Faces of the Whirlwind
I’m on the phone, talking with a loved one half a world away. In the background I hear bellowed rage. I feel it tug in my body, tug memories of having that kind of rage spat in my face. Concern rises. I pause our conversation to inquire. Robbed of sight, and protected by 10,000 miles I need to know if everyone else is safe. “It’s okay, some guy in the park is letting his grief out.” After being reassured there is nobody with him, I say a silent prayer for him and the target of his rage. We continue our conversation. He continues to express his grief. And I continue to notice the responses of my body. I notice that the heightening in my body is much less than it would have been five-six years ago, much closer to an “appropriate” response to the actual level of threat.
We are living in unprecedented times.
At no time in our history have we had such access to information while something the scale of COVID-19 infiltrated our bodies, our minds, and our way of life. This level of uncertainty and insecurity is new to many of us who have been cocooned in our various levels of privilege in the West.
It is frightening, and some are being taken in a whirlwind of panic.
Others respond with instruction to avoid the “low vibration” of fear.
As in much of the positive thinking, spiritual white-lighting, white-washing common in modernity, there is an avoidance and grief killing in this. We have been trained to suppress what we are really feeling in a multitude of places and roles. Having this kind of thinking encouraged and reinforced by those urging us to be authentic creates a dangerous dissonance.
Fear is a natural, necessary life saving response we are wired with. It prompts us to action to save our lives. AND having spent decades of my life with a haywire nervous system constantly on edge, fighting to appear “normal” while scenarios grew and panic churned below the surface I am not advocating feeding fear. This is equally dangerous.
Peter Levine shares about his relief when he began to tremble and shake after an accident as he knew that this would prevent PTSD. This is where the healing is. Not gaslighting, ignoring, feeding or suppressing fear. Feeling and expressing it to get it out. Sometimes we do have to hold it together for a bit, but then we need to find, and create opportunities to fall apart.