Sometimes it takes a lot of effort to get out of bed in the morning.
Worldwide conflagrations. Insane people doing insane things. Jaw-dropping lies being paraded around as truth. Pandemics. Violence. Hell. The suffering of the world has never been more raw and visceral.
It’s a lot.
Human beings are not built for long-term high alert
I am fortunate. I am not in the middle of a war zone at this precise moment. But I also know lots of people struggling with deeply challenging situations–and many others stuck in war zones inside their heads, all the time. Few of us are in actual firefights right now. But past and present struggles may be ever-present in our bodies. The alarm bells just keep on ringing.
Those alarm bells can get stuck in the ON position. Even when we are in a safe place, we may still be activated. Sometimes we shut down, dissociate. Sometimes we get angry, lashing out at others, or in, at ourselves. Sometimes we can barely function (raises hand). Everything from wired to wiped, and none of it is happy.
Lots of things can trigger this. The disastrous news cycle. Personal life challenges. Oppression. Family stuff. Lots of things can push us into 24/7 crisis mode. And that’s a problem. It’s immensely destructive to health and well being. Look at the ACES Study. Chronic stress is deadly.
Yet we feel guilty for looking away–from our own problems, or the world’s. We feel we must at least witness the horror. But witnessing horror is traumatic in and of itself. It’s a bitter, destructive feedback loop. I’ve been there. And I’ve seen what it does to people.
So what can we do?
This is what I have devoted myself to over the last decade. Turning off the alarm bells. These are the most effective things I have found.
Belly dance, a great venue for decompression. Improvised, embodied dance is especially so. Being in the present moment, in a flow state, letting go of everyday thoughts, fears, and irritations, is profoundly healing for the nervous system. In general, 20 minutes is a great time period. Breathing with the music, letting the body move as it wishes, invites a playful state of joy. This is why the bulk of my offerings involve improvisation, usually grounded in Dancemeditation. It’s such great medicine. Plus we get to dress up. And it’s FUN.
Creative expression, a doorway to another world. Improvised belly dance is a creative expression. So are many other things, from writing to drawing, to woodworking, to sculpture. All kinds of art-making have the potential to draw us out of our everyday grind. I’ve been enjoying drawing the colorful abstract designs (which grace this blog), since the outset of covid. I didn’t have the energy for meaning, so I just let whatever come out of my hand, and then colored it in. Any creative enterprise can help us into a zone where we can let go of stress and feel fulfilled.
Anyone can do any of these things on their own and get a lot of benefit. But it can be hard to dance or make art when we are really stressed out. I’ve certainly found that. Soooo hard to do the things that I knew would help me feel better. Sooo frustrating. I needed help. And then I found…
Somatic Experiencing® (SE), direct soul-healing. SE has been the most dramatic help in surviving the last 10 years, and recovering from the decades before. Having an SE coach helped me navigate enormous challenges. Helped me come back to feeling creative. Helped me in my quest to become my true self. Am I perfect? No. Am I a helluva lot better? YES. And it is from this perspective that I integrate all of the above to create programs that help other folks feel better, too.
Please secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.
Feeling better does NOT mean turning a blind eye to the injustice and horror of the world.
This DOES mean developing a healthy nervous system that recognizes when we are in genuine danger and when we are not. So we can survive. So we can live our lives. So we can have the bandwidth to actually do something helpful. So we can THRIVE.
Belly Dance, Creativity Coaching, and Somatic Experiencing. Three things that can make a difference as we navigate this ball of confusion.
PS Don’t want to go it alone?
SPARK* integrates all three elements to bring relief, re-engagement, and resilience. SPARK* starts Friday the 13th. More info is here: https://aliathabit.com/shop/#trust