I was laying awake in bed this morning considering last night’s post about my very human day and strewn salads. Considering how I feel a bit like that strewn salad at present, pieces tossed madly about into different corners, trying to scrape myself together and reground.

Thinking about how I’ve been here before. Last spring I do believe. And I know if I were to go read the words I wrote back then, I would probably be talking about the same issues concerning depletion, exhaustion, stress, and needing nurture.

I am aware of my chronic issue with feeling emptied of my life force.

It’s good to know if nothing else, I am consistent.

I have always thought about stress, and emotions for that matter, on some very basic level, as a memorized response to certain triggers in our life. Like the muscle memory our body has for riding a bicycle, our cells hold memories for our emotional experiences. In particular, they hold strong memories for intense emotions.

Pain, anger, sadness, depression, despair. Life can be rolling right along and we somehow find this emotional information accessed and realize we are back in familiar territory as we think, Oh no, not you again… how did I get back here? I thought this ship had sailed. I thought I was past this.

A Trauma Therapist would respond to this with information on how the mind and body deal with overwhelming emotional experiences that go unprocessed. They get stored differently inside of us and are activated when life triggers these neural networks. They would say release comes from reprocessing the information in an adaptive way.

Eckhart Tolle would call this the pain body, and advise mindfulness and presence in the now. The pain is part of your ego. You are not your ego. By stepping into the role of observer, you are stepping out of the pain body and are able to be free in the Now.

Someone who specializes in energy work- Chakras, Chi, Reiki therapy, would likely look at how out of whack someone’s energy is and seek to restore balance to their life force through a variety of methods depending on their medium.

A Cognitive Behavioral Therapist would tell you to change your cognitions in order to change how you feel. That our reactions and feelings are a direct response of how we think about situations.

The Laws of Attraction would tell you to picture yourself restored, rejuvenated, and happy. Navigating the day successfully. Don’t focus on what you don’t have or you will attract more of that. Instead focus on what you will have, on what you want so you attract that.

Shamanic tradition would likely tell me that yesterday’s dark reaction to the stress of the day is my shadow self trying to work itself out, and I can learn from this part of myself. That my job is to remain non-judgmental and curious, to shine light into my own shadows so I can better integrate my experiences, integrate the feminine and masculine archetypes in my psyche, and continue on my journey of wholeness.

I could keep going with this list. I happen to be the former, but I know a little bit about all of the later since I spend a great deal of my time as a student of healing. Formally trained as a Clinical Psychologist, informally trained in anything I can get my hands on that sheds more light into the human experience.

I once heard the phrase “biochemical soup” to describe the environment of our brains during early attachment. Those who were provided with a lot of nurture and love had a pretty good pot of soup. Those who went through attachment injuries, who didn’t receive the ingredients they need, have a less robust pot.

Or as somebody I know once said, “Man, I got crap for soup.”

This phrase has stuck with me ever since I heard it. This idea of soup and how we can add ingredients to our soup to help provide experiences for ourselves that our biochemical/psycho/social/spiritual/emotional selves may have lacked.

We don’t have to be stuck with the soup life gave us. We just have to be willing to do some work to figure out what we better need.

I believe the healing process is all about adding ingredients to our soup. Having new experiences that help us connect with parts of ourselves we didn’t realize were there. Retrieving pieces of ourselves we forgot we laid down. Reclaiming, reinventing, reprocessing, reexperiencing, releasing, renewing, redoing the work of us.

Find what works for you and do that.

I just happen to think there are a lot of different things that work, and that much of the time we are looking at the same landscape from different angles.

As I was laying in bed thinking about strewn salad, I was considering my own angles as of late. At present I think I have a good pot of stress soup boiling on the stove. It needs a few more ingredients I will admit to help bring it down to a nice balanced simmer.

In the meantime, I ran across this quote from Mary Oliver today,

Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.

It made me consider the blessings of strewn salad and stress soup. The beauty of experiencing life and our own healing so we can share these experiences with others. The gift of connection as we all figure out what works for us and then find the courage to tell our stories so somebody else can sit up a little straighter and say- Yes, me too. I know how that feels.

We are all in this together I do believe.

Learning as we go along. Students of life and healing ourselves each one of us. Some days we have strewn salads and stress soup, but that is okay. I think the fact that we have these things in the first place?

Well that is a great gift, even during long seasons in life.

Sometimes one’s soup just needs a bit of tending.