Cosmic Nudge

I don’t know what you do when you wake up at 4:30 a.m. and can’t go back to sleep but lately I’ve developed a bad habit of rolling over and reaching for my glasses and iPAD to see what the rest of the world is doing. This morning, I was greeted with the following karmic message in my inbox.

What we see is so distorted by our conditioning that we often misread situations and create problems that don’t actually exist. Science now informs us that even our behavior can be inherited through DNA. Emotional problems that plagued our ancestors might fill our consciousness causing us to interpret circumstances incorrectly. Experiencing fear when there’s no real threat is a sign that we’ve slipped into conditioned responses or stories that aren’t true. The way out is to go into the body, feel the sensations associated with the fear and observe as they dissolve. (Gratitude Twenty-Four Seven, 9/9/16)

Me?  Create a problem that doesn’t actually exist? Nah.

More to the point, though, is how did the authors know I was working on a book proposal about the meanings we attach to events in our lives and what happens when we get it wrong? I’ve struggled to distill it down to three sentences or less. This message was spot on.  I just knew it was written with me in mind.

I sat up in bed.

Translation in my world: Circumstances in my mother’s youth shattered her sense of security, creating a level of fear never abated. Even though the circumstances were unlikely to happen to me, I inherited her emotional baggage and have drug it around as if it would.

Whoa. This was big. And it was only 4:45 a.m.

I read the essay a second time, and paused at “Science now informs us that even our behavior can be inherited through DNA.” I wanted to know more so I googled, “behavior traits linked to DNA” and the layers started to peel.

What I’m about to share with you is 100% true and those of you who have been smacked in the face with serendipitous events will be nodding your heads and those of you who shy away from such cosmic revelations are excused. In the precise order that I’m describing them, these were the next clicks on my iPAD.

First, there was an article written by Ed Decker published in 2015 on entitled “Can Phoebias Be Inherited Genetically?” I posted the article on my Facebook page so you can find it there in its entirety and I encourage you to read it. The article is well written and explains recent research into “transformational epigenetic inheritance,” or the likelihood of inheriting not only your father’s broad shoulders, but his moody temperament too. But what stopped me in my bed slippers was that it was written by the husband of one of my first editors, Linda Carbone, and published on a website that published one of my essays last year on living with heart disease.   What?

From that article, I landed on a Chicago Tribune article, “Are your kids inheriting your fears? What parents can do to stop the cycle,” published in 2015, covered similar research that showed a link between life events (and their associated fears and misconceptions) that were first identified not only in parents of effected children (well mice actually), but grandparents as well. One of the noted experts interviewed, Dr. Francine Rosenberg, a clinical psychologist and anxiety specialist at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey, practices within a few miles of Bayer Pharma headquarters in New Jersey.  I drive by her office from the train station to my desk.

Furthermore, both of these articles were referring to research on mice conducted at Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, which not only is where I went to graduate school, but the Center was built on the property of the (now no more) dormitory where I lived for two years – Haygood Court.

According to Julia Cameron, “morning pages” reveal good insights

By now, it was nearly 6:00 a.m. and I was fully awake wondering what the next poke with my stylus pen would reveal. The connections to my life were impossible to ignore. It wasn’t as if I went searching for these connections, but rather they seemed to find me. It was as if the universe knew I needed a nudge and that I would be more likely to see a clear path forward for my book proposal, and the confidence to submit it, if the story were linked to my life in a friendly, non-threatening way.

I was taking notes fast and furious.

Before hopping out of bed, I pinged over to which I have heard rave reviews about but have never consulted. I plugged in my mother’s name. The dates of her birth and death were correct. Then to her father who died suddenly of a heart attack when she was 14, an event so life-altering it was considered by her to be the root of all her fears.

The date of his death: September 9, 1947. Exactly 69 years ago today.

How do we explain these random events that cluster together when we least expect them? My hunch is the universe is speaking to us all the time, answering our questions and trying to help us make reason out of life. If only we would slow down long enough to recognize them. On any other morning I would have slept till 6:30 and rushed out the door grabbing my purse and sunglasses and computer bag and anything else left at the front door. But this morning, there was a chance encounter with something important for me to learn that has plagued me for the longest time.

I’m just glad my iPAD was within reach and I was ready to hear it.

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