Are you distressed today? Learn from my deepest regret….
If you’re distressed today, that makes perfect sense.
The world is on fire: climate catastrophe, a resulting refugee migration in search of food and safety, and the rise of governmental and individual far-right violence attempting to control the resulting chaos and suppress the revolutionary change our planet needs.
And if you’ve experienced developmental-level childhood trauma and the world is on fire, it can feel like you’re on a bridge that’s burning from both sides.
In the face of these dangers, do you find yourself revolving among dysregulated fight, flight, and freeze? Do you find yourself lashing out, running away, or collapsing in frozen terror?
What would happen if you paused right now, put your hand on your heart, and took a breath? And another breath. And another.
It may seem like an impossible or ludicrous invitation, to pause when the world is on fire—when you’re standing on a bridge that’s burning from both ends. But when we act from a dysregulated place, more often than not, we escalate the violence around us and the distress within us, rather than put out the flames.
I lived this misguided attempt to contribute earlier this year—working so relentlessly for deescalation of the world’s violence that it was putting me into frequent fight/flight/freeze. I didn’t pause in my distress, though, because I care so much about the suffering in our world. How could I rest, when the world is on fire?
But by failing to pause, by pushing myself harder than my nervous system could regulate, even with support, I was becoming increasingly distressed. In my relentless effort to expose the world’s violence, I contributed to the rupture of my most cherished and sacred personal relationship.
I learned in the most painful way that living nonviolence must begin with how we care for ourselves, and by extension, how we show up for the people we love. Even when the world is on fire. Because if we’re harming ourselves and those close to us in our efforts to stay informed and save this world, we’re contributing to the collective trauma that led us to this global crisis in the first place.
Now, I’m dedicated to slowing down, caring for myself and my loved ones as my first priority, and working my way out to the world from that place of profound and grounded love.
What does that look like, exactly? I’m pausing more. I’ve recommitted to my long-standing but recently forgotten commitment to never dominate myself into doing more than my body enjoys and can process while continuing to breathe. I’ve resumed daily practices of walking in nature (the picture above is from my walk this morning), and praying and meditating under the stars—and during both, I remember the most vulnerable in our world, and connect my heart to theirs, to fuel all action I do take.
I have relinquished my insistence on outcome. I cannot put out these global fires—or even my personal relational fires—alone. But I can continue to show up with my full heart. And then pause with my full heart. And then show up again.
No matter what comes today, or tomorrow, I invite you to remember your own precious heart. Eat a nourishing meal. Tend to your sacred body and soul. Be with your distress. Reach for your beloveds. And then, from a place of inner resource, bring that love and resource into the world in the way that only you can, in the way you were born to do.
I love you, keep going,
P.S. Needing more support? I currently have one weekly session time available. READ MORE here, about what it’s like to work with me.