Open and Closed Systems

Last night I had the privilege of having a long talk about my work, music, and soul mission with Daniel Schmachtenberger, a man whose own work and soul mission I have deep admiration for, who holds so much global space with his leadership that it’s difficult for me to articulate.
One of the things we discussed last night was open and closed systems. (Disclaimer, I am still integrating the language around these concepts so forgive me if my word choice is not as specific as it will be in the future.) A closed system is a system that is self-sustaining and self-repairing, while a system with an open loop leads to accumulation and depletion. A forest, for example, is a closed system – there is no accumulation of waste and no depletion of natural resources, and it sustains itself on its own. Manmade systems however tend to have open loops – there is accumulation of waste (pollution, landfills, eg), and there is depletion of resources (deforestation, debt, non-renewable energy). In order to save global-scale systems such as the economy and the environment, it is necessary to turn them from open systems to closed ones.
As we spoke, it occurred to me that my healing process over the past few years was essentially the task of turning the open system of my body into a closed one. When I was able to zoom out far enough to see my selfhood as the system it was, I realized that my operating system had essentially turned my body into a landfill. I’ve often described my pre-healing body as an episode of Hoarders: trauma would accumulate, and because I had no known way of processing and releasing it, it got stored in my body until my spirit could no longer inhabit it. I was living outside my own house, which was filled with trash.
When I first started working with my primary coach, emotional alchemist Katherine Gerardi, there was so much garbage stored in me that I’m a little embarrassed in retrospect how much work I unwittingly had cut out for her in those first several months. She referred to the mass of emotional trauma stored in my body as The Kracken, and said that our work was a little like opening up an old closet and having a ton of boxes fall out.
Nowadays when we work together, it’s like taking out the trash in a relatively normal, habitable house. Sure, there are some old repairs that need to be made every once in a while, there’s renovations to spruce things up here and there, but for the most part, my healing looks more like a vigorous spring cleaning than a disaster area. I can get rid of waste easily through processing and I can replenish my natural resources with things like rest, play, and integration.
Upon realizing the parallel, I hypothesized to Daniel last night that perhaps we were doing the same work on different scales – his being the planet, and mine being the individual. We are attempting to create self-sustaining systems.
If you think about the collective as a body, and each individual as a cell, you will understand that we are simultaneously individuated systems AND part of a larger system as a whole (a concept that the work of David Jonathan Hrostoski also touches on). As anyone who has ever battled cancer knows, the health of the body is dependent on the health of the individual cells.
I know every coach wants to sell spots in their programs. I know we all come onto Facebook to talk up our offerings because that’s how we gain leads and clients. You’re going to hear me talk incessantly about The Re-Patterning Project from here through the end of the month because that’s what we do to overcome the caprice of the algorithm.
But it is difficult for me to overstate the importance of this work.
If we heal the individual, we heal relationship.
If we heal relationship, we heal the collective.
If we heal the collective, we heal the planet.
This is a critical juncture in our history and in the coming years there will be little that is more important than engaging in this process.
I really hope those of you who are feeling called will find a way to make it work and join me in this. This is about your personal health and well-being, certainly, but it’s also about a bigger picture. This is more important than the excuses your lizard brain will want to make to keep you in your comfort zone. You can choose fear and avoidance, or you can choose courage and engagement. I hope you will choose the latter.

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