Can an epigenetic trait be put back in the box?

Its become steadily apparent to me, over several years, that I possess several epigenetic (family gene) traits which lie latent or low-expressing in other members of my family but which, in my case, express loud and clear, often at a shout. Those “same” traits which, in siblings, stimulate the half-hearted response “kinda…, but rarely” out of siblings when questioned have, for me, become the very bane of my life and the source of many years of chronic pain and physical encumbrance.

And, certainly, I have reached a point where I have the back plot or the “whys?” of all that well rehearsed, having done so much inner enquiry and deep, plunging “work” with myself. I am long since recovered from the sting of hearing the excuse, taunted at me by older siblings when I was still a child at school, that I was “obviously the runt of the family”, yet there is a part of that line of enquiry that I still retain because, certainly, my parents were “old” and in no fit physical state to have had me when they did (I wasn’t planned). Quite aside from the fact my father was just out of hospital and on some fairly heavy-duty meds for a serious heart attack at the time I was conceived (he was 55), my mother was overweight with more than one of the hidden health conditions lurking that…I believe…were to lead straight to the door of the diabetes then liver cancer that swept her off by the time she was 68.

On top of all that hardwiring, there was all the emotional stress my little-self was put under in its formative stages, right from very conception into embryo and onwards. There’s no doubt my parents were under considerable stress about having conceived “by accident” at this precarious point in their lives, just as my father’s income and work responsibility were downgraded, following his heart attack (he was only to manage to continue to work and drive a car for another 5 years after I was born). He was the only wage earner as my mother had been induced to give up work, as was the way, when they got married years before so all pressure was on him; a psychological burden around the topic of “keeping the wolf from the door” that has haunted me all my life. He was already an anxious kind of a man, to a very large degree, and the exacerbated anxiety that was thrown up as they strove to parent three not-quite teenagers and then, suddenly, me coming along was (I speak from experience) intense because (I have come to realise), as sure as eggs is eggs, I internalised that state as a sort of base line that I have long struggled to recalibrate. It became the very bed-rock of a degree of existential crisis running through my veins that I have never, as yet, known how to be without…and this kind of back-circumstance is the very domain where epigenetics, as in the potential for a gene to deliver a certain expression reserved for times of great stress, start to unfold.

There was much the same plate of worry for my mother to deal with at the time she was carrying me in the womb, though she was outwardly the more matter-of-fact one (which only means she was working harder to hide away all her fears and misgivings inside, as a sort of bedfellow or invisible twin to my gestation) plus she was left to deal with the fall-out of my father’s ever more anxious state. I recently had call to ponder the circumstances of my birth and this brought to mind the oft-heard anecdote that, when my mother’s waters broke, she was forced to walk to the public phone box in the street by the parade of shops across a busy main road, to call for her own ambulance, because my father was too anxious to make that phone call (the same reason we did not get a telephone installed until I was 13, and he never answered it).

Another factor in his reluctance was his partial deafness and ringing ears and here lies let another strong family trait….yet, in others in my family, it merely reveals as the need for a hearing aid in late 50s or various other, addressable, ear issues in childhood. “ Excessively curly tubes” is the description given by one specialist to my sister as he declared he would love to examine the whole family. In my case, apart from various ear issues across the course of my life, I now have intense, extremely loud/shrill ringing tinnitus every minute of my life, possibly even more so than my father ever got to experience, though he complained of his tinnitus a great deal when I was a growing up. In my case, to start with, episodes of tinnitus would line-up with acute stress or illness but then switched up a gear in line with the ever tightening coil of stress to do with my general state of health (coincidence?) so, I am left wondering, is this a family epigenetic trait that emerges in line with external stimuli? As in, we all had the potential for it but it only activates in line with provocative “outside” circumstance or the quality of life we are otherwise enjoying?

