Fast Wisdom™, Newsletter of Holden Healing Studio
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January, 2017
By Lonner Holden

Grounded Activism: 10 Tips For Self-Care During Challenging Times

In these recent months and weeks, like many people, I wake from restless sleep, have gone through periods of irregular eating habits, been preoccupied, and have had difficulty concentrating or setting priorities. Feeling fractured in my focus, I have felt  often disconnected from the bigger picture of my life. I have felt like I couldn’t land, come to a place of rest or peace of mind about much of anything with any regularity.

I recently got tired of this reactive state, as I wasn’t being as effective in my life as I want to be and I was simply wearing myself out. So I asked myself, “What are you afraid of?”  I have been afraid of not knowing - the uncertainty of it all. Then I asked myself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” and, “If that happens, how will you take care of yourself?” The answers poured forth and I started doing those self-care practices. I have felt much more grounded and have returned to a more steady state of calm and effectiveness.

So I share my answer to myself with you, as I realized that even in the worst of times, I can do simple things which reinstate my sense of well being and resilience. Inspired to be more politically active, I also realized that effective activism is rooted in quality self-care. Calming the mind, relaxing the body, connecting with nature and seeing the bigger picture from a more resilient state open’s one’s senses and imagination to the bigger picture one is part of, one’s rightful place and rightful action in it.
The Ten Tips
We are hardwired to resonate with nature’s beauty and peace, because nature made us. You were designed to feel “at one” with nature. Nothing can calm the nerves and re-integrate your senses faster than a good dose of what Richard Louv calls “Vitamin N”.

1. Go outside for 10 minutes. Simply let yourself wander randomly from point of interest to point of interest. Destination and goal-free time relaxes the tension created from having deadlines and excessive time-structured days. Feel the air move against your skin.

2. Notice your breath.  Don’t change its natural rhythm or “deep breathe”. Simply bring your attention to the sensation of breathing as your body gently expands and contracts as you inhale and exhale. This is the foundation of “mindfulness” practice, known for the calm and mental clarity it brings.

3. Let your vision roam freely from the foreground to the background. What do you see nearby, mid-distance, far away? Don’t analyze it, simply notice it. Let your eyes transition between focused vision and soft, peripheral vision. This transitioning massages your sympathetic, “reactive” nervous system and your parasympathetic, “responsive” nervous system, gently reconnecting you to the broader field of which you are part.

4. Listen into nature’s silent spaces. The silence in front of you, behind you, to the right and to the left, above and below you. Nature educator and friend, Jon Young says, “As deeply as you listen into nature’s silent spaces will be as deeply as you listen within yourself.”

5. Find a tree near your house which captures your attention.  Approach it. Feel its bark, observe its shape, how it expands out from its staunch base into the flitting skirt of its canopy. Imagine the part of the tree which you cannot see, under the ground. Imagine into the unseen realm occupied by spores, microbes and worms. Trees are powerful sentries of presence. Can you feel or sense the presence of this tree?

6. Feel the ground rise up to meet and support your weight. Feel how your body balances, adjusts to the level or sloped ground you are on. Feel how the terrain directs your body to move as you move up, down or across a slope, whether a sidewalk or a trail. Notice how your posture changes as you move under or over obsticals; which muscles work more, which ones relax. Kinesthetic feedback or proprioceptive awareness awakens your body intelligence and imagination. It is playful. This awareness is you “dancing” softly through the landscape.

7. Bring your attention to water.  It could be a puddle in the street, flowing in the gutter, a creek, falling rain or gushing from your roof’s downspout. Humans’ have a powerful affinity for water. Being 70% made up of it, we harmonize with water’s fluidity, burbled voice and sparkles with immediacy.

8. Share any experience in nature you have, no matter how brief, with a trusted person. Ask them to just listen openly without commentary. Your story being heard, even if it is only for one minute, secures it in your nervous system, strengthening your resilience. Being witnessed non-judgmentally is the other half of having an experience and of having a voice.

9. Express your gratitude for having a sensory connection experience with nature. Quietly thank the things you saw, heard, touched. Give thanks for your breath, your marvelous body which makes these simple joys possible, and your friend who was kind enough to catch your story.

10. Take a media-free day at least weekly. The news will be there tomorrow. More whole, more “yourself”, you will be more prepared to respond, rather than react to it with discrimination, resilience and more effective choice-making.

Pick of the Month: Activist Resources Cheat Sheet

Lonner Holden:
Being a Jin Shin Jyutsu acupressure practitioner for 24 years has helped me understand the healing potential of the body and the whole person.  A published poet and backcountry guide educated from early life by the natural elements and animals of the Alaskan wilderness, and with Animal Track & Sign certification, my knowledge of dance, trail running, yoga, meditation, body awareness disciplines and indigenous nature connection practices, I bring poetry, nature mentoring and a lifetime of nature awareness to Vive!  Nature Wander™ urban and wilderness treks to enhance awareness, creativity, vitality, health and well-being.


VIVE!  Nature Wander™
Marin County: February 18: Water; March 25: Trees 

Marin County Tracking Club,
Point Reyes: February 26

Into the Wild Journeys:
Grand Canyon 2017


See events on calendar »




Fast Wisdom™ is the newsletter of my Holden Healing Studio practice.  Each issue explores a theme of living  in the context of healing so you can live a happier and more vital life infused with well-being, improved health and more effective and empowered recovery.

© 2016 Lonner Holden
Fast Wisdom™
Copyright © 2017 Holden Healing Studio, All rights reserved.

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