Getting Like, Totally, Unstuck

So about this Sunday: are you still on the fence?

That is, stuck?  Well, that fence looks uncomfortable!  Sign up to join us, with caveat below!

In case you are just tuning in, this workshop is called, Getting Unstuck, and it's 9:45 till 1, 5th of November.  You'll have 3 of us presenting in turn, each providing content and experiential so you are learning from different perspectives.

A few people have asked, "So am I going to be Unstuck, like, Forever?  Hahaha," they say, hopefully, "Maybe?"

Umm, no.

No quick fixes.  But the insights we'll be sharing have made a difference for our clients. 

Here's how you'll benefit from attending:

  • what stuckness is, and why it's a default for many of us
  • where to find balance among polarities
  • science of sensing; gain insights into your own behavior
  • risk trying something new -- safely!
  • anchoring new practices for flexibility and flow

And that's just my piece:  Cynthia and Rachel have their own bullet points!

Getting Unstuck: A Whole-Person Way Forward 

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Sunday morning, November 5, 2017

9:45 am - 1:00 pm

Sign up here 

$60 payable online or at the door 

Location: event address provided when you sign up.

Learn ways of moving from feelings of stuckness into flow. Perspectives from Chinese medicine, somatic practice, and integral coaching.

We invite all of you here. 

 

Warm regards,

Cynthia Luna, integral coaching

Rachel Mefferd, L.Ac, acupuncturist

Suzanne Snijder van Wissenkerke, SEP

 

 


Workshop 5 November

Getting Unstuck: A Whole-Person Way Forward 

IMG_4675

Sunday morning, November 5, 2017

9:45 am - 1:00 pm

Sign up here 

$60 payable online or at the door 

Location: event address provided when you sign up.

Learn ways of moving from feelings of stuckness into flow. Perspectives from Chinese medicine, somatic practice, and integral coaching.

We invite all of you here. 

 

Warm regards,

Cynthia Luna, integral coaching

Rachel Mefferd, L.Ac, acupuncturist

Suzanne Snijder van Wissenkerke, SEP

 

 

 


Health and Being Real

Here is Gabor Mate, MD, author of When the Body Says No, speaking on "The Need for Authenticity" and its connection to health/ disease.

He lists these risk factors for disease: 

1) automatic concern for the emotional needs of others, ignoring your own

2) compulsive identification with duty and responsibility, rather authentic self

3) suppressing, repressing "negative" emotions

4) belief that you are responsible for how others feel, and fear of disappointing them

We don't do this on purpose! No! He says this results from our adapting unconsciously, to protect ourselves.  

From youtube channel science and nonduality.  Listen in.

 


3 Building Blocks to Resilience

IMG_2770Regain balance in your body's capacity for healthy adaptive response -- resilience -- starting with these three practices. 

Respect your body's wisdom.

Support what's working well in your body already -- by noticing what you can about how that is happening now.

Luckily, we don't have to tell our hearts to keep pumping, our lungs to inflate and deflate, to duck when a softball is headed our way, to yell "ow" when the knife slips.  These automatic, reflexive responses, just like the Fight - Flight - Freeze responses, kick in when the body senses protection is needed.

Just by noticing these under-the-radar rhythms, small changes begin.  Really!  That is, in fact, how our nervous systems adapt: by changing in small ways based on input.  Small input, easier for the system to digest.

Start by noticing how breath comes in and out, all by itself. Want to play with a small input? Breathe OUT - 2 - 3 - 4.  The rest will follow.

Rest.  

Nearly all of us need more rest! How does your body let you know?  Plan a little down time in every day. Five minutes is a start: Stop to smell pleasant aromas, exhale, and move on. 

Honor the wish to sleep longer by scheduling it.  

Busy at work or school, non-stop?

Seeing multiple health care providers, fitness trainers, coaches?  

Allow ample time between engagements.  This allows your system to integrate smaller chunks of input. 

Yeah, I know.  Sounds good when you read about it, but carving out rest time is the most difficult thing for me, too.  Come back to this one later.

Re-orient.  

