Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Richmond

Letter from The Publisher

May 01, 2021 09:52AM ● By Shay Wilson
Publisher of Natural Awakenings Richmond, Jessica Coffey

Jessica Coffey, Publisher

Dear Readers,

Hopeful. That’s how I’m feeling right now. Like we will have a summer of interactions, connections and adventures to look forward to. Something we have not had for over a year. And I am ready. While I am ever-thankful for the technologies that enabled us to talk, “visit” and “meet” virtually, there is nothing quite the same as the energy shared when you are physically with another person. I think so many of us will benefit from the experiences we can begin having outside of our bubbles. However, this change will not come without the discomfort we find whenever we begin to do something different or transition to something new, and we must be patient with ourselves and others in the process. We will all enter this new phase differently and that is okay.

Taking care of yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually is a good way to ensure you will be better able to cope with the ups and downs. Natural Awakenings magazine provides wonderful information on how to do that and incredible local resources for practitioners and businesses that can help you live your best life. I hope you will read through this issue and discover ways you can treat yourself, your family and this planet well. And please support the local businesses working hard to meet your holistic wellness needs.

Whenever difficult emotions do arise—whether related to the pandemic or to other life stressors—Dr. Shauna Shapiro recommends these three steps to help us come back to our center and find some inner peace ...

All of us can feel the impact of these uncertain and challenging times on our hearts and in our nervous systems. While there are parts of the situation that we cannot control, that does not mean we are powerless. When we’re up against change, uncertainty and stress, resilience is the key to navigate life and emerge with more happiness and satisfaction. We can cultivate resilience through the practices of mindfulness and compassion. Here are three key steps to finding greater clarity, calm and well-being:

Naming our emotions. The first step is to bring mindfulness to whatever we are feeling and simply name it. Research shows that acknowledging and naming our emotions allows the body to physiologically calm down. It is helpful to remember that our emotions are here for a reason, metaphorically serving as a smoke alarm to let us know about an impending fire. Ignoring or repressing our emotions can lead to bigger problems, but mindfulness teaches us a different way to manage difficult emotions—acknowledge them and name what we feel—“name it to tame it”. When we name an emotion, it puts the brakes on our reactivity, downregulates the nervous system and allows us to see clearly.

Welcoming our emotions. The second step is to learn to welcome difficult emotions. Emotions have a limited time span, typically lasting for only 30 to 90 seconds. They arise, do their dance and pass away, like waves in the ocean. When we remember that this painful feeling will not last forever, it becomes more manageable. Through practice, we can learn to welcome all our emotions with an attitude of kindness and curiosity. This involves becoming interested in the emotion and the felt experience in the body. For example, we may feel sadness as a tightening in the throat or fear as a contraction in the belly. All emotions have their signature in the body.

Compassion for ourselves and others. The final step to managing difficult emotions is to cultivate compassion. Self-compassion involves treating ourselves as we would a dear friend that is suffering. The willingness to face the pain in ourselves and in life takes great courage. As we practice self-compassion, we learn not only to grow from our own struggles and sorrows, but to connect with the sufferings and sorrows of others. We realize that we are not alone in our fear and overwhelm, and become aware of the many others right now that are also afraid. As we recognize our common humanity, our isolation begins to lessen and we understand that we are all in this together.

Happy Reading! And Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to all the parents out there in this world!


Jessica Coffey