There is strength in numbers. As humans, we are hard-wired to commune together in small groups. The basis of society, culture, and life is the family unit. We hunt and gather food together; we build shelters and groom one another. We break bread and protect one another. And above all else, we love one another. Though our experiences may be individual, the human experience is universal. [Read more about your retreat philosophy here.]
Why are you thinking what you are thinking about?
When poor choices, bad circumstances, malicious acts or other traumatic life events cause a breakdown in that basic unit family or community unit, we often feel a disconnect from the value of self due to the perceived loss of love. We are our own worst critics and tend to blame ourselves even when events were out of our control. We may internalize the chain of cause and effect that led to our perceived problems. This system was highly useful for our ancestors but often causes hardship and heartache in today’s much safer, more fast-paced world.
Here’s an example as to why we endless ponder trauma and mistakes: I made a mistake by making noise in the bush and as a result I was attacked by a lion. I barely escaped with my life. Now my brain must process these events over and over again to make sure that I never make the same mistakes, and thus get eaten by a lion and fail to reproduce
Break the intrusive thought cycle
The never-ending contemplation of trauma is a great algorithm to be running in our brains for survival. But not so good when it’s obsessing about an embarrassing situation, or a breakup, or what you wish you would have said to your boss in an argument. We blame where we should forgive, hold accountable, and learn. This starts with forgiving ourselves.
The beauty of our “good” and “bad” life experiences
Be grateful for your mistakes
Life is a learning process and you have so much data to learn from. Be grateful for that. There are no good or bad experiences. There are experiences. Convince yourself of that and the world looks different. Perhaps set an intention that you want to recode your brain to believe that.
Gratitude is a gift that never ends and your past experiences are your greatest treasure. Everything you have ever done, failed to do, said or failed to say, has led you to this moment with enormous amounts of data on how to deal with people and yourself. Don’t deny yourself that luxury by fearing confronting past mistakes, forgiving yourself, and then moving forward.
Trip Prep Tip
Set an alarm for every 43 minutes. When that alarm rings, reset it and spend time talking to yourself out loud. Start with this: “I am grateful for….” And start listing items. You may be surprised of how rich you are. Feeling hopeless and having trouble being grateful? Then start with making observations around you. You are holding a phone or staring at a computer screen. Be grateful for having access to all the info of humankind right at your fingertips.
Be your own codebreaker
When traumatic events break down the family unit (or job or friends or whatever valued relationships you have), we have a personal need to replace it with a new family. Sometimes with that perceived loss of love, we fill that void with thoughts and behaviors that we eventually learn are not healthy. But once those habits are set in, it is hard to break the cycle, the code, the programming. You can be your own code breaker. Take back control of your supercomputer mind.
This is why community and family connections are so important. We are social creatures that serve one another interpersonally for growth and success.
The human condition
How does one measure “success?” Is it dollar signs? Promotions? Happiness? Over the course of time in one’s life, it becomes more and more evident that human existence is largely predicated on suffering that ends with dying. Never mind how “happy” everyone appears on social media. There is hurt everywhere. People will betray. People will be mean. Friends and family will get sick and die. We disappoint. We are disappointed. Loss is part of the human condition.
Choose your own thoughts
While we cannot control the actions of others or acts of God or circumstance, we can control our own personal behavior, our own thinking and most importantly our reactions to these external stimuli that are outside our control.
Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Thoughts are our internal dialogue and the source of our inspiration that we try to discipline and thus guide. As a result of disciplining these thought patterns, we have a new operating system to guide us along our renewed life. We want to be able to choose what our minds think about and not be a victim of rogue mental programming.
Be grateful for failure
Failure is okay. Failure is normal. Those that don’t fail are not striving for unattainable perfection but are satisfied with mediocrity. You are not mediocre. You are exceptional. That potential is in you. But you will fail in moving forward. Often. That is also part of the human condition. We make lots and lots of mistakes. You won’t leave any retreat and stop making thinking errors or mistakes. But you may leave with a new perspective. By living your purpose by helping others and forgiving yourself and others, when you do make mistakes or witness the mistakes of others, you may be less likely to feel shame in those mistakes or anger. You will know that you did your best and loss and failure are okay and expected.
