I wanted to send you a bit of love and check in. How are you doing today?
Although my community stretches across the globe (looking at you clients in Beijing and Zambia!) I have been singularly focused on my own backyard these last four days.
My hometown was hit with an ice storm that began Monday evening. Even though we are now “comfortably” have temperatures in the 40s, many in Central Texas are still without power, including the neighborhood we called home for 15 years. I have been checking in with friends, offering support or a warm place. The response has been consistent no matter who I talk to: gratitude, resilience, fatigue and re-kindled trauma.
The trauma is specific: we cannot forget the 8 days that our entire state suffered from a complete shut-down of our electrical grid. And while this storm was more isolated and the power outages were largely due to falling trees and pulling down power lines, the trauma triggers are still firing. At the risk of stating the obvious: not having your basic needs covered (water, heat, connection) is traumatic.
Thankfully this storm spared most people’s home but did not spare our trees. In Central Texas, we love our trees (and we are kinda obnoxious about it). We have live oaks that are hundreds of years old. We have some of the strictest permits regarding the removal of trees. I don’t have words to adequately capture the collective grief at seeing our communities’ longest residents — the trees — uprooted, split apart and broken.
There is not one home in my community that does not have some level of wreckage from the once-beautiful trees we had the pleasure of living under and with. I had tears streaming down my face driving through Austin today. So many beautiful trees are broken. I feel like I can hear them weeping. (side note: Have you seen the movie Avatar? I feel like the Na’vi wailing at the tree of souls being attacked. Dramatic? Yes. Accurate? Also yes.) We are broken open by the weight of the current circumstances. We know we can’t repair what is broken.
And in reflecting on how to lovingly show up for people close to home, I realized that we all have our own stressors and stress, even if you aren’t dealing with this specific disaster. There might be something here that you need to hear today, too.
Because stressful situations can flush our nervous systems and push us into “DO SOMETHING!” mentality. It can disrupt our sleep, steal moments of calm and contribute to catastrophe thinking that keep us in a fight-flight-freeze mode. When you feel this (you may be living in this state), it is helpful to pause.
I am not suggesting fluffy self-care that you might read about somewhere else. I’m talking about Mama Bear Self-Preservation.
Although there are literally thousands of ways to soothe yourself, here are the ones that feel most accessible for me to share with you today.
Put your hand on your heart (or wherever feels loving) and say loving / think positive messages to yourself. Some of my go-to stress-response phrases are:
“in this moment, I am safe. In this moment, I am loved. In this moment, I am at peace.” (try this: repeat with phrases that resonate with you right now.)
“In this moment, I am tending to what needs my attention.” (try this: if you are feeling overwhelmed or frozen)
“I release control and surrender to the flow of love that surrounds me.” (try this: play this meditative song.)
“I am. Here now. In this.” (Try this: I use my breath to help settle my nervous system, such as: “I (inhale) Am (exhale). Here (inhale) Now (exhale). In (inhale) this (exhale).”)
I truly hope you are well and can find a moment of peace in the stress.
With love from my Momma Bear heart to yours,
“To experience peace does not mean that your life is always blissful. It means that you are capable of tapping into a blissful state of mind amidst the normal chaos of a hectic life.”Jill Botte Taylor