By Jacobus Hollewijn
August 27, 2022
AgingHealth Care - Self CareLonger ReadsMental Health
Tricky Triggers: Discovering Your Call-to-Action
This article was originally published in SW Montana’s Bi-monthly newspaper called Natural Life News and Directory in the 2011 November-December edition.
It has been edited on February 16, 2022.
Had I heard the message of letting go of the past before? Yes, I had, several times! But I never “got-it.” It never truly resonated with me.
There are different times during our lives when we experience Eureka! moments. We don’t plan for them, but they seem to give us a renewed sense of direction, often short-term, but sometimes they can be life-changing.
I think that everyone has hang-ups, certain habits, ideas, sensitivities, and routines that almost seem ritualistic. With these comes a blind side - something about ourselves that we don’t see or understand, and therefore, would not know how to improve on, even when someone points it out to us. Those whose habitual thoughts and actions have turned into an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), a daily fanaticism about something, or an addiction of any type (work, exercise, drugs, alcohol, sex, cleaning, video games...) are bound up so tightly in it, it will not only negatively affect their own life but also that of close friends and relatives. And pointing out someone’s blind side can have an adverse, even dangerous, outcome!
MY OWN BATTLE
My father died of a sudden heart attack when I was seventeen, a sensitive time in a growing teenager’s life. I had issues with my dad, typical father-son stuff, which had to do with hopes he had for me in life and expectations from me in my schoolwork. However insignificant they seem in the grander scheme of things, since these issues were unresolved at the time of his death, they became a deep-seated emotional pattern in my relationships to authority figures. Deep down, all people who had charge over me, somehow took on this symbolic role of my father. I wanted them to be happy with my performance so they would have no reason to criticize me. I became a workaholic, very detail oriented, and I would work through the night if necessary to get the job done, hoping for a compliment (definitely no criticism) from “the boss.”
This was my world, in spite of the fact that I had a young family for which I was also responsible. I was young, strong, and pretty happy otherwise; but I had this lingering blind-side. There was no balance in who I was and what I did. I had my priorities wrong, and downtime was never fully enjoyed. Health-wise, I was a ticking time bomb: strong on the outside but internally I was wearing myself thin, just work-work-work, taking care of business, even though I had no compass. My diet was pretty good, but somehow, I was increasing the risk of an early heart attack. And given my paternal family’s history - thirteen members on my father’s side of the family had died of heart attacks, the youngest at 29, the oldest at 70 - this is an organ I need to pay attention to!
Then one day when I was forty-two, I had a huge Eureka! moment. While working on a concept for my own store, I had a meeting with a business consultant. As we were talking about my recent work situations, he shared an objective observation with me. He heard me express frustration and disappointment about authority figures who would never compliment me on all the hard work and good things I felt I had done for them, but wouldn’t hesitate to criticize minor details. And he made a comment that for me was a wake-up call, an a-ha moment, that had a deep effect on me. He simply mentioned that, as far as he knew me, I had done a lot a good for other people and that it was time to see myself as such. He called it a talent, a gift, that I had; and it was time for me to leave the past behind and step into the present so I could set my eyes on the future and experience whatever success is waiting for me (at home, at work, for myself).
In a flash I saw myself in a room (the present). However, the door (to the past) was slightly open and I had my foot on the threshold, so it couldn’t completely shut. For me it symbolized I was not done with the past. I still hoped that somehow, all individuals in my history would miraculously change their mind and actions towards me. Meanwhile, because of the positioning of my foot, I was unable to reach the door across the room (my future), where I would be able to display all my talents free and clear, without attachments to my past. Was I willing and able to consciously put both feet into the present and walk towards my future, whatever that would bring? I had to make a choice.
THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE
His observation was very spontaneous in an otherwise productive business meeting. Once I left, I sat in my car with tears in my eyes, realizing that I just got insight into my blind side. I saw that patterns were based on my perception of authority figures, while in actuality, they had no specific agenda and therefore were oblivious to my feelings and extra efforts. I realized that nor my father, nor anyone else in positions of authority ever would wake up in the morning thinking: Let’s see how I can piss-off Jacobus today?
Of course, my dad never would have wanted his son to have this level of stress in his life…
I now had to respond to what I had just learned. My first thought was to forgive. I needed to get detached, both emotionally and spiritually, from the symbolism I had attached to any individual whom I had somehow associated with unfinished business personified by my father. And I had to free them from negative energy I had projected upon them. They deserved to find success in their own life as well, and not be hindered by my emotional attachment to them. It was not that I needed to forget some of the things others had done to me, but the emotional part needed to heal and go away.
Had I heard the message of letting go of the past before? Yes, I had, several times! But I never “got-it.” It never truly resonated with me. This spontaneous comment from an acquintance was my trigger that catapulted me into a whole new chapter in my life. Doors opened, and things have been looking up on many levels.
To top it all off, about a month later, I visited my mom in Europe, and one evening we got to talking about dad. She gave me insights into his life and the kind of person he truly was. It totally helped me to change my view about him - he was a good and kind man, who lost his own dad at age eleven, stripping him of a role model for fatherhood. I had just truly forgiven him and now, 25 years since his passing, I was allowed and able to hear my Mom’s story and get to know him better. I was ready.
