Lately my highly sensitive soul has felt like screaming 'shut the fuck up' to the world.
Just for a moment, I selfishly want the world to quieten down, so I can gather my thoughts and think clearly.
The world feels topsy turvy at the moment, our rhythm has been disrupted and we have been required to adapt at a rapid pace. Around every corner we are being confronted with painful ugly truths about the dark side of humanity. Thanks to access to media we are being bombarded at every angle with information and it is coming in thick and fast. There's competing viewpoints pulling us in every direction and at times it is difficult to discern what is real and what is not.
The issues that have been flooding my headspace of late due to what is happening globally, locally and what is being reported on mainstream media and social media are (in no particular order):
Human rights violations
White privilege and white fragility
Continued systemic and individualised discrimination and harm of our Black, Brown, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC)
Continued systemic and individualised discrimination and harm of our LGBTIQA+ communities
Continued systemic and individualised discrimination and harm of other minority populations
Human trafficking and child sexual abuse
and sadly, there's others I have missed.
Now I am not naive to think that the issues I've noted above are something new or recent except for COVID-19, although pandemics are not new. I am also aware that these issues have been occurring for hundreds of years and due to my white privilege I have an inherent advantage that has meant I have been blind to these issues. It is also my white privilege that is wanting the world to be quite for a moment because I am feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed with all that is happening to us right now. Where, for example our BIPOC have never had the opportunity to 'take a break' from the oppression, colonisation, discrimination and perpetual systemic and individual harm they've been enduring for hundreds of years.
Believe me, if I could wave a magic wand and make the world equal, just and safe for all, I would. It breaks my heart and hurts my soul to witness the harm that is being caused. However my good intentions and my love for people is not going to create any level of systemic or individual change. Also, my highly sensitive nature and feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed is not a reason to look away. In my business and in my life, I have been taking action to be a better ally, to dismantle my white privilege and to create a safe space that is founded on humanity, respect and community.
Below I share with you the strategies I have been utilising to cope, create space to think and to be able to take action from a place of strength.
"Creating calm in our life, despite what external circumstances ask of us, is an essential life skill these days" - Dr Libby Weaver (2016) Women's Wellness Wisdom, What Every Woman Needs to Know
Firstly, feel all the feels. Do not deny yourself a natural human experience which involves feeling positive emotions (calm, love, happiness) and negative emotions (sadness, anger, frustration). Our emotions ebb and flow, be kind to yourself and move through your emotions gently and with love; cry or even scream if you need too. There is no right or wrong way of feeling your emotions.
Breath. Breathing nourishes your nervous system and is simple and impactful. Some breathing exercises you may like to research to try are: diaphragmatic breathing, alternative nostril breathing or lion's breath. I personally have utilised diaphragmatic breathing and alternative nostril breathing.
Move your body to shift stagnant energy. Walk, run, dance, skip, stretch out any energy that feels trapped inside your body. Dancing is my favourite way lately to move through the anger and anxiety I have been feeling.
Journal. Have your ever tried to carry all the shopping in at once from the car and what a sweet relief it is when you put it all down; well journaling gives your mind the same sweet relief. There's only so much information that we can have swirling around in our head before it becomes all to overwhelming. Unpack your thoughts and feelings on pen and paper through journaling. I have found journaling diffuses the stress or overwhelm I may be feeling and has given me space to think with greater clarity.
Be intentional with the content you're consuming. Ask yourself why am I reading/viewing this? What am I wanting to gain/learn/be informed about? Content that is currently circulating on mainstream media, social media and the internet can be painful to see, hear and horrifying. Consuming this content is not like reading a book or watching a movie, being intentional means your mind isn't 'free to roam' and I personally have found this approach meant that the content wasn't getting stuck in my psyche.
Create and maintain boundaries with the content you're consuming. Create boundaries around the amount of content you're consuming, the time of day you're consuming it (before bed is not advised) and the discussions you're having with family, friends and colleagues.
Do not read the comments section. Ha! I think this is here as a reminder for me. I have found myself deep diving into a black hole of social media comments made by the general public. I have found that my emotions range from anger, frustration and confusion when reading the comments, which does me no favours is cultivating calm. So, now I have made a commitment to not read the comments but rather seek out credible sources to be informed. Although I must admit the funniest comment I read was 'I blame the cyclists' 🤷🏼♀️ in relation to Melbourne's COVID-19 restrictions; not sure how this applies.
Example of intentional consumption:
If you're in Melbourne you'll be aware we are in COVID-19 stage 3 restrictions again or lockdown 2.0. I have created boundaries around the content I am consuming which look like viewing the morning briefing by the Victorian Premier, referring to Department of Health & Human Services website for particulars and then the 6PM News program. I need to be informed as to current cases, restrictions and changes and how to keep myself and my loved ones safe and healthy - anything else beyond I choose to not consume at this time.
"Big work? Yes. But don't say you don't know what to do. You do. And you can do it. Start or continue today." - Julie Parker (2020), Priestess, Ancient Spiritual Wisdom for Modern Sacred Women
Be curious, get informed. You don't know, what you don't know, but if you did know, what would you know? - read that again!! Being ignorant is no excuse! If you find yourself saying 'I don't know' then be curious and find out. Do the work to start to know. Also, question the source of the information as to its intention, credibility, undertone.
Small consistent action is greater than inaction. You cannot solve all the world's problems by yourself, nor are you expected to but you can be an active contributor towards consistent positive change. Ask yourself what is one small action I am going to take today to be a better ally, unpack my white privilege, dismantle systematic and individualised harm? I am currently undertaking a cultural awareness and truth telling course of the origins of Australia and its Black history. I am also completing training in raising my awareness as to what my unconscious biases are, unpacking, unlearning and dismantling my own biased beliefs, thoughts and practices.
RESOURCES + SUPPORTS
For your information, I trust that you will intuitively know what is most aligned for you.
The Wellbeing Connexion, Cultural Awareness & Truth Telling: a 7 week immersion
Hueman Equity Consulting, Unconscious Bias training
Lifeline Australia: 13 11 1 4 - Crisis Support, Suicide Prevention
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636 - Anxiety, depression and suicide prevention support