Before the election, I was quite clear in my role here as a helper and lightworker: To help myself and others exist in our hearts and become more conscious. These past couple of weeks I’ve been reevaluating my purpose and how I’m supposed to be of service at this time. While my responsibility is evolving, I’ve concluded that I’m still called to guide people to live within their heartspace and to facilitate personal and collective awakening. Now, however, I feel called to emphasize making conscious and heart-centered decisions.
Like many others, I’ve been getting caught up in my own emotionality and the collective anguish, while trying to parse the messages in the media. Many of us are grappling with how to recover from this election and calibrate to the new administrative era we’ve entered. Plus we’re feeling the ongoing shadows around Standing Rock, Syria, the list goes on. And we’re now entering the holiday season, a time that can bring much family trauma to the surface.
So the challenges we’re facing right now are a confusing mix of totally unprecedented and completely familiar at the same time. To adjust, we need to stay grounded, stay in our hearts, and also pay attention to what’s going on. Herewith are some ideas I have for getting through these winter months and maybe even starting to feel the light again.
For many, the holidays aren’t so joyous. Maybe your family’s belief systems are diametrically opposed to your own, or you don’t feel safe around your family, or perhaps you’re single and you’d rather be married with children. If you’re feeling vulnerable during the holidays, know that you’re not alone. Try and build in some extra support for yourself and give yourself some outs: go for a walk, be in nature, see supportive friends, stay near the safer people in your family, and choose to participate less with groups and activities that are triggering for you.
It might not be a bad idea to avoid being in the living room if your dad insists on watching Fox News. The point isn’t to not participate, but to be more discerning about where you are participating. Especially if a safe and honest dialogue isn’t possible for whatever issues are plaguing your relationships. Nature can feel more neutral than a space that’s holding unprocessed trauma—and it’s therapeutic to be outside. Consider going on a nature walk. Even better: forage some Spicebush! This shrub grows throughout the Northeast and the spicy, lemony twigs make a delicious tea. This was a favorite of early settlers and Native Americans, and produces a peaceful mood in those who drink it, making it especially great for groups.
Are there any parts of the holidays you do enjoy? This is a good time to celebrate the positive parts of our lineages through rituals and traditions. Maybe there are certain dishes you enjoy preparing and sharing, or maybe this is an opportunity to gather your tribe to set intentions for the new year. If you feel disconnected or ambivalent about your relationship to this time of year, consider making your own traditions, with an emphasis on what you want to manifest.
I want to take a minute to normalize emotional responses. Whatever feelings you’re having right now are real. Empaths and starseeds (people who have incarnated here from other star realms, like Indigo, Rainbow, and Crystal children/adults) especially need to ground and protect themselves. We’ve entered into a time where the veils are thinning between realms and dimensions, and this includes the veils between one another as well. The energy of the collective affects us very much, and when things get intense, we are required to take extra care. Rituals around protection, grounding, nourishment, and release seem to be of special importance right now.
Some ways to ground and protect your energy:
• Prayer, meditation, mantras – Call on your angels and guides for assistance. Visualize a protective cobalt blue bubble around yourself, releasing your first chakra and connecting with the Earth. These strengthen your auric field to repel negativity and density.
• Burning things (safely) – Candles, Sage, Cedar, Incense, a fire. Smoke is a clearing agent. Use it to clear your space and yourself. The flame is a powerful symbol of transformation and welcomes us in the darker winter months.
• Baths. Consider adding Epsom Salts, Sea Salt, essential oils like Lavender (to calm the nervous system), stones like Black Tourmaline (for protection and clearing toxicity) or Rose Quartz (for nurturing the heart) to the bath. Make an herbal sachet with Oats (nourishing and calming), Lavender, and Rose (for the heart).
• Flower Essences – Alaskan Essences Soul Support, Alaskan Essences Guardian, FES Sagebrush to clear, Delta Gardens Red Cedar to ground, Delta Gardens Rue to repel negativity, Alaskan Essences Black Tourmaline to repel and ground toxicity
Stay In Your Parasympathetic Nervous System, aka.. Relax!
