What a week, my friends! I hope this note finds you well, and most importantly, healthy.
I can imagine the challenges and changes that you’ve been weathering in your body, nervous system, family and communities these past few days as our world comes together in the face of the corona virus.
I hope you’re being gentle with yourself during this time.
When we get reactive in the face of stress
I could feel the tension of the week building in my own nervous system yesterday. It was building all day, and then came out in an argument with a loved one last night.
It can be so hard when our stress rockets!
Overwhelm, alarm, and stress can come out in arguments, stress eating, sugar bingeing, self criticism, yelling at our loved ones, impatience, grumpiness as we wait in lines, irritiability and sharpness with ourselves and those we most care about.
Whew, and ouch!
If you’re someone who’s sensitive, who really cares about being conscious, present and living from your heart, these moments of reactivity can send us into places of guilt, shame or feelings of inadequacy.
When guilt sends us into food
Often, this is when we feel driven to eat: when we feel like we’ve fallen short and can’t meet our own expectations. In our sadness, fear, or shame, we eat.
It’s these times when we most need a deep breath, a hand on our heart, and space for the knots in our being to unkink.
So as I move to repair the rupture with my loved one, and as you care for your being this week, I hope we’re all compassionate with ourselves, our mistakes, and the ways we lapse into reactivity in the face of overwhelm.
It’s such an important step – to not throw ourselves out of our hearts when we get caught.
How stress riles us up
A stressful experience like a pandemic – and the accompanying uncertainty around money, food, health, and safety, not to mention the disruptions of our daily routine – can spike our nervous systems and bring up a lot of emotions.
Trying to track the news, wondering if we’re overreacting or underreacting, concerns about health or money….whew.
If you tend to turn to food or sugar to self soothe and care for stress – and this is so many of us! – this additional stress can bring us into a state of alarm where we’re using sugar more frequently.
When we’re trying to ‘come to rest’
This week, I was remembering what my mentor in developmental psychology taught me about stress.
When we’re in a state of stress or alarm, our brain ‘goes to work’ trying to ‘solve the problem’ or danger.
It tries all sorts of things – like eating! – to move us out of the sympathetic nervous system and fight, flight, and freeze and into rest, into the higher brain and parasympathetic nervous system. (The parasympathetic nervous system is where we feel calm and okay.)
Eating does work, temporarily – it can bring us into the parasympathetic nervous system. It can bring us temporary comfort or pleasure.
But it doesn’t last. And overeating brings its own suffering!
We’re wired for connection
There’s something else my mentor taught me about stress: when we’re under stress, we seek connection.
We seek out others for comfort, soothing, togetherness, and co-regulation.
We turn to friends, family, support people, pets. We turn to our relationships with nature and our spiritual practices.
We’re wired to seek out this connection when we’re under stress. It’s one of the beautiful ways our beings are made.
Your cravings are a cry for connection
This is why I say cravings are prayers in disguise.
Cravings are a cry for help, a cry for connection. They arise from the thirst of the heart.
If we can pause, breathe and be with them, we can hear their deeper message: how they are moving us to reconnect.
These kinds of connection – with our hearts, with our loved ones, with life – are what help bring our nervous sytems into true rest, and into true refuge.
It’s this true refuge that enables us to gently turn away from the candy bar or giant meal.
Virtual group support
Now that we’re distancing ourselves socially, our need for connection can feel even greater!
In my community, people are trying to bring as many things as they can online – yoga classes, church, temple and worship services, work, school – as services temporarily shut down.
I’m so grateful for my friend Mary’s zoom yoga class, an oasis of connection and breath, and my spiritual community, where we practiced meditation together, online.
My offering: a community class
Like many of you, I yearn to serve. This week I sat with my heart in prayer, meditation, and silence, listening to how I feel led to serve during this time.
I really yearn to help, to support my business, and to support you.
What came to me is to offer an Emerge: Create a New Habit group course for our community, with special community pricing.
My team and I are working behind the scenes, preparing this offer for you. We’ll be in touch over the coming weeks.
For now, I wanted to give you a heads up so you can check in with yourself to see if this is something that speaks to you.
I’m looking at a start date in early to mid April, with Q&A webinars on Thursdays at 1 pm central.
Let’s come together
I know that when we come together, we’re better, and stronger. Our connection feeds our courage, softens resistance, and sparks new ideas.
We can support each other in softening sugar habits and setting some limits around their sugar consumption.
We can support ourselves in bringing compassion to our messy ways of coping.
And the beauty of this class is we can do it online, creating connection as we’re homebound.
What you need to know about the Emerge group class
The Emerge group course includes 30 days of audio materials, tools for caring for stress, reactivity, and cravings, and tools for caring for emotional reactivity.
It also includes two ways you can connect with others and receive support:
- a private group forum (Like a Facebook group, but it probably won’t be hosted on Facebook, but in a quieter, more private space.)
- And 4 weekly zoom Q&A webinars for asking questions, doing healing exercises together, and sharing and connecting with the group
I recently offered Emerge as a home study option. But with the pandemic, I feel called to change course and offer this special group class.
In the wake of the corona virus pandemic, I’ve decided to offer this course with community pricing, a sliding scale. So it will be priced differently than my normal offerings.
It’s my intention that if you want to join the class, that you’ll be able to!
At the same time, our business and family also needs to pay ourselves and stay afloat. So a community offering, versus a free class, is how I can honor your needs and our needs both. It feels good to my heart, a way of caring for all of us.
If this is something that speaks to you, I’d love to have you. And please share this offer far and wide. We want to support as many people as we can, and who want the support.
If you have any questions, kindly let us know and we’ll get back to you.
And sending love to your heart, and all those you love.