So, there I was, this unborn child, already picking up on my parents’ state of health, finances and emotional wellbeing, plus I have identified how the birth itself must have been fairly high on the parental stress Richter scale (I am confident my mother went to the maternity clinic, a place for riskier older parents to give birth, all alone and my father left at home in the kind of “flap” where his overwhelm always came out as the sudden bursts of anger that always traumatised me as a child, mild mannered though he was most of the time). Do young children pick up on their parents’ emotions and state of wellbeing; the father as much as the mother? New science suggests that they do, in both cases, and that distance is no object. Then I was unceremoniously launched into an over-crowded family of much older siblings, one of whom was really not happy at my arrival, to which my hypersensitive state (another epigenetic state I share with my father, as in, it dials up according to how smooth, or not, life’s circumstances are) was hardwired; I spent years on the task of trying to endear myself to this initially cold-hearted sibling, though this took over twenty years to become more comfortable. For the first five years, I learned to acclimatise best to life when I was able to shrink away quietly at home during those hours when older siblings were out of the house and yet school was inevitable and so I took my already heightened anxiety there with me…and, virtually on the doorstep, met the bully who made my life hellish for the next five years, a trend that was to continue (this magnetism to bully-types) for the next thirty years.

So then, inevitably, the stress and sense of not fitting into this world become the perfect backdrop for other epigenetic traits to do with physical foibles to express to their maximum capacity, like watching a keg of gunpowder “go off” when a match is dropped…I give you my state of health for the past 15 years. Whilst the epigenetic circumstances have only got kinder, because I have made it that way (through sheer effort and enlightenment as I have come to “see” this backstory in all its glory and then taken steps to rectify the feeling of profound “unsafely” that was mine for so many years) a certain momentum, in my body, for the most extreme expression of each of my family’s gene foibles, had already been set into motion. Another such, more recently, being the hypermobility trait which, for me, has now become the the source of repeated and sudden, severely life encroaching, bouts of immobility and pain, yet to my siblings seems to mean no more than that they are able to bend their fingers backwards or are somewhat prone to occasional, minor, back twinges.

So, the question is, if I can see how the genetic cat(s) got let out of the bag in my case, can I get them back into their groove, to behave in ways that work better for a more comfortable life? Can I shepherd them up like so many wayward sheep and get them back into their enclosure, closing the gate, so that I can enjoy far better quality of life? Surely enlightenment must lead to improvement or what is the point? Here is a BIG question about epigenetics and it is going to take more enquiries that just those I have already conducted; I need someone like Dr Bruce Lipton, more than even the brief dive I did into his books many years ago, and I need to bring these newly evolving thoughts with me; because a lot has happened in the unfoldment of my genes in the intervening years. One thought I try never to let go of, though its hard when I am experiencing the sharp end of gene expression, is that where there is new gene expression, there is always hope of evolution…

Of course, without even realising this was what I was attempting, I have already tried to gather my sheep in various ways because the true source of all gene expression lies in the state of mind and deeper sense of existential safety; as in, what is our environment telling us about the state of the world and what do our acquired filters do to interpret that environment. In other words, are we prewired (by our ingrained belief systems, learned from family and those we surround ourselves with) to think the worst or are we wired for self-empowerment and optimism? I tend to think I am the latter and have certainly taken steps to surround myself with people who believe so with me, for the past few years, and yet there have been many occasions of feeling that I have just given away too much of my power to other individuals and circumstances, over the course of a lifetime, to be able to rally in the face of so many genetic foibles wanting to do their weirdest and worst. Modern culture around gene expression is fed by this sense of “inevitability” and it can be hard to run in the face of this, especially when the evidence of your own body seems to confirm it, and yet I have tried to do so with all my might, across all the years of pursuing less conventional approaches to healing plus a calm state of mind that could, potentially, override all else. Yet these approaches don’t always, or often in my case, seem to work as I would have hoped; as in, they feel like two steps forwards with my developing awareness and yet, often, another step backwards with my physical health.

For instance, the AuraTransformation I underwent two and a half years ago was an elaborate attempt to reclaim my power from all beings and situations to which I had hitherto given it. Yet, in its aftermath, I came down with a flu that took some serious getting over, followed by the much worsened tinnitus mentioned above and the early stages of the (previously so latent I seldom ever thought about it) hypermobility type EDS that is now the bane of my life. Coincidence? Earlier attempts at holistic approaches would, at once, enlighten me as to the whys and wherefores of having previously abandoned myself in such a wholesale way that I had come to feel so separate and unloved, and yet each stage of that unpicking process only led to ever looser seams in my physical health; a risky domain where some underlying gene that tends towards an unusual expression might take the opportunity to do just that in the aftermath, as I have found out repeatedly. What I have learned: if you do not rally yourself in some quite definitively new and positive way at that very point of releasing the old distortion from your energy field, the gene might takes its opportunity and get creative with its most, let’s say, expressive but undesirable iteration at that point. Almost as though you have been holding it in check by using the stronghold of the distortion and, now you have released that emotional state, it is left to run amok. Suddenly, you have made this giant leap in your awareness and emotional state and yet you are physically set back by the expression of the very part of the gene you would rather have kept tethered to a post. If this is the trade off, then I am not so certain I am prepared to accept it (and I have to believe there is another way or that there is still something I am missing here).

