Starting the New Year Right

Everyone is familiar with the resolution madness that occurs with what I heard recently called the “Caucasian New Year”. November and December are the biggest months for retail, but I bet for gyms it’s January and February. I can barely stand to be at the gym this time of year. I don’t think it’s the crowd I detest, but the energy. I really don’t have anything against the push to create exercise habits. Exercise is a “keystone habit“, a habit that, over time, winds up being a transformation agent, trickling into many other areas of life. I am in favor of anything that has the possibility to make humans happier and therefore possibly kinder.

Understanding habit formation is good for getting started when that is the biggest hurdle. There are times when I wish I could get clients to exercise or eat healthier because I know the possibility of change in other areas increases with it. I do think that habit has a downside, though. It encourages us to sleepwalk. Habit is a pretty mechanical thing, but not always that easily manipulated. And I think the reason we go after a change or try to instill a habit matters a great deal.

In my experience, behavioral change programs can be a surface change, or an act of violence toward self. That means the change is for reasons associated with rejection of self, such as: looking better/thinner/fitter, engaging in competition with self or others, eating more, blowing off steam, or taking the edge off emotions. Efforts to get rid of some part of ourselves we don’t like (which is why folks who lose a lot of weight without investigating the underlying emotional issue tend to gain it back) are like being at war with ourselves. Occasionally a habit leads to new insight or a more authentic reason for the habit, and yet, exercising for a general increase in health doesn’t seem to have the same motivational spark for most, even though, in the big picture, it seems like it should be the driving factor,doesn’t it?

I am quite familiar with resolutions for change that come from egoic identity – for example, running too much, for all kinds of reasons – feelings of power or accomplishment, the endorphin afterglow, controlling weight. It eventually landed me at the orthopedic surgeon’s office with knee pain and months of therapy. Lots of other intentions I have had for change were about “becoming a better person”, but more deeply examined, would have been exposed as being about trying to become something more acceptable to me, rather than becoming more fully and radiantly me.

Behavioral change is an interesting animal, and you can find out more about it in Charles Duhigg‘s book The Power of Habit, which makes an alluring argument for conscious construction of habits, using the latest brain science. Habits can be a great source of momentum for maintaining physical and mental health.

But change achieved in this way also seems to be largely a top-down processing effort. That means it’s sort of a willpower game, mind over matter, mind trying to make the body obey. There is actually another way, though it isn’t widely acknowledged. The other way is “bottom-up” processing. The nervous system highway that connects the brain to the body (see Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory) has 10 to 20%  of road traveling from top to bottom (head to gut), and 80-90% traveling from bottom to top (gut to head).

Willpower feels like a struggle because it IS! It’s incredibly inefficient. Most of the information is traveling from the viscera – stuff in the trunk of your body (your “body-mind”) – and then your brain-mind explains it to you. The trouble comes when you try to make a change with your brain-mind, and your body-mind disagrees. The disagree message gets through 80% better than the brain-mind message! Example: imagine trying to convince yourself you aren’t starving, or sleepy, or need to pee, or aren’t angry when you really are. Making sense?

So, you might wonder, “how can I change using more efficient “bottom-up” methods”? How can I get my head and my gut to agree? What would that even look like?

There are at least two ways I know of.

The first way is with the shift that comes from discovering your true identity. When you discover you are not anything or anyone that you thought, it is eventually followed by a period of loss and or feeling lost or unmotivated. Routines and habits can be really helpful for getting through this time when old motivations fall away, and on the other side of that shedding is an energy that moves toward authentic action, not driven by egoic identification (which is just energy with two basic movements: grasping, or aversion). You can achieve this by self-inquiry, or with a guide, that is led by the question, “who or what am I?”

The second way is by releasing traumatic stress that is “held” or remembered by the body, to free up authentic expression. The best method I know for achieving this is through Somatic Experiencing (SE) work. There is an effortlessness to the movement toward health and life that seems to occur as a result of SE work. I’ve experienced this organic movement in myself, and witnessed it repeatedly with clients.

