The phone ringing, a ding from a text message, notice of a snapchat video, hopping in the car to grab something from the store, buying an iTunes gift card, daily rewards on an app, keeping up a streak on using an app every day, checking the news, Facebook, Instagram, how many likes this post gets. All have an element of convenience that can perpetuate a nervous system pattern.
If trauma can be described as a stuck nervous system pattern, convenience could be a component of cultural trauma.
In his book, “Coming Home to the Pleistocene”, anthropologist Paul Shepard talks about the evolution of human biology over the course of hundreds of thousands of years. How human biology evolved through social connection, living in groups, woven into the fabric of nature and the natural rhythms of the planet. How our biological systems, even today, still operate this way in contrast to what I call the cultural context of convenience and perfectionism. He describes the transition point of biological-centrism as the point at which recorded history became a thing.
In my work, I’m constantly coding behaviors, actions, beliefs, meanings, experiences into categories of whether it is stress response related or healing response related. This is all in effort to be the change agent that my client’s nervous system’s need when making a shift out of stuck nervous system patterns. Shepards words illuminate how I think about whether something is biologically in tune with how the nervous system functions evolutionarily, or whether something is just part of the unnatural phenomenon of modern culture. I find that incredibly helpful in understanding whether it is helpful or not for how the nervous system functions.
All that to say, I’m transitioning to life in New Zealand at the moment. It has been a lovely few weeks with surprising challenges here and there.
I find myself settling into more ease by working through the impulses for convenience.
Creating this blog entry has reminded me of a book I once read about simplicity. There is a quote from the book that I remember to this day that for me speaks to the power that convenience has on a nervous system pattern and how liberating it can be to make changes around that. The saying I remember was on a sign in the cabin of a fellow who decided to live in the woods for a year. “If there is something you need that you don’t see in the cabin, let me know what it is and I’ll show you how to live without it.”