Sunday, June 7, 2020

Bucket Theory

I grew up on the coast of Massachusetts, across the street from a small private beach. We could walk a short distance to get there. No public parking was available. It was PRIVATE. We collected seashells and pretty rocks, along with unintentional grains of sand. We walked along the edge of the ocean, feeling the sensation of waves washing in over our feet and washing out again.

I don't know about you, but I like to collect things. I also collected experiences, stress, worry, memories, toxins, sugar, viruses, and a host of other things that were detrimental to my health... filling up my bucket without the awareness that it could only hold so much before overflowing.

I think it was Bri of Complete Chiropractic and Wellness Center who first told me about the Bucket and explained how one additional grain-of-sand-sized thing can make it overflow, triggering a meltdown of PTSD, fatigue, pain, and illness. A grain of sand can include things like a thought, bad news, indigestion, an argument, an uncomfortable memory, insomnia, a flat tire, an invasion of ants, or a surprise bill.

I've been learning more about PTSD, an automatic reaction by our brilliantly designed bodies when gasoline is thrown on our internal fire. I purchased Anatomy 360 by Dr. Jamie Roebuck to increase my awareness of just how brilliant my body is. Wow. After looking at all the pictures, I am even more determined to spend time dwelling on all of that vs. what spins non-stop in my mind.

Two new docu-series/summits were released that I have been watching: Overcoming PTSD and Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed by Science. While these two are completely separate productions, both have the same basic information: understanding your body and how it reacts when your bucket overflows, along with proven methods of improving and hopefully, recovering.

In the realm of parts, mainstream medicine treats symptoms (with surgery and medications) vs. digging for root causes that include stress, trauma, and nutrition. I've known this for many years now. What I didn't realize is how the integration of 'systems' affects us. I didn't know that trauma (of any kind) resulted in chronic inflammation and auto-immune reactions. I didn't know that our unbelievably efficient immune system can't tell the difference between what type of stress the body is dealing with, it just declares war when it sees the bucket overflow.

Awareness is the key. Now that I am more aware, I can take proactive steps to bring the fires down to embers. For me, getting a handle on the original trauma(s) is the key. There are many modalities and therapies in the industry of trauma recovery out there that cost money. However, with COVID-19, in addition to the information about handling COVID itself, suddenly, there is a wealth of free information on trauma and what you can do about it. It's all about calming down the ANS -- the autonomic nervous system. The definition in Wikipedia is:

"The autonomic nervous system is a control system that acts largely unconsciously and regulates bodily functions, such as the heart rate, digestion, respiratory rate, pupillary response, urination, and sexual arousal. This system is the primary mechanism in control of the fight-or-flight response."

In case you are one of many panicking and going crazy with all the systems that were put into place around COVID, it is the fear and anxiety that drains your immune system and increases your chances of getting sick. If you have other unhealthy habits in addition to fear and anxiety, this is an opportunity to do what is in your control: learn how to treat your body like it is a garden. Put as much love into it as you do with your flowers and plants. Let some of the load out of your bucket.

My personal plan of action includes prioritizing mindfulness (being in the present moment), meditating, drinking adequate amounts of water, avoiding foods and the news I know overflow my bucket, use the collection of essential oils I have, activate my vagus nerve, practice Donna Eden's energy-meridian balancing routines (she even has one for calming anxiety--you can find some on YouTube), and grounding by placing my bare feet on the garden rocks out in front of my apartment.

Rocks. I just discovered I could get grounded by placing my feet on rocks while sitting in my wheelchair. I had been paranoid about being barefoot in the grass due to the high number of fire ants that share space here, so I didn't try it. But when the management company redid the landscape two years ago, they provided areas of river rocks out front. I got my dose this morning. It really worked. I felt the difference in my body... and imagined I was back on that beach again.

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