Lately, I’ve spoken with many individuals who are bouncing between states of overwhelm, confusion and helplessness, myself included. With the current global climate erupting in what seems to be an uncontrollable fire of discord and hurt, it’s easy for us to feel like deer in headlights, unable to move, think or act. Or to feel extreme urgency and guilt around caring for others. Our minds might race with the queries of:
How can I help?
What’s my place in it all?
What can I do?
Am I being active enough?
Can I speak up? Should I speak up?
I can tell you that asking these questions is a great start. I can also tell you that it starts with you. We need you to take care of yourself and to honor your feelings and your needs. We need you to prioritize yourself.
Now, this isn’t an invitation to retreat to your home, close all the doors and curtains, turn off your phone, forget the outside world completely and sit in the bath for days on end. That would be checking out. Rather, this is an invitation to check in. Before you ask the above questions, ask yourself any one of these questions:
What is my energy level?
What is present for me right now, beyond my mind?
What do I need in this moment?
What state is my body in?
How do I actually feel?
Putting yourself first is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation and it serves all of us. If you're so numb, exhausted or frazzled that you can’t show up for yourself or for your family or friends, you sure as hell can’t show up for the victims of the recent protests in Charlottesville, for the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram or for the families of those that died in the London tower block fire. Contrarily, when you’re nourished and your needs are met, body and spirit, you’re less distracted by your mental world and are able to think more clearly and be in connection with reality. Once you’ve shown up for yourself, you’re better able to answer some of the initial questions above about how you can show up for others. You can then take action with alignment and strength.
But showing up for ourselves can be a true challenge; it requires resolve and determination. It’s very easy for us to keep ourselves so busy that we don't give space to consider what we’re actually feeling in our bodies. It’s also very easy and tempting to focus our attentions outwards on others. Why? Because our society emphasizes going, doing and producing, and also because that inner-world can be intense and it can be painful. So here is our opportunity to be radical: we can resist these norms, patterns and power structures by putting ourselves first and by FEELING.
When we’re in a space of feeling nourished, energized and in connection with our bodies, we’re in alignment and we’re present. We can begin to interpret things differently, to snap out of the routine and the automatic and to ask questions of the powers that be or even of the people in our daily lives. We can be the radical resistance force determined to make a change. So please, start with yourself. The rest of us depend on it. This work is more important than ever.
If how to care for yourself and honor your body and your feelings seems too overwhelming, we can do this together. No, this is not me leveraging the current socio-political landscape to bolster my services. This is me offering you options to pursue only if you feel they would support you on your self-care mission. If the vibe isn’t right, honor that! Alignment is key. Below are some of the more intimate resources I offer in-person in NYC currently or remotely:
In NYC? Join us for a night of Soul Shake at SHAKTIBARRE on 9/22 to delve into the body and the emotions through dancing, shouting and shaking it out.