We've arrived at the point in the summer optimal for just being.
For many of us, a calm, peaceful state where life flows easily is something we yearn for but do not know how to maintain.
That's because just being correlates with a part of our nervous system that can feel out of reach when we've experienced trauma and stress.
Locating a safe kind of just being that works for you stretches your Ventral Vagal State and its capacity for more. We can teach ourselves how to intentionally unwind, rest, chill, and enjoy the moment.
Consider then, what kind of just being feels safe, accessible, and replenishing for you now?
May you find relaxation this summer and just be, at least for a while,
P.S. Want to learn how to cultivate your Ventral Vagal capacity and access relaxation more easily? Schedule a free Strategy Session now or reply to this email.
P.P.S. In-person and virtual sessions continue regularly throughout the summer, except for the week of August 7-14 in which I will be practicing my own just being. Schedule your session @ https://bit.ly/3HsCEfi.
When overwhelm happens, we have a tendency to pull away from connection in order to protect our tender hearts. It’s a reaction programmed into our autonomic nervous system, not unlike pulling our hand away from a hot stove.
My heart knows this disconnection reflex well. At the first sign of "too much," it beats loudly in my right ear and then contracts physically and emotionally. After that, it's a quick drop down the nervous system ladder to a dorsal vagal autonomic experience, best known as the freeze response.
Work emails go unanswered. Friends' prompts to meet up unreturned. It’s harder to hear or speak. Harder to decide anything. And the vibrant part of me that shines my light retreats to the background, out of reach.
It may go on for moments, hours, or on-and-off for several days, months, or years.
I had grown so accustomed to the automaticity of freeze in my nervous system that I was actually shocked to discover that I absolutely adore connection.
I love connecting with birds, breezes, and the warm sun on my face. I love connecting with the sound of my father’s voice and my mom’s colorful emojis. I Iove connecting with you in these newsletters and in sessions when we talk about some of the hardest stuff in life. And I absolutely love connecting my heart with yours in awe of our shared human tenderness.
If it was safe enough to connect, what would your heart love to connect with?
That “hot stove” can take on any form, like news about acts of violence, a post about recession, or the barking of a neighbor’s dog. In reaction, we may pull away from life, loved ones, and our own selves. But we can also come back. We can come back into connection, following the nature of our hearts, and reach out for life again. And again. And again.
A RECIPE FOR RETURNING TO CONNECTION:
As summer, which is the season of the heart, arrives, how can you honor your own reflexes of disconnection and connection? Here are some ideas.
May your heart know safe connection and shine brightly with your light,
P.S. Want to learn how to recognize your patterns of disconnection and return to connection quicker and easier each time? Let's study your nervous system together in the safety of one-on-one sessions. Info @ https://bit.ly/35aVFpv. Not sure? Email me.
The thick of it
As we move towards a goal in life, there comes a moment when we are so deeply immersed in the journey that we can no longer see where we began, cannot yet see where we’re headed, and don’t really know where we are.
This is the “thick of it” point. It can be very chaotic. Messy. Incredibly uncomfortable. Painful, even. And weird. Just plain weird.
In my mind’s eye, this point on the journey looks like trekking through thick grass. It’s lush green and tall. The aroma is fresh but also cloying. It’s hard to step through the shoots, and there is zero visibility all around.
Sadness may come in very strongly at this moment. Frustration too. Sadness helps us see what we are releasing as we reach for something new. Frustration tells us that we are growing out of a familiar past and have not yet arrived at a new normal.
On a leg of the journey without a clear view of start or finish, these emotions are good sign posts. While the mind reads them as wrong, off, or abnormal, on the emotional landscape map they’re good indicators that we’re well on our way.
May determination guide you through the blinding thick of it,
P.S. Finding yourself in the thick of it and not quite sure how to proceed? Let's tend to it together in a virtual or in-person session. Schedule yours @ shiraozsinai.com/sessions.
Springing into action
How do we move from fear to joy? With so much happening in our world, navigating our inner emotional landscape is a vital skill. Thankfully, the flow of the seasons, as well as the nervous system Polyvagal Theory, map a clear pathway: to move out of the wintry freeze of fear, we must spring into action and reach for the warm summery expansion of joy.
