These are some techniques that I have found useful on my journey. I am sharing them in case others find them useful as well.
Many of us live in a state in which there is a great divide between our bodies and minds. Our bodies have an innate natural wisdom, but many of us have never learned to listen to the subtle messages of our earthly vehicles. Many of us treat our bodies like slaves ignoring even the most obvious pleas. For example have you ever been in the middle of something and thought, ‘oh I’m thirsty’ only to brush it off for later, and continue to focus on what the mind is busy with. This is just one example of some of the ways that we neglect the needs of our bodies.
An important step in returning to wholeness is to learn to honour our bodies and reconnect with their wisdom. To create a cooperative partnership, rather than master and slave relationship, it is important for our bodies to feel safe and cared for.
Most of us were never taught how to process negative energy in a healthy way; our coping mechanism was to push it away, outside of awareness. From a physical perspective, because most of us largely live in our minds, when we push away emotions that we do not want to feel, that energy goes into our bodies and is stored there. Over time, as these emotional energies build up they can culminate in discomfort, pain and illness.
The technique I am about to describe is well known in healing circles because is very simple, yet highly effective. There are several variations of this process. The following is a version that I use, but if you are interested in others you could look up body scan or body wave.
Find some time when it's possible to have at least 10mins of uninterrupted peace. Find a comfortable position (sitting, lying down...whatever works for you), and begin to focus on your breathing. Nice slow in breath through the nose, hold for a few seconds and release the air through your mouth even more slowly than you inhaled it. Once you have a nice rhythm going, begin to allow your awareness to move down from your head through your whole body.
I like to imagine that that my awareness is spreading golden sparkly light to all my cells as I move down. You can imagine whatever pleases you, or nothing at all. The important thing is awareness. Don’t worry if in the beginning your mind wanders away from the task at hand, just return your awareness to your body when you realise.
Pay close attention to the feelings that are in your body. When you come to an area that is tense, or in pain, allow yourself to observe the sensation. Simply observe and allow, without judgement or attempt to change. The important thing is that your body feels loved, heard and cared for...it knows how to take care of the rest.
When the time feels right move on and continue focusing your awareness down through the body. The more time you have, the more thorough and intimate the scan can be. As you consciously move your awareness through your body you are engaging in a process of re-establishing a healthy relationship between your mind and body.
As this connection strengthens, you will find yourself becoming more aware of the subtle messages your body sends you, and in time you may find that foods that once attracted you are no longer appealing, and others that you once shied away from suddenly seem more attractive. The more you listen to and trust the subtle messages of your body the happier and healthier it will be...and you will feel.
Because the energy stored in the body is emotional in nature,
this process can cause powerful thoughts and feelings to arise. As usual, the answer again is to allow and
resist judgement of any kind. Remember we all contain EVERYTHING, and that the
feelings that have been suppressed are emotionally charged BECAUSE we have
JUDGED them undesirable and pushed them away...thus we perceive them as more
powerful than they actually are. When we allow them to BE, without judgement,
the charge is released and they cease to have any power over us. With practice you will come to welcome
whatever surfaces, be it feelings of fear, humiliation, shame, etc because you
know that they are no longer being carried around in your being. By feeling them they can be acknowledged and released. If you feel inclined you can also call upon angels or guides to assist with this process.
However, if something does surface that feels too much, please don’t force yourself to sit with it. Forcing is never the answer and often tends to do more harm than good. In order to return to wholeness every part of you needs to feel safe and honoured. You can step away from this process at anytime and return when you feel ready. There are also many professionals who are highly adept at shifting energy who can assist.
Note: There is a fine line between feeling these feelings and being swept away by them, or wallowing in them. For example if something comes up that triggers deep sadness, it is healing to allow the tears to flow. However, there may be a point when the sadness shifts from a genuine release, to a self-indulgent state of ‘poor me’, where we shift from observer to victim. Wallowing in victimhood does not facilitate healing. The more practiced you become at processing and releasing stored emotional energy, the clearer this line will become. You will feel the subtle shift as the energy moves away from healing alignment and be able to quickly pull out of the sway and return to the point of observer.
Unfortunately this is not a one off affair. Years, and even lifetimes, of suppressing feelings and emotions means that most of us have A LOT of stored unprocessed energy. Luckily the energies of today are very supportive of healing, and clearing can happen a lot more quickly than it used to. Eventually once a healthy mind body connection is established, this process will become almost second nature. Nowadays I instantly feel my body’s reaction to emotional stimulus and can make an immediate correction by allowing and releasing.
In our society we learn to see ourselves as one person ‘I’ , but the more we get to know ourselves the more we come to understand that there are many aspects to our personality. There are aspects that are childlike, aspects that are wounded, aspects that are wise, aspects that wild etc. There have been many efforts to categorize some of the most universal aspects, these are typically called archetypes. The major arcana in the Tarot, as well as the work of psychologist Carl Jung, provide some interesting insights into archetypes.
An important point about archetypes is that the qualities they embody have both positive and negative forms of expression, depending on our relationship to them. A lot of personal insight can be gained by studying archetypes and their respective qualities. (However, these categorizations should not be taken too literally, they are simply a way to organize a very complex system into a comprehensible framework, and in truth there is not really a clear line where one ends and another begins.)
