Each month I post an update called Tuning In on what I'm up to and ideas for grounding, connection, and discovering vitality in your life. Most of the links on this post are informational only, but a few are affiliate links that help me keep up my website.
Center for Chronic Illness - Web-Based Rare Chronic Illness Support Group Tuesday May 3rd, 2022 at 4pm PST
Center for Chronic Illness - Living with Thyroid Eye Disease Support Group Tuesday May 3rd, 2022 at 6pm PST
Center for Chronic Illness - Living with Cystinosis Web-Based Support Group, Tuesday May 18th, 2022 at 4pm PST
Center for Chronic Illness - Supporting Loved Ones with Cystinosis. Tuesday May 18th, 2022 at 6pm PST
May 1st is May Day
May 3rd is National Foster Care Day
May 4th is National Star Ways Day
May 5th is Cinco De Mayo
May 6th is National Nurses Day
May 8th is Mother's Day
May 12th is National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day
May 20th is National Rescue Dog Day
May 30th is Memorial Day and World Multiple Sclerosis Day
May 2nd-May 8th is National Pet Week & Teacher Appreciation Week
May 6th-May 12th is Nurses Week
Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
National Lyme Disease Awareness Month
National Mental Health Awareness Month
Skin Cancer Awareness Month
Dear Valued Community,
I started Physical Therapy in The Feldenkrais Method recently. In a way, it is physical therapy for the nervous system—my physical therapist has a conversation with my body, bypassing cognition as much as possible and I ask my cognition to take a back seat while I focus on the sensation of movement in my body.
What strikes me the most from these sessions is how my physical therapist explains fixed action patterns in the nervous system that show up in the bones, muscles, tendons, etc. These fixed action patterns also show up in our cognition—thoughts and beliefs that are reinforced over and over until they are second nature.
My biggest takeaway so far is that fixed action patterns are not wrong or bad, in fact, there is likely a reason the nervous system relied so heavily on them. But ultimately we need to learn other patterns, so that tension doesn't build up from overuse. We don't need to give up our defenses completely, we simply need to learn alternatives, so that we don't rely too heavily on patterns that may not be the best choice in that moment.
Nervous System Healing:
Ideas for Grounding: As the summer approaches, imagine ways of grounding that are consistent with warmer weather and the ability to be outside. Warmth and sunshine are very grounding. Try finding a patch of grass in the sun and feeling the warmth on your skin or finding a new park to explore.
Ideas for Connection: Summer usually means a more active social calendar, but remember that you don't have to do everything all at once. Tune into your internal rhythms to know when to make plans and when to take time for yourself.
Ideas for Creating Vitality: Summer is also a time of longer daylight and sometimes more energy. Tap into those things that give you vitality that maybe weren't available in the winter months: barbecues, swimming, walks on the beach, hiking, etc.
Why grounding, connection, and vitality? Because these are the ways we regulate the nervous system. Spending intentional time in a regulated state allows our nervous system to wire in the direction of safety and aliveness. It's a big piece of the puzzle of how we repair the survival response of trauma.
What I'm Reading Related for Therapy: Relational and Body-Centered Practices for Healing Trauma: Lifting the Burdens of the Past by Sharon Stanley
"Relational and Body-Centered Practices for Healing Trauma provides psychotherapists and other helping professionals with a new body-based clinical model for the treatment of trauma. This model synthesizes emerging neurobiological and attachment research with somatic, embodied healing practices. Tested with hundreds of practitioners in courses for more than a decade, the principles and practices presented here empower helping professionals to effectively treat people with trauma while experiencing a sense of mutuality and personal growth themselves."
What I'm Reading for Fun: Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Mind & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake
"When we think of fungi, we likely think of mushrooms. But mushrooms are only fruiting bodies, analogous to apples on a tree. Most fungi live out of sight, yet make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that supports and sustains nearly all living systems. Fungi provide a key to understanding the planet on which we live, and the ways we think, feel, and behave.
In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the "Wood Wide Web," to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision.
Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life's processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms—and our relationships with them—are changing our understanding of how life works."
(I'm a proud member of the sloth reading club, so what I'm reading will not always change monthly)
TV Show I'm Watching: WeCrashed on HBOMax
Documentary I'm Watching: Bad Vegan on Netflix
Song on Repeat: More Love by The Chicks
Projects I'm Working On: Self-development book on trauma and worthiness, book of poetry, ongoing content for various publications. Considering next steps in career training—psychedelic assisted therapy, HeartMath training, biblio/poetry therapy training, or yoga teacher training.
by Mark Nepo
I've been watching stars
rely on the darkness they
resist. And fish struggle with
and against the current. And
hawks glide faster when their
wings don't move.
Still I keep retelling what
happens till it comes out
the way I want.
We try so hard to be the
main character when it is
our point of view that
keeps us from the truth.
The sun has its story
that no curtain can stop.
It's true. The only way beyond
the self is through it. The only
way to listen to what can never
be said is to quiet our need
to steer the plot.
When jarred by life, we might
unravel the story we tell ourselves
and discover the story we are in,
the one that keeps telling us.
Meme of the Month:
Quote of the Month: "One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day." - Unknown
I'd love to hear how you are grounding, connecting, and creating vitality. What is helping you feel calm and alive? Or comment below on what books, podcasts, songs, shows, poetry, or quotes are resonating with you right now.
I'm Kerry (She/Her/Hers) and I am a licensed therapist, group facilitator, poet, writer, & speaker. This is a place to acknowledge and validate our suffering and trauma, while also learning how to turn toward aliveness and spaciousness.