Self-Care for Computer/Zoom Times
A few thoughts are a-brewing in my home as I continue my COVID-19 quarantine.
I’ve been taking this excellent “Science of Well-Being” course offered by Yale through a website called Coursera. It’s totally free (unless you want to earn a “certificate” at the end; I figured I can make my own certificate for free and it might even be cuter than the printed one).
One of the most relevant things I’ve been learning from the course is how incredibly referential our brains are.
We might think that our brains are stoically logical and assess information against some absolute knowledge, but our brains actually process largely in relation to reference points. And reference points are completely relative. My reference points for poverty, for example, will look nothing like yours.
Thereby, what we pay attention to will permeate our brains and create reference points for us. The instructor uses this point to warn against social media use and also warns how insidious advertising that we don’t necessarily choose to pay attention to but that surrounds us on public transit, billboards etc, can be.
In quarantine, and without any social media accounts to scroll through, my reference point has largely been myself. Quarantine has been a space of really deep inner awareness for me. I’m aware of my own sensations and feelings and impatience or edginess and also my capacity to enjoy doing yoga at home or reading book after book, sometimes over the course of a single day or two (a pleasure I usually identify as being too busy to do). I’ve also been baking, cooking, sewing (not very well yet), taking smaller walks, and generally flopping around.
A week ago I also took a day-long seminar with an acupuncturist that was supposed to be in-person but ended up on Zoom. The topic was Diagnosis and Rapport but because we weren’t in-person we talked about the energetics of online communication. The speaker, Thea Elijah, talked about how uprooting or disembodying computer communication can be. Even as I type this I find that I’m leaning in towards the computer, as if you could “hear” me better if I get closer to the screen.
One of the ways she grounds down during calls with her clients or friends or whoever she is talking to is by saying out loud, feet planted on the floor:
My name is ___________.
I have a back body.
I have a pelvis.
I have legs and feet.
Because I tend to sit cross-legged or with only one foot on the ground, I changed that last line to: “I can feel my feet on the ground/floor” (so that I have to put my feet down). Actually being connected to the earth helps me feel rooted.
The “back body” is a term from yoga that just means “the back of your body.” It’s the part we tend to ignore as we can’t see it, but it’s the portion of the body where acupuncture channels associated with the nervous system run.
We identify more with the front of ourselves (our faces, the parts we display to the world) but the back body holds a lot of potential and power.
This ritual might seem super weird but I find it incredibly helpful for bringing me back to my body, back to myself.
If you begin feeling disembodied during quarantine, or find yourself getting sucked towards your computer or phone screen, plant your feet and say these words out loud, eyes wide open! Try this with a friend. Really commit to feeling your body as you make each statement out loud. You will feel so stable and can speak from your heart after this.
I made a video for you demonstrating this exercise! I hope that you can feel the sense of power this simple statement, when you lean into it with your whole being, can provide.
Just in case you can’t, I accidentally made a second video demonstrating how to go from giggly to grounded.
While creating a video for you about opening your heart (more on that next newsletter), I started getting giddy. I get nervous making videos. I would much rather write.
What you don’t see at the beginning of most of my videos is a few false starts that I cut out. (Interestingly, that first video I linked to where I do this exercise was one successful take--no editing.)
My partner Hanbit is always encouraging me to make videos, in part because he’s a photographer and loves creating impressions in picture form.
While I was trying to make the heart-based opening video for you, I started giggling because Hanbit was winking at me (unintentionally), by opening the eye not looking through the camera then closing it again. I tried to start a few times to start then realized (duh) that I could do this exercise to get grounded. After doing so, the heart-based opening video came out in one smooth take.
I posted the giggly-to-grounded video for you to enjoy. (It’s silly.) And also to demonstrate that you can shift your nervous system if you kindly invite yourself back to right now.
Quarantine is becoming “normal” for me and it’s feeling a lot like life. There are anxious times and sad times and scary times and awesome times.
If you start to feel stuck or carried away from yourself, invite yourself back.
I am Monica Fauble.
I have a back body.
I have a pelvis.
I can feel my feet on the ground.