FIRST, we become aware of our fear and then acknowledge it. When I notice that some part of me is feeling frightened, I may speak to it and say: “I see you. I see that you’re scared, that you’re feeling paralyzed and tense. I also see how hard it is for you to experience all of this fear.”
This warm expression of compassion begins to melt away the freeze in the body and, along with it, the feelings of being alone and separate. It’s both helpful in the moment, and also creates an opening for an ongoing dialogue with fear. One of the best questions to ask is, “What do you need?”
SECOND, when fear engages our autonomic nervous system’s freeze response, we need to spring into action in order to reach joy. Unfortunately, we've all seen adaptive yet unhealthy examples of springing into action which have dampened our instinct to do so. Just in the last month, we’ve witnessed Russia’s war charge on the Ukraine and Will Smith slapping Chris Rock.
But springing into action does not necessitate violence. It does, however, require movement -- the hallmark of spring. It might be moving the head from side to side, deepening the breath, or gently stretching the body. Perhaps it’s what fear has told you it needs, like a hug, a slow walk outside, or a little dance to a favorite song.
THIRD, we pull the specific resources that make us feel safe and supported close, like phoning a friend or relative, journaling, or reconnecting with nature in some way. This stretches our ventral vagal capacity, the aspect of the nervous system that enables us to respond from a calm and centered place. Joy may show up subtly at first, like a softening or a warming, and will keep expanding as we return again and again to heartfelt connection.
May you befriend fear, spring into action, and experience the joy of being,
P.S. Any one of these stages may require more attention, practice, and support. Check out the new series for regulating your nervous system @ https://bit.ly/35aVFpv or book a free call to learn more @ shiraozsinai.com/strategy-session.
Winds of change
The winds of change are blowing yet again. They're gathering up the debris, that which has been loosened up and unfastened, shed or cut down.
The winds corral it all into corners, lift it up into the air for one last dance, and set it down in a new place, no longer where or what it used to be.
When the wind has diligently cleared a new space and "what was" has been given a place, the yearning-wishing-praying that has been waiting for a season builds up hope.
"Maybe now... Maybe today... Maybe it's my time.... To rise up... To come into expression... To become who I am."
What are the winds of change carrying away for you? What are they bringing close? Who or what is it that you are becoming?
A POWERFUL SPRING CLEANING:
May the winds of change prepare you for a good adventure,
Spring energy rising
A lively flock of robins is currently occupying the four trees outside my window. Like the Chinese New Year on February 1st, their return heralds the coming of spring.
While I watch them gather in groups and make their way together from rooftop to lawn to tree, I'm reminded that we humans make our journey through life together too.
Albeit less visibly than birds, we bring our family systems with us wherever we go. From ancestor to descendant, the gift of life is passed down to us. This imperceptible link to those who came before us imbues us with the strength to survive and the courage to thrive.
The same energy of creative power can be felt in the depth of winter when outwardly little is happening, but inwardly the next iteration of life is germinating.
As we expand into spring, we follow this pulse of aliveness into expression. With our family system behind us and our flock of acquaintances, colleagues, and friends by our side, the future is as open as the sky.
May you and your flock soar this coming season,
Honoring the goo
We have officially entered the time of goo. This is the phase in the flow of the seasons and our own lives in which we incubate our dreams, our next steps, our most intimate passions and desires.
It's a profoundly inward time that may outwardly look and feel like depression or a withdrawal from the outer world. It may include unusually low energy, groggy mornings, slower than slow movement through the day, and a seemingly permanent fogginess in and around the head.
Like the Pupa Stage in the metamorphosis from caterpillar to butterfly, this is a necessary and natural phase. Inside the chrysalis, a liquid breaks down the old caterpillar into imaginal cells that can form into any kind of cell. From this liquid, eventually, a beautiful butterfly will come into being.
During this sacred watery phase in our own evolution, old patterns, old routines, and old wounds along with who we thought we were and where we thought we were going dissolve into goo. Out of this, our creative and soul-inspired imagination -- the human version of imaginal cells -- begins to form the next iteration of life.
