Finding the Sacred When I’m Struggling to Survive

Early this year, I reworked my entire website, changing the look and adding pages with headings I felt were more authentically me. I also recreated my mailing list links and added them to all pages, with the intent of sharing information and resources on a very regular basis. Then came the COVID pandemic, lockdown, and the complete upheaval of all the illusions of stability. And so here I find myself, firmly in November, feeling this need to write a blog post that is highly inspirational and insightful, when my life is still dominated by my struggle to survive.

It is hard to find that calm within, so hard to center and find that sacred within and  in my life, when I’m worrying about whether I can pay my rent. I was speaking to a friend last night about this and she said, “do you think you’re the only person who is feeling this way?” And that question made me realize that I was working so hard to maintain this “professional” image on my website, my blog, and all of my social media, that I was doing an incredible disservice to you and myself.  Hiding helps no one, and by not sharing the realities of these months and how they have, and still, are affecting me, I perpetuate the illusion that I am alone in this…and that you are too. 

The reality is…this year has been hard. I live alone, and these months of solitude have taken a toll. Now I’m a person who loves their alone time, but this has been extreme. My businesses came to a standstill in March and have yet to recover. My grad school went to completely remote classes, requiring internet and a good computer. In these months I have had multiple times when I was on the edge of eviction. I have been so incredibly thankful for food pantries, because without them I would’ve had no food to eat. And I don’t even want to talk about how overdue so many of my bills are. Or how close I am to losing my car. I know that so many people have been dealing with these same issues, or worse. And I haven’t even mentioned the exhaustion that comes with months of fear of this novel coronavirus, political drama, and multi-faceted civil unrest…let alone decades of white supremacy, racism, ableism, colonialism, and exclusion. 

So, as I struggle to survive, it takes so much more effort to find my center, to find the sacred within and in the world around me. But desperate times call for desperate measures, eh? These are some of the practices I’ve added to my life this year to help me: 

  • Gratitude — it can be so challenging to be grateful when the struggle is so overwhelming. Taking a pause to be authentically grateful for what I do have brings me to the present, to what IS, right now, in this moment. 
  • Breath — I know, this might seem silly. We breathe all the time without even thinking about it. But, I have respiratory issues, and with stress they get so much worse. I started a yoga teacher training in July and learning multiple pranayama practices has helped me immensely. My favorites are nadi shodhana (alternate nostril breathing) and kumbhaka (retention of breath). And a slow, deep inhale with a slow, noisy exhale tells your brain that it is not in an emergency situation, allowing it to tell your body to calm. I’ve taught myself to do this almost automatically when my anxiety and stress level gets high, and it helps more than you might imagine. 
  • Community — early on in the lockdown, I realized how lonely I was and that I needed to do something about that. On really bad days, I often forgot that I actually had friends or any type of community whatsoever. So, I made an extra effort to reach out to far away friends and family through phone calls and text messages. My seminary at One Spirit Learning Alliance started adding weekly Gatherings and I made an effort to attend. I attended monthly Ecstatic Dance gatherings via Zoom through my seminary. I reached out to my Sister Goddess community and rejoined a women’s Avalonian Goddess tradition. When I write it, it looks like overkill, but I needed and still need them all. 
  • Meditation — this is a constant struggle for me, but something I work at because I know how much more centered and calm I feel afterwards. Because I have a very busy mind, guided meditation works better for me. I can focus on the words to still my mind. Silent meditation isn’t as easy, though I now find that I crave that silence, a break from the worries and fears around survival.  
  • Nature and Animals — I currently live in an apartment community, and with the pandemic I now rarely leave my apartment. So I can now tell how big a change in my mood, my stress level, my overall energy, just opening my windows or walking outside makes. I am such an animal person and sadly do not have any living in my home right now, so just walking to the dumpsters and taking the time to stop and watch squirrels or listen to the various birds talking in the trees brings such incredible joy deep inside of me. 
  • Music and Dancing — I’ll tell you a secret. I think I was born dancing. But for so many years, I lived in environments where I could not play music or dance freely. So when I moved into my current apartment, I still had this fear around playing music. It took until a few months ago, when my aloneness piled heavily on top of my survival fears, that I finally decided to play music aloud in my home. When the music plays, and my body moves, I am in such a place of  joy. I don’t understand why I deny myself that, and have for so long. 

