Lots of research out there indicates or actually proves, beyond a doubt, that us humans are a herd animal. And, of course, as in every herd, there are always a few loners. A few horses that are grazing at the edge of the herd, or just a little ways off. But at the first sign of danger, when safety and survival are at stake, the herd comes together.
Apparently it is not merely a matter of emotional or mental well-being that we experience when we are with other humans. Some interesting research also shows that physical health is actually also improved. Of course, we are assuming that those human interactions are of a positive nature.
When I look at the major issues I have struggled with in my life, right up there close to the top is that sense of belonging, sense of community, fitting in. I have written quite a few songs on this theme. I have often said and believe it to be true, that a happy well-adjusted totally fulfilled person is seldom a poet or a songwriter.
Where do I fit in I don’t know where I belong
Where has my hometown and my old friends gone
I ‘m no longer a kid but I don’t feel full grown
And I don’t know how to find my way back home
I ain’t a cowboy no more, I ain’t the yuppie type
And I don’t know if I’ll find that place just right
I’m not a Backwood hick from the sticks, But I don’t like a big town
Maybe I’m a square peg in a world full of holes that are round
But I do know when I’m riding my pony out across the rolling hills
I watch a brand-new sunrise over the mountains I get a deep Down’s trail
I hear a mountain stream bubbling this through my dreams
I hear the early Robbin’s song-and I do believe I do belong
~Part of a song from my,”Spirit filled air” CD. Available for purchase on my webpage (a great CD if I must say so myself).
That beautiful song would never have floated into my beautiful mind, had I not felt lonely, rejected, like I didn’t fit in.
I used to think that changing or getting over something meant that you would never have to experience it again. Boy was I wrong! Here I am 69 years old and this morning once again I felt that loneliness as keenly as I did as a young boy on the homestead sitting out in the forest under a tree crying my eyes out. I had no clue why I was feeling what I was feeling back then under that tree. I had no clue what the emotions and thoughts were that were driving my tears. Of course looking back, it was part of that dysfunctional family dynamic. Not enough goodies to go around. Parents with their own issues they were struggling with.
Anything can trigger old deep emotions. There are a couple of tricks I have learned along the way. One is trying to stay away from those triggers, the other is handling those old emotions in a new way. So this morning when I heard from one friend that he was going skiing with some other friends and I realized I was not invited…I was right back there as a young boy under that lonely spruce tree.
How could I have avoided that? I could have organized my own ski party. But more importantly how did I deal with those old, yet still strong feelings. That ladies and gentlemen, is one of the great secrets of life. I will share that secret with you now. It was very simple. All I had to do was pause for a moment and notice how miserable I was. How much I was hurting way down deep. How rejected and awful I felt. The next step was just as simple. I allowed myself to have some thoughts and feelings about those deep dark feelings of loneliness I was having. It went something like this.”Well howdy there little buddy, so you come to visit me again, eh? Yep it’s been a while. But I know you well. I am no longer afraid of you and you no longer have power over me. I am no longer angry when you come to visit. I respect you, I know where you are from, I know why you exist. That was then, and this is now. I feel your deep pain, but I need you to go back to that old spruce tree. I got this.”
And then I spend a few moments pondering the strength and tenacity of that old emotion. I love it back to where it is from. I distance myself from it. I breathe deeply, count my blessings and visualize all I am grateful for, yes, including all the friends I do have.
So perhaps changing isn’t changing, but merely accepting. Perhaps changing is just noticing, pondering and not letting it grab you- stepping back. Perhaps changing is merely about becoming a little more conscious about all of the amazing little parts and pieces that make you who you are.
So the main thing to remember is that it’s simple- don’t make it complicated. When an old feeling grabs you, a feeling you don’t like, anything which you no longer wish to be a part of who you are, just breathe deep and notice what’s going on. And if there is an another human involved, just tell them you need a moment, that you will be right back. That in itself gives you the power of choice, helps you separate, helps you realize there are other selves at play, and that that lonely, left out child is not running the show. And remember, no matter how bad, how ugly, how awful that old feeling is that comes to visit, it once had a purpose, a reason for being, but that was once long ago. That old feeling no longer serves you well. So bless it and love it back to that old spruce tree of long ago.
Oh yes, fitting in, belonging, being part of a herd is important. So find a herd, go find your tribe.
See there, how simple it is? Reading this brief blog without a single rabbit trail, saved you years of therapy, kept you from having to read numerous self-help books, possibly helped you save a relationship, or perhaps just made you ponder a bit- and chuckle.