There is a lot happening these days. Unless you’re literally living under a rock, you’re continuously exposed to images and words about the biggest problems we’re facing as a society.
Which is good. The old system hasn’t worked for a while now, and the problems are becoming undeniably visible. We are in the moment of change.
Our bodies can only handle so much mental stress. Some of us can handle more, some of us can handle less, for all sorts of reasons.
Our wise, wise bodies have all sorts of measures in place to protect us when we’re faced with a stressor. These days it doesn’t usually take the form of a bear trying to rip our face off. It usually looks more like news items that are so horrible it’s incredibly scary to realise they are real.
So what do our wise bodies do?
They protect us.
By turning on the ‘fight’ response. No, this cannot be happening, you’re seeing it wrong. No, I don’t believe you, you’re lying. No, it’s all a big conspiracy. No, it’s your own fault. No, I am not racist.
Or they turn to the ‘flight’ response. Look away. Try to push away the feelings of guilt, or shame, or fear, or sorrow. Simply don’t engage in the narrative. Retreat into our own selves.
And sometimes, when neither of those reactions work to protect us, our mind has an even bigger tool.
Simply… freeze up. Dissociate. I am not here. I am not feeling all these feelings. I know I should feel bad, but the emotion doesn’t reach my heart.
Now, being protected in times of pain is a good thing, it has a function. It makes it so we can survive. That’s the whole objective.
But the problem is… If we escape our true feelings for too long, they will come out in other ways. In physical ailments. In subtle ways, hard to pin down, but definitely affecting our immune system. We become tired, lethargic, depressed. Or fearful, anxiety-ridden, easily triggered. Angry, violent, hateful… not in the righteous way. In the way of denial.
So what to do if you’re stuck? When you KNOW there is a feeling deep inside, but you can’t quite reach it… or you’re afraid of what will happen when you do?
Get to the water.
The element of Water helps us with our emotions, intuition, and our dreams. With its flowing qualities, it helps us to get in touch with those parts of us that are hidden, and to bring them to the surface easily, gently, in movement.
Water, and especially moving water like a river or the ocean, helps you to connect to your feelings. Allowing your walls to soften, and to let your emotions flow freely.
Water heals. Water nourishes. Water helps you forgive.
When you’re stuck in your emotion, get to the water.
The easiest way to do this is to go to the ocean, or a river, or any body of naturally moving water. Submerge yourself completely, or if you cannot or won’t, let the water flow around your ankles and wrists.
Taking a shower is also a good alternative. Let the water fall on your head and/or your shoulders, close your eyes, and focus on the feeling of the streams hitting your skin.
Trees that have a strong connection to water are willows (especially good for helping to release emotional blocks), birches (for allowing space for new things) and beeches (very soft and gentle energy if you need more space).
Food that contains a lot of water helps you to reconnect to your emotions. Cucumber if you want to calm yourself down, (water)melon if you want to invite more sweetness in.
And of course: drinking lots of water or tea, and going to the bathroom often, cleanses your body and soul.
Now, the goal of all this is not to deny yourself whatever it is you’re feeling. Righteous anger is a powerful emotion. So is deep, deep sorrow. So is love.
Any emotions you feel are valid. And it is completely alright to not know how to react. Or to not want to engage. Or to hide away. Or to (initially) react with denial.
But… we are in a time of change. Change is good. Change we must.
And it helps no-one to stay stuck in the space of fear, and the natural defenses our minds create. We are not slaves to our biology. We have the ability to nurture ourselves, to caress our sweet inner scared wild animal, and to say: Look, this is what you have been waiting for. It’s big. It’s scary. But it’s working.
Unclench your muscles. Relax your jaw. Take a deep breath. We’re in this together. We can do this. ❤