So, yes, I have opened up cracks and windows in the “why?” of my state of health over the many years of doing the work but remain just as mystified about the “how?”, because getting my body back to a state of less extreme gene expression is one mean task sitting right there on my plate. There comes a point, for each of us, when there is no further merit in continuing to pour over the “why”s unless we can partner them with the “how”s that will move things forwards, and for that you need to get invested in outcomes again; as in, you need to care what happens next, without dictating what those outcomes have to look or feel like (because, how could we ever know in advance, given our track record). This is much the same in any situation where we feel done with the past yet still care about the future. In my case, what price enlightenment if my health is only destined to get worse and worse, right? So crack this “why and how” balance I must, if I am going to turn this ship around. I suspect there is a far bigger, existential, parallel playing out here than just that which is to do with little-old me and the dramas of my physical health. As the microcosm at large in the cosmos, I am left wondering how a deeper grasp of how we simultaneously let go of what we know to be defunct and yet hold on, so resolutely, to what we somehow realise we really want (even though we have never, as yet, experienced it) in the face of ensuing mayhem is the sourcepoint of the very shift so many of us long for in this world. Plunging deeper into the “hows” of gene expression feels like a personal key to a much larger door.


Possible resources:

I plunged Dr Joe Dispenza’s material on this topic last year but had mixed results including the propensity to become even more unhinged, physically speaking, after doing the mediations he offers most concertedly (I think I must have taken the invocation to “let go of everything” to a very literal level because I became physically much weaker for a number of months). A resource I have subscribed to for some time but not (honestly) spent long diving into the website of stem cell biologist Dr Bruce Lipton’s, whose book The Biology of Belief I read about a decade ago. Under the catch phrase “Think Beyond Your Genes” Dr Lipton offers quite a stockpile of resources in the form of a newsletter, back library and monthly video so I will be exploring these some more in the coming weeks.

3 thoughts on “Can an epigenetic trait be put back in the box?

  1. There’s lots of data that epigenetic signatures can be changed or at least modulated. Diet has certainly been postulated to affect the epigenetic signatures of aging, and may be a factor in those that “age well”. In many cases, it is also a complex between the epigenetic and genetic, the latter, except in cases if gene engineering can’t be changed, so that can compound things. I find it fascinating how molecules sitting in the outside of DNA can and do affect how genes are expressed. Identical twins because of epigenetics often linked to the environment that have been in can be very different. Antioxidants are definitely an example of a modifier.

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    1. I appreciate this Michaela as I know you know your stuff on this topic. I already throw loads of antioxidants my way in my diet every day, have done for years. I’ve started plunging Dr Lipton’s back library as he is such big advocate of ways we can tweak, at least, our genes by offering them different environments, all of which I’ve know for ages but I feel the call to really get to work and see where it gets me when I go beyond the lip service. Stress has certainly dialled up some of my particular presentations of the family genes, so I constantly work at dialling them back down again, challenging to do in current “world” circumstances but, like you, I aim to hold my still bubble regardless because, apart from anything, my health seems to rely on it and, without fair health, all else goes to the dogs…so, its time I held to that even more than ever; not selfishness but sheer base necessity.

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      1. Funnily although I didn’t know it at the time but my final year undergraduate project was on the impact of methylation. In the yeast I studied under conditions that kept methylation low it would grow as a sheet, cause methylation to occur and it would grow as a golf ball, reduce methylation and back to being a sheet. All through methylation of one gene, so I really do believe the impact can be pronounced. Nessa Carey has written some accessible books on the science of epigenetics which may complement Dr Liptons. One thing to think about is the format you take antioxidants or any vitamin and mineral in. For example for me with only half my digestive system I need to ensure things are rapidly absorbed so fats/oils are really important. Given your elasticity also affects your digestive tract this may reduce adsorption. Also something’s for me are better taken through the skin. Good luck, it will be an interesting exploration; maybe you can unfurl like my little yeast.

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