I just noticed I’ve been sitting here scrolling for ten minutes and my jaw is so tense it’s hard to get words out of it. Clearly what I’m doing is not what I want to be doing right now.
When I think about what I want to be doing instead, it’s less about what I want to be DOING, and more about how I want to be FEELING. I want to feel nurtured and held, and I want to feel clear and spacious like there’s nothing at all ahead of me. An open field of possibility.
And to dig a little deeper – it’s interesting to explore the reason WHY I want to feel nurtured and held and spacious and clear. Nurtured, held, spacious and clear are all part of my experience of when my nervous system is regulated and at ease.
When I’m feeling things I associate with feeling good, with nervous system regulation, I’m not in survival mode. I’m not tense or watchful or anxious or shut down, and I’m not using up a lot of energy to maintain high alert.
The mindless scrolling and jaw tension are signs that my nervous system needs some help coming back into a state of feeling good, which it’s not going to do while I feel hemmed in by all the things I think I should get done today (common theme in my life lately – to do list overwhelm).
And it definitely doesn’t help that in my mind it seems like I need to do these things FIRST, and THEN I’ll feel better. Forcing my way through my to do list might bring a small amount of relief, but it’s not going to give me what my system is craving – the experience of regulation, coming out of a survival state and into a present and calm and heart centred state.
So as an experiment, because I know that forcing myself to endure my way through getting shit done feels pretty horrible and doesn’t do shit for nervous system regulation, I’m going to pause here, tend to what my body is telling me it needs, and come back after that to tell you what I find.
Hold please… *cheesy hold music*
So it’s not that much later now.
I feel completely different.
You know what hasn’t changed? The amount of things on my to do list hasn’t changed. The deadlines to get these things done haven’t changed. And yet I feel nurtured, held, spacious and clear.
Here are the things that HAVE changed. My physical location – I moved to somewhere that feels comfortable, familiar, safe and contained. The space I was in when I began writing this post is beautiful, but new to me – and when I’m feeling overwhelmed, my nervous system craves familiar, quiet and comfortable.
That one change on its own probably would have been enough to give my system what it needed to feel regulated and calm, but I also bought myself my current favourite treat – a chocolate coated frozen banana. I tried to pay attention while I was eating it.
And driving home I put some music on that I love and let the sound soak into my body while I indulged in my guilty pleasure of driving with both the air con on and the window down.
Just from tuning in and making these small changes, my jaw is more relaxed. I know that it’s possible to get everything done that I need to get done in the time I have to do it. AND I feel nurtured and held, spacious and clear.
It’s a beautiful journey, learning to read the subtle cues my nervous system gives me, and to learn through trial and error what it needs when I’m feeling anxious, or in survival mode, or shut down and numb or depressed.
It’s a special kind of power, knowing how to tend to myself so I can go from feeling strung out to settled in the space of half an hour, just through getting in the car, listening to some music, and eating a chocolate covered banana.
And it’s a power that’s absolutely teachable. If you’d like to learn it – it’s part of the work I do with clients, and I have space for a few more right now 🙂 send me a message or book a call – your first session’s free and there’s a really exciting journey ahead of you 🙂