The children's series, Where's Waldo? challenges us to locate and identify Waldo in a crowded environment.  Imagine that is you, wearing the red striped shirt in the crowd.  How do you know where you are?  We look, listen, and find ourselves in space by sensing, inside and outside. Orienting is recognized as a discrete stage in the body's organizing process to protect itself from threat.  Over milliseconds, the body takes in lots of information before mobilizing the energy needed to act, moving away or toward.  Info-gathering at this level happens well below cognitive decision control!  Eyes, ears, nose, throat are involved big-time, of course, along with sensors for space, movement, gravity, pressure.

A re-orienting practice you might try could start by checking the calendar.  Do you have ten minutes or so right now? If you'd like, set a timer to end your practice. Then, like the example of Waldo, above, check out what's around you now.  Let your gaze wander to what's familiar or interesting as you look around.  Take your time as you explore finding "you" in the midst of "here".  Feel where the edge of you stops and the ground or other surfaces begin.  Remember that you set your timer, and you can come back anytime.


Nervous System Reboot

It's time to ReFresh!  And maybe Reboot...

Today I'm sharing contact info for my professional colleague, Irene Lyon, who lives in Canada, and -- like me -- has trained in Peter Levine's Somatic Experiencing model.

She's developing ways for more people to learn the importance of our nervous systems in healing trauma, online.  From her website, you can access a bunch of educational resources, some free and some requiring payment.

A few months ago, I included links here to a few of her videos because a) they educate about a topic I feel is important and b) they were free.  

But soon after, I removed the link!  (And a few of you noticed -- sorry if you missed it!)

Irene was going to soon remove the free videos from her site, anyway!  When she announced that, I saw her "free video" offer as another example of being into yet another marketing scheme. I apologize if that's how you feel, too!  Remember, if you're concerned about receiving too many emails, you may always unsubscribe.

Bottom line, though, the educational resources she provides are proving worthwhile.  Already, a handful of my clients have reported that it's helped them understand more about their own somatic experience. 

All this is to say, if you're interested in online learning programs, I recommend checking out irenelyon.com.  

 

Wait-- What?! New Guidelines for Lower Back Ache

NYTimes: Lower Back Ache? Be Active and Wait It Out, New Guidelines Say 

This change is sure to get people talking. Opinions run strong when it comes to pain relief (just see the article's comments section!) Carried by the mainstream press, this topic will now make its way into all kinds of conversations about pain and addiction, pleasure and punishment.

I am optimistic about systemic change, toward a holistic view of care. But here's my big "however": Back pain is not just one thing. Pain anywhere is a message for us to attend to, and ask the body, "Hey, what's going on?" Sometimes pain corresponds directly with the area, sometimes the relationship to its source is mysterious. It can be devilishly difficult to figure out just what that message is. We have to keep listening, using all the tools available.


I've learned to not assume back pain is muscular. (Could be organic!) This idea doesn't always fly, when a client is convinced otherwise. So I leaven my approach with humor. Offer something that helps in the moment. Educate a bit, inviting opening to curiosity. Orient to what moves us along in time, together.

And I listen some more.
 

Abmp back
image from abmp.com

On Purpose

All the healing communities that I’m involved with*, each in their own way, acknowledged this week the pain of the most recent national tragedy and how its impact feels, even at a distance.

For each, the message was not primarily of outrage or disgust, though that was expressed first. Through each ran the deeper current of shared awareness of our human need for connection and spiritual meaning. Clear in each too is their resolution.  

We have a job to do.  

It is healing our world. 

Let’s pause.  

We honor those who died, and those most affected.  

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We then turn to taking care of ourselves so we can care for others. 

The world needs what we have to offer.  People feel broken, stuck, like there’s no way out.

We’re not THE answer, but we can provide hope.  Hope for moving, perhaps slowly and sideways at first, then gradually, resolutely onward.

So let’s get back to work. 

*Somatic Experiencing groups, Visceral Manipulation study group, Claremont yoga community, my church, my coach,  my professional association, and Feldenkrais in Houston

Photo credit: Ian Cook, SE Australia training, Melbourne. 


Nature Walks Heal

NYT article describes how a walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that improve our mental health.

And I would add, hiking in our nearby mountains!  Starting early in the day works best for me -- beat the heat and let the day unfold from there.  Call if you'd like to join me on a hike sometime!  

