Why freeze when we can feel the rush of survival and then live instead?

Life came full circle for me yesterday. Last year, the last day of vacation, I saw a bird carry a fish out of the lake to eat. Yesterday, I saw the same thing.

Watching with awe and sadness as I witness life for the bird and death for the fish, I see the circle of life played out before my eyes. The primal life cycle in full form. At first, I feel incredible sadness and fear for the fish who is about to die as it wiggles its body in the claws of the bird, midair. It is a sad day indeed for that fish. But then I remember that creatures release opioids and endorphins when near death as they freeze themselves from feeling the pain of dying. It is the mother nature’s gift to us. After, I felt the joy of the bird getting fuel for another day and it’s babies lying on the perch of the pole squawking as a meal is brought to them. They get to survive. They get to have their hunger filled. The fish dies with a gift of freeze and the birds get to live with their bellies filled. What a grand lesson for us humans to watch.

If only we would actually accept this lesson. Instead we are consumed with fear of dying and do absolutely anything we can to stop it. The cost is we live the rest of our lives in freeze state. We have the ability to shake it off like a deer who escapes her predator as she runs away to safety, but we don’t. We forget that we have primal needs of survival too and after a threat of it, our freeze needs to shake off. Instead we are conditioned to stop the symptoms of fight/flight by suppressing it with all kinds of substances and avoidant behaviours. We are shamed to experience the surge and purge of the adrenalin released after a freeze attack. We are told it’s bad to have these feelings and must shove it back down into the nether regions of our body and soul. And what to we get from it? A lifetime of living like the walking dead, kind of there but not quite. Consumed with additions and obsessions on how to keep numbing our pain, anger, fear, and grief. Conditioned to keep in contact with the what put us in freeze in the first place whether it be an unruly boss, an unsupportive partner, unjust laws, chemical poisoning in our food and medicine, etc. Development of numerous chronic illnesses that are then managed with more suppression through drugs. The body desperately wants to release its overwhelming load of freeze but we keep pushing it down. We learn to never trust our body or listen to its messages.

And so our hunger never gets filled either. We don’t feel death but we don’t feel life either. We are trapped in purgatory in our own bodies and environments. Yesterday, watching the fish die and the bird live to feed, I felt a big wave of fear and grief rise in my body. Because I was in the lake, I allowed the water to hold me as I rode this wave. I huffed, puffed, cried, shouted, shook, and then sighed when the wave released and I returned to myself. Then, I felt the truth of life stir within me and my hunger wanting to be filled. My appetite rose both physically and emotionally. I actually got hungry which is a sign of being in rest and digest phase; the peaceful, healing phase of living. And I felt that right to be emotionally fed too. Instead of denying my passions, dreams, and goals for a life of “I should,” I felt a rise of hunger in my belly and heart of all the desires I want for myself in life. All the things that bring me joy, comfort, peace, purpose, and most of all: peace, come up and say, “we deserve this.” “We deserve to live and be fulfilled too.” What an exciting feeling. Alive and restful at the same time. What a difference from the usual exhausted but unsettled feeling I usually have. This is what it means to be here on earth. The rest of my day was spent embodied and present with my world as my vision cleared, my mind fog went away, I became more creative and wrote, I sat watching the deer roam the fields with little desire to scroll my phone, simply enjoying the beauty surrounding me, and I ate with more taste for my food.

Instead of living with the freeze, I watched death, felt my own freeze wash over me, and then felt a renewed sense of aliveness. We are supposed to live like this, I believe.

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