We can all benefit from connecting to the wisdom of our bodies. Introducing today's reflection questions ...
Growing up in New York City, I thought I would always want to live in a place with lots of people to meet and lots of places to see. I'd take the train from Queens to Manhattan, visit the Museum of Modern Art, and feel this rush of inspiration. I couldn't imagine wanting to live somewhere without such plentiful stimuli.
I've changed. My daily experience with complex PTSD is one where I am easily overwhelmed in environments with lots of sounds, smells, lights, crowds, and so on. I still live in New York City, but I spend more time walking down quiet streets and through parks where there are way more trees than people. Spending time on the bus, subway, ferry - it's exhausting. Now, I take my energy levels into account when making plans with people.
I value quiet places more now. Since I was a kid, I've felt drawn to nature. Now that I'm aware of how my nervous system spikes, I've developed an even deeper connection with nature. I try to space out any commitments or meetings that involve lots of noise or people. In between, I spend time at home and Snug Harbor in Staten Island. Becoming aware of what my needs are, noticing their fluctuations, and acting in accordance with them - it's been really challenging. I've put a lot of time and effort into learning how to observe and describe how I feel in my body. And trusting what I observe and describe to be valid and acting to address what my body needs - that has taken a lot of time and effort too. I'm still working on this. I can acknowledge the difficulty and my frustration yet I know developing this awareness is crucial.
Connecting to the wisdom of our bodies has value for all of us. The painting above is titled “Wind Chimes." Today, I invite you to reflect on the following questions in any format you choose. For you, maybe that's quietly in your head, writing whatever comes to mind in a journal or notes app, sketching on paper, or writing poetry/lyrics.
Here are today's reflection questions:
- What role does sound play in influencing your mood?
- What places tend to give you a sense of calm? What places tend to give you a sense of unease? What are the sounds like in those places?
- How do you tend to feel in quiet places? Places with a lot of different sounds at once? Places with loud volumes?
- What kinds of music or audio do you like to listen to? When or where do you listen? How do you feel listening to these sounds?
- What sounds feel pleasant to you? What sounds feel especially unpleasant to you?
It's 100% okay to choose just one question to focus on, to reflect on more than one or all of them. There are no perfect answers. There are no wrong answers. The goal is to simply explore with as much curiosity and openness as you can muster in this moment. If you'd like, you can also replace sound with any other sensory stimulus like smell, touch, sight, taste.
Whatever you find through your reflection, you are a part of a community of people engaging with art and our surroundings to explore the depths within ourselves, each other, and this world. There is so much pressure out there to push, push, push. The emphasis on doing as much as we can often leads many of us to disconnect from what our bodies try to communicate. So, if reflecting on these questions feels harder than it sounds at first, that makes sense. I'm with you and glad to be doing this together.