Confused, bewildered, disoriented, dumfounded, afraid, shocked, angry, off balance, emotionally hungover…

These are just a few descriptions of my emotional gamut on Wednesday, January 6 as the United States Capitol was entered by a mob. I was horrified, but I could not look away from what was happening. My feelings and thoughts were caused body to activated fight or flight responses. By the time I arrived home from work a few hours later, I was emotionally wrung out from the drama in Washington D.C.

Deep breathing, walking the dog and making dinner while listening to music calmed my parasympathetic nervous system to stop adrenaline and cortisol dump into my body caused by the fight or flight response.  I was then able to step into observer mode.

The observer stands away from the fray to see clearly and gain perspective. The observer is just watching the action so there is no need for verbal or mental commentary. As the observer is not involved there is no need for emotion, fear or judgement. Though it may sound corny, I picture myself draped in a cool cloak while standing on top of a high hill looking down on a situation. I am close enough to see clearly the situation, yet far enough away that I am not involved nor am I in any danger. The distance gives clarity.

In stressful times, self-care is an absolute necessity to clear the mind and to calm the parasympathetic nervous system. Humans are no meant to function very long in fight our flight. To stay calm and balanced, I am leaning hard on morning meditation, gentle yoga, listening to uplifting music and reading actual books. I am avoiding social media. I do scan the headlines through the e-newsletters from my newspaper subscriptions, but I am not seeking out opinion or forecasting articles. The observer is aware yet detached.

The world is shifting and changing. Remembering observer mode and keeping myself centered will help me navigate these changes. It is from the observer mindset that I will know what actions I need to take and when I need to take them. My action will come from calm understanding rather than from a place of fear with fight or flight responses coursing through my body.

This is not to say that I will not encounter other situations that send me into an emotional and judgmental spiral. It happens, but I can return to calm. The reality is, no matter how hard I try, I cannot live in observer mode. But I can return. I can begin again.

22 thoughts on “Discombobulated

  1. shoreacres says:

    It’s also important to remember what we can and cannot do. For example, I can’t add my name to any House bill for impeachment, or refuse to do so, but I can let my elected representatives know my opinion. One of my little mantras, taught to me by a very wise old man in a boat yard, is “Do what you can do, not what you can’t.” That’s good advice for these days.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Ladysag77 says:

    I live that you used the word discombobulated ❤ that’s exactly how I described it all yesterday. I’m with my mother and was reminding her how necessary it is to ground, breathe and care for her own being in the midst of this chaos and especially while she is still grieving my Dad. All is unfolding as it will and we can only control our own wellbeing. I chose to not consume very much of it at all because it wrecks havoc on my system. Great post Sarah🙏

    Liked by 1 person

      • anne leueen says:

        Like you I had to watch as it continued. Trump has certainly changed his tune. On the day the mob were “special” and he loved them. Now he seems to be very subdued. I suspect he has finally been reined in and fears he will be removed from office. It is my sincere hope that the mob of his followers will not rally to support him further.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sarah Davis says:

        There may be dust ups, but there are a lot of people reckoning with realizing Trump lied to them. The FBI starting to arrest those that went into the Capitol today. That was also shocking to them. Consequences level the field.


  3. Art of the Beat says:

    Glad you could find moments of peace. I know how hard it was to look away from what was on every station, I was stuck but finally managed to pull myself away from it.

    My son has told me I need to learn about meditation as it helps him. Guess I need to listen to him 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ally Bean says:

    Yes, I’m with you on that hill observing, trying my best to not be drawn into the hate. But it’s difficult. I remind myself, like you mentioned, to go back to center. Ever onward…

    And Happy New Year, btw.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kathy says:

    Sarah, isn’t it wonderful that we can find that place that returns us to calm, to witness, to awareness? I am so glad that you have discovered access to this. It can make all the difference. My friend and I were Facetiming last night and discussing the different “degrees” of the witnessing awareness. We were calling it “noticing”. How there can be unconscious noticing, engaged intentional noticing (witnessing) and then suddenly it appears as effortless engaged noticing with no trying or intention. When I’m suffering it’s usually because noticing has slipped back to the unconscious noticing without the witness. This morning effortless engaged noticing has appeared once again. There is no separate observer here, no effort, nothing to attain. The whole nervous system breathes ah-ha…. And who knows which noticing will appear in the next moment? xoxoxo

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sarah Davis says:

      I just finished a Zoom where we talked about going within to reach neutral awareness. I think I’m really starting to grasp the concept that observing, noticing and neutral awareness are action. I spent so much of my like being a warrior and jumping into the fray without really noticing what was truly happening. I am exhausted and grateful that wisdom comes with age.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Debbie says:

    We’re certainly living in challenging times, aren’t we? It feels like people are more polarized than ever, and they all are grappling to see how many others they can put on their side. Kind of like Tug-of-War over a chasm. When did it become unacceptable to be middle-of-the-road? Not that I don’t vote — I do — but I really can’t get all worked up over every issue that arises. I keep trying to maintain my calm, my center, and doggone it, I’m not willing for anybody to take that away from me!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. leelah saachi says:

    I think this is an excellent practice , and well formulated. I like the images, they are so clear.
    “Though it may sound corny, I picture myself draped in a cool cloak while standing on top of a high hill looking down on a situation. I am close enough to see clearly the situation, yet far enough away that I am not involved nor am I in any danger. The distance gives clarity.”

    Liked by 1 person

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