Introduction to Folk Practice
COVID has taught us all that we are capable of remarkable things if we can find ways to connect and work together, but that only happens if we can all master ourselves and our capabilities. I do not mean the kind of mastery that a military commander might have, mastery is a self-fulfilling cycle of behaviours. I call these habits.
We have habits that we mean to do, habits we mean not to do, and then there are habits we may not even be aware of.
The habits we do mean are perhaps those healthy habits we were trained to do, like brush our teeth or wash our face. The habits we do not mean might be those others find irritating or that we picked up from others we are close to, like interrupting someone during conversation. Last, the habits we may not be aware of are those we don’t even know exist. For example, you may not know that you say “uhm” twice in a sentence all day long. It’s not something you would necessarily even be on the lookout for.
These habits are all obvious ones, but not all bad or good habits are obvious.
I struggle daily with my habits. When I began journaling again in earnest after my first hospital stay for suicidal ideation, I really poured a lot into building it up as a habit. I even created a habit tracker.
Some habits are personal behaviour, some personal belief, and both of these aspects are important keys to learning about ourselves and our environment. For example, the dependent drunk – which is a person who relies on alcohol to earn feelings such as relaxation, is dependant on alcohol to achieve that state. It is the same as using any tool to achieve something useful. The problem comes from the abuse of a substance, such as alcohol, by someone who is unaware that they’ve become not only dependent but crippled by their habit. The alcoholic is merely a reasonable person who enjoyed the feeling and sought it out, often because a trauma or tragedy or unhealthy habit has made it difficult to reach that feeling on its own.
In our society, for example, a person like myself who is struggling on disability with chronic pain, chronic health conditions, and is in need of true physical therapy for the rest of my life, is not getting it. If you are hit by a truck like I was, then you are left on a pension of “disability” which inadequately calculates cost of living. Since disability in BC is still under $2,000 a month, for a single parent family, I’m not surprised some people think its more affordable to drink alcohol…but let’s be clear: it isn’t. It’s just cheaper for you, not the government or your pension.
This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. A person who does not seek from others typically believes they are unworthy even to ask for help, think back to the last time you needed to ask someone for help. It was probably humbling and intimidating. Perhaps you were worried that they would say no? How would you feel if you knew they were going to say no, but you had to ask anyway because that’s what your health demands?
Some folks use a substance (which won’t judge them in the process, just enact a cost on the body and mind) in order to obtain artificial feelings. Some folks feel they even function better on it, and who can say they are wrong? Cycles of Shame and Violence is what keeps these cycles going until self-immolation and, fulfilment of the self-imposed prophecy.
Sure, I will admit, it seems like a stretch but I have always believed that World Peace is possible in my lifetime. Ever since I was a child, I’ve seen how systems work. I don’t know the technical languages of specialists, or the particular parts of theory that try to explain the natural world, but even as a child I believed I could teach Peace. I also know I am not alone.
Folk Living is what I am calling my “Method of Thought” which borrows heavily from resources and authorities I will share freely with you in the coming month. It includes a series of practices that I know will help people cultivate personal peace and hopefully, social peace by extension. Peace is definitely something that we can easily pass on, it’s holding our own peace that is most difficult. But to be able to sail through a storm, you have to know how to sail a ship first – right? Awesome.
To assist, I have developed a slew of “Habits” that help me establish my personal inner peace. The habits I have are divided into two kinds, which I mentioned earlier:
Belief-based habits, and
As a living philosophy, Folk Living is evolving every day and has been heavily informed by my own lived experiences. Each deliberate habit I cultivate forms the backbone of my Folk Practices.
In January these habits are my Habits of Inner Peace. I developed them as such because modern medicine is based on a capitalist and colonial ideology which I did not want to replicate nor include in any tools I passed on. These ideologies, which many folks assume are “normal” are anything but. They cultivate behaviours and reward you for terrible choices. Being aware of how colonial thought and capitalist interests play on your life and habits is an important thing to learn about but it can be emotionally jarring and may need some mental health recovery afterward. Trust me on this one. Let us build some Habits of Inner Peace, and then in February I hope to chat a lot more about Colonialism, the resulting Capitalism, and the dangers of “centrist” politics and personal beliefs.
