Category Archives for "Energy"

Are you feeling unsupported?

When my unborn child's heart stopped beating I remember a scream echoing through the clinic. Vaguely I was aware that it was my scream, but all I knew was that I had to get home. Get to my room. Crawl into bed. 

I stayed there for ages. Maybe it was two weeks - I have no idea. Sometimes there was a gap in the silence where I raged, and had to trust my husband to keep us both safe. Mostly, it was silent. 

A few people came over. I am not even sure if I said anything that made sense, but I was deeply grateful and it was a relief to feel gratitude amongst waves of anger, bitterness and grief. Many people didn't come over. For a long time this seemed as horrifying as anything else.

But then something else happened. The space and quiet led me to a deep place of meditation, prayer and connection that I've carried with me since. New insights about my life and new dreams began to emerge. When we're not spreading ourselves too far, we have the chance to dig deeper.

Sometimes you may find yourself in the midst of the unthinkable, and feeling alone. It can feel like trying to remember which way to swim while being thrown by a massive wave. We would do anything for something to hold onto until the waves subside enough to swim again.

If this is you, my heart is full of love for you. And know that there will be something to hold on to. We can't always rely on people knowing how to be there for us, or having the emotional bandwidth for it. Since my experience I've seen many people comment that they "declutter" friends who don't show up for them. I think there is room for a different approach.

Take care of your self

When we are suffering or struggling, people will often say to us "Take care of your self". But what does that even mean? Here are the ways I offer you to provide yourself the care you need:

  • Allow yourself to retreat and nurse your wounds. Cry. Curl up in bed and sleep. Surround yourself with soft pillows and warm blankets. 
  • Feed yourself nutritious comfort foods. Try to avoid eating rubbish - because that's how it makes you feel. But don't punish yourself if you do. Be gentle and kind like you would to a precious friend. If it's too overwhelming to contemplate shopping and cooking, order a supermarket delivery of ready made casseroles and soups and the healthiest least processed things you can find. Or get a meal delivery service. If you know someone who loves cooking, ask if they'd make a large pot of soup for you. Many people would love to know something constructive they can do to support you. Stock up on gentle soothing herbal teas.
  • Express what's on your heart. If your friends aren't showing up for talking things through, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or similar services where you live, or book in to talk to a psychologist or counsellor. But one way or another, find someone to talk to. And pick up a pen - journalling is another way to express your thoughts and feelings. Don't censor yourself, just pour your soul onto the page. If you want to, burn the pages later to symbolise releasing the emotions.
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    Be comforted through touch. Instinctively we want someone we love to hug us or hold our hand when we struggle. If you are not with people you love, wrap your arms around yourself, wrap up in soft warm clothes, have a magnesium salt bath, get a massage.
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    When you can, make a list of what else you're needing and find ways to have these needs met.
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    Allow silence and aloneness to be a time to look within, practice mindfulness meditation, gentle yoga asanas, prayer and journalling. When you are ready, begin a gratitude practice.
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    Hold space for yourself. If you are feeling alone and fragile, sit and begin nurturing yourself. Place one hand over your heart, and the other over your belly. See this as a symbol for giving yourself kindness. Sit this way and allow your breathing to calm and deepen. Notice the movement over your chest and your belly as you breath. Sit giving yourself this kindness until a sense of calm is present within.

Hold your friendships lightly

It's easy to feel disillusioned if you thought your friends would turn up in the tough times and they don't. And when you reflect on some of these friendships you may see that it was unhealthy or one-way. But don't assume your friends don't care about you. Keep in mind that people show their love in different ways, and some don't know how to give you the support you need. 

  • Make a list of your friends, in writing if you can, or just in your mind. As you consider each friend, consider what is actually on offer. Rather than feeling disappointed that your best friend isn't visiting with casseroles, or your mum isn't ringing you up to ask how you feel, ask yourself if this is the kind of thing they do anyway. What do they offer in your friendship? If your best friend is great for a laugh and for watching old movies together, ask that from her. And if your mum is better at hugs than heart to hearts, accept her hug
  • Provide your closest friends with a bit of education and honesty about what you're going through. Don't make them guess. And although it feels infuriating that people don't automatically turn up, on the days when you have the capacity, tell them what would help. 
  • Avoid all-or-nothing thinking. Just because someone didn't visit, didn't mean they didn't care. Notice the ways people DO show love, even if it's not the way you really wanted. Live in the grace of letting people show love and letting yourself receive it, in many forms.
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    Find your new tribe - the people who have been through the same thing and get it. Whether it's a local support group or a Facebook group, there are people out there that will help you feel part of a community again. Allow yourself to open up as it feels safe to, and find the understanding you crave. Hold the awareness of the risk of some communities remaining stuck in this one event, and find those that feel like healthy supports.
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    Remember that even if your friends haven't been through the same event as you, they have had many of the same feelings. You may feel no one understands your experience, but be assured someone will understand anger, grief, loneliness, sadness, fatigue or apathy.

