A letter to my clients, a letter to the world
Hi all, It has been several months since I wrote addressing the difficult world we are living in and thought the start of the year would be a good time to send out an email. What a year we have had collectively, let alone personally. And we have several months left in this year of this ongoing collective trauma that is causing so much social despair and anger, and also is often exasperating our personal issues. The toll on the mental health of the world, or our nation, and of many of our homes is significant.
Please just don’t hunker down, hold on and endure until spring, summer or fall when you get the vaccine. There is going to be no return to normal as we know. What it will be like we don’t know but what we have to hold onto is “what am I going to be like when the clouds slowly open to more sunshine”.
Many people are going to come out of this quite depressed, pulled in, emotionally constricted and unable to quickly change that. Taking care of ourselves these next months is going to benefit us now and how we emerge from our homes when this passes, so to take good care of ourselves will be something we will never regret.
The last couple of months I have written three posts that I put up on certain FB pages and I have included them below.
TIME FOR A WHINE PARTY?
In the last 11 months there has been so much loss in our lives that is both direct and ambiguous, regardless of our privilege, that most of us could spend an hour a week just processing those losses. Then there is all the emotions, some real time and situation specific, and some gurgling up for previous losses and traumas, that are being stirred up due to the immense social upheaval in the world, from Covid-19 to the political/social turmoil, and to the uprising of long repressed and buried collective trauma of slavery and racism.
I have found that giving myself, preferably with others, a specific time to whine, rage, feel self-pity, and unload all of what is stirring in my belly very relieving. It is an incredibly effective way to validate my reality and help move out of me the grief, sorrow, fear, despair, anger, rage, and anything else that feels too much to process though talking and too heavy and waring to carry.
To be free to unload the unedited version of how much life sucks at any given moment without any explanation always makes my friends, and me, leave the party feeling lighter.
Try it, you’ll be glad you did.
(Do this even with yourself by journaling, walking with a friend, sitting down with your partner. It is just so important to move this emotional turmoil out of us.)
TIME FOR A BEAUTY BATH?
Some friends and I have been meeting for a while and having this incredibly beautiful experience together. We meet every other week for 30-60 minutes on zoom, and nothing is welcomed into the room except beauty. No talk of the darkness in the world or turmoil in our lives. Everyone is invited to bring something they want to share that has beauty in it – a poem or story, a video of dancing, singing, or of an art gallery, maybe a picture, or music, or whatever.
As long as it contributes to us feeling like we have bathed in beauty at the end of hour.
With zoom the host can allow others to be co-host and share their screen, so if you can get it on your computer it can be seen in the group. It is such a balm for our weary and wounded hearts, and it leaves us looking for beauty between meetings to bring to the next meeting of beauty bathers. Can’t recommend it enough.
Self-Care to a Resilience Literacy
The term Self-Care isn’t nearly strong enough to convey the importance of the attitude and actions we need to practice during these difficult times. The phrase that I am working with is that we need to develop a Resilience Literacy.
This term brings a more focused intention and the appropriate seriousness to help me remember the importance of building and maintaining my resilience.
Then I think of 5 categories to ask myself what needs my attention –
Physical – Moving my body – Am I moving my body enough, with exercise, yoga, walking,
Caring for my body – Am I eating, drinking, sleeping, doctoring, etc. enough
Emotional – Am I processing, getting out of me, enough of the fear, loneliness, anger, and
grief, etc. about how life sucks, all the loses I am experiencing, how afraid, sad,
or depressed I am feeling through journaling, talking with others or therapy?
Am I engaging in enough beauty to emotionally sooth me, and I naming and
finding what I am grateful for in the midst of it all?
Relational – Am I experiencing enough meaningful interactions with people I care about, even
if it is on zoom. (Less than Ideal but if I am really thirsty for a full glass of water, I
am not going to refuse a half of glass because I want a full one.)
Mental – What are my thoughts telling me if I watch them? Are my thoughts very negative,
am I being harsh toward myself and self-critical, am I blaming, obsessing, resentful of
others, are they showing me how much I am dissociating, avoiding thinking about
the reality of my life?
Spiritual – Am I spending enough time with the gods, energy, nature or source to help me
hold onto the bigger picture?
I am quite tired and weary like many of you. Though I feel blessed as I am able to do my clinical work and continue my involvement working with groups on the healing of collective traumas, when I run out of energy I am out of energy. I have had to take more time to unplug and rest than ever before.
I am leaving a link here from Brene Brown who is such a brilliant woman with such wisdom about our emotional and mental well-being. This podcast talks about our tired brains. Helped me make sense of my brain fatigue.
Brené on The Queen’s Gambit,
Revisiting FFTs, and Resting Our Tired Brains
In closing I want to remind you to remind yourself and remind those around you that this pandemic is having an adverse impact of most of us and to know where that is happening means we can do something about it.
All the best