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This blog post will take less than 10 minutes to read.

If you prefer to start by listening to the 30-minute Audio Recording of Steve Accompanying you through these 5 steps, CLICK HERE.

What follows is a recommendation for spiritual practice. Why spiritual practice?

As I look at what’s happening on the world stage, I can’t help sometimes but to shake my head in bewilderment, and wonder, “how is all this bonkers stuff happening around the world?” I’ve needed a way to sustain my sensitive nervous system.

When you check in with your heart, do you notice things stirring (or storming) within you, such as: dis-regulation, overwhelm, hyper/hypo-arousal, stress, at your wits end, angry, devastated, disheartened, bewildered, etc.​?

(Maybe you’re feeling lighthearted, trusting, and powerful? If so, you may not need the the entirety of these steps, but the practice I teach below can support you in deepening your relationship with your heart.)

I have found this practice to be incredibly helpful to navigate through the seeming chaos (or anything, really), whether your nervous system is overstimulated from so much input, or you’re experiencing inner chaos trying to navigate your way through the labyrinth of business.

The practice I share below is one that I’ve used for many years, and I really hope that you find it supportive.

From my heart to yours, here is the:

5-step Practice to Help Settle your Heart in a Chaotic World

 

ONE

1.) It’s not wrong to feel what you’re feeling, including grief, fear, and anger. Let yourself feel it all fully. Notice where you feel it in your body. Notice how it moves, it’s texture, colors, and where the mind plays a role. Just notice, and then allow. Notice, then allow. And if the feelings become “too much” for you, use some practices to regulate, ground, and anchor (see P.S.: below). As you notice what you’re feeling, inquire through your heart asking, “what if it was okay for what I’m feeling to exist in me? And what if it was okay for me to be having this experience?” Can you access how, what you’re experiencing, is beautifully okay, naturally human, and how there is so much space within you for all of it?

 

TWO

2.) Be willing to consider the full spectrum of what sensations, qualities, experiences, feelings are available to you. This might sound like, asking through your heart, “What do I have available to me in this moment? What can I access? What is my heart longing for?” Then, start with what’s most prominent for you. You may notice: fear is available. Uncertainty is available. Anger… you get the picture. Go through them all – whatever you notice. However… don’t stop there… go on asking about the more pleasant things too! You may not be fully experiencing these things in the moment, but can you connect to the essence of the following being available to you, somehow, someway? “What about love? Is love available to me? Is graciousness? Is compassion available and accessible to me?” Just sincerely notice if you can stay open through your heart, to consider the possibility that all of it is available to you – what’s uncomfortable, and what’s desired.

 

THREE

3.) When your system is less activated, and feeling more grounded and settled, connect in your heart to notice that for which you are yearning. Be in connection with whatever you consider the Divine to be: Source, the Universe, whatever. Let your heart speak whatever it is longing for, especially as it relates to all that is happening in the world, and let it do so loudly and clearly and without boundaries​. Let all of it be heard, witnessed, and held – fully. (And throughout this, remind your mind that it will have it’s turn to speak later on.)

 

FOUR

4.) When you feel like you’ve emptied yourself sharing what you long for, take some time to request and receive nourishment directly from Source. What if the Divine was able to saturate you with Love? What if there was an ocean of kindness, or strength, or mercy, or peace available for you, so much that there was no end? Allow yourself to ask to receive whatever qualities your heart is thirsty for. Let yourself drink in those qualities as you sit in relationship to Divine Source. Even if you don’t feel any quality or ​anything​ happening? Consider, what if you didn’t have to feel it, but could trust that it was still coming in and nourishing your heart? Stay in this step if you’re noticing nourishment come to you, or transition back through #1, 2, 3, and here, as needed, until you feel deeply connected and pulled forward by love.

 

FIVE

5.) Now that you’re grounded and nourished, ask to be shown in your heart, “what is needed from me right now?” (You may need to remind your mind that this was not it’s queue to start up again – but soon!) Let your heart be soft, open, and willing to see something new! Notice, as things percolate, if it feels rooted in love, or in “should.” (Discard all “shoulds.”) If a step or two show up for you, be willing to receive that guidance, being called forward in love. Remember that things get done by taking consistent small steps over time. It’s okay to take small steps (or big ones, if that’s where you are). Keep asking, and asking, and asking, as you bring in a deep willingness to not know the answer. Set all expectations aside and continue asking the Universe (or whatever you consider your Higher Power, or the Greater Reality beyond what we can see with our eyes, to be) to reveal to you what action step is next for you. Then just keep asking and noticing, asking and noticing. Look for actions that feel doable, and rooted in love for all.

