I was faced with responding to a negative review on Yelp the other day, a negative review of my family's business Rubini Jewelers. A business that I love to be in both because of the innate creativity involved, and because I love our customers. They are sometimes gentle, sometimes anxious, sometimes loving, sometimes open, enthusiastic, worried, psyched, creative...everything human and endearing. So when we received a poor review, I felt immediately off balance. My livelihood felt threatened, my family felt attacked, I wanted to defend the issues the review brought up with ferocity. But, I created exactly what the reviewer offered: attack. I posted a sign on our store door for 12 hours, that was meant to show openness and acceptance of all people, but it triggered just the right person who felt just as attacked and threatened by the COVID 19 pandemic as I felt.
I looked at my defensiveness with understanding: I love my family, I love my business, I love my customers- that's why his words upset me. They were in stark contrast to my truth. I realized responding to him was going to be easy. I acknowledged my sign could have been misconstrued, and I spoke truthfully about my and Rubini Jewelers feelings and intentions with our business. We all have triggered days. This is not an excuse for any bad behavior but rather a nod of understanding of the human experience. I felt better having responded to the best of my ability at this time in my life going through what we are going through, honoring myself and family and the validity of the points raised by the reviewer.
The serenity in my body lasted maybe an hour, and then my anxiety crept back. I could feel it in my pelvis, in the clenching in my hips. At Rubini Jewelers as of June, we are neither overwhelmed with work nor underwhelmed. We are using this slowed down time to create much of our own jewelry for sale, we are revamping our website, reorganizing displays and supply storage. This time is allowing us space to do our job better. So why, I asked my hips, are you so worried? Why are you clenching?
This time and slowed down pace allows us all space to notice our body's messages. If we get triggered in the present, and can face and diffuse the trigger, and still find our bodies reacting, then it's an old message that's being sent. Be gentle with the message and explore: "Hey body, what's up?" "What is my underlying current?" "Am I anxious? Afraid? Sad? Mad? Revved up? Bracing? Retracting?" Keep asking your body what it's feeling. And when you find the undercurrent, explore the what. For example "Hey body (I love you!), what are we feeling anxious about?" "Am I anxious about work? money? my home? my relationship? what?" If we can look at our present moment and see that we are clothed, fed, safe, and even in relatively seemingly stable relationships but we still feel unsettled in our present, our root chakra just needs a bit or a lot of TLC and reassurance.
Meditation can be used for self healing and self soothing. Before you tune out because meditation is "too hard" "too far out" "unproductive" etc, I'd like to our some thoughts about it. It, meditation, is not a fancy out of body experience only for the 'spiritually ascended.' Meditation is at it's essence, simply spacing out. It can be done doing whatever you want as long as what your body is doing something that is not a new skill that requires consciousness. Meaning, meditation can be done: walking, washing dishes, stretching (yes, like yoga), even running or swimming. It is often easiest to go into a gently guided spaced out place in your mind while being still, but not at all necessary. The candles and pomp and circumstance, crystals and music, and ritual activity, although helpful to prepare your mind to float about, are again never necessary. My last comment about meditation and healing is that although it is often said that a specific amount of time and silence are required to do it, and so we put it off because we don't have the time and the quiet. What I offer is that quietness or binaural beats certainly can help us in our meditative practices, but are not necessary, nor is a lengthy period of time. Our minds can be our shelter even without physically turning off the outer world, and it can be done in just a moment. We are all worth this.
Once we decide to reach inside to allow us to reach without, healing will come. Sometimes in baby steps, sometimes more dramatically, depending upon our preconceived notions about what we can achieve. Going back to the ROOT CHAKRA imbalance example, if we gently start probing our minds and asking for the why we are having the anxiety about stability and money and work, if in the present it is all relatively stable, we will be open to a little time travel. We will have the thought to explore when the last time was that we felt stable and secure in the world. We were little. Did we ever feel secure and safe and balanced and stable? Hopefully, the answer is yes, in which case, we were quickly easily thrown off balance and out of peace with our Root by a seemingly innocent incident. A sentence. A belief that we were starting to form in our little child brains based on what we heard around us, that gets cemented by the small choices we are allowed to make as children. If we have some anxiety as children about our safety in certain circumstances, then we will choose the option that we believe will best keep us safe. And it is possible, that either choice would be safe, but choosing one way in our minds proves that the other way is less safe and thus we proceed forward in life with this now slightly skewed sense of balance. For me, my little brain felt safer with mama. But my mama always seemed to feel rather off balance herself. So I made choices towards my mother- choosing more time with her, choosing more interaction with her, than with my father. Choices that were supposed to make me safe but might well have contributed to my perpetual off balancedness.
Healing starts with acknowledging our why's in the past. Why did I always choose to go with my mother rather choose to spend a bit more time with my father? Healing continues by recognizing the power of our younger selves to make those choices. Choices that were made and beliefs that were formed that we thought were for our safety and greater good based on our tiny experience of life at the time, that in retrospect, may not have served us in the way that we thought. What if I had chosen to open to both of my parents' wisdom, love and support? What if I had chosen to take their words of discipline not as fact that I was bad or that half of me was unacceptable, but as gentle guidance to always participate in the world with loving eyes both for myself and for others. Most parents do not intentionally try to shame half of their child into the shadows. Most parents want to keep us safe, which means getting along with others. We as adults can acknowledge the repressed feelings, fears, thoughts, and beliefs forming, of our younger selves so those get expressed and freed from imprisonment in our bodies.
Healing continues with new choices, with a different interpretation of our story, of our past. We can visualize not just visiting our younger selves, but actually merging with our younger selves. We can enter our small selves and look out of our earlier eyes. We will see the world with both the wonder and sometimes timidity of youth and also with all of the wisdom of experience that all of our live's choices have informed. With this temporary dual perception, we can both consciously choose different experiences and/or consciously choose to form different beliefs about the world (ie. life is fair or not, life is abundant or not, life is hard or easy). This is healing. This is expression of our shadows, our repressed thoughts and feelings, and establishment of a story that better suits us, now that we've grown up and learned so much from our old story. We all have this power. Try it on, we are all worth it.
-With love <3