Knowing How to Feel Satisfied

Brad with wildflowers, cats enjoying the sunshine, River and his curly hair, Katey with her plants

I was recently introduced to the satisfaction cycle, a concept I found my way toward by exploring somatics and co-regulation. In short, in order to fully rest, restore, and relax, we need to be able to complete the satisfaction cycle. The building blocks required for this completion are yielding, reaching, grasping, pulling, and pushing. At this stage in my learning, I can’t say much more about it besides that, but what I can say is that even the words used in this modality inspire me to sit back, exhale, and close my eyes. Yielding. Yes, like that thing we did when we were infants, completely draped and asleep, fully given over to whatever body held us.

Of course, in an era of bombardment, these building blocks seem less and less common. But they should be pervasive. If we are to survive (these times, this day, these wars, this climate), we must be resilient. But resiliency is inaccessible if we are so dysregulated (as a society, as a nation, as a body made up of cells) that we can’t even … relax.

Maybe I should only speak for myself. Maybe I should drop the “we.” And yet … bodies in space react to one another, even without touching. We are constantly signaling, often without knowing it. When my entire body was jumbled by covid (the first time), including my nervous system, my son was completely off the hook. I could be as calm as a meadow, but somehow, something in him knew that something was really wrong in Mommy, and that terrified him. I didn’t have to say anything. I didn’t have to look sick. He knew because his three-year-old body knew, and–like me–for quite a long time, completing the satisfaction cycle was difficult for him.

What does this all have to do with writing? Well, you guessed it … read on for this month’s Hit Reply provocations designed to inspire introspection for you–and the characters in your writing projects:

  • How do you feel safe, settled, or satisfied in your day-to-day tasks or habits in life?
  • How do you feel safe, settled, or satisfied in your writing (or artistic) practice? What is it inside of you that signals those feelings?
  • What connections might you draw for yourself between our work as creatives who make things and put things out into the world, and the invisible yet impactful ways we work through the satisfaction cycle with ourselves? Is what we make, and HOW we treat ourselves as we make it, connected?

Inquiring minds want to know! Write to me or leave a comment below with your answers, or whatever’s in your heart. I can’t wait to hear from you!

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