“The spirit of the times is one of joyless urgency.” Marilynne Robinson
Well, that’s a cheerful quote to open up my Sunday Letter, isn’t it?! But I had to share it because it perfectly encapsulates how I was feeling for the past few months. I think it’s how many of us feel quite often, actually – “I must get everything done as quickly as possible so that I can have time to vegetate in front of the TV whilst I contemplate all the things I need to get done tomorrow, but which I know I won’t have time to do!”
But lately I’ve been feeling different.
I’ve been feeling joy.
I’ve been feeling presence.
I’ve been feeling appreciation and excitement about life.
And what shifted?
The damndest thing is, I don’t know for sure!
In an attempt to get out of this funk/depression I have been trying a lot of things – meditating more regularly, chiropractic care, functional medicine care, the physiological sigh for 5 minutes every night, more long walks outside in the morning, an Aztec healing session, shifting my center of perception from my head to my heart, spending more time with my brother and my niece while they stayed at my house for a couple of weeks, taking a break from alcohol for a few weeks, making a huge chart in my office that very clearly lays out my personal and professional goals for August (replete with checkboxes and spaces to fill in my success metrics), trying some NEW things (new restaurants, new activities), pushing myself to do stuff that’s uncomfortable, etc. Since I was trying a bunch of things simultaneously, I don’t know what the catalyst was. Or maybe all the things together formed the magic potion!
And I’m feeling better. I really noticed this yesterday as Tim, Huehue, and I were canoeing down the Maquoketa River. This is an almost annual tradition, so I’ve floated that river probably 20-30 times in my life. But yesterday, I was THERE for it. I noticed the serenity of the water, the wispy white clouds that looked like elegant apostrophes, the light glinting on the water, the dunes of sand cresting and falling under surface of the river, the pleasure of spending time with two of my favorite beings.
It was beautiful. I was content. I was present and accounted for. I felt happy. I felt like something had shifted. And then I got anxious because I realized that if something shifted up, it means that it could shift back down again. But then I realized that there is no point in worrying about the if/when, when I could just be present with the feeling of being content. So I let that thought go.
In Somatic Experiencing, they teach that trauma needs to be processed in a titrated fashion. You can’t dive right into the trauma vortex and try to “fix it.” You explore the edges, monitor the state of your nervous system, and when you get too activated, you pendulate back to a safe and steady place, and when you’re ready, you go back in for a little more. You erase the edges and eventually work towards the center, gently unwinding those layers slowly. It takes time. A lot of time. Like 46 years of time.
And I think that’s what I’m doing. In my process of healing, I’m disintegrating layers of numbness and constriction that have covered over my joy, and now it’s starting to shine through. I am healing.
I’m writing all this because while I was in the middle of my funk, it felt like that was just me – just who I was. But now that I am passing through, I see that it was a phase, a stage – not a destination. So if you are feeling that “joyless sense of urgency,” there is hope! Trying new things, allowing yourself to stretch outside of your comfort zone, and getting help from professionals (and maybe you have to try a few different ones to find one who resonates), can kick-start that upward spiral.
In that vein, I am offering a free 60-minute Zoom workshop on 8/23 at 5PM Central Time entitled “Simple Tools to Change Your Life.” We’ll play with a few practices that can have a big impact on how you feel in your body and mind, such a meditation, breathwork, and posture. And more importantly, we’ll try to close that gap between “knowing” and “doing” by doing a brief overview of habit change science – so you will be able to take away one small action step that can help bring more health, joy, and presence back into your life.
I am teaching a version of this presentation to a live audience of about 100 people in October, so, if you do attend the presentation I would be extremely grateful if you would provide feedback in the form of a 5 question survey, which I will send out to all attendees after the presentation. Please help me NAIL this presentation in October!
Here is the link to register for the workshop. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out! And if you register, THANK YOU so much!!
I hope you have a fabulous Sunday!
Space to be Human Lab
CranioSacral therapy provides a gentle touch that can feel like a balm to a burned-out nervous system. Get some relief from that monkey mind! You can book a CranioSacral session here (use code “CRANIO” for $20 off through 8/31/23).
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