For One Who Is EXHAUSTED by John O’Donohue
Today in class at Think Head First, where I teach resting, relaxing, while staying alert and awake to yourself. I read the following poem, which describes so well the feeling many people suffer when they hit their head and are diagnosed with TBS, which stands for Traumatic Brain Injury. Besides the physical symptoms of dizziness, headaches, blurred vision, slow understanding, often called brain fog, no sleep, loss of balance etc., many people also experience extreme anxiety “Weariness invades your spirit”. The advice from doctors is take it easy and rest. Yet what I see, Concussions are hard to manage in our fast times, and most people lack the skills to slow down and rest. What commonly is known as relaxing is watching TV, but that is a big NO,NO. So what can you do? An hour of slow, mindful movement linked to the breath all done with full awareness in your body and with your inner life is often a valued gift of being allowed to just be with what is, your body as it is, moving it gently, caring, deeply listening, while acknowledging any emotions, thoughts and sensations which might be arising. What does it take to be a caring presence to yourself, your best friend of your inner life? Gentle deep breathing helps to switch from the Flight & Fight mode, to a resting mode, yet the body can still move, unfreeze from the trauma and therefore sending signals to the brain, you are ok, so the brain can start relaxing the emergency brakes and flash lights and start healing, while the well-being in the body can be explored in a caring way.
Maybe a friend will read it to you while you are laying comfortably on the floor, or maybe you are the reader, the friend? Send me a note, how it resonates.
John O’Donohue, For One Who Is Exhausted
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight.
The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.
Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.
The tide you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.
You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken in the race of days.
At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.
You have travelled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.
Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they all the time in the world.
Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.
Fell free to contact me if you have any questions on anxiety!