Kimberly's blogThe Collective
By Kimberly Jonas
09.21.2013 at 07:09 am | 3 comments
It has been an intense time here in Colorado. Just over a week ago, the skies opened up and rain started pouring down, the 100-year flood barreling down our canyons and into our towns and neighborhoods, unfettered. Though the storm has long-since ceased and the sun is shining again, ripples and waves of aftershock continue in earnest. There is much to attend in the wake of these floods, not the smallest of which is the maelstrom of upset, bewilderment, grief, and anxiety that was unleashed as a result of our collective experience.
As the last week progressed in Boulder, I personally became increasingly aware of how this swirl of emotions, created and stirred by all of us – The Collective – can take a toll on each and every one of us. I have heard numerous stories of tremendous overwhelm and confusion, exhaustion and illness, much of which clearly extends beyond the upset of just one person’s experience.
I myself had a round of profound, inexplicable exhaustion that I eventually realized was the result of much more than my own emotions and feelings. I was carrying quite a load from The Collective, and it had been building in my system for hours and days, unchecked. Once I realized this, I took steps to free myself of that excess in order to show up more effectively and fully with friends, family and clients.
And that is why I have chosen to write a short piece about the energetics of the aftermath we are going through in Colorado. To offer a perspective about how increased awareness of these energies, including their source and stealthy accumulation, can help us to take better care of ourselves and our communities.
When an event of such magnitude occurs, it stirs up a tremendous amount of energy on both micro and macro levels. We are each affected deeply, personally – the micro. We tap into larger stories and responses that are carried by our community, our culture, our country – the macro. And because we are all stunned, overwhelmed and set off-kilter to some degree, whether small or large, the energy isn’t particularly well-contained.
What happens when thousands of people move through an upheaval such as this? There are deep, dark passages of grief: tears being shed, homes and lives being mourned. As well as incredible moments of hope: the relief that comes when people bond together to move forward. Some descend into quiet determination, others into the twist of helplessness and confusion. There is no limit to the extent and quality of what is being – and needs to be – felt and expressed.
And the truth of the matter is, at a time like this, after an event like this, most of these feelings are not thought through and considered before they see the light of day. There is too much shock for that. Choice is not really an option.
It is much more common for our overwhelm, upset, confusion, anxiety, hope, grief, anger, fear, tenderness, and determination to be expressed with little forethought, in uncontained, not-yet-fully-understood ways. To come through sideways, backwards, upside-down as we try to make some sense of the layers and layers emotion.
The result is a lot of excess in the air – literally. Free-floating emotion and energy that will happily cling to anyone and anything. And the unsuspecting human body and psyche are easy targets, particularly when we are raw and exposed after a major natural disaster.
The point here is not to blame or place fault, for neither is a part of this equation. Rather, we must acknowledge and understand that this build-up is a real thing, and that it has a measurable impact. Perhaps as much as the storm itself. As our bodies, minds and spirits take on this accumulation of energy from The Collective, it can lead to all sorts of uncomfortable results: anxiety, insomnia, edgy-ness, illness, exhaustion, just to state a few. Once those things pile up in our system, we become less able to do the very thing that we all wish to do: Recover.
So what to do with this excess energy that you are carrying, if you are indeed being impacted in this way?
First, do your best to identify, specifically, what you have taken on from others. It may stem from one person or family, or more generally from The Collective. Try to name what it is. Worry? Despair? Expectation? Adrenalized reactions? Once you understand what you are carrying that is not entirely yours, you can do the work to both let that go and initiate any repair that is required.
There are many, many ways to release and repair. Meditation, visualization, yoga, running, swimming, dancing (my favorite), talking it through with a trusted friend, prayer… and the list goes on. You have to find the method that works best for you, while staying connected to the intent: Release what is not yours, and allow your body to recover from the build-up with plenty of rest, nourishment and quiet space.
As we all build our awareness of this phenomenon, we immediately contribute to shifting our energy, and thus our contribution to The Collective. This doesn’t mean that we are going to miraculously dissipate the tremendous mass of collective emotion that is bound to continue flowing. However, we can do our best to understand our part and not contribute to further chaos and imbalance. It may require some effort. It may require that you ask for assistance. It may be that you have to step away from loved ones for short bit to make it happen. My feeling is that the result will be well worth it. For all.« Read comments or add your own
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