Connection for the Win
Written by: Melanie Groves; Metamorphosis Healing
“Covid fatigue”, “Covid burnout”, “F@%&*n done”. There are many words or expressions and feelings that have surfaced in the last 24 months as the pandemic seems to finally be slowing down. And just when we think, ok I can take a breath, things are finally calming down, add in a global concern in Europe, that has many hearts heavy and eyes glued to screens as things continue to unfold.
These feelings are all too real. Prior to this upheaval many of us were already teetering, looking for ways to manage the ever on-going and present fight flight adrenaline coursing through our bodies.
While millennia ago this stress response saved us from saber tooth predators or falling off cliffs, the evolution of that safety system has not kept up. In days gone, the predator or danger showed up. You entered this heightened stress state where your organs slowed in their process, your thinking mind shut down, your heart rate increased pumping more blood for your muscles, your pupils dilated to take in as much light and detail of your surroundings as possible, and all that you had was tension in your muscles to outrun the predator. Then when the danger was over, your heart rate slowed, your pupils shrunk and your organs returned to normal allowing such functions as to digest your food and make smart decisions.
So here we are in current times, the predator is stress. We can’t see it so we are constantly on alert. Here’s the thing, our body can’t distinguish between a real threat (ie real physical danger in front of us) or the thought of the threat. Yup. So stress, real or imagined, keeps our bodies in a state of tension, as though waiting for the predator to strike. Is it any wonder that we are a population whose sleep is poor (we aren’t producing the relax hormones), whose digestion is poor (our bodies are holding off on these functions to outrun the predator), whose decisions are sometimes lacking reason (our thinking brain is shut down, limiting our executive decision making function), and whose bodies are sore ( because we literally are holding tension in each and every muscle to be able to run faster and harder). It’s no wonder we are tired.
In comes the antidote. Reducing stress. There are many stress reduction responses out there. That’s the beauty. You can find one that fits for you. Exercise, meditation, getting outside, laughing, visualization, hydration, singing, journaling, painting, gardening, cleaning, there is no end to the tools we can use. My secret weapon? Connection. Connection with nature. I’ve always felt better outdoors. It’s my go to. When I am off, I head outdoors. A few minutes, regardless of the weather, takes the edge off. The longer I am outdoors the more centered and connected I become. What I discovered this week was that it’s broader than connection with nature, it’s connection period. Like many, these last few weeks have been a wild rollercoaster ride. None of my lives have been spared. Family life, corporate life, healing practice life, personal work life, all were turned upside down as if sucked up in the surge of a stormy sea. Yes, the outdoors served to help restore the balance but where I found my peace was in connection of community. When my storm rages, I withdraw from people. Self preservation perhaps, but also because of fear of spreading and spewing the storm. This week I did not engage with my classes, even my meetings at work but I showed up, I read, I listened to the conversations and I allowed myself to simply witness. And the best gift? I got filled up. In that connecting, even without talking, the communities held space for me. Filled me up. And held me above the crashing waves. And so I am learning that to be a part of community, a family, doesn’t always mean I have to be on and contributing but just to show up as I am. Some days I am on. Some days I am not. Every day though I can connect to my tribe. So my secret weapon, connect, connect and show up in whatever way you can, and that’s enough, and that brings immense stress relief.
I marvel that by the simple act of putting down my belief that to be in any community or relationship means 100% on all the time, and embracing that all I have to be is be me all the time, as I am, just in that moment, I have actually deepened my connection with others. That’s a gift I cannot even quantify but that I am accepting whole heartedly. Letting go of that belief, of that baggage is freeing.
Imagine for a moment putting down your stories so that you can connect back to the truth. No need to imagine. Put down your burdens and take a walk with me in this guided meditation.
Wishing you an unburdened week.