‘It’s up to you- its always up to you. You can deny, repress, distort, and bury your unresolved wounds all you want. You can re-frame them, pseudo-positivity them, detach from them, spiritual bypass them. You can re-name yourself, hide away in a monastery, turn your story around. And you can spend all your money on superficial healing practices and hocus pocus practitioners. But it won’t mean a damn thing, if you don’t do the deeper work to excavate and heal your primary wounds. Because the material is still there, right where you left it, ruling your life and controlling your choices. This is the nature of unhealed material- it is alive, and one way or the other, it will manifest itself in your lived experience. It will language your inner narrative. It will obstruct your path and limit your possibilities. It lives everywhere that you live. And so you have to decide- excavate it and bring it into consciousness where it can be worked through and integrated, or repress it and watch it rule your life. It’s one of the hardest truths we have to face: If we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals with us. There is no way around this. Choose.’ -Jeff Brown
‘Excessive analysis perpetuates emotional paralysis. Knowing our issues is not the same as healing our issues. In fact, knowing is often a willful act, entirely incongruent with the experience of surrender required to heal. I have known many who could name their patterns and issues—almost like they had done a science experiment on their own consciousness— but nothing changed because they refused to come back down into their bodies and move their feelings through to transformation. It’s safe up there, above the fray, witnessing the pain-body without actually engaging it. The key to the transformation of challenging patterns and wounds is to heal them from the inside out. Not to analyze them, not to watch them like an astronomer staring at a faraway planet through a telescope, but to jump right into the heart of them, encouraging their expression and release, stitching them into new possibilities with the thread of love. You want to live a holy life? Heal your heart.’
‘Sometimes we forget how far we have traveled. Good to acknowledge what it took to get this far, all those hoops we had to jump through, all those difficult over comings. Good to stroke our face with love and remind ourselves how much courage it took to brave the journey. Good to say ‘thank you’ to the spirit that walks within and beside us, reminding us that we are simply and utterly worth fighting for. Sometimes I see someone who has endured so much find their way through the pain tunnel to a truly better place. I am not talking about the bypassing of the pain-body. I am talking about the courageous working through of the emotional debris. And then I marvel at the human spirit, which creates whatever tools it needs to overcome the odds and find its way home. We ARE simply and utterly worth fighting for.’-Jeff Brown
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