Tempers, Tools & Pandemic Ponderings, Part 1
What. Are. You. Doing?!
A low, loud voice attached to an angry face bellowed to me from an open car window. The honking came next to punctuate the intensity.
My emotions rallied and my stress response accelerated.
What WAS I doing?
The drive north over the Mackinac Bridge had become a bottleneck of cars trying to complete the arduous entry into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
The weight of the muggy, summer weather a hovering reminder that there was nowhere to go.
The stand-still traffic literally made me ‘sit’ with everything. I felt so uncomfortable.
I tried to shrug my shoulders and release my grip on the steering wheel. Re-routing my eyes to the shades of blue within the waves of water, shifted my racing thoughts.
I remembered to breathe.
I remembered I had a choice to respond more and react less.
My efforts weren’t grandiose yet they were sincere. My body and mind realized the nervous-system-brakes were pumping with each inhale and exhale.
What have I been doing?
What have any of us been doing?
Stress, anxiety, anger, grief.
Ease, vitality, peace, calm.
How were we all going to continue to navigate the ‘traffic jam’ of experiences and emotions within ourselves, especially living within a global virus and universal ‘reset’ of systems, institutions and perspectives?
Cleaning the windshield of our perception to channel our speech, actions and thoughts in a direction of healing, compassion and actionable next steps can be gritty, personal work. Yet it can be the fuel that moves us forward.
What are some of our best tools to leverage our internal guidance system that supports the bridge between physical, mental, emotional, even spiritual wellbeing and growth?
Keep it simple and sincere:
Breathing, moving, observing and reflecting to access and explore:
- Functional movements and managing the stress response
- Discernment as to what needs immediate attention
- Feeling the ebb and flow of emotions
Singing, mantra, meditation and play are additional tools are outlets to express ourselves and release pent up energy while also strengthening transformation and connections with the world we live in.
All of it is a practice. On the good days it takes practice so on the challenging days we can respond more, create choices and move forward.
Take a few minutes or more each day to practice. Choose from the list below and observe the effects of your practices throughout the day. How does your body feel? Where is your attention? What thoughts and emotions do you experience? What supports you to express yourself?
Hands to Head to Heart
- When able, touch the earth with your hands, take 3-4 deep breaths.
- Practice bringing your attention to the textures, colors and smells.
- Repeat the mantra: I am here and I am breathing.
Short Breath Practice
- When able, place one hand at the heart space – upper body and one hand on the stomach
- Feel your body’s subtle movements as you inhale and exhale
- Inhale a sense of fresh oxygen and space – Exhale a sense of release
- Take 3-4 more breaths inhaling through the nose (fresh oxygen and space) and exhaling a loud sigh through the mouth (release)
Soft Pull of Gravity
- Place your feet on the ground, sense the soft pull of gravity that keeps you connected to earth
- Inhale -sweep your arms wide and up, Exhale- sweep arms wide and down, 3-4 repetitions
- Repeat the mantra: I am standing on stable ground. I am creating stability within myself.
For those in-car or other moments – reminders you are not alone
Music: Check out Trevor Hall and Brett Dennen’s ‘Put Down What You Are Carrying’
Listen here: https://g.co/kgs/5ngUuP
Podcast: On Being with Krista Tippett – Shaping Grief with Language with Gregory Orr
Listen here: https://onbeing.org/programs/gregory-orr-shaping-grief-with-language/
What would you like to add to this list to support each other within our collective, ongoing practice? Look for this blog when you visit Facebook at 5 Koshas or Heather Van Dalfsen and Instagram with Heather Van Dalfsen to share your thoughts.
Photo Credit: Photo taken by Heather Van Dalfsen