Sunday, October 18, 2015

Emotional Technology For Prospering During Troubled Times, Part 1

Obligatory Preamble: Blog posts are NOT a substitute for therapy. If you need therapy, please find a competent counselor and get therapy. A couple of times over the years, I’ve had the unfortunate experience of receiving emails from a few readers who apparently were trying to use BW-centric blogs as a substitute for therapy (and were very resistant and deeply resentful of my suggestion that they get counseling).  No, just NO to anybody trying to use blogs as a substitute for counseling.

This post is only intended for those readers who are already functioning pretty well in life. If you’re not functioning reasonably well, then you should get professional help with that. There’s no shame in getting therapy when you need it. That’s what it’s there for. I’ll add that everybody who needs therapy should take advantage of clinical services while they’re still available. In an age of global economic decline, professional therapeutic services are not going to be around forever.

Furthermore, retreating into religious fanaticism (a favorite tactic for many African-American women) is usually not helpful when it comes to long-term functioning. Religious zeal can carry people over a “hump” and through an immediate crisis, but religious fanaticism tends to entrench a very low level of overall functioning among African-American religious zealots.

I’ll say it the blunt way: AA versions of religious zeal (no matter which monotheistic religion - Islam, Christianity, or Judaism) can be useful for numbing emotional pain, but they lead to most AA believers leading ineffective, LOW-impact, LOW-success lives. I’m just calling it as I see it. It doesn't have to be this way. But it usually is. Because in the absence of a major intervention (such as authentic BWE-type consciousness-raising), AAs take our mass cultural dysfunctions into everything we do.

Every life has its share of “rainy days.” One of the inevitable features of middle-age is dealing with the illness and death of one’s elders. Grief is just one of those things that everybody is forced to deal with (and learn to work through) at some point during their lives. Grief is one thing.

An unhelpful or outright negative pattern of emotional impact is something else. I felt as if the repeated family issues and dynamics associated with multiple older relatives’ infirmity and passing were creating unwelcome emotional echoes in my own life. I would compare the sensation to looking up and suddenly realizing that you had been absentmindedly tapping your foot to the beat of a song playing in the background. A song you dislike that happens to be on heavy rotation on the radio. ‘Nuff said about that.

Anyhoo, I’m always on the lookout for tips, techniques and what I call “emotional technology” that can help self-actualizing AABW. Today’s featured piece of emotional technology is the technique called revision.
 “Dwelling on past irritations or hurts perpetuates them and creates a vicious circle that serves to confirm these negative emotions. The circle can be broken by starting now to revise anything that you no longer wish to sustain in your world. By revising the past, you rid yourself of any effect it may have on your future. Revision is truly the key, which can be used to unlock the doors that have kept you trapped in a particular state. Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Neville Goddard
I’ll note for the record that I strongly dislike most of the New Age material that I encounter. For a variety of reasons. Furthermore, I typically HATE anything that calls itself “occult.” {shudder} Yes, I’m one of those religious believer Black folks that has an aversion to that type of stuff.

Be that as it may, I can take what’s useful from an information source (a mental technique for taking the sting out of negative memories and experiences) and leave the rest of it all the way ALONE. So, keeping this in mind, here are links to a couple of articles and a related podcast about revision:

About Mr Twenty Twenty (the guest featured on the podcast listed above)—I’ll note that this is a WM who has been through and survived some heavy duty mess—being held hostage during a prison riot when he was a correctional officer. 

One of the many things I tend to dislike about the middle-class White folks preaching New Age stuff is that you can tell they’ve never had any serious problems. So they’ve never had to put their professed beliefs to the test of helping them prevail over a REAL crisis. Airy-fairy stuff is insufficient for thriving despite the future that's coming down the pike. I'm only interested in techniques that have helped people THRIVE (not just survive) and prevail over extremely challenging circumstances.

Ladies, Get Ready to Thrive!