Jump Scare by a T-Rex

C & I playing with dinosaurs

For the past few days (weeks? I can’t tell anymore), I’ve had this feeling that something is about to jump out and take me by surprise. I don’t know when it’s coming, but I feel it. It keeps my nervous system on edge, and it’s generally very, very uncomfortable. Is this a common sentiment right now? Is it common in other, non-pandemic times? I rationalize with myself that it’s just my primal brain, always searching for danger – for that tiger or snake that’s going to pounce out and kill me. But there’s no tiger or snake (or T-rex). Forty thousand years ago, this was a useful warning system. Even 200 years ago it was useful. But now, in our highly technologically convenient age, the “T-rexes” are more about emotions. It’s the weight of a job you don’t like, the stress of balancing family & work, or relationship stresses – all of which we are dealing with right now as usual, in addition to, y’know, the uncertainty of businesses or schools opening, losing a job, getting sick, staying at home, political turmoil, and racial injustices. Our current uncertainty IS our modern day T-rex – when is something going to “get us”? That long-term emotional stress from a metaphorical danger can cause all sorts of issues. If we were truly running from a big animal about to eat us, once we got away, our nervous system could chill out a little in safety. But nowadays, we hold onto that stuff – and it’s like we’re constantly running.

So although our own evolution hasn’t really caught up to the fact that we don’t have large animals chasing after us anymore, we have the self-awareness to help alleviate, reverse, and grow from these unsettling & uncertain things happening around us. Shifting attention inward to the breath, to a simple movement in a toe, to how the air feels on the skin – all helps to chill out that primal “ACKKK! SOMETHING’S GOING TO EAT ME!” feeling. I deal with it everyday too – just waiting for that jump scare, and taking a deep breath.

This week, we’re going to focus on the neck and jaw – two hotspots of unconscious tension. We’ll build on the basics to directly address the small muscles of the neck, and how those are so closely affected by tension in the entire spine.

Thursday, 12:00pm Eastern
Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 981 4575 4454
Password: somafull

Classes run from 35-45 minutes. Make sure you have a yoga mat-sized space for the practice. Your video and audio will be off when you first get in the “room”, you have the option to turn both on. I’d love to *see* you, but feel free to remain off if you’re more comfortable that way 🙂

Class fee is by donation. Feel free to join anytime, and if you’d like to support my teaching (THANK YOU), you can do so here.

Altering Perspective, on purpose

Ahhhh. 48 hours without my phone (mostly, I did cheat a little bit). Camping by a river, looking up at the sky from my hammock, listening to the water rush by – all very good for my nervous system.

How easy is it for us to get caught up in news cycles and trapped “scrolling” these days? More than usual, yeah? Most of you who are experienced at some sort of mindfulness/Somatics practice have the tools to keep yourself from getting trapped in these cycles and can return to ground, but I’m guessing it can still be a HUGE challenge, even with experience. When you find yourself spiraling, or feeling trapped, ungrounded – do you feel disconnected too? Does it feel like even taking a deep breath can be challenging to pull yourself out of that disconnected-ness or ungrounded-ness?  

I am curious to explore what happens when we go the other way – that is, instead of only utilizing tools when we feel challenged or overwhelmed, what if we challenge ourselves when we feel safe, grounded, and connected? Would that be a practice that could help calm us when we need it the most? Purposefully going from one end of the spectrum to the other, in a controlled way, may help us have more control when we feel most out of control.

This week, I’d like to explore just that. In our Thursday class, we’ll dive into the usual breath and movement from the center of the body, focusing inward, and then see what happens when we look out from that internal focus. We will also utilize the movements of the eyes to shift perception and perspective.

Click here to join this week’s Somatics Restart class on Thursday.

Curious if a one-with-one online session would work for you? I offer free 15 minute consults via Zoom or by phone. Email me for more information.

Doom, Gloom, and Zoom

I’m not sure what’s going on here, but I liked the composition. Discovered at Fletcher Park, NC.

Get outside
Practice gratitude
~~    Do less & unplug    ~~
Move your body, breathe
Seek support when you need it

After a couple of weeks of spiraling into news cycles, I am cutting off all technology to go into the woods for a few days on a camping trip this week. I figure it’s a fairly low-risk activity – basically packing up a much smaller version of my house & wares, to sleep in the woods next to a river. It’s time to give my brain another focus other than doom, gloom, and Zoom.

How are you doing? A friend of mine shared with me today that they’ve never been the anxious-type, but this has thrown them into regular panic attacks and extreme anxiety. They said “no matter what kind of day I have – good or bad – I am panicky at bed time”. We need other things to draw our attention, other than the constantly changing news stories. Life is extraordinarily stressful for most of us these days; with so many unknowns for our futures. Basic decisions we used to take for granted can take on a life or death consideration. It’s more important that we allow ourselves time to “put our masks on first” (pardon that pun). We become useless to loved ones and our own support networks when we don’t take care of ourselves first. And make no mistake, you are needed. Whatever self-care works for you, boost it up if you can. For me, movement and body awareness ground me, shifting my nervous system so that I can stay informed watching the news, while not getting sucked down into a vortex (or at least keeps me from going over the edge). What’s your outlet? How do you ground yourself, find support, and connect?

There will be no Thursday class this week, but we will return next week with something great. Have a great, safe, healthy week!

Curious if a one-with-one online session would work for you? I offer free 15 minute consults via Zoom or by phone. Email me for more information.

Curiosity in Change – Expressing Ourselves through the Mask

Can you tell I’m smiling?

Call me kooky, but I have been enjoying wearing a mask when out in public (which is good, since it is mandated in many municipalities). Sure, at first I felt freaked out & had to get used to breathing normally, plus my sunglasses would get fogged up – but then it offered me some new tools in communication that I had to work out. I’m a pretty soft-spoken person, so figuring out how to speak up through a mask was a challenge. I also realized I had to rely on eye contact and expressiveness more than a smile with my mouth. I started to really enjoy the exploration of it! I’ve started to pay more attention to how tension in my forehead and cheeks affect my neck and shoulders. It also helps me to become more aware of the space I take up in the world, and how that my space interacts with others’ spaces going through similar adjustments.  Life is constantly changing, and even though our brains are always searching for balance and stability, we also search for novel experiences with curiosity. There’s a challenge in itself – how do we maintain balance & stability while also remaining open to curiosity in the changes?

This week, we’ll be exploring how the movement of the eyes affects the rest of the body – especially the head, neck, and shoulders. You can get a jump on class by moving your eyes slowly to the left and your head to the right – then slowly going the other way. It’s a weird feeling!

Click here to join this week’s Somatics Restart class on Thursday.