With the way things have been going in our world, I’ve heard quite a few people talking about how long they have been alone. How long they have been in a sense of isolation and not having the liberty to engage with others as they used to be accustomed to.
Their life has really changed, and some people feel scared. They are noticing that the longer they are alone, the more sensitive they feel when they do get to venture out. They have a high-tuned alert sensing into other people, worrying about social distancing, worrying about who is wearing a mask and who isn’t wearing a mask.
They are worried about their own health and well-being, as well as the health and well-being of those they love. So, they might over-think things which creates a worrying cycle that creates more anxiety and stress, which creates more cortisol flooding their system. This is going to wear them out by creating a sense of exhaustion from the inside out. They have this hypervigilance for safety that is running them.
Someone I worked with the other day was expressing concern around wanting to just feel comfortable again, and they were worried that they didn’t even know what that felt like anymore. Well, once upon a time they did feel comfortable and what happened?
One of the things that can happen is our “ever-present-past" can surface if it is stimulated when we’ve had trauma in our life. Something can come up in the everyday stuff that triggers this cascade of memories that we don’t even know are from the past. They come down and shape our reality. It’s like filters that we perceive through, and we think it is happening in the now. Because, in our inner experience, it is.
An analogy when we were working with this was, have you ever gotten to play with kids in a sandbox? If they are little kids, it can be a very fascinating experience. Because, each child when they are very little, all of their experience is all about them. Each one has their own perception about whose sandbox it is, whose toys they are, whether they are having fun or not, and whether they are even willing to share.
Maybe one child thinks another child threw sand in their face, and yet, what actually happened was the other child was having fun playing in their own little world and didn’t realize the impact their fun had on another child. Their perception didn’t include that other being.
Just being able to be with that and have some compassionate understanding for our younger selves, for our own growth and development, expands our ability to integrate energy and information flow.
Another analogy could be, have you ever gotten on a merry-go-round? When you were on it did some big kids come and start pushing it and it got to going so fast you were just hanging on for dear life? It didn’t feel safe, but you didn’t have a voice to speak up?
That actually happened when I was a little kid, I remember hanging on and flying around the outside of that merry-go-round, and I don’t recollect what happened when I landed. What I learned coming out of that experience as a child was, don’t get on a merry-go-round if there’s big kids around. So, there is a need for trust, and a need to matter.
Part of the experience when you are around others, and for this person I was working with, they wanted to matter, and yet they don’t feel comfortable to slow it down enough to allow the body’s wisdom to begin to inform them. They felt too uncomfortable to begin to allow the uncomfortableness, to be able to sit with it, yet not be alone in it. This is a key piece.
So, by slowing it down and stepping through time to be with this part that felt so uncomfortable in any kind of a group setting. Which means more than one other person. When we can come and just be with, and be present, breathing relationally, the nervous systems begin to sync up. Through the accompaniment our experience begins to be transformed.
Because there is a gentleness in the allowing of what is, and acknowledgment of how it feels to be us, in the moment.
So, this little one, just in the experience of being sat with and acknowledging the body and how it felt, there was a softening and a relaxation and an ease, and a deepening of the breath. And then they were like, “Oh my gosh, I feel comfortable!”
It was astonishing! There was some awe and some wonder how this could be possible. Well, in my experience, when we are able to slow down to be with life, and allow ourselves to be accompanied, we begin to grow new pathways. New neurons that we make sense, and that begins to transform our life from the inside out.
So, some take-aways that this one had, when thinking about 'why would I want to be part of a group?' For one, "I really don’t want to be all alone and scared any more. I really like being able to feel calm and breathe and feel safe." Another acknowledgment was they recognized, “I am healing and I am learning in real-time experiences how to stay engaged and in relationship with myself, as well as with others."
It’s true, we need to be in relationship with ourself first, in order to be in relationship with others authentically. The third take-away was they recognized they are developing and practicing new skillsets consistently. When we practice consistently, we keep showing up. It becomes more familiar and we develop our confidence in who we really are. We get to reclaim our true essence.