Staying Present

My childhood trauma, my angry parents, and our dissociated society in general taught me as a young child that life was easier if I could protect myself. For me, that meant learning how to emotionally, mentally, and spiritually detach myself from the people and places around me. I began dissociating, removing myself and my consciousness from the world around me. Of course, no one except the very smart healers could see that I was living away from my body and acting out my daily life as if my body were a puppet. I felt very far away from it all. It made me feel safe and helped me get through my daily life.

When I began to truly heal, I needed to learn how to invite myself back into my body and into the world around me. I needed to learn that I could be safe. This is a difficult concept because our physical world is never truly “safe,” and people of color, indigenous people, immigrants, LGBTQ+, women, and more, may never feel safe in their bodies in this world due to violence consistently perpetrated against these groups of people. This is something to be aware of as one heals. It is my true hope, however, that more people healing will mean a safer world for everyone. 

Without further ado, some of my favorite techniques for staying present and awake in my body and in life include: 

  • Breathing and breathwork
  • Tapping my fingers together (especially my thumb and index finger)
  • Exercise (like yoga, pilates, or anything you enjoy doing in your body!)
  • Feeling my feet on the floor anytime I’m sitting or standing
  • Reiki and energy healing
  • Walking barefoot outside (aka earthing) and spending time in nature
  • Moving slowly and intentionally
  • Noticing when I’m using my phone too much and consciously putting it away! (that’s a really tough one sometimes but it feels very freeing to do this)

Staying present is a journey that takes time. Being here and alive in one’s body can be a truly joyful experience. We are alive on earth to experience this world and to take in all that life has to offer. Being present in your life is a first step to being happy in your life. 

We need you here.

Staying Grounded Amidst Change

When change in your life and on the planet is afoot, it’s helpful to try to stay grounded whenever you are able to. I’ll admit, I have had a hard time of it sometimes. When life is really changing fast, it’s difficult to get my footing and remain centered. I get swept up in the current and become easily ungrounded. 

Paying attention to my breath is the most important technique I’ve found to stay grounded. I’ve heard about the importance of breathing for years. I even help kids practice their breathing every day in my work as a speech and language pathologist. Does that mean I remember to breathe? Of course not! But, some days are better than others.

It takes practice to remember to breathe, however, once I’m aware that I need to get grounded, I’m able to breathe deeply and calmly. The best part about breathing as a grounding and centering technique is that you can do it anywhere, anytime. It’s one of the most powerful tools we have to connect our minds with our bodies and help us stay grounded. If you are feeling the winds of change in your life and feel you have nothing to hold on to, get centered quickly by paying attention to your breath. 

Wishing you deep breaths and open hearts today!

Staying Grounded

It’s taken a lot of work to help me learn how to stay grounded. When I was first traumatized, I survived by disassociating, or basically leaving my body. I didn’t know I was doing this until I began to do more in-depth healing work with bodywork and Reiki. Even therapy, which had many benefits, didn’t really help me too much to learn how to live in my body.

In addition to being traumatized, I had some spiritual inclinations. Honestly I believe that these two things can go hand in hand. As one healer I worked with put it, “when the physical world doesn’t take care of you, the spiritual world does.” Or as the Bible says, “When you are weak, God is strong.” Both my trauma and my spiritual sense led to a tendency for me to become ungrounded. It seemed so much safer and nicer away from my body.

On top of that, our modern society with its prevalence of screens, smart phones and technology also encourage ungroundedness. And honestly, it’s ok to become ungrounded. It’s not a bad thing. But for me to fully heal, I had to learn how to fully live in my body. As with most things, this is still something I work on. 

Some techniques that help me are breathing, any kind of mind-body movement (yoga, mindful movement, pilates – whatever floats your boat), being in nature, and practicing feeling my feet on the floor. I like to do a body scan where I focus internally on my body, as well as chakra visualizations, where I imagine bright light shining into each chakra. I kind of do my own thing with this as I feel called to, which can end up being really powerful. 

Being grounded can take work, and can feel scary at first, but I felt I could only truly heal once I learned to feel safe in my body. It has helped me feel alive and claim my space, and is allowing me to create a life I truly love, right here and now.

On that note, I’ll leave you with an awesome article I happened to read this morning, about the use of somatic experiencing in healing trauma. I haven’t tried this technique formally but it sounds extremely helpful.

http://www.dailygood.org/story/2231/in-an-unspoken-voice-the-changing-face-of-trauma-peter-levine/

What do you do to stay grounded? Thank you for reading and I’m wishing you safety and beauty today & always!

Staying Calm in the Storm

Staying calm in the midst of difficult and stressful situations is a life skill I continue to work on daily. At the beginning of my life, I had a very hard time staying calm at all. I had anxiety and headaches, even stress-related stomach ulcers when I was just in grade school. It’s taken a fair amount of practice, but I’ve gotten a lot better at staying peaceful during challenging times. Here are some of my favorite calming practices.  

The first and best one is to breathe. It sounds so easy, until I forget to do it! Like anything, these techniques need to be put into practice, not just read about. I love to read and think about all sorts of healing practices, but it doesn’t really help if I don’t actually do it. Breathing deeply and calmly for several minutes, or when in the midst of a stressful situation, helps me so much. 

I also like to pray. These can be prayers I make up, or prayers I’ve memorized. Sometimes I just ask God and the angels to be with me or to help me. Sometimes I say parts of the 23rd Psalm. It helps to clear my mind and return me to a peaceful place, especially if I’m feeling too overwhelmed and stressed out to meditate. 

And of course, writing helps me a lot, which is part of why I started this blog. I write short prayers and practice automatic writing to help me stay centered and see the bigger picture. I also love reading spiritual texts that are meaningful to me, especially Conversations with God. It helps me to remember my spiritual center and come back home to myself.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay calm? Wishing you a calm & peaceful night!