Can something so exhausting be self care at the same time?
I ask myself that question every time I return from leading a training in a traumatized community with the Center for Mind Body Medicine (CMBM).
Last week I was in Shasta County, CA, a community devastated by wildfires.
As senior faculty with CMBM, we lead the community in training in small and large groups so that they can go out and extend this training to their own community, building a sustainable model for healing.
And EVERY TIME, I come back flat out exhausted. I mean, literally, from the moment I walked in my house to the next morning, I could hardly stay awake, kind of exhausted.
And yet, I tell people the truth...it's the BEST work I do, hands down.
Not only do I get the privilege of the community opening their heart to me, I get the ABSOLUTE GIFT of being inspired by human beings' capacity for RESILIENCE AND HOPE!
I mean I can't think of anything bigger to fill my emotional cup with.
They taught me yet again that we and our purpose are BIGGERthan any one trauma.
WE are CAPABLE of more than we think.
And there are other gifts in working with communities that have experienced common trauma, whether natural or man-made:
#1 WHEN WE SUFFER IN COMMUNITY, WE SEE HOW SUFFERING TRANSCENDS OUR DIFFERENCES.
When our hearts hurt, when we experience fear…AND we see someone else who is going through the same thing, it doesn’t matter what their race, religion, socioeconomic status or anything is. We just know that we are both human and that our being human and our hurting is what brings us TOGETHER, not apart. It becomes impossible to deny that we are all here living life and vulnerable to the same, exact pain.
#2 WHEN WE SUFFER, WE WANT SO BADLY TO CLOSE DOWN. WE FEEL PAIN AND WE WANT IT TO STOP. BUT IT’S AROUND US CONSTANTLY AND IN A WAY, THAT GIVES US NO OUT. WE MUST OPEN OUR HEART.
This is the problem most of the time, my friend. We want to shut down. We want to close our heart. Keeping it open seems too painful.
But this is the secret, right here, right now.
The MORE we open up and stay open, the more we connect.
And the more we connect, the more we see our suffering as universal.
And the more we see it as universal, the less weighty it becomes.
We can hold it together.
If you want to get a small taste of the work there,the local news did this clip on us while we were there!
(So nostalgic for me, I can't remember the last time I watched the local news!!)
And I am so excited to get back to our regular FB lives on Fridays so this Friday, I'll see you at 9 AM PSTto break down last week's post on using gratitude to get through an IRONMAN (I'm still so inspired by that and want to make sure we break it down together!)
If you ARE NOT ON FACEBOOK and don't get to watch our lives, let me know. I'm starting to put them on you tube for the general public and would love to know how many people are interested in accessing them there. Here's the link!
And to any of those 94 members of Shasta County who may be reading, I am so grateful for ALL you taught me.