Calm, calm, oh you darling, calm

So very many of us are feeling jangled, jarred and jiggled these days. We’ve fear running amok in our veins at times. We’re scared of covid or vaccine mandates. We’re nervous about our health, our money, our mental health, our jobs, politicians, you name it.

Our nervous systems are–frankly–nervous.

You know about the flight or fight response of the sympathetic nervous system, right? The body senses dangers and prepares to flee or confront. This ingenious system actually helps our survival during times of danger. But these days it can be threatened by, say, too much time on social media, reading the morning news, hearing that your friend’s brother died of covid, arguing with your sister about politics, hey, just name it–our collective nervous systems can be pretty much on high-maintenance survival mode these days.

About a year ago I studied about the nervous system (Polyvagal theory) with Deb Dana. She speaks about learning to befriend this integral system within. I wrote a blog about it last October called What does “Oh No, where did my purse go?” have to do with spirituality?

Then I moved on to other studies, keeping in mind the gifts and challenges of our nervous system, but really not thinking much more about it.

But lately it’s come full circle, as things often do. I am thinking a LOT about our nervous systems and the importance of calming them.

Calm, calm, oh you darling, calm

What soothes us? What jars us? Does the photo of the deer skull upset you? Or is it strangely calming as the earth cradles the doe in death? Exactly how do we learn to regulate our nervous system so we’re not in high alert 24/7?

I think the answer is different for each of us in our unique bodies. The answer is even different at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. It’s an ever changing recognition of what is upsetting our system and what is inspiring it.

A little upset can even be good for us because change may threaten to disturb our entire world–yet change may be what’s called for next.

Something that has eased my nervous system, slowly, slowly, over the past several years is learning how to be with pain, anxiety, sadness. Whenever one of these visitors appear I am more often able to sit with the emotion and allow it to be here. To see it from the perspective of the witness, or a larger awareness. To slowly, slowly sense a greater love that surrounds and melts the triggered system.

This love is stronger than the contraction, a gentle kind of strong, a sweet embrace of strong.

I am struggling to say this–a calm nervous system can allow hurt to arise and nurture it. We can learn to be the mother of what aches, what doesn’t feel right. We can be the mother of our fears and traumas.

The times we reach for excessive cookies, coffee, email, Facebook, Instagram, cell phone, beer, wine, TV–you name it–is often our body trying to desperately calm something else brewing in our system.

It seems to be about discovering an endless well of love that shines deep within us. Has always shined deep within. And this love allows the whole universe to arise within and as it.

A few days ago I wrote of a lupine blooming out of season. It is STILL blooming on November 10th after heavy frost and snow.

The miracle of this blooming is like the miracle of the nervous system. It can be befriended. Trauma and everyday rhythms of sadness can be enveloped and calmed. Sometimes we need helping in learning to soothe these bodies. It’s not a project for the short-haul; in fact I think it’s a lifetime endeavor of learning to be exquisitely kind to ourselves.

We can be oh so kind to our human bodies, oh so kind. We can call them “darling” and soothe them in their tight spots, their aches, their grief, their utter rawness.

Meditation is one of the tools that can help us discover the calm within. Just beneath the clatter of the mind and emotions lies this endless pool of relaxation. This calm is always present. That’s what we forget when we become too immersed in our inner thoughts and beliefs and struggles.

What tools do you use to find calm and soothe the nervous system?

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in November 2021 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Calm, calm, oh you darling, calm

  1. leelah saachi says:

    Bless you bless you dear Kathy, and YES YES YES

  2. Carol says:

    Oh, I am still searching for the tool that works the best. I’m finding myself in a period of high anxiety – blame it on the world right now because most often I cannot find anything that turns that anxiety on, but it is there nonetheless – and sometimes deep breathing helps, sometimes not. The search goes on.

    • Kathy says:

      Carol, I have heard so many people say the same thing these days. I am hoping you find other tools to help when the anxiety gets tough. I am really feeling for you–for all of us. Not easy times.

  3. wsquared says:

    Two things help me: 1) being outside, and 2) exercise, preferably outside, but as the temperature drops, that is less likely. Indoor works, too, though, and I’m grateful for that. Great post. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      wsquared, thanks for sharing what works for you. I know what you mean how challenging it can be to get exercise outdoors when it gets chilly. I am glad you liked the post, too. I see you wrote one after reading this–looking forward to getting over there and reading it. Hopefully sooner than later.

