This season I’m thinking about getting strong. Perhaps you’re like me and have an easier time of taking care of yourself in the summer months. While Winter is the time for resting and building up your system, in the summertime I feel better when I strengthen my reserves and resilience in different ways: by being outside, connecting with others, and encouraging expansion and outward exploration.
When I was younger, I took my strength for granted. Before I worked (and partied) to the point of burnout in my 20s, I never questioned that my physical body could do whatever I needed it to, and my mind could keep up as well. Even in the throes of deep depression and serious life changes, I was always high functioning on the outside. Now at 38, I think more about cultivating and maintaining strength. My clinical work is a constant reminder to never take for granted any of our gifts: physical, emotional, spiritual, or environmental. In order for me to be of service, I have to be strong, and I know many of us share the same deep desire to be of help to others and the Earth.
The other reason I’m thinking about what is involved in getting strong is the increasingly grave realities of living in our modern world. We do need more robust immune systems. We do need to be more discerning about our energy. We do need to be thinking beyond ourselves and how we can work together to bring the Earth and her people back into balance. More is simply required of us to survive and thrive. There is a fortification required to be here now and to be of service.
To me, getting stronger means 3 things:
1) Healing our wounds. This includes both our physical and emotional trauma, taking accountability for it, and finding ways to heal. To me, healing means coming into balance with ourselves and with our environment, and also actively experience higher vibratory states such as pleasure and joy.
2) Cultivating Resilience. If resistance lives at one end of a polarity, resilience is at the other. Resilience is the ability to be with whatever is, and to keep going. It is an elevated response to conflict that allows you to do what is required for the highest outcome.
3) Activating our True Potentials. Related to resilience, but taking it a step further, activating our true potentials is expressing our strength to the quantum level—beyond what the limited mind believes is possible.
We all have the ability to do these 3 things. Some of us enjoy greater privilege to enact them, and we, then, have a responsibility to be of greater service to help others do the same. I don’t believe in silver bullets, but I do believe in shortcuts. Surrendering to where we are stuck and to the places where we are out of alignment, can be a path of least resistance—otherwise, we can remain in a cosmic spin cycle until we make the changes we need to make in order to heal. I also don’t believe that most of us necessarily need to work harder, but I do believe in working smarter—in greater alignment, and with more love and consciousness.
Healing our Wounds & Resilience
As it applies to getting strong, taking responsibility for our wounding is the first step in creating a secure foundation on which to build a more actualized reality. This doesn’t mean getting to a perfect state of health, or equilibrium—whatever you want to call it. This part of the process is ongoing and the work is never done. The time is now to take greater care of yourself, of others, and the Earth in all the ways you and your community know how.
At this time, we are switching into a higher dimensional consciousness, a new frequency. The oppression that is coded into our major belief systems and institutions is being illuminated like never before. We are expanding into a time of heart consciousness, away from a physicalist and mental reality. As this is happening, there is both an integration and a releasing occurring simultaneously. It is a time of tremendous volatility and accelerated instability. This can feel uncomfortable at times because we are learning how to exist within this new frequency. Being committed to our healing, fostering resilience, and stepping into our true potential is how we not only adapt to this new consciousness, but flourish within it and create positive change in the world.
I have many conversations with my teachers, guides, and community about how to heal and activate resilience while navigating this new climate. Some ways I am facilitating this work within myself right now are:
• Committing to heal in all the ways I know how (meditation, yoga, acupuncture, herbs, etc.)
• Prioritizing pleasure, be it supportive friends, animals, dance parties, frolicking in the grass, etc.
• Specifically looking at where my beliefs (many of which are unconscious) are limiting my healing and keeping me stuck.
• Making time to be in my body and to ground my energy. I ground multiple times a day using my breath and allowing my energy to descend into the Earth. Tree flower essences are a wonderful complement to this practice.
• Always checking in with my heart. If I need guidance about a particular issue I always check in with my heart first.
• Building my relationship with the Earth by spending time with her and giving her offerings, e.g., prayers and donating to organizations that protect the Earth and the animals.
• Continuing to educate myself and get involved in supporting marginalized groups and people, because none of us heal unless all of us heal.
• Cultivating and supporting my community. We are so much more powerful when we circle together.
As we wake up, our energy becomes more refined and we become more aware of subtle energy. As we sensitize, we need to be more impeccable with our energy. This is especially true for empaths, who can be more vulnerable to giving too much of our energy away to people, situations, jobs, etc. Much of how we heal and then use our energy in higher, more expanded potentials relates to when and how we say YES and NO.