The Sympathetic Nervous System is the system associated with “fight or flight” and is associated with anxiety, burnout, and tension, not to mention a whole host of other chronic issues. The Parasympathetic Nervous System, on the other hand, is “rest and digest,” and it helps you relax. Ideally, we would all exist in the Parasympathetic most of the time. In the ancestral environment, we needed to stay primarily in our sympathetic for survival. But survival consciousness, while a part of our reptilian brain, is connected to the third dimension, and accessing more heart-centered consciousness is available if we evolve out of this state. The way to do this? Relax.
Relaxing is so underrated and yet it’s associated with: improved mood, improved cognitive function (over a longer term), improved physical functioning, higher insight, interpersonal ease, and better sleep. Stress exacerbates every condition or illness, calming oneself does the opposite. Finding common ground is a lot easier in a relaxed state. Staying in your heart in a toxic situation (or even just at the dinner table) is easier while in the parasympathetic.
Many of us don’t know how to calm down. It wasn’t modeled for us, or we have negative associations with relaxing—I see this a lot in my practice. Obviously, all self-care strategies support the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. Sleep, diet, and exercise are the basics. Other ways to chill out:
• Be in nature – Natural environments, especially near water, forests, and mountains, are rich in negative-ions. Negative ions are particles emitted that promote the parasympathetic. Don’t have access to nature? Consider burning beeswax candles, or purchasing a Himalayan salt lamp. I just bought one for my home office and it has transformed and purified the energy of the whole room.
• Spend time with supportive people. People who hold a positive resonance raise your vibration. Supportive people make us feel uplifted, validated, and safe. People who hold a negative resonance lower your vibration. This can happen in covert ways. Friends or family you believe “you should” like to be around may actually put you in a subconscious state of fight or flight. Be discerning with the personalities you expose yourself to. If you have issues with boundaries, consider exploring Motherwort, Centaury, or Pink Yarrow flower essences.
• Spend time with animals – In addition to places and people, animals hold a frequency that resonates with our hearts. We actually entrain our heart resonance with animals in a way that is calming to both human and animal. Animals are unconditionally loving and teach us to relax, love, play, and rest.
• Turn to your herbal allies - In a “Befriending Anxiety” class I taught with Deborah Bagg last spring, we spent time discussing our favorite nervine herbs. Skullcap for circular thoughts and tension. Chamomile for nervousness in the belly. Milky Oats for adrenal-type anxiety. And Hawthorn to calm the heart. All these are suitable as teas or tinctures.
• Do your breathwork. The respiratory system is the one that can have the most immediate impact on the nervous system. Intentional breathing can be life-changing. Most of us are shallow breathers and guess what system that keeps us in? The sympathetic. Simply noticing when you are not breathing fully can promote big changes. Most people concentrate on the inhale, and hold in. Being more conscious of exhaling balances this tendency and releases the diaphragm. (There’s a reason that digestive issues are the result of being in a constantly tense state.) Any stretches or yoga poses that open the heart (front and back); twists are great for the lungs. Breathwork classes abound at places like Maha Rose, Minka, and Help Yourself. Aromatherapy is a nice complement to breathwork. Consider carrying a single or blend of whatever essential oils smell pleasing to you. I love Black Spruce in the wintertime.
Be In Service
My teacher and colleague, Jane Bell, reminds me that being in gratitude opens the heart. Remembering what we are grateful for keeps us closer to compassion. We are all called to action to make positive contributions at this time. The Earth needs our help. The power we hold as a community is exponentially more potent than the power of one. What will your contribution be? Maybe it’s choosing to model honest, integrated, inclusive behavior for your children. Or maybe you want to be more hands-on and volunteer at Planned Parenthood or send supplies to Standing Rock. Or maybe you want to make more of an effort to be kind to yourself and others this season, and offer prayers to create a vibratory shift in that way. Your contribution is your offering to the Universe. Make whatever offering you choose with intention.