I hope you find something on this page to hold on to. Let me know in the comments below which strategy you'll be trying, or perhaps a new way you might show up for a friend. 

Get grounded

Energy practices can reach and heal us in ways that more logical approaches sometimes miss. This may be because the part of us that is vibration, needs to be met with vibration. Or it could be because a part of our mind lies beneath logic, beneath irrationality and is ultimately deeply symbolic and metaphorical in nature. This subconscious mind needs metaphor not logic. I believe all of this to be so. And in the case of grounding, the energy work helps us feel safer, grounded and stable in a stressful world.

Many of us who have underlying feelings of anxiety and lack of safety, experienced disruption in our childhood. We move houses and schools and feel we can't put down roots; or lose someone close and feel the world is not safe, or feel misplaced with our family and experience a disconnect from our tribe. 

So energetically, we need stability, steadfastness, strength... we need to put down roots. And this is why the metaphor of a tree is so grounding. Let these words wash over you as you imagine yourself sending roots deep into the core of Mother Earth

  • See yourself waist down as a tree sending forth roots deep into the very core of the earth. You have strength, stability and you have stood here across the ages, passing the tests of time. 
  • Your tree roots are able to draw what you need from our great Mother Earth. The water to quench your thirst and cleanse your spirit is drawn up. The nutrients that strengthen you and help you grow are available to you.
  • You are bathed in sunshine to fill you with joy, and oxygen to clear your thinking and lift you upwards.
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    Pure Mother love fills you from the core, is drawn up through every cell of your body and out to the skies. And love from the very Source, as you understand it, shines down, through every cell and down through your feet and via the root system into the very core of the earth
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    Everything you need fills you up, to the point where the love and light filling you can no longer be contained within you. It bursts forth radiantly in all directions from your being. It feels natural to give from this source. You no longer worry about running dry of love to give. You have tapped into a source beyond you, it fills you and flows through you to others. This source is always available to you.

When we are people who give so readily from the heart, we need a way to fill our well up again. Know that expecting our needs to be filled from others can lead to hurt, disappointment of unmatched expectations and misunderstanding. Learn to find a deeper Source, and meet others from a place of wholeness. 

And to bring groundedness into your life, think of where your foundations need to be built stronger. Where there is clutter, clear it. If something is broken, get it fixed. Sort finances. Being grounded sounds boring at this level... but dreams built on anything less are shaky at best.

I'd love to hear how you go with this very old energy healing visualisation. And please share - do you have a favourite grounding technique?

How to balance your chakras – even if you don’t believe in chakras!

I was 20 years old and devastated. I had just had a falling out with a friend - we had one of those intense friendships that sometimes, like in our case, burn out. I sought solace in a local meditative art class facilitated by Toni Carmine Salerno, who now runs Blue Angel Publishing. It was a pretty amazing class. One day in the class I painted out the story of our friendship and told my story. A kindly woman reached into her pocket and drew out a little piece of paper. On it was drawn the outline of a person sitting in meditation, with  spots running up their spine in the 7 colours of the rainbow. "You need to balance your chakras" she wisely advised me.

I thought she was crazy.

I took the paper politely, but I couldn't see how I could possibly have rainbow coloured spots running up my spine and never have noticed, nor how this strange little drawing could be of any use to my situation.

And yet, for some reason, I never threw out that paper.

You could say my embracing of chakras and their energy was a slow burn. And it's easy to understand how these strange drawings and stories of wheels of light and energy and long Sanskrit names can feel off-putting to the more practically minded amongst us.

Funnily enough though, later at uni I studied respected psychological theories such as Maslow's hierarchy of need. Guess what? It approaches the same content, but using the acceptable language of Western psychology.

Over the years I have got so much benefit from balancing my chakras and energy healing. I have picked up strategies that have seen me through times when my thoughts were too unwieldy to manage and my heart too broken to try. I see energy work as another piece of the puzzle. And further studies in counselling psychology opened up the world of metaphor and symbology and their potent use in therapy.

