I’ve been pondering the feeling of ownership lately. Ownership is about a sense of control and a sense of authority. It’s about power and decision making. Ownership over your own life is really important. While it’s technically possible to get all of your needs met without it, it makes the trust factor very difficult unless you submit all control and have someone or something or a system in place that you can trust implicitly. If that system fails, though, it’s still up to you to find something that works, and so there goes ownership again. But if you’ve been dependent all your life and suddenly the system fails, chances are you won’t easily step up to own the situation. And so for the sake of a robust system, I choose to develop the skill of ownership as much as possible.
What is appropriate ownership? Where are the boundaries? What’s stepping out of line? Let’s start with, you have ownership over anything that is yours. If it’s not yours, you don’t own it. So what is yours? You have possessions. Those are yours and you are in control of them. You choose where they belong, what they’re used for, who can use them and when. They’re yours. You don’t have to share, and if somebody takes them from you, they’re out of line. That said, if you want to keep your possessions, it’s your job to defend them.
Now let’s extend the concept of ownership beyond possessions. You are responsible for making sure that your needs are met. You own your own needs. What does that look like?
Fuel. Ownership of what you eat and how you nourish your body is about having preferences, and having the ability to choose what you eat. It might mean listening to cravings and disgust, or it might mean choosing what diet you want to follow. It’s freedom and liberty to make your own decisions about what goes in your mouth. It’s the opposite of being told what you have to eat (Eat your vegetables! Finish your plate!) or what you can’t eat (No salt! Sugar is bad. Limit your calories. Low fat. Low carb. No red meat. No antinutrients. No processed foods!) It’s the opposite of food regulations that prevent you from consuming what you want to consume (raw milk, undercooked meat, locally butchered meats), or being forced to consume something you don’t want (pesticides, preservatives, artificial color and flavoring, GMOs).
Engage your Mind. Ownership of how you engage your mind means choosing your own interests and projects, and choosing what you want to work on and when. It’s the opposite of being told what to learn or where to work or clickbait. It’s the opposite of zoning out in front of the TV, watching whatever comes on next. It’s freedom and liberty to say what interests you and what you want to be doing with your time.
Movement. Ownership of movement. I’m going to have to come back to this one. Freedom and liberty. Is it about being free from reflexes? Is it about developing at your own pace? Is it about moving your own way, when you want to? Is it the opposite of being stuck inside or stuck in a desk? The opposite of being forced to run or forced to do something you don’t want to be doing? The opposite of moving on someone else’s schedule?
Rest. Ownership of rest would be about choosing when you take a break and how long of a break you need. It’s going to bed when you’re tired and sleeping as long as you need. Ownership of your space is choosing what goes in it and how it’s organized and decorated – your possessions. Having ownership of your emotions means being able the express them in a method of your choosing, as needed. Ownership of your mind means you are in charge of how it’s organized. Others can listen, but they can’t tell you how to think or what’s right and wrong. It’s the opposite of being forced to share, of not having your own space, of forced apologies and holding back tears.
Connection. Ownership of connection is about choosing who you spend time with. Choosing your social environment, and the culture in which you’re living. It’s the opposite of your parents choosing your friends, or living somewhere with a culture that just doesn’t fit who you are.
Separate from the needs, I’m thinking about timers. When you set a timer for yourself, you’re owning how you use your time, but you’re not really owning meeting your needs. If you’re deeply involved in a project and loving it and the timer goes off and you have to stop and dig yourself out into a different mental state – maybe to go eat lunch, that’s something. It’s not having full ownership over how you engage your mind. You’re not eating because you’re hungry, you’re eating because you should. Which might not necessarily be a bad thing, but I think it should be distinguished.
The common theme coming through is that ownership is about freedom and liberty, and it’s the opposite of external control. Rational thought still feels like a form of external control on this one to me. Which isn’t to say that it’s bad or unnecessary, just that it’s not the same as total freedom and liberty. We’re caught in a major transition time period of history. Just the fact that this blog is interesting is an indicator that we can’t trust all of our instincts and we need/want to be doing personal work to grow from how we were raised. Rational thought and control is a critical tool for that process. I would argue, though, that a few generations out, when we are so well practiced at getting our needs met first and foremost, and it’s been completely ingrained into our limbic systems and society, it would be totally instinctual and we wouldn’t need the rational control anymore. And timers might seem ridiculous.
Your body is designed to move in order to function properly. This might mean time set aside to exercise, or it might mean movement incorporated throughout your day. In order to move the way your body is designed to, it’s important to make sure that everything is in alignment and integrated with the brain. So movement is also about posture, bodywork, and reflex and sensory integration, and about healing and integrating from any injuries.
Movement is also about the actual act of moving. Exercise lowers blood sugar and burns stress hormones and increases your ability to make antioxidants. It moves your lymph around your body and it improves digestion. It actually improves your mitochondrial DNA.
Ideally, you naturally move around as you go about your day starting as a newborn, and your body develops normally. You integrate your infant reflexes into adult reflexes, you are aligned and well, you don’t get injured. You move just the right amount and don’t put undue wear and tear on your body. When things don’t play out in an ideal way, there are targeted exercises you can do to help your body back into balance. These might be specific stretches or cardio or walking or certain movements to integrate infant reflexes. Or, bodywork like a visit to a cranial osteopath or chiropractor or any number of professionals who can help.
You were born with a set of infant reflexes. As you grew, you should have integrated those reflexes into a set of adult reflexes. They integrate as you have freedom to move and explore your body in various positions – on your back, in arms, on your tummy, etc. Too much time on your back, too much time in arms, or anything else restricting normal freedom of movement can result in those reflexes being retained. Another cause of retained reflexes is cranial compressions – in a nutshell, a funny shaped head. To the extreme, this might be visible to a causal observer, but it can also be much more subtle. More on cranial compressions in another post.
As an adult, your primitive reflexes should have been integrated, and replaced with adult reflexes, that keep you from putting undue wear and tear on your joints, and make movement almost effortless. Your adult reflexes kick in when you are in alignment – kind of like “good posture.”
The final piece is to actually incorporate that movement into your day. It doesn’t have to be specific time set aside to exercise – unless you’re targeting something very specific – but rather time spent not being still. Not sitting around all day. Choosing activities and interests and ways of doing things that involve more movement rather than less. Going for a walk in the fresh air.