Monday morning was shattered by a single phone call. His words felt like a lightning bolt coursing through my body. From the top of my head, plunging into my stomach. He called to say his wife, my dear friend, had died on Saturday.
Sudden death. No good-bye. Horrific. Tragic. Days before Christmas.
When I hung up the phone, I checked my inner state. After all, I’d just been struck by a lightning bolt of loss.
I asked my body, “What’s the kindest, most loving thing I can do for myself right now?”
- I made a cup of hot water with lemon and drank it all.
- I searched my mind for the person I could call who would be glad to hear my voice. And who would listen.
- We connected and he asked me about my friendship with her. He asked me what I was feeling in my body. He breathed with me.
- I was very gentle with myself for the rest of the day. If I had a broken leg, I would move slowly. This emotional ‘break’ slowed me down.
- I paused before the next ‘thing’ to ask, “Now what, Spirit? Now what?”
Releasing fear and trauma
Then, two days later, a client called. She told me, “I read my manager’s email and instead of responding with curiosity, I went into fear. The fight or flight reaction overwhelmed me. What do I do to get this fear out of my body?”
Knowing she has Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and lives in Fragile Grief, I replied:
- Hop up and down shaking your arms and hands.
- Make a sound as you do so. Now make it louder.
- Now run in place until you can’t go anymore.
- Slowly come to a stop.
- Then, either stand still, sit, or lie down.
- Bring your attention to your body and notice how you are connecting to the floor, the chair, the bed, or the couch.
- Connect to your body by breathing in and out through your nose.
Now it’s your turn
You too can try this if you experience sudden news or some other triggering event. If you get struck by a lightning bolt of loss. Release the fear and trauma instead of carrying it through the holidays.
Hanukkah begins on Monday followed by Christmas Eve and Day,
then Kwanza, and the New Year celebrations. Remember to check in with your precious self.
When you are grounded in your body,
your presence is a present to everyone around you.
Love all around, above, below, to the left and to the right, before you and behind you,