The other day my phone was ringing, texts were arriving and friends were dropping by all at the same time, and everyone was in a state of emotional upheaval. I used to observe these kinds of days just before or after a full moon but recently the planetary energies are so intense, difficult days arise out of the blue and sometimes carry on for several days in a row. We are all being asked to expand, to elevate our vibration to match the evolution of our planet and sometimes that experience can be very challenging, even deeply painful, as if raw emotions are being squeezed from our hearts like toothpaste out of a tube.
When we are blindsided by heavy energy, we may notice it as not just one difficult moment, but many, and it seems as if everywhere we go people are in grouchy moods, there are sirens going off, car accidents happen in front of us, computers freeze, we drop things, break things, and the very air hangs with a surreal quality of a Fellini film. It is so easy to get caught in this kind of experience, to find ourselves telling off a clerk at a store check out, or driving more aggressively than usual. Our fuses are short and bad news seems to just find us, until it seems impossible to carry on with our day. What can be done to deal with a heavy energy when it washes over us like this? Here are seven steps to help you ground yourself in the midst of challenge, regain a peaceful perspective and shift your day back to a forward momentum once again.
1/ KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE
There is only one thing that causes us pain in human form, and that is our belief in duality, that we are separate from our divine and perfect selves. The experience can show up in many different ways, a fight with a loved one, a financial crisis, physical illness, loss, a disappointment in our dreams, but at the bottom always lies an awful feeling of un-safety, that we are unloved, unlovable, and somehow alone. Our own suffering always seems unique and therefore more unbearable; our pain seems to mark us as flawed, shameful or lost. We want to ask, why me? Why is this happening, and why must it be done to me when others seem just fine? The truth is that when your world weighs heavily, or even comes crashing down, I promise you that there are others experiencing the same heartache, the same loss, or something much worse. Pain, loss and shadow experiences are an aspect of being alive in human form and there is no one who escapes them. You are not worse than anyone, nor is your situation more hopeless. There are others feeling exactly the same way, who understand just how much pain you are in, and however much you blame yourself, you have done no wrong. In every moment, your guides and God, Goddess, Spirit are with you, at your side, loving you, holding you, no matter what your experience, no matter how great your doubt or fear.
2/ HONOUR YOUR FEELINGS
So many of us have been raised to think that anything other than a cheerful smile or hard work ethic has no place in a successful day. The truth is that your vulnerability is not weakness, it is a state of grace, and you show spiritual courage when you allow it. Our emotions are our teachers, telltale signs that lead us to the gold within our hearts. They are never “wrong” and we have earned them through lifetimes of challenge and loss. If we judge our grief or our anger, we only bury it in shame where it can fester and make us sick. Chances are there is a little child in you that was not allowed to express when were small, and shadow emotions make you uncomfortable as an adult. To be your most powerful, evolved self, you must clear this toxic energy, and that means learning to love every aspect of yourself. Every part of you is beautiful, even on the darkest days.
3/ NAME YOUR STORY
It always seems as if there is some experience, or experiences, that have brought about a difficult day. In truth we are creators of our world, and we call to us exactly what we need to expand into heightened awareness and joy by being shown our greatest fears; then it is up to us what we do with them. A very helpful tool is to become the observer of your own life. Imagine that you are a little bird sitting on your own shoulder, watching your human self feeling down or angry or scared; or connect with your own highest spiritual self and be an observer of your physical world. Tell yourself, “Isn’t this interesting” or a similar statement that reminds you to stay out of self judgement or drama. This is a skill that may take some time to develop, but it is a powerful action to separate your higher Self from an external experience of a lower vibration. Once you have a little distance, see if you can put a name to what you are feeling. Is it abandonment? Failure? Guilt? Being unseen or unheard? Betrayal? Loneliness or shame? Often putting a name to what you are feeling can help the emotion move into a state of release, because consciousness is everything.
The key here is to name the story of your pain (I feel unworthy when my partner does not seem to understand or value me) so that you can recognize it as just that, a story, and nothing more. It is the illusion you are here to break through and heal in this life and is not the truth of you. It is very important to distinguish between naming your story and getting caught in it. If you find yourself repeating expressions of victimization (he didn’t listen to me, just kept staring at his computer when I was talking, he always does that, I’m going to have an affair, that will teach him…) know there is no value in cognitive analysis or seeking solutions when you are deep in emotion. Telling your story over and over from a victimized perspective will just embed it further. Name what you are feeling with as little attachment as possible, and prepare to set it free.
