She made the tough calls in early March, canceling her upcoming workshops and in-person client sessions for the rest of the month. As a somatic practitioner, Selene’s primary concern was for the safety of her clientele and students during the emerging pandemic. She binge watched the news to make sure that she had all the updated information. When all the practical changes were complete, an unexpected inner process of healing began. But it was not a process that she could immediately recognize. She was often asking herself “why do I feel this way?” and “what should I do next?”.
In quarantine, emotions began to flow. She was no stranger to inner process work, but this experience felt different than before. Anxiety was flowing from the worries for a future that was so uncertain. Guilt arose about being in a better life position than those directly impacted by the virus. After a few weeks of emotional release, there was a growing relief from her mandatory rest along with continuous waves of feelings that she couldn’t immediately attribute to anything that had happened to her directly. No one in her family had Covid and her reduced work schedule left fewer occasions for interpersonal conflicts. Feelings from the past seemed to pop up randomly. What exactly was happening to Selene while in quarantine?
Selene was going through a deep inner healing process, but she didn’t have validation for what was going on, so she didn’t trust the process. As I’ve worked with clients over these past two months, I’ve observed that many of them are going through the same 3 transitions that I now see as the 3 Phases of Healing induced by quarantine. I share these insights because if you have validation for this unique process, you are less likely to fight it, which prolongs your discomfort.
Quarantine shook most of us out of our usual routine. Clinicians, hospital workers, pharmacists, tax professionals, loan officers, unemployment agency workers, grocery store employees, and others actually became busier with increased work demands. I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge all who have been working harder without a break. Thank you for what you do. But most of the people that I have spoken to have more free time now than ever before, because work and social events have decreased significantly. This new found space created by quarantine makes room for our subconscious mind to begin it’s unscheduled update of our subconscious mind. It’s just like when you’re working on your computer and it suddenly decides to shutdown so that it can perform system updates that you never even authorized. How rude!
Let’s break down that unscheduled update into the 3 Phases of Healing in Quarantine.
Phase 1: Shedding
Phase 2: Cocooning
Phase 3: Emanating
Phase 1: Shedding is the mass release of pending memories that finally have the space in our lives to surface. This is different than the normal emotional processing that we would do throughout the day. Examples of typical daily processing include if you were bothered by what a rude customer had said to you or if your boss triggered something in you that reminded you of a bad memory with a parent. This normal, everyday processing is what we talk about with our confidants for catharsis and validation. Shedding is different in that there might not be something specific that triggers it directly. Instead, your subconscious mind is taking advantage of your new found time to release old memories.
Think of all those unresolved life experiences that you’ve had that you didn’t have enough time to feel, share, and release. When you are expected to be productive at work and take care of personal responsibilities, you suppress your unresolved feelings, pushing them down into a subconscious storage locker to be addressed later. But unless you’re an avid journaler, you might not keep tabs on all the things that you’ve stocked away in this locker. You forget about them for a while. However, these unresolved memories don’t disappear, they merely wait for their next chance to resurface.
Now you’re in qarantine, and while you’re scrubbing your kitchen counters for the 3rd time in a week, your subconscious mind says, “Hey, I got some free time on my hands, so I’m going to do a spring cleaning of my own. Let’s clean out the storage locker of unaddressed emotions!”
Then the unscheduled update of your subconscious mind begins, often without consent. How rude! The weird dreams start happening. That’s usually how the unresolved memories begin to surface, which can seem strange because they are not linear memories that necessarily correspond directly with your day. Although, these daily triggers can still happen during quarantine, some of them seem random. That’s your first indication that shedding is happening.
Phase 2: Cocooning begins when the relief of being able to slow down becomes stronger than the uncomfortable decompression of emotions during the Shedding Phase. It‘s not typically an aburpt transition, as shedding can still overlap as the cocoon is forming. It’s also possible to oscillate back and forth between Phase 1 & 2 several time before settling into Phase 2 more consistently.
The predominant sensation of Cocooning is a profound sense of fatigue. Even though you are doing less tasks in a day and working less hours than before, you somehow feel even more tired than when you were moving at hyperspeed in your work life. The level of fatigue doesn’t make immediate sense, unless you consider the possibility that you had been operating your life at an energy deficit for a long time. By overexerting yourself for so long, you had been tapping into some inner energy reserve that was gradually becoming depleted. Think of Cocooning as allowing your energy and attention to come inwards, to recuperate as this phase of healing calls you back into the soft folds of the cocoon that is gradually forming around you. By catching up with yourself, you realize just how fatigued you’ve been all this time. This inner acknowledgement begins to rejuvenate those inner reserves because you’re not spending that energy on being outwardly productive.
Perhaps the hardest part of being in the Cocooning Phase is the self judgments that can arise by taking this time to rest. In the case of Selene, she believed that because she was more financially stable than other people, she shouldn’t have this rest time because she already felt more privileged. She toiled over the homeless people that she saw outside the supermarket. Giving herself permission to rest seemed wrong when so many people were suffering in the world, so she kept disrupting her Phase 2 recovery that was trying to happen by making plans for interventions that she wasn’t in a position to perform while in quarantine. So people weren’t getting saved and she wasn’t allowing the healing process to happen because she felt guilty.
It‘s true that there are people experiencing homelessness, poverty, and food insecurity. If you are in a position to help them directly in a safe way that doesn’t transmit the Covid virus, then I encourage you to do your part. However, if that’s not the case, it makes no sense to interrupt the healing process and keep yourself tired because you feel guilty for something you didn’t even do. Once you’re refreshed, you can do so much more in the next phase, which entails emanating your new gifts.
Phase 3: Emanating Your Gifts naturally happens when you allow yourself to fully rest. While you are resting in the cocoon phase, daydreams begin. These are the visual representations of what you want to experience in your life. Some of them may be old dreams that you never had a chance to fulfill. Others are new dreams about how you want to change your life, including your vocation, relationships, and even where you live. When we fear not being able to make money, we often will put off these dreams until we are financially able (like retirement) or until some other circumstance forces us to make a choice about our lives. The pandemic has forced many people to face that fear of insecurity by taking them out of their normal routine and reducing their finances. For many people, any change from their current life circumstances is an improvement. In short, we have less to lose during Covid.
Our daydreams are the clues to our next steps. Emanating is the phase that answers the questions around “what’s the meaning of all this?” and helps us to recognize a renewed sense of purpose. When the daydreams of a potential future grow stronger than the fatigue of the Cocooning Phase, a new burst of energy starts moving through us. A few of my clients have already moved into this phase, having felt well rested over the past few months and discovering a renewed clarity about how they are redirecting their lives in exhilerating ways. They catch fire and a sudden burst of energy propels them forward. The Shedding has cleansed their fears and grief from the past. They have caught their breath and are ready to reemerge from their cocoon. Then the work is to chose the dreams that are most meaningful and make a plan on how to emanate your gifts into the world.
I’ve opened up a few spots in my private practice for Phase Shift distance sessions via phone or zoom. These are focused 30 minute sessions that include sensing which phase you’re currently experiencing and practical guidance on how to move to the next phase of your healing process in quarantine. These extra sessions are available until end of July. For more information on Phase Shift sessions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.