Dear Body,

(Song Dedication: Resilient by Rising Appalachia)

For the past three Tuesday mornings for one hour, I have had the privilege of sitting in front of my laptop as I connect with some familiars and some not as much, yet all warm and welcoming via Zoom to participate in the Dear Body series, my friend Emma is generously hosting.

During this hour Emma carefully and intuitively curates a cohesive offering of poetry, music, guided meditation, writing prompt and then final reflection. Each and every hour, I begin disregulated by my anxiety and self-doubt only to find myself rested, settled and relaxedly upright on a seemingly much straighter spine – better rooted? Grounded? Just better…better than from where I started.

This practice is integral to my role as a social-emotional helping teacher of adolescent students, that I begin my work week this way. Because Fact: a disregulated nervous system cannot teach another disregulated nervous system how to develop social emotional awareness for self and others. Practicing what I “preach” full stop.

Actually this practice is just integral to my beingness. Full stop.

During the 20 minutes of “free time” I use this space to write against the backdrop of Emma’s selections of rhythmic harmony, melody and lyrics, old school pen to paper. This process further opens me up to release what is no longer serving me and carefully nurture what I would like to set within my knowledge or wisdom, like a purple and white pansy gently pressed within the cover of a heavy book. A preservation of discriminate selected past tidbits.

I thought I would share the unfurling of thoughts and feelings that rose to the surface of my consciousness this morning.

Dear Body,

I feel my uniqueness in you when the fire is stoked deep in our belly.

When our eyes framed by furrowed brow, watch the fear and anger seep & spill from their being.

When our ears hear words of doubt, frustration and self-destruction – we hear the clicks & grinding of misalignment – the exhausted yawn of lost hope.

Our skin bristles in response to lashing & thrashing reactive Ego.

We taste the iron of bitter blood as tongues are bitten rather than used as our best instrument of truth & release.

The fire burns at our chest & licks at our logic, well beyond the brain stem – threatening to consume us if we refuse to back away from the tinderbox of fuel.

Cool air is deeply inhaled slowly and purposefully, not to fan these flames but to soothe the already scorched internal landscape.

And then pause…

Your uniqueness reminds us, this is not our inferno. It is familiar & brings old sentiment because we once were nearly consumed by our own flame but learnt over time and space how to handle it, how to respect it, how to allow it to burn brightly, safely contained…

To clear the acid of fallen needles & choking underbrush, to remove what no longer fortifies us…

To make room for newness, fresh sprouts & tender ferns, rich black soil in which to plant a new forest of safe haven and curious, wondrous exploration.

Their fire is like ours, but not ours; it is a gift.

I worry okay. I worry a lot. I see suffering and I want to douse it with the biggest fire extinguisher possible. But the pause is where I do my best ‘saving’, where I allow others to experience their adversity through my witness, not by my fixing, not by my putting out of searing hot things.

I believe the more I bare compassionate witness, the more resilient I will become to place trust in the purpose of our live’s hardships and victories. The more I develop this skill, the more I can demonstrate the power of grace and acceptance, that I wish all human beings discover they already possess. We need practice and repetition to cultivate this necessary human experience of being with what is and recognizing it as our privilege to endure.

If you are interested in Emma’s Dear Body offering, I recommend highly that you follow your intuition and allow yourself this time of peace and exploration because we all deserve a safe place to land from time to time. 

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