This is the mandala I spoke about in the video yesterday.
TL;DW: The practice of creating/coloring mandalas is an opportunity to focus our energy on wholeness, connection, and integration of parts of the self and parts of our world/universe and to center/align ourselves and our nervous systems in the midst of great disconnection and separation.
What I didn’t get to in my video is:
1. You can easily download and print these online. Search: “printable mandala”.
2. You can make your own by tracing a larger round object and a smaller round object for the center and fill in the rest however you see fit (use rulers or a compass, trace things, or freehand).
3. You can create/color mandalas with your kids or while they’re creating their own crafts.
Why is this extra important RIGHT NOW? This is a microcosm practice for what is being asked of us in the macrocosm.
“There is no more need for competition, as what is being called in is radical cooperation and coherence for us to evolve into the fullest potential of our Highest Good – individually and collectively, which turns out to be the same thing.” - Aligned wise words from Eron Zehavi’s Dreamspell contemplation for today.
Nervous system regulation tool # 3: the Magic of Earplugs :). The nuances of being a highly sensitive person can show up differently for different people and for me it includes a sensitivity to sound.
Earplugs have played a crucial role in managing my auditory sensitivity and regulating my nervous system. I first stumbled across them in college and found that when I wore them to study, even in the fairly quiet library, I could concentrate a million times better because I didn’t have to put any energy into filtering out the noises around me.
Fast forward several years, I decided to experiment with earplugs in a variety of settings beyond the normal places like live music shows where my friends were wearing them too. I put some in to help me focus on my shopping list when I was heading into a noisy, crowded Trader Joe’s during rush hour, or Costco at any time of day(!), or when I was walking around Lake Merritt in Oakland on a busy, Sunday afternoon. They would drown out the background noise and allow me to fully focus on the task at hand or the visual beauty surrounding me.
Now, they are a staple in my day-to-day life and I couldn’t imagine living life without them. I use neutral-colored plugs with lower decibel coverage when I’m at a store so they aren’t noticeable and I can still hear if someone needs to squeeze by me. When I’m concentrating on a project at a cafe, library, or at home, I use the ones that have a higher decibel coverage.
Do you have a sensitivity to sound? Do you use earplugs or noise canceling headphones in your daily life? Or any other tools for auditory sensitivity?
*Folks have been asking me what kind I use: I personally use Mack's and Howard Leight/Honeywell Max. A friend recently recommended the "slim fit" by Mack's which I plan to try this week. Please share if you have other recommendations.
Unsurprisingly, my nervous system regulation practice # 2 is: MAKE SOME ART!
It doesn’t matter what it is — it could be coloring in a coloring book, pasting a collage, doodling in a notepad, painting on a canvas, or messing with some clay. We can approach the act of creation as an active meditation and we can easily access a flow state, regulating our entire system.
I’ve been working more on my houseplant series and truly nothing calms me and grounds me in the present moment quite like sitting down and focusing on pasting these little torn pieces of paper onto the canvas. Everything else drops away and I am immersed in flow... calmed, grounded, and regulated.
I invite you to try making something this week if it’s been a while. Don't focus on the outcome or finished product - no need for your creation to look good or to be shared with another single soul -- just create as a form of meditation and let the rest go.
As an empath, highly sensitive person, and someone who has four out of five of Dabrowski's overexcitabilities (sensual, imaginational, intellectual, emotional, and psychomotor) - regulating my nervous system has been an ongoing practice and place of deep learning and experimentation for me. While at times, these sensitivities/intensities can inspire an almost magical experience of life and can be great for artists and the creative process, they can also make certain aspects of life more challenging to navigate.
I want to start sharing the practices, tools, and resources that are most useful for me in this long learning curve of nervous system regulation in case they are useful for you as well if you're in the midst of exploring your own (or your child/grandchild’s) sensitivities and intensities or are simply craving more peacefulness and balance.
It may be obvious from my posts that one of the most foundational practices for me is moving my body in the beauty of nature. We already know that we are absolutely meant to commune with nature - since we are a part of nature. Nature's beauty: the sun, the air, the particular shade of green grass or tree leaves - speaks to our senses and grounds us in that which is so much bigger than our small/ego self.
Truly one of the fastest and easiest ways to reset / bring our systems into balance is diving into nature. There has been research study after research study proving that spending time in "green space" has vast physical/mental/emotional health benefits. If we have access to this resource, it behooves us to put it to good use. Let this be a reminder (for both you and me!) to get out into it if it's been a while.