That dot on my hand…its a Biodot and as you can see, its black. Check the legend. “Very Tense.” Ooooook.
Biodots, (not unlike mood rings)- offer feedback regarding the temperature of our hands. The design suggests that as our stress response turns on, blood shunts away from the extremities and flows toward our core. I am on board with this theory. It is called Fight or Flight and it is a fact.
In 2015 I took a course in mindfulness based stress reduction. The eight week class was great, but this dot…it plagued me.
It stayed black for the duration of the week long exercise. Don’t worry, I checked other charts. Stressed, Tense, Very Tense. I changed the dot, convinced all my dots were "broken." I’d take the dot off my hand and place it on my husband’s, within seconds purple-blue…Calm and Relaxed. F’ing dot.
At first it made me laugh, then it made me crazy, then it made me upset. I cried over the dot. The dot and I…we had a week.
One and a half years later...
What color would my dot be today? Part of me believes it’d be something exotic like light tan or orange (anxious and tense- wink), but the other part of me says, “Who the heck cares what color it is!!! Its a temperature sensitive sticker! Meghan, girl- take a beat. Forget the dot! How do you FEEL?”
I let that little black dot tell ME how I felt. That’s the wrong order of operations.
I want feedback. I welcome it. But that feedback- it wasn’t helpful. It didn’t serve me. I couldn’t find minutes, moments or even breaths when the dot held color. I spent more time cursing the dot than engaging in any sort of mindfulness. If the dot was accurate and I was stressed, it proceeded to exaggerate my discomfort. And if the dot was simply that, a sticker on my hand, random in color, I was already too far gone. I believed the dot knew my fate and stress became my truth.
Rituals, indicators, feedback- they only work when we assign meaning to them. You have to believe in the delivery and the messaging. And in the case of fight or flight responses...we're looking to turn the dial down- not blast it out.
Biodots. No bueno. Dots don’t work for me. (Even now, I'm getting all riled up thinking about it!)
What does work to settle my system?
Smoky Q: A smoky quartz crystal that a dear friend brought to the sacred vortices in AZ. Does the crystal have power? I have no idea, but I've assigned meaning to it. It's from a friend who cares deeply for me, in turn it brings me ease.
Weighted Blankets: Specifically, THIS weighted blanket. Is it special? Well- kinda. But the meaning? It reminds me of borders and security and turns down the volume on jittery MZ.
Aromatherapy: If I had my way I'd pick a different smell every day, but when I need to settle my system...offer it a positive reminder that I'm OK...its lavender, roman chamomile, or Balance all day long. Meaning? Lavender a friend told me was her saving grace, I adopted her belief. Roman Chamomile, I once experienced bodywork where the therapist used this smell. It was the only massage where I've ever fallen asleep. And Balance...my sweet Yoga Emily introduced it to me and with each breath I remembered our peaceful practice.
And of course. Yoga. This is a big one. Yoga helps me tap into the mind body connection. I admit, sometimes you will see my hands shaking in Warrior 2. Sometimes you'll watch me struggle through savasana or hear my voice shake as I exhale. I'm human. I don't mean for it to happen. It's body based feedback. And over time, I've learned to listen. And until forever...I need to keep listening.
So to you I say: find your dot. Assign meaning. And roll.