The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 6

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 6

 

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I was reading in the paper about some of the things people are looking forward to when this is all over. This is something I have been trying to avoid doing as, at the moment, there is no telling how far ahead ‘when this is all over’ will be and also because I am not at all sure how good it is for my mental health it is to be looking ahead for things that might not be possible, for months, or even years. It also goes against my trying to be in the moment, to focus on the here and now and so at the moment there is nothing I am letting myself dream of in the ‘future’.

Having said all of this, a friend posted a picture on Facebook of the fish and chips that had just been delivered from their local chipper and I immediately thought how lovely a plate of really good fish and chips would be. Simple things perhaps 🙂

I have noticed that when I get stressed at the moment I feel it on a very physical level. My body tenses, I feel the tension in my muscles and my jaw and it takes a while for me to get my body to relax again. This would likely be in keeping with something I saw online where a someone was talking about a trauma release exercise she had been taught and how physically her body reacted when she did it, even though she had been unaware of any trauma. I suspect that by the time this is all over, we will all be holding stress and trauma in our bodies, storing it up bit by bit. On the grounds that it is better to release things sooner rather than later I have been spending time sending Reiki to myself to release any stress and trauma I am holding now.

One thing I must keep in mind is that I have found when I share the fact that I am not ok, that I am finding something difficult or stressful, then the stress actually drops away quite quickly.Ok rant over. Sometimes it is just good to get it out rather than bury it. Burying anger or resentment is something that can make us ill over time so is never a good thing to do. It is also healthier at the moment to get this out, either out loud to someone, or if that is not possible, then in writing somewhere and so release it energetically.

There are many of good things that have come out of the lockdown, one of which is the amount of online classes, workshops and advice to be had, including those on mental health and dealing with stress. I think as time moves on and restrictions keep being extended these will become more and more necessary.

At the moment I am being extremely selective about what I watch and how much time I spend online but am delighted that Earth Soul Yoga, the yoga centre in our nearest town is now doing these. I have already tried the gentle Somatic Yoga session for my spine and am really looking forward to Yoga Nidra. I am rubbish at watching any of these live normally and much prefer to catch up when it suits me but I will make an exception for Yoga Nidra.

My husband, presumably fed up but me saying I should have got some months ago when I saw them in Aldi, has been making me home made ‘dumbells’ this week to use in my ‘gym’. So far I have dumbells of varying weight made from a plastic water bottle, an empty liquid detergent bottle and most recently an empty olive oil container. These are all different weights so will make things a bit more varied for me 🙂

In the past when I could still get materials easily I made shamanic drums. I have several that ‘belong’ to me but for some reason have neglected them for quite some time. This week though I have been drumming a lot and at Bealtaine I lit a fire in the fire pit in my stone circle, called in the spirits and drummed. I am glad to have found my way back to this part of my practice and of course, now I have, cannot understand why I have neglected it for so long.

Another part of my practice that I have found again is my work as an Ovate with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I am not very far back into it and having been here before, have no idea how long I will stay this time, but it’s nice to be back anyway.

With only 2km to exercise within we have been unable to take our usual walk to the woods that, this time of year are filled with wild garlic and bluebells. Instead we explored the woods in our village which we discovered are full of bluebells. This was such a wonderful surprise and had it not been for the restrictions we would never have found this. IMG_0512

What a difference a few days makes though, in this case from the start of the week to the end. We have now been told our space to exercise will, from Tuesday, be extended from 2km to 5km and those over 70s who have been cocooning have been told they may now exercise outside or go for a drive up to 5km. This feels as if it will give people a little more room to breathe now as the lockdown has been extended for another two weeks. I know people who are already planning the places they will drive to; the woods or the coast to sit and watch the sea for instance. We have also been given a plan of how the lockdown will unfold slowly, so have been given the light at the end of the tunnel, although everything of course depends on the virus being under control.

