It is a question, practically of relationship. We must get back into relation, vivid and nourishing relation to the cosmos and the universe… . For the truth is, we are perishing for lack of fulfillment of our greater needs, we are cut off from the great sources of our inward nourishment and renewal, sources which flow eternally in the universe. Vitally, the human race is dying. It is like a great uprooted tree, with its roots in the air. We must plant ourselves again in the universe. – D.H. Lawrence, 1928
I heard this quote in a talk given by Tara Brach a few months ago. Rereading it again now, in light of current events, I am struck by how current it feels, almost 100 years later.
Yesterday, I shared some of the emotions that have been coming up for me recently. Anxiety. Anger. Grief. Not enoughness.
You might be experiencing some or all of these, and others.
If you are, congratulations. It means you’re human.
We are in the midst of a major global disruption. As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said recently, it’s like we’re living in one of those snow globes and someone picked it up and shook it.
Things are getting stirred up. Agitated.
And if you’re feeling some of that agitation, it means you’re connected to what’s going on. It means you’re alive.
That’s a good thing.
That said, you may be wondering:
What do I do with these emotions when they arise?
What to Do With Your Emotions
Here are some options:
Shift the energy. Go for a walk or a run. Take a break.
You can also go on social media. You can grab a snack. Organize your desk. Clean your house. Or try to force yourself to focus on your work.
As if that ever works.
Sometimes, that’s what we need to do in the moment. Which is fine, as long as we recognize that all of these are forms of escape. At some point we must deal with what’s there.
I’d like to invite you to consider: what if this is an opportunity to heal what’s underneath?
Recognize that this disruption does what all disruptions do: it unearths what’s already there. What’s coming up for you now isn’t new; it’s always been there. Your patterns, habits, emotions, relationship dynamics — all of it has been there.
Maybe you’ve been too busy to see it. You weren’t listening.
Now you have space to listen and explore.
So how do you do this?
There are many approaches and processes, and it’s bigger than a blog post.
So here’s the starting point:
Come Home to Your Body
In this situation we are reading and heading daily about numbers and logistics and charts and curves. That’s all in the mind.
All the looping thoughts that keep you stuck in the mind disconnect your from the body.
As Tara Brach teaches
When we disconnect from the body, we are pulling away from the energetic expression of our being that connects us with all of life….It takes energy to continually run away from pain and tension, to pull away from the life of the present moment.
Drop in and notice what’s happening in your body.
Tara shares this teaching from the Buddha:
There’s one thing, that when cultivated and regularly practiced, leads to deep spiritual intention, to peace, to mindfulness, and clear comprehension, to vision, and knowledge. … And what is that one thing? It’s mindfulness centered on the body.
So how do you do this?
Pause and notice what you feel in your body.
When I’m working with clients who are spinning in anxiety, I often ask them:
What do you feel, and where do you feel it?
Describe, or write down, the physical sensations you feel, without labeling emotional or mental states.
You might feel tightness, pressure, burning sensations. It might be in your throat, chest, or your belly, or your hips.
We are so often disconnected and dissociated from our own bodies.
This is the first step: come home into your body.