Stay in Presence
Fear is usually associated with the past or future. There are so many fears of the unknown right now. We are all getting a lesson in not knowing. Watching those parts of ourselves that are getting activated in lower vibratory states (fear, sadness, confusion, guilt, etc.) gives us the opportunity to see where we are getting pulled out of presence. Being present with oneself may seem counterintuitive but this is the doorway to the heart. We must understand how to validate ourselves—no one can do it for us. (For issues related to self-validation and trust, consider Cerato flower essence.) Staying present and validating yourself is the only way towards making conscious, heart-based choices. It’s the path to choosing out of love, not fear. Can you see how much personal and collective transformation this could create?
Make a Playlist
Channel your inner angsty teenager. Music can shift our states of consciousness. Any binaural music such as chanting, gongs, singing bowls, or nature sounds can harmonize the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This has an extremely calming effect. According to many ancient healing modalities, all illness is a result of blocked energy. If depression, anxiety, or anger is stagnating inside of you, get moving. Cardio can boost serotonin reuptake and dopamine production if you’re really stuck. Here’s an Apple Music mix I made.
Discernment allows us to make decisions that are in alignment with our hearts and minds. If we are too mental and emotional—too much in our heads, and not grounded—we run the risk of making choices reactively, irrationally, and out of fear. But if we can really ground ourselves into the Earth, and feel the connection there, opening our hearts and minds to receive the truth, then we can operate from a place of higher consciousness. The greater the instability and chaos around us, the more important this practice becomes. I don’t feel this is the time to retreat into a cave. We must continue to stay informed of what’s going on around us—but then go inwards and trust our own intuition and wisdom to know the truth.
Confession: I have never understood the Electoral College. Blaming the system for being too complicated is no longer going to cut it. It’s time to learn the basic facts of our system. It seems like resources in this arena are growing. It can be a fine line sometimes and if engaging with social media is too triggering right now, then find more neutral channels for information. Even the most reputable news sources are prone to subjectivity, but many feel the NYTimes, The Washington Post, WSJ, and NPR uphold high journalistic standards.
Here are some links I gathered with the help of some people in my community: Assistant Professor of Communication and Media, Melissa Zimdars, compiled this resource for spotting “fake news.”
This link was circulating in my community for ways to be proactive. Our civil liberties are being challenged. Some of the organizations that are especially in danger were featured in a recent NYMag article, and include: ACLU, the Human Rights Campaign, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Planned Parenthood, RAINN, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Trevor Project.
Look, I’m not saying we shouldn’t be upset about the state of things, but perhaps it’s a good idea to consider that as Americans—regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, level of ability, etc—we all enjoy a certain level of privilege compared to many parts of the world. Also, if you speak with people who lived through WWII, they may share that the world they knew 75 years ago was super scary, too. The instability, the sense of oppression, the divisiveness—these were and are all standard in a lot of countries. For reasons that are probably karmic, we are getting a taste of what it feels like to be completely not in control. We need to accept that this is what we’ve signed up for. We, as individual people and as the collective, have been through hard times before, and we need to draw upon the wisdom of our elders and from our own previous lifetimes to remember that we know how to do this.
Shine Your Light
We all have a job to do. This is connected to Being In Service. What’s a worthy contribution to your own soul as well as the collective evolution? I’m referring to tapping into your dharma, or highest life purpose, and getting after it. Actualizing on a soul level is a powerful karmic counterbalance to the shadowiness of disenfranchisement and oppression. The work you feel you’re here to do is as unique as you are. Whatever you are called to explore—make time for it and put your plans into action. If you’re not sure what you love/are here to do, now would be a good time to ask for assistance (from your guides, from your community, from your teachers, etc.) on how to clarify that vision. The more people are doing their life’s work, the more light is coming in.