This is along the trail at Icehouse Canyon, about a month ago.

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Find the Support You Need

Hi, I'm Suzanne! My Integrative Bodywork practice is here to support you.

With over 25 years experience, I'm helping clients move from overwhelm toward health.

Building on what's already working well in your own physiology, I use manual therapy and Somatic Experiencing to nudge your system back into balance.  I'm licensed in massage therapy since 1991, and now describe my work as "integrative" -- bringing all these tools together to help you heal.

My work can help relieve pain, as well as symptoms of anxiety/depression patterns, so you feel more comfortable. You'll learn how to sense inside safely, to get in touch with what's most important to you. You'll get to practice playing more!

Yes! Less work for the body, more fun. More pleasure even, what about that?

 When your body feels better, your mind benefits too.

So you can begin feeling more like yourself again, connecting with people, and enjoying more of what you love!

You'll find the encouragement you need right here.  

We're in the Claremont Village, by appointment Monday through Friday.

Schedule right here online or by phone.  

Learn about my practice (see at right).

Or if you'd like, set up a free 25-min phone consult: 909.239.8313.  

I look forward to hearing from you!


Less Talk, More Therapy

"I read this New York Times article and decided to see whether there was anybody in Claremont who could help me."  

This, from a new client today who found me online, as "you seem to offer more than a normal massage therapist."  She says she has put up with the pain long enough and is ready to explore change from the body perspective.  

Yay!   First step in seeking well-being is saying, "Enough!" and feeling open to ask questions about what could be different.  Then, who to trust along the way.  Many of my clients are right there at that edge of discovery.  It's a time ripe for experimenting.

Q:  So does this article come close to describing what you do?

A:  Well, sometimes. Often. Depends on what client is open to explore, their stated goals, and how the body calls. Some sessions more like "normal" massage, even deep tissue. Sometimes a whole session is a story-led sensory exploration, all while sitting in chairs, moving a bit, bringing awareness outside on purpose, not even using the table. My goal is always integration... a topic that warrants its own article!

 

 


Moving Anger Out from a Holding Pattern

Here's an interesting blog post about anger from a therapist named Robert Firestone.  Number one in his list of effects of denying or suppressing anger is somaticizing -- creating physical symptoms. 

"Holding back angry feelings creates tension, and this stress reaction plays a part in a wide range of psychosomatic ailments, such as headaches, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and cancer."

Many of us have learned to pooh-pooh what may come along with anger that's held:  the constriction, the pain, the frustrating lack of momentum.   Ignoring it doesn't make it go away!    Among my bodywork clients are some whose hunched neck/shoulders are actually compromising their heart/lung functional capacity --- which compounds with anxiety as the heart races or "I can't breathe!"   For some, a holding pattern like this snowballs into a syndrome, a complex tangle of symptoms.  

To successfully address physical symptoms, my therapeutic approach will often integrate multiple elements of human experience: emotion, meaning, behavior, sensation, image.  Combining Somatic Experiencing with gentle bodywork is what I find most effective.

A few more thoughts about allowing anger to be part of the mix of feelings we experience:

1)    Feeling a feeling -- any feeling -- It's not right or wrong, it just is!   This is part of the job of our physical bodies.  When we sense a feeling, the body gets a message to move.  Toward something attractive, away if not attractive.  Checking in with where in your body might want to move right now is a great place to start.  For example, a nice breath out!  -- Aahhh! 

2)    Feeling an impulse to move is not the same as following through with aggressive actions!   To develop more impulse control, experiment with letting go of some control!   Sound counter-intuitive?  In a Somatic Experiencing session, we might explore feeling that edge between extreme-absolute-control and a-little-bit-of-movement.   

3)    What's the opposite of anger?  Again, not a right or wrong answer here, just an invitation to explore that for a moment, sitting away from your screen to feel whatever it is for you.     Give yourself enough time so that when you come back to a feeling of anger, there's this other feeling your body remembers as well.  Something to gently swing back to.

 

 


sense of myself as a resilient container

I am an artist in my mid-forties.  I spent many years of my life in psychotherapy and self help, but could not seem to shake the perpetual emotional pain and anxiety which crippled my daily functioning.  A friend shared books about Somatic Experiencing, and I realized I could not heal myself alone.  I found Suzanne via the "Find a Practitioner" at www.traumahealing.com.  Her gentle style immediately put me at ease and established a relationship of trust.  

