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  • Lara Krawchuk, LCSW, MPH

Falling into Fall

Updated: a day ago


Lately I have had the sensation of falling into a kind of dystopian landscape where many of the things I value feel under constant threat, places I most cherish are largely out of reach, despair and confusion rule the land. My children, like many children you love, start school this month. One in middle school and the other high school. Neither will attend classes in person. Neither will enter a school building. Instead they roll out of bed, walk 4 steps to their desks, open a laptop, log into Zoom, and hopefully learn something. They will not meet new teachers, roam hallways with friends, play on sports teams, or sing in a choir. The list of losses goes on and on! Everything is different, jumbled, scary and wrong!

My youngest son’s first week of school was a nightmare of dropped connections, laptop problems and my trying to navigate a brand-new school system online while supporting clients mired in much of the same distress I was feeling. It was overwhelming and deeply humbling. Cortisol levels were sky high. There was some yelling and tears shed. Somehow, we got through it. By Thursday we had found more solid footing again. We were still stumbling, but no longer falling.

It remains unclear what exactly Fall 2020 will offer, but it is obvious nothing will be like it used to be. Life may be mired with loss, confusion, change, and disappointment. Lots of disappointment! I personally struggle with grief and worry nearly every darn day! I try to honor this pain which helps, but there is even more that can be done when you feel like you are falling into despair or chaos. Here are a few ideas to support you through challenging transitions in the coming months.

1) Connect with your inner healer. Everyday touch into the oasis of compassion, calm, clarity, and courage that flows inside every single one of us. This is the realm of what we, in the Internal Family Systems (IFS) community, call True Self. This healer inside us flows effortlessly with pulse and breath, offers connection when life feels really hard or lonely, and supports distressed parts of our internal system. To survive, perhaps even thrive, we must meet reeling parts of ourselves and our loved ones with self-care. Every morning I sit with a cup of coffee on my favorite chair on my porch, listen to chirping birds, breathe deeply and see if I can create some inner space for the flowing energy of my own True Self to emerge. This connection can be subtle and also powerful. Play around with connecting to your own Self energy through quiet time, mindful walking or jogging, prayer, holding a yoga pose, creating art, listening to music, being in nature. Whatever helps you feel deeply connected to YOU is perfect! Getting familiar with the oasis of calm inside yourself can be done every day in this time of great change and challenge. Meet the world with this energy flowing and you may notice that you feel a shift from a sense of falling to one of grounded connection to that which sustains you.

2) Meet hurting parts of you with curiosity and compassion. Distress is a part of Fall 2020. Meet sad, scared, angry, overwhelmed parts of you with the curiosity, calm and compassion. All parts of you deserve to be heard and gently held. Try to listen without any “fix it” agenda. Simply honor the distress. Take time each day to quietly honor struggling parts. If they trust you to listen, they may not clamor so loudly.

3) Turn towards the anything that still make sense and that lifts you up! Love of family, the joy of laughing with good friends, a healthy body, the majesty of nature, movement, music, teachers working hard to educate children, the courage of everyday citizens trying to make the world a better place, delicious food, a faithful four legged companion, chirping birds, flowering trees, sunshine, a cool breeze. Make time connect with anything that nourishes you.

4) Practice Kindness. There is a lot to be upset about in 2020 but try to remember most people are doing their best to find their way in uncharted territory. Mistakes will happen. At times we will need to backtrack then move forward again. New pathways may need to be built. We may feel angry, hurt, upset, confused. It takes a deep well of kindness for self and others to find our way through all this. Get some space from anyone truly toxic in your life and then try to meet everyone else with kindness, flexibility and grace. Making time each day to tap into your inner oasis of compassion, calm, and courage will allow kindness to flow more freely.

5) Connect with others who care. Humans are wired for connection. Part of what makes this Fall so difficult is isolation from cherished communities. Take time each day to share your journey. Talk to a friend, join a Zoom support community, take a physically distant but socially connected walk with a neighbor, put work away, share a cup of tea with your partner, ride bikes with your kids. Connect in any way that lifts you up. This is critical!

6) Lean into HOPE: There was a time in a not so far away past that our country was energized by idea of HOPE. I think we need more of this right now. We can choose hope, believe in our resilience and ability to find our way through the challenges that certainly lie ahead. I believe we can! I invite you to join me in leaning into hope. Good luck!

Sometimes we need a little help naming, claiming, and making sense of the tough emotions or tapping into our own Self energy. If you, or someone you love, is struggling in this time of uncertainty remember that help is near. Simply call us at 610-209-3111 or email us athealingconceptsllc@gmail.com. We, at Healing Concepts, LLC, would be honored to support your journey towards healing and well-being.

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