Treating our ‘modus operandi’ like an illness is one way to deal with our difficulties, but, what pathways for change does that create?
Treating our ‘modus operandi’ like a temporary arrangement of functions opens up innumerable pathways for change.
Your ‘modus operandi’ is one of the most fluid and dynamic systems in the world. You are sustaining it every nanosecond of every day! Note to self: there are a billion nanoseconds in a second. Millions of acts have been performed during the space of what you experience as a second. How you spend your seconds then, does indeed build patterns that ultimately drive your modus operandi.
I guess I’m stuck with the phrase ‘western medicine’ disrespectful though it is to many cultures in the world. See my post World Views of Mind for more regarding this. In any event western medicine treats a snapshot view of a ‘modus operandi’ as evidence of a disease. Standard conceptions of ‘disease’ evoke static conceptions of disease. There is nothing static about our bodies and there is nothing static about our minds. Having what some might construe as a disease is not like having blue eyes. Any disease is simply evidence of processes that have evolved over time as we have adapted to the context within which we live, eating what we eat, exercising or not, exposing ourselves to allergens or not.
Mentally, our ‘modus operandi’ be it called ADD, anxiety disorder, PTSD, depression or whatever, is simply evidence of processes that have evolved over time as we have adapted to the context within which we live, being cared for by our parents (hopefully), in a culture that values and protects children (or not). Mind stuff, my friends and the modus operandi of your mind and mine is simply evidence of the extraordinary efforts of our brain to give us information and tools (templates for action) that will help us navigate our context.
IT MAY BEHOOVE US TO CHANGE OUR CONTEXT
We are not like plants. Their root system does not permit them to do more than turn towards the sun and send out shoots in hopes of finding water. We can pick ourselves up and move ourselves to a more hospitable environment and we often do. HOWEVER, THE BRAIN WILL NOT EVER DUMB ITSELF DOWN. It will not discount past lessons learned and so, we carry the residue of past conceptions of our world and the templates for action that well served us in the past.
Our ‘modus operandi’ may indeed give rise to patterns tagged as mental disorders. That however is not the best characterization of your modus operandi. It does not do justice to the efforts of your brain to help you navigate your life, it does not help you appreciate your own wherewithal and it does not help you create pathways for change.
1. Know that you are not at the mercy of your patterns.
2. Know that with consciousness of your patterns you have already opened a window of opportunity to change them.
3. It behooves you to first embrace them. By that I mean accept that your brain is well serving you and learn to work with it, not against it.
4. Know that you are now working with more power to influence the course of your life IN EVERY CONTEXT WITHIN WHICH YOU FIND YOURSELF.
About Diane Kern
Diane has been a practicing psychotherapist for over thirty years. She is credentialed to teach college level psychology, social science and anthropology. She has taught at California Community Colleges and Universities. She studied psychoanalytic theory and practice in the School of Criminology at the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her doctorate degree. She traveled to India to study cross-cultural conceptions of mental illness. Research was undertaken in social work agencies and at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. She has had a balanced yoga practice for twenty five years.