I really appreciate how Suzanne is available for me when I am triggered.  A phone call or visit to her office resets my attitude and empowers me to proceed with my day calmly.  She reads me so well, picking up on subtle signs how my system is doing.  Her supportive touch is tremendously healing as it enables me to discharge pent-up anxiety and stress.  As our series of sessions continues, I am putting experiences in her office together with the lingo I learned while reading about S.E.;  gaining a tangible sense of myself as a resilient container.  

Receiving her gentle visceral bodywork [an osteopathic approach that complements S.E.] is making me aware of my own internal anatomy, and awakening my inner health advocate.  This year I got serious about attending regular [every 2 weeks] sessions.  Rather than just soothing me and helping me to put out emotional fires, I have made significant progress in both my personal and professional life.  I feel that Suzanne's help has empowered me with the confidence to meet with clients and to achieve artwork I never had the stamina for before.   I feel very fortunate to have discovered her practice.  -- Jeanne-Marie Lovell


College Students, Welcome Back!

With the return of fall semester comes the rhythm of practicums, performances, and exams.  Here's an exercise to invite your body to settle.  Try this in someplace quiet enough for you.  

Grounding & Resourcing (about 10 min)        

Sit in a supported position, both feet on the floor.  Take time to notice your natural breath, particularly your exhale.  Slowly push the sole of one foot into the floor as you exhale, releasing on the inhale.  Alternate left and right.  Slow your movements even more, to explore the sensations.  Look for what feels good!  If your eyes are closed, try opening them a little and check out your environment. 

As you look around, what attracts you?  Let your eyes rest there awhile before moving on.  Allow your attention to move your head as your eyes gently take in something new of interest. Notice how the breath changes as you do this.  Take all the time you need.

 


Let Go

let go

let go of holding onto what you don't need

let go of trying to be good at letting go

let go of self-judgment for not letting go

                                   fast enough slow enough hard enough soft enough 

                                   enough enough

                                   ever

let go

let go

let


Clients Write: letting the creative work flow

Suzanne is a genius at healing. I don't say that lightly. For nearly as long as I can remember, I've had issues with doing solo work - especially writing. I've always had tons of ideas and I could get other people excited about them, but the moment I'd get near paper or a keyboard to make things real - poof! All gone. Instead, confusion and dissociation, paralysis, indecision, self-loathing. Sometimes I could do what needed to be done, but only with huge amounts of effort and pain, and never in a "professional" manner. And it was really holding up my career. I had tried everything -  coaching, cognitive-behavioral therapy, goal setting, visualization, ADD meds, spiritual healing, you name it. Things would work a little, but nothing really transformative.
 
Until working with Suzanne. In our sessions feel like I'm working through stuff I never had access to any other way. Sometimes I walk in feeling heavy and out of it. Suzanne goes right to the spot, and a few minutes later I feel myself reacting differently from the inside out - feeling light and calm, yet responsive and fully connected. Between visits I also feel things moving differently. It feels like I have more influence on my consciousness and can be more responsive in my day to day environment. I don't have to suffer and delay until I can find the superhuman strength to produce - for the first time I'm working ahead instead of procrastinating! Without it being a big deal.
 
I highly recommend the somatic approach. Suzanne seems to use a few different modalities - I don't particularly understand the mechanics of what she does (and I don't need to!). But I do know what talent, deep intuition and years of practice look like, and I can tell you that Suzanne has really got it going on.  -- Kim

Restoring the Body: Bessel vd Kolk

Listen to Krista Tippett's recent interview with Bessel van der Kolk, foremost trauma researcher!   As I am only one of many who return often for inspiration to onbeing.org, I feel excited that a huge audience is getting the message here about restoring the body and healing trauma.  And, it makes me want to add a whole lot to what he said about healing therapies! 

The body awareness approach Somatic Experiencing is another of the therapies that help with trauma, and there are so many more ways we can help our bodies in moving through overwhelm toward health.

As you listen to the podcast, keep in mind questions that come up for you.  What strikes you as interesting?  What's not so clear?  What would you like to know more about?

