The Sun Shines

I have a confession to make, something that has been weighing on me for quite some time. I am a bit of a . . .  well, no, more than a bit. I am a full-blown, head-in-the-sand OSTRICH. Phew, I said it. What a load off! Wait, what’s that? What does it mean to be an ostrich? Well, it means that when I start to feel overwhelmed with life, I tend to hole up, putting my head in the proverbial sand and allowing myself to look at only what I must to get through the day, the week, or even, I’m embarrassed to admit, the year. Well, that’s not so bad, you might think. Focus is a good survival skill. And yes, in small amounts, it is a truly necessary skill, especially when you have a lot of balls in the air in this busy, busy life. But escapism and avoidance? They cut you off from your source, from love and joy and laughter, and ultimately from living.

The irony here is that ostriching is just about as opposite to my life philosophy as you can get and still be me. See, I am a big believer in self-awareness, consciously looking at myself and where I am and seeing what is keeping me from accomplishing my goals and attaining my dreams. I have invested a lot of time and energy (and I mean A LOT) in personal growth exercises, classes, retreats, etc. over the years, and, as a result, I have, well, grown a lot over the years because of it. I’ve weeded my mental and emotional gardens, exposing and excising all those hidden roots for the dandelion-like issues that always seem to find fertile soil to grow in. I believe in doing a little spring cleaning several times a year, not just in my physical space, but mentally and emotionally to keep exposing any missed roots that might be clogging up my flow. I believe in looking directly at what scares me, looking that fear directly in the face and calling it out for what it is. I believe in feeling the fear and doing it anyway, especially because I know that whatever I feel fear about is life’s way of nudging me towards my next area of self-growth.

So when I pulled my head out of the sand last week, I was astonished to discover that in many respects, I’d been hiding in that fear-based sand for over a year and a half. I’d gotten overwhelmed when my second baby was born (oh yes, that baby who is now 20 months old) and I’d managed to compartmentalize my brain so that things I couldn’t deal with went into a segment that was pretty much a black box, taking stuff in but not allowing things out, so I had fewer things to look at and deal with at any given moment. It is a very effective short-term strategy, but an absolutely abysmal long-term one that can cause mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical anguish.

I received an email from a friend recently with a story that eloquently describes what happened to me during this time of ostriching:

“A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience with a raised glass of water. Everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, ‘half empty or half full?’ She fooled them all: ‘How heavy is this glass of water?’ she inquired with a smile. Answers called out ranged from 8 oz to 20 oz.

She replied, ‘The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you’ll have to call an ambulance. In each case it’s the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.'”

Those “weights” that I stashed away for another day may have started out light as a feather, but by the time I realized I could not carry them anymore, each one weighed a thousand pounds. The longer I carried such heavy weights, the more I ostracized myself from my source. At different times throughout that year and a half I was filled with anxiety, struggled with depression, experienced physical pain throughout my body (migraines; back and knee pain), struggled with finances, and lived in a mental fog that I couldn’t seem to clear myself of. Every time I found myself in such anguish, I would be baffled by it. I was working hard at creating the life I had been wanting to live, enabling many of my life’s dreams to begin to be fulfilled, but at the end of the day I still felt somewhat numb, only halfway able to experience the joy that came along with it.

And so last week I gave myself the great gift of de-ostrich-izing myself. I lifted my head from the sand and shined a light on what was hiding inside that black box inside my head. I put down all of those thousand-pound weights and restored them to their feathery lightness. I took care of some long overdue tasks, and crossed about a gazillion things off of my to-do list in a flurry of clarity and lightness and energy that I hadn’t felt in a long, long time. The result? In addition to all of the little tangible benefits of “getting stuff done,” I’ve had a return of my ME-ness. I feel more authentic, more at peace, more capable of taking on the world when I need to, and more capable of asking for help when I need to. I am returning to my practice, rewarding myself with my meditation time in the mornings, and sleeping better at night. The creative juices are flowing again and I have ideas bubbling up all over the places, just begging to be birthed out into the world. The numbness is fading, and my deep gratitude for this life I am creating and living is present without my having to work at it.

