The Art of Recovery ~XIII~

Instinct is the part of us, as in all animals, that knows without thinking what and when to do something, how to respond, which way to go. Like the salmon that swims its way across hundreds of river miles to its birthplace, we too have inborn impulses that don’t require thinking to get us there. Instinct is our “right responsiveness” guiding us towards our yesses, and away from our no’s.

For many of us, however, this instinct has been so blunted, domesticated and harnessed for its resources that we barely recognize its call. Instead of being taught to protect yourself from things or people who might do you harm, you may have learned to distrust your own feelings, boundaries, and reactions.

If you grow accustomed to overriding your responses, over time you stop being able to recognize intrusions and violations. You may have delayed reactions to poor behaviour. You may have even find yourself dwelling on moments in which you wish you’d said or done something differently.

But having a wounded instinct is becoming more common as a direct result of a disconnected culture. The more we live in virtual realities, where our connection to others is mediated by technology, and the more we subscribe to a human-centric way of life, the less we are in direct conversation with each other, our own bodies, and the natural world around us.

While an injured instinct can take a serious toll on our personal lives, our disconnection from the other-than-human life around us is devastating to our environment.

I believe we have more than enough creativity to solve the problems of our times, but we have to make a perilous trek into the wilderness within to reclaim it.”

~ Toko-pa Turner, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home

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