2020 has turned into some year. Every week I’m adjusting to a new, “new normal.”
I’m noticing that by the end of the week I come up with useful strategies to keep balanced in the current “new normal”, and then the new week begins, and the world seems different, and my current strategies aren’t suited to the new, “new normal”, and I start over again seeking out new strategies, and so forth…
How about you?
While this can be stressful, I’m also appreciating the challenge of increasing my capacity of awareness, and staying regulated and connected – to myself, to others and to my surroundings. Some moments are better than others, but I am seeing this as a chance to hone my skills, deepen my practices and activate a renewed sense of compassion – to myself and to others.
If I look at this time through the lens of the 4 Pillars of Resilient Power – Grounding, Focus, Strength, Flexibility – I would say that this time of uncertainty and a feeling of not having control calls on us to activate a stronger use of our Grounding pillar and Flexibility pillar. These two pillars help us master the power of balance, flow and resilience.
The Grounding pillar helps us access the capacity within ourselves to stay present (not spin out in our heads into the future, or hold on to old patterns that are not serving us with the “new normal”), as well as stay connected to our personal center and the earth beneath our feet. We remember with the Grounding pillar that Mother Earth is always holding us unconditionally. This could bring comfort and safety. The Grounding pillar also provides us with a sense of stability and balance, as well as a clear, open connection with ourselves, others, our surroundings, and also a connection with the given circumstances that arise in any given moment.
Starting with this sense of stability, safety and connection, we can then skillfully engage with the uncertainty and obstacles that come our way by activating the Flexibility pillar. We can show compassion to ourselves when we feel anxiety that leads us into patterns of flight, flight and freeze. We remember that there is enormous power when we can yield and adapt in a grounded and focused way. In a hurricane, the big, strong tree may snap like a twig, while a blade of grass perseveres and remains intact.
Some useful practices for Grounding are: Elephant walking (see book), feeling your bare feet on the grass, or sand, or dirt, warm baths or showers, massaging your hands and feet, having others massage you.
Some practices for Flexibility: Stretching, dancing, conscious breathing, learning something new (like a language or instrument).
I have found that the toughest moments I’ve had in the last few weeks have been the moments when I unconsciously want to hold on to the old, or I physically, emotionally, or mentally approach current stressors with rigidity. This ignites impulsive responses of anxiety, which causes me to act in a reactive way and no longer be able to see the current moment with a light, flexible curiosity.
With awareness, I recognize that I am in this reactive state, and then take a deep breath to help me get grounded and present and looser. I then show myself compassion, give the other or the situation the benefit of the doubt, and use my curiosity and discernment to assess the situation and seek out new solutions and possibilities that are appropriate for this current moment. This is a skillful use of the Flexibility pillar. This all sounds lovely in theory; but very challenging to apply! That’s why I’m grateful for my practices to help me with this process.
Where do we have power in these times of uncertainty and when we may have a feeling of not having control?
- We have power to cultivate resilience
- We have power to how we respond to stressors as they arise
- We have power to regulate our nervous systems
- We have power to reach out and stay connected – to ask for help and to offer support
- We have power to take care of, nurture and protect ourselves, others and the planet
The more we exercise the power we have, the more we can increase our impact with balance, flow and ease, and the less daunting the uncertainty and feeling of not having control becomes. What a wonderful time it is for us to focus on these practices and goals in order to ensure that when we come out of this pandemic, we can implement new ways of thinking, speaking and doing that will lead the way to a revived human experience on this planet, based on respect, compassion, dignity and equity for all – a world where we feel inspired to be part of a movement towards Lasting Peace.
(If you are looking for a way to enhance your resilience skills and find a community that shares values of compassion and respect, join us for our online Global Community Practice for Lasting Peace).