Being Comfortable in the “New Normal”

Being Comfortable in the “New Normal”

Have you found your way to being comfortable in the ‘new normal’? The dreadful onset of the pandemic is now well over a year behind us. It’s a given that we’ve had to find a way to move on with our lives. Significant changes in our habits, including health and safety practices, are well-embedded in our daily routines by now. But for many, the inner recovery of the sense of ‘normal’ is yet to come. This brings the question, how do we find our way to being comfortable…. without anxiety, fear, or hard shells of separation…. in this ever-changing, world of the ‘new normal’?

Recognize your own mental, emotional, and physical stances.  How are you holding yourself during your day, or when you go out into the closer proximity of others?

If you’re like me, you might find that you’ve been holding a subtle, leftover stance of being extra guarded. Perhaps your body language is closed down, or you are on an intensified alert mentally, even though the threat has been pushed back by vaccination and social distancing. Is your breathing shallow and tight? Do you find yourself looking away from others, or being exhausted after being in public, such as going to the grocery store? How is your deeper emotional stance? Is there lingering fear, anxiety or stress?  If so, please understand it is perfectly normal. And, the first step to releasing this defensive and energy-draining stance, is recognition

The effects of chronic stress, such as subtle fears and anxieties normal to a pandemic threat, are detrimental to our well being. This unresolved stress settles into every fiber, both in the physical and subtle realms. By recognizing the patterns we hold in our mind, heart, and body, the choice and power of holding or releasing them becomes ours.

Release and relax! Bring your attention to the over-worked, inner guard and allow yourself to consciously relax your stance. By all means, practice safety protocols, but recognize when the stress response is NOT needed, and make a practice of releasing tension and relaxing your stance to bring new energy and vitality into your being.

Here’s a few tips to get you started in releasing and over-guarded stance causing stress or tension.

Mental Stance- Reframe your thinking. NOTICE what your thoughts are, or even the energy behind the thoughts. What are they saying in the background? Is there a newsreel of unsettling information causing a fight or flight alert in the deeper part of the brain?

 Reframe fear-based, or anxiety provoking thinking with reassuring thoughts.  I am safe. I am secure. All is well. 

By creating positive self-talk and affirmations, we reassure our deeper brain that all is well and begin to relax our inner landscape. Have you tried talking to your inner self as you would a dear child you loved, and explain the new situation?

“I know there has been a very real threat, and that you’ve been uncomfortable and afraid. It’s ok. I’m here for you. We’re taking all the precautions we can and are being very safe in the world.” In this way, take a few minutes to lovingly speak to your mind and offer reassurance. It may seem odd to do, but give it a try. You might feel a deep sigh of relief!

Emotional Stance- Allow yourself to FEEL your feelings. It is NORMAL to have a huge range of uncomfortable feelings in regard to a global threat, and just because we’re acting with the best scientific information available doesn’t mean we feel good about the situation. Of course there are feelings. But by squashing down the feelings because we KNOW better, we perpetuate and give them strength. In turn, this takes up our energy, and causes a low-grade stress. Also, feelings which are suppressed do not go away, but tend to grow stronger.

When feelings arise, practice a few deep breaths, exhaling long to release held emotions. 

Also, please share your feelings with a trusted loved one. Sometimes we don’t want to bother with feelings when we rationally “know better.” But again, this is not a good strategy. By sharing what’s happening inside we often find that others are also going through similar feelings, and gain both the support and release needed to move forward freely.

You’re not alone! Although many of us have been in various degrees of isolation, most of us have experienced a kind of emotional trauma at the subtle level. The pandemic trauma response is real, and there are many resources now available online. Here’s a helpful article. If you find yourself struggling with emotions such as lingering anxiety and fear, please seek help. Every one of us has been hit by this global threat, whether directly affected or not. Every one of us deserves the care, comfort, and release of the trauma induced emotions, whether overt or subtle.

We must be kind and gentle to ourselves to  let go of as much of the trauma as we can in order to get comfortable with the new normal way of being, and move forward with our lives.

Physical Stance- How’s your posture? Are your shoulders up by your ears? Are you holding back breathing fully? Is your head hunched forward over your neck, scanning back and forth to check for threats? You may laugh, but notice if this kind of subtle body language is happening! Perhaps there is a clenched jaw or abdomen. Even while writing this, I noticed tension in the back of the neck as I got in touch with my own sense of physical security in the world.

Our bodies EMbody our mental stance and feelings. Conversely, by relaxing the body, we can release mental-emotional build up.

Practice watching your body stance and posture to see if it’s preparing for fight or flight. Stretch and move regularly throughout the day. Combine mindfulness and a deep clearing breath, and get out in nature every day! Studies on Japanese Forest Bathing show us that even 15 minutes of quality nature time during the day has remarkably positive health effects.

Simply taking time to stop and BE in the nature all around us deeply promotes our well-being. Breathing in a few moments of noticing the colors of the sky, the dance of the trees, or even a dandelion in the side walk,  soothes our systems and brings us into the present, healing moment.

Allowing ourselves to recognize and begin to release the embedded, protective stances in our mental, emotional, and physical being brought about by the global pandemic is a vital step to recovering a sense of comfort in the new normal of our world. While we do want to take care and protect ourselves and our loved ones, we must also be mindful of how much we may holding ourselves on high alert. By bringing our loving attention to these aspects of our being, we can shift our experience from any lingering sense of dread to a more expanded, relaxed, and comfortable way of being in this world. This attention and care to our own stance of being will both welcome and help ourselves and others in becoming comfortable with the “new normal”, where we can be simply grateful for being.

