Hope in Dark Times...

October 2022

“All we need is hope, and for that we have each other…”

Andra Day from her song “Rise Up”

The world most people live in right now, is feeling precarious, exhausting and overwhelming. When the New York Times reports this week that anxiety screening is being officially recommended for everyone under 55 years of age, it is both affirming (“So I am not alone in this”), and, it says we need to be aware, alert and taking care of each other and those we are in contact with on a regular basis (family, clients, friends).

  • How can we steadfastly find and refill that place within - our Inner Oasis - so our own energy reservoir stays full?
  • How can we recognize when the drought and isolation of this long pandemic - perhaps having COVID, or other losses and challenges - have depleted that reservoir?

Last month I wrote about coming back after the pandemic into human physical connection with each other – the connection that awakens and nourishes our nervous system, so we begin to feel more alive, creative, and hopeful about life. In that article, I was focused on touch and the profound ways it affects who we are with each other.

This month, I want to add another layer – the skill of listening to each other.

One of my colleagues told me recently that he has added time in each session with his bodywork clients to simply listen to them because their need is so great right now.

What does that look like?

  • Ask them how they are, and then be quiet and listen.
  • Drop judgment as best you can, and simply let them know you hear them and can empathize with their experience.
  • Don’t try to fix it. Listen and affirm that you hear them.
  • Ask open-ended questions that help them find their own best way home.
  • Remember that our brains operate in such a way that you will want to share with them how you fixed something similar and so you know the path they should take. Please don’t do that unless specifically asked. It is hard! I must rein that part of me in repeatedly – and am not always successful!
  • Cultivate those friends that listen to you – that witness you - when your inner reserves are low or you are hurting. We all need each other right now.

This same colleague was the one, decades ago, who listened and simply witnessed me in a dark period in my life. His presence in that moment, helped me climb out of a hole of confusion and disempowerment that was plaguing me at that time. As I shared, he simply said in a kind gentle voice, “I am sorry to hear you are going through that.” It was the “hand up” I needed to start me on my path home to myself in a new way.

With those quiet but powerful words of affirmation that I was not alone, some remarkable things started to happen – within myself and the others around me.

“All we need is hope, and for that we have each other…”

About the Author

Suzanne Scurlock, author of books Reclaiming Your Body and Full Body Presence and creator of the Healing From the Core® curriculum, specializes in conscious awareness and its relationship to the healing process. She’s written hundreds of articles, including numerous columns and features for Massage Magazine and Massage Today.

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