Hiding Under the Covers…Resiliently
Sometimes when our world is crashing in on us or collapsing out from under us, we just want to hide under the covers and wait until it’s over.
I teach many, many tools for recovering our resilience and coping with the catastrophes and challenges of life. And one of those tools IS to unplug and take refuge. To take a much needed time out to re-group and replenish ourselves so we can continue to carry on.
I’ll be teaching the tool of Taking Refuge below, and many other tools at a Resilience and Post-Traumatic Growth public program sponsored by the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, April 6-7, 2019.
When you need a safe haven from everything that is bombarding you, a break from having to keep everything going even as everything seems to be falling apart….
1. Set aside three or four hours on a day when other people are showing up to deal with whatever is happening and you don’t have to.
2. Find a physical place where you feel safe and comfortable and won’t be interrupted: your bed, the bath, your living room, going for a drive in the countryside, or sitting on a bench in a park or on a hill overlooking the ocean.
3. Turn off all devices that keep you connected to your world. Leave them somewhere else for now, in another room if you’re at home, at home if you are out.
4. Simply let your mind empty itself of all worries, duties, and obligations. That’s not simple, but give yourself permission to let go of as much as you can. You can walk somewhere during this break if you wish, but you don’t have to. Let your awareness fill with whatever is pleasant and uncomplicated in this moment. You are alive and breathing. The electricity is on (if it is. You already walked the dog, who is now comfortably napping while you are taking this break. Let yourself experience something other than the constant overwhelm you have been experiencing. Let your senses savor any pleasant sensations you notice: the cushiness of the bed or couch you are lying on, the quiet of the house when no one else is at home, the smell of fresh air. (You may find that you fall asleep during these rare moments of refuge, and sleep may be exactly what you need. Do notice whether you feel restored by the nap or still feel overwhelmed. Taking this kind of refuge is meant to “fill up the well” so that you can return to your circumstances with renewed energy.
5. When the three or four hours are up, you may be reluctant to leave your refuge and return to whatever you must face. But you will face it from a more rested, balanced state. This exercise of deconditioning may even bring new and potentially useful perspectives on the dilemma.
Take this kind of break as often as you can. It’s not a complete break from your troubles, but a little break is far better than none. You will reset your nervous system, recharge your energy and revitalize your coping. You are rewiring your resilience.
That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change; but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. – Chinese proverb