The Family as a Muscle group

Spending all this week with my brother and is Spinal Cord injury and participating in his rehabilitation and care has put me back in touch with all of the personal training, Yoga, EMT/FDNY jobs I used to have. It also puts me in touch with the fact that we live in a society that has no problem diagnosing and treating physical injuries and trauma but not emotional health. Being with my brother and seeing the incredible way the body functions and doesn’t function when not given the respect it demands makes me think back to my readings and watching of John Bradshaw. He used to be on KQED 13 in the Bay area when I lived there in the early 90’s. John Bradshaw would show family system interaction, demonstrating it with a mobile. He would explain that if the parents didn’t interact and relate in healthy balanced ways, each getting their healthy needs met from each other, it would create an imbalance in the entire system, kind of like a muscle group.

  Seeing my brother and how his body is having a very difficult time communicating with itself and relating the way it used to reminds me of the way many people/families relate to one another with the interactions being less than optimum. There are many different levels of dysfunction and the problem comes when people begin defending and making excuses for their dysfunction. Of course it would be entirely ridiculous if my brother collapsed, unable to get up, was wheeled into the emergency room and was in complete denial of his injuries. Unless, of course, he had some injury to his brain also. His physical injuries are pretty blatant and unmistakable. He would not be offended when the doctor comes over to him and says, “you, sir, have a spinal cord injury”. The fact that many people live Not at their full capacity already, yet, try to say to someone, “you are living at a less-than fully functioning level” and you would get all kinds of excuses and denial. WHY? My Favorite quote by James Madison again,, that’s why! Because the slow and gradual is more dangerous than the sudden and the violent. Things that happen to us more gradually over time are much harder to see and slowly become more accepted as a part of us. If the accumulations of most things in life showed up all of a sudden, we would be much less likely to welcome them with open arms.

  Why do we live in such an emotionally sick world? Why is Family/relationship health not a common topic of discussion? Why is only Physical illness and/or injuries taken seriously and emotional health not? Why do we not have a standard of emotional/mental/spiritual health like we do Physical illness? Why do we worship mentally ill, elite, 1% ers who destroy our only planet for $ and assist them in doing so? Why are we not even able to recognize when our emotional state is out of alignment and, instead, get offended when it gets pointed out to us?
 We get so out of alignment emotionally over time that we continue using our misaligned perceptions to make ourselves even more misaligned. If we lived in a, Health as Priority, world it would be much more natural and an immediate response for others to let the out-of-alignment person know they’re out of alignment. We would be much more connected to ourselves and real wealth, that our response time would be split second. Because we have been so conditioned by $ that has drifted so far off course and we are still following it even though it is a system that has been taken over by a drunk driver.
 I think of my favorite line from the movie JAWS, “Why don’t we start leading the shark back to shore instead of him leading us out to sea?” We have been allowing ourselves to get lead “out to sea” and further away from shore and our health where we will end up with NO leverage eventually.
 The fact that we have to ignore that our body has been injured due to lack of health insurance or what have you, is a sure sign that our society and $$ are the opposite of one another.  

 Today my brother said what I’ve heard him say many times before about how we grew up, that it “wasn’t that bad.” I think of it as, not about being “not that bad” or not but, more about being Oriented in life. Calling something what it is is what makes us oriented and knowing where we are and what direction we need to be moving in. We want things in life to be Healthy, we want optimum, or we should. Having domestic violence and divorce early growing up is unhealthy. If we say it’s “not that bad” it’s because we’re using our young, naive mind, the mind that the adults around us need to be strengthening and teaching, and instead we’re going into debt because the very people who we need to be making deposits in our direction are incapable. We have no choice but to see things as “not that bad” because we are forced to put ourselves into “debt” to move more towards bailing them out. It’s a form of AMS, Altered Mental Status, the same as the body going into shock.
 That’s the whole point, if we’re forced to decide with our immature mind that “not that bad” is going to be acceptable in our life when family should be the very people teaching us to accept nothing less than quality and being treated good in life, then we’re like a body being taught that bleeding out is correct. The body can teach us a lot about health and having standards if we paid closer attention to it. The body definitely would not be telling that “not that Bad” is something we want to accept. The body would Never accept “not that bad”. The body wants to live and be as happy and healthy as possible. Because most of us don’t know that as a possibility we accept the crap the system/parents teach us to accept so the PTB can screw the shit out of us.

   Setting emotions aside, north is north, south is south, west if west and east is east. A spinal cord injury is a spinal cord injury and a broken family is a broken family. We have to call shit what it is if we are to know where we are in time and space. In Yoga we call it Proprioception. If we don’t call something what it is we will be lost and disoriented and have NO idea where the F we are going. We can call it what we want to if it makes us more “comfortable” but the reality will always be what it is.

 Paying attention to our bodies signals and trusting that what our bodies are trying to tell us is real and that NOTHING should take us away from that and if it does, say Good bye to it! NOTHING should come before what our body, gut feels. NOTHING. Not even Fake man Made $$. We need to strengthen our connection to what our body is telling us or, like any other relationship, it will atrophy over time. We must work out our connection to our bodies and follow it’s directions.
 My brother is finding that out now, but just because most of us do not have a SC injury does not mean the connection we have to ourselves is as sharp as it can be.

 I believe it’s imperative to strengthen the connection we have to ourselves, especially if we came from a broken/abusive or dysfunctional family. Even if we think we came from a Great family, we should probably connect even more! Because, the fact is, this society wants to break the family down so it can have it’s way with us. Just like the instability in my brothers neck due to the fracture, the family system can be unstable and end up making us less fit than we otherwise could be.
 I feel like I’ve been rehabilitating myself all my life from my unstable upbringing while watching my brother now relearning to do basic functions again. I always felt I was compromised growing up and taught to accept less than a healthy environment so I was always exercising in body and mind to make myself stronger. The system is designed to keep us struggling and in debt on some level. It was very difficult because I never had the support or the acknowledgement from others about the family condition that a spinal cord injury gets. Too many people around were in denial and lower their standards. The Bottom line, We’re NOT using ALL of our Functions!!

 The fact is, is that the family system IS like a muscle group interacting in either fit and sharp ways or not.  We can always be more fit in the way we relate. As long as we use our acceptance of “not that bad” we will keep ourselves in much lower standards that we deserve. Remember, it’s the Gradual loss of things over time that is harder to notice. We need to check in and make sure we’re exercising hard to hold onto what we have and add to it.


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