Recently I visited the EWG (Environmental Working Group) site to check out less toxic cleaning products. I wound up spending more time than I intended. I found myself pulled in as if mesmerized by voodoo drumming, quiet at first, then building to a blinding crescendo of bewilderment. I was so disturbed that I had to take myself away from my computer and my office to a cup of tea and a book. But I couldn’t sit still, couldn’t focus. My breath was shallow, and my heart felt a bit bumpy. My energy took a dive. That’s when I recognized I was in reaction. I pulled out my tool kit! Okay, just breathe, focus on the body and look for clues. Where is the anxiety? What is the feeling? What do I need right NOW?
Bumping up against a stimulus that triggers an emotional response can re-stimulate a past trauma. When this occurs all sorts of systems engage, physically and emotionally. This destabilizing rips us out of ourselves, our alignment, and our reality for a time. However, with observation we can bring ourselves back by shifting away from the mind and into the heart.
The experience I’ve described was intense for me though it may sound silly to you. I won’t pretend to understand all of the physiological and spiritual ramifications of destabilizing triggers. For me getting lost on a site that exposes corporate and consumer irresponsibility is painful and disturbing. I felt fearful and betrayed when I read about the chemicals being used by many companies I thought were green. I feel helpless when I recognize the far-reaching impact of these practices.
I am not an activist; I don’t belong to organizations aimed at disarming the outrageous behavior of big corporations. What I can do is shop more carefully, research brands, and educate myself. I can write my representatives, etc. However, I have to do so at my own pace to avoid overwhelm. Feelings of guilt, shame and self-blame can be crippling and can block rather than motivate productive behavior.
My work is about educating and sharing the tools I have discovered that help women step into themselves. Trauma, be it a tiny reaction to a friend’s words or a full blown restimulation pulls us out of alignment with spirit. We have to reboot, reset and reenter with gentle care. Self-compassion is vital to building the courage and stamina needed to confront the things we want to change in ourselves, in our relationships, and in the world.