by Brittiney George
Every day, in multiple ways emotionally and physically, you are transitioning.
The morning alarm begins your sprint. While you were sleeping your phone was loading up with new offers, information, suggestions, and requests. Life’s runaway train came beckoning to you and you purchased your ticket. Your mind careens through your calendar at breakneck speed, twisting, turning, sidestepping, rushing, until the inevitable crash at the end of the day leaves the body feeling wrung out and exhausted.
It is afterall, your body and your nervous system that have been taking the hits of a pressurized life. When their warning signs go unheeded, your system eventually shuts down to conserve the energy and oxygen it needs to survive. It makes it hard to feel like you can really “show up” anywhere. Your head is still in the problems of the day even if your body is at home.
Herein lies the value of transitional ceremonies. Clear opening and closings in transitions let clarify expectations so your brain and body are not firing on all cylinders all day. The ceremony doesn’t have to big, loud, or long, just intentional. Here are some ideas:
Power of the Pause (Arrive before you Engage):
Pause when you get in your car, pull into work, in between clients, or before the next task. It can be as quick as a single breath. Give yourself the gift of time to land where you are, see your surroundings, and to let your body and brain get in the same conversation.
Scent Signaling (The Nose Knows):
The nose is a powerful ally to use in transition and one of the quickest ways to shifts states. You can clear the head with the scent of coffee beans, or find your favorite aromatherapy oil. Suggestion: Keep a few scents specific to the place you use them in. Ex. If you have a scent you use to transition into your home, don’t also use it when you get to work. It is best to keep that scent to only your home space so there is a clear message in your body when you smell it of “I am home” which allows your nervous system to organize differently.
Rinse and Release:
Wash off your day. A full shower or just rinsing from your elbows to your hands will work. Imagine the water is washing off any stuck stress or energy that you want to release and easily and effortlessly going down the drain.
Sing, Sigh, or Shake:
Research shows that humming and singing create ease in the nervous system thanks to our vagus nerve. Not a singer or a hummer, let yourself sigh or let your body move to the music. The body loves gentle rhythmic motion, so go ahead and shake it out!
Bless the Space:
A blessing or mantra can help you connect to the intention of the space your stepping in to. These can be a quote or poem that resonates for you, or a simple statement of a wish such as created when completing one of the statements below.
and together May we…
Opening and Closing Ceremonies:
There is a reason the Olympics spend so much time on the opening and closing ceremonies. We love ceremony, because how things begin and end matter to us as a culture. Create opening and closing ceremonies for your regular daily transitions. It may be a prayer, a blessing, writing out a quick gratitude list, listening to the same song, or writing in your journal.
If the intention is clear and the practice is consistent, over time your body gets the message quickly that ties to it and is therefore able to reregulate your nervous system and in a sense depressurize. You’re not meant to live in a pressure cooker, or to carry everyone and everything around with you in your body all day. Honor yourself by honoring your transitions. Your body and brain will thank you for it!
Brittiney George, BS, CST-PRO, ICI, CEIM, is a Movement Practitioner and Somatic Therapist specializing in Transformative Touch. She is also faculty member of The Somatic Therapy Center. Her areas of specialty include working with highly sensitive woman, and people that are feeling stuck or immobilized in their everyday lives. She co-leads a monthly workshop series called Connection, Expression and Movement and also teaches gentle, exploratory movement classes at The Resiliency Center. For a free 55 min. introductory Somatic Therapy sessio, contact Brittiney at 610-389-7866 or firstname.lastname@example.org.