Updated: Feb 21, 2021
It was 8 degrees Fahrenheit here in Austin, TX on Monday. Our neighborhood lost power at 2am during a freakish snowstorm. It's Wednesday now, a balmy 28, but still no heat.
Inside our drafty old house the animals' water bowl froze, along with our pipes. We are grateful for the gas stovetop and full box of matches that allows for soup and hot drinks (including warm water for the pets). So many have it so much worse, so it's difficult to admit how challenging it's felt, how... uncomfortable.
Physically, an urge to shut down, to hunch, to contract. To resist or escape vulnerability.
Deep breaths, I reminded myself. Expand through your chest. Let the breath warm you from within, let the breath calm the underlying limbic panic of survival threat ( it gets a lot colder in other places, but we are NOT set up for this here). As the breath-work acted upon my circulatory and nervous systems I began to feel more centered. I realized, with different discomfort, that while I was able to tell myself these things: stay calm and clear, deep breath will help, I'm fairly sure I could not have accepted that wisdom from an external source. I was too connected to lizard brain, too reactive.
From that space, even loving, sound advice would have felt like another assault. I was humbled by my weakness, so human, and also by my arrogance-- how often have I tried to deliver a message neither asked for nor willingly received?
Even as our bodies and brains are adjusting to the circumstances, the ice begins to melt.