originally published on the Wise Body Facebook page
dear my LGBTQ loves,
in the face of all the suffering, the trauma, the overwhelming grief and rage, the numbness and disbelief, i go to work and i touch people.
in the face of all the political opportunistic cooptation of our grief, the overwhelming silence of the majority of our straight friends and family, the unchecked white supremacy, ableism, islamophobia and anti-immigrant undertones of vigils and actions that are somehow supposed to make us feel better, i go to work and i sit with people and their stories. i go to work and i sit with people and their trauma.
sometimes i sit besides them while they weep.
i hold their head or their shoulders or their feet while they heave and shake, sometimes with sound, sometimes soundless, mouths gaping and reaching for words and guttural sobs that will not come, ears and hair soaked. i let them know that there is space for whatever comes and that whatever comes is the exact right thing for that moment.
my job is to sometimes remind folks over and over that there isn't one way to grief, there isn't one way to rage, there isn't one thing to do or not do and that this world indeed can be cruel and senseless. my job is to help folks come into their bodies, to feel their sensations, to open up a little more space for their emotions and sensations to move in so they don't feel continually like they are being swallowed or consumed. to open up a little space in their bodies so that the huge bits of devastation and fear can live next to the small bits of hope and joy, so that there is space for all of it.
my job is sometimes to remind folks that numbing out in a world of systems and institutions that often want to kill us, hurt us, shame us, numb us, pit us against each other, take away our choices, imprison us, institutionalize us, isolate us makes a ton of a lot of sense, AND that when we are to awaken into our emotions and sensations, we have lot more tools to take down that world and build something else.
my job is to check myself wanting to solve and to fix, and to pull myself back and find my own ground and breath and make a little more space to breathe and be with folks. i am endlessly amazed at what is possible when we take a moment to step back from solving and fixing and just find ways to sit with each other.
my job is to help folks sit in the uncomfortable without having to shut anything down. my job is to work hard myself to sit in the uncomfortable without having to shut anything down.
it's deeply humbling work. work that constantly kicks my own butt to live my words; to live my politics; to live inside of my own skin; to acknowledge my mistakes, apologize for them, and to do better next time; to sit inside the sensations and emotions; to build more resilience practices into every moment of my day.
work that sometimes i do fantastically and sometimes i do less fantastically.
this week i have had to fight hard to get to work. this week i just wanted to build a wall of thick plexiglass between me and feeling. this week just getting out of bed felt like a lifetime achievement. this week i endlessly scrolled my newsfeed, ignored friends' text messages and locked the dogs out of my room. this week i worked super hard at not feeling. i made myself go through the motions of feeding myself, getting in my car and driving to my office. i made myself empty the trash and refill the tissue boxes. i made myself change the sheets on my table and bring another chair in for the new couple i was seeing at 3pm. i sat in my chair and felt myself thaw as i got to sit with my clients. i thawed as i touched my clients feet. i thawed and i felt tiny sensations within my gut. i thawed as i sat with someone as they wept. i thawed after i finished a session with a client who is just starting to be able to feel her pelvis after years of numbness and disassociation. i thawed and felt the pinpricks of tears.
i am still thawing but more and more of me is returning. and i am remembering why i keep on returning to my body. i am remembering why i keep on returning to this work.
this work helps me have something besides rage for the straight and cis people who have said nothing about the murders of my gorgeous, glittery, fierce queer brethren. this work helps me feels the rage and also feel the compassion and the love and the hurt that that silence has caused and continues to cause.
this work helps me rage and vent and yell and sob and scream about the opportunism and the oppression thinly disguised as healing that has run rampant in the last week. and when i open to all that rage and fear, i can also open to other things. when i make space to feel the heat in my face and the shaking of my legs and the loud thudding of my heart in my throat, there is also space to notice the quieter, smaller sensations. there is space to feel the rage and respond from somewhere else. there is space to hold complexity and contradiction. there is space to feel and with that feeling, let things move and change. there is space to soften. when i make space to feel my sensations and emotions, there are More Choices. fundamentally there is space for More.
i want to honor and mourn and celebrate the lives of our dead from that place of More. i believe that in the More, we all get to Thrive and not just Survive. i deeply believe that this place of More makes our movements better, our organizing better, makes our relationships better, makes us better at living this complex, heart-breaking thing called life.
i draw so much inspiration and hope from all the brilliance that you all do everyday. i know that i only see the littlest tip of the iceberg of our collective genius, and i am still blown over and moved to tears by all the ways that you have survived and continue to survive. by all the ways that you reach towards and embody justice. by all the ways that you are working to heal. by all the ways that you are working for and believing that we deserve More.
thank you. i see you. i'm with you. i love you.
and i believe that we will win.
Wise Body, owned & operated by Bruin Christopher Runyan, offers somatic counseling, coaching & classes to individuals, partners, families, and organizations. Bruin specializes in body-based, trauma-informed, anti-pathology, politicized healing. Wise Body is a remote healing practice that provides services through convenient video and phone sessions.