Grounding – 4 ways to ground yourself

 

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I have just been reading an article in the paper regarding grounding. It’s big news apparently because it features on Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Gloop’. Those of us who work with energy though, know exactly how important it is to ground ourselves and I for one love the summer when I can be bare foot and in contact with the earth 24/7 🙂 In the winter I am also bare foot as often as possible even when it’s cold. There is nothing nicer nor better for your health than taking your shoes and socks off an walking bare foot on grass, earth, the beach, anywhere really. It is Earth energy that feeds and nourishes our physical bodies, keeps us grounded, in touch with our bodies and which helps our physical bodies have what they need to heal.

Grounding is a practice that can also help us ‘get out of our heads’ and so is also beneficial for our mental health.

I also ground myself when I arrive in a new place when travelling. Connecting with the Earth energy of a new place or country can help to relieve jet lag and even altitude problems if arriving in a place where the altitude is high.

So how do we ground ourselves? Like anything else there is no one way that works for everyone so the best way is to experiment and find what works for you.

The following are some of the ways that I use myself and with my students. If you find it difficult to do these while you are reading you might like to get a friend to read them to you while you try them out or even record yourself in some way so you can listen and follow the steps.

 

Grounding 1

  • Go outside and find a quiet space with some grass, bare earth or beach, where you will be undisturbed.
  • Take your shoes off and walk barefoot on the grass, earth or sand.
  • With every step be aware of your foot and its connection with the surface you are walking on and with the Earth.
  • As you walk, breath in deeply imagining the breath coming up through the soles of your feet as you place each foot on the Earth.
  • Focus only on your breathing, the feel of the surface and the Earth energy as it flows into you.

 

Grounding  2

  • Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor, without shoes is best, and make sure your spine is straight.
  • Close your eyes and imagine, sense or visualise, roots flowing from the soles of your feet into the Earth (Don’t worry if you are not on the ground floor this will still work).
  • Send the roots flowing down, spreading out beneath your feet, anchoring firmly into the Earth.
  • Now breathe in deeply imagining the breath coming up from the Earth into the soles of your feet, up your legs and into your body.
  • Continue this for a few minutes at least and with every breath feel the connection between the soles of your feet and the Earth becoming stronger as if a magnet is pulling you.

Grounding 3

  • Sit quietly with your feet flat on the floor, without shoes is best, and make sure your spine is straight.
  • Close your eyes and imagine, sense or visualise, a Lotus Flower opened out beneath you and yourself sat upon it.
  • Imagine, visualise, sense or simply know that the roots of the Lotus Flower flow deep into the Earth beneath you.
  • Now breathe in deeply imagining the breath coming up from the Earth into the base of your spine and into your body.
  • Continue this for a for as long as you wish and with every breath feel the Earth energy flowing up into your body, breathing the energy up into you as far as feels comfortable for you.

 

Grounding  4

  • Sit comfortably, your spine should be straight and your feet flat on the ground
  • Place your hands in your lap and relax
  • Take a few deep breaths and release anything on your mind
  • If you find thoughts coming into your mind, just let them go like passing clouds,     don’t attach yourself to them
  • Now bring your awareness to your feet and feel their connection with the earth
  • Breathe in deeply this time breathing in through the soles of your feet
  • Feel yourself connecting even more strongly with the earth.
  • You might like to sink some roots into the earth so that you are really anchored
  • Take a few more breaths through your feet and draw the energy as far up into your body as is comfortable for you
  • Now bring your awareness the base of your spine and imagine or visualise a thick taproot going from your spine into the Earth
  • Let the taproot flow down deep into the Earth connecting you even more strongly
  • Breathe in again knowing that you are breathing in all the nurturing energy of the Earth
  • Continue to breathe the Earth energy up into your body, up through your belly and up into your diaphragm under your ribs if it feels comfortable for you to do so.

Monday Musings – Working with the spirit in all that exists

Instead of using the words ‘Divine’ or ‘Deity’, within my own shamanic work and my own belief system I prefer to use the term ‘spirit’, with a lowercase ‘s’ that is. I believe that there is spirit within each and ever single thing that exists and that there is communication between everything that exists, both human and non human.

