By Pamela Noel
Special to Plumas News
She awoke, feeling fearful, angry, and confused. How do I work with these feelings, she asked herself. Wanting to envision loving, compassionate feelings being sent out into the world, the seriousness of today’s news just seemed to weigh her with its heaviness. Unprovoked war? Mentally unstable dictator? More refugees? Untold suffering? Increased assaults upon the planet? Wow! How could she hold all of this and continue to carry on in a humanly kind manner?
Imagining her own personal “reset cabinet”—a place to turn when she felt lost and confused about how to proceed, she walked to her cabinet in her mind’s eye. Opening the door, she saw a variety of options on the shelf.
The first jar, labeled “Tears”, stood front and center, as the first option. Yes, that is an option…and it usually makes me feel better, she thought. However, it doesn’t always help those around me, sometimes making them feel bad that they can’t help in the moment. But, if I can allow them to flow, it does carry out what negativity I am holding…letting it go.
The next jar was labeled “Grounding”. If I can go out into the sunshine, take off my shoes, or lie on the earth, I feel an exchange of energy. Somehow the earth does its work, draining off the “heady” ruminating, exchanging it for direct and authentic attunement. A variation is walking up into the watershed, the forest. Interacting with plants, animals, water, sun, clouds, and the sound of the wind, seems to dissipate the non-productivity of my thoughts…cleansing as well.
She thought back to the time when a long-distance run did the trick—giving her the endorphin kick that she often wanted. Running no longer seemed to be what her body would easily tolerate, so she pushed that bottle to the back of the cupboard. Riding her bike however, was still a great option—sun, wind, legs pumping like pistons in her own engine—creating a similar oxygen/blood combination that also carried her away from these thoughts.
The next jar read “Puppy Petter”, harkening back to the time of volunteering to pet two-week-old puppies in preparation for their lives as assistance dogs. She could remember the warm snuggling on her chest, the feelings of unconditional love that seemed to flood her body. In those moments, nothing else seemed to matter except holding these warm, little beings.
The next jar read “Practice”. That could mean a lot of things, she thought. Practice piano? Or it could mean practicing just about anything. Yoga seemed to her the most obvious daily practice. Rolling out her mat, and stepping onto it, guided by either a virtual or an actual teacher, brought her back to herself, her breathing, her experience as a fully functioning person. Allowing her to listen to the calling of her body, it helped to avoid the “lurking rabbit hole” that threatened to envelop her.
The next jar was labelled “Giving”. Seeing beyond her own confusion in a way that helped another, always seemed to leave her with a sense of being filled with a more positive outlook. Gratitude for what we have and what we can give to others makes this act even more effective.
The final jar, in the back of her cupboard, was one that was “empty”. That seems right she thought. If all these thoughts don’t really have any substance, that’s what they are…empty. If I can really experience this, just about anything can be fixed. But until I can really understand this, a ride on my bike or on my yoga mat will have to do.
We all have our own reset cupboard, with our own inventory of what works. Now, more than ever, each one of us needs to take stock, in order to know what will keep us grounded, human, and kind in this confusing time.