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September Message: Onward through the tunnel we go

One of the themes that keeps coming up for this month is ‘stay in the Eye of the Storm.” With so much rapid change occurring, and so much external noise, it’s crucial to have some sort of still, safe haven that you can retreat to, to regain balance, sanity and clarity. An inner haven should at this time be non-negotiable. Please see ideas below if needed. An outer haven is also important if possible: be it your home, or supportive friends and family. If neither of those are possible, and I’m hearing from many of you right now that it isn’t, try to find connections through like-minded groups, whether in-person or online. Feeling a sense of unity, community and genuine soul connection is key to our emotional survival. One of the reasons I’ve started the Sanctuary Space Zooms is to provide space for anyone who needs it, to talk, share, listen or just feel like you are not alone.

Things are changing so quickly from one day to the next, and there are so many moving pieces. It’s like we’re all taking part in a movie where someone has hit fast-forward! It is very natural to have our stress responses be flaring up constantly during such a time of upheaval, uncertainty, relentless coercion, division of family/friends/communities and social segregation. However, we can’t afford to live in a stress state 24/7 for the next many months or year and who knows how far beyond. We have got to take care of our physical, mental and emotional health as a priority, so that we can navigate this time with as much strength, courage, clarity and calm as possible.

Our stress responses flare up because, on some level, we don’t feel safe whether physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. Our body is physiologically wired to survive, and in order to survive we need to feel safe on all levels. We might feel overwhelmed, frustrated, depressed, angry, controlled, in fear of an actual threat or perceived threat, or some other emotion. Our stress response might be manifesting physically, cognitively, emotionally or behaviourally. We go into fight/flight/freeze mode, which when faced with an actual sabre-tooth tiger saves our life. However, when experienced chronically for days, weeks, months or even years on end, this sort of stress has a detrimental effect on every aspect of our health and life.

If you are doing all of your usual self-care and spiritual practices and finding that you are still swirling around with anxiety, try the following journaling exercise: "What do I not feel safe about?" Talk directly in your journal with your particular stress response eg Harry Headache or Insomniac Ivy. I like to give them names as it makes it easier to have a conversation. Ask Harry or Ivy or whatever the name of your Stress Response aspect/s, “What is it that you need to feel safe? What is it that you need me to do or not do?”

Going through the tunnel

During the Sanctuary Space zoom last night, I was taking everyone through a meditation and talking about the darkness that so many are feeling. I got a visual of a baby in a birth canal, and the analogy that this is where we are at right now. We have left the safe, cozy womb of the old world, (although how much of it was safe, and how much of it was an illusion of safe is another theme for another day), and we are being squeezed through the birth canal onward.

The birth canal is dark, unfamiliar, uncomfortable, it has twists and turns, it is squeezing down on us as it seems to get tighter and more narrow. We don’t know how much further we have to go. How long is this tunnel for goodness sake! We think there is no way this could be leading anywhere good, or to some sort of happy ending. We think there is no way that we are ever going to get out of this dark tunnel. Even when we see the opening, the possibility of emergence, we might think ‘no way, it’s too small an opening, there’s no way’.

And yet every day thousands of babies are born in this very way. Out they emerge, into a whole new world. At first it is just a new room, a new family, a new home. Then they realise, it’s a new town, a new country, a whole massive planet Earth to explore! "The journey was worth it," thinks baby. "This is a lot better than spending 100 years in the small womb, as cosy and familiar as it was!"