In these past several days, (since, of course, the election here in the U.S.), I’ve witnessed my body’s nearly uncontrollable need to cry, laugh, move, and otherwise release months and years-worth of held tension, worry, and distress. It’s as though -- often in response to either very moving or hilariously stupid video content, depending upon the crying or laughing -- little valves begin to open in me. They emit some of the built-up steam, allowing me ways to settle.
I know full well that there's much more to be done -- in the world and within and for myself. I am likewise aware that the path to doing so relies upon nervous systems receiving regular tending. There are many circumstances that require release and even more that call for continuous replenishment and care.
As a parent, teacher, healing artist, and partner — especially during this deeply challenging year — the ways I am called to show up in relationship, to be of support, require that I accept it for myself. That I fill my reserves. Not only can’t I be of use to anyone else if I’m running on fumes, there’s every reason not even to try. But even so called "self-care" is not something that any one of us must provide for ourselves by ourselves. Often, we need the support from others to put that in place.
Throughout this fall I’ve been enrolled in a powerful training program with TRACC (Trauma Resource And Crisis Care) in social justice Movement Trauma Healing. In each successive module, the presenters consistently begin by making time for us all (themselves, included) to ground — to connect with the support that exists beneath, behind, and around us. They emphasize how vital it is, as healing artists, that we clearly and consistently honor our own capacities and needs. One of the teachers whose wisdom we’ve been so fortunate to receive, has been Brenda Salgado, a longtime practitioner of intersections of mindfulness and social justice, and founder of The Nepantla Center for Healing and Renewal.
From Toltec tradition, in which she’s been mentored by Sergio Magaña, a master teacher of the lineage, she shared with us a sacred daily practice of receiving and storing energy from the glorious sun. The image of breathing in, sipping, and swallowing some of its energy — always first and in a larger quantity to nourish ourselves, and then, saving portions in our bodies to be used in our work with others.
Countless models in nature illustrate the need to first fortify ourselves in order to be of service in the world, or in other words, that often cited: “placing on one’s own mask before assisting others.” Among my favorite examples is the way in which our hearts first receive the freshest blood, that which is most highly rich in oxygen, to feed their muscle tissues themselves. Only then may they pump and circulate blood throughout the rest of our bodies.
This coming Sunday, my dear friend @Peace Makita, an inspiring, dynamic meditation teacher, doula, life coach, and artist and I will be offering a workshop: Meditation Movement for Caregivers, at Light Box. This two-hour class is designed to help ground our bodies and spirits and replenish and restore both our metaphoric and physiological hearts. For any of you here in the Detroit area who find yourselves in support of others, — whether as parents, grandparents, teachers, healers, first responders, adult children caring for elderly family members, and so on — here is an opportunity to fill your reserves with forgiveness and vitality.
For anyone who would benefit from personal opportunities to access the wisdom your own bodies hold for you, please contact me for information on individual somatics sessions. You deserve all the support possible to show up resourced and vibrant in your relationships and the world.
Sending you all much love, and wishes for nourishment,
Photo by Lisa Steichmann from Stefanie Cohen & Corey Gearhart's ( as Upended Teacups) "We", 2012