Spherical Awareness & How to Own It (For you and your kids!)
This blog was written from a transcript of the Misfit Squad Podcast, where Trina Rice and Kim Lucien invite you to embrace your difference and turn what is wrong about you into what is strong about you! Go HERE to check it out.
Today we’re talking about the role of spherical awareness. Spherical awareness is basically, to really simplify it, being aware of everything, in all directions, all the time. It also includes being aware of the past present and the future, all in the same moment. It is being aware of what’s going on around you at all times. It sounds simple, right? You see what’s going on around you, but you’re using all 5 of your senses and can hear what’s happening all around you and are aware of what’s behind you and around you all the time. You’re perceiving all of the feelings, sensations, and input from the radius around you, however large that is. Sometimes the input can be a lot.
You might not think this is possible until you’re talking to someone and they say something and all of a sudden you’re aware of a choice they made, that they made it because of something that happened in the past, and what that choice is going to create in the future. You get the whole picture, the whole download, all of the information, all at once. Functioning from this means you will probably be aware of a lot of things that other people don’t pick up on! That’s okay - just because they don’t notice it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Do you ever get annoyed at people when you’re out in public who seem to have no awareness of what’s going on around them? They bump into you or walk right in front of you, or maybe they’re just generally not paying attention. Someone who is only aware of the 6 inches in front of them is not functioning from spherical awareness. Perhaps this is just how they are, or they have shut off their awareness because they’ve been made wrong for it or were overwhelmed by it.
If sometimes this awareness can be overwhelming for you, imagine what it is like for kids. When kids get too much input, they often A. act out or B. shut down. If they don’t have the self-regulation skills, and they don’t have the tools to deal with the awareness, that’s when they go into fight, flight, or freeze. For example, have you ever gone somewhere and it is just too much? Maybe you go to the mall because you need something, but you get in there and it’s just so much input you have to leave? That’s also what we’re talking about.
Spherical awareness is an amazing capacity and a huge gift. Living in our world, it can sometimes be overwhelming when you get all of the information at once. If we don’t acknowledge this capacity, then it works against us, instead of working for us. We tend to be at the effect of it because we don’t know how to use it to our advantage. Maybe this shows up as you not being able to enjoy a friend’s birthday party because the location is just too crowded and too loud - but you don’t have the self-regulation skills or tools to handle it. Perhaps if you knew this is how you were functioning, you could have even prepped ahead, like by bringing noise-cancelling headphones, or ear plugs, or letting your friend know ahead of time you might have to leave early. There are a lot of prepared action plans you can create to make this work for you once you know what you’re dealing with. This could also even just be getting mentally prepared to be in a space that you know might be challenging for you. Let’s go over 3 tips to make functioning from spherical awareness – whether that is a natural capacity of yours or a learned skill – total ease, and actually useable for you.
Do you have children? The third tip is just for you – what to do if your child is overwhelmed by their awareness.
1. Recognize that awareness is practical.
Spherical awareness is just that - awareness. If you are aware of everything, that also means you are aware of what other people are feeling and what they might be thinking. You could call this intuitive, but it’s also just practical. You hear the guy yelling at the cashier, you see the woman talking on the phone to her friend, you see the person fidgeting nervously in the corner, - the list goes on. You can feel and perceive everything, and that usually means reading body language, picking up on nonverbal cues, and being hyper aware of everyone around you. When we don’t realize that we’re actually just aware, we tend to take it all on and think all of it’s ours. That’s when we can start to feel crazy - we think all of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that we’re picking up on from the input around us belong to us.
2. Is this mine? What am I aware of?
You might be wondering how you can use this to your advantage. The main tool we use for this is asking “Is this mine?” Yes, it can sound overly simplified - you could even simplify it so much as to say it’s a matter of being extremely present. But really, the next time you are in a state of overwhelm, acknowledge how you are feeling and give yourself a break - hold space for yourself to feel how you feel. Then, take deep breaths, slow down, and ask yourself, “Okay, I am very aware, I know that. What am I aware of? What are my thoughts telling me? Is this feeling mine? Are these thoughts mine? Or did I pick this up from somebody in the store?” The next step after that would be to make your space and energy so much bigger - take up more space. So often we make ourselves small or try to stay out of the way to prove we’re not a threat. Stand up taller, expand your awareness to as far as you can, take deep breaths, occupy more space, and keep expanding. When you start to feel enclosed, or like there isn’t enough space, take these steps.
3. What to do if your child is overwhelmed by their awareness
If you are a parent and you have a child with sensory issues, these awarenesses might play a bigger role for them. If you’re in Chuckie Cheese for example and your child is having a melt down from all the sensory input, take these steps: First, get in their space. This may seem counterproductive, but you are a safe place for them. Get in their space so they can focus on you, start taking deep, slow breaths and tell them to do the same. Ask them, “What’s going on? Tell me what you are aware of.” Then, ask them to do this with you, ask for the two of you to make a giant ball of energy that goes all the way around you, into the Earth, all the way up into the sky, all the way to the edges of the planet and beyond, and expand.
It doesn’t look like anything; it just looks like you are having a close conversation with your child. If it is too much in there, go outside. Take them outside and then try this. If you are willing to expand your zone of awareness, it holds space for them to do the same, and then they won’t feel so closed in by all of the input. Guess what a zone of awareness and expanding it is? Spherical awareness ;)
What were your experiences when you tried these tools? We would love to hear your feedback whether that’s in a comment on this blog, emailed to us, or on Facebook or Instagram! As hard as it can be, remember that your awareness is a gift. If you can learn to utilize this, it will be like sitting at the top of a mountain overlooking everything around you. You are aware of it all, taking it all in, with no point of view, and without needing to fix it. If you or your child is experiencing a lot of overwhelm from this, keep asking (or asking your child), what gift is this that I haven’t acknowledged? And we promise you will start to see it differently.