Finding Calm In The Chaos

A loved one falls ill, your spouse betrays you or leaves, you get an email notifying you that you’re being laid off, a beloved relative or pet dies, there’s a pandemic.

Maybe you realize it’s time to end a relationship or find a new job or a new place to live. Or maybe you just realized you forgot to add that meeting to your calendar and now you’ve missed it. Or a deadline on a project is looming and you’re nowhere near finished.

What do you notice as you imagine these scenarios? Perhaps you don’t have to imagine them, because you’ve experienced them. I know I have.

In Canada, the part of the world where I live, spring is upon us, scheduled to arrive on Saturday, March 20.  For many of us, most years, this makes us think of longer days, more light, warmer temperatures, more time outdoors. There is a sense of freshness, of optimism, of possibility. How wonderful! 

As I write this, the city I live in has just come out of its second pandemic-related lockdown. While the vaccine appears to be doing its job and reports of new cases are down substantially in long-term care facilities, where residents were among the first to receive the vaccine, more variants of concern are popping up every day. 

There is still much that we don’t know about what the future holds vis a vis the pandemic and it’s impact on our lives. And while we may not be aware of it, or would rather not think about it, this is true of our lives, and the lives of those we hold near and dear, in general.

Just writing that last paragraph, I notice a subtle clenching in my belly and my breath catches ever so slightly.

Uncertainty. Not knowing. Fear.

Today, I’m able to notice that clenching and soften to it just a bit, enough so that I can take a breath, acknowledge the fear, and look around at all of the things that help me feel just a little bit safer, a little bit calmer.

For me that includes feeling the chair I’m sitting in holding me and supporting me. I see a photo of a dear friend and I recall a hike we took in the most beautiful ravine the last time we were together, and for a moment, I’m transported back there. Ahhhh. I savor the memory of the warmth, the care, the laughter, the joy, of that hike.

What I just described is called resourcing. When we feel resourced, we’re grounded, our body and mind is synchronized in the present moment, and we’re able to make better choices about what, if anything, we need to do or say next.

One might say resourced is the opposite of overwhelm where our thoughts are swirling, often so fast that we can’t think straight, and we may notice physiological changes such as increased heart rate, shallow breathing, a change in our body temperature, etc. We may even collapse.

These physiological changes are completely normal, we don’t have to feel bad about them. Our bodies are designed to detect threats to our safety and wellbeing and let us know that we might need to take action. This built in capacity to fight, flee or freeze, without stopping to think about it, allowed us to survive and evolve as a species.

The problem, as you may have noticed, I certainly have, is that when our thoughts are swirling and we can’t think straight, well, we can’t think straight! That makes it hard to make good decisions about what, if anything, we need to do, and we may just act on those self protective instincts when we’re really not in grave danger.

Resourcing and savoring that state when I’m feeling calm makes it easier to tap into those resources when I feel stressed.

Given the year that we’ve all had, I’d love to chat more about all of this with you, so I’m offering a free workshop called Finding Calm In The Chaos. You can register here.  

We’ll spend a few minutes coming into presence together, I’ll share a little bit about resourcing, what it is, how to do it, and how it helps us feel more able to cope with life’s ups and downs, we’ll discuss and practice together, and you will leave having some ideas about how you can find calm in the chaos.

I hope you can join me on Saturday, March 13, from 12-1 pm Eastern for Finding Calm In the Chaos – Discovering Your Inner and Outer Resources. And bring a friend! May we all learn to find calm in the chaos!