“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”– Audre Lorde
This quote/challenge has fueled me and inspired me long before the sheltering in place and physical distancing started. Long before things became different, quiet, as though there was a great pause.
And while there might be moments that are similar, we are not in the same place.
Some are more settled.
Some are more stirred.
Some are grateful for our experience with trauma (or not).
Some are realizing the immensity of grief.
Some are moving back and forth between experiences, sometimes seasick, sometimes surrendering.
Maybe your heart is feeling broken right now.
Maybe your mind is wandering.
No matter what you feel, perhaps this can be a moment of invitation,
Of welcoming what is,
Not as a desired guest,
But a wise visitor.
Sick of Resilience & Orienting to the Now
I don’t know about you, but I’ve said the word ‘resilience’ so many times right now that it has stopped feeling like a real word. But the idea of bending before breaking, of cultivating sweetness and capacity is the magick I’m working on right now.
And the magick that is working me.
Where is your body right now?
Where is your breath right now?
Where is your heart right now?
Where is your mind right now?
We’re getting a lot of information in our world right now and it can feel overwhelming. Our nervous systems are overwhelmed. Sometimes we can feel it and sometimes (well, for me anyway) we feel it later.
A practice to help the nervous system process what is going on is called orienting. This helps to settle your system and bring you back to your body as a common response is to get the heck out of your body when things are intense.
Our minds are seeking safety. We can come back to safety.
Wherever you are, find a quiet place where you will not be interrupted. Turn off phones and noises and get away from others. Find a way to sit and be supported in that sitting.
Keep your eyes open, feel the support of the ground, your back on the chair or wall, and notice where the back of your body is. Notice the sensations and feelings that arise in the present moment. This is not the time for storytelling about what is happening or if you’re doing it right, just be in the moment. Drop into the sensations that are and if there are places that are tense, you might breathe into them or tense and then release them as best you can.
From this place, and without moving your head, allow your eyes to scan the room around you. Move your eyes to the left and see what is there, as far to the left as you can go without shifting your neck. Notice what is in your current space, slowly and deliberately. Scan the left side, noticing all the things you typically don’t notice. Continue this process moving from left to right, allowing the items around you to come into your awareness.
Let this be a slow process, this coming into the present moment and the particular moment of now. This practice offers us the ability to practice what our animal bodies need to feel safe. Our bodies need to scan the space to see if there is anything to worry about and then the nervous system can settle.
Continue this until you feel calmer and more present.
In addition, you can also try to feel the back of your body and those sensations of back to chair, butt to floor WHILE you look around your space. The more you can hold these two practices, the more easily your nervous system can settle.
You can also do this practice when you are out in the world by remembering the back of your body and scanning to receive information about your surroundings.
After all, the more you notice, the more you can attend to yourself.
Part Two will be published soon…