Navigating the Pandemic Anxiety Field

Ever walk into a room full of people and pick up a vibe? Perhaps there’s a pervasive sense of warmth and fun. Or maybe it’s the opposite, everything looks fine on the surface, but feels hostile underneath.  

As humans, we are finely tuned social creatures. We pick up a great deal of information from body language, facial expressions, and yes, from the energetic emotional vibe around you. Even if you don’t consider yourself “sensitive” or “empathic,” you are still affected by the emotional energy signature from others, especially if it’s strong.

Cue the pandemic. Now we have a worldwide energy signature supercharged with anxiety and other painful emotions. For simplicity’s sake, I’m calling it the Pandemic Anxiety Field. And on top of our very real, present-time fears and struggles, it seems to be the extra punch that’s sending people off kilter.

So, if you’re feeling extra off-kilter or in crisis, as so many of my clients are, it might be worth considering whether this feeling is all yours. Try asking yourself this: How much of this is mine and how much am I picking up from others?

To determine what’s yours, you may need to sit with the sensations and feelings you’re having. Just notice them. See if you can differentiate what’s arising within you—and feels like yours—from what’s affecting you from without. Because even just the realization that you’re feeling stuff that’s not yours can bring relief.  

Now, on the flip side, some of what you’re feeling is going to be yours even when it feels foreign. That’s because this pandemic-induced anxiety field is also stirring up a lot of ghosts. By this I mean, your unconscious feelers pick up painful emotions out there, and then that outer “stuff” resonates with and wakes up old emotional wounds and traumas in you, bringing them to the surface.  

Regardless of origin, if you continue to feel unbalanced by an emotional state, it’s time to stop focusing on it. What you need is a counterbalance. For example, if you feel overwhelmed and lightheaded, then you need something grounded. You might walk on the beach, sit on the ground against tree roots, or eat nourishing, protein-rich foods. Likewise, if you’re feeling scared or panicky, then focus most of your attention on something that feels safe, like a warm comforter, a happy memory, or your puppy dog. 

And if you’re still struggling to rebalance or determine what’s yours, then reach out to me for a quick call or a session. It’s often much easier to find yourself when you’re held in clear relationship by someone else.

How Resourced Are You?

Try a thought experiment with me. Take a moment (if you’re up to it) and focus your thoughts on something upsetting. Then notice how your body feels…your emotions, tension level, breathing, stress response.

I’ll wait….

Now switch. Focus on something you enjoy or love. Your dog or cat, your grandchildren, a sip of coffee, the smell of grass, watching the winning goal…anything. Now notice how your body feels. How’s your shoulders, your belly, your breathing? How’s your mood?

Quite different, I’ll bet.

Wherever our thoughts and attention go, so go our bodies. When you purposely direct your attention away from something stressful and toward something you enjoy, your body can calm down. You are resourcing yourself.

Resourcing is not about denial. We still need to acknowledge the painful parts of life, bring healing awareness to the wounds, and look for constructive solutions to problems. But if you’re constantly thinking about stressful things you have no control over or ruminating on the awful, then it’s time to resource. 

The same advice goes for activities that weigh you down. If you’re listening mainly to depressing music, falling into emotionally painful TV holes, or dealing a lot with stressful people, then it’s time to resource.

What does this look in practice? Here are two approaches.

Use this when you’re stressed…

Say you’re stressed about something worrisome (like…a looming election), and at this point, you’ve done all you can and the outcome is beyond your control. How can you calm down?

Pick a powerful resource—something you enjoy or love strongly enough to capture your attention. It may be enough to just think about it. Or you may need to do something. Maybe you actually need to pet your dog. Or watch a comedy show. Or get a hug. 

If your thoughts keep returning to the stressor, then pick a more enjoyable resource—maybe two. Pet your dog while watching comedy. Do this until you feel better.

Use this to buffer against tough times…

The more the stressors pile up, the more resources we need. And in these tumultuous time, we’re dealing with a heap of stressors. So we need to stockpile resources.  