So just to illustrate, here’s what exercise looks like for me now: I am drawn to move in certain ways, from someplace inside that seeks health. I run about 3 miles, 2-3x per week, and I walk about ten times during, since I don’t have the need to prove anything by an uninterrupted slog. I train with weights 1-2 times per week depending on what my body tells me it needs. The rest of the days, I walk, do qi quong, do yard work or housework, tennis, or whatever calls to me. I can tell my body wants to move everyday, someway, but it doesn’t have to look a certain way anymore. No more overtraining, no hours-long workouts, no more injuries, less struggle or shame about the inevitable interruptions due to work or travel or illness. The result: I am fitter, healthier, and less neurotically preoccupied with my workout routine, with fewer and smaller lapses in activity. It just seems to happen, and I don’t have much of a routine, aside from the running route and list of exercises to choose from at the gym.

It was quite interesting to observe the shift in myself from egoic pursuit to the more recent health/life driven motivation. For awhile there was “no reason” to exercise. I often relied on going through the motions, or “just doing something” to get through this period, because I knew deep down it was good for me, even though I wasn’t “interested” anymore. I was amazed that I could keep doing something positive like exercise even though the ego motivation was not there. It was a great way to get to see the energetic charge that moves toward life, regardless of mood or preference, and to discover I could trust it. From there I discovered there was enjoyment in the simple sensation of moving and exertion, not just for an end reward.

Can you imagine what it might be like to move through life from this place? The mind cannot tell you how to get there if you haven’t experienced it. It’s a place of great freedom. There’s a force inside you that knows what your body needs to eat, how much it should sleep, work, and play. It’s a completely organic movement accessed by stripping away all of the layers of crap that you thought were you, but are not you. How can you do that? Start meditating to see through your patterns, contemplate your true identity or find a teacher to help with both or either of those, or go to a somatic therapist to unload the past from your body.

It’s your choice: New Year’s resolutions that add more layers to cover your true identity, or one big resolution to strip away all that is not you, so all the world may more clearly see the light that is you. Willpower, vs. the power of the stillness. I think you can feel which one has the greatest potential, even if your mind cannot imagine it yet. Others have traveled the path and are there to help you find it, too.

My New Year’s Hope for each of you is that you find exactly what you need in order to connect more fully with your radiantly True Self.

In addition to those listed in the linked services above, I also can provide Somatic Experiencing sessions as a psychotherapist, meditation coaching, and free guided direct inquiry into the nature of being. Contact me for more info.

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My SE Experience: Part 4


Afternoon at Barefoot Beach

I this series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), I’ve been relating my continuing experience of personal transformation through Somatic Experiencing (SE). It’s been a little over 2 years since I learned about SE and started using it with clients, and about a year and a half since I’ve been intermittently engaged in personal work.

At the beginning of this year I started keeping a journal of what I notice as I proceed through the work. Initially I started doing it because I noticed the new, reorganized version of myself seemed so natural I was concerned about being able to remember the “before” version. At the level of absolute/spirit, this is really not a problem, but in terms of wanting to understand the transformation from an experiential perspective aligned with my academic understanding to enhance my clinical application of SE, it seems useful.

The journaling is useful in other ways, as well. I sometimes make an entry after a session about how we worked with a particular issue in session. I also log entries that describe what seems present or at the surface recently: memories, thoughts, dreams, sensations, impulses, judgments, states of mind, emotions, and often after meditation practice. I review recent entries before an SE session so I can remember to share significant progress or challenges with my practitioner. This helps me organize and summarize so I don’t use up session time with stories and long description.

The journaling has also been helpful for noticing that what my mind calls a problem or issue, doesn’t necessarily dictate the content of the work in a session. My thoughts will often say what is most important to work on or how it should go, but it hardly ever winds up being that way. It’s so helpful to have this record of “here’s what my mind thinks is going on and I should be doing” and to witness again and again that what surfaces in session is the right stuff to work on, and bears little correlation to my egoic identification or attempts to plan or control. This is a major support in relaxing the need to control. I now take the thoughts more lightly, rather like I register them, but they don’t dictate anything.

