When Everything Goes into a Tail Spin

Photo Credit: Katie Drazdauskaite

Not long ago, I was cruising along feeling good. I enjoyed a healthy body, supportive and delightful family, interesting & reliable friends, and a successful career. Most of my juice was going towards finishing and promoting my first book, A Guide to Body Wisdom. Although driven by the deadlines and challenges of becoming a published writer, I’d reframed the stress as an exciting adventure. Then, everything went into a tail spin. 

In the midst of natural disasters, health emergencies, financial reversals, and losing dear friends, my sweet, predictable life fell apart. As one thing led to the next, my sense of being in control crumbled and the ordinary strategy of working harder & getting creative wasn’t the solution. In order to find the way through, I needed to practice what I preach and let body wisdom be my guide.

I didn’t really have a choice. Because life was in such disarray, I needed to put one step in front of the next just to find my way. With my attention necessarily focused on the immediate present, any professional, political and social interests receded into the background. During this time of healing and repair, listening to my body became a lifeline. Here are a couple of things I learned in the process:

Conserve energy. Listening to my energetic body clarified the importance of making good choices. Like a mathematical equation, it was obvious that a walk on the beach gave me energy; scanning social media did not. Listening to the news was depleting; sitting in the garden was replenishing. Binging on the 300 plus episodes of Resurrection was like eating junk food; while listening to my BodyBreath CD was nurturing. Conserving energy gave me the resources to focus on the essentials of healing.

Get current. Listening to my emotional body helped me stay current with my feelings. The relative comfort/ discomfort of flowing versus stuck was easy to discern. If I felt calm and centered, my emotional body felt at ease. If I felt tight, numb, or agitated, my emotional body felt uneasy. Creating private moments to get the stuck places moving again included rocking/ moaning to release grief and shaking/humming to release fear. Getting current helped me sideline the drama and do what needed to be done.

Stay connected. Listening to my spiritual body established a link to higher knowing and endless possibility. Visualizing an open channel through my body and the expansive space around my body created a context where I could ask for & receive help without reservation. Here, it was easy to feel the presence of love and support. Here, the steady voice of my higher self could deliver words of trust and acceptance and light at the end of the tunnel. Staying connected helped me show up with confidence and grace to see my way through. 

I know many of my readers are experiencing their own upheavals. I’ve written this for you as a reminder to let body wisdom be your guide. Of course, when you listen in, your own body’s wise council will be tailor-made just for you & your circumstances.

Addendum: I am 6 months out from hip replacement surgery, feeling renewed and inspired to continue carrying the torch for Body Wisdom. I’m seeing clients again for bodywork and somatic healing – please email me to book a session in Santa Barbara; writing articles for Somatic Psychotherapy Today ; and trying to stay current on social media (Facebook and LinkedIn)