Goo time is a period of wait, of just being, of long silences where life feels shapeless and the future obscure. For many of us this deep dive into the waters of the Great Unknown brings about discomfort and fear. But when we figure out how to honor the goo, we can surrender into list-lessness, agenda-less moments of "I don't know" and "I'm not sure," where an ocean of infinite possibilities for what comes next awaits us.
May your "goo time" nourish your deepest dreams into being,
P.S. Check out January's events and announcements below.
Get a Natural Booster for Your Body and Life
Friday, January 14, 2022
9:30am - 10:30am EST
Live only, via Zoom
Register for free @ https://bit.ly/3riym4a
Feeling run down? Join me for self-care techniques that boost immunity, strengthen the lymph system, and aid in preventing and recovering from colds and flu. Counter the post-holiday slump, threat of Omicron, and seasonal flu with these natural remedies.
These Self-Care Friday sessions are hosted by the Maryland Capital Women's Business Center and the Maryland Small Business Development Center. Though they are designed for small business owners and their employees, the content is applicable to all and the sessions open to all.
Next session: Friday, February 11, 2022, 9:30am EST
Seva Stress Release: Acupressure Practice*
Monday, January 24, 2022
1:00pm - 1:35pm EST
Live only, via Zoom
Register for free @ https://bit.ly/3I483W9
A 35 minute practice of the Seva Acupressure for Stress Relief sequence. A refresher, chance to practice with others, and most importantly--access deep healing and well being.
* Prerequisite: Completion of Seva Acupressure for Stress Relief with Shira or other Soul Lightening Acupressure instructor.
Next session: Wednesday, February 23, 2022, 3pm EST
Support for your goo time is here.
Individual in-person sessions in Downtown Silver Spring and Dupont Circle as well as online continue regularly. Reply to this email to schedule or book a free Strategy Session to learn more about:
December. A time of celebrating an end to darkness and a return of light. A time of bidding farewell to fall and welcome to winter. Of saying goodbye to the year that has passed and hello to the new year at the threshold.
What is it in your life that is coming to a close?
What is it in your life that is waiting to begin?
In me, an enormous shift is underway. So many "old ways" are finding their ending. So many "new ways" are seeking to come into expression. All of it is gently enveloped by the Great Mystery of Life.
I find myself quietly surrendering. No longer wishing to fight what is. Humbled by the power of life itself and the pulsating life-force within me. A fierce determination guides me to continue shining my light bright. I'm curious as to where it will all lead and who I will become.
Below are this month's announcements of closings and openings, as dictated by the changing inner tide.
iRest® Yoga Nidra Meditation for Cultivating Calm
Please join me in an honorable closure to the Thursday Yoga Nidra series for Cultivating Calm, which started in March 2020 in response to Covid.
This is the last Yoga Nidra of 2021 and the last class of this series.
Live via Zoom and recording available for 21 days
Thursday, December 16, 8:00 - 9:00pm ET
Register @ shiraozsinai.com/yoga-nidra.
Self-Care Friday: Restoring from Holiday-Time Fatigue
Practice key self-care techniques for experiencing less fatigue, a better night’s sleep, and overall more energy for the holiday and winter season.
Live only via Zoom. Free to attend.
Friday, December 17, 9:30 - 10:30am ET
Register @ https://bit.ly/3py2RSF.
Winter Solstice: Meditative Card Night
In the period between the winter solstice and spring, nature offers us an opportunity to safely spend time with the unknown. To dream. To be still. To ponder, what is it all about? What's my place in this world? What's my purpose? How do I bring my light out?
Make room for these deep inquiries with an illuminating and fun online solstice gathering. Set an intention for the season, take in the healing powers of the water element, and playfully draw on oracle cards to reveal the inner guidance for what will bring you peace this season.
Live only via Zoom
Tuesday, December 21, 6:00 -8:00pm
Register @ shiraozsinai.com/meditative-card-night.
Winter Solstice & New Year: Individual Sessions
Looking for an individual reflection space to contemplate the winter season, the closing of 2021, and the new year? Enjoy a unique one-on-one full-sensory experience with an online meditative session for welcoming your winter and 2022 intentions, receiving nature's healing, and picking oracle cards to reveal the wisdom that awaits you now.
