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An Afghan mother comforts her crying child moments after a dinghy carrying Afghan migrants arrived on the island of Lesbos, Greece. Arrivals have numbered in the hundreds of thousands. Photo by Alkis Konstantinidis.

Renee Trudeau's picture

As I along with the rest of the US have attempted to digest all of the crises and atrocities we’ve been observing, I have found myself vacillating between wanting to run out and take action and withdrawing from overwhelm to return to the  safety of my home.  Throughout this emotional roller coast I’ve continued to reflect on “What is mine to do?” but I also have been asking the best way to “be” with so much discomfort without succumbing to fear. I keep returning to this reminder: remember to breathe, stay present, feel what’s coming up  and continue to ask, “Can I be with what is right now … and be ok?”

Learning to accept my present state, practice mindfulness, and feel my feelings has been one of the most powerful lessons I’ve ever learned (thanks Kert), and it will always be a work-in progress.

Over time, I’ve come to realize three things: 1)if I can accept where I am without trying to change, it can provide a sweet sense of freedom, 2)I won’t die, drown or implode if I allow myself to truly feel what I’m feeling and it’s key to healing and 3)joy and bliss-just like pain and fear-come and go, too. Don’t get too attached to any one feeling–they’re all here today … and gone tomorrow. Kind of like the constantly changing weather.

Some of the things that have helped me learn to “be with what is,” include:

Having a strong support network, a tribe, that can provide support and validation for the incredible, messy journey of being human (check out our Personal Renewal Groups and consider joining a group or facilitating groups for women in your area as a RTA-Certified Facilitator; these powerful groups have had an enormous impact on my healing over the past 14 years).

Practicing self-compassion and being gentle with myself (especially when I know I’m “triggered” and navigating intense emotional terrain). Consider my upcoming retreats,  which are very focused on cultivating self-compassion. We have 2 spots left for July 15-17 in MA.

Keeping the big picture (read cultivating a 30,000 foot view) and being around friends who can help me pull back and gain perspective.

Breathing and conscious movement: whether it’s through pranayama (balancing breath work), yoga, qi gong, energy medicine or walking with a dear friend–these practices really helps us navigate strong emotions, which are simply “energy in motion!”

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