This is a controversial point. When we are angered by an experience or person, the temptation is to retort, to throw back the pain we feel. This is not the kind of expression that will help you in the long run. If you choose to share your pain with the person you think has “caused” it while you are still in the throes of your heartache, it likely won’t go well because you will be expressing from your wounded self, and a lower vibration. If you have an extraordinary friend who is very grounded and able to hold a space for you while you vent, that can be helpful, depending upon your situation and personality, and your friend’s willingness to not “fix” you. There are marvelous tools to provide this kind exploration and healing, such as psychodrama. But generally, acting upon the temptation to project your pain at anyone else will only fuel your story, rather than clear it from your own energy field.
Having said this, authentic expression is an essential step in making use of the dark emotions you may be feeling. Choose a medium that is as pure as possible, one that keeps you in a place of owning your experience rather than blaming others, an empowering perspective. The list of possibilities is endless; just find what works best for you. Go for a drive and scream in the car. Get in a salt bath and cry. Go to the beach and pound rocks. Lock yourself in the bathroom, open your mouth as wide as you possibly can at the mirror and see what energy emerges from your jaw, throat and eyes. Paint a dozen paintings as fast as you can with red and black finger paints on newsprint and throw them all out when you are done. Ask the pain in your belly to describe itself in three words and then chant them softly (or loudly) until you cry. Sing at the top of your lungs with a “hurtin” song until the grief wells up and comes out in a roar. Create a drawing, poem or song of your own that expresses even the not so pretty aspects of what you feel. Punch something inanimate (and soft) or run up some stairs. Write in your journal, or write a raging letter or email and throw it out. (Make sure you throw it out!) Have a massage and warn your masseur that you will be weeping on the table. Do yoga, or just stretch and release the energy where it is stuck in your body. The key is to locate where the pain is lying within your heart, belly or anywhere in your physical form, and give it a chance to escape, to be set free.
There are practitioners who can teach you emotional release if it is difficult for you; it is like a muscle that needs to be developed. Eventually you can learn to release like opening a shaken can of pop, and let toxic emotions move through and out quickly, leaving you feeling clean, clear and lighter than you have in a very long time. This is a step that not only clears up a heavy day, but can heal your body and mind in profound ways, slow down the aging process and make way for true joy in your life. There really is no substitute for finding the voice of your heart and letting it sing.
5/ BE STILL
After your release, or even if you are not able to achieve a full letting go the way you would like, take five, ten, fifteen minutes to be quiet and go inward. If there is more grief or rage to come, the silence may give it space to show up. If your release feels complete, stillness gives you a chance to reconnect with Spirit, with your guiding source, however you define it. We are surrounded by guidance at all times, in every circumstance, but we seldom let it in. Simply stopping the noise of our daily lives can grant a break to our constantly active nervous systems, and create a space for our own inner wisdom to speak. Traditional forms of meditation can be very powerful, but there are many variations, and above all it is important not to place any expectation upon yourself when you are struggling. Nap if you prefer. Don’t make this another chance to blame yourself for not being able to sit still because of the complaining chatter in your head. Love even the noise, but keep coming back to your permission to rest. Rest your heart, rest your mind, rest the need to do anything about anything. Know that calming your state of Being is more important than any active step you could take, and in fact, out of stillness rises all action. Out of conscious stillness rises inspired action. So any time you have a few minutes to clear the deck in your awareness and start from a rested perspective, you give your day a chance to restart, to begin again in a whole new way.
