“The best thing about your life is that it is constantly in a state of design. This means you have, at all times, the power to redesign it. Make moves, allow shifts, smile more, do more, do less, say no, say yes—just remember, when it comes to your life, you are not only the artist but the masterpiece, as well.”
Resourcing ourselves at times like these is more important than ever. It may feel self-indulgent or selfish to take good care of ourselves at a time when it feels as if the world is on fire. We know there is great suffering and great loss due to COVID-19, protests, riots, police brutality, and centuries of oppression and racism.
Many of us are being affected and touched by this in new, inspiring, and painful ways. It can lead us into action and taking a stand, and it can result in deep depletion, hopelessness, anxiety, and collapse.
“The prevalence of depression and PTSD among populations after collective actions like protests and riots is comparable to levels experienced after natural disasters and terrorist attacks. This was the case for populations directly and indirectly affected by such events, suggesting a “spillover effect,” as anxiety over a disruptive event ripples through communities.”
Sandro Galea M.D.
But simultaneously, we are waking up to how deeply the world needs all of us, our voices, our votes, our compassion, and our action. And our mind-bodies and spirits need us to care for ourselves, in a sustainable way, so we can continue to show up. Therefore self-care must be more than a bubble bath and manicure, it must be a practice that we can rely on, that we can utilize on a daily or weekly basis to resource ourselves in service of the world.
This is the first time in history that humans have immediate access to all of the tragedies, hardships, and violence occurring all over the planet. Do you find yourself inundated with video, sound, images, all day long? This sensory exposure is informative and touches our empathy in profound ways that are helpful in inspiring us. But this also leads to incredible overload and over-stimulation in ways we don’t even understand yet. Take time to be quiet, to tune out, turn off the screens, unplug, and let silence be your friend. Giving yourself a media fast, even for 24 hours, can work wonders on the nervous system. To dive into the nurturing aspects of quiet, take a bath, walk, a nap. These are all simple, on the spot ways to recover and create space and peace within yourself. If silence feels overwhelming, listen to calming music, like the playlist linked at the bottom of this blog, or nature sounds. If a guided meditation helps you settle into presence and beneath anxiety, try Buddhist teacher and psychotherapist Tara Brach’s guided practices HERE.
Grounding in Nature
No matter what season we are in, the Earth is an unconditional source of restoration. Getting our feet on terra firma, taking in the expanse of the sky, the smells of the trees and flowers, offers us an ever present reset button. Even if we are in an urban environment, tune into the sky above you.
“Nature is our opportunity to slow down and once again feel the harmony of the earth’s heartbeat. Whenever that opportunity presents itself, take it. Walk outside, inhale the fresh air, feel the earth with your bare feet, and breathe in nature’s peace.” Stephanie Mueller
As you are using your five senses to take in the world around you, go slow. Go slow enough so that what you see, hear, taste, smell, or touch- comes in and soothes you. Delights you. Touches you. This is how nourishment happens, by actually receiving the gifts we are given. Use this gift and reset button frequently and repetitively.
“Being in water can serve as a reminder of our natural human state: flowing, changing, self-aware, and resilient. It is all-pervading and in constant flux. In many cultures water is seen as holy and paramount to spiritual enlightenment.” Anne Kolle
Many spiritual, religious, and earth traditions employ the element of water for cleansing, renewal, and transforming the mundane into the sacred. Water in any form, can be used to release what is stuck and painful, and bring in a refreshing, new perspective. From putting your feet in a creek, to dunking in a lake, to floating on the ocean, or simply taking a bath or shower at the end of your day- water, in all forms, is a simple, yet sacred way to release the overwhelm and stress weighing you down, and purify and refresh you. Let the water wash away your concerns, fears, stressors. And let water fill you with ease, support, newness.
Mantra: Mind Protection
“In our westernized, modern-day spiritual practices the word “mantra” has become as mainstream as “intention.” But the two are actually quite different. The word mantra can be broken down into two parts: “man,” which means mind, and “tra,” which means transport or vehicle. In other words, a mantra is an instrument of the mind. – Like a seed planted with the intention of blossoming into a beautiful perennial, a mantra can be thought of as a seed for energizing an intention. Much in the same way you plant a flower seed, you plant mantras in the fertile soil of practice. You nurture them and over time they bear the fruit of your intention.” Tris Thorp
In the Tibetan tradition, mantra is translated as Mind Protection. By placing your mind on a word or phrase, and using that as the object of your awareness to return to again and again, your mind is protected against harmful, negative, repetitive, spinning, painful thoughts. You are simultaneously cultivating and growing the seed of your intention as well.
Imagine reading the latest headlines. Observe how quickly your jaw clenches, shoulders hunch, and your heart races or collapses. Your entire physiology and emotional body have just taken you out of the present moment, into one of fear, heartbreak, or disgust. This is where we can employ a mantra to return us the present moment, to the seed we are planting. Words such as calm, repeated slowly on the exhale, are incredibly soothing for our nervous systems. The vibration that is created within your body when you speak this word aloud is, in and of itself, regulating. Phrases such as “I am safe,” “may all beings be safe,” “peace,” “trust,” “slow down,” etc…become medicine for the mind, body, and spirit. This can be done on the spot or as a more formal mindfulness practice.
And when are regulated, resourced, open-hearted, and motivated- it’s time.
It’s time, Beloved. It’s time to commit yourselves to learning. It’s time to commit yourselves to speaking. It’s time to commit yourselves to writing. It’s time to commit yourselves to organizing. It’s time to commit yourselves to preaching. It’s time to commit yourselves to teaching. It’s time to commit to understanding American history. It’s time to commit yourselves to the work of racial justice. It’s time to commit yourselves to love- whatever that looks like at the intersection of your giftedness and influence–Its time to unequivocally protest the hate embedded in white supremacy- not just in the events of Charlottesville but around the dinner table, in the pews, in the classroom, in the neighborhood, in the board meetings, in the curriculum, in the books, movies, and media in your house, and most of all from within your own heart, mind and spirit.
It’s time. Because our work just got harder.” Austin Channing Brown
Feeling anxiety, stress, numbness or overwhelm are all normal at this time, you are definitely not alone! If you would like additional support, please reach out to us. We are here, and happy to stay connected with you. At the Strength in Motion wellness community, we believe in a mind-body-soul approach towards finding and sustaining balance. We feel honored to be on your path in some way and are here to support you in living to your greatest potential. Click here to find out more information about who we are and how we may be a support to you. We are offering telehealth during this time and free consultations as always. We are here to support you.
Here’s a Playlist to support your journey!