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Nested systems - it’s not just the one person who is sick/screaming

Something I realized recently. How often we blame the person or animal who is sick or screaming. But, they are not sick or screaming because there is something wrong with them, they are sensing something in the environment that others may not, and giving it a voice, or a symptom.

I have a sensitive gum/body and a mark on my face. They drive me crazy and I want them to just stop flaring up and go away. At the same time, these areas signal that I am having problems with my stomach and liver, respectively. I can shave off the mark on my face, but that doesn’t fix my liver. I can have reconstructIve surgery done on my tooth and gum, but that doesn’t fix my stomach!

Our family has been asked to leave an alternative school three times, because the behavior of my children and the judgement of my parenting. But my kids are simply red flags for the energy present in the school and the expectations of the parents, that are actually not aligned with kindness for children and families. You can remove the children who raise the flags, but this doesn’t fix the problem. It’s just harder to see, until there is no where else to put the blame.

I know others who say “my dog is sick”, really?, because it looks to me like your dog is mimicking your behavior as if it were normal. Like a dog who breaks its limbs when it’s owner is always complaining of sore limbs, and then this dog is given to another who has severe anxiety and the dog develops severe anxiety (resulting in the owner toting it around everywhere, which is what the owner wishes others would do for them). Or a dog who has immune issues, when the owners keep injecting themselves with things that hurt their immune system. It’s very easy to see.

If someone is sick in a business, in a home, if someone is yelling or in pain, the whole house or business is sick. Something is not right. It’s not the one person who can not regulate themselves, who failed at kindergarten. It’s the one person speaking truth, something is wrong, and the rest think it’s better to blame that one person for being sick, than to address the whole issue, the ecosystem, find a real solution.

My husband, finally after 2yrs, decided he needed to come up with a better way to indicate that he is in a meeting. His office is literally in the middle of the house, in the TV room, and he used to just yell that he needed quiet, except he didn’t realize (with his noise canceling headphones on) that he was yelling at me, while I was actively working with the kids to get him the quiet he was looking for. When instead he could do what most radio stations do, and have a light that says:

…then, the rest of us could look for that light, and act accordingly.

We show symptoms because the system is broken, we work well when the system works well, and only the symptom’s presence or absence speaks truth, not that we are broken because the brilliant solution failed to clear the symptom, as annoying as this may be, despite all our efforts.

We need to stop blaming the person who shows symptoms, there is nothing wrong with them. They show symptoms until we find solutions. The solutions are not external to fix X person, but internal, what need, right here, where the symptoms flare, is not being met, and how can “we” meet it, not “them”, “us”, as a collective, together.

I don’t treat the one, the only, with the symptom. It’s a nested system. One, in a house, in a family, in a school, in a business, in a country, in a world, in a problem. The sum is greater than its parts. What we heal in one place, heals in the other, our reality is a hologram, after all. Microcosm, macrocosm.

Sometimes you see the problem from far away, and up close it dissipates, and looks like nothing, but it is not, you need to treat the umbrella, not the twig. Zoom in, back up, be kind, it’s truth. A symptom, not for masking or removing, but for seeing what change makes it right, and if not, try again. We’re here for this, more than we’re here for money. Some might even call it fun, mastering of skills, no pressure, just trial and error and sometimes success. We rob each other of winning, when we remove the one with the symptom, because that seems easier, and the money pressure or desire to be liked is high. We don’t heal the other, but we don’t abdicate blame either. We engage them in the mystery and the fun, and together we find a solution, we keep trying, or not. We’re all on air, if we are honest with our selves and others. Screw self regulation! I’ll take truth, and real solutions! How about you?


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