WHAT HELPS ON
A WOBBLY DAY – DAY 1
This little diagram is so clever. The blue represents the total bandwidth of your mind. Take your finger and place it (fingernail pointing upwards) anywhere along the diagonal white line. When you move your finger to the left, there’s hardly any mind available to notice that you are lost in trauma distress. But if we move the finger to the right, more of the mind is available to notice, and as the noticing increases, the distress decreases.
Taking this into your own life, is it true for you? Last time you were in a wobbly day (or maybe that’s today), were you lost in it? Overwhelmed by it? Juggernauted by it? This can be the nature of trauma distress. When we are in fear and anxiety, depression or despair, it can become everything. We lose sight of the bigger picture.
Distress usually seeps into relationships by making us angry or avoidant. The wobble can affect work or leisure, or take over the whole day. We may ‘white knuckle’ our way through until we can switch the machine off with sleep (or some numbing mechanism). And even then the distress may manifest as a nightmare.
But if we become aware of the distress, in that moment, immediately it is NOT everything. Now we have a chance to help ourselves through the wobble to solid ground.
Today’s invitation is to begin to develop the capacity to notice and name what you are feeling. Try it now, by asking yourself, “What mood state am I in right this moment?” And repeating this throughout the day. This step is a shift to being aware of what’s here, rather than simply being wrapped up in what’s here.
If that felt difficult, bring some kindness to it, lay a hand on your tummy or heart. (These befriending skills are developed in ‘When the stress is just too big’, so you may want to explore this course). And if you find yourself getting fed up or angry with yourself, try the skill of letting that inner critic be heard but not believed – tell her/him we are coming to help, but it may take a few days!
This is the first step in the RAIN practice, which this course will build towards over the next few days:
Step 1 is traditionally called the R step, standing for Recognise…
We can’t help ourselves unless we recognise the need for help. So recognising is an essential skill.
Wendell Berry: The peace of wild things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
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