Here’s my pile…

I’m rereading my favorite books from childhood and rewatching Harry Potter movies. In the mornings, I sit in the sunlight. In the evenings, I pet my cat. I cook nourishing foods in my coziest sweater. I’ve planned a Halloween movie marathon with my boyfriend. And I see my therapist (remotely) a lot.

Amidst all this crazy, no one can afford to take their mental health for granted. And if you often feel stressed, anxious, angry, afraid, or any other painful emotion, then that goes doubly for you.

Quantum Entanglement, Quarks, and Healing

Recently, a client asked:

Are you able to explain how your practice works remotely?

Here’s the answer I gave:

I’d be happy to explain, though I’m not sure if you’re asking how I conduct my sessions…or the mechanics of how remote sessions work and are possible. I’ll try to answer both. The first question is easy. The second I can answer up to a point, beyond which I can offer a thoughtful guess.

During a remote session, we would connect over video or phone. We’d check in verbally and then you could lie down or otherwise get comfortable. We’d start to notice and track what’s happening in your body, and when you’re ready, I’d intend to “hold” an area of your body with my hands.

For me, holding you remotely means imagining, for example, your head in my hands and intending to make contact. After a few moments, this connection starts to sync up for me, and it feels like I’m actually holding your head. So, as your self-healing system wakes up and engages, I feel all of the same changes and shifts in my palms that I would in person.  

As to the how of that….

I know this much…I’ve been highly empathic since childhood, so it’s always been easy for me to feel others’ emotions and sensations in my body. And for people I know well or am connected to, distance has never been a factor. For example, I often vividly feel my boyfriend’s hunger if he calls me from work before eating.  

Distance healing feels like an extension of this empathic ability, only now I’m connecting or “logging on” through our phone or video call. When I’m connected in this way, it doesn’t feel like there’s any distance. It feels like I’m right there in the room with you.

Beyond that…we get into quantum mechanics. In quantum entanglement, two particles interact with each other instantly, even at great distances, as if they are somehow communicating. Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance.” My guess is that, on a subatomic level, “distance” is not quite what we think it is—we are not separate. And craniosacral therapy, at its deepest, works on this level of photons and quanta and the space between particles. I think the science explaining what I’m doing has not yet been fully discovered—but it will.

In the meantime, I can say that these distance sessions are going deeper even than my in-person work did. That I can touch things I never could before, like the inside of a spine. And that clients are reporting powerful changes, healing, and shifts.

Learn more about my distance sessions here.

Let Your Body Move on Its Own

Did you know your body can move without you consciously willing it? Consciously intended movement often starts with a thought. I want more coffee. Then we pick up our mug, walk to the kitchen, and pour ourselves more coffee. This complex series of motions feels automatic and runs along well-oiled grooves in our gray matter, but we did consciously decide to move.

Yet there’s another intelligence inside us. A subterranean, subconscious, body-based intelligence. And it can decide to move you, too.

Don’t believe me? Ever whip your arm up to block something flying at your head before you had time to think? Or move into a stretch you hadn’t planned to do during yoga? That’s the lizard brain, the spinal cord, and the underlying intelligence moving you. And it can do a lot more if you let it.

Lately, I’ve been playing with letting my body move on its own. But first, I’ve set some parameters. (Picture this as me talking to myself.) I’ve asked:

  • For movements I can do on a yoga mat in a comfortable range
  • To not hold positions uncomfortably long
  • To leave trauma work—frozen, tight, scary places—for another time

With that set, I put down my yoga mat, close my eyes, and invite my body to move. Then I wait. I’m feeling my body sensations, noticing when an inner impulse builds and then…scwhoop…my arm lifts, my hips turn, or something else moves.

I’ve had the most eye-opening “yoga” sessions this way. Who knew how badly the front of my neck wanted to stretch? Or that I needed to spend 30 minutes a day mobilizing my spine. One whole session was dedicated to opening my shoulders. Another to stretching my inner thighs. I could go on and on.

