Zivjeli

Zivjeli, or after one drink  just “Jer”, is the customary drinking toast in Croatia.  We were told that it roughly translates to “long life”, and that it’s important when toasting to look into one another’s eyes; without that connection, the meaning isn’t fulfilled.

Long life and embracing its journey seems etched into the very landscape of Croatia. As we biked long stretches of the countryside, we smelled scotch broom, jasmine, myrtle, and lavender wafting through the air, assaulting our senses in the best of ways. Biking downhill and inhaling the scents made me feel one with the world.  And the red poppies, purple fields of lavender, and variegated bougainvillea opened my eyes to searching for beauty in wide open spaces and the crevices of ancient stone walls. 

It seems to me that when we pull ourselves out of our everyday environment, the novelty of our new surroundings pushes us to be alert. Perhaps it’s the lizard brain in us that keeps us hypervigilant, looking out for danger and opportunities.  Perhaps it’s being destabilized, and a bit off kilter that heightens our awareness. 

Seeing the world with fresh eyes can be invigorating, but it can also be frightening and challenging. In times of destabilization, using the brain huddle is a quick way to conduct a self-awareness check. It’s simple and it works.

Clearly divorce and restructuring one’s family is a destabilizing event. Practice and use of the brain huddle during heightened stress is one way to re-center and calm the nervous system.

After asking oneself:

  • What can I manage and fix right now?
  • What are my fears right now?
  • What and who are the things and people that make me joyful right now?
  • What am I connected to in the greater world right now? 

After asking and answering those questions, reinvestment and focus become an active choice.

Increasing awareness of the daily sounds, smells, and sights in one’s usual landscape can assist in your huddle, bring novelty to the ordinary, and stability to challenging times. 

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