Merigian Studios


Normal? Look around the Barnyard

The idea of what it means to be normal seems to have many different definitions in our lives. Look at any gathering of people with different types of upbringing, different educational backgrounds, different family structures, different spiritual practices and different life experiences, and you will see a vastly different range of normal within that group of people. More likely than not, there will be no perceived absolute normal; everyone will consider everyone else as abnormal. People have replaced normal with average. Average is as far from normal as the moon is from the sun.

Most of us have an interesting way of building a core concept of ourselves. We listen to the sounds and language of our childhoods; we watch the actions of others in our immediate and extended families, as well as our friends and enemies, and deposit formed beliefs about ourselves based on the emotional expressions of others. Our present consciousness routinely picks from our past and tries to apply those experiences to our future expectations. We create a Truth about living based on the past, and we see our present moment as normal, but normal truly exists as a mystery defined by social acceptance and moral turpitude.

At any time, individuals may mark any one of their personal array of truths as holy anchors that are expected to keep them on track in their journey of self-fulfillment and discovery. As each of us encounter random chance events, we ascribe meaning to those events based on our ideas, impulses, and emotions that we project into the events. Our motive is to experience each event as significant and file it in with other life changing events. We all tend to attach to our own false truth so that we can reconstruct our own false self. The farther we get from our true self, the more comfortable we feel being around others -- especially those who live by rigid ego constructions and judgmental attitudes. Each second we live outside of our self, we erode our true essence as much as the rain erodes barren soil. After a long history of wearing away, there will be nothing left for planting. The authentic-self will vanish. Normal will become what everyone else thinks is important, not what is sacred to our soul.

Self-induced deception is powerful. It is so strong that when the trueness of a situation is recognized, it is often dismissed as untrue or imaginary. It takes wave after wave of reality to crash upon the shores of our inauthentic self before our constructed ego gives way to the Truth of our experiences. It is never too late to recognize Truth and act in accord with it; however, acting in accord may bring pain, sorrow and frustration, not to mention insecurity and desperation.

If all of this seems bizarre or confusing, let me give you an example. Let’s assume that a creative male child was brought up in an abusive childhood. A childhood spoiled with physically traumatizing foster care, followed by rescue via his narcissistic father who openly described his son as a stupid, second rate youngster. Additionally, each time the child was hit or abused, he was told that only love was behind the painful actions and that the actions of the parent were solely handed out for the child’s own good. The child grew up to recognize abuse as a form of love. Kindness was so far from his radar that he never knew it existed. Would it be a wonder that his adult worldview would include painful abusive relationships that required him to sacrifice himself for the well-being of another person? No, it would not. Perhaps he would be an abuser himself. The true self was buried before he had a chance to find what unconditional love might be. What’s worse is that if a kind, caring, loving woman found him attractive and worthy, he more-than-likely would refuse any kind of relationship with her. Because true unconditional love would be completely foreign to his worldview, the unusual sense he felt from the woman would just feel plain odd, or even uncomfortable.

I meet a lot of patients who are wounded in so many ways. They seek some impression of truth about life, and how that truth applies to their life; then when something is proposed, they review everything they have been told as they try to hold on to truths that do not serve them well. Ultimately, change forces them to become frightened and disoriented. It requires that they chip away at their foundations of learned truth and reconstruct a more truthful reality that will reflect nature and human accord. Healthy conflict is always an important way to uncover who we are and discover why we behave the way we do. If our feelings are so strong that we cannot even attempt to see the world from another view, we will lose the holy process of rediscovery and improvement. Challenging ourselves to unfamiliar situations helps us view what cannot be seen in a state of security and artificial omniscience. It is easy to dismiss, and it is difficult to understand, something that is not our normal. It is important to transcend normal so that we may recognize another’s normal.

What normal is to each of us is unique to each of us. I implore each and every one of you to find your authentic-self, even if it flies in the face of what others assign to normal. A few years ago, I listened to the pigs in the barnyard as they remarked about how abnormal the horses were. The funny thing, the horses thought the pigs were mutants too. I can’t imagine how the cow felt inside the barn with pigs and horses all around them. Have you looked around your barnyard lately? If you haven’t I suggest you start.

I bet you’ll enjoy the adventure.

Posted by Katie Reed at 10:00 AM
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