If summarized, it is fair to say that in some way, I’ve spent my career helping people heal wounds. I have tried, if possible, to help them create an understanding of themselves that revolves around empathy, compassion and inclusivity of every aspect of who they are.
Typically, the wounds I see have occurred as a result of a myriad of things. When boiled down to the common denominator, however, you often find that the source of this type of wounding leads back to an experience of being marginalized, trivialized, bullied, abused, assaulted, ignored, neglected, or made to feel inferior for being none other than who you are. In addition, this wounding is often dealt by the hands of those in positions of authority, often by those who could be described as bullies – people who often demonstrate traits of narcissism, or appear to be lacking in compassion and empathy (anti-social).
So, for those reasons, it will not come as any shock to you that I personally, and professionally, have been appalled by the emergence of Donald Trump as a political figure and leader. I am opposed to, and frightened by, all that he symbolizes. I’ve been taught to keep my personal self out of my work, therapists are taught to be a blank slate, “tabula rasa”; pragmatic marketing wisdom would tell me that I should remain neutral so as not to offend anyone. But this time in the world is shaking me at my core, screaming to me that the political is indeed personal, and that I cannot be an authentic figure in my business life if I am not clear about what is not acceptable. This article is not about being right or being wrong in our voting choices. The focus of this article is on my own personal connection to the wisdom of my body in what I find to be a disturbing and yet critically pivotal time in our world.
Like many of you, as I watched the election results coming in that night in November, I felt a sense of shock. I watched in disbelief and my mind searched for understanding. My body, however, had an entirely separate experience, one that I am still trying to understand as I write this today. My chest became tight, and my breathing shallow. My heart rhythm shifted in an uncomfortable way. A deep sadness and disappointment revealed itself as my eyes cried tears.
My body literally mourned.
Throughout the entire experience, my brain continued to do its best to console me. It did its best to give me logic and reason, telling me,
“It’s going to be fine. This isn’t the end. It’s just four years, this is the political back and forth that fills the history books. Two steps forward, one step back.”
My brain scanned for facts; it searched for meaning.
But my body wasn’t on board. My body has been sending me a very different message, one that I have come to see as full of wisdom that my brain cannot, and will not, ever be able to “know.”
Luckily, I have been clued into the fact that our bodies have incredible messages to send us if only we stop and listen. So – here is what I heard, and the lessons that I have surmised in my embodied experience.
1. Be Present – You Need To Be Awake
As I felt my chest tightening, I had no choice but to slow down and take really deep breaths. It was as if my body was forcing me to focus, whispering,
“Breathe deeper…you must breathe deep right now.”
It has remained this way ever since, a constant reminder of the power of my breath itself. It is as though through necessity, my breath is forcing me to ground and center myself through deep sighs and intentional breath work.
The tightness in my chest is saying,
“You must focus on your breath, and you must do this intentionally.”
This, without my brain getting in the way, has caused me to be very present in a time when it would be really easy to just numb out and stick my face down in my comfy bubble until it felt safe to come up. But instead, I am forced back into the moment, into being present.
As my mind takes in this message, it occurs to me that this is beyond wise. The wisdom I hear is,
“Don’t check out now, Becca. Be present – remain awake. The time for sleep and distraction is over.”
Conscious breathing keeps us present, and our presence is needed.
“When sleeping women wake, mountains move.” – Chinese Proverb
2. Connect To Your Heart – The Power Lies In Your Love
I felt my heart rhythm change, to a varied sped-up then sped down rhythm that held its uncomfortable dance inside of my chest until about 3 a.m. that morning. My heart, the center of my emotional body, the symbol of the love inside of me, didn’t know how to relax. It was frenetic and confused, grief-stricken and afraid.
The changing of my heart rhythm that night created an intense focus on the organ itself. The heart, the universal symbol of love, was literally knocking loudly on the walls of my chest as if to say,
“This is where it hurts, this is where the problem is. Notice me. Pay attention to me, I need your attention.”
I believe that collectively, the choice that was made, the campaign that was run, and the blinding frenzy of “us versus them” that the powers that be droned up and used to their advantage screamed from the top of the highest mountain, “We (collectively) are not okay… We are wounded, and hurting, and have so much healing to do.”
The question then remains, what heals?
The answer was so clear – Love.
It isn’t the anger, outrage, or ego based judgment and bitterness that wants to take over in times like this. Those emotions play a role. They signify injustice and violation. They mobilize people and can be a catalyst for action. But they do not heal. In fact, often, left unchecked, they only continue to deepen wounds.
What ultimately heals every human being is the experience of being seen and witnessed for who they are, and loved through that process, not in spite of it. How we do this in light of the great divide we see before us? I will admit, I don’t exactly know. But that’s okay.
All I know is that right now, my body is refusing to let me ignore this message. It feels urgent, as if to give me that push, to get me out of my comfort zone, forcing me to remember to align with love. It’s saying to me,
“Choose a side. You can no longer be neutral. Choose me.”
We don’t always get a road map, but we do get an internal compass if we are listening. My heart, combined with my deeply held belief that love is the essence of who we are, has spoken loudly and sent a message so clear it doesn’t matter to me that I don’t have the linear “plan” mapped out. Learning to trust my body’s wisdom and move in faith is part of the process. I have yet to be let down.
“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
– Elie Wiesel
As an awakened being, as you make your way through this time, I encourage you, wherever you find yourself, to be aware of your body’s wisdom. There is a wisdom so deep, so ancient inside of you that can never be found “out there.” With all the noise, and heightened emotion floating around, I invite you to take time to come home. Come back to your body, your source. There is much to be learned if you are awake, and if you are listening…