The first addition to my resource section in a very long time is a selection of practices I’ve been relying on lately to help me process intense inner experiences.
Throughout 2020 there has been a steady current of intense transformational energy. Some of this is coming from obvious areas (pandemic much?) while some is coming from more of an unseen yet felt place.
Again – obvious – but we’re dealing with collective transformation. And if you’re especially connected to the collective unconscious like I am and many of the clients I work with are (we ALL are to some degree or another) you’ll notice chunks of time when you feel super anxious and uncomfortable, yet can’t pin your feelings on any obvious, physical stimulus.
This energy we are being inundated with is waking us up to our capacity to empathize with each other.
As humans, it’s our destiny to connect beyond the physical. Our evolution requires that we become attuned to the other, not just the needs of the self.
Which makes a whole lot of sense – If we can feel the energy of the other, we wouldn’t hurt them. We would work together in a more harmonious way.
As people begin to ascend towards a greater capacity to relate to one another through their connection to the collective unconscious, the inner experience becomes very strong.
What happens to THEM happens to US. We feel the pain. We feel the suffering.
On top of feeling the intensity of those feelings, we struggle with the frustration and fear that comes with not knowing WHY we are feeling this way.
We are desperate for a clear diagnosis, often consuming ourselves with seeking the answer in the physical realm. Yet we won’t get it that way.
Important to remember your capacity to connect with the energy of the collective. And that the intensity of the experience is temporary, although 2020 hasn’t given us a lot of breaks. A whole lot of fear being processed this year. It’s been one big messy Tower moment.
To summarize, I want you to know that if you’re having a hard time with intense feelings of unknown origin, You Are Not Alone. I’m with you, as are many of my clients.
This too shall pass. Meanwhile, make your wellness a priority. Now is not the time to try to be hyper productive. It’s a time to look after yourself.
Also remember that there are resources that can help you through these moments of intensity, which I’m realizing as I incorporate the following practices and intel into my day to day life.
Psoas Muscle Work & Belly Breathing
I got into belly breathing after an Ayurvedic consult. You basically inhale into the belly, and while you exhale, you try to keep your belly distended.
The idea is to create space in the abdomen, allowing the breathe to expand beyond the lungs, where it defaults to when we are in a hyper vigilant anxious state.
I did it for a while, then kind of forgot about it. I say kind of because it felt so awkward and counter to what I usually do, which is draw my breath upward into my chest and neck.
Which, for the record, I do not recommend. You get a lot of neck and shoulder issues with this way of breathing along with increased anxiety.
So I purposely let belly breathing drop from my schedule (???), then picked it back up when my massage therapist recommended for the second time that I work on breathing into my diaphragm and belly. And that I research the psoas muscle and its relation to anxiety (more on that below).
Belly breathing can sometimes trigger more anxiety if you over do it, so mind the desire to get obsessive (spoken from recent experience.) But it’s a very interesting idea, to think that focusing on directing breathe to the diaphragm and belly can actually massage your organs and soothe the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve is related to PTSD and trauma so get to know it and what it can do depending on the state it’s in. If/when it’s triggered, it affects your ability to breathe fully and deeply, another thing I know from experience, which in turn causes more anxiety.
The Psoas muscle – or spirit muscle – is connected to all of this.
I don’t feel comfortable speaking too much on it yet as I’m new to the party. But I will say that “The Psoas Book” is a really valuable resource for those who suffer from chronic anxiety, particularly issues with breathing due to anxiety.
I found the exercise offered within it very grounding and soothing throughout my last foray into the PTSD abyss. And I’m going to begin rolfing treatment as it was referenced a couple of times in the book so far, even though it sounds like something I did outside a cowboy bar in my 20s.
Feel free to email me a reminder to write something about the Psoas it if it interests you.
Certain moon phases trigger emotional responses. For me, it’s the 3rd quarter, when the sun is opposite my moon. This happens roughly 7 days after every full moon.
I find on these evenings my body vibrates. I’m tired but there is this pulsing energy that refuses to let my brain shut off or my body relax.
No matter how many herbal supplements I take I can’t seem to relax my nervous system or sleep.
I’ve taken to tracking the moons and realized this happens every month. Knowing it does helps me refrain from thinking there is something seriously wrong with me when I get these intense symptoms.
An added bonus of knowing this is recalling that the moon is the fastest moving planet, ie how I feel won’t last long. I find I can chill more – not freak my freak when this feeling shows up for its monthly 12-24 hours.
If this idea of tracking moons interests you I recommend the book Moonology by Yasmin Boland. It’s an easy and fun read. A great reference for understanding what certain moons mean and how they might influence your inner experience. She also has a really lovely oracle deck of the same name.
Get to Know Your Astrology
This is something you’d need to go a lot deeper with, as studying astrology is not a quick and simple thing. It takes long term study, or finding someone fabulous to get your birth chart read by. I recommend that if you can swing it.
That said, there are certain energies we experience that can be called out within the context of an astrological chart – certain astrological placements that can speak to the capacity to empathize with the collective. As well as certain transits which can impact you in powerful ways.
I always feel better if I can understand a bit about why I might be feeling the way I feel. Astrology has been wonderful at providing insights for me.
I’ll use a couple of my placements as an example and hope it’s not too confusing, and that you won’t judge me for being a Gemini Rising (Fun fact: after 3 years of thinking I was a Libra rising I ordered my exact time and it was 13 hours different than the time I’d been told. I laughed like a hyena in the post office parking lot, something my friend Lara shared was “something a Gemini rising would do.” On point and I love it.)
I have Sun opposite Pluto, which means I have the archetype of the lord of self, the ego, the sovereign, butting heads with the Lord of the underworld, the transformer.
This energy – this conflict – exists within me on the regular. The dynamic can get overwhelming, ‘cause survey says: the ego likes to be comfortable. And transformation doesn’t F with comfort. So there is inherently a story playing out within me that can get hairy, and trust me when I say it does.
I feel conflicted a lot. Plus I attract weird experienced with people, but that’s a whole other conversation (not a lot of people dig my exalted sun in Aries.) Overall though, this placement contributes to a constant transformational energy. Every time I do transform, shit gets intense. But then afterwards I feel rejuvenated and empowered. And cool stuff happens in my physical world, so that helps me pull through.
I’ll share one more placement: I have the Moon, which is the nurturer, the mother energy, squaring Saturn, the master of discipline. This dynamic entails tradition challenging my need to feel my emotions; rules fighting with my need for nourishment. These hugely play into my inner environment, ie anxiety, particularly when either planet is triggered by transits.
Astrology is a rabbit hole I love to dive into. I research and study regularly (midheavenin the 9th, the house of astrology) though I am not at the point of calling myself an astrologer. Yet. But the obsession is turning into something more.
I dig into astrological archetypes in readings. I know the power of a square or opposition and its capacity to influence a person’s inner experience. And it’s just helped me so much in my life, that I feel it’s really important to share it with others.
As I talked about in this post I believe astrology is one of the most powerful forms of validation known to humanity. Imagine a road map to your life (albeit an abstract one) offering glimpses into who you are and what you’re meant to do, in ways that no friend, parent, teacher or partner ever could.
That’s what you get when you take the time to get to know who you are within the context of the stars.
Love to all. If you have a question about anything I’ve shared, feel free to reach out.