The practice of appreciation or gratitude is a common teaching and a powerful tool, and yet it remains challenging for most of us on a difficult day. Our victim programming runs so deep, we can find a way to be absolutely miserable in the midst of glorious beauty, if that is what our story has been telling us to do. Perspective is very much a force of habit, and can be turned around, even if it seems awkward at first. No matter how dire your present situation, I promise you that there are gifts to be found within it. Do you have a bit of money in your pocket, food in the cupboard and a roof over your head? Then you already have more than the vast majority of people on the planet. Do you have loved ones who miss you when you are away? Do you have two eyes, two legs and the strength to get up and walk out into the sunshine and watch the beauty of the natural world all around? If tomorrow, all this was taken from you, through an accident or death, how would you have wished to spend today? These may seem like silly games when you are in despair but the fact is that turning your attention to the blessings in your life is one of the most effective tools you can find to shift your energy, rediscover a happy heart and step back into being of service to others. Perspective also holds the key to the meaning of life. No matter what is lost, no matter how much suffering we come to know, no one can take our strength of spirit from us, because it lives within and is ours only to hold.
Man’s Search for Meaning is a 1946 book by Viktor Frankl chronicling his experiences as an Auschwitz concentration camp inmate during World War II, and the thesis of the book is that even during experiences of the most severe physical and psychological torture, he found it possible to guard his own sense of self and purpose. His ability to hold onto this aspect of himself, to keep it safe when everything else was taken away, not only saved his life but allowed him to be a leader and support others when they had lost all hope. Don’t make gratitude something that is expected of you (say thank you to the nice man dear) but rather find that tiny flame of delight within you which acknowledges the beauty of life. Nourish that flame and it can grow to warm your heart and light up even the darkest day. Keep it lit, and others will be drawn to you and want to know your secret. Ironically, the act of appreciation is about getting out of our own way to see the wonder all around us. It’s the grandest act of doing nothing so you can be with anything, let everything in, for truly this is a magnificent world.
7/ CHOOSE LOVE
Love is not what most of us think it is. In our popular literature and media it is often relegated to something that happens in a relationship, between a man and a woman, a parent and child or a kitten and a pretty little girl. We think of it as something that we may stumble upon if we are lucky, earn if we work hard, or give to others if we are selfless enough. We may think of it as a warm glow that we experience a few times over the course of a life, one that fades when reality sets in. In fact Love is a vibration, an energy, the energy that makes up our universe and it is present everywhere at all times. Often Love expresses in unlikely ways. Those who cause us the most pain in our lives are the ones who love us most deeply on a soul level, and bring us the greatest gifts as they walk with us on a path of healing together. Sometimes we let ourselves feel Love only when an object of our affection is taken away. Often during an experience where we are “supposed” to feel love it eludes us, and we wonder where it has gone. Are we cold-hearted? Is love a mystery that we only come to understand when we die?
Love is an ever present force, and the only truth of our existence. At times it expresses in what would seem its opposite, so that we may grow and expand from the experience of the contrast. But even when this is happening, this is the illusion, not the underlying truth of our soul’s journey. Have you ever cleaned a dirty pair of glasses and put them on, only to be shocked by the clarity and beauty of what you now see? What stood before you has not changed; instead you cleared up a false cloudiness, and allowed yourself a truer vision. This is what happens when we learn to process our emotions, to release them and set them free. Then we are granted a more accurate view, and we can connect to the truth of the Love that was all around us all the time. As we develop in our ability to work with the shadow material of our lives, we start to realize that shadows only fall when a bright light is shining our way. We can learn to turn toward that light, even in the midst of our pain, and by so doing see the beauty of the entire experience, without segmenting or judging, or even wanting to change a thing. We can learn to recognize the presence of Love in all aspects of our lives, and in this acceptance, feel the joy flow in. Like tuning our radio to a frequency on the dial, we can tune in to the Love that suddenly is everywhere, in the smile of a co-worker, in a piece of unexpected
music drifting through the subway, in the permission to walk up the steps to our house, the same steps we have climbed countless times, but today, they welcome us to an indescribable beauty, today they are a gateway to Love. It is always our right and our purpose, again and again, to choose Love.
The next time everything seems to go wrong in your day, or you get up to face familiar troubles and just can’t find the strength to do it again, try these seven steps to shift your energy and begin creating the kind of moment, day, or life you would prefer. Mastery is found, not in an end to suffering, but in a quick readiness to transmute it when it arises, and a graceful appreciation for even our darkest hours. You can do this, and when you do, be sure to share your success with others. We all need encouragement and to hear the good news in people’s lives. Do you have a story about turning around a hard day? Please share it in the comments below.
“Was angry” by a-alshehhi
Man jumping from Visto by Lovis Ostenrik