Helping our clients & ourselves through these difficult times

Considering everything that is happening in the world, it has been a really tough couple of weeks.

A deep sadness & concern overcomes me each time I think about the devastation of the pandemic, about climate change and the people suffering from it, about those suffering in Haiti, and those in Afghanistan.

As a people, we are holding a lot right now.

And the truth is that whether we’ve realized it or not, we have all been holding a lot for the last 18 months. There is a collective trauma that has impacted so many of us, no matter what our individual experience has been.

Ongoing crisis for such a sustained amount of time – whether it touches us directly or not, and no matter what our “attitude” or mindset – is going to take its toll. It can show up as anxiety, extreme fatigue, sleeplessness, impatience, rashness, grief, fear and so much more.

It’s so important to not only take care of ourselves as best we can through these difficult times, but to also take care of each other.

I have been actively making more time & space to take care of myself and my nervous system, and to tend to my friends and family.

As practitioners, it’s also so important to hold our clients with special care right now.

Here are some powerful concepts to consider, to help you help yourself and help your clients through these times:

1. Tend to your own emotions (& body, & nervous system)

The best and only way we can help our clients is if we as transformational practitioners are in a grounded, well taken care of place, physically and emotionally.

Allow yourself to feel all the feelings coming up. Make space for your own emotions and for you. Work with your fears. Journal. Get Rest. Eat well. Unplug when you can. Slow down. Make intentional space for things that delight you. Ask for support when you need it.

Strengthen your own container so that you can hold a strong container for your clients.

2. Honor exactly where your clients are, and do not bypass

You may not be feeling extreme fear…or anger…or sorrow at all that is happening in the world, but it is very likely that some of your clients will be feeling a lot.

If there is any urge inside of you to tell your clients “It’s not that bad”, or “Things are already looking better”, or “At least…..” or “Spirit has our back” —- move away from the urge.

When we don’t honor exactly where our clients are, when we don’t make space for what they are feeling, we in essence, are bypassing our clients. And the moment we bypass our clients, the moment we have ceased to deeply honor and make space for where they’re at…is the moment we are no longer able to support them.

It may not feel comfortable to sit in the Shadows with others, but this is precisely what is required of us as transformational practitioners. Continue to do your own inner work to be able to be comfortable with and lean into grief, sorry, anger, fear and beyond.

3. Check Your Privilege

If you hold a certain privilege that your client does not – whether it’s related to race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, body, language, economic level or anything else – you run the risk of bypassing them and their perspective on world events because of their lived experience.

Something that doesn’t feel dangerous to you because of your background may feel (and actually BE) very dangerous to someone with less privilege than you.

Watch yourself for this. Check your privilege so that you can hold an equitable, nurturing space for each and every client you support.

4. Give permission for the mess and the mystery

A lot of times coaches and transformational practitioners want to tie sessions up in a neat bow. This is appropriate for certain situations, but can really be a disservice in many other situations.

When big things happen, it is not always appropriate to process them in neat, structured ways. It is not always appropriate to come to a clear “learning” and resolution about it by the end of the session.

Give permission for the mess and the mystery. It is the only authentic and empowering way through.

5. Learn to hold Pain & Hope simultaneously

Holding space for your clients’ pain, sorrow, fear and anger is not mutually exclusive from also holding hope and opportunity. It is truly an art to be able to hold both at once, but when you can, your clients will be able to feel totally seen and heard by you, to feel they were able to express fully and deeply….and feel the peace in that expression, as well as feel hopeful. Holding pain and hope is one of the most healing opportunities, period.

6. Check In

If you don’t already have a habit of doing so, this is a moment to check in with clients in between sessions. Let them know that you’re there. That you’re thinking of them. A short check-in can go such a long way to support a client in feeling loved and cherished and cared for, which in turn, can help them feel more regulated and grounded.

We are all walking the mystery together right now.

There is so much unknown.

There is so much heartbreak, globally & personally.

But there is also so much beauty to be created:

Community to be fostered

Clients to supported

Inspiring words to be crafted

Neighbors in need to help

Family to be loved

I still believe it is possible for each one of us to discover our best selves in the rubbles of this moment in time…to find the deeper level of our generosity, our activism, our spirit, our feistiness, our devotion, our love, our brilliance, our creativity….to come face to face with the “us” that we always wished and dreamt and knew we were, but never quite knew how to find.

Let this be the moment that we find it. That we claim it. Let’s make this moment count.

I am sending you tons of love this moment and always,

Joanna

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