Such 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.