Sunday, I woke up early and I saw a little banner flicker on my computer and it said something about 20 people dead. In my mind, I heard the words “terrorist attack, ISIS”. I didn’t click on the link because it was too much for me so early in the morning. Later, my husband told me a shooting took place at a club in Florida. I second guessed myself and told my husband what I heard in my mind and thought I was wrong.
I wasn’t. My intuition had kicked in before my first cup of coffee. My heart stopped.
Even though I limit my consumption of news, the information kept pouring in from all venues. The aftermath. The unbearable sadness. When I read about Mina Justice, the mother who was communicating with her son Eddie via text before he died, I felt the white-hot horror. Fifty mothers lost their children in one night. As a parent, our only quest is to make healthy happy loving human beings and to keep them safe for as long as we can. It doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 85, you will always be our kid.
Today I took my kids to their summer camp schools. When I picked them, a large storm had passed but the sky was still dark. When we got home it was even darker. The power was off and the lights were out.
My boys became scared as I lit candles. My youngest Atticus asked, “Are we going to be okay? Are we going to die?” I answered as truthfully as I could.
How do we hang on to hope and love in the face of horrific events that linger in the very fiber of our false security blankets? How to do we keep hoping, loving, and trying to live out our lives when both real and imagined fear appear and leave us feeling helpless without any power to keep going?
We can lean into these three things to help create awareness, process, and heal the stress that is created by our daily lives as well as the global events that impact us both directly and indirectly.
- Be still and feel all the feelings.
Many times when things happen to us, we barely have a chance to process what we are feeling because we are inundated with so many events and distractions. Throughout the day, we feel a general unease about everything, never being able to pinpoint the uncomfortable sensations.
So wherever you are, stop for a moment. Take a breath and experience what you are feeling. Call it out if you need to.
After driving through the sheets of blinding rain to drive pick up my kids, I sat in the car waiting for the lighting and thunder to pass though. I labeled all my feelings out loud. No one could see me and I really didn’t care if they could. Thinking about the shootings in Orlando, I said, “This feeling is sadness. This feeling is devastation. This feeling is empathy for all the mamas. This feeling is anger. The rain pounded louder on my car. My thoughts raced to my kids inside their schools. “This feeling is worry. This feeling is impatience. This feeling is tiredness of all this damn rain”. While it didn’t change the events of Orlando or the storm, it did provide my brain peace by giving my feelings and sensations labels. And I was grateful.
- Practice Extreme Self-Care.
What does Extreme Self-Care mean? It means taking care of ALL your needs. If you aren’t great about doing this on a daily basis, then you MUST do this even more during times of emotional upheaval. Extreme Self-Care is
Making sure you eat regularly
Connecting with those people that you love and care about
Connecting with your animals
Bathing, cleaning your house, washing your clothes,
Doing the things that bring you joy both big and small
Getting help from a family member, a friend, someone at your place of worship, or a counselor
Connecting with your higher Source. Whatever that is for you, spend time in prayer, mediation, gratitude, and love that you get another day to experience life.
Today my routine of extreme self care was working out, reading, spending time with my sick dog and my two healthy ones, getting my children earlier from summer camp, connecting with my sister, counseling clients and checking on my husband at work.
By creating these routines, you create a sense of hope and a sense of groundedness. These two sensations will help you on the next step.
- Do Something Outside Yourself.
When you feel that sense of dread and darkness that feels unshakable, do something for someone else. It could be your own pet. Your family. A charity. By helping others, you step outside of your emotional state and begin to feel an expansiveness that you can provide help, hope or love for others. You become stronger than you think. You become love and courage in action.
As soon as I got home with my boys, I got into mama-mode. I gave our dogs treats so they would stop barking at the rain. I lit candles all over the house so we could see. And when my little one asked, “Are we going to be okay? Are we going to die?” I stepped outside all my own personal fears and worry and held on to hope and love and handed him a bowl of Cheetos and his worn stuffed puppy and said, “No, not today.” And just like that, the lights came back on.
Today, feel all the feelings knowing you are not alone. Take care of yourself a little more than usual. Reach out and feel the expansiveness of hope and love. You need it. I need. We all need it for love to win. Namaste.