i had a meeting with someone recently.
Someone i respect and like.
I have noticed that when ever i talk to her, i get a feeling of un-groundedness and a slight anxiety. Like i lose my centre a bit around them.
Then once i've left, it takes me a few minutes of being alone to find it again.
It isn't like the feeling of a crush or trigger or anything. It is more like a slight adrenal spike. But i notice it. I think 'I'm feeling ungrounded.' Why?!
In the past i have assumed this is because i am slightly in admiration. Because i relate it to the feeling i have when i want people to think highly of me.
However this time, I was in a very relaxed, peaceful place rather than my usual rushing around. So when i noticed it happening again, i took a moment to feel it, then, as we talked, i placed some attention on bringing myself to quiet. Noticing my breathing... softening my belly, supporting myself through my skeleton, softening my tongue in the back of my mouth. Feeling my feet on the floor. Letting my gaze dance around, out the window at the birds in the trees. Taking it down a notch. Regulating my nervous system.
The first change i noticed was that all of a sudden the 'need' to talk had become a choice and i could sit with silence more comfortably.
The second thing i discovered, was that I could suddenly feel that the pace of her language and delivery, had a rhythm that was naturally much faster than mine. Kind of like a humming bird to my big cat... or 'Nemo' to my whale... or something... I noticed that in taking myself back to my own rhythm, slowing down in the conversation and honouring that; in making that space for myself, rather than letting myself get swept up in her rhythm, something in her rhythm was able to relax and the whole quality of our conversation changed.
Pathways opened up in our connection that hadn't existed before.
F A S C I N A T I N G...
Self regulation is vital in parasympathetic repair. But if we can't feel what we are doing, in moments. like this. how can we make change...?
The next time you are having one of these moments with someone, give it a try. 💓
As the equinox approaches i am reflecting on how i can bring balance.
I am often feeling over extended and under resourced. Being passionate about everything i do, has the down side of it sometimes becoming like an over grown jungle. All lush and creatively abundant, but not everything getting the light or space it needs to thrive. The other downside is I seem to always be busy. So not allowing the myself deep, true downtime.
So - discernment: what can i let go of?
In Chinese medicine perhaps i am needing the intervention of metal. To cut back the growth a bit and make some space to breathe. To see more clearly around me. Get more perspective.
This equinox, i want to clarify and make space. To bring balance. And for me the feeling of space is a place of creative possibility. But it is also a place of wonder, reflection, tranquility and rest. Ahhh, rest.
Some of you may know, I work as a trainer on The Embodied Facilitator course. A very thorough program of learning that requires a deep commitment and discipline of its pupils. We teach coaches and facilitators how to work from and with the body. So students are learning primarily about themselves, then concurrently, how to work with others. It is a packed schedule with new tasks added every week and an intense commitment to ones own daily embodied practices, weekly live and online content, weekly group calls and developing coaching skills with trial coachees that is quite a lot! Phew!
This week is their 'rest week'.
A week of undoing.
A week of dropping things and allowing space. Bringing balance.
I'm running an optional 'rest' webinar that they can turn up to in their pyjamas if they like.
And weirdly, through no planning on my part (Jesus, I wish!) it has landed on the same week that i am offering my own public session on the same subject. So i have been reflecting this morning on what it actually is - to rest. And what makes it different to other state management practices?
I realised it has a lot to do with being prepared to allow things to literally drop away. To bring the nervous system into a quieter place. Rest is its own practice. It's own dojo, if you will.
Here is the letter i wrote to the students this morning:
A few suggestions for where to place your attention during your rest week... Become curious about your nervous system and the delicate balance between coming to quiet v/s the stirings of hyper arousal - where do you notice subtle hyper-arousal responses and where can you make a choice to step away from them this week? Which environments, which relationships, which conditions tend to make it more of a challenge for you to come to quiet?
Choose to move away from these things / people / environments.
Choose coming to quiet.
This is different to centring, which is about managing a stress response so you can stay in useful relationship with the stressor. This is not that. This is choosing to remove yourself from the source of agitation. Leave the room. Leave the conversation. Leave the physical presence of a person. Have a nap. Let it go. Put it to bed. Hand it over. Let the floor take care of it. Close a door. Shut the computer. Take a book outside into the late summer sunshine. Play on the grass with a pal. Bake a cake ... I'm talking about a felt sense of quietening - nothing to do with aerobic activity. You could run a marathon and have your curiosity entrained on how to do it from a place of a quiet nervous system.
So - what ever you are doing - because we still must do - washing up - cleaning your teeth - having your mother in law stay unexpectedly. Can i choose to do this thing, have this conversation etc etc from a place of having a quiet nervous system...? And if i can't, can I take a break. Take a rest from it?
It is a radical act to come to quiet. It is an even more culturally perturbing act to take a nap. To give up all your effort for a while and let the floor hold you up. Give it up to the bed. Let gravity hold it for a while! I love the work that the The Nap Ministry is doing on this front. The quiet revolution of it.
How do we bring balance to counterpoint all the doings? How sustainable am i being at the level of my being-ness? How can i make my rest time a more juicy nourishment practice, so I am better resourced to go and meet the world?
I have learnt from Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais that adaptation (change. The growth of a new possibility of being) happens most effortlessly when the nervous system is quiet. In between periods of doing. This is why some of our best ideas drop in when we're going for a wander, sitting on the loo, day dreaming, or drifting off to sleep. Our best ideas drop in when we give up trying. In the space between the effort-ings.
So this Equinox, how are you tending to the space between things?
What if the spaces in between are just as important as your doings?
If you'd like to explore it, you're welcome to drop by on Wednesday evening. You can get half price using the discount code EE3CLIENT at checkout. You'll need a stable internet connection, a note pad and pen and you'll be encouraged to join the call from a place of rest. Your bed. Your lounge chair. A shady tree. Somewhere it is easy to come to quiet. Anyone is welcome.
Equinox image by Mystic Mama