Julie Forsey writes ….
5Rhythms™ provides a map that helps us to deal with any situation. It is versatile and adaptable, giving us the structure in which we find our effectiveness, our strength, and keep ourselves safe while we deal with a crisis.
The crisis may be a small domestic one or a major disaster – the principles are the same. In Flowing we take in information, take in the whole situation with awareness. In Staccato we take action, doing what is needed, doing what we can. In Chaos, having done everything that we could, we let go; release ourselves from the situation. This creates the spaciousness, the expansion, of Lyrical as we come back into relationship with the bigger picture and into a new and expanded level of connection with those around us. Finally we come into Stillness; a chance to integrate the experience.
In my work as a doctor, I sometimes attend emergencies, for example a car crash. As I approach the scene, I am careful to be grounded and aware of my own safety. Flowing continues as I take in the situation assessing the casualties and their injuries. Then in Staccato it is all focused action, responding to the need and informed by training. Moving people to safety, staunching wounds, giving pain relief. In Chaos there is a letting-go as I release each patient from my care. This frees up my energy in Lyrical to attend to the next casualty. And the thread of Lyrical runs through the whole crisis as I keep a connection with each patient in my awareness.
Stillness can arise even in the most hectic situation, and is felt as a powerful sense of calm. Other doctors I have spoken to have sensed this too, and it has been described as a sense of a Divine presence – of Love, even – at the roadside, in a crisis.
In an emergency situation, we all have the potential to access huge reserves of power, physical strength, clarity and correct action, appropriate care, compassion and empathy. We too could be the mother lifting a car off her child, the man lifting a tree off his mate.
There is a real earthiness in a crisis. In Flowing we take it all in – what is going on?, what needs to be done? We need to dig deep, ground ourselves, get down to reality, to what’s important. The emotion associated with Flowing is fear, and when we open to our fear, and move forward in the face of it, consciously and grounded, we access huge reserves of strength.
In Staccato there is passion, intensity, fierceness and strength, and also clarity and focus. It feels elemental, a power that we need to get completely behind, so that we can make sometimes hard decisions, and take clear committed action. The emotion associated with Staccato is anger, and there can be a feeling of rage against fate, against futility. More usefully in a crisis, we tap into huge reserves of raw power, of which anger is only one expression.
When we get the chance to release in Chaos, there may be a searing grief, a cry of anguish that wants to rise up through us. We have done all we can, we let go of the person we have been helping. And especially we let go of the outcome, giving up any sense that we are in control here, offering up our work just as it is. We have done our best. Sorrow is the emotion of Chaos, and tears may come, or we may need to release our energy in other ways – shaking off, or keeping busy.
When we reach a breathing space in Lyrical there is expansion. The power that has been taken in through Flowing, channeled and focused outward in Staccato has been released in Chaos and we are left with an expansive, energized feeling, very much alive, fully present, able to relate to others around us, to give and receive support, connected. The possibility of Joy is present even in a crisis.
Stillness follows. It may only need a moment if we are still in the crisis. We have a chance to assimilate, to count our blessings and reach a resolution of what has gone before. We may feel at peace, and somehow feel both empty and full. Compassion is the emotion associated with Stillness.
Here are a few tips if you want to try moving through the Wave in this way at home. Make sure you are well warmed up first and put on some fairly gentle music just to check through a body parts meditation, shaking and releasing as you go, softening down, loosening up for the Wave.
Put on some good loud music with a strong beat. Heavy rock is great – choose a piece with an uplifted aspect, or something ‘heroic’ or theatrical. Before you start to move, make sure you are well grounded, soften down, bend your knees a little more than usual, have a broader stance and take bigger steps than usual as you go into Flowing. Somehow get beneath the beat to find the ground, to tap into that infinite resource of power. Use your in-breath to help you gather energy.
In Staccato, bring the power right up through you from your feet, and into expression with the beat, using your out-breath to power the movement, with sound if you want to. (like the ‘Kiai’ of martial arts). Allow whatever is going on inside you to come into movement, express however you are feeling with clear shapes, giving generously of the power you have available to you. Let the energy of each shape extend right out into the space, and look in that direction with clear focus.
In Chaos, allow your body to follow your energy levels, dance big, wild and free if you can support this, or let your dance dissolve into shaking movements, softening and releasing down. Allow your breath to be deep and relaxed with awareness of both the in-breath and out-breath. This is your time to let go.
In Lyrical enjoy the expansion into the space you have created inside. Let your dance be as free and expressive as it wants to be, releasing your breath from any constraints. Feel the expansion across the front of your chest and lifting your sternum. Allow your dance to rise with your in-breath and to move effortlessly into the space with the out-breath.
Follow your dance through into Stillness. Feel the aliveness right through your body, as it moves with your breath sending waves of tingling through your still shapes. As your dance comes to completion, allow the possible feeling of support from a higher source, feel your connection to your friends, family and community, and just watch that feeling to see how big it can be, how much can be included in it.
With love and empathy to the people of Christchurch, in Japan and all over the world who are coping with crisis.
Part 3 of this Blog coming soon – The Inner Wave – Recovering from Trauma