Don’t you just love Jeff Brown’s ability to cut through the bullshit?
‘EVERYTHING is not a gift. There may be valued transformation that arises from many experiences, but that doesn’t mean that EVERY experience is a gift. If we lean too far in that direction, we will deny trauma and victimhood all together, something we have been mistakenly doing for centuries. No, everything is not a gift. Some experiences are horrors, and it is all we can do to heal from them. To suggest that someone MUST find the gift in them, is to add insult to injury. It is also to create a culture that welcomes all horrors, because, after all- “everything is a gift.” Let’s keep it grounded- sometimes, it’s a gift. Sometimes it’s a horror. And the only who can decide that is the person who had the experience.’ -JEFF BROWN
‘Excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. You cannot heal and resolve your emotional material with your mind. Your emotional material does not evaporate because you watch it. You can only heal your heart with your heart. The mind is the great divider- the heart is the great connector. When it opens, healing happens…’ -Jeff Brown
“It’s easy to understand why you might seek a heart-to-heart dialogue with a parent who disappointed you. You long to make sense of, to heal from, to resolve. You intuitively know that they have information that can put what you experienced in context.
At the same time, you have to be careful not to expect something that they cannot provide. For many of those who came before, it is absolutely essential that they stay away from the hotbed of emotional material that you seek to excavate. It’s too loaded, too guilt-ridden, too overwhelming, and they intuitively know they will not survive the process. They know that the dialogue will force them to awaken a whole web of unresolved emotional issues they are not able to confront. There is little worse than ending up between two worlds- one unconscious and repressed, the other conscious and awakened. Sometimes its necessary to remain asleep, because awakening is just too darn difficult.
The important thing- when you seek dialogue with those who have hurt you- is that you understand in advance that any refusal to participate is not a reflection of your inherent value. It’s a reflection of their inherent limitations. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you. It doesn’t mean that they don’t privately wish that they could have done better. It often just means that they have chosen, or must choose, to never look back…
‘One of the important things I learned after escaping my childhood home was that no one was entitled to steal my peace of mind. I didn’t understand this when I was young. Throughout my childhood, I would watch as my good moods were continually undermined by the bad moods of others. If they weren’t angry and blaming, they were depressed and despondent. There was no boundary anywhere, and no education on how to sustain positivity in the heart of misery. Misery begot misery begot misery. It took many years to learn that there was another way of being in this world- one where I was allowed to protect my precious peace. And it was perhaps the most important lesson I ever learned at the School of Heart Knocks. Because if you allow yourself too close to lite-dimmers and border-crossers, you will deny yourself the life that awaits you. You will live under someone else’s cloud until it becomes your own. Simply put, people are entitled to their moods, but they aren’t entitled to yours. Your peace is not negotiable.’-Jeff Brown
‘I had a friend who died. One of the things that contributed to her death was her immersion in the mantras of the New Cage movement: the body is an illusion, your suffering is an illusion, the ego is all bad, ‘just ask for what you want and it will come’, presence is what happens when you watch your pain from across the room. These dissociative, dehumanizing perspectives were appealing to her because she wanted so desperately to turn off her pain and to find an easier way. This would have been fine if she had simply utilized these techniques as a detachment tool, but she went farther, and made them into a way of being. Unfortunately, these tools became weapons that turned against her. When her unresolved pain rose back into consciousness again- as it always will in its efforts to be seen and healed- she was now entirely ill-prepared to deal with it, having floated away from reality for so long in a pseudo enlightened spirituality-induced stupor. She couldn’t deal with the now because she was still crippled by the then. What she needed was healing, not more self-avoidance techniques. When reality became too much to bear, she ended her life, unable or unwilling to work through her material. Let there be no doubt that models that lead people away from the healing of the heart do not serve humanity. Real spirituality is all about enrealment- it includes everything human in the equation. The real now is the one that includes everything we left behind on the path. We must work through our story, before the unresolved elements of our story kill us. Prayers for those who have been led astray.’- Jeff Brown
