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A Song Can Lessen the Fear

Sderot, Israel is near the boarder with Gaza and is a city that experienced (experiences?) a constant threat of Qassam rockets being fired into the city. When a rocket is spotted, there is a “Red Color” alert that is sounded warning people to take cover.

Residents of Sderot have about less than a minute to get to a place of safety when they hear the warning “Red Color” announcing an incoming rocket (spotted by those who watch for them). Hearing a Red Color causes panic in many, especially children. ~ Source

“Children experienced real developmental regressions, some began bedwetting,” she said. “They were getting hysterical when the alarm sounded – some freezing in place, unable to seek cover. One day I felt like ‘now is the time’ and I took this song I’d made up to a kindergarten class.” ~ Source

It is not hard to believe that repetitively experiencing alarming threats to one’s life from ‘out of the sky’ would cause trauma for children. The following video is an example of how one woman helped create change for many children. She could not change the threat of the rockets, but she found ways to shape the experience so that the children were not stripped of all of their power and understanding but could, instead, become active participants in the event. The song she created for the children to sing integrates EMDR therapy, somatic exercises and relaxation techniques to help the fear and tension of the warnings move through the children’s bodies, and hopefully freeing them from some of the terror.

I am very inspired by this video. I wonder, what simple ways can we each use in our lives and with those whose lives we touch to gently reshape the ways we experience something, decreasing the impact of fear and unknowing?

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Feeling Belonging and Warmth

“Just outside of Nairobi there is an elephant orphanage where elephant calves found in the wild without a mother are brought to and raised till they are old and big enough to survive in the wild and then they are released back into the wild. NOTE the blankets tied around them. This is done with the smaller calves to give them a ” Feeling of Belonging and warmth”. When they are older this is removed. They have about a dozen calves in different age brackets. these are some of the smallest as you can see by the man feeding them.” ~ Picture Taker 2

Those of you that know me in person know that I love hugs. I love to feel my body embraced with another human being, to feel the warmth and aliveness of life connecting with life, and to be an expression of appreciation and often love wrapped into form. As a preschool teacher my life was a daily waterfall of hugs. When I left that job I went through some real withdrawals as I realized/remembered that in my ‘normal’ life I don’t get the easily 40 hugs a day to which I had become accustomed. I transitioned from that job in 2002. I’ve acclimated to that change and yet I still have days where I can physically feel the effects of not having had enough human contact, physical touch. My cells long for it. Closeness. Belonging. Warmth. Touch.

Am I looking for proof that I’m alive? Am I looking for assurance that I’m lovable? Am I looking for belonging and warmth to hold me? Am I looking for a safe place to rest? Do I need to open more fully, receive more wholly?

Who is it inside of me that needs the hugs and contact? How old is that part of me? Six perhaps? A bundle of joy, running around, sharing love and wanting to be loved? Wanting to know that I’m good enough in this form of being that I’m inhabiting and wanting to see and, more importantly, feel confirmation and reflection in embodied forms.

Mark Jones invites us all into a HSL (hizzle) experiment where in every interaction, one Hears, Sees and Loves everyone – including yourself.

Some questions I’m holding (and I’d love to hear from anyone interested in sharing): How do you hizzle with your body? How do you reach out and touch someone? How do you reach out and embrace yourself? How free do you feel to allow touch and contact to move fluidly as a form of expression? Are you inhibited by cultural norms, gender roles or personal insecurities?

And the next layer of my personal inquiry, In what ways do you feel belonging and warmth that transcends touch? How do you recognize existential belonging and spritual warmth?

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Brain Functioning and Body Awareness

I’m currently reading The Mindful Brain by Daniel Siegel. Last night I was reading about the functions of the left and right hemispheres of the brain. I’ll share what I learned with you in case you’re curious and then below are some fo my morning reflections.

Right hemisphere functions

  • better at seeing context and the whole picture
  • holistic
  • nonverbal
  • visuospacial
  • integrated map of the whole body
  • autobiographical memory
  • raw, spontaneous emotion
  • initial empathic nonverbal response
  • stress modulation
  • mediate distress and uncomfortable emotions
  • nonverbal imagery
  • somatic sensations

Left hemisphere functions

  • linguistics
  • linearity
  • logic
  • literal thinking
  • detail oriented, detail monitoring
  • in-depth
  • analytic
  • problem focused
  • fact accumulating process
  • mediate positive affective emotions
  • conceptual facts

According to Siegel, creativity is the integration of the functions of the two hemispheres.

“With the left and right hemisphere physically separated and functionally differentiated, we have the opportunity to achieve more adaptive function if we come to integrate them into a whole. This is how, I believe, creativity emerges not from one side or another, but from their integration.”

At them moment I’m curious about the interplay between my “integrated map of the whole body” and “in depth, analytic, problem focused” awareness.

From this morning’s writing: As I sense into my body right now, my attention goes to all of the places that ‘aren’t right‘. The soreness of my neck and back from sleeping with a pillow that’s too big, blemishes on my face that I don’t know how they’re forming (and it concerns me that they are), etc. As I listen deeper, I feel other areas of my body, but without judgment. I notice strongly the areas that are not in balance but I don’t seem to register with emphasis the areas that are in balance. So I wonder:

How do I invite my attention to notice and feel the places that are alive, fluid, healthy?
What does aliveness feel like in moments within my self?”

I would love to hear any personal stories that you have to share on this:
What is your sensing feeling of your body like?
Do you notice patterns around what you do or don’t register in your body?
How do you recognize health, wellness, aliveness, clarity, congruency within your self?
Is it different on the physical plane than in emotional, spiritual, social, or intellectual realms?

Thanks… curious as ever….

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