This morning I woke with a dense heaviness throughout my head and body, uncertain why or where it came from. I took note of it with curiosity and eased my way through my morning routine. I drank my tea, meditated, and got on my mat. I connected to something larger than myself and found more spaciousness. As I moved through my morning, it clicked. Today is a big day for us and a big day for our country. Today former FBI director, James Comey, testified in court. Let me be clear that I do not intend to bring politics into this piece, but rather speak to an undercurrent that resonates and unifies us all, regardless of political party.
Once my brain caught up to my heart this morning, I began to reflect on uncertainty. How does uncertainty affect me? How does uncertainty affect us? Us as a country, us as humans. When I feel uncertain, I grasp for understanding. I grasp for a sense of control, however slight it may be. For most of us uncertainty generates fear. It spreads through our bodies like toxic gas, sometimes undetected until it leaves us paralyzed. I’ll assert that once we feel fear, consciously or subconsciously, many of us shift into old survival patterns.
We do what we know. In a matter of milliseconds, our brain scans through past experiences and finds a response that has led to safety. This response could be lashing out in anger, withdrawing from others, or any action to protect one’s self. Then we are full steam ahead into the pattern. It may seem automatic and a part of “who you are”; however, you are not your patterns. In fact, we are given choice points along the way to do something different. The key to seeing these choice points is awareness. Once we have awareness, we can then choose what happens next.
The first step is to pause and become present. Acknowledge what you are experiencing. Give it room to exist, without resting in it. Even when the fear feels out of control, remember it will pass. The great news is that nothing lasts forever. Once you accept your experience, get curious about the trigger(s). What is there for you to learn? Then take action toward what you need. This morning, I felt a sense of heaviness and dis-ease, so I found my roots. I squared my feet, squatted in chair pose, and got still. I breathed and felt how I was held by something greater than myself. As I pressed my big toe mounds into the ground, I felt my chest and heart lift. I felt clearer, stable, and more receptive.
Once we get steady and clear, then we are open to choose love over fear. It is a practice and a lifelong process. The good news is that changing these fear patterns becomes easier over time with practice and you are not in it alone. As we choose to shift out of fear and into love, we are free to create the live we want to live.
As a nation and global community, we are experiencing tremendous amounts of uncertainty right now. This morning was another reminder of this for me. I felt the uncertainty and fear arise and then I had a choice what to do with it. My hope is that in the midst of uncertainty and fear we remember to pause and become present, acknowledge what is, be curious, and choose love. We are all in this together. When all else fails, find your feet and breathe.
Kaitlin Pratt, MA, LMFT: Kaitlin is trauma therapist and the co-founder of Operation Fierce Kindness, an educational platform created to help individuals find freedom from fear-based living to ignite positive change on an individual, community, and global level. She specializes in somatic psychology and the mind-body connection. Kaitlin has a private practice in Walnut Creek, CA and volunteers at the Westcoast Post Trauma Retreat (WCPR) working with first-responders suffering from post-traumatic stress. For more information, please visit kaitlinpratttherapy.com / fiercekindness.org.
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