Coming home to the body – wisdom from Natalie Rousseau

My teacher Natalie Rousseau offers workshops, courses and inspiration on earth based wisdom, embodied practice and everyday magic. She shared this recently, and gave me permission to repost it here. I think that any of us who have lived in the Sea to Sky corridor for any length of time have known some period of housing insecurity. I think First Nations, who have been forcibly disconnected from their ancestral territories, and families, have known it. I think anyone who has endured a break up or a loss or a shift in the world they’ve known, has known this feeling of insecurity, and so I value Natalie’s poetry, her vulnerability and candour, and the practices she has learned, to cultivate a felt sense of safety. In so much of our lives, we have to start over. This great Snakes and Ladders game often deposits us back at square one. We start over. With the basics. Return to breath. The body. The land. Our home.

Thank you, Natalie, for these words and offerings. (You can follow here at https://www.instagram.com/natalierousseau108/)

Today I woke up in a home that is not my own. I am not in another person’s home because I am on vacation, I am here because I am currently homeless, which is a profoundly disorienting experience for me. 

I grew up in an unstable home, a situation that became even more erratic when my parents divorced and my mother became the solitary caregiver. We moved a thousand times and home was never a safe place. I left when I was 15. 

Later, as a young adult and a single mother myself, I lived on the west coast of Vancouver Island and dealt with extreme housing insecurity. One year I had to move 13 times, taking temporary lodgings in b&b’s or staying in spare bedrooms for a week or two just so my child and I could have a place to rest our heads. 

Though I have had the great blessing of a stable home for the last 17 years of my life there is still a lot of trauma around housing insecurity living in my body and my brain. 

A felt sense of safety has never been a given for me. It is something I have needed to cultivate. 

Something I have to work on daily. 

So today, when fear and panic began to grab hold of me I took a deep breath and got out of bed so that I could practice creating safety from within. 

I did this by getting up and giving my dog a kiss on his forehead, feeling his warm fur against my lips. I took a shower and dressed myself. I went for a walk and paid attention to the world around me, naming what I saw so I could stay present and not let my fearful thoughts take me away.

I made myself a cup of tea. I sat down with my journal and wrote myself a message of encouragement. I got down on the floor and rolled around so I could remember I have a body. I sat in meditation and kept a steady hand on my racing heart. I made food for myself, even though I wasn’t hungry and I ate it, speaking gently to myself all the while. 

I took one slow breath. And then another.

This is how we come back home to ourselves. This is how we create safety within. 

Natalie offers online courses in ayurveda, moon magic, meditation, Indian mythology, and seasonal wisdom, in different shapes and sizes. Currently, she is teaching a three week program on the topic of Homecoming: Living Ritual Practices to Nourish Resilience, which she calls “the work of my life. Resilience is a practice, let’s work on it together.” 

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