In yesterday’s webinar for the Growing Humankindness membership community, we explored slowing down, rest, and stillness – how to let things disintegrate and die.
It’s not always comfortable to trust this path of healing.
One of the greatest challenges of modern life is the plethora of information that comes to us at any given day, the endless options and choices, and the ways our attention and intention can get pulled across many domains and roles: our relationships, loved ones, families, work, community, self care, spiritual lives, homes, pets, health, finances….
The sheer volume that we care for and steward each day is staggering. As highly sensitive people this overwhelm can easily turn to overstimulation.
Food is a common way we soothe ourselves when our nervous systems are overwhelmed by too much sensory stimulation, too many emotions (including the emotions of those around us), too much to do, and too much pressure.
This includes the pressure to heal.
Often what highly sensitive people need is rest: less doing, time to fall apart and undo, time to play, and time to depend on something beyond our own will power.
When we feel so far away from the wholeness of ourselves, we often try harder and do more. Healing feels like a goal we haven’t yet achieved, something we’re striving to meet. We push, and push.
It’s easy, in this space, for the small, frightened parts of ourselves to panic. These parts think they need to take charge of this ‘whole mess’ and push us up the mountain of healing.
These are often the parts of us that try really hard – and work really hard – for us to get ‘well.’
These parts, more than anything, need to rest in something greater – to know that our nervous systems are always moving us towards greater and greater wholeness. When our nervous systems feel safe, they open like flowers.
While this understanding is found in many spiritual and wisdom traditions, it’s also a truth of relational neuroscience and our current understanding about healing trauma.
Our bodies hold our healing and unfolding. They know what we need, and we can trust them. When we’re satiated, burn out, or have had enough, we can trust that.
And we don’t have to hold onto every insight or a ha that comes our way, gripping it tightly in our consciousness, lest it fall away and come to naught.
Those insights arise from and rest in something greater, starting with our very bodies. Our bodies do and will remember. It is our bodies that know how to guide and lead us – and they are already holding our healing.
Sometimes we need to try and do less. Sometimes we need more play. Sometimes we need rest.
I’ve been given a taste of this invitation to rest as I accompany our sweet old Blue dog through her last months. As I watch her, I’m reminded that her body knows how to grow old, and older, and eventually, to die.
The summer solstice found me walking my dogs at dusk through a much needed rain storm. During walks, our vivacious half lab Bailey chases deer and rabbits while old Blue dog saunters slowly.
At some point, she’s had enough. That’s when I gather Blue in my arms and she settles in, nestled like a toddler across my chest.
On this particular night, as I walked in the rain, carrying sweet Blue dog, I tipped my head up to the sky to let it soak into my skin, taking it fully in.
The rain seemed to whisper, ‘Rest. Let yourself be watered.’
My dog knows how to rest, how to surrender to her limits, and how to let something stronger take over. May it be so for us, and for our healing.