Learned Instinct

churning

What do you do when you are worried?

How do you act when you feel harmed?

If angered, wronged, misheard, left out?

What do you do when someone threatens?

How do you manage double binds

That tangle up your mind?

 

Do you cower away?

Do you lash out?

Do you curl into a ball under the covers

And turn off all reaction, action, light?

Does your body compensate

In sweet diversions

Or does your gut churn ire

Into acid

And shuts down?

Do you sob, mope, break down

Break something

Break someone?

 

Does your heart thunder in your eardrums

As your blood pressure spikes red

Behind your eyes

Or does it plummet

Grayish

Into numb?

 

Do you respond in kind

To wound another

To give as good as you had gotten

To show who’s boss

To cut to size any potential bully

So they stay down?

 

Or do you shrink

Into wall flowered corners

Get by through fading into

Silence

Till all turmoil passes

And you can seek the bits you hadn’t managed

To protect

And tentatively try to

Patch life up?

 

When feelings flood, how do you manage:

Float on? Hold tight? Spit out? Swirl dizzyingly in the eddies?

Drown?

 

What is the language of reaction

In your body?

Does your mind

Command

Reflexively

Or does it find a pause

Between a stimuli and action

To weave insight to choice

And sort true danger from benign?

 

Do you collapse

Into outdated paths

Formed by a not-good-enough childhood

And unhealed histories

Still near

Or has your palette widened

To allow volition

Over instinct

And

Kindness — to yourself, to others —

To find courage

Over fear?

 

 

For The Daily Post