On Self Care, Healing, and Reactionary Energy
Hi Friends -
In this newsletter I’m going to talk about Roe, mental health, and self-care. Wherever you are on the spectrum politically, I believe there’s something in this message for you. And if you choose to delete this, unsubscribe, or otherwise find what I say here discredits me from space before your eyeballs, I completely understand.
When the draft of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health leaked Monday May 2nd, I had just recorded an episode of my podcast, scored my first 1/6 on Wordle, and was basking in the tiny victory on a good Monday until I opened Twitter….
We all know that nothing good happens when we open Twitter. It’s the most reactionary, screamy, chaotic Town Square where everyone has a Hot Take™, and people end up convincing each other of things they already believe in. Twitter also happens to be a great place to go when you want to have all of your fears, judgments, and suspicions confirmed. So, there I am, doom-scrolling on Twitter, barely believing what I’m reading and also completely believing it, because we knew this was coming. The thing is, being ready for an earthquake or any kind of trauma doesn’t necessarily lessen the impact of it, and this is a massively impactful earthquake.*
I don’t know who leaked this. I do believe that whomever leaked this intended to create this kind of firestorm. Lately, it seems that for many people creating reactions is the point. We saw it with our last president, and we see it with other leaders, including people on “our team.”
In my opinion, one large aspect of leadership is inspiring others to live into a vision and mission. Often this means we need people to get off their asses, get out into the world and *Do Something.* When I’m leading, I need people to care, to effect change, to participate in their lives, our society, and to a larger extent our world. I try to do this without poking at people’s fear and hurt, but as we’ve seen time and again, for some leaders, it can be very effective.
Reactionary energy (outrage, anger, “fix-it”, etc.) is often traumatized energy. When we’re in a reactive state, we’re on alert, the world is dangerous, everything has the potential to be an attack, and whether intentional or not, all of our energy is focused on getting back to safety or stasis. Sometimes we are reacting to big things that happen to us right then and there. In other instances, we are reacting to things that have happened repeatedly to our people throughout generations. Then there are the days when the things we are reacting to aren’t “that big of a deal” but they’re a huge deal to us. IT ALL MATTERS.
To be clear, I’m not a therapist, and I don’t have the qualifications to heal or specifically speak to recovering from trauma. What I can speak to as a coach and human being is that trauma affects us uniquely and universally, and when our traumatized energy is activated and we are reacting to our partners, the world, our family, and in my specific circumstances today, vets and insurance companies, we lose our power. Or, to be personal, when I am feeling reactionary I also feel like I am no longer Unfuckwithable.
Reactionary energy is chaotic, exhausting, and often all about “fixing it.” Reactionary energy wants to shut the problem down and rest. Reactionary energy is over it, can’t be bothered, and without creativity. Reactionary energy says “we’ll just pass a law then,” knowing full well that said law is unlikely to pass, and will also be stripped away by the next change of power.
Reactionary energy isn’t a waste - Reactionary energy needs to be healed. Healing the places in your heart and soul that create those reactions allows for a little space between the *thing that happens* and how you let it affect you. That space then allows for even more space in how (or if) you choose to respond. It is in this place where brilliant plans are created. It is in this place we harness our personal power, our collective power, and we become Unfuckwithable.
Far too often we talk about mental health as though it’s for “those people” - the unfortunate, the suffering, the ones who can’t function, the ones who function but collapse later. Mental health is so much more than that. Mental health is access to our creativity, our power, our leadership, and our ability to actually change the world. Mental health allows us to give and receive love, to be present, to experience joy and sadness and hope. We don’t need to be broken to take care of our mental health, in the same way we don’t need to be sick to care about our physical health.
So, I don’t know how you are today, my friend. I hope that you are healthy and well in all ways. If you are not, please consider taking a step to change that today. Healing is Self-Care. And, if you’re ready to stop reacting and start harnessing your power and want to change the world (at least the US Constitution) with me, let me know!
With love and possibility -
*Because I’m still an attorney at heart, until this case is fully decided and released to the public I believe it’s really important to acknowledge that nothing has changed. Right now we are all living in the perception of change, the possibility of what is likely to happen.