Most of us haven’t lived through a collective state of trauma like this and I have found it difficult to navigate at times. We are all living in various levels of shock right now and for most of us, our foundation isn’t as sturdy as it was a couple of months ago. I thought that I might be able to complete more things that have been on my longer-term to-do list by now since I’m not going to work; some of those things that were hanging out in that cloud of “when I have a week or two off at home” place. I sometimes feel a sort of paralysis these days. When I notice that I take a moment to feel what I feel rather than resort to patterns that I picked up to deal with trauma.
We all have these survival and coping mechanisms and some may be really helpful, but some may not. I have been using this as an ongoing practice of coming back into my body and noticing. That simple act of coming back is really helpful for me. It allows me to decide how to react rather than going into autopilot and reacting in an old familiar pattern. This feels empowering, rather than feeling like a power drain. We’re all being forced into a new way of being, and we get to decide what we do with it.
I have realized that what I need most right now is to rest and be gentle with myself and those around me. I need time and space to assimilate what is happening to humanity right now. Getting that room painted can wait until I’ve had more of a chance to take in what is going on. What I have chosen to get busy doing is taking care of myself and those close to me, and that feels like a big job now.
That’s where resilience comes in – the capacity to bounce back from difficulty and adversity, the ability to be flexible, is a foundation of our well being and essential to getting to the other side of trauma and growing and learning from it. I have come to realize in this new place that I’ve been creating stores of resilience through my many self care practices. Carving out time during the day to be quiet and feel my body is an essential part of this for me. I feel fortunate to be able to keep digging in and doing the work of caring for myself and the people around me.
Here’s a wonderful tidbit about resilience: we can all learn how to be more resilient! Our brains are designed to learn from experience, so as we learn how to get through tough times, we are strengthening our “muscles” of resilience. Our brains are set up and geared towards a negativity bias, but we can change that bias by practicing compassion, hopefulness, and gratitude. Our resilience is strengthened by practicing self care
In turbulent and uncertain times I notice that when I feel my way through things rather than think my way through I am much better equipped to solve problems that have come up. Through practice, I have learned to feel and trust my body sensations. Cues like feeling spaciousness or constriction are loud and clear messages that I’m either on the right track or that I need to make some adjustments.
For me, remembering that I can choose how I react to things is really helpful. I don’t need to slip into old patterns that are no longer serving me; I can take a breath, come back into my body and then act. The wisdom of my body helps me build resilience. That excites me and gives me hope. It keeps me in a state of realistic optimism, which feels good.