Dear Poetry and Embodiment Tribe~
I hope this note finds you all well and adapting to your new (temporary) routine with patience as your greatest self-offering. i attended a webinar this week with the woman who led my yoga teacher training, and the theme was how to manage anxiety in situations of prolonged stress and crisis. We reviewed the best things we can do right now individually in this time of global uncertainty to nourish our resiliency. I find these things to also give us back a sense of autonomy and self-agency.
Below I've listed three main modalities we can use to tend to our "vagal tone" --that physical system in the body that regulates fight, flight freeze--and when harnessed, can move us from that place of reactivity to "rest, digest, and redirect".
If you are like me, you've constantly been working to redirect your attention these past few weeks, to manage your emotional body alongside your daily tasks, while also trying to tend to your basic human needs for oxygen, human connection, and creating beauty. Our ability to offer ourselves compassion through these constantly shifting inner and outer states is one of the additional gifts we most deserve to give ourselves during these weeks of impeded activity.
3 PRACTICES FOR SELF-SUSTAINABILITY
As we all go through this collective rebirthing and its transformative properties that can support us in building greater resiliency
1) Tissue Work: This is a self-care technique that you may have practiced with me as part of my "Yoga and Sustainability in a 21st World" workshops last fall. I've recently posted a short practice on Instagram, and I invite you to CLICK HERE to access it. Tissue work invites us to step away from the activity of the mind and stand more fully upright in our body. I know inhabiting the body can seem scary to the mind when the outside world feels threatening, but the body innately knows compassion, and I find when I work with these practices, body wisdom, a sense of physical ease and self-compassion naturally surface more easily.
2) Interoceptive Awareness: Close your eyes and focus on the breath, while also noticing the sensations in the physical body objectively. The intention is to notice what the body is feeling physically and/or emotionally, and then try to witness the mental story that may be attached to the feeling. When we can create a little space between what we are feeling and the "meaning-making" of the mind, it can be easier to witness the way creating a larger story about ourselves or the world can feel more overwhelming. I posted a short practice on this HERE. It is an embodied meditation technique that invites us to be with discomfort, and notice it shift. No emotional state is ever fixed or permanent.
3) Deep States of Creative Flow. Yep--it's scientifically proven. I know tending to creative work can feel especially challenging in the midst of external uncertainty, but deep states of creative activity, (and I'd argue particularly poetry) allow us to express our emotions, give language to our embodied experiences, and activate the centers of the brain that keep us in that rest, digest, redirect place rather than the nervous system hyper-arousal of fight, flight, freeze. You might be a little bit amazed by what you can create and re-shape when writing about challenge and adversity. When utilizing craft tools to elevate the myriad experiences of head and heart into meaningful art.
Over time, when we use these tools and practice these techniques, it becomes easier to make our way back to our sense of center, and the beauty of our humanity, especially the midst of extremely challenging territory.
6 WEEKS, 6 POEMS: REMOTE!!
I'll be leading my upcoming "6 Weeks, 6 Poems" course hosted by GrubStreet remotely. Space is limited to 12 and seats are filling--CLICK HERE to read more and claim one of the remaining spots.
Starting Tuesday, May 5, we'll meet LIVE from 10:30am-1:30pm. The course will include reading contemporary poetry, weekly craft-focused writing prompts, group workshop, and class discussion. I'm confident you'll also experience the ways poem-making and connecting in creative community can support your emotional, mental, and physical resiliency.
As always, hit "REPLY" with questions on the upcoming course, or if any of these three resiliency practices resonate.
In Poetry, Compassionate Embodiment & Creative Sustainability,