How do you rebalance and return to equilibrium after the shock of devastating events? You may be wondering, can I ever find peace again? Or trust? Or safety?
To restore balance at Equinox following the recent events in Christchurch, your inner world may need special attention. The process may take you through some of these stages:
Dealing with shock
Initially you may feel in shock, numb and unable to function. You may have strong reactions — fear, anger, thoughts of revenge and recrimination, outrage and so on.
It’s a good idea to reduce media watching if your nervous system has become over-activated. The essential facts will be there for days, even weeks, when you are ready and in a less raw state.
It is also time to prioritise self care. You will have your own ways, and here are three that I’m finding helpful right now:
Try Rescue Remedy (flower essence) for shock. It’s available at most pharmacies.
Lie down and slow your breathing.
Take refuge in nature.
Integrating what has happened
How can you ever include these events in your world view, which may have been shattered?
This will take time. At first the frightening aspects may balloon out, as if an airbag has been activated inside you, that takes up so much space that it diminishes your usual sense of self.
As you find some calm and safety, bring your focus back to what is good and stable in your life. Bring in positive symbols of strength, beauty — perhaps in the form of flowers — cook comforting food, and be with loved ones. Let these qualities flow into you like water, clearing the agitation and fear.
Having attended to yourself, you will now be ready to take in more facts, maybe to read some sound and thoughtful commentary that will help you to adjust your world view and to understand what you need to integrate into it.
Service and actions of support
Once you are grounded, you may wish to be of service. There are many ways to give.
For some it will be through actions such as making donations, offering food, or working for political change and raising awareness of key issues.
Some of you will be very good at giving emotional support to those who need it, through your presence, care, and your ability to listen.
For others, your way may be to restore balance on soul level by being part of creating an outbreak of love and care. You may find rituals helpful, such as creating memorials or shrines in nature. The images included here are from a ritual I did at the beach and another created with my family over the weekend. You may immerse yourself in prayer for all those who have been affected.
Ritual and prayer are not a substitute for other kinds of action.
However, ritual and prayer make clear action possible, from a strong and whole heart that is capable of clear seeing.
Nature knows how to heal
Remember that Nature knows how to rebalance after extreme events. When you’ve spent time in nature you may have observed how life returns to a severed branch, to the flattened ground in a forest where a tree has crashed, to a steep bank where a landslide occurred and even to a poisoned waterway.
Nature sets to work immediately, as micro-organisms, insects, small animals, plants, and seeds carried by birds or the wind begin their work of restoring and regrowing.
I send you blessings this Equinox, as light and dark, day and night fall into balance.
hide the path
— John Bailey, ‘Autumn’
For further reading go to Chapter 12 of my book A Cup of Sunlight, This chapter was written after two other devastating world events. You may be surprised at the wisdom that was expressed by spiritual communities at that time.
This post is an excerpt from my Seasons Newsletter. To receive the Seasons Newsletter, you may sign up on the home page of this website and receive a free audio meditation.