Matt Licata, PhD
from an email I received
The next time you find yourself looping in self-attack, disconnected with your body, and spinning in repetitive cycles of shame and blame… slow down. Feel your feet on the earth. Breathe deeply from your lower belly. Return to your senses in the here and now.
Just a few seconds of coming back into your body, of empathic presence, can cut through billions of previous moments of self-abandonment and begin to encode new circuitry, bringing alive the miracle realities of neuroplasticity.
It takes a lot of energy and practice to shift our awareness out of the seductive, sticky, compelling storyline and into the very core of that raw life that is surging in the body to be held. This isn’t a goal that we “succeed” or “fail” at, but an aspiration, an intention to replace the older pathways of self-aggression with those of kindness and presence.
Go slowly, pushing yourself a bit, testing your window of tolerance but taking care not to fall into overwhelm. If it becomes too much, stop your practice and take a walk, look at a tree, feel the energy in your hands and feet, rest on the earth. There is no hurry here, no rush to the finish line. Your life is not some endless self-improvement project. Just one micro moment at a time, then rest. A few seconds, then rest.
Moments of activation, surges of emotional and autonomic activation, come to each of us during our day and week, not as enemies to harm or take us down, but as invitations into a deeper relationship with the vastness and majesty of our inner nature. They are allies, but the nature of their friendship must be discovered within the alchemical vessel of our own bodies.
Though it may sound so simple, slowing down in these moments, feeling our feet on the ground, laying our hands on our bellies or hearts, these are radical, revolutionary acts which unravel and transform personal, cultural, and collective networks of disembodiment, dissociation, and trance.
As you slow down and provide a home in which the visitors of the soul, the guests of the nervous system can be held, you are able to ask: what is it that I need right now? How am I being invited to take care of myself in a new way? In what way might this surge or ache of emotional activation be opening a portal into my heart, into my soul?
As we slow down and provide sanctuary for the lost orphans of psyche and soma to return home, new pathways of empathy and compassion are grooved and brought alive. No, it’s not easy and will ask so much of us. But as we deepen on our path, in micro moments of embodied experience, we might start to realize that suddenly there is so much space here.
Yes, the anger, the sadness, the uncertainty, the anxiety, the fear, it may still be present, but somehow the context is radically different. Even the emotions, the images, the feelings, the sensations are also made of this space. Not a cold, detached space, but one which is woven together by warmth, by light, and by love.
You are already held by something vast.
Through this aspiration to no longer abandon yourself, you come back into your power, grounded and embodied in the reality and perception of the warrior, a warrior of love, come here not only to heal yourself but as a vessel of presence and transmutation for all beings.
Over time, as we deepen in our practice, we may come to discover that taking care of our unresolved emotional wounding and unprocessed trauma, and resting our own nervous systems isn’t something we do only for ourselves. It’s something we do for others and also for the world.
Untangling the trance of disembodiment and self-abandonment is itself the activity of love, for the earth, the ancestors, and also for the ones yet to arrive here.
Through our own unique play of embodied compassion, seeds of holding and of light are planted which then ripple through the neural circuitry of our star.
Please take care of yourself and I wish you the very best with your own awakening and healing journey.
P.S. If you’ve not yet seen them, I have five free videos that you can watch here, on a variety of topics that I write and teach about.