What practices do you have that help you create an inner sense of safety in stressful times?
Right now, (before i get going on writing a whole new series of blogs this next 12 weeks exploring how to solve a range of common communication challenges, this actually seems like the more pressing and relevant question this week. As right now, it’s like there are two pandemics; that involving the illness itself and that involving the psychological spread of fear throughout the population. And you’ve probably noticed that lots of people around you are talking about recently having had a bad day? Or a few days? Maybe you’re one of those people who has recently also had a bad day? Having lost a parent young (and gone through quite a few rather traumatic things young) how to create inner safety, at times where your mind isn’t accepting/trusting in the idea that you have much safety externally, has been at least one of the dominant themes of my journey of this life.
But, as someone who had also once majored in Microbiology during my Biological Science degree and once had one arm of my Counselling private practice dedicated to helping people get back to living normal dating and relating lives they love beyond navigating the stress and medical complexity of being diagnosed with virally caused sexual illnesses like HSV, or other ongoing reproductive or sexual health or disfunction concerns, I’m also very mindful that this individual and collective fear we are now experiencing is part of the normal spectrum of human reactions to any virus that, worst case scenario, may have “diabolical effects’’ on us or others, and best case, may have literally decades to come of almost none (lockdown impacts not included in "none.") If you're interested, i did actually once map the stages of the typical journey most people progress through when coming to terms with living with the kinds of viruses that like to hang around, even when you're like "uh, dude, i thought i made it clear that i'm just NOT that into you?" Probably it's worth a share? Definitely with the Government, who seem to be stalling in stages 2-4....and there are 10 all up. But i've digressed...
This week I thought I’d share what has turned out to be a LONG list of several things I personally have learned to do over the course of my (often, as it turns out, independent) journey, to help find your inner zen again, when you (temporarily) get caught in the fear rapids and feel like the whole world is being washed away. (This is actually a point form summary of points from many of my blogs from the last year, but repurposed through the lens of thriving on your own two independent feet.)
My challenge to you is to go through this list and pick at least 3 that you’re going to stick on your to do list going forward. Ready? Ok, let's do this thing anyway.....
Practices for Creating Inner Safety
For some, in moments, the absence of physical people or the possibility of physical affection (if thats one of your love languages) is at times a cause of distress right now too. But how else does one also cope and thrive in long periods of time single or living alone? What other little rituals do you do for you, in the moments where there just aren’t physical people, or the possibility of physical affection? Here have been some more of my go-to strategies...
So (unless they’re subliminally inserted under some You tube track you’re listening to for releasing anxiety and letting go of negativity and stress), if you find they don’t work for you in moments of high stress, I would suggest changing them out in this instance instead for Words of Reassurance. Particularly if that’s a love language you grew up with and have an affinity for too.
Whether as self talk, a love not to self, or something once delivered to you by someone else. Think of what words calm a small child, or what calmed you when you were in the full throws of a tired or overwhelmed public tantrum way back when.
Think co-regulation through embodying a calm nervous system they can feel into, words of reassurance and embracing them with the Mum/Dad/Family Member ‘magic touch’ that is firm enough to send the message that “I’ve got you and you’re safe and protected and it’s gong to be ok” but gentle enough that it says “love, gentleness and TLC.” Think Mothers' gently stroking your hair or gently rubbing your back and what that energy felt like.
It’s not just about the act of it, it’s the energy that goes with it. And our primal brains may well respond very well to this kind of reassurance and energy turned inwards in such moments where we wish there was some grown up or at least friend or partner, who could come and make it all ok and do the adulting for a bit in our down moments. But right now, for whatever reason, there isn’t. Well the good news is there is actually, but it’s YOU, so:
-Like putting a hand on your heart/chest and one on your lower belly, or placing your own reassuring hand on your own leg and intending to calm and comfort yourself, in the same way as you would the upset child above.
-Every time you have to physically contact yourself for some form of grooming, hygiene or self care routine, it can be nice to use this as an opportunity to show yourself a similar level of care and presence. Eg not just mechanically moisturising or shaving or showering or washing your hair or even self pleasuring habitually or mechanically in a mad rush, and instead, make any and ALL acts of touching and caring for yourself a commitment of love, in the same way you might want to nurture and care for a lover, and want a lover to care for you.
The key is to see these as practices of immense value, over an 'inferior substitute', or 'some weird thing only weird lonely people do'. (It’s not, really, it’s something healthy people can do to help themselves feel whole, and in turn, make their relationships too even healthier. To bring them to a place where we’re no longer coming from our own personal wounds and insecurities and feelings of lack and intense neediness. And instead, feel whole and content, before we go out into the world and attempt anything else, or to relate with anyone else, If that makes any sense?
The aim of all of these is to work things back to a place of love, understanding and trust, on the other side of whatever needs to move.
Other things to meditate on when it comes to developing our inner sense of safety and courage and what that practically looks like :
“The arty therapisty things” aren’t necessarily for everyone. But sometimes, when you just need to get some energy out, or you’re stuck on why you feel stuck and feel out of sorts, sometimes these can be great means of getting past your conscious mind for insights on what is going on. And most importantly, on what you actually need right now. Hence it makes the list.
Some things i also put in a blog on Female resilience last year:
And asking THEM to be with you. Sometimes faith is THE thing of all things to help reconnect you to a reality that is much grander and more perfect than the things that sometimes go on inside our heads.
THAT’S A BIG ONE. ONCE THERE’S NO GOLD OR BENEFIT LEFT FROM DIGGING AROUND IN CIRCLES WITHIN THE DIRT OF PROCESS, TRY DIVERTING FOCUS AND ENERGY INSTEAD BACK TO OTHER FUTURE THINGS!
The cool part about the realm of quantum mechanics and energetics too, is that distance and time and space don’t actually need to be “a thing”. There might be some reassurance in remembering that we can feel and we can send our energy and presence to anyone (who is consciously willing to receive it) at any moment in which we can’t physically be with them, but energetically (and telepathically) can.
Maybe these current circumstances are one of the best opportunities ever in history to get even better at communication, by getting really good at awareness, intuition and sensory intelligence, to the point that we can not only read people via a Zoom or a Whatssap chat. But also read them when we can’t even seer or hear them in the room? (We live, after all in a land, where our Indigenous Brothers and Sisters and Elders are Masterful at this, to the point where Elders in this Country from Alice Springs knew things about their kin from Byron Bay they might rarely, if ever, have met. How cool is that? (And we once thought WE were the “Advanced ones”!?)
Some of my shamanic and Transpersonal Art Therapy friends and I have had A LOT of fun with this one over the last two decades. Interacting energetically with each other from anywhere from across the room, to across the globe (and then comparing notes on what we experienced.) Maybe it could be something you play with, with the people in your world you care about, but can’t physically be with right now too? Maybe you’re also better at it than you think you are?
Not that we might want to get used to ONLY ever relating with people on the etherial planes. But it IS nice to remember that we're never really as 'alone' as we might think. Alone together. United by love, through time and space.
I’ll leave you with that thought…..
Thinking of you and sending you loads of love and bunch of virtual hugs right now.
P.S. What are your 3 things you picked???
P.P.S I'm currently putting together a new communication masterclass series to help Women become more masterful in taking ownership of what they want and saying what they really mean, in a way that gets them the kind of mutually beneficially outcomes they really want in personal and professional relationships. Is there a topic or challenge in particular that you'd like to see it address? Feel free to fill out the questions and or book a call with me below....
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.