Things I am noticing in addition to the above:

  • Continuing energy increases: both in supply and stability. I’m less attracted to overexertion (overly long or intense exercise, yard work, or any other type of work). Now I take breaks, I don’t really bottom out from exhaustion, and I’m more comfortable and productive during periods of high or low energy. I don’t have a preference for relaxed or meditative states, and no state (relaxed, neutral, active) seems better than another; they’re all necessary.
  • Increased sensitivity to pleasurable sensation: especially touch. Touch has a dimension of satisfaction it didn’t have before, and there’s more curiosity and pleasure in textures, for example, even just noticing the grit of concrete underfoot, or running my tongue along my teeth.
  • Increased interest in play: playing with impulses to make certain alliterative sounds, run my hand over upholstery, tap my feet, play with my hair, talk to the plants or animals in the yard, wander, explore. It’s hard to describe if you’ve always had this. I never saw or was interested in play as such. It had no purpose for me. Now it needs no purpose; it just feels like a fascination with life that expresses itself through me.
  • Easier to seek out social contact when I want it: and easier to cope with not being able to have it at times when I really want it. And definite sensation of the need for it. It used to be more like “I can easily do without it most of the time”.
  • More consistent, productive work toward goals: it happens organically, and this continues to amaze me. My lists are so I don’t forget the items, not a dictate of the day’s activities. Ego/mind still wants to direct and control the activity and judge what’s getting done or not. I just notice the egoic energy, and then do the thing that obviously needs attention next. It’s not always the thing I want to do, and the day rarely goes how I planned, but it continues to be all right. It all gets done when it needs to, and I’m not as exhausted and discouraged as I used to chronically be. I used to spend so much time reading books on procrastination and productivity, and not one of them ever acknowledged the underlying issue of trauma…bummer!

Self help books all seem to remedy the subjects on the list above with willpower or organization strategies. Even though I used to sense that planning and willpower were always going to fall short, I kept trying, kept searching for the right strategy; resolving trauma is like going to a deeper level than that – the cause level. Self-help or behavioral strategies are like trying to find a channel with a brighter picture on your tv while the dimmer is on; resolving trauma is like turning off the dimmer. It sure seems like the energy freed up by not having to manage trauma symptoms just naturally moves out toward life and expresses. I don’t have to even try. It’s really organic and spontaneous. It’s not a struggle. I could not have imagined or anticipated this result. It’s pretty cool.

Contact me if you’d like to learn more about Somatic Experiencing or to schedule a session.

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My SE Experience: Part 3

As my personal work and my work with clients in Somatic Experiencing continues, the significant and dramatic changes also continue to amaze me (also see Part 1 and Part 2). This work includes not only addressing things we might commonly refer to as “trauma”, but also traumatic stress resulting from chronic stress, insufficient support and attunement at a young age and/or following difficult events (sometimes referred to as relational trauma), as well as birth trauma. The resulting changes are difficult to adequately describe, but here’s my attempt:

  • Space between past and present. After working on a specific event, having a distinct felt sense of space between the event and myself, as in, I suddenly clearly FELT that the event was just something that happened, separate from me, not here, not me, but truly back in the past.
  • During and after working on an event: involuntary, spontaneous, lasting thoughts and visceral felt sense that “I’m ok”, and that the actions of others didn’t have anything to do with me or my worth, or anything about me and that is was THEIR STUFF; a distinct felt sense of space or boundary between me and their stuff, and that their stuff was not mine, and never was.
  • A sense of coming into, or “filling up” the legs below the knee, and lots of energy and movement wanting to express through the legs afterward.
  • An influx of energy. Not manic, buzzy, frantic energy, but clear, light, free, open energy. Openness to easy, spontaneous interaction with others, and desire to move my body (walk, run, lift weights, do yard work).
  • An increased access to sense of touch. It’s like touch in color instead of black and white. It’s deeper, more satisfying, more accessible, not so much work. Just incredibly enjoyable to have even the simplest touch, like a hug or holding hands, or even touching my own arms or legs.
  • A sense of brighter colors, clearer vision/detail in the visual field.
  • A felt sense of safety and connection with others who are safe and capable of connection, as well as ability to take in connection where it is available even if inconsistent or not someone I’d want for a best friend.
  • Increased ability to freely ask for and offer support, and to really be able to take in/receive the support, and to feel really good about providing it. Both are difficult to describe. I mean feel really good, like visceral, felt warmth and pleasure, rather than ego benefit from providing support. Receiving feels like a sense of being physically held. It’s pretty incredible to feel that supported, supportive.

These changes are things I could never have imagined. They are feelings I didn’t have access to before, and didn’t even know they existed in order to want them, until I started to do Somatic Experiencing work. My clients all report similar experiences. I think I suspected all along something might be missing, if so many others seemed okay with life’s imperfections, but there was no way for me to know this was it. If you don’t have the capacity for deep connection, you might yearn for it, but it’s elusive because you don’t have the neural networks to recognize and receive it. If you have the capacity for such feelings, you can’t imagine what it’s like to not have it, and you don’t even suspect someone could not have it. Without these connection and support feelings, it’s like being two dimensional, black and white, half alive, out of focus, looking through a curtain or dark glasses. The further I get in the process and the more I work with clients, the more I understand what Peter Levine says:

Trauma is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to be a life sentence.