As a parent, considering which beliefs I wanted my daughter to move forward into the future with helped me realize that I wanted to leave these out. Colonial thought is prejudiced and refuses to see diversity in both practice and belief, while Capitalism is the unfounded belief that resources are scarce and thus we are all in competition for them. They aren't, and we aren't, so I will not teach my child or any child the idea that putting peace below your personal needs, feelings, and social support is in any way conducive to a healthy future.
Habit of Inner Peace #1 will be published here on the website Jan 1st, 2021 after midnight sometime. So read it before you go to bed or in the morning when you wake up, please. You might enjoy it.
Let me tell you something you might not know: I’m terrified to share these things with a “public” of any kind because it is genuinely my life; but I look around and see so much content that is trying to be helpful yet perpetuates neurotic behaviours and prioritizes sales of products.
Instead, I would rather offer a place of respite so that readers can focus on learning about themselves without distraction. I’m going to work on migrating all of my product reviews and such to another medium/host.
Think about this content and if it can be helpful. If you have any questions, please set them in the comments section or reach out through my Contact Me page. I am on social media but my notifications are turned off because I don’t like the idea of Facebook or Instagram ruining my day. Don’t hold your breath for speed but I do always respond. Sometimes I just “like” or “love” a comment, other times I may engage. It often has to do with my train of thought and not wanting to get distracted by funny amazing people – that’s you.
Finally, I am a gentle sweet person, until someone tests my boundaries. I don’t tolerate pissing matches or phallus comparing, My ovaries, uterus, and the weight of my now ten year old child outweigh the single pair of testes hanging off any man. People who test me get savagely chewed up in a logical and undeniably truthful way. I cannot help it. For example, I once had a priest try to explain evolution to me in High School, but by then Darwin’s Origin of the Species was on my shelf for 3+ years already because it vexed my Catholic mother and one of my siblings. I’d already read it front to back and obviously.
It seems that people do not like to be wrong. I have weathered abusive physical battery, I have weathered sharp tongues and verbal abuse, I have been called names and told I’m “useless.” I’ve been the whipping boi and the scratching post that folks like to sharpen their talons on. Perhaps I’ve become good at letting people practice on me, perhaps for the first 30 years of my life I was a bubbly doormat. Regardless, I’m here to help folks find a new way. I don’t know what ways folks have tried before, nor do I know everyone’s personal story. And no, I am no longer a doormat.
I haven’t always been the gentlest with others, nor have I always been aware that some folks don’t think the truth is conducive to a relationship; but in this space I tell my truth, I tell the truth and relevance of recent studies. I will be teaching skills that already exist created not only by medical professionals, but also among ancient cultures and modern ones. Ironically, they don’t exist alongside modern medicine except in the guise of psychology and only under certain practices of Psychology. Ironically, medicine has been measuring folk practices, they just act condescendingly toward it.
Come with me along a journey of Peace.
It will be difficult and easy at the same time. Moments may make you go, Ah! but then… you’ll think: crap. Really? I have to DO THAT to GET THIS?!
Yes. Yes you do. But I mean, only if you want peace. Y’know?
So read a little, listen a little, and you’ll come along way.
Engage with me and have a conversation and you might come further.
What I share is not meant to be gone over once and then you "have the secret to life,” these are habits that require practice to get good. That is the hard part.
Besides bike riding, playing any kind of instrument or sport requires regular practice. Love and joy also require practice. You have to be willing to Make Love and Make Peace if you want to spread it, so saddle up your proverbial horses, I’ll have you riding into the sun with a mount loaded with tools – For Free – which is the best part. These all exist out there in the forms of books, stories, movies, and programs. Studies are available for free, you just pay for the article like a magazine or download. If you like reading studies…
I can’t wait to share this with you, despite the rising taste of bile in the back of my throat because if one person is like “Hey, Amanda, that was cool,” then it’s totally worth it to brighten someone’s day.
I wish you Peace, Love, and a Satisfying Journey.
Amanda Nicole Ramsay
(See Habits of Inner Peace, Habit One 1, coming January 1st 2021.)