The trick is to be grateful for mistakes and treat them as data. Mistakes and trauma do not define you. The inform you.
What is this supposed to teach me?
Instead of uncontrollably dwelling on a mistake or trauma or dwelling on the opinions of others about the situation while feeling shame, you will chose to dwell on it only to figure out what went wrong. Then you will chose to stop thinking about it when you have enough data and have run enough simulations in your head on how to prevent something like that from happening again.
You will learn. For now on, you will try to be disciplined enough to always ask yourself this question, “What is this person or situation supposed to each me?” That’s hard to do. Cortisol and adrenaline are running through your veins. You may feel panicked. But through practice, meditation and self-discipline, you may eventually learn to pause and choose what you think. Choose to ask yourself that question. What am I supposed to learn from this?
Trip Prep Tip:
Set an alarm for every 23 minutes. When that alarm rings, reset it and take a self-inventory. What am I feeling and why? And ask yourself why are you feeling that way? And then look to the cause of the current state of affairs. Then ask yourself, “What am I supposed to learn from this?”
And when you cannot discern a satisfactory answer, you will ask for help from your network and talk through it. That might be a loved one or a therapist or a random stranger. And when you don’t have a satisfactory answer, YOU WILL CHOOSE TO BE PATIENT! You will wait and learn the value of your mistake later and in the meantime, you will move on and live life!
Feed your mind what it needs and what you deserve
Feed your mind what it needs, not what you think will make you feel better.
What we think about is largely a product of what data we download or import into our brains. Garbage in, garbage out. If one is listening to wise family members, one is more likely to internalize some of that wisdom by sheer volume of exposure to such ideas.
When one listens to music and consumes media that glorifies the ego and devalues the human condition and the individual, one is more inclined to exhibit some of those behaviors, often unintentionally in reaction to stress and stimuli.
Take for example the act of forgiveness. Often it takes great humility to forgive. But does popular culture value humility? What are we surrounding ourselves with? And why? Does popular music and movie themes obsess about revenge? How is holding grudges working out for you? Do you feel at peace?
Trip Prep Tip: Cleanse Your Brain
Go through your social media feed and unfollow anything that does not meet your values. Temporarily (or permanently) with the Facebook “temporarily unfollow” setting. Unfollow those posts that instill in you anger, ego, envy, etc.
See how great the world looks when you aren’t only digesting the negative. Follow some nature pages. Follow your spiritual leader. Feed your mind something of value. Cleanse your brain like you would cleanse your body.
Your Network is Your Net Worth
One way to incorporate external data and stimuli that support your own values and personal goals is to surround yourself with a network of individuals with common purpose. That way you strengthen one another. You them; and them you.
But what is the purpose of this network? Is it to serve ourselves or to serve others? Are we simply using others rather than adding value to the relationship? This question gets to the fundamental core of what makes up being human. What is our purpose? Why are we here?
Our Purpose: Serving Others
At Silo Retreats we believe our purpose is in serving others. That is our vocation and our mission.
We host group retreats in order to keep costs down and in order to leverage the power of that most basic family or tribal (extended family) bond that is wired into our brains. While ancient tribes were predicated on biological bonds, our group members are tied to one another by a bond of purpose: your intention or goal for coming to our retreat. What are you seeking?
With the Silo team setting their intention, or purpose, to help you in meeting your introspective goals, we hope to empower you to renew your own purpose.
We supply the mushrooms, encourage a mindset to meet your goals, and provide a loving and relaxed setting to focus inwardly so that you may exit your Jamaican journey with new tools to relate to the rest of humanity in a way that you choose and can be proud of. You will seek perfection and be satisfied in constant failure in meeting that impossible goal. Because that is the human condition.