For so long, I’ve been only half alive. It doesn’t have to be that way, for me, or for you. Call me for more info or see the directory of Somatic Experiencing practitioners to find someone in your area who does this work.

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My SE Experience: Part 2 (Slow Down to Speed Up)

In the previous post (Part 1), I talked about what it’s like to have completed a significant amount of Somatic Experiencing (SE) work. There’s much less constriction, more freedom of movement physically and in the mind, and less energy output to manage defending against life.

As my SE practitioner training continues, I keep re-learning and having renewed appreciation for the individual human capacity to heal traumatic stress. The way SE works aligns so beautifully with mindfulness and self-compassion approaches. It’s a “let’s wait and see” method that engages curiosity and respects the individual’s own healing mechanism, while compassionately holding space for doubting mind and other things that get in the way of attending to experience.Early_Australian_road_sign_-_Slow_(octagon).svg

I was particularly struck at the most recent training by the power of the practice of tightly and actively keeping the process manageable. In SE we call this “titration”, and it’s about staying in the individual window of tolerance while working with whatever body sensations or other content (thought, emotion, image) is there. Working within the window means keeping the level of subjective distress low enough to be able to remain curious. As soon as the distress level starts to rise above tolerance, pausing is crucial, and then there are all sorts of things that can be done to slow down the speed or intensity of whatever is happening so it can come back down to manageable levels, and the client can stay present.

What is described above is a lot different than tv images and a lot of still popular thought about what happens in therapy to heal from traumatic experiences. Talk therapy (without any attention to the body’s responses) is largely unproductive for addressing the root cause of trauma, and in many cases, harmful – entrenching it even further. And many cultures have a “more is better”, self negation type of self-discipline that encourages overriding physical and emotional needs and limits. If you had coffee today, chances are you ignored a limit – your body’s energy balance – that says how much it can do today. We think nothing of ignoring these limits, along with the future costs of imbalance. Naturally, when we finally get to therapy, we’re motivated – we want to go really fast, have a big, emotional, cathartic experience, to feel like we “got something done”. We think we must feel like we’ve “worked really hard”. I am guilty of this, too!

But this last training showed me something remarkable – not exceeding capacity actually increases capacity. Every time I helped someone stay in their window of tolerance (stopped at signs of activation/nervous system arousal, and titrated or waited for their system to settle again), capacity grew, right before my eyes. With each round of titration, they got stronger. Their window of tolerance grew. And I experienced the same thing as a practice client, multiple times. I promptly took this new approach into the office and watched it work repeatedly, with every client.

We have lots of euphemisms for this idea of going slower, but I notice it’s usually only paid lip service. We don’t pause and can’t notice what happens when we do, and therefore we can’t appreciate the value of it. Sometimes we just notice some vague sense of calm or relief that seems to come after a pause, and then we go right back to mindless busyness.

Here’s your motivation to practice: in paying attention to the experience of the body, it seems to expedite the healing/growth process. But we can’t go in seeking to expedite the process because it always backfires; bypassing is always self-violence and doesn’t work. Just like in developing a self-compassion practice, in SE we attend to experience (mind, body and emotions) in a curious and respectful way that acknowledges our built-in self healing mechanism while attending to the need of our human part to be able to “keep up” with or tolerate what’s happening.

In short, healing is not about forcing ourselves to exceed our tolerance, or re-experiencing trauma. Let me know if you’d like more info about Somatic Experiencing 614.547.2187.

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My SE Experience: Part 1

Some time ago I promised to write about what I have noticed in terms of improvements resulting from my personal work with Somatic Experiencing. There are so many changes that I think I just got stuck trying to figure out which things to share. Today I was struck yet again by something I noticed, and so I decided to just start writing. Perhaps this will be a 20 part series. So be it. I have to share in case others hearing what is possible makes them pursue it for themselves.