 

Through these five steps, may you experience a sense of being supported in the world, a clearer understanding of how to navigate your own heart through it, more profound access to a felt experience of being held in a space of love, and perhaps even a healthy step or two that you can take which will allow you to be in action, while not trying to carry it all on your own, knowing that it’s enough.

Every day seems to bring new, unpleasant surprises, and the overstimulation of our nervous systems is growing at an alarming rate, so I invite you to double-down on spiritual practice so that you can really lean into the larger, sturdy, and reliable Source of Love.

If you would like a 30-minute audio recording of me accompanying you through this 5-step process in Remembrance, click here.

With kindness,

Steve Mattus

P.S.: Some very simple examples of emotional regulation include:

Distraction

Find something that is emotionally neutral and mentally light to occupy your attention and focus for a time. This could be just about any “mindless” activity as long as it is not related to or involved with the situations which are stimulating our nervous system. Don’t engage in mentally difficult, problem solving work for this strategy, it’s meant to let you “check-out” in a fairly healthy way for a time so your physiological system has time to settle.

“Distraction skills are important because (1) they can temporarily stop you from thinking about your pain and, as a result, (2) they give you time to find an appropriate coping response.”

– Matthew McKay and Jeffrey C. Wood and and Jeffrey Brantley, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance,

Self-soothing

Self-soothing is meant to bring you some amount of peace and relief from your pain so that you can figure out what you’re going to do next. Taking a bath, getting a massage, physical touch, comforting singing, stroking hair, etc.

“Self-soothing skills also serve another purpose. They’ll help you learn to treat yourself compassionately. Many people with overwhelming emotions have been abused or neglected as children. As a result, they were taught more about how to hurt than to help themselves. The second purpose of the self-soothing skills, therefore, is to teach you how to treat yourself kindly and lovingly.”

– Matthew McKay and Jeffrey C. Wood and and Jeffrey Brantley, The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook: Practical DBT Exercises for Learning Mindfulness, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Emotion Regulation, and Distress Tolerance,

Anchoring in the Body

When our systems are activated, we lose much of our connection with our whole self. This includes our awareness of the safety we find within our physical body. Sometimes we wish to escape our physical body, feeling as if we don’t belong, or we don’t “get it,” or everyone else doesn’t “get it.” Right?

What I’ve experienced personally, and also learned from one of my spiritual teachers is that our whole system, including our heart, spirit ,and soul knows that until it’s our time, we are meant to be in our body. In fact, perhaps we even chose to be here in these physical bodies. A spiritual life isn’t about escaping out of our body, but is actually about landing firmly into our body, and having a full human & spiritual experience through that body.

To anchor ourselves more firmly in our body it’s helpful to notice what’s happening with it. There are SO many processes happening in our bodies, most we don’t even have to think about. What is it like for your gall-bladder to do it’s thing? What if you could sense the size shape and condition of all your organs in your abdomen?

If you would like to try, sit quietly, and continue inviting what’s in step 5 above. Bring your inquiry into your abdomen, asking, “What’s in here? What does it feel like inside you, to breathe? Does your lung brush up against your ribs when you inhale? How do you know? This kind of exploring our physical noticing can last hours and hours and hours. Start inward and work to the outside of your skin and how your skin connects with and interacts with the outside world through clothing, etc.

In addition to this, you can use any small object that you can hold. As you’re in a quiet space, with your attention inward towards your heart, pick up the object. Eyes closed. And notice what the object feels like. What are the textures, seams, quality? What about listening? Does it make sound? What else can you notice with your ears? What about smell? And does it emote? Does it have a taste? What happens if you put it in your mouth? What do you taste? And lastly, open your eyes and enjoy this object with your eyes open. Just using your physical senses can really bring out some beautiful and noticeable new sensations, which you can only experience from within your body. As you do this exercise, you’ll notice your attention come inward… to your body.

 

OH… before I forget… that action memo to your brain.… here it is:

P.P.S.: Okay brain… it’s your time.  Let’s go do what we gotta do to take that next step. You with me?  Good. Count it down… 5…4…3…2…1.… GO!!!

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