I bet you have been noticing there are a lot of changes that are happening. For many of us this can feel very alarming and scary. Maybe you walked into the grocery store and everything was gone. There was no meat, there were no noodles, all the soups were gone, and it was scary because it’s not predictable. It’s not every day you walk into the store and most everything is gone. This signals an alarm that alerts your whole self that danger is here.
The other thing that can be scary is this danger is not something you can see with your eyes. It’s an invisible danger that floats around landing on things and you might unknowingly touch it – and that is scary.
Then you start to notice, when you go out, there are not many people out and about. I had one client say that when they walked into town to go to work, because their business is an essential business to stay open, that it was like walking into a ghost town. There is an uneasiness that comes with that. The flesh can crawl and feel like it retracts back, really needing safety. Needing a safe environment to move about in.
This activates our basic survival instincts. What that can look like for some of us is it can start to shut us down if we haven’t developed a way to stay grounded, present, curious and empowered. I want to hold a lot of care for that experience, because it is important.
When we get shocked, when we feel alarmed and we feel alone, and we start to shut our system down, then some of us might get super busy to try to bring ourselves back. We become hypervigilant about things. That can start to impact the people in our environment. So maybe there is someone in your environment that has gotten scared, and their strategy has been to get super busy and productive to guard everything. And that, activates your system with anxiety. You want to support this person, because you care about them, and it’s alarming to you for them to be double checking everything. What are you to do?
Some of us lose our capacity to track anything. When we slowdown from being busy and doing our best to organize, compartmentalize and protect; when we finally slow down and we are able to be where we are, and if we are with someone we trust, we can actually go blank. Our system has been so taxed that we can’t even find ourselves, we are numb with the shock, the alarm, and the overwhelm. We felt so alone for so long.
I want to be really gentle with all of these possible experiences of fear. Or maybe you are angry! You feel angry and want to blame everyone. There’s got to be someone to blame for this pandemic. It’s not fair! Businesses are closing down, and they worked so hard to make a living and become as they have been and now, they just have to close? That is just so unfair!
It’s true, it is, and how do we hold that? How do we open our hearts to hold that with compassion? Right there, there is a key. It’s possible to open our hearts and to hold one another with compassion, care and empathy. And, it is really important to be able to receive that empathy as well. To allow ourselves to feel our experience rather than shunting them down and leaving them stuck in our bodies as more trauma.
What’s possible is for us to begin to step back into remembering how far we have come. To remember the healing journey each of us has been on to provide us with the resources that come from within us. To strengthen the fibers of our sense of self, and to be resilient, especially now. Because, people, we matter. Each and every one of us.
So, how do we begin to allow our system to relax? I invite you to first notice the mind chatter that is whirling through you. Notice if you are able to bring your attention to your breath. Be gentle with yourself, because those are really big first steps.
Noticing the chatter without making it wrong, bring your attention to your breath, then I invite you to begin with belly breathing. It can be as simple as saying silently to yourself, “Belly” inhaling through your nose to your belly, and saying, “Breath” as you exhale from your mouth. Begin to notice what you notice as you practice this way of being. I invite you to take at least 30 of those breaths. Then, pause, and notice, what is it like to be you now, after you’ve taken time to be kind to yourself, and gentle with yourself, and to slow the mind chatter down and come back into being who you really are?
When we can calm, that inner sea, which can become chaotic or rigid, when we can soothe it to become present, then we can have productive energy that we can contribute to Life. We need your contribution. We need your presence. We need you to be the leader you were born to be.