Let's make a date for a talk!

 

 

 

 

 

Human memory is a sensory experience says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he's learning how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. And what he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events that after all make up the drama of culture, of news, of life. - See more at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/restoring-the-body-bessel-van-der-kolk-on-treating-trauma-with-yoga-emdr-and-healing#sthash.Vg3oZjaz.dpuf
Human memory is a sensory experience says psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk. Through his longtime research and innovation in trauma treatment, he shares what he's learning how bodywork like yoga or eye movement therapy can restore a sense of goodness and safety. And what he’s learning speaks to a resilience we can all cultivate in the face of the overwhelming events that after all make up the drama of culture, of news, of life. - See more at: http://www.onbeing.org/program/restoring-the-body-bessel-van-der-kolk-on-treating-trauma-with-yoga-emdr-and-healing#sthash.Vg3oZjaz.dpuf

feeling like Eeyore no more

I started seeing Suzanne for fibromyalgia relief.  Her experience and techniques have been very helpful in reducing the muscle aches.  I was surprised at one session where something in my hip released.  From that time several months ago, to the present, my low level depression, what I called my “Eeyore -ness,” has vanished.   --  Kathryn BR


A Little at a Time

I'm just back from another visceral training.  And -- surprise!  I'm not overwhelmed! 

Four days of new material.  Four days of intensive practice. Four days in an unfamiliar environment, working closely with an instructor and practicing hands-on with fellow students, most of whom are physical therapists. 

Why am I not overwhelmed?

It was my second time through.  The curriculum included review of another class.  These classes build on what I know --- from studying reference books and notes --- and on what I know more deeply, from practice.

Wow, at that first time 12 years ago, I sure was toast by the end.  Couldn't really tell you what happened on the fourth day of it. 

But this time, I could not only take it in, but expand with it.  Over the years inbetween, with study and practice, my body has had time to incorporate this information a little at a time, in context. 

You know what they say --- about how to get to Carnegie Hall? 

Practice, practice, practice.  

I can't wait to share visceral work --- with you!  And so I'm bringing it toward the front of the room, providing a context.

We all want to enjoy moving; it's how we live our lives to the fullest.  When moving happens with greater ease, we feel better.  Feeling good, we're better able to connect with people.  Part of feeling good is enjoying strength and support, and part of it is proprioception ----- body-to-brain, brain-body, and body-body ("...stable here, how about you?") messages inside.

Visceral work is all about relationships!  We're "waking up" proprioceptive connections on the inside, the messaging system that tells our body where we are and how we're doing, relative to other parts, and relative to the whole. Awareness of self, and self in the environment. 

Visceral work is also encouraging natural movement.

To function, our organs must be moving all the time, or we die.  (Ideally, joints and muscles can also move freely, but if not, mostly that won't kill you.) Where movement is hindered or stuck, that's where  therapeutic attention will focus, gently encouraging movement in the direction of ease.  That's it!  

So, I am not a healer but a person who listens to the tissues, and connects with encouraging movement.  Listening. Connecting. Encouraging.

When it's not too much input into the system as to overwhelm, the body can adapt, incorporating what's new, moving toward hope a little at a time.

 

Breathing through the Holidays

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As holiday preparations escalate, anxiety stifles our breath --- dampening  enjoyment of festive gatherings.  Take this opportunity to find an inner oasis of calm in the swirl of the season. Discover spacious containment in the breath:  a resource that keeps flowing on beyond the New Year.  Continuing to explore bottom-up wellness, we’ll be using hands-on contact, restful play, and movement to invite learning.

1 pm - 3 pm Sunday 27 November at Claremont Yoga

204 N. Yale (second level)

Reserve your spot at www.claremontyoga.com

or contact me at 909.239.8313.  Class is $25.

 Download Flyer BREATH


Thriving in Your Container

 Elastic and energized, a healthy body container defines your outside boundary, keeps your insides safe and nourished.  And it’s unique to you!  IMG_8300 - Copy

Join me for a fun 2-hour workshop, Sunday 10 July, 1 pm at Claremont Yoga.

