It’s been way more than a minute since I’ve written. And we’re back in retrograde season. Fasten your seatbelts! Or maybe even better, slow down.
I’ve been doing some pretty deep humaning since writing to you last, and HUMANING IS HARD.
So, with your indulgence I’m going to time travel back to March to share something I began to write then. Something that still feels relevant and potent for me today.
And maybe you can relate…
(this one is longish – you may want to grab a cup of tea)
There is a voice in my head calling the shots – my manager. She isn’t who am anymore. But her voice is still loud and bossy and dominant.
It makes sense that she feels that way. She was running the show up until three years ago, and that means she ran the show for 58 years.
She did the very best she could.
But she drew some illogical conclusions from the data that resulted in some pretty unhealthy and unsupportive strategies for living that go like this:
- I can’t trust anyone, so I must do everything myself or it won’t be as good, or it won’t get done
- Doing everything by myself makes me really angry; it’s a lot of work and I wish there was someone who could help carry the load
- Suck it up, get ‘er done, pain is weakness, needing others is weakness
- Moving cyclically through hypervigilance (trying to control all the variables) to freeze (total non-functional depression, eat, sleep, work, walk the dog, binge eat, binge watch, fall asleep, repeat)
- Knowing that dismantling racism, colonialism, the patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism is the work I want to contribute to
- Thinking the way to do that is by going to war, politically and energetically, fighting our way to peace, fighting my body, my nature, my blueprint essence
As you can imagine, navigating life according to those rules is a lot of work and extremely extractive. Three years ago, I reached the point where I had nothing left to give – to my work, my family, my partner, my self, my dreams.
My cup was bottomed out. Empty.
My self-centred intention for 2022 is to focus on chronic pain and mobility issues, to find more ease and capacity in my body. To put myself first and to let everything else fall into place from that centred ground.
So, I gifted myself with a series of Rolfing sessions, to massage the muscles and fascia not only where the pain happens, but all over the body. The goal is to fix and retrain posture and structure so that your body can correct any lingering imbalances causing the pain.
It is common for this treatment to bring up emotions and experiences that have become stuck in the body (aka trauma), so I also gifted myself a series of sessions with coach/therapist/magician/world changing witch to accompany through the process.
The week in question, my coaching session “homework” was to find ways of lightening up on myself by 4%. Because 3% seemed like not enough and 5% felt like too much. 4% felt doable.
The week following the time change to Daylight Savings, I decided it would be a good idea to:
Eliminate coffee from my diet
AND begin a bean protocol to expunge toxins from my body
AND have a rolfing session
AND it was the two year anniversary of the pandemic lockdown AND AND AND…
Go big or go home, right? If DST was going to mess me up, might as well make it worth the ride, said my manager.
It didn’t take too long before my body started screaming at me. It sounded pretty much like many variations on “WTF?!”
One morning, when my partner was planning to make himself a half pot of coffee and an oat milk matcha green latte for me, I decided to ditch the oat milk latte and return to coffee, all dressed with coconut milk, cacao, a splash of maple syrup and a cinnamon stick. Black coffee messes with my gut. Coffee with all the things doesn’t. It was delicious, and I felt more human than I had all week.
I’m Italian. Pretty sure coffee is an ancestral food. Going with that.
Navigating stairs often hurts and is always slow for me and I am blessed with a partner who happily uses his movement breaks to deliver snacks and tea throughout my workday.
That afternoon while I was working in my downstairs office, preparing for a client session, my loving partner up and decided to do some resourcing of his own and took off in the car for a hike in the woods near a beautiful waterfall. He texted from the car to say he was on the way.
Without asking me if he could deliver tea or snacks beforehand.
My manager kicked in:
“HOW DARE HE?!
This kind of inconsiderate behaviour just confirms everything I know to be true about people and how you can’t depend on them.”
I observed the feelings of abandonment that came up in the moment, and then I laughed.
The manager would have created a crisis, held on to the feelings of abandonment until they festered into bitterness, and armed herself for a big fight whenever the bastard decided to return.
But me? Me now? She LAUGHED!
The truth was that there was plenty of time before my client session to wander upstairs to make a cup of tea. So that’s what I did.
And guess what? Nothing blew up and the world did not end.
That night I had a revision of a recurring childhood dream:
I’m in the back seat on a road trip with my parents sitting up front when they disappear but the car keeps driving out of control with no driver, so I must climb over the front seat, take the wheel and steer the car to safety.
(How obvious, right?)
The feelings in this recurring dream were consistent in childhood: fear and panic and terror.
This new dream was the same but different:
My partner and I were on a road trip, but somehow I was sitting in the back seat. He decided he had to take care of something important and left the vehicle. No drama on his part but the car was still running. So, I climbed over the front seat, took the wheel, parked the car and explored the streets of a new and unknown place to find him and let him know where the car was so we could resume our adventure when he was done with whatever it was he’d needed to do.
No fear, no panic, no terror. I felt calm and in control and resourced.
Could it be that my brain and nervous system were processing the niggle of abandonment I’d felt the day before? Letting the feelings move through my body instead of getting stuck?
I’m thinking yes.
The new me has been calling the shots for three short years, just 5% of the time I’ve been circling the sun in this body.
The new me is a virtual toddler.
Maybe it’s time to cut her some slack already. 4% is what feels doable for my nervous system.
Starting with a delicious cup of morning coffee that doesn’t mess with my gut.
And here’s the thing: starting to work with what feels doable, with 4%, seems to have opened so much more than 4% capacity for nervous system regulation and healing.
Those old voices, while not completely silent, don’t run the show anymore. I love and respect my manager for taking care of me for so long.
She has some wisdom. She’s part of the family. We talk, reminisce about the old days; I soothe her, and offer her some rest.
She seems to be good with that, and life feels so much more than 4% easier.
What are the ways that you might be easier on yourself?
By 1%, 2%, 3% or 4…. Whatever feels doable for you.
I encourage you to give it a try, and see what opens up.
I would love to hear about it if you’d like to share.
Wishing you self-centred peace and love,
|Thinking of working with me?|
A Future Planning Session is a great way to discover how it feels.
Give yourself the gift of an hour, in safe supportive space, to land in your body and focus in on want you’d like to create for yourself.
I’ll offer that space, some grounding practices, insights and suggestions.
I know the power of setting intentions and getting out of my own way to allow them to manifest and would be honoured to hold that kind of space for you.
Sessions are delivered by Zoom, priced at the introductory rate of $250.
Book now or click here for more information.
|Thank you for being here!|
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Until next time,
Janine Bertolo (she/her)
Trauma-informed somatic coach & space holder
Anti-capitalist crone & Culture Maker