‘I am so tired of people saying, “You are exactly where you are supposed to be,” no matter what someone’s life circumstances and challenges. Yes, there is no question that we can often learn something of value wherever we are on the path; and yes, we may have, in some situations, attracted the exact challenge that we need to grow, BUT that does not mean that we are ALWAYS where we are supposed to be, or that we chose our reality. Telling that to someone in every situation—even when they are ill or suffering tremendously—is arrogant, and adds insult to injury. Sometimes we need a kick in the ass, and sometimes we are just a victim of terrible circumstances. Sometimes we chose our reality, and sometimes it just chose us. Sometimes our suffering is needless and the result of other people’s wrongdoing. Compassion demands that we hold the space for other’s challenges with a wide open heart. Let them decide if they are exactly where they are supposed to be. It’s not for us to say.’- Jeff Brown
“I always try to remember how much courage it takes for abuse victims to return to a state of trust in this world. This is no game, and often takes every ounce of energy and faith they can muster. Trauma is not simply a concept or an idea of something. It is not some misplaced story. It is not some ‘parasitic pain-body’ (Oy gevalt!). It is a deeply embodied experience of suffering that fastens itself tightly to the cellular (and soulular) structure of every person who is victimized. It embeds itself as somatized memory, and it cannot be wished away or bypassed with positive affirmations and victim bashing mantras. It just can’t. I often hear people telling others ‘to get on with it,’ ‘let it go,’ and ‘stop playing the victim.’ This languaging adds insult to injury, and is both counter-productive and victimizing. Yes, we don’t want to hang onto trauma as identity for the rest of it, but it is far worse to pretend that it isn’t there. The heal is for real, and that healing can only happen in a compassionate and patient environment. May we support those who have been traumatized (which is most of humanity, in my estimation) with an exquisite depth of understanding and presence. Without it, we just keep the cycle of abuse alive. Without it, we miss the opportunity to heal our own brokenness and enhearten this mad world. The heal is for real…” -Jeff Brown
‘One of the great challenges for those who have survived abusive and neglectful parents is that there is often a part of us that is still waiting for them to love us, even if there is very little chance of that happening. Locked in an archaic mindset, we continue to go back for more, looking for love in all the wrong places. Somehow we imagine that they will come around one day, realize their mistakes, see our worth, soften those armored edges. And some do, often when they are very old, made vulnerable by sickness and time. But many don’t, and we need to stop putting our emotional lives on hold waiting for something that may never happen. The bridge from stagnation to empowerment lies in our willingness to see them for who they really are, to take them off their primal pedestal and recognize their human limitations. This is not easy- the hungry child self clings to illusions- but it is oh so necessary. Until we accept the reality of who can’t love us, we cannot embrace the love of those who can.’-Jeff Brown
“I am so tired of how hard we are on ourselves. Not attractive enough, not smart enough, not cool enough, not purpose-full enough, not spiritual enough, not flexible enough, not creative enough, not rich enough, not happy enough, not healthy enough, not sexy enough, not wise enough. It’s like a collective shame-fest that begins when we are born and continues until we are dead. Billions of us walking around convinced we are not something enough. Methinks we are missing the point. Just being alive on this mad planet demands that we are enough. That we are here means we are enough. How about if we begin every day with an ‘I am enough’ meditation? Yes, lets begin right now, “I am enough!” I AM ENOUGH! (And so are you).” -Jeff Brown
“We can’t find our path without getting messy. Messy comes with the territory. We came in messy. We learn messy. We love messy. We leave messy. I never found my way to clarity without first befriending confusion, in all its chaotic forms. I never found a path that felt like home before falling into quicksand. I never established a new way of being without trying the wrong way of being on for size. I never found the light without stumbling around in the dark. I never tasted God before getting a little dirt in my mouth. In the heart of the chaos is the clay that shapes us home. Chaotic Magnificence!” -Jeff Brown