The pieces have come together - whether chakras and energy healing are taken as literal or metaphorical, they provide an ancient set of tools that speak to our unconscious and subconscious mind to create shifts our ego won't consciously allow us. I've experienced enough myself to believe directly in the power of our energy system, but if this idea seems as crazy to you as my helpful lady did to me all those years ago - don't worry, I get it. But use the tools anyway as a form of supporting that ancient part of your mind which works in pictures and metaphors, not words and strategies. The part where dreams and nightmares, phobias and inspiration exist. Here are 7 places to start, 1 for each chakra.

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    Think of the chakras as focal points for your energetic system. By keeping them clear and in balance, your whole being can be in balance. While there are many chakras, to begin at the most practical level, we will discuss the main 7. The first chakra is an energy point at the base of your spine and has the same energetic frequency as the colour red. It symbolises our most fundamental human needs of being safe, grounded and belonging to our tribe. When these parts of life are damaged, it's imperative  for our balance that we heal them. We can take action on a practical level - get ourselves to safety, take care of practicalities like having a budget, find our own tribe or heal our relationship with the one we were raised in. When these actions are overwhelming we begin the healing with metaphor and symbology that begins the process. We can wear red to help us feel strong, do grounding activities like cleaning, decluttering and gardening, practicing strong balancing yoga poses such as warrior or tree, and listen to or dance to music with drumming to get us back to the sense of having a solid base.
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    The second energetic focal point symbolising the next level of human need is below our belly button and has the energetic frequency of the colour orange. This is the psychological needs of connection with one other - friends, partners etc, with our creativity and healthy sexual expression. Once again we can address these parts of our life directly, or begin the healing process with using the colour orange, allowing ourselves time to create in whichever way we are drawn to, and focusing on movement that centres below the navel such as hula hoop and belly dance and dancing to sensual music that inspires hip movement.
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    Our third psychological need is to have a healthy sense of our personal power, and to remove ourselves or resolve any power struggles we have with others. It is neither healthy to be overpowered by or to overpower others; the aim is always our own sense of personal power and containment. The energy for this is above the navel and attributed the colour yellow. Wear yellow to feel strong within yourself and shine brightly in your own right. Symbolically we can visualise anything or anyone we feel drains our power and imagine we are cutting away any cords that bind us to that person or situation, always blessing all parties with love and light but creating healthy separation. Flamenco and martial arts are wonderful strengtheners of our personal power centre. So is standing up for a cause you believe in.
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    The chakra in the middle that keeps balance between all others is, of course, attributed to the heart area. It has the energy of green. This is the place where we have the courage to allow broken hearts to heal and let go of bitterness in order to be more open-hearted. We can't allow love in unless we allow it out also, so we must be brave and keep this channel open. This means we must trust ourselves enough to open our hearts where it is safe to do so, not in abusive or unhealthy situations. Where this part of our life needs tender care, we can wear green (or pink if you prefer) and spend time in the original green of nature. Caring for animals allows the heart to heal and open also. Songs that speak to the heart can help too.
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    Our 5th chakra is located to the throat area and attributed the colour blue. This is the energy of living and speaking our truth. We can begin in small ways to align our lives, actions and the words we speak or write to have more and more integrity with our core values and deepest truths. Where we need support, wearing blue and using our voice in singing along to songs that speak our truths for us give us inspiration and strength.
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    Our forehead area is the location of the 6th chakra, which has the energy of indigo and is the importance of following our inner knowing and wisdom. Reading stories and watching movies of those who inspire us, and studying areas that call us further help here. Meditation is the primary practice for quietening our minds of the ego's loud chatter and hearing the quieter and wiser voice within.
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    And lastly the top of our heads is aptly named the crown (7th) chakra, and has the energy of violet or white. It speaks to our need to connect with the collective, to higher power or greater good. Religious belief is not the only way to do this, feeling connected to all of humanity is also important here. Ways to open up this area in our life include asking the questions from A Course In Miracles during our meditation, and waiting for inner wisdom to guide us "Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? What would you have me say, and to who?". Our aim is to follow our highest path. Using the colours white, violet and gold can support this energy.

So whether you love the idea of diving into the chakras, or whether for you they are a useful metaphoric guide to the growth of the human spirit, try the practices above related to the chakra you instinctively feel is the weakest for you. If you don't know where to begin, always begin with the first and develop a grounded foundation for your life, from where all else can grow.

And I'd love to hear from you! Do you already work with your chakras? And if this is new, which practice will you experiment with? Let me know in the comments below and share with a friend who could benefit too.