Leading up to the Claresholm Women’s Conference I have been very Zen about the whole presentation. I have praised myself for my signs of personal growth that this new attitude has been showing me. I have not defaulted back into my old business days of professionalism – drafting speeches, outlines, demonstrations and exhibits but have instead spent time just trusting the flow. I have not raced to the internet and library to study up on what ” the great Masters” have to teach on the subject and I have not scurried to document supporting notations to validate and testify to the knowledge I want to share. Instead, I keep asking myself ONE question:
What would happen if I trusted my own Knowing?
Somewhere we adopted the belief that wisdom comes with PhD. That Professionals speak a truth that will hold up in a court of law. We imply that everything else is snake oil, foolhardy, and unwise to value. We believe that if we want to be valued, and of value, we must have proof that would support our words in the court of public perception.
I was 5 months pregnant with my second and struggling with iron deficiency as usual – a long history of being the palest Irish Redhead that was prone to extensive naps! I mean, I was a PROFESSIONAL Napper! Sitting in the Doctor’s office knowing that he was going to give me the standard over the counter iron that would turn my second trimester morning sickness into the Godzilla of nausea, I didn’t have a lot of hope. My only flicker of possibility was that this Doctor wore Finning Equipment sandals in the office. He was nonconformist in many of his mannerism. This day he lived up to that. ” If we lived in Scotland or Ireland I would tell you to share a Guinness with your husband each night with supper. It would improve your appetite and has unbelievable levels of iron in it. However, we live in Canada and for me to suggest ANY alcohol while you are pregnant could cost me my license.”
There was the truth of it. We turn to pedestal professionals for knowledge and experience and they are justifiably worried we will put all the responsibility and ownership of our out of context or immoderate application of their advice on their shoulders when it doesn’t work or goes south badly. The wisdom was being held back by the shroud of professionalism and liability. THEIR wise advice is muzzled by lawsuits, governments, and regulations all driven by FEAR of blame.
A young boy gets caught peeing on the school ground. What do you think you are doing? is answered with ” My mom says I can pee outside.” The mom presses her fingertips to her forehead and says ” that’s not what I meant… I meant out in the fields when there are no washrooms nearby. ” Moms hope that kids will use a dose of their own self-wisdom (common sense) to apply the teachings we offer but we know that kids are a wild card.
Was there an evolution of self-distrust?
When in history did we shift from trusting our own experiences and those of our neighbours to needing proof? When did the teachings of an institution become more valuable than the lessons learned through experience? Has this swung too far towards Certifiable Proof over gut instinct and self-awareness? Now, I recognise the dangers in comparing the knowledge of a Doctor around health to that of instructing on journaling. It is there to paint an extreme to make a point. Everything we do has a danger to it. Everything we share and teach and advise can be taken out of context and misapplied and, worse case scenario, lead to harm.
Could someone walk away with the inspiration to pour out their heart, emotions, hurts, and dreams on paper only to have their lives and safety put in danger by their abusive partner reading it? Could someone who is struggling with PTSD ( knowingly or unknowingly) avoid seeking out trained therapists because I said that a journal is a safe place to work through struggles? Could someone disagree with my experiences and understandings? Yes. No amount of airbags and disclaimers in the world will keep us safe from all harm and that fear of harm and retaliation is.. well. Terrifying. Is it less so for someone with a PhD?
My point is not to distrust professionals. My point is not to avoid seeking out other people’s wisdom. My point is not to throw caution to the wind. And LORDY my Point is NOT to Self Medicate! My HOPE is that we can find a formula or recipe that would enable us to put value in our own knowings, to seek out with a curious heart the experiences and learnings of others, to run them through the filters of our own self-knowledge and experiences, test the application in gently baby steps, determining what fits and what is a ‘fail forward’, and then repeating the process.
Is the image the eyes see more valuable than what the ears hear?
What would happen if we spent more time exploring and learning from each other? More time listening to the wisdom of our own bodies? our own spirit’s whispers? How would that look to our world? How much healthier and whole could we be if we used wise caution instead of wide-eyed fear of being wrong? Youtube, Wikipedia, support groups – all of these are built on the primary foundation of progress through the collaborative communities sharing their experiencing and TRUST that people will be intelligent enough to use that sharing wisely. Ultimately we know that everyone’s story matters, that life is not a one-size-fits-all, and that an Elder’s wisdom started out as youth failing and learning together.
Keep in mind that a 45-year-old pilot may still need to call his mom when it comes time to roast a chicken and that Doctor’s are not going to be teaching you cursive writing!
Your story and experiences matter! OUR stories matter. Let’s not dismiss them.