaling. The result, effect, action become automatic.

The response has been shaped.

Think about the start of your day. How many environmental signals can you identify that influence you physically, emotionally, spiritually, from the moment you wake before you even see the sun? Imagine if you were more consciously aware of all this during your day. What influences would you choose to increase? Which would you choose to protect yourself from? How could you influence the shaping of yourself as you are newly created that day?

My insight expanded

I recently had a profound experience that showed me where the hard work of my own emotional life was born. It began earlier than I ever imagined, with an infant illness that created separation from the nurturing so crucial for my early development of connection to others.

How have I missed that all these years?

And what can I do with this awareness now?

The will is not free — it is a phenomenon bound by cause and effect — but there is something behind the will which is free.

Swami Vivekananda

Create NEW influences in a NEW direction I choose

Continue to cultivate a desire to ‘see’ and to understand, by engaging in practices that open me up and make my inner world available to me.

Ask family members about my early environment and what looked like my response to it, and listen for what is there for me.

And if that isn’t available, do the work to discover more foundational beliefs that subconsciously drive me and then do the work to question them. Install new ones.

Ask friends for feedback about what they have noticed I struggle with.

Take advantage of opportunities that show up (and they do) that feel ‘edgy.’ They are ‘for’ me. That feels like ‘going towards the light’.

Get busy doing more things that are uncomfortable, that scare me. ‘Test‘ them. I am certain they are in reality, nothing like I imagine.

Make a habit of shaking things up. Say ‘yes’ to things I initially resist because it requires me to open my mind and stretch. Sort of like a good debater does; arguing powerfully for both sides of an argument.

Give myself experiences I haven’t been willing to before, for whatever reason.

Surround myself with people that influence/inspire me to show up powerfully for myself and my potential. And do the same for them.

My environment growing up certainly shaped me. At some point I started to take some responsibility for who I would become, and began working on it in earnest. And there is a lot of who I am now that I really like. But I’ve only scratched the surface of my ability to reinvent myself. I’m only now grasping just how far I can go. Putting these wonderful insights into play in my life is getting to take the test over after getting to study crucial material I somehow missed before.

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