When tragedy strikes, after the shock and disbelief, how do you support yourself and your family?
One of Josh’s relatives was killed by a neighbor on drugs this weekend. I was at work when I got the news. After the initial tears, I had to wash my face, go out and continue to care for the people who were coming in with lesser but equally relevant to them illnesses and injuries. I can put up a pretty brave front. Smile, act like you are interested, ask all the right questions, make jokes. But inside, my heart was racing, my palms were sweating, my throat felt tight. I could feel the little bursts of cortisol in my system as my body tried to assimilate the threat in response to my brain’s cues of danger.
This is a healthy and needed response for our bodies to have, and I am sure it saved many an ancestor of mine from being gored by a wooly mammoth. For many of us, though, our brain’s attempts to wade through the chronic stress and anxieties of the modern world cause anxiety, and our bodies react the same as if it was a wooly mammoth! This is such a hard thing to deal with! I have spent many years mentally chastising myself for these body responses. Anxiety is a funny thing. I have days when I feel great. I have other days when for no reason all day inside I have little cues of panic, little cortisol bursts and heart races, muscles tight, tunnel vision. And then of course, there are the days, days like yesterday, where there is a reason, although I don’t always have such a big event to trigger them.
Finally I am learning to be gentle with myself and listen to these cues as a message from my body that my brain needs care. So here is what I am learning to do to take care of myself when my anxiety or stress levels are high.
Yesterday, I was lucky to have already taken my Mito 2 Max, a beautifully formulated supplement by doTerra that I take every day to support my adrenals and help calm the “spikes” in adrenalin that come along with chronic anxiety and adrenal fatigue. Mito 2 Max helps me cope with day to day stress.
I also use a Hawthorn and Damiana tincture from Wish Garden every day. I feel it helps with the anxiety related palpitations and upset stomach I frequently get. I can tell a difference after missing my tincture for just a few days. Hawthorne is so supportive to the heart and cardiovascular system. In our interconnected bodies, I am not surprised it helps with this anxiety symptom too. Damiana, although it is best known for its use as an aphrodisiac, is calming to the mind and stomach.
Both these treatments are great for my day to day symptoms, but I was in a crisis. Luckily, I have found Bach Flower Rescue Remedy to be helpful as well as doTerra’s Serenity and Console essential oil blends. For general calming I use Serenity, for grief I use Console. Yesterday I didn’t have Console with me, but I had the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and Serenity. These helped.
On my lunch break I made sure to eat something with some salt, potassium, zinc, and vitamin C as these nutrients are all supportive of the adrenals. And today, and for the next several days as we support the family through the grieving process, I will focus on making sure my family eats nourishing meals and gets extra rest if they are able.
Lastly, today I am adding to my daily practice the goal of putting away from me any thoughts of anger and bitterness towards the man who killed her, and the justice system that knew he was a threat but did nothing until it was too late. Hate hurts the hater. Bitterness eats the soul of the bitter person and defiles everyone who is around it. As much as it feels good to have thoughts of justice and revenge at the moment, long term those thoughts turn into bitterness and hate. I do not want bitterness and hate defiling my soul or hurting me long term. So as a part of my daily spiritual practice, I am praying for peace and forgiveness in my heart. I am recognizing the sadness, helplessness and fear that drives those negative thoughts, and I am trying to hold the hurt fragile humans in my heart, while accepting that life is a gift and its outcomes are unknowable to any except God.
My job is to be brave. My job is to keep going forward with an open and helping hand. My job is to care for other humans without bitterness or hate.
Coping is hard. We Americans have coined the term “adulting” to describe coping responsibly in life and through the bad stuff. I personally always think of our current rather toxic definition of “adulting” as powering through hard things without taking care of yourself. I would like to challenge myself and you, to stop adulting for a minute. Take some time for nourishing your body, breathing, grounding, literally sitting on the ground if you need to, and checking in with your soul and spirit. What do you need in this moment to support yourself?
Fear has been keeping me from thriving! Lately my heart has been so heavy with the inroads the government is making on our freedoms in the USA. The recent legislation pushing greater government control in so many different areas is overwhelming and daunting. With the sense of panic I have over these laws and so many other things in this world that are happening and are out of my control, I have stopped focusing on what I do have a sphere of influence over. With this mental milieu, it is no wonder that my brain is not thriving! I have finally realized I can pray for our nation and world, and step in when I can. Other than that, it is in God’s control, not mine.
But I truly believe I have a purpose on this earth, and I don’t think it is to stress out over things I have no control over. God teaches me things when I open my mind. A few weeks ago, I was talking to one of the ladies who has offered to mentor us as we pursue our dream of breeding some dogs. She was mentioning how she had been mentally living in a place of lack, and she remembered the parable in the Bible where the master entrusted some of his servants with various numbers of talents, and told them to keep them and give them back after he came back from a journey.
Two of the servants went out and grew their talents, but the third one buried it in the ground. The ungrateful servant was bitter and angry towards his master instead of feeling blessed to be entrusted with the talent, he wasted his opportunity to be a good steward of what he had. When time came for them to give an accounting to the master of his money, the first two servants had worked hard to double the money and brought the master more wealth. The third one who had buried his money in the ground when it was time to bring it back to the master said, “I knew you to be a hard master, reaping what you did not sow, and so I hid your money. Here it is back.”
The master was angry that the servant had not at least put the money into the bank where it could have earned interest. The master rewarded the first two faithful servants, but the one who was lazy he took away what he had and gave it to the one who had done the best. I can hear the ungrateful servant even now, echoing down through the ages: “It wasn’t my fault! If the master had been a little more clear about what he wanted…If he had told me that he wasn’t going to judge my efforts…If I had gotten 5 talents like the other guy instead of just the one…It was too hard…” Matthew 25:14–30
I have been given an abundance of talents. What have I been doing with them?
Yesterday, I was talking to my doTerra upline. She said,
“YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE, THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS BEEN PRAYING FERVENTLY FOR!”
What a paradigm shifting sentence! Maybe that gift is natural healing. Maybe it is being willing to be present and listen even when I am busy and stressed. Maybe it is giving someone hope.
What good can I do in this world? What do I have to give that can fill up someone else’s lack?
I am a teacher.
I am a healer.
I am a caregiver.
Please take the time to comment below. What is your talent? How are you being led to use it? What barriers do you have? How do you need supported to be successful? I would love to hear of your successes and failures as we all grow together!