An intelligence of love

There’s an intelligence that operates in us from the moment we are born. It says that we must survive. We must find ways to make it no matter what. It’s pretty amazing, really. From the time we are infants, we will find a way to protect ourselves from the things that threaten us. When I allow myself to really consider this, I can’t help but feel it deep in my heart. The urge to live is so strong. It’s simply beautiful.

That said, what we are protecting ourselves from can be actually very violent and traumatic. This can range from emotional to physical abuse, it can mean psychological terror. It can mean so many things. And the thing is, none of us is immune from this. Yes, there is a spectrum on which these things take place. For some it is much more minor than for others. And for some these experiences can be debilitating. And yet, their systems found a way for them to survive. In trauma work, it is the role of the therapist to work with these individuals to move beyond the defenses that kept them alive, and into thriving.

In many ways, this is all of our work. For the defenses we enact as young ones (probably from ages 0 to 6 primarily, though later as well), become obstacles in our adult lives. It can be tempting to look at these obstacles as things to simply eliminate, things to just fight against. Indeed, this is at the heart of a lot of therapy; remove obstacles, and replace them with new behaviors, beliefs, patterns.

But what if we start with an honoring? A gratitude? What if we begin with the recognition that the obstacle started as a defense, and the defense is the enactment of a deep intelligence that loves us so much it ensured that we survived what was inflicted upon us?

If self love is a core driver of well-being, perhaps recognizing the love that the world has for us is a good place to start.

January 30, 2019


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