75 min sessions
Only available between December 20 and January 10
Email me for details and to schedule
In-Person Sessions in Silver Spring
Adding to ongoing online individual sessions, as well as in-person in Dupont, I'm now offering in-person sessions in Downtown Silver Spring at 8720 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910.
These sessions provide support and are a safe space for you to uncover your unique light. To tone your nervous system towards calm. To shed layers of experience in body, mind, and heart that are holding you back. And to gently illumine family dynamics that carry within them the secret to more life, more love, and more abundance.
Online sessions are open to all.
In-person sessions are currently for those vaccinated only.
60 and 90 min sessions available
Email me for details and to schedule
Celebrating Latrice D. Rogers
We are all on a path of evolution to bravely shine the light that we are into the world. One such bright light is Latrice D. Rogers.
I've had the privilege of accompanying Latrice on her journey and the great honor of writing the foreword to her debut narrative nonfiction.
Each chapter is its own story based on life lessons. Readers are invited to make connections with these lessons, to reflect within the pages of the book, and to share their connections and stories with others. It's a real self-care gift for all!
Learn more and purchase @ latricedrogers.com.
May your light shine brightly through every ending and beginning,
P.S. Looking for a holiday gift to give yourself or a loved one? The Seva Stress Release Webinar includes an hour long video instruction and other digital tools for learning and practicing acupressure for stress relief, improved sleep, less anxiety, tension relief, and overall increased well being. Give the gift of lifelong stress relief @ https://bit.ly/3mnZw71.
Settling into the rhythm of life
I'm writing to you from my new home in Silver Spring, MD. To my right, out the balcony door, I see a tall tree with leaves in different shades of brown, yellow, and green. I travel down the trunk in my mind's eye, down into the roots, and feel the supple and abundant earth that holds us both. Something in me relaxes.
Just as I settle into this new place, I feel my body begin to settle in for winter. My movements are slowing down, especially in the mornings and evenings. More rest is wanted, and sleep is somehow sweeter and deeper. Suddenly, getting cozy and warm are a priority.
Tension is present too. A moving box or two waiting to be unpacked. Surfaces cluttered with collections of miscellaneous items. Wandering thoughts about what it means to be here, who I am in this space, and what it will all look like eventually. It feels messy, uncomfortable, exciting, and very much new.
So it is that we begin to make the steady transition from autumn into winter, from the season of letting go and receiving inspiration to the season of nourishing dreams. How is this transition for you? What are you noticing in your home, your body, your heart? Where is the tension for you? What needs tending now?
Feel free to click reply and share the good, the bad, the ugly, and the pretty. We're all in this cycle of life, together.
May you find magic and comfort in the cycle of life,
Self-Care forBusy Mind & Anxiety
Our nervous system fascinates me. What an incredible built-in device we all have for helping us survive the myriad experiences we encounter in life.
For years, I thought that I was stuck with the seemingly janky device I was given. But a plethora of science from the last couple of decades shows that with awareness and a personalized set of self-care tools, we can enhance the performance of our own nervous system.
This means we can help ourselves move from merely surviving to thriving.
For example: a busy mind, accelerated breathing, and increased heart rate are a signal for some of us that our sympathetic nervous system has been activated. Our body is flooded with energy preparing us to flee a stressful scene or fight it somehow.
Equipped with this information, we can talk ourselves down from panic quicker and apply the self-care techniques we've earmarked that help us stay in the moment, tend to what's actually happening behind the scenes, and relocate calm, connection, and safety.
The specific set of tools each of us will use may vary according to our personal makeup and preferences. But when we learn to recognize the tell-tale signs of our own nervous system, we all give ourselves a chance to shift the automated vicious cycles into new pathways for engaging with life.
May we all know thriving,
P.S. In need of self-care techniques for a busy mind and anxiety? Join October's free Self-Care Friday Webinar on October 8, 9:30am. Email me for Zoom link.
P.P.S. Curious about your own nervous system and which self-care tools might support you into thriving? Schedule a free Self-Care Strategy Session.
Shira Oz-Sinai provides guidance and instruction to individuals pursuing a deeper level of physical, mental and emotional health. An expert in the tools of acupressure and trauma integration, she offers on-demand one-on-one appointments and group events in a safe, relaxing virtual environment with the focus on living life with greater ease and a deeply loving friendship with self.