The emotional patterns we learn as small children, he says, live on in the cells of our minds and come back to us as adults. -Gabor Mate
A weekend of surfing the self-publishing world and finishing a line edit of my novel, Devil’s Gut, produced a Devil’s Gut of anxiety. I weighed the various services offered by self-publishing houses, attempting to determine for myself a course of action: Do I continue slugging through queries and rejections or take to the self-publishing model? The answers are not certain – of course! The more I read and weighed, the more I began to realize the lottery involved far less work for the same reward potential! Coupled with the fact my mother-in-law is suffering from a debilitating disease from which she cannot survive and my poor soul-mate is inconsolable, my weekend approached disaster status.
Stress is debilitating. I apologize for the oxymoronic or banal statement. I have forgone my normal exercise routine due to the combination of visiting children and dying mother-in-law. My body is rebelling; my blood pressure is elevated and my head hurts.
I thought of recent posts by Anitra, whom I have quoted and referenced in my blog. She is a yoga teacher and her yoga-centric concepts of peace and living in the moment while allowing the body to breathe are concepts in which I am not yet practiced enough. I need to be; I suspect we all need to be.
I refer you to an article in Sun Magazine I discovered this morning, sitting in my email inbox. I subscribe to the email publication. The magazine featured an article by Tray Frish about Gabor Mate who became a doctor after surviving WWII. She writes: “Maté again saw the roots of their problems in “adverse childhood experiences,” such as abuse, neglect, poverty, or parental stress. At a time when medical science was increasingly looking to our dna for the source of many illnesses, Maté was becoming convinced that experiences in our early years play an even greater role in brain development and behavior. The emotional patterns we learn as small children, he says, live on in the cells of our minds and come back to us as adults.”
Mate explains further by explaining that these stresses and anxieties do not cause cancer, heart disease, etc, but rather increase the likelihood of contracting those diseases if we are so genetically predetermined. He continues: “Attributing our maladies to heredity is simplistic and disempowering, he says, a distraction from the problems of economic inequality, bad schools, and a declining sense of community…The genetic explanation is comfortable because it means that we don’t have to look at people’s lives or the society in which those lives are led for the source of our problems. If addiction is genetic, we don’t have to worry that it’s connected to child abuse, for example.”
Some of my emotional swings are healthy, others are not. I know that I am prone to rage and that rage is irrational in the situation. I can read a debate at a writer’s blog and become angry with some attitudes. I can read the newspaper and Op-Ed pages and become incensed by the lack of critical thinking and easy hypocrisy.
Says Mr. Mate: “The role of emotion is to keep out that which is dangerous or unhealthy and allow in that which is helpful and healing. So we have anger and revulsion, and we have love and attraction.”
I am wrestling with the illogic of seeking publication and now recognize so many past behavioral patterns rearing an ugly head in my adult life, not only (perhaps) creating health issues, but screwing up my rational coping with the irrationality of life. This is where I suspect I need to turn to yoga; turn my attention inward to my own breathing and awareness of a treasured moment in time when I am free to be me, if I but chose to follow me and not these patterns of behavior entrenched from the early years. If I am to enjoy a level of success in publishing, and few of us ever define ‘a level of success’ out of fear of setting an unrealistic goal, it will happen on my terms, not those of another person.
Relax and breathe, Scriptrod! Breaking through the world of agents is no more daunting than breaking through the noise of the self-publishing world. It’s the journey, never the destination.
Below is a link to the Sun Magazine article. I highly recommend a read.