"The body says what words cannot." ~ Martha Graham ~
We are living in a transitional world. Pandemic times have brought massive change and unrest. Currently, our world - the entire planet - is not the same .. and it may never be. What will ultimately happen is a great unknown. And where do we feel this change, unrest and uncertainly? In our bodies.
But first, let's back up further. We all have our thoughts about what is happening. What does this mean for me? My family? My life? Then we have our emotional responses. I feel scared, fearful, angry or shut down. The culmination of these two parts of our being land in our body. Our thoughts and emotions sit in the body. They trigger old "material" within us: memories, previous times of overwhelm, pain and stress. We may feel we are spinning out of control, struggling to find the ground or a sense of safety.
Then, the body speaks. As Martha Graham spoke, "the body says what words cannot". At times you may watch the world, and not have words .. but your body has a reaction and response. This can further manifest into anxiety, depression, pain, intrusive or cycling thoughts, collapse or any other overwhelming physical, mental or emotional experience.
I want to offer a simple process for those that are struggling right now to "regulate" or come back into balance (feel centred). This is a practical body-oriented suggestion for managing challenging sensations, emotions and thoughts. This is based on personal exploration, study and experience in working with the body, and healing ceremonies in Nature.
Body Regulation Exercise
1. If you can be outside in Nature, on the Earth that is ideal. If not, find somewhere that feels comfortable, safe and secure for you. Where you can take a moment with and for yourself.
2. You can stand with your feet firmly on the ground, or sit on the ground directly. If a chair
works for you, that is just fine too. Follow what feels best for your body and mind.
3. Feel the ground or chair beneath you. Feel its solidity and support. Feel the stability the ground or chair provides you. Take as long as you need noticing this.
4. Next, notice your breath. You don't have to force deep breathing here, just notice how you are breathing.
5. Look around at your environment. Where are you drawn to look? What draws your attention? If you are too overwhelmed, find one thing to look at. Find something in your space that you are attracted to, that you resonate with.
6. Notice the breath again. Has it deepened at all? How does your body want to breathe?
7. Next, locate with your attention a place in your body that feels safe, secure, peaceful or grounded. Any place .. it could even be one toe. Connect to that place. Bring the feeling into the rest of your body, if that feels right for you.
8. If you find uncomfortable sensations, images, thoughts, emotions, etc. coming up, just notice. Then, redirect your attention to your safe place in your body, or environment.
9. You may repeat this process a few times. How you will know you are more "regulated" is if your breath has deepened .. or your stomach may gurgle.
The purpose of this exercise is to help connect you to a safe place in your experience of being in your body. This can help shift a cycle of overwhelm, anxiety or collapse. It can also give space for a more regulated mind and body to deal with upsetting or intense thoughts and feelings. **However, if what you are experiencing is way too intense to manage, seek help with a body-oriented therapist or counsellor.
Our bodies and beings need support right now. It is imperative. In a world with a rapidly shifting ground we are pressured to adjust. Seek the help you need, and your body needs. And, most importantly, approach your struggles with kindness and compassion ... this will land much better inside of you.