aura-angel2Such a humid, undecided day, with rain threatening, then spitting, then receding again. My plan for the day was going to dance practice, which turned out to be cancelled. The regulars huddle around the door, locked out. And it starts to rain.

Well. I’ve taken up two energetic practices from my new book, the Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren. Grounding and boundary setting. Grounding is old hat. I’ve heard about that from the very first time I ever ventured into therapy, many years ago. It never did much for me. The idea is that you set up an energetic connection between your body and the earth. The author of this book is a trauma survivor, so she says it’s an essential skill to stop from dissociating. Her type of dissociation is getting airy, foggy and spacey. Which I do also. What you do is feel your breath coming in, feel a warmth in your belly, then imagine a cord stretching from your centre to the middle of the earth. She says this brings up sadness, and you then thank your sadness. Sadness assists us in letting go of old baggage, and it assists  with relaxation. She calls it a ‘gorgeous emotion’.

The second part of this is to feel with the inbreath, a clear, awake energy filling your head and the top part of your body. She says this brings up free flowing fear, which is what keeps us alert, outward seeking, and activates our intuition. We then also thank our fear. The benefit of doing this is that just grounding can make you feel heavy and with low energy. The focusing clear energy in the upper body helps even that out, leaving us ready for whatever life throws our way.

It sounds wild and crazy, but I’ve found it mildly beneficial. The author says our society in general is severely ungrounded, so by grounding ourselves throughout the day, we are going against the grain of society’s sickness, thereby being of benefit.

The second practice is defining boundaries. McLaren says we each have an energetic boundary that surrounds us. It is further out than you’d think – an arm’s length from our bodies in all directions. We are to start visualizing that boundary in a nice bright colour, surrounding us on all sides. Between the boundary and our bodies, is our personal safe space. Boundaries can be weak and ill-defined, or in the wrong place – either too close or too far away. So the exercise is to visualize our personal boundary, whole and clear. I think you’re also supposed to feel it. Not sure how that works.

I like doing this boundaries exercise. I can see how if I visualized good boundaries while I’m around other people, I might feel safer and more complete, without the need to get anything from that person, so that person can also be themselves, and does not have to change according to expectations I might have.

There are three more practices I haven’t got to yet.

I haven’t had a chance to practice these out in the world much – just here in my apartment. Where it’s fairly easy. I think this kind of stuff might help me. I do tend to feel unsafe and ungrounded a lot of the time.

This is not at all the kind of thing Ron does. But I’m going to keep working with it for a while, see if it helps.

Aura Angel found here

  1. Interesting that I am working on similar ideas. I a started with changing my breathing to slow, deep, and steady. It feels good. I like your description of grounding. I am curious how this goes for you.

    • Ellen said:

      Grounding is going well. Also the boundary visualization. I think it’s making a difference. Though it’s been only a week. Great you are doing similar – good luck with the breathing!

  2. Gel said:

    This is nice to read about. I really don’t find it wild and crazy…it is natural sane and essential.

    I do some stuff that has similar results. I’m happy to read that you are finding value in it. I believe there is so much healing through how we are in our bodies. In my experience, there is the possibility of accessing wisdom through our bodies. It can also be where we find the trauma is residing and so it can be overwhelming. But developing the skill of creating “safety” and peace through our body experiences is also possible.

    I agree that “by grounding ourselves throughout the day….we are being of benefit”… to the larger society.

    I love the graphic.

    • Ellen said:

      I did think of you when I was writing this Gel, because I know you are very enthusiastic about body based therapies. I’m finding the practices beneficial so far. Glad you could relate and enjoyed.

  3. Jay said:

    Thank you for these tips. I think I may really benefit from them. The boundary visualisation seems very cool and I can’t wait to try it out.

    • Ellen said:

      Glad you found some benefit here Jay.

  4. I’ve found things like this–although not exactly the same thing–very helpful. I think it has something to do with developing more deliberate control over your attention, which is really helpful in coping with the kinds of intense emotions that crop up with trauma and probably does make it possible to not just automatically dissociate. Then you can direct your attention to things that comfort you and so on. Also sometimes visualizations help the younger parts in ways that words and talk-therapy kinds of things can’t reach. It’s been a rough month or so for you, so it’s good you’ve got these positives working for you.

    • Ellen said:

      Yes, exactly. It is something to do instead of dissociating at every turn. And younger parts love this kind of thing – it makes all kinds of sense to them. I tend to feel very vulnerable just walking around, so the boundary visualization makes me feel safer. Or parts of me. Or something. Thanks for understanding Ashana.

  5. Hi Ellen, our therapist does a lot of work with breath. And body sensations. And just body work. I think I’d like that book your reading. I might have to get it. The exercises sound really good and well worth a shot. If your interested in checking out our blog we had to make a new one its here


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