I was off work today, at home cleaning and what-not, and making trips up and down the basement stairs. With amazement I continue to notice that I do not need to look down at my feet to feel sure of my step on the stairs. It feels perfectly natural to just go down, and my legs seem to know how to navigate each step without trying. Then I realize I am not looking, and doubt myself, slowing to look at my feet, while still feeling them, realizing that somewhere deep inside I know I won’t actually plummet to the bottom for not looking. I used to always have to look at my feet to not miss any stairs. It’s like I’m connected to my body in a way I wasn’t previously. I am still struck, after 40+ years of not being able to trust my movements, that I now move by feeling, instead of looking.

So much of my life seems to be just like going down the steps now. Effortless and still strangely new, with the shadow of the memory and impulse of former ways of being. The ghost of willpower, my former frenemy, looks over my shoulder as I worry from a habitual place that doesn’t quite feel real, about the undone chores, or the bills, or my diet or sleep or exercise, or any state (boredom, dissatisfaction, bliss, frustration, avoidance) that seems to be occurring. I bring awareness to the worry and it vanishes. The ghost of willpower stares in disbelief as the dust bunnies become just dust, not symbols of inadequacy, or distraction from priorities.

I notice I seem to lack the energy to engage in willpower based strategies anymore, and it doesn’t matter because I find I no longer need them. I am moved to take care of myself well without being obsessive or rationalizing, and the things that aren’t helpful or fulfilling seem to keep falling away effortlessly – people, foods, tv shows, work, possessions. Places in my life where the effortlessness seems absent simply become objects of curiosity, opportunities for self inquiry or attention in meditation, or content for future somatic experiencing sessions.

What an amazing place to live life from! It’s difficult for me to get excited about efforting anymore. It takes too much energy and seems completely unnecessary. Life seems to move naturally when its energy is freed up from managing incomplete defensive responses. The people and solutions I need seem to just keep presenting themselves. Any time I doubt this new natural unfolding process I can just look and easily see how excessive planning, organizing or controlling on my part would have reduced the ability to benefit from such synchronicities.

I remember a long time ago someone first suggested to me the idea of “trusting life” to take care of me, and it sounded like new-aged bullshit. From that place where I heard it first, there just wasn’t any way for me to know what such a thing was like or how it could be possible. I never in a million years thought I could trust life in such a way, even if it was a desirable option.

And here I am. All I can say is “wow”.




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The Rewards of Somatic Experiencing

I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain the changes I notice in myself and in others as a result of somatic experiencing work. It’s difficult to convey the changes because many are visceral, felt sensations: no more perpetual tension in the pit of my stomach, or chest or shoulders, increased ability to feel touch, less tightness in the throat. Other things are more obvious: my eyebrows growing back, no need for alcohol to “unwind”, and husband noticing that I come home smiling, rather than testy and exhausted, after a long day of work. But those things don’t entirely capture how dramatic the internal shift is, and then something happened that really summed it all up…

I was in the local toy store recently with my husband, perusing opposite sides of a display with bins full of cheap pocket-sized toys. I’m always looking for stuff to use as therapeutic tools, and he’s usually up for playing with toys, so it’s a win-win. As I stood there analyzing the selection before me (playing with the toys), a hacky-sack type ball comes flying over the wall from his direction, and I reach up with my left hand and catch it, moving around to the other side to join him and return it to its bin. From the outside, it may not have seemed like a big deal, but in that moment I realized something miraculous had happened.

I am not in the habit of catching anything, let alone one-handed, left-handed, and by surprise. I think the reason I can tell you about it is that I’m in this delicious in-between place right now where I can remember the old response (deflecting, dodging, flinching, bracing, and trying to appear not to do any of that and while wilting in shame over my clumsiness) while experiencing the freedom and spontoneity of this new response. I realized a few moments after catching that ball, that this transition has been happening recently – catching things, balancing, navigating the furniture obstacles – without much thought or effort. My whole life I thought I was tragically uncoordinated, but it turned out I just had a lot of incomplete defensive responses.

I can’t even list all the changes I notice, but here are a few more: eating more appropriate portion sizes and only really for hunger, increased energy levels and stamina, more stable mood, more at ease with others – catching that ball revealed to me even more deeply what somatic experiencing work does. It enables greater responsiveness to life. When our actions are bound up in incomplete defensive responses (aka “traumatic stress”), we keep defending against life. When we don’t have so much of that stress left in the body, then it’s free to respond to life, to fully engage and to flow. This explains how, for a time, I just couldn’t understand why with all of my mindfulness practice and realization, I was still witnessing this pattern of fear and inability to fully express in life – a sort of dark cover over things. Even though I couldn’t believe in the mind’s explanations anymore, I just couldn’t feel that freedom in the way I thought I ought to be able to.