Health is a state-of-mind for which feeling good is the best barometer. However, just as much as a doctor’s diagnoses of an unexpected disease can change all that in a split-second, we need to have a built-in power source from which we can bounce back to restore homeostasis.
We live in a time when so much information, so many resources, such abundant food choices, and a plethora of treatment options are available to us that one has to wonder why, as a people we seem so… may I say… ignorant. One option could be that technology and information has grown exponentially whereas we humans develop gradually. It takes time to move humans forward; it requires effort to inspire a mind to give up comfortable but dysfunctional routines and ingrained, familial principles.
Our immune system is also a barometer, constantly on the alert, fighting off invaders (parasites, viruses, bacteria, mold, environmental allergens), weaving us through the obstacles that physical and emotional challenges in life present to us.
Anyone could benefit from doing an annual blood test, just to check on mineral levels, endocrine function, hormones, and overall quality of the different blood components. This test could even indicate if we have an autoimmune disorder, whereby specific antibodies produced by the immune system are somehow attacking different parts of our body. Keep a copy of this test, combined with notes, in a safe place. You can do more research on the results, and compare the different years for potential changes. Two problems, though, are the misinterpretation by doctors of certain numbers; and misdiagnosing of other tests resulting in false positives and false negatives. An example of the former is the many undiagnosed cases of thyroid problems, often causing over-prescription of the wrong drugs, as well as daily misery by you, the patient. The latter often happens in cancer diagnoses, especially with mammograms.
Knowing more about your health will take the guesswork out of it. Using this information may help you to get focused on the true problem areas. You may be feeling good now, but annual blood-test results may indicate an up-and-coming issue, and by becoming pro-active this may be avoided or resolved.
Having the right physician as a health-coach is also highly recommended. Seeing them once or twice a month (as I have done for over two-and-a half years), checking certain parameters, setting goals, and doing your homework, can be very motivating to do things right. For me, it has been a trigger to stay focused daily. And for the record, my physician is a mentor - not an authority figure.
FACING THE PROBLEM
I have observed that all of us have our own triggers when it comes to making healthy choices. Most people do not see the slow aging and deterioration they go through and therefore will not become pro-active. Instead, once a problem shows up, they’ll become re-active. A first reaction may be to see a physician, usually an allopathic doctor, to get a quick remedy to suppress the symptom or to “stop the bleeding.” The reason why most of us are re-active is because of the way we were taught. Part of that is determined by our background and upbringing.
Most diseases and accidents are self-inflicted: we did something we shouldn’t have done, we over-ate, or under-hydrated, maybe we over-exercised, under-slept, consumed too much sugar, alcohol, or too many drugs; perhaps we were driving and talking on a cell-phone at the same time, or we got careless with electrical equipment; we stressed over little stuff, or got involved in futile debates. Relationships are started and broken off because we haven’t worked on our own psychology. We may decide to cheat, steal and harm, resulting in prison time. Well, you can come up with your own version of trouble.
Bottom line: different circumstances determine who we are, why we act, and how we feel. Some of the body-mind-spirit challenges we deal with today really started several generations ago. Living circumstances, dietary choices, pollutants, trauma, depression and possible abuse have had an affect on the family’s genetic code. But quotes like, “It runs in the family so I’m prone to get this disorder,” are only partly true.
There are those who delve into their family history and dynamics to better understand and overcome a possible chronic (emotional) battle carried into this life. They don’t feel whole, in spite of the efforts made. Certain behavioral patterns keep coming back that make their life feel sluggish.
Then there are those who come into this life with tremendous talents and gifts that make their life more wholesome, with smoother sailing.
In either case, you are not a victim, unless you choose to be. There is no guarantee that you will get such-and-such disease. You have the tools available today to make improvements; and thus you can live a long, full, and happy life if that’s what you decide to do. However, we all have those tricky triggers – areas of hurt or weakness to navigate through – that we will need to work harder on, and make more conscious choices about than the next person.
IT’S OUR CHOICE
We are confronted with life choices that no one can make for us. Living is both a right and a privilege. Deep down nobody knows this better than ourselves. The will to live and to live well is a choice that seems automatic for most people, while others seem to constantly battle with their options. Striving for sanity and health because we suddenly see it in others and an inner voice tells us that now is our time – this is a healthy trigger that can shift our momentum and change our life’s course. Suddenly we’re heading down a new road with more clarity, drive and confidence!
Your Eureka! moment, and the change it will call for, makes the power of free will so magical!
The purpose of this website is to inform, educate, and entertain, not to diagnose, treat, or cure. Jacobus is not a licensed physician. If you intend to utilize any of the information contained in the articles and/or podcasts, it is recommend you see a licensed, competent medical provider of your choice, or find additional information from other reputable sources. I cannot control the opinions of my guests. I will double-check my facts in good faith, but may not be able to fully verify every statement made by any third party. If you utilize any information from this Website, you do so at your own risk.