The Rising of a New Age (Part 2)

The Rising of a New Age (Part 2)

Individual Awakenings Lift Humanity

Part 1, A Golden Opportunity for Humanity! discusses how the ancients of many cultures of mankind foretold the coming of a new age for humanity. And just as the start of the next season lies nestled in the midst of the current one, so too the next civilization of mankind is already beginning in the midst of our current world situation. In Oriental Medicine, this is an example of the “yin within yang” and the “yang within yin,” depicted graphically in the well-known symbol of Yin and Yang. But how does this help us usher in a new civilization? Considering the current state of global affairs, the future is uncertain, at best.

Yin Yang symbol

The question many ask, in the face of a seemingly hopeless and overwhelming situation is,

“What can I possibly do to make a difference?”

This is a great question! But we cannot leave it to dangle, delivering it’s message of incapability! We must continue to reflect and ask ourselves, where inside myself is this question coming from? What is at the root of this disheartenment? Clearly, the tone of the question reveals both the recognition of something needing to be changed, and, a sense of disempowerment. The words imply that, no matter what efforts one may exert, the outcome would be nearly meaningless. Has this ever been your experience? I, for one, certainly have, and of late, every time I watch the news.

When I experience this kind of discouraging thought, I shake my head, and just want to forget the whole situation, and shove it to the back recesses of the mind. This is how people go numb to the situation. The problem with doing so, is that a lingering undercurrent of disharmony continues in the background, as the situation is not resolved. Sometimes, as in our current world pandemic, the situation can NOT be readily resolved. Sweeping cultural forces, built over many, many generations, cannot simply be changed or altered through even the most ardent lifetime of one individual’s passionate efforts. The current culture of mankind is like and enormous wave on the ocean, and one human being is like a drop of water. What can the drop, of itself do, to change the tidal direction?

On the outside, one human being, or even a dedicated small faction, presumably can do little to create sweeping change. However, on the inside, there exists an unlimited potentiality within each individual.

According to modern physics, an actual connection to the entire cosmic landscape of physical existence. We are made of star stuff. We are made from the molecules of earth, sun, star, and elements. We are one with all that exists. Doesn’t this point to a kind of deep, human collective spirit within? Connected at our roots like the aspen trees, their branches so intertwined that a seemingly one organism.

The fact that we are not taught at an early age about our connectedness, to this world and each other, is a disservice to the human experience. In our popular culture (the same one that values sex, sports, and entertainment so much higher than educating the next generation of humanity) we place so much importance to material, external well-being. The focus is on acquisition, external accomplishments, and maintaining status quo.

Surely the deep thinkers, mystics, and devout beings realize a deep inner reservoir of human capacity akin to and cosmic connection. There is also a deeper reservoir of reverence and respect for nature throughout indigenous cultures. Why has popular culture gone so shallow as to create actions that are killing our own natural habitat and resources?

If we take the idea of human connectedness as true, we now have a platform from which to answer the original question. “What can I possibly do to make a difference in this vast human collective?”

blue aura earth in purple cosmos

Inner work. The answer when there is seemingly little we can do to affect a global change, is to work on what we can affect, from inside our own being to within our own lives. In this way, we effect change, one life at time, until such time as the critical mass takes over, and the change becomes a larger reality.

Perhaps we can take comfort in the adage from Oriental Medicine: the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, and visa versa. A simplified example is that the smallest and the largest operate under the same physical laws. The particles of an atom orbit the nucleus just as the planets orbit the sun.

Meanwhile, we also take mindful action as we can. An obvious example in making a difference toward how we are governed, is to vote. If we want to reduce the use of pesticide use across the country, we buy organic, and explain why to others. These may seem small actions, insignificant to huge problems, but en masse, they can be very powerful. The tidal wave of grass roots change is historically slow, yet it is significant and lasting, and broad-reaching. Change comes from within.

Just as the tender seeds of one seasons beginning lies in the height of the previous season, humanity’s future exists in silent presence of the current, collective human mindset.

If we as individuals put forth the effort to understand our own inner workings- our minds, mindset, emotions, patterns, etc, and make our inner landscape peaceful and clear, then eventually our society will inevitably change for the better. As individual drops of rainwater collect to form a lake, so too will human awakenings collect until there is enough shared awareness to change the current tide of corruption, greed, ignorance, and violence against one another.

Each one of us has the ultimate opportunity, perhaps even the responsibility, to understand the depths of our own inner being, forming ourselves into that which we would wish for our entire species and world. Let us hold a vision of deep respect for all things, animate and inanimate, and create an unshakable, common human morality which has compassion and awareness at it’s roots. In this way, we can begin to create our world anew, sustainable, secure, and sacred.

Each individual, human awakening adds to the collective upliftment of humanity as a whole, and in this way, we do have a powerful strategy to answer the question, “What can I possibly do?”

Wake up. Become aware. Make decisions from the highest view point that includes our sustained, global humanity.. Continue to develop the greatest capacity of being human, manifesting real love, in the greatest sense of the word. From the place of real love, divine love, we cannot harm one another or our world. In this way, we access our inner understanding and true power of discernment to bring about a new, and most wonderful age, for human kind.