tools for navigating these uncharted waters by katie grossman
by victoria larkins
Tools For Navigating These Uncharted Waters⌇A narrative + educative piece dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak by reiki Practitioner, marma Therapist + ayurvedic consultant Katie Grossman
As we are in the midst of navigating the uncharted waters that we currently find ourselves in, individually and collectively, I want to start by sending you all some love.
There are so many realities happening at once and it can be overwhelming to process everything. The most difficult thing to do is to hold multiple opposing feelings, experiences or realities all at one time. The devastation of the sick, dying, and hungry, and the beauty of the compassion, community, and generosity we are experiencing is difficult to grapple with. Tuning in to the fear and the love, while holding them both without criticism, isn’t a simple task. I am still struggling to do that but I know from experience that it is possible. Every feeling we feel has something to teach us. This is a time to listen to ourselves more closely than ever before.
Often we think from the left brain logic center and put things into categories, trying to make sense, measure, weigh, and compare in order to understand things. It’s not as common to make friends with the right brain because our society at large hasn’t been super supportive of intuition, creativity, receptivity, and feeling. Right now, I feel as if we are in a collective right brain take over! Welcome to the gray area where nothing is known, stumbling in the unconscious is the norm, and the potential and possibilities are endless. Sounds great! But it’s also incredibly challenging, since we don’t all have a ton of experience operating from this space. Above all, this doesn’t feel like a time of one thing dominating another, but more about the collective balance and integration of the inner masculine (proactive) and inner feminine (receptive) sides of ourselves.
We are all losing something in this moment. Loss is painful, challenging, and we are not often taught or modeled how to handle it in a healthy way. After losing my partner, business, friendships, colleagues, health, home, grandmother, and frankly, myself, over the last few years, I asked the universe: how can I experience every loss as a gain?
I learned that not every loss can be experienced or felt as a gain and that the ones that do are rarely instant. The space that comes after loss can feel uncomfortable, messy, and awkward. For me, it required wading deep into my unconscious, darkness, and shadow to learn from and integrate all of these parts of myself that often sit in my blind spots. I call this transformation and integration process "sitting in the filth of my snakeskin.” Before the snakeskin is shed and we are born anew, there is this, often excruciating phase, of pausing and sitting with all we are about to shed. I’m still in this personal individuation process of transformation and I don’t know if it ever really ends or if it just takes a variety of forms. I can say that sitting with the pain, learning to feel through it all, without judging, distracting, or harming myself, has been invaluable and has allowed me to see that all of the things that are no longer in my life have afforded me the space and opportunity for renewal and infinite possibilities. I know myself better from processing loss. This space is giving me a chance to start over and rebuild a healthier foundation within myself so that next time around I am a bit wiser and more trustworthy of my self, my discernment, and my choices. I feel that due to extenuating circumstances, now the collective has an open invitation to experience this process too.
As individuals and a collective, we are facing a mass mourning of the old way of life, and I am choosing to trust that this loss is paving the way for something beautiful and new. Before we can come to place of acceptance with what is and has been happening, it feels important to acknowledge everything that is coming up. We can’t just fast forward--first we have to take the time to mourn and feel all the frustration, angst, anger, disappointment, heartbreak, fear, anxiety and stress that is coming up. Our current international circumstance is like a massive pressure point that is applying pressure to everyone in different ways. How can we cope and hold space for ourselves and our community in these challenging times?
For many of us it feels important to help others, but before we can help others, we have to help ourselves. We are much more helpful outside of ourselves if we are feeling full first. Nourishing ourselves through diet, movement, breath, creativity, compassionate community, supportive relationships, sound, presence, and wisdom, can be great ways to fill up our tanks, get centered, process the pain, and bring us closer to ourselves, but they can also be distractions if we are not careful. I have been checking in frequently with myself and making sure to only follow through with nurturing practices that feel intuitively aligned with allowing myself to feel everything. It feels incredibly important in this time to allow for deep rest and not force anything. We are all learning to refine the delicate balance of taking care of ourselves and taking care of the world around us. Some days self care means I lay in bed and cry. I remind myself daily to only take in and do what I can. Above all else, this feels like a time to rest and integrate. Through deep states of rest we can process so much. Resting and receiving the cues from our inner worlds sounds simple but it demands its own form of diligence and getting quiet enough to listen.
I have found so many practices to be helpful but there is nothing more supportive than connecting with a loving, judgment-free, like minded friend for me in this moment. A healthy relationship that leaves you both feeling fed and centered is invaluable. Many of us are not in living situations where we are feeling that nurturing and there are some lucky ones who are. Either way, connecting with like minded soul family can really elevate my day.
I am also incredibly fond of binaural beats. When I can’t sleep or feeling a rush of anxiety and stress or fear, these tones are tremendously balancing and grounding. Sound is potent and has a great impact on our minds, nervous system and bodies. You listen to these with headphones on. They can be found for free on youtube or purchased on iTunes. These healing frequencies stimulate or balance different organs, systems and chakras almost like sound acupuncture. I like to explore all the different varieties and find the perfect frequency based on what I need in that given moment.
Diving deep into myself and tracking my feelings in my body through body scans and somatic practices has also been key. When an emotion comes up I close my eyes and tune in to how my body is responding to that emotion or thought. I try diligently to stay with the feeling and trace it as it works its way through my system. This can be very overwhelming so finding a somatic therapist or coach to hold space for this process and better learn this skill could be a good solution.
I am a trained Reiki Practitioner, Marma Therapist and Ayurvedic Consultant. I find that pressing my pressure points, particularly the solar plexus point as shown in the chart below, is helpful when coping with anxiety and grounding into the self. These Marma points are a great tool you can do for yourself or do to others.
The form of Marma therapy that I was trained in comes from a warrior tradition. The warriors in India were known to use these pressure points as a martial art to kill or stun their opponents and they were also used, as I am explaining here, to pull out trauma from the nervous system so that the warriors could go to battle with perfect reflexes the next day. Simply apply pressure to the pressure point and hold for 9-12 seconds. Then rub to release the point. You can press pretty deep on these points. I would recommend to avoid pressing your pressure points directly after eating, after taking any form of intoxication, and generally if you are pregnant (only a trained practitioner should press points on pregnant women). There are certainly a few other less general contraindications so feel free to contact me directly if you have questions or concerns.
Ultimately, we are living through a circumstance that has caught the world off guard. Shock is real. Anger is allowed. Frustration deserves attention. Grief and loneliness are front and center. “I don’t own emotions. I rent,” is one of my favorite lines from the musical “Rent” written by Jonathon Larson. It reminds me that emotions are felt and then move through me, they don’t define me.
My prayer is that we can find the strength within to be gentle with ourselves and towards whatever is coming up to be processed and released. It’s okay to feel unprepared and experience discomfort. No feelings are good or bad, they are just providing information. The body is constantly giving us cues. If we listen close enough, the body has a whole lot of wisdom to share with us.
Sending love and healing prayers.
With loving kindness,
Contact Katie for sessions + guidance
instagram : @brainbellybody
email : email@example.com
phone consult : 914-784-3037