I’m increasingly able to respond to my own needs for nourishment, rest, soothing, activity, and expression in a way that I realize now, no amount of discipline or planning or practice could have achieved. There is no such thing for me anymore as trying to generate “motivation”. Life is already motivated, and it moves through me, and I get to go along for the ride as it unfolds. It’s very hard to explain what that’s like if you haven’t ever experienced it, but I think you can tell when it’s not there.

My unsolicited advice: give it all you’ve got in order to find it, because not matter how much that is, it’s worth it.

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Simple SE You Can Use Right Away

Think of a time when you experienced joy in relationship with another, or a time when you made a significant accomplishment or achievement. As you remember that time, perhaps complete with an image of the moment when you felt the joy of connection or the satisfaction of completion, see if you can notice the internal bodily sense or felt sense of it as you recall it in this moment. What happens if you press the “pause” button on that scene, and just allow all the cells in your body soak up the feeling like they were little sponges, letting your entire body fill up with the sensation of that experience? Just set any judgments or critical thoughts about this exercise to the side while you fully engage in noticing what your body feels like.

Just pause, and take time now to engage in the exercise described above…

As I understand things, if you fully engaged in the exercise above, you just increased your neural connections that allow you to access this type of experience. If that doesn’t seem significant enough, then try this exercise the next time you’re feeling some sort of emotional disturbance or challenge. It’s powerful medicine if you allow yourself to fully engage such positive feelings in times of distress.

The biggest challenge to an exercise like this is the mind. It may want to come in and say all sorts of downer things like:

  • this is stupid, or irrelevant
  • I want proof this will help,
  • I won’t do it unless I know how it works,
  • it’s not real, it’s just make believe,
  • I’d rather hang onto being ______ (sad, angry, whatever) right now

That last one’s a doozy, because we sometimes have a flash of awareness of wanting to continue to suffer when there’s the option to shift out of it, but few of us dare admit it openly. It’s true, though, and I’ve had all of these thoughts at one time or another, and my clients admit that they do, too. My advice is to be curious about the thoughts, set them aside, and do it anyway, as your own personal experiment. What have you got to lose except suffering? This is you being in charge, finding out for yourself on your own authority, what is true, rather than letting the mind bully you or keep you from exploring your own frontiers. You could also just imagine doing both, and remember that no one’s making you stop also feeling sad or angry at the same time as doing this exercise.

Here’s another simple SE exercise you can use right away: pausing. When you notice you’re stressed or in distress of any kind, or rushing from one thing to the next, pause and feel your body. Feel your feet in your shoes, and the solidness of the ground beneath. Feel the chair you’re sitting in, or the clothes on your body. If you can, pause until4274478735_4af18859db_z you feel the worked up feeling settle or come down, even a little bit, before moving on the next thing. Think of it as giving your body a chance to catch up to where your mind is in that moment.

It’s easy to underestimate the power of something so simple. I know I used to. But, think about it. We rush through our days, trying to be as productive as possible, rarely stopping to breathe, and by mid-afternoon, we’re reaching for coffee or some other pick-me-up, and then suddenly we’re too tired to cook and poor choices for dinner seem to make themselves – alcohol, or overeating, fast food, or blowing off exercise or activities we know we want to do, or being cranky or unavailable to connect with loved ones. And no wonder! Our nervous system has never had a chance to digest all the transitions during the day, and finally, it just has had enough and gives out, or we just turn it off by numbing it with our potion of choice. Five days in a row of this, and we’re left wondering why the weekend is rarely enough time to recover.

See what happens if you give a little extra space for transitions, no matter how short. Take in the feeling of having a breather, a tiny break…fully feel the sensation of it, the goodness of it, and let the comfort of it soak in. If you’re really busy and just haven’t reached the point where you can rationalized minutes or seconds of this pausing, then use your walking or driving between places as a way to become really present and just notice what your body feels like, slowing the pace or the driving speed slightly, if at all possible. You’ll be increasing the overall resilience of your system, as a bonus for this effort.

Find out what happens when you give this gift to yourself. If something won’t even let you try, then that just lets you know where you are right now, and that is the place to start, just noticing that. Leave a comment with the results of your experiment below.








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