As I write this, I feel once again the deep sense of relief I experienced last week, along with a renewed sense of awe that I allowed it to go for so long. But I’ve found that’s what happens when you ostracize (or ostrich-ize!) yourself from life — you can no longer hear the messages that life is trying so hard to send you. And so, here I go again, doing my internal spring cleaning, clearing out the weeds in my internal garden, planting new seeds that I hope will shine light when the dark places try to re-emerge, grateful for this opportunity to continue to grow, and grateful for this awareness that has once again pushed me out of my comfort zone and back out into the world to share my stories along this crazy journey called life, my own personal journey of learning to fly. Namaste.

Grounding in ungrounded times

Cross section of a trees' roots - large

You may have noticed in recent weeks or months a sensation of being distracted, spacey, off balance, ungrounded. Whether you’re consciously aware of it or not, there’s an energetic realignment happening on our planet, which can be a little unsettling at times. I tend to struggle with being grounded in the best of times, and my sense is this next year (or 13 months, really) it is going to be extra intense. I’ve gathered together a few of my favorite tools that you may find useful whether you’re an old hat at this and just in need of a refresher, or just recognizing for the first time today that you might be in need of new sea legs. You can use any of these tools as frequently or rarely as you need.


This is really the easiest, most natural way to ground–touch the earth. If you can do it by a large body of water, even better. Take a walk, kneel down and run your hands through the dirt, sit on a rock, wade in a lake, dip your toes in the ocean, hug a tree. Anything that connects you literally to the earth will almost immediately ground you, but treat yourself to a few minutes (or more, if you have the time!) to really soak up that energy.

Roots and cords

While we may not have literal roots into the earth like trees do, we do have energetic roots. Sometimes called cords, you can visualize these as tubes of energy that connect your body to the earth. If that seems too esoteric for you, you can visualize yourself as a tree, and see roots coming out of each of your feet, sinking into the earth. Stand or walk or even sit with your feet firmly planted on the floor, and really breathe into this image for a few minutes, embodying your best inner tree and feeling that deep connection to the earth that we all have.

Crystals and stones

Crystals and other stones are great for grounding, probably because they come directly from the earth. There are a variety of crystals that can be used for grounding, including Smoky Quartz, my personal favorite for this purpose. I also love finding stones when I’m out for walks and bringing them home for this purpose. You don’t need to actively do anything to ground with crystals or stones–their presence nearby is often enough to provide assistance–but picking them up, wearing them on your skin, or carrying them in your pocket can give them an extra boost.

Helping your kids to ground

Energetically speaking, your kids are connected to you until right around puberty–between 11 and 13, depending on who you talk to (and, I’m guessing, since it is true with everything else parenting-related, depending on you and your child specifically). I tend to be sensitive to other people’s energy, and when Spider Boy was born, I got completely lost, unable to tell what were my feelings and what were his. Elisabeth Manning taught me an incredibly useful tool that enabled me to disentangle our energies and ground us both as individuals. Here is the slightly revised version that I’ve been using ever since:

Begin by visualizing a bubble of light encircling you, and a separate bubble encircling your child. As you visualize each bubble, ask yourself what color you need (or your child needs)–whatever color pops into your head, visualize the bubble in that color. You might also choose to fill the bubble with that color light (or bubbles or fairies or whatever) if so moved. Your intellect can make you crazy with these kind of ask-and-answer visualizations, so try to let go and just go with whatever comes up for you. There is no wrong answer.

Visualize a cord of light running from your root chakra (around your tailbone) down deep into the core of the earth. (When I first started doing this, I had this spindly little cord, but Elisabeth encouraged me to make it bigger and now it is about the size of a tree trunk. I consciously invoke the larger size when I’m feeling especially ungrounded.) When you feel like your cord has connected with the earth, visualize the earth energy running back up the cord and into you, like you’re refueling and it’s filling up your tank. I have a shamrock-shaped “tank” that I visualize and I can see when it’s full. Sometimes the energy flows in a rush, and other times it can take a while, so give yourself a moment to be sure you’re complete. Then repeat this exercise by visualizing a cord for your child going deep into the earth, and filling up his or her tank as well.

I recommend practicing this visualization when your child is calm so that you’ve got it at the ready when they’re upset.