None of these are magic answers to my survival struggle, but they have helped me to stay somewhat sane, and to find that calm and centered place inside where I know the Sacred can then and there be Seen, Felt, and Known. In these activities, I can suddenly Know the Sacred outside of me as well as inside.  Sometimes I only see it for a brief second, but that second is like a healing balm on my most painful, wounded places. And with that healing, I am able to stay centered longer, more present, more grounded and rooted…and I passionately believe that the more I heal and grow, the closer I am to releasing this state of suffering, this seemingly unending struggle to survive. 

How are you feeling today? Are you struggling to survive as well? Where has this years struggles taken you on a deeper level? Do you have any powerful tools to help you find the Sacred? 

New Moon. New Year. Its Your Time to ReAwaken.

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I can feel it. Can you?  That sparkle of a new beginning, a new day, a new opportunity to know and grow.  I believe PASSIONATELY in the power of Touch to reawaken you to the wonders of YOU, giving you the knowledge of self through both reconnecting to YOU and rediscovering all of those fabulous bits and pieces that are YOU.  It may not be as easy or pain free as it reads, but trust me-YOU are worth the investment!

I want to assist you in this great journey.  There is no better time than NOW to get started! From TODAY through February 2, 2015,  purchase a  package of 5  Massage Sessions and I will include 2 hours of Private Massage Instruction OR  2 hours of Private Meditation Instruction.

To purchase a 5 Massage Session Package of 60 Minutes Each, Click Here                               To purchase a 5 Massage Session Package of 90 Minutes Each, Click Here

Lets make this year YOUR time to ReAwaken!

In Her Service

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As some of you may have realized upon discovering and exploring my website, massage therapy itself is not the main purpose of my Work. Although it has dominated both the site and my life for years, the primary focus or vision behind my work and my site has been to facilitate ones journey into the interconnected and cyclic work of ReAwaken, ReDiscover and ReConnect.

During my personal work on this journey in the past month, my meditations and ruminations have brought forth an important message or theme for my work going forward. An integral piece of my life and my journey is my ever evolving relationship and service to Goddess. She is the inspiration and driving force of my massage work, volunteer endeavors, activism, and ReAwaken vision. I have realized that it is now time to once again share both my personal relationship with Goddess and to facilitate a relationship with Her for those who desire and need Her in their life.

I will soon be adding new Pages to my website and new Services and Workshops. Some of these will be: Goddess Exploration Workshop and Group; ReAwaken Group for Women (and those who self identify as women); New Power of Touch Workshop and Group; Meditation; and Private instruction on all subjects.  If you are interested in participating in these offerings or have any questions on these or any of my other Services or Offerings, please feel free to contact me at ReAwakenThroughTouch@gmail.com.

Many years ago, I was asked to participate in a Service about Goddess at the UUCD in Danbury, Connecticut. Here is a piece I wrote for that Service:

Many people talk about Goddess, Goddess Energy and awakening their inner Goddess.

They call themselves a Goddess or talk about finding their Cooking Goddess, Sex Goddess or Shopping Goddess.

Goddess is often intellectualized and talked about in scholarly or fictional and mythological terms.

BUT, to truly awaken your inner Goddess-to really fully embrace and empower this Divine Feminine within-you have to first really Know who and what Goddess is.

She is inside of you, and outside.
Both the One and the 10,001
She is the Sun and the Moon
The Dark and the Light
Your Daughter, Your Mother
Your Sister, Your Lover

I Hear Her song from the birds in the trees, I Smell Her in the early morning air, I Feel Her in the raging winds and I See Her EVERYWHERE-in Everything and Everyone. She is the interconnectedness of ALL.

In Her Service,
Dawn Welburn