As I’ve shared before, within a healthy environment, with secure attachment to our caregivers, a child is taught how to say no. According to flower essence practitioner David Dalton, a child learns to say no as their second chakra begins to go online, around age 2. The second chakra corresponds to our reproductive organs. According to Juliet Haines, a sacred sexuality facilitator, saying no happens from the sexual center and is further cultivated as we develop. Unfortunately, many of us were not taught to properly understand how and when to say no, because, in many cases, the needs of one’s caregivers were projected onto the child, e.g., as a child (and later as an adult) it was your responsibility to meet the needs of your caregivers and you were “bad” if you did/do not do this. This reversal of needs creates an unnatural blockage of energy, and so saying no to people and things becomes conflicted. This could present as constantly saying yes to things that feel inappropriate or unworthy of your energy, and can leave you feeling confused, bitter, and exhausted.
Saying no is a good and healthy function of a secure person. In our culture, women especially were not properly taught how to trust our no’s. What if it doesn’t feel safe to say no? If you were taught that saying no equaled shaming, guilting, or punishment, then this is a place where you have some work to do. It is possible to say no without fear, to say no with love. The next time you have the opportunity to say no, try closing your eyes and tuning into your body and the physical sensations that arise. You can trust this guidance within yourself the more you practice. Saying no with love moves us into the domain of even higher functioning and potential.
In alignment, we say yes to things that feel enriching, supportive, and loving. We say yes to someone or something when it is in resonance with our highest good. This doesn’t mean that saying yes will necessarily be easy or comfortable, but again, if you tune into the somatic experience of it, you will receive an indication of how to respond. When we are faced with an unknown or uncertainty, we say yes to the not knowing. Like with saying no, it is possible to say yes from a knowingness of love, and not fear? Can you ask yourself: What does your heart say?
When we respond to life with discernment—using both our hearts and our minds to make energetic investments—we are practicing healthy boundaries. It’s not getting easier to live on this planet, and we are faced with more and more decisions that must be met with more consciousness. This opens the door to even greater opportunities and potentials.
Activating our True Potentials
I live from a place of both hopefulness and realism. I believe that anything is possible and also that these are dark times, and it’s easy to feel hopeless. Sometimes I oscillate between these two extremes multiple times a day; I hold space for both polarities and choose to see a potential reality beyond this see-saw.
Sometimes, we are confronted with situations that feel impossible and hopeless. This happened recently for me—real core wounding stuff, it was rough. It is at precisely these times that I feel called to surrender, to let go of all the terror and hopelessness. This surrender is a choice point; a decision to say yes from a place of love. What happens next for me is also a choice from love: I choose to believe in a reality that is possible beyond my knowing. My limited mind and knowing can only see so much and dream so big. But having the s*** scared out of you, bringing you to your knees and surrendering to that? There’s going to be a different reality on the other side, most definitely.
On the physical level, it feels as though the conditions here have gotten so bad, I have to be part of dreaming a new reality into being because it is beyond my knowing how things will improve on this planet. I think we all have to be part of dreaming this into being. This is happening on all levels both subtle and physical. While there is much destruction happening on a physical level, nothing in the spirit world ever dies. So again, we manifest this hopefulness for a different reality and also a knowing that all is already as it should be. All is perfect.
Recently, I spent time in Vermont with my friend and business partner, Deborah Bagg. We decided to make a flower essence of Starflower, a tiny seven-petaled white flower that lives on the perimeter of the woods. We each received our own insights around this flower medicine. As I laid beneath the White Pines next to the pond, I was immersed in the frequency of the forest. I saw a very different cascade of reality from stillness to infinite space and potentials. I was shown that what is possible is directly revealed within the stillness you can access and embody, as this is what initializes the perception and potential sequencing of your reality. [As I am writing this, the person sitting next to me at the coffee shop takes out a book titled Anything is Possible, haha!].
Dreaming our true potentials doesn’t happen from a contracted, fearful place. It comes from resting within ourselves, within that still point in our hearts. Our wounding is an invitation into this realm of surrender and stillness. This is the domain of dreaming big vs. small and scarce. When we gather together and do this, our intentions are not just the sum of each part of the group—they become exponential. The way I am getting stronger is not just a straight insular line. It is a spiral that connects me with all life—my community, with nature—and we are all spiraling up towards the light.