Safe Space

I wrote this post about a month ago but never got around to editing and finalizing it within a timely fashion of the world’s latest crisis. It has sat in my drafts folder ever since. I’ve been contemplating waiting for the next crisis to reveal itself before posting this but then thought fuck that. For starters, trying to get back into the groove of Mental Health Monday and if managing news cycles isn’t mental health mandatory, then I don’t know what is.

Secondly, why wait for crises to talk about how to try and hold ourselves together?

Let’s just make that standard practice. Let’s have ourselves together before the shit hits the fan. So that when the world- or our lives- feels like they are falling apart, we are prepared not to.

So without further ado…

I don’t have any answers. Like none. I can barely answer questions surrounding my own personal circumstances let alone world issues. In spite of that, I have thought a lot about what I want this space to look like for all of us. I mean it feels like the world is slightly catching fire and maybe on its way to burning down and I have been wondering what my role in all of the drama is.

Where do I speak up?

Where do I shut up?

I cannot possibly try and delve into every single issue and look for solutions. I’m philosophically in between two rocks and a few hard places when it comes to answering those questions. I care about a multitude of issues and want to help anyone affected by said issues but also I kind of want to shut the fuck up and sit quietly in my house and live in my bubble with my kids and husband and dog and just find joy and beauty in what we have left to salvage.

I want to focus on finding my breath and resting in the calm and basking in the quiet that we have cultivated. But then I think if I do that then when the shit hits the fan again, because it just keeps hitting said fan, I will have wished I did something more than breathe. So maybe there’s a middle ground like there usually is and part of my boundary setting is that I don’t want to come to this space and spew my thoughts on politics, religion or other knee- jerk reaction topics. I mean, sometimes I still do because I just can’t help myself but as a general rule of thumb I’ll just leave that to my personal Facebook page.

IYKYK.

How I do want to utilize this space is that I want to offer thoughts on how we can navigate these electrifying times and maintain as much of our sanity and hope as possible. Take control over what we can control and let the rest go. It feels like it gets harder and harder on the daily because it is just one thing after another. One news cycle quiets down and then another one reveals itself. Firing us up. Well, firing me up for sure which isn’t hard to do because I tend to over react and catastrophize and all the things that lead to more noise. I am working on reacting in private and responding in public but I am beginning to think I’m just not made that way.

Anyway.

I will forever be an advocate for yoga, journaling, logging off, and soaking in nature. Those are pretty much my go to solutions to any collective trauma when it gets overwhelming. But I thought I would be more specific. Offer tangible practices and ideas that you can pick up and do to help simmer down and not leave all y’all scouring the internet for ways to journal or yoga.

So, without further ado…

Breathe. I have spoken about pranyama breathing before. It is magic. Truly a potion. It can be challenging at first to just sit and breathe but here’s the thing. Set aside your expectations. Let your mind go where it wants and if it wanders and you recognize the wandering, offer it a gentle reminder to return to the breath. Observe without judgement. You will form a deeper connection with your inner self. Allow yourself to become aware of your body and what it is telling you. Without judgement. For a bonus, add your favorite essential oil into your palms and breathe in the goodness.

Do this yoga practice. It can be overwhelming knowing where to start with yoga. Knowing if you are gonna get anything out of it and if you’ll be able to get up off the floor once it’s over. So let me narrow it down for ya and tell you that the one linked up there is the one. It is a slow practice that stretches all the right places. It’ll work out all your physical kinks and some mental ones too. You’ll feel lighter and brighter. You’ll be more relaxed and more serene. Trust. This is just what the yoga ordered.

Buy this journal (not an affiliate link). Okay, the cover is slightly hokey. So is the design. And I know we are all strapped for cash. But I think this is worth spending money on and budgeting for because the overall message is worth it. Having a journal like this is worth it. It is guided and I think that is the key word to getting into journaling or to even journal. Sometimes the sheer volume of thoughts is overwhelming and the idea of not knowing which thought to start with writing down is debilitating. So having it all broken down for you in a way that helps you organize your thoughts, recognize gratitude where gratitude is due, and set realistic goals- which ultimately will make you feel like a productive worthwhile human- is necessary. And while we don’t always need to be productive, sometimes it is nice to feel productive. The thing with journaling and gratitude is that at first it’ll be generic things that you find yourself noticing like “grateful for family” but as the days go on you’ll have to dig deeper which ultimately makes you be more specific and come to an understanding that it is truly the little things, the small specific moments tat can bring true joy. Think of the art of journaling and gratitude as investing in your mental wellness. It is worth it.

Read this book. Again, not an affiliate link. I have been finding joy in reading. Sometimes I want self help, personal development books and then sometimes, when I feel like I just can’t read one more word about how to improve myself without feeling the crushing weight of all of my deficiencies, I like to get lost in a good ol’ fashioned story. A make believe world where the characters are really facing some tangled up shit that makes me realize that if they can get out of their mess, I can surely find a way to get out of mine. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book that I linked. It’s fiction, and it’s fantastic. A cross between comedic gold and mystery solving. Not too heavy. And, if spending money isn’t an option, then check it out at a library.

Oh and one more nugget in case it doesn’t go without saying: log off and engage in the present. Take the time to feel the hope restoring in your bones. The online world can really steal the shit out of our inner peace. Time to reclaim it.

Most times, when I log off I realize it is not all as bad as it seems. I find that people are tons kinder and lots funnier and basically just better in real life. Plus it is easier to practice gratitude when I’m not scrolling past 400 posts about how society is collapsing on itself and how we are personally responsible for preventing an impending apocalypse.

I think that what we’ll come to realize is that we aren’t responsible for changing the world. We are responsible for ourselves. And by claiming that responsibility, we will change the world.

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