Fight…Flight…Freeze… or Flock
We often think about and talk about the first two of these: ‘fight’ or ‘flight’. And those of us in the business of working with populations in trauma talk also about ‘freeze’ and its role in stress and fear. But something came to a friend today when we were Focusing on our reactions to the results of the US elections. Fear and anxiety rose in each of us. And it came to her that we were flocking to be with others who share the same values and experiences. We flock together when possible (even if it’s only on Facebook). But we flock.
It’s barely past noon on the day after the elections and I have already flocked to five different groups–the first was early morning on Facebook; the second was with the family here at home; the third was with family through FaceTime and chat; the fourth was with a group on a Zoom call where we could share; and finally, the fifth was with my swimming team at the local pool.
Each group started with a hug, real or virtual, looking into the eyes of each, some tearing up. And then each group proceeded to carefully listen to each other, one at a time, so that everyone shared just what it meant to each of us–how it came in us.
We flocked. Close together, sharing warmth of connections and caring. And we listened, artfully, carefully, deeply, with reflections and assurances that we were really hearing what the other was feeling. Being with whatever was there at that moment, shifts happened as healing began.
Later the same day:
In the evening, a group of us flocked to the downtown area of our city and we stood for our values of peace and kindness. As we gathered there–children, adults and elders, atheists, Christians and Muslims–we were often joined by others who needed to flock, to be with like-minded others. People who said they did not want to be alone and they did not know how to hold their tears. We listened, we shared, we healed, sometimes just a little bit. And we all left feeling stronger than when we started.