Can We Escape From the Womb
Yesterday I spent the morning viewing my very first ultrasound. My dear friend Gargi is pregnant with her second baby, and she asked me to join her family for her ultrasound. OK, whoever developed that technology must have just been a Frank Capra fan because I have to tell you, there is no way you can stand there, here the mother's intake of breath, hear the sounds of the process and not want to cry on the spot! But the most interesting thing about the adventure was something the technician said. At one point, she commented on the incredibly uncomfortable ways in which the baby seemed to position itself. At one point lying on its back, it had pulled its leg up to the top of its head and was holding it. The technician was frantically snapping pictures because it was so unusual. But not for Gargi. It's a common position in yoga, and she is a yoga guru. In fact, she said how natural it was that her baby was learning the positions since she is doing them and thinking them every day. And it's true. We take it for granted that if my Mom was a great singer, then I can probably sing quite well. If Dad was an alcoholic then the eyes turn towards me every time I order a drink. But when patients sit down to tell me about their history, they never mention their parents, as though their personal experience is all that influences their health. But in fact, our health history begins further back in time then we may even know. Jung had the right idea when he espoused the collective unconscious. We truly are the sum total of our ancestry, not just our life experience.
When I moved in with my mother for a time, I noticed that my tendencies began to change. I began to eat some things that weren't normal for me, do less exercise, prefer the cool darkness of my living room to treking through the sun-dappled woods. In other words, I began to sync with my mother's energy, which I think goes back to the womb connection. In fact, I gained 20 pounds, lost the love of my life and realized that I had to do what I did in high school - MOVE OUT. I needed to distance myself from the environment that she had created which sustained her energy.
Ah, sustained... we create a world around us that supports what we are comfortable with. So when we experience an illness, is it possible that it becomes chronic because something in this comfortable world we have created sustains it? Might it be better to change our world as part of our therapy to get well?
My entire life (and my friends will exasperatingly tell you its SO true!), whenever I was stressed or felt out of sorts, I would rearrange my house or clean out a closet or reorganize my files or throw out half my wardrobe. It was some instinctive thing to change my surroundings and instantly I would feel lighter, better, ready to accomplish things. Maybe the first prescription we should fill is to change something. Look around and see where your life has become congested. Interestingly, my mother is a collector. She has every inch of every wall filled with a vase, an etching, a painting, a sculpture. In fact it is rather like entering a rather overstuffed museum. Everything is arranged, everything is neat... there's just a LOT of it. I say interestingly because my mother is arranged and neat, but there is a LOT of her. She has developed multiple illnesses and has very limited mobility. But when you look at her house and her environment, you realize that it seems to limit mobility by its very nature. So what came first, the chicken or the egg?
When I relate that to the fact that I gained 20 pounds while I lived with my mother, I think "hmmmm...". Then I was over visiting last week and her beloved cat Bianca waddled through the living room like a basketball with tiny little paws. It's difficult not to say how HUGE Bianca is, but I did mention to Mom that Bianca was looking rather plump. Mom got that pained look on her face and said, "But she's on a diet!". When my Mom has done diets, she loses an average of one pound a month... not very inspirational when the amount of weight you have to lose will take you longer than your life span. But she never thought of all the congestion that exists in that living space.
That would explain why changing Bianca's food is not the answer, but when you look around at all the congested collectibles, you can't help but wonder how much all that energy is affecting her every day. But then, I never met Bianca's mother and father either? So maybe she would still be like that in a minimalist's dream. She may be acting out a programming that began long before my mother put thirty pieces of cloisonne on one shelf and balanced a German stein over the stove. How much is the way we are living going to affect our children, even before they have been born?
The womb may offer all the comforts of home, but it can also program us in ways that may prevent us from living any of the lives that we imagine, especially when we are in the presence of that energy every day. We don't assume that a 30 year old man who is still living with his parents is a relationship risk for nothing. So if you're feeling like you're coming down with something, don't just take a pill... clean your closet!