If water is a universal symbol of life, protection, purification, and transformation, then the well is a universal gathering place: to slake thirst, to rinse off the dust of a journey or a day’s labor, a place to connect with others.
Even in “regular life,” the pace of life and the demands we respond to keep us from slowing down, catching our breaths. We feel individually and communally depleted. It feels like there is more story than time. And now, we are experiencing the added grief, hyper-vigilance, and pressures of the pandemic.
A well is a place to connect with a universal source of life. It is a social hub, from ancient times, the world’s first “water cooler,” where humans exchange news, gossip, and deep wisdom.
Refilling the Well serves as a resource for gatherings online. We will post links to live, online offerings, where we can gather at the “virtual well,” to find clarity, solace, and discover our own and one another’s wisdom.
Come gather at the well of story, ground ourselves physically and emotionally and be present to one another. Bring your thirst, your dust from the road, your friends, your words, your vessels, and refill with us.
April 19, 2020
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy video from Russ Harris
I was going to do a piece regarding the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), but the marvelous video will more than suffice! Enjoy this simple wisdom and let it serve you in the Highest ways!
April 16, 2020
In what was “normal” not long ago, it often seemed like we were living in interesting times, but now, these interesting times are unprecedented. Now more than ever, we are being called to serve in so many ways, whether it is on the medical front lines, caring for friends and neighbors, or simply staying sane. We are being called to act according to what is ours to do. Here is a gentle reminder from a tradition that has been an integral part of my own healing journey: First things first. Let’s consider putting ourselves first. We can’t be of much service to others when our tanks are empty. We are Human, not superhuman. The best way we can help another is by making sure our oxygen mask is on first. On an airplane, the pre-flight instructions talk of putting your own mask on before helping another. The mask analogy is taking on another level of meaning due to this pandemic.
In many recovery and healing circles, there is a term that can enable one to remember to slow down when the going gets going, time flies, and the well runs dry. The term is H.A.L.T. which is an acronym for Hungry/Angry/Lonely/Tired. Often, when one is out of balance, it is due to one or more of these aspects being depleted or forgotten. When we are out of sync, it is best to remind ourselves to hit the internal pause button, wherever that is, but it’s there. With more practice, we learn how to increase our response time, and we are able to return to a place of balance. It may be helpful to ask oneself, “in which area am I out of balance?” and “how can I take care of myself around it?”
Let’s start with Hungry:
Often we are the last to know when we are hungry. Eventually, we get those internal reminders; the stomach twitch, slight ache, rumblings, fogginess, energy drain, and most often it shows up as irritability, restlessness, and discontent because we have forgotten to eat, especially when we get so caught in the throws of life’s responsibilities. We forget to care for ourselves. Below are some ways we can best take care of ourselves.
Think back to a time when you made time to enjoy a meal. Was it not more satisfying? Did you eat less and know the exact point when your body felt properly nourished? It’s easy to treat food like another thing to get done. We often forget to savor what we ingest, to honor where food comes from and all that helped create it. Let’s give thanks to our bodies for the way they transmute our food to nurture us and provide sustenance. When eating mindfully, we can carry that reverence for food into many other aspects of life. By practicing mindful eating, we learn to become more engaged with life.
It is the same with hydration. Most of us do not drink enough water. Studies have shown that up to seventy-five percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated, which can hold long-term consequences. Drinking water can help us eat until we are satiated, in addition to helping our minds and bodies run optimally. Being dehydrated can leave us feeling tired.
Anger is one of those emotions that is often misunderstood. Most of us were taught to avoid anger or to go into a rage. Either approach can lead to harm of self or others. Anger is an honest emotion. It often signifies that a boundary has been crossed or that there is a threat to one’s livelihood or safety. Anger itself is not right or wrong, yet there are healthy ways to express it without hurting others or oneself. Often anger is an emotion that leads to sadness, grief, or fear. For the sake of anger’s role in H.A.L.T., unchecked anger can lead to more anger, and so on. Taking action based on unexamined anger can harm others and self. It’s easier to say or do things we don’t mean and that can impact others in negative ways and when one isn’t angry anymore, that is a lot to clean up emotionally. So why not nip it in the bud and practice self care instead?
What is feeling lonely compared to being alone? I invite you to ponder that. In the context of H.A.L.T., Lonely is when one is feeling disconnected from others/spiritual source/self or isolated from others. During this time, it seems especially pertinent due to self quarantine, social distancing and all the rest of things we are asked to do in the spirit of keeping everybody safe. When one gets lonely, one’s mind can go to some of the scariest places — alienation, anxiety, emotional pain — and like anger, these feelings can multiply exponentially. When one is feeling lonely, what would it be like to make a phone call to a loved one/friend? Sometimes the phone can feel like it weighs 500 pounds. It doesn’t, honestly no, it doesn’t. Just imagine the potential of making someone’s day even better by reaching out. We all need connection. As a society, we are starving for true connection. For me, it often takes vulnerability and courage, and it is so worth it when I do it. I look forward to seeing loved ones in person and sharing hugs. There is a lot to be said for genuine alone time in terms of recharging and cultivating creativity. True alone time that fills my proverbial cup makes me even more connectable. Alone time is an act of self-love. This time of isolation can be a great time to have genuine alone time. Enjoy!
When was the last time you felt tired or emotionally and physically drained of energy? What did it feel like? What event, or series of events caused you to feel that way? How can we thwart being tired, before it gets the best of us? Sleep is a precious resource. Are there things that keep you up at night? What are some ways to practice good sleep hygiene? Where in life can we slow down? During this time, there can be opportunities for some of us to do just that. Often, we are taught to go! go! go! Instead of Don’t just sit there, do something! How about, as Sylvia Boorstein said, “Don’t just do something, sit there.” How many of us are adrenally fatigued and running on fumes, for example? Sometimes I envy children for having nap time at school. I used to not want to take naps at that age, but I would do so now.
Besides naps, I can think of using deep breathing exercises, meditation, just sitting, taking a stroll in nature, examining my caffeine use, eat in ways that minimize blood sugar spikes, going to bed earlier, minimizing news consumption and not checking emails before bed, reading a paper book before bed (rather than a blue screen). I am sure there are many more things that I haven’t mentioned that work for you.
Yes, there is so much to pay attention to and show up for, especially during these times of uncertainty. May this slogan and these words serve you well. Be well and stay sane!