WRITTEN BY Kate Naylor
Dear NL Community,
Is it just me, or is this whole pandemic lasting FOREVER??? Did anyone ever dream we would still be in the thick of it…..STILL? I sure didn’t. Clearly that was wishful thinking.
The other day, some of the NL staff was once again checking in on each other (via zoom) - How is everyone feeling these days? How is everyone managing? What are you thinking about/worrying about/afraid of? Many of us acknowledged we were having a pretty tough time.
The added stress of school uncertainty this fall has only deepened the anxiety we are all feeling. Some days are good, many are not so good, but the challenges we are facing this year just seem to continue with a consistency that makes our usual coping methods feel less effective than usual.
What is a Crisis?
The topic of crisis came up as we explored not only our own feelings but also the possible feelings and experiences of our valued NL community and beyond. Bettina remembered a story shared with her from one of our trainers - of Hurricane Harvey that devastated Houston and surrounding areas. The hurricane was predicted, albeit imperfectly, but at least a warning came. The storm arrived and was intense, but eventually, it passed, as everyone knew it would.
Even though the waters rose and wreaked astonishing destruction, we all knew the rains would come to end - a storm cannot last forever. Many people’s homes, including the one belonging to our NL trainer, were flooded or completely destroyed. But not all homes were flooded. Not everyone was devastated.
And so, the Houston community rallied, neighbors showed up, and rebuilding began. While the process was overwhelming, there was an end in sight. There were enough people who weathered the storm well enough to have energy and resources to give to others.. Homes could be rebuilt, neighbors helped neighbors….hope bubbled up.
This was a crisis. A devastating event with a beginning, a middle, and an end. There is some predictability, even in a hurricane. It will come and it will go - some will need enormous help to recover, and some will be spared so that they may be the help that arrives.
This pandemic, though, does not feel like a crisis. This pandemic feels like chaos.
Its arrival was not predicted, we were given no warning, no time to prepare. We were in shock and denial. The understanding of what is going on, how it is unfolding, and how we should respond has also been chaotic, disorienting, and upsetting.
And now we are heading into the 7th month, with the pandemic still permeating our country. We are suffering unimaginable losses. We are uncertain about pretty much everything - who we should listen to, who we should be around, how we should move forward. The end of this pandemic is coming, of course - but how it will unfold is entirely murky. When? How? Leaving what destruction in its wake?
Dear NL community, we are in chaos - the beginning, middle, and end of this pandemic are distorted and prolonged and therefore mostly out of our tangible grasp.
It is NO wonder that we are panicked, argumentative, afraid, sleepless, short-tempered, overwhelmed, shutting down, and completely exhausted. The helpers and healers in this country are doubly-burdened - not only do we manage our own lives during a pandemic, but we also consistently help others manage their lives during a pandemic.
All of us are being activated into emotional states we didn’t expect, or didn’t want - and many of us are feeling stuck there. And to stay stuck in difficult emotions and reactions causes fatigue….major emotional fatigue. Nothing about this period in our history is normal, and unlike previous national events that have challenged us, this one just keeps ongoing.
We are all tired. We are all stressed. We are all scared.
Why do I write to you to remind you of all the muck we are in? Because I also want to remind you that you are not alone. We are ALL struggling, AND I still see helping hands everywhere. I keep seeing people bravely asking for help, and each time watching dozens of responses of “I am here, what do you need?”. We are still all in this together, we are still neighbors, even if only virtually.
And NL is still here for you.
When we cannot control the chaos around us, we shift focus to the chaos inside us and to the power of relationships. What can we control? How can we connect with others? How can we cultivate peace inside ourselves? How can we find resilience in such a time of chronic stress and unpredictability?
The relational neurosciences give us a roadmap for how we can support ourselves and each other. We know that connection and bringing predictable rhythms into our every day can make a big difference in times of chaos.
Being part of a community, too, is powerful medicine. We hope to continue supporting you in our online events, on social media, and anywhere else we can connect.
Our upcoming Interconnected 2020 Conference is the perfect way to find connection, community, and both personal and professional growth. When the future is uncertain, staying grounded becomes both necessary and transformational - for each of us, as well as our clients and horses. Join us for this experiential and highly unique online event and participate in over 75 workshops, including daily healing practices, that are trauma-informed, somatic, movement, and attachment-focused!
NL’s Interconnected 2020 Conference - with Daily Healing Practices each AM and PM
Take good care, and keep reaching out,
Kate Naylor, LMFT, NLC - C,EP
The Natural Lifemanship Institute
Director of Trainer Development and Community Engagement
If you are seeking support, here are some other resources that might help:
Deep Breathing Animation - simply watch and follow along!
Find a Sit Spot (great for kids too!)