  4. Barb says:

    I love the photos which go so well with your words, Kathy. The bull rushes leaning on each other is my favorite. I do many things trying to keep equilibrium. I don’t watch tv, I’m careful about what “news” I consume, I wake and try to start each day with mindful thoughts of gratitude. I smile a lot! Brain research indicates that smiling (whether you’re happy or not) releases endorphins. I exercise (mostly outdoors) daily, and open myself to the natural environment. I try to find good in people and daily occurrences. Of course, I sometimes fail at all these things, and then I lay awake at night worrying….

    • Kathy says:

      Barb, you are doing so many good things for your nervous system. I am betting it appreciates the gifts of self-care and love you’re giving it. That smiling tip does work, strangely enough. May we all learn to try our best and then simply let it go when we feel we’ve failed. To start anew a million times if we have to. Knowing we did the best with the level of awareness we had. xoxo

  5. Stacy says:

    You always have something to teach this frazzled soul, Kathy. 🙂

    Recently, a student of mine and I reconnected. He introduced me to the Sacred Enneagram. This is the only thing that has ever made sense to me about who I am and why I am this way. Now, my challenge is to use that knowledge. One day, when I can articulate it, I’ll write about it. In the meantime, I will keep finding inspiration out there, outside my head, as I do when reading your words. XOXO

  6. Sarah Davis says:

    Leaving my desk to sit in the sun to read this beautiful, thoughtful blog. Thank you

  7. dawnkinster says:

    Mostly I try to remember to breath. And if that isn’t enough I go for a walk when I can. Both things help me sort things out and remember that life overall is pretty darn good.

    • Kathy says:

      Sounds like you’ve figured out what helps, Dawn–breathing and getting outside to walk. It’s funny how simple things like this can put it all in perspective.

  8. sherrysescape says:

    You write such calming and reassuring words.

  9. LaDonna Remy says:

    Such important and good information.

  10. I’m loving your pictures, Kathy, especially the white seed heads and the deer skull. I feel like I’m taking a walk with you and walking is one thing I do to calm and soothe my nervous system. Deep breathing works wonders and collecting a hug from my husband helps. “I need some endorphins!” and he obliges with a bear hug. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Ahhhh, the hugs from loved ones! Yes, Barbara, I forgot about that one! It has been hard for a lot of people who thrive on hugs to flourish during the pandemic. So glad you are enjoying the pictures, too.

  11. Robin says:

    Thank you, Kathy. This is wonderful. What do I use? Yoga, meditation, art, writing, and above all, Mother Nature. She has a way of soothing me and my nervous system without any help at all from me. All I have to do is show up. Hugs are rather nice, too. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      I like your list, Robin. I think you and I use many of the same things–except perhaps for art. It is such a good point that Mother Nature can heal our frazzled nerves without us needing to do anything. That’s an amazing gift.

  12. Alanna says:

    Petting a purring kitty does it for me.

  13. Ally Bean says:

    What soothes us? What jars us? Those are the two best questions of our times. I understand that my emotions come and go, while deep within I remain safely who I am. It takes more effort now to remain calm than it did pre-tRump, but I am trying. Less social media, more creative projects, lower expectations. That’s how I do it.

    • Kathy says:

      Ally Bean, I love what you said here–that deep within you can remain safely who you are. I LOVE that you know that! And also the ways you soothe your nervous system.

  14. In January 2020 I was having panic attacks. I had to get medication in the end to control them, but it helps to bring back the slowness and paying attention – and I think curiosity is always a great way to feel better – if you’re curious about things the world is full of interest and joy.

    • Kathy says:

      Andrea, I am sorry to hear about your panic attacks–no fun there. But I like how you pointed out slowness and paying attention and curiosity. Thank you for adding these qualities to the mix of soothing our systems.

  15. Meditation is one of the tools that can help us discover the calm within, Perfect and you’re right. While i was searching through internet, I did find some video of OSHO, I’m not a his big fan. But truthfully his video was on meditation and spirituality are incredible and fact oriented.

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for your comment. I know what you mean about Osho–I am not a big fan, either. But some of his books and meditations are beautiful. Really appreciate you sharing.

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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