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  • benjaminnewman01

Mod. 6.1 - Activity: Living from Your Natural Paradigm

Go back to the observations and reflections you made in section 5.3, where you were exploring how the Conventional Paradigm shows up in your life, paying particular attention to your triggers.

Next, review the observations and reflections you made in 5.5, where you were exploring how the Natural Paradigm shows up in your life. Take a moment to be in that paradigm — step into the mindset of your natural self.

Choose one of the occasions from 5.3 and imagine how you might have engaged if you were living from your Natural Paradigm. For example, if your trigger was scarcity, how might you have approached this situation if you had a sense of abundance?

Now, visualize a similar upcoming situation that might trigger your Conventional Paradigm, and how you might practice engaging from your Natural Paradigm instead. What might that look like? Imagine what you’d think, hear, say, do, and feel. How might things play out differently? What do you think the consequences might be?

When you feel ready, try it out! Use the worksheet Living from Your Natural Paradigm Download Living from Your Natural Paradigm (or your own journal) to write down your observations and reflections.



How I experienced or expressed the Natural Paradigm

Looking back on the example I provided of “Oooh, that’s too weird” in which I shared about a conversation with my mother after she had that reaction to something I said, I can see how I was expressing the values of the Natural Paradigm, though I obviously didn’t have the language to see it as such at the time. If I had to select one of the principles of the Natural Paradigm I was expressing at that moment it would be resilience. In rejecting my parent’s resistance to my underlying queer identity, and framing my perspective through the lens of my family’s ethnic heritage, I demonstrated the power of resilience.


How this made me feel, think, and behave

It took me a very long time to be able to actively apply resilience in the face of my parent’s resistance. I think this is a pretty common experience for many queer youth and others who come face to face with the realization that their values may differ greatly from their parents. The element of that experience that I consistently come back to as a point of cognitive dissonance, is the need for the “victim” to model for the “bully” what an alternative way of being looks like. Within the relationship of parent and child, the age difference and generational power dynamics reinforce the authority of the parents to tell and teach their children how to behave, feel and think. But in scenarios such as mine, I am not only tasked with being resilient to their resistance, but to stay in that space of tension and disagreement to demonstrate what an appropriate response from a parent would be. It’s not simply enough to express resilience and walk away, although sometimes that is what is needed to protect ourselves. We have to get to a place where we can look at our resistors and show and tell them what support looks like. I have had numerous instances where I have told my parents “here is how I would like you to respond.” Or, “if you want to express a point of concern about my behavior or actions, here is how you can do that without resorting to punishment.” It’s a very bizarre experience to look at your attacker or resistor and say “why don’t you stop viewing me as the bad guy and let me unpack what might be causing you to react in this way?”

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