However, because we all perceive things differently spirit is often seen as something different by each of us. While we may sometimes agree on the sense of the spirit in something we may disagree completely about the detail. I believe this is how it should be for we all need to make sense of spirit in our own way and the way it works for me is not necessarily the way it works for someone else.

In my shamanic work I need to be able to connect with the spirits that are in the land or building where I am working and the spirit within any tool I might need to work with. If I am working with trees or plants then it is their spirits that I need to connect with for example.

So how do we begin to connect with the spirit that is in everything?

The first step is to start to be aware, to look for signs, omen, symbols as you move through your day. A great way to doing this is to go for a walk. This is not a power walk or a meditation but a walk where you open your awareness, your inner eyes as it were, and allow everything around you to come into sharper focus using all of your senses to enable this to happen.

As you walk be aware of where and how you or placing your feet.
What does the ground beneath you feel like?
Can you feel the energy of the earth as you walk?
Look around you as you walk, soften your gaze as if you are looking through things rather than at them.
Be aware of what is catching your attention.
Be aware of how you feel when your attention is caught by something.
Are their any thoughts that come into your head?
Does what you have noticed have any meaning or message for you?
Do this often, try it in nature, in your home, in the street, in your workplace. The more you do it the easier it becomes.

Monday Musings – Deity and the Divine

imageI’m probably not the best person to be writing about Deity or the Divine for while I believe as do many who work with Shamanism, that everything that exists has a spirit I don’t really see these spirits as gods or goddesses in any way. For example, where others might see or speak about the god or goddess of a particular tree I would see this as being the spirit of the tree. Where others might speak of the god or goddess who protects their home, I would again see this as being the spirit of the home, important but not a god or goddess.

In my work and daily practice I work with, amongst others, the spirits of the land where I live, the spirits of the tools I use in my work and the spirits I meet when I journey but once again none of these would necessarily be Deities or Divine.

Sometimes though it can be helpful to have a name for these spirits, something that helps us connect with their energy and sometimes this energy may be described as a god or goddess.

Quan Yin, Kwan Yin, Guanyin, Kuanyin, Mio Shan, is such a spirit, one whose energy really resonates with my being especially at times of great need. She is known by many as the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion and exists in one form or another in all cultures.

Quan Yin is spoken of as being Buddhist, a Bodhisattva, an enlightened being or ascended master. She is also said to be The Lord of Karma as well as being the Divine Mother or Mother Mary. She is even spoken of as being the Tibetan Tara, who it is also thought is connected to the Hill of Tara in Ireland. The Celts would have know her as Goddess Tara, her name being the root of the word Tor meaning hill or mound of earth containing spiritual energy or in other words a connection to other worlds. Her name though is also said to mean Star.

The first reference to Goddess Tara is thought to have been in Finland 5,000 years ago in an ancient saga about a group of women known as Tar, the women of wisdom. Even as Tara she has many incarnations for example Green Tara, White Tara, Red Tara, Tarahumara in South America, and Goddess Ishtar in Ancient Egypt.

I first became aware of Quan Yin when travelling in Vietnam. Here it is difficult to pass a marble workshop without seeing the imposing statues that represent the goddess. Goodness flows from her every image and that she is loved by everyone became clear during my time in Vietnam. I later reconnected with her as Lady Tara when a friend who was training in Transference Healing brought her back to my attention for in Transference Healing, Tara is one of the ascended masters who is worked with.

Since then I have worked with Tara as one of my guides. She is not always present, far from it, but works with me when she believes I need her. I have worked with her at whilst on both Sun and Moon Islands in Lake Titicacca and from her have received great healing and profound teachings. More recently though I found her with me once again whilst I was awaiting test results from a scan. She came to me and reminded me to reconnect with her energy and spirit as both Tara and the energy of Quan Yin. This I did and it brought me real peace and calmness, taking away all the fears I had been generating and instead leaving me feeling safe and cared for.

Whichever form she takes, whichever incarnation is connected with, her energy remains the same, gentle yet strong, peaceful and calm, free from judgement or prejudice, there to bring mercy to all in need. A powerful and compassionate spirit indeed and one I am blessed to have working with me.