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Coming Out of Survival Mode

Updated: Feb 9, 2022

As we begin to slough off the state of suspension we endured during the global pandemic, I feel there is much to be grateful for. Yet there are consequences of shutting down emotionally to survive and much as been revealed in the quiet. A lot has happened in the year that nothing happened and some things we're not coming back from.

I joined a company of women around a sacred fire before the full moon. We held a proper multi-generational women's circle and we welcomed each other back from our collective slumber, emerging to reenter community with both excitement and some trepidation. We spent the evening taking turns to share our stories and experiences over the last sixteen months. Collectively we had lost loved ones, friends, jobs, our communities, at times our minds, our bodies, our sense of self. We've endured a historic event that isn't quite done with us yet and the most stunning revelation from this evening is this: we haven't even begun to process this yet.

Thanks to covid, social anxiety and awkwardness appears to be more normalized in conversation, but there are many of us with a particular history where a deep absence of safety was reactivated by all of this. We're starting to come together again, but our ability to sleep, to breathe, to feel safe in the company of others, is still affected.

In sharing, I realized how angry I was. My freeze was beginning to thaw over s'mores and in hearing myself speak out loud about this spiritual initiation that brought me right to the edge. Hells yes I was pissed off! This can be a very positive sign of healing and after a prolonged time of being told we're not safe, and suddenly now we are, or maybe we're not, god is it so normal to feel disjointed. Or delighted that we don't have to see anyone and realizing we didn't know how to ask for space before. It's very common to feel excited and then nervous, or shut down and numb, or full of grief because things have changed. Many of us no longer have people in our lives we used to rely on, whether because they have passed, moved away or revealed parts of themselves that we just cannot accept. All of our experiences have an impact and I would venture to say, we're now safe enough to feel it.

It may sound strange for some of you, but I find great relief in the struggles people are facing now that we're coming out of survival mode. In fact, I feel like the human race is catching up to what I've been silently enduring for decades that connection doesn't always feel safe. However, there is a resilience that comes forth from the struggle and what I've realized is this: I keep trying to connect in spite of it. I've also discovered dramatic shifts in what I want to experience with work, home and community. My family has become a site of joy and safety that I've not previously experienced on this level. My connection to myself is so solid. My health improving everyday.

In the return, we can also acknowledge that nothing will really return to how things were before because we don't want them to. So may I encourage you to embrace all the feels, to talk about the things that are difficult and the things you don't want to talk about, because there is true relief and resonance on the other side.

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