In Your Own Words: October Meet-Up Recap
Our conversations during our free monthly meet-ups take us in a variety of directions, and in order to ensure we circle back for reference, we post these resource blogs the day (or two) following a meet-up. The intent is to provide a roundup of resources or references from the conversation that night. This past Wednesday evening we hosted our second meet-up of the month at The Commons. Our discussion was raw and engaging, the safety of our environment providing open and vulnerable conversation.
Words that work: Two hot-button topics invariably come up - forgiveness and why traumatic events happen (is there a bigger, scripted plan?). Sometimes words themselves are the triggers so finding a different word that resonates with you, may help in processing your thoughts and feelings. For example, "forgiveness" might bring up negative emotions, so maybe using "compassion" instead would alleviate that trigger. It will be different for each of us but the important piece to remember is that it needs to be a word or phrase that works for you.
Is it all scripted? This question was brought up, wondering if our lives were planned for us before we were born. One belief is that everything happens for a reason. Another response was how horrible to believe that abuse could ever be a plan. The conversation ignited some passionate responses and it was a reminder that we all do have beliefs that require our support and respect, not challenging someone's correctness. In the end, the consensus was to remember that when bad things do happen, we are in charge of our choices and response to it.
Stuffing it makes you sick: When things are held in, sometimes for decades, that stuffing or keeping it inside will eventually make you sick and it will show up somewhere, somehow.
Helping is healing: Sometimes it's as simple as being present and listening, nothing else.
IDEAS & INSPIRATION
What would Kamal do? One of our couples who attend regularly shared a story of taking a cab home from the airport. They were cut off and the husband told the driver to honk at the guy. Kamal's response was, "What good would that do? Nothing. No good can come from rage."
If you haven't heard of the Reticular Activation System (RAS) in our brains, this article describes it well. It's like the white Jeep. Once you purchase it you see them everywhere. Our brains automatically filter what we focus on. The good news is, we can retrain those neurons. Interesting stuff!
Breathing and relaxation techniques: When anxiety or the chatter in our brains becomes too much, these techniques may prove helpful.
Theo recently went on a University tour with We're All a Little "Crazy" and learned this Alternate Nostril Breathing technique that similarly calms the nervous system. The breath stimulates the “vagus” nerve in the neck, which is the pacemaker of the CNS, telling the organs it speaks to as blood is fed to them that: we’re okay, we’re not in danger, you can relax. Try it:
Put your index and middle fingers on the bridge of your nose.
Use your thumb to plug one nostril while you breathe in and hold for four seconds.
Hold for two seconds.
Switch nostrils to exhale for six seconds.
Repeat, switching the nostrils each time you inhale/exhale and repeat until you feel calm, generally 5-10 minutes.
OUR MEET-UP STRUCTURE
Because our meet-ups are growing each month (which we are so grateful for), we now have the need to provide more structure to these meetings so everyone gets more out of them. Last night we introduced a few rules and ideas for the meetings:
Please, no cross-talk. We want to be respectful of people’s stories and their time, so please allow others to finish their piece, before adding on.
We encourage participants and members of our community to reach out to new joiners and offer to support them or be a mentor of sorts. This type of thing is a successful structure in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) with their ‘sponsor program’.
As BFF members, we are at the meetings to facilitate a safe conversation, but a reminder that we are not therapists.
If you need someone to talk to between meetings, please reach out to the Calgary Distress Centre or call their 24-hour line at 403-266-HELP.