Of course, I’ve been doing this a long time, so my body starts moving easily. If this is all new to you, here are two simple ways to start:

  • Weight shifts: I learned by standing and noticing my weight shifts. Your body automatically does these to keep you upright. If you pay attention, and invite more movement, the motions may get bigger and more complex.
  • Start with your head: Lie face up on a mat and invite your head to slowly move. You might begin by just noticing which way it’s inclined to roll.

See if you can surrender and let your body take control. For some, this is going to be a big challenge. I’ll talk more about that next time in part 2 of this topic. For now, just ask your body how it would like to move.

Relieve Worry (and Fear) FAST

Confession time: I often fall asleep holding my index finger. Why? Because energy pathways that relate to fear pass through this finger…and this pandemic keeps stirring up my ancient fear ghosts. Holding that finger helps.

Let me explain.

One branch of Japanese bodywork called Jin Shin Jyutsu involves holding parts of the body to move energy. It’s based on energy pathways, similar to acupuncture meridians, many of which pass through the fingers. Each finger corresponds to a different painful emotion or attitude, and holding the finger can help relieve it.

Thumb = Worry
Index finger = Fear
Middle finger = Anger
Ring finger = Sadness
Pinky finger = Trying to be something you’re not

An easy acronym for remembering the order is “Relieve Worry FAST.”

The technique is simple. When you notice one of these emotions, hold that finger (on either hand, doesn’t matter) with your other hand. Then tune in to your body and wait until you feel a shift.

What kind of shift? You might start to feel a pulse in your finger—like a heartbeat. Or, if you feel a pulse at once, it might fade or even out. A shift could also be heat building and dissipating in your finger. Or it might be a whole-body experience, like easing of the emotion or descending calm. Be patient…this could take 1–10 minutes.

I’ve been holding my index finger for weeks. Here’s what I felt last month…

I’d gotten triggered and panicky. So I held my finger and breathed. Slowly, very slowly, my breathing calmed. At some point, I realized my fears were still there…but they felt smaller and more distant. I was no longer lost in them.

Here’s last week…

I slowly became sleepy and dreamy. After a while, I remembered a childhood situation I’d been trapped in and how frightened I’d been. Then I felt a pulling line between my torso and finger—like a taut bow. The bow “sprang” and something whooshed down the line to my finger. My whole body relaxed.

And here’s a couple nights ago…

After a minute, electricity and heat began buzzing along my arms. My finger became hot and started to pulse. My whole body grew uncomfortable, like a balloon waiting to burst. It stayed that way a long time. Finally, the balloon “burst” and cold energy drained off my finger. After that, I slept well.

Just be patient and don’t discount anything you sense. The body’s healing mechanisms often emerge gently. So just breathe, watch, and wait. Something will shift.

My Coronavirus Prevention Plan

I know the news sounds scary right now. But the coronavirus is a respiratory virus, just like colds and flu, so it still has to enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. And that means there are simple things we can all to do significantly reduce our chance of getting it. Below is my personal action plan.

Part 1: Transmission Prevention

  • Do not touch face (especially eyes, nose, or mouth) unless I’ve first washed my hands.
  • Sanitize hands and door knob before entering home and office.
  • Wash hands frequently—with water and soap for 20 seconds—or use high-alcohol hand sanitizer.
  • Always wash/sanitize hands before eating or entering home, after touching any public surface, or before and after touching clients.
  • Disinfect office surfaces between clients.
  • Move more than 3 feet away from anyone coughing or sneezing.

Part 2: Stress Reduction & Immune Support

  • No alcohol
  • No caffeine
  • No refined sugar
  • In bed by 11pm
  • Meditate minimum 15 minutes per day
  • Eat minimum 3 vegetables per day
  • Fit in as much daily walking as I can

The above is just what I’m doing for myself. I know my body well so, for example, I know what a hit it takes when I consume things like sugar and stimulants. I’d love to know what works for your body, or if you have suggestions!