Third in a series exploring bottom-up wellness, we’ll be using hands-on contact, restful play, and movement to invite learning.  Download Flyer

 

Come to get inside your own skin, dwell deeper in your personal space, explore your edges.....  


 


Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes

Second in a series exploring "bottom-up wellness", this class embraces Shoulders, in context of the whole body.  We’ll be using hands-on contact and movement, so learning – expanding perception – can happen from inside.

Download Flyer  IMG_8152 - Copy
 

Experience a bodyworker's twist on shaping your yoga practice, and unfolding into life. 


Sunday 22 May, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

at  Claremont Yoga

-- in the Village at 204 N. Yale Ave. (at Second)  on 2nd floor, stairs access only

 SPACE IS LIMITED!  Reserve your spot at www.claremontyoga.com

or contact Suzanne at 909.239.8313.  Class is $25.

 

Here's some of what to expect:

Free-Range Shoulders:  Go Where They Wish. 

Should:  Might We Invite “Can” and “May” into Alignment?

No Shoulder Is An Island:  Amiable Conversation with Neighbors.

Lean on Me:  Comfort, Defend; Contain, Connect.

Shoulder Rest:  Enjoy Support from Below.


Mind Your Head

This new class explores the kind of wellness from inside you --- "bottom-up wellness".  First class will focus on the head:  resolving stress that leads to tension, hands-on help for headaches, and the role your body plays. 

New class:  Mind Your Head IMG_8086

When:        Sunday 3 April, 12 pm - 2 pm

Where:      Claremont Yoga

in the Village at Second and Yale, on 2nd floor.  (Stairs access only.)

Sign up at www.claremontyoga.com

                  or phone Suzanne at 909.239.8313.  Class is $25.

Experience a bodyworker's twist on shaping your yoga poses, and unfolding into life. 

Here's some of what to expect:

  • Taking the Ache Out of Headache.  Lie back and relax!  Learn 7 self-help techniques to relieve head/neck tension. 
  • Finding Space Inside.  Get inside your head -- where space is needed for optimal physical and mental function. 
  • Finding Your Head In Space.  Up in the clouds?  In Outer Space?  Discover how your body locates itself through sensing and moving.
  • Not All in Your Head.  Why feeling good requires the whole body. 

 

 


Headache Relief: Let Gravity Help

IMG_0831 At the base of your skull, lots of muscles connect and overlap with each other.  As these muscles constrict, this can reduce flow of blood, oxygen into and out of the head.   Paradoxically, pressing firmly here can re-set the body's message to constrict, therefore restoring flow.

Here are some self-care tips to try at home:

1                     Begin by lying down, face up, and putting your hands behind your head.  Apply pressure with your thumbs and fingertips along the ridge of base-of-skull bone (occiput), and just underneath, toward the neck.   Direct your pressure toward the front of the head, moving from spot to spot along the ridge of bone.   Allow the weight of your head to fall onto your fingertips, varying the pressure.  Try rotating or tilting your head to locate areas where pressure brings relief.  These areas might change day to day.

2                     A more passive version of this utilizes a “still point inducer”.  You can purchase one, or you can make one yourself.  Put 2 racquetballs inside an athletic sock; tie a knot.  Lie face up, positioning the 2 balls side-by-side in the sock under your head, supporting the base-of-skull bone (occiput) comfortably.  You may want to slightly tuck your chin as you begin.  Allow the weight of your head to sink with gravity over several minutes, adjusting your position as needed for comfort.   


Permission to Move About

"Your captain has turned off the seat-belt sign.  You are free to move about the cabin."

Oh my goodness, what a relief.  I can move.  I can breathe freely.  I can be myself.  I can (fill in the blank). 

Today, air traffic safety is assured: I'm not piloting a plane.  I'm working one-on-one with a client seeking to reduce overwhelm, pain and stress.  But, when I give permission to move about, my client noticeably relaxes.  I do, too.

You can try it right now, "Just allow your eyes to go where they want."  Or, "See how your head and neck might want to move right now."    As you bring attention to the body, what else happens?  You might find yourself adjusting your position, maybe stretching, moving a bit to feel more grounded.  And your breath might kick in with a natural shift.

Just permission, that's all.  It's OK to be there as you are.  I'm over here, with you when you're ready.