When we enter the world we contain all, but as we establish an identity, our own personality construct, there are aspects that are cherished and held in high regard, and others that we reject out of fear, or because we or our society judge them as undesirable.
For me an important part of my healing process was to uncover aspects of myself that I had rejected, or that had been wounded through social interaction. Reconnecting and healing these aspects was an essential component of my process.
My initial contact was one that arose quite naturally and spontaneously. With the help on my guide (this event is described in Jump Into the Blue) I was doing a body scan and felt myself being guided to go down past my feet. I found myself for the first time in a place I came to call my basement. There I found a little girl who was extremely angry and sad ( I had never even heard of the inner child at this point). She told me that she had been trying to connect with me for so long, but all her messages were ignored (I could see that these messages had reached my mind, but not knowing where they originated from, they just felt ‘bad’ and I had always pushed them away).
After that initial contact I made a conscious effort to uncover and connect with more hidden aspects. Some of the aspects I discovered were extremely frightening, some so wounded they could not even stand, and yet others so amazingly powerful and wise. The more I connected, the more I could reclaim and heal my relationship to the qualities embodied by each aspect.
How to engage in an inner dialogue
In order to reach down into deep spaces within we need to be both relaxed and open (I often work in the bath). I find it best to quiet my mind and just allow any thoughts to surface. Some are mundane and I simply allow them to flow by. But when a thought or feeling arises that has a charge to it, I try to look beneath it, to see where it stems from. This is where I usually find a hidden aspect.
Speaking with an aspect has a strange quality to it...because of course it is us. At first when we attempt a dialogue it may feel like we are making up the responses that come from the aspect. This is fine...just keep going with it. If we are open and trusting in the process we will find that the answers will begin to feel less like they are being formed by us, and more like they are surfacing.
Sometimes the responses that we get (even ones that it felt like we made up) will contain real keys to our healing: an amazing treasure, deep insight, or powerful wisdom. I have frequently been moved to tears of both sadness and joy by what has come out in these inner dialogues.
Though it may sound like it, this process will NOT lead to multiple personality disorder. In fact it is the opposite that occurs. As we uncover, connect, heal and strengthen our relationship to these aspects we are actually engaging in a process that integrates these disperse qualities into a unified whole. As we heal our relationship with aspects, the expression of their qualities shifts from negative to positive, and the aspects that we once unconsciously perceived as enemies can become our allies. Eventually we won’t need to have a conversation with our aspects as though they are ‘other’, we will just be able to step into that energy perspective when it is appropriate.
Sound and Body Movement
This is one of my favourite ways to shift stuck energy. Once again to begin we need to find a peaceful environment where we will not be interrupted. Take a minute to ground and centre. Then stand in an area where you have a lot of room to move if necessary (try to ensure there is nothing in your surrounds that could trip you, or get in your way if your eyes are closed), and give your body permission to express itself in any, and I mean any way it sees fit.
I actually find it best not to have any music on when I do this, as the style of music can influence the expression. It can be useful to begin by just shaking the body around, loosening up. Make some noise. Play with your voice and your body. Remember this is absolutely NOT about looking good...it is about being real.
If you perceive a desire to put your arms in the air, follow it. The more you allow the (initially) subtle urges of your body to guide you, the easier it will become for you to let go of control and allow your body to lead you through this process.
If we are open and allowing, what emerges from this technique may range from a simple beautiful dance with a light hum, to spastic thrusting with deep guttural grunts. The key is to let go of any personal judgement, and to really just allow whatever needs to, to come out.
It may take several goes before you really feel safe enough to connect to some of the real deep stuff. Once again please don’t try to force anything. The healing journey is not a race, there are no awards for speed. Healing is personal, and the more we learn to recognize and respect our own unique momentum the more successful we will be.
Also please don’t be alarmed if you feel your body wanting to move in ways that feel foreign or strange. As long as you are not hurting physically this is great and means you are accessing some deep impulses.
You should be able to feel when this process is complete. There should be a pleasant emptiness. Finnish off by sitting in the stillness and observe what feelings and or emotions the exercise brought up in you.
This exercise is powerful for many reasons. It assists with connecting to our bodies and learning how to move energy through them (rather than holding on). It allows us to connect and give expression to deep primal aspects of our being that often (especially because they exists beyond language) are neglected. It also challenges us to accept and even embrace behaviour that is not perceived as normal (the more we allow ourselves to be unhindered by the concept normal in this exercise the more potent it becomes) .
*As I became more aware of energy movement in my body I
found that using mini versions of this technique was really helpful to
maintaining a healthy flow. Sometimes just a little body shake, vocal bla, or
graceful hand movement is all it takes to get my energy flowing nicely. Don’t
worry about being out in public and suddenly having the urge to prostrate
yourself along the floor, or roar like a lion. I have found that the more I
become attuned to the energy of my body, the more attuned it becomes to me and
my needs. Trust in your body’s ability
to know when the time is right for expression.