Additional reading

There are hundreds, possibly thousands, of resources out there on these topics. Here are a few recent ones that have come to my attention that you might find useful as well:

Body and Soul ~ Mind and Spirit : Crystals for Grounding
DailyOM : Being A Strong Container
Healing Crystals For You : Earth Chakra
Living With Your Psychic Gifts : Grounding

Originally posted on Pachamama Spirit



“When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.”
~Will Rogers

We all have those moments, days, weeks where it feels like we can’t keep up, we aren’t centered or grounded, we’re separated from Source. I don’t know about you, but when it happens to me, I have this sense that it will require a grand gesture to turn it around. Missed a few days of meditation? Then I must need an hour-long meditation plus two more hours of spiritual practice to catch back up. And then when I don’t have the time or make the time for such a long practice, I judge myself as lacking and sink deeper into the darkness.

The thing is, of course, we’re never completely closed off from Source and no matter how disconnected we feel, reconnection is literally only a breath away. Once the awakening has begun, once you’ve had a taste of the experience of your deep connection to Source, it doesn’t take much to bring you back there. Here are a few simple tools you can use throughout your day to either help you remain connected or reconnect you as needed:

Breathing. We are constantly breathing, in and out, all day long, each and every day. It is something we are generally unconscious of, but try bringing your consciousness to this natural process, recognizing with each breath that you are alive in this moment, right now. Do this for a few moments or a few minutes, depending on where you are and how much time you have. It’s amazing how this simple technique can bring you quickly back to yourself, to you as observer, as awareness, to the now.

Be Here Now. The key to happiness is to stay present in this moment. I find that a simple mantra can work wonders in helping me remain present when I find my mind wandering into past and future events. I’ve been using “Be Here Now” recently, although any mantra will work. I’ve also been playing with the idea that whatever I am doing right now, it is my life’s purpose to be doing it, and so I remind myself of that as I work. It is a great way to turn any activity into a meditation and almost always brings me up out of whatever dark thoughts were trying to take hold in my mind into the space of light and peace that is always available in the now.

Music. Listening to music can be a quick and easy way to reconnect. Our bodies are energy and we are all vibrating. Music is also a vibration, and when the two vibrations meet, we can experience a deep harmony. I know for me there are a few tracks that from the first note I feel myself transported. If you don’t already know what works for you in this way, I recommend exploring the many examples that are available these days developed with the intention of positively affecting people’s vibration. My current favorite is Jonathan Goldman’s Waves of Light, although I also enjoy the Brainwave Suite and the second track of Kelly Howell’s Retrieve Your Destiny. The Globe Institute for Sound Therapy & Healing is a great resource as well. They have a collection of CDs available in their store with demos for you to sample. When you visit their website, they have a selection playing, “Awakening,” that instantly transports me, and I often leave the page open in the background while I’m working so that I can stay in that sense of the divine no matter what I’m doing.

Nature. If you have a wee bit more time, try connecting with the natural world. If there’s a park or a forest nearby, go for a short walk. Try taking off your shoes, feeling the grass or dirt beneath your feet. Connecting with the earth directly is a quick and easy way to literally ground yourself through the earth’s energy. When you don’t have nature readily at hand, try observing the flora and fauna around you. Flowers in a vase, a house plant, a pet, a bird outside your window — take a few moments to really experience these examples of life that can be found just about everywhere, using each of your senses. You may feel how they radiate energy just like you do. Or you may just notice their simple beauty. Whatever comes up for you, the natural world provides so many examples of the essence of life that it can become a great way for you to reconnect with your own sense of that essence within you.

The key here is really it only takes a moment to remember what it is we already know–that we are one with the Source of all life and that the only moment that truly is is this one. When we come into that awareness, we are in contact with the power of the universe, with the divine. Try playing with a few of these tools this week, maybe by setting up a reminder alarm to go off a few times throughout the day or by using them when you start to feel yourself slipping into unconsciousness. I think you’ll find it only takes a moment to turn your day around. Good luck, have fun, and let me know how it goes! Namaste.

Photo: “That my life would depend on the morning sun,” originally uploaded by ThunderChild the Magnificent

Originally posted on Jenn’s Two Cents/Learning to Fly