“The price of freedom is eternal VIGILANCE.”
Thomas Jefferson nails it.
To be a VIGILANT person is to be one who is consistently observant and attentive.
Not an easy lifestyle choice.
Impressive human beings like Coco Chanel, Stephen Hawking, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa know that eternal VIGILANCE must become a working part of our character if we choose to follow our heart’s deepest passion.
Not all of us choose to follow our inner calling, our greatness. We all have the potential to leave our own unique heart print on those in our orbit and beyond should we choose to. Our heart’s deepest passion may be to be a great parent, to live happily with our beloved partner all of our lives, to send humans to Jupiter, make perfect fresh pasta or design shoes. Whatever makes us smile from the inside out with pure joy and tickles our heart’s fancy is our inner calling.
When we first learn to drive a car we are often hyperVIGILANT. Driven a little by fear, feeling unsafe and unsure of ourselves in our new environment. In time our hyperVIGILANCE dissolves and hopefully we evolve into drivers with a healthy VIGILANCE. A good driver is consistently observant and attentive on the road.
Some of us when we first start new relationships are also hyperVIGILANT. If we have had past relationship trauma that has not yet healed we too will feel unsafe and unsure of ourselves. HyperVIGILANCE in intimate relationships can also be a symptom of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and various types of anxiety disorder. In some cases like mine, chronic PTSD is diagnosed if past traumas went on over long periods of time.
For those who are a little curious to better understand hyperVIGILANCE, it is an enhanced state of sensory sensitivity accompanied by an exaggerated intensity of behaviors whose purpose is to detect threats. HyperVIGILANCE is also accompanied by a state of increased anxiety, which causes emotional exhaustion for both parties in a new relationship.
Even though those with histories of emotional trauma like me can and do heal, hyperVIGILANCE will arise any time we feel unsafe. It is a hangover that never totally leaves us, but can most definitely be managed with patience, love and transparent communication. When I am in a state of hyperVIGILANCE I scan conversations, actions and my environment to search for sights, sounds, people, behaviors, smells or anything else that is reminiscent of threat or trauma. My old survival reflex that kept me sane and alive amid childhood horrors goes automatically on high alert in order to be certain danger is not near.
For those of us that do not seek help for past traumas or learn how to communicate to intimate others about our necessity for emotional, physical, financial, sexual or perhaps even spiritual or intellectual safety, severe anxiety attacks can result.
To be a little more specific on what qualifies as damaging emotional trauma on our human heart, any of the following life events, where there was no healing support provided afterwards.
• Death of a parent, sibling or caregiver
• Violence, terrorism
• Abandonment through bitter divorce or a parent jailed
• Tragedy during or after childbirth i.e. stillborn, unwanted abortions, babies adopted out against the mother’s or father’s will
• Living with an active dangerously unpredictable addict/alcoholic
• Sexual disrespect or abuse
• Consistent verbal disrespect, humiliation or abuse
So my hope is to encourage those with a history of hyperVIGILANCE to do the work and ask for help so they can heal their past trauma and reclaim their birthright to a safe and beautiful life.
If we desire a great life and sacred intimate relationships, but are unwilling to consistently remain VIGILANT (observant and attentive to our own heartfelt truth and those we love), it is not good news.
The difference between good and great is detail. A willingness to pay attention to details with self-care and with those we love is what makes the difference between a good and great life.
For me when I first realised this truth that the price of freedom is eternal VIGILANCE I thought to myself …
“What a pisser!”
Becoming Emotionally Fit and free is far more work than giving my power away to someone else to look after me so I can then blame when they stuff up. But VIGILANCE and greatness are work that is most definitely worth mastering I have discovered. VIGILANCE in honouring our truth, speaking up and acting on our truth is the key difference between good and great.
I’ll finish these thougthts with some advice from the timeless Coco Chanel …
“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.”
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™