I made this bracelet on Monday,
as I did, I was wishing everyone could try one for themselves if they wanted:
A soft fur of instant warmth and comfort,
ever-ready to remind us
that we deserve comfort and safety
and that we have have more peaceful power available to us in every moment
than our bodies might at first believe.
I’ve worn this bracelet most days this week and it’s helped a lot with feeling grounded, aware of what’s lovely in my life, and safe to find peaceful power in stressful situations.
How does it help?
Certainly part of this bracelet’s power is because I made it with meaning to me.
But there’s some also science behind it too. Curious?
A bracelet is born …
Monday. A new working week.
In the morning, I was almost physically and deliberately shoved into a brick wall as I saw walked from the train station to my office building. I saw another human get hurt right in front of me and felt pretty scared and helpless. A man coming towards me suddenly lunged and shouted and pushed a pedestrian right in front of me. I was right in the arc of the man’s flailing fists and screaming words. I didn’t know whether it was safer to move forward or back away. I made it through okay and called police … but my heart pounded on and it took time to get settled.
Then, in the afternoon, I facilitated a meeting in which the person who had the greatest power over our team’s employment and resources was expressing frustration, disappointment and anger. I again felt somewhat powerless and vulnerable.
While I handled both situations calmly and proactively on the outside at the time, inside I’d tucked away some intense emotions to process in the safety of my journal and then a trusted listener (thank you, sister!).
Both times, it was a soft furry blanket that I most wanted for all of us in the situation. The pain that lingered was that I’d felt powerless to provide comfort for anyone but myself.
That didn’t seem like enough. And I know why. Because I grew up in danger from other people’s inability to comfort their own distress and use their power peacefully. As humans, I think we know the high price we pay when others vent their feelings or try to meet their needs at the expense of ours. Embarassment, confusion, irritation, wasted effort at best … lost jobs, name calling, physical violence or war at worst.
My body can’t unknow that. So I’m learning how to integrate its wisdom into calmer, honest safety and power in the present moment.
Here’s the poem that flowed out as I processed the intensity of inner emotions I’d felt and contained in those situations …
And I made the bracelet to remind me I can be grounded, safe, here …
Safe from all flailing fists
After the adrenalin disappated
it was this sorrow that stayed.
Yowl ebbed to sob then stilled in a dusky pool
of honest tears, rippling orange-blue.
Oh I’d walked again unwittingly
Into the path of a fist
That pushed any passing pedestrian
Towards a jagged stone wall.
Oh I’d been found again in the firing line
of blind, burning spittle and rage.
I shrunk up tall, strode through
And phoned the cops.
But the powerless which remains
Is that I didn’t want to dob you in.
I wanted you to be wrapped.
in a warm blanket,
I wanted to rock your vagus nerve
As you found your own skin
as you remembered you were safe now
to be here, with us, at 8.57am, on a Melbourne footpath on April 3, 2017.
The powerless that remains
Is that I couldn’t see a way to connect you with safety.
And I didn’t trust anyone else’s protective force.
I engaged it.
But I’m wondering: were you arrested? Fed? Comforted? Connected back to healing and life?
I know, that’s not within my power.
And still, I acknowledge this present longing
That you could know
What I’m slowly learning.
Only you can take your path
To peaceful power … but you are not alone.
Stop flailing. Only then
Can the care you’ve rarely known,
draw closer, surer.
If only you could know this:
There are enough
willing, peaceful companions
for the forceful truth of your pain
and for the power that is yours, now.
How to make the bracelet
I chose the material for this bracelet because of research which has shown it tends to calm our nervous systems to have skin contact with warmth and soft fur.
A psychologist recently told me about studies that show touching soft furry fabric is about as effective as a patting an actual live, warm creature. So when I’m out on the street or in the office – where there’s generally not a friendly dog or cat within reach, or it’s not socially helpful for me to wrap myself in an actual blanket — I have this discrete bracelet.
I’m guessing there’s bilateral stimulation at work too, left brain connecting with right, as I cross one hand over to quietly touch the fur when I’m feeling restless or bored or irritated in a meeting, on a train or waiting at traffic lights.
It can be made in any colour, sewn neatly or left ragged – whatever style you choose.
I basically tore off a strip of fabric that felt great to me, and tied it in a loose enough bow to be able to easily slip the bracelet on or off. I like to feel some air moving around for a sense of freedom. You might prefer some firmer pressure against your skin. If so, you could choose stretch fabric and tie or stitch a tighter fitting bracelet.
How to choose your fabric
Here’s a tip and a fun adventure for choosing the fabric: go to a fabric shop and run your hand over different textures. I did this with my teenage daughter and asked her which textures she liked. She put her cheek against one soft furry bolt of cloth and asked for a whole blanket of it! At $5 bucks a meter that was an easy yes. She now has a soft furry blanket readily available on her bed whenever she wants to snuggle up.
As you touch the fabric to choose from, you could gently notice your breathing, belly and shoulders. Which textures feel even slightly soothing to your body? If you find yourself letting out a spontaneous sigh, yay, go with that one! I have different colours of the same texture so I can play with weaving a few together or wearing several bracelets at once. You could get a few different textures to enjoy some variety or experiment – silky, furry etc.
A private and portable security blanket
I think of this band as a comfort and connection bracelet.
Comfort – because it’s a basically portable blanket that you can style anyway you like to express yourself.
Connection – because when I wear it, I know I’m contributing to others as well as myself. I remember I’m never really alone. Pain is part of being human and many have had trauma which we might not see but connects us in some kind of bodily understanding and belonging. I also like to know I’m contributing to others by bringing more calm and safety and relaxed awareness.
As humans, we can sense surpressed anxiety in others – even behind a big bright smile. I like knowing that the more I am comfortable in my own body, the easier it is for those around me to relax too so that we can work more easily together.
Want to share your tips?
Do you have something you wear that helps you become more settled, grounded and able to cope with what’s happening around you in more relaxed and empowered way?