Part of this post appeared originally on Askgrandmothercottonwood.com, my channeled blog, on December 18, 2018.
Dear readers, please take some time out during this holiday season to rest, relax, and take loving care of yourself.
In this season, there is so much busynessthat can fuel anxiety and stress– rushing, doing, trying to beat the clock, meet the deadline, make the holiday celebration perfect, trying to please one and all, beat the crowds, put on a magnificent feast.
You run yourself ragged and you wear yourself down! You override your body’s natural rhythms and needs, pushing yourself over the limit of endurance. Another word for this is “stress”.
Can you pull back, breathe, regroup, rethink, and slow down?
An Easy Calming Exercise…
Take a few moments to Find your center of gravity. It might be your heart, your upper abdomen, lower belly, or at the base of your spine near the tailbone. Feel your inner power and balance here, your connection to the earth. Now Bring your awareness to your heart and breath. Breathe deeply for a few minutes as you hold both palms over your heart. This will help calm you naturally. You can also add toning or humming on each out-breath. Find a pitch that resonates in your heart. This feels good and adds to the calming effect.
Tune into your innate wisdom. What is most important to you this year as you celebrate your holiday? What can you let go of? For your health and sanity, let go of the elaborate expectations and preparations that you do not enjoy! Let go of extra events and “must-dos” you have to squeeze into your busy schedule.
If others expect things you do not want to deliver, let them do the work, take the time, make the effort.
What activities will satisfy your soul and connect you with love to family and friends without leaving you overwhelmed and depleted?
Do those things! They can be free, simple, and easy! Play a board game, sing songs, read a book together. Go for a walk, have a heart to heart conversation.
If the holiday stress gets to be too much, please consider scheduling a healing session (distance or in-person) with me to help bring yourself back into a calmer state of body mind and spirit.
Remember the real heart of the season; gathering with those you love and enjoying each other, greeting the sun, celebrating the rituals of your chosen religion, and creating light, love and warmth together.
In the shamanic point of view, every thing and every living being has and is a spirit. We can communicate, learn from and live in partnership with these spirits. Spirits have access to information that we who live in a human body do not. The scope of our knowing is often limited by our human perspective, worries, fears, concerns and judgements.
Communicating with spirit, we can better understand the spiritual aspects of challenges and illnesses in our lives, receive wisdom and healing, heal relationship issues, and learn to live more effectively in this world.
The Spirit world is on a different energetic wavelength than our normal day to day human activity. When our brain wave frequencies slow down, we come into a relaxed and receptive state, necessary for attunement with spiritual information.
Shamanic practitioners and students deliberately slow the brain waves and enter into a trance state by listening to repetitive drumming. Shamanic journeying is an example of this. Meditating and spending time in nature also help you relax, slow down, and tune in.
To connect more deeply to spirit,choose a nature object, a leaf, stone, shell, flower, a fruit, berry, even a tiny radish sprout or small raisin. Find one that you will enjoy exploring through your senses.
Create or find a quiet place without a to-do list, the news, distractions like your phone or TV in the background, etc. Your quiet place might be outside in a beautiful natural area, leaning against a tree, or in a peaceful corner inside your home.
Lay your hands on the center of your chest and allow your awareness to move down to center in your heart. Let your thoughts float past in your head without giving them attention. (If they’re important, you can get back to them later) This will help your brain slow down. Feel your breath moving in and out, your chest rising and falling. Hear the sound of your breath. Focus on your sensations of touch, smell, sound, sight hearing. Allow yourself to let go of any tension in your body.
Now pick up the object you chose earlier. Take time to experience it with all your senses, letting all judgments go. Absorb the information you receive about its texture, scent, color, shape, form. Does it make a sound when you touch it? If this is something edible, savor the taste. How does it feel on your tongue?
Allow all of your awareness to be focused on this one thing. Experience it as though you were a curious young child seeing touching and exploring this interesting thing for the first time.
Now get a feel for this object’s energy. How does it feel in your hands? Do you enjoy holding it, or want to put it down immediately? You may receive subtle sensations that can’t be translated into words. Pay attention to them.They may come through any of your senses plus your sixth sense of knowing.
Ask the spirit of the object for a message and pay attention to what information comes through your being. Messages from spirit can come in many forms and can be very simple and direct. Often they come in symbolic form – showing you pictures, images, sounds, or other sensations that you then can interpret for yourself.
You can ask the spirit of your nature object questions – What you can I learn from you? ; What advice do you have for me? ; Please show me what I need to know about you. How can I thank you for speaking with me? Add any other simple question you might want to ask. Pay attention to everything that comes through for you.
If your ego mind demands attention and makes judgements about what you’re doing, (for example: “This is stupid.”; “I don’t have time for this.” ; “I can’t do this.”) try to imagine the thoughts evaporating – cool steam dissolving them, fog enveloping them… any image that works for you. Return your awareness to your heart and allow yourself to notice the sensations and spirit messages coming through.
When you’re ready to leave your meditation, disengage by thanking the spirit of the object for what you received, and let it know your time together is over. Set it down or take it back outside. Send a blessing and gratitude for its presence and sharing its wisdom.
Now is the time to write down any messages you received before you return to normal everyday concerns and tasks. You may forget them otherwise. Next, come back into your body by tapping your cheekbones, the center of your chest, collar bones or rubbing & massaging your feet to ground yourself and bring your awareness back into your body and your mind back into everyday life.
In this way, you can learn to connect with the spirits of nature and receive their advice, love, and wisdom and open yourself to a wider spectrum of awareness.
Do you want to get everyone, children and adults lined up to clean the house or rake the yard?
Are your kids out of sorts because they’ve been sitting down too long?
Are you feeling low in energy, lethargic, or dull after a big meal?
Try taking a family drum circle break to get everyone energized, their sense of humor restored, and back on track.
One Thanksgiving over twenty years ago, several extended family members came to visit my home spend time together and share a meal. An hour or two after our big holiday feast, everyone hit the wall, with low energy levels. The conversation lagged. Nap time seemed to be upon us.
To stir things up I brought out my stash of rhythm instruments; tambourines, clappers, drums, rattles, maracas, and a guiro, and let everyone choose.
We started our make-shift drum/ rhythm circle slowly, one person beginning, then everyone finding their way in, weaving and blending their rhythms with the others. Some stayed seated, some stood and began to move. This seemed to wake everyone up again – some were dancing, marching and singing to the beat as they rattled, drummed, or shook the tambourine.
This was so much fun! We laughed and enjoyed ourselves and each other.
As a bonus, you might do a project to make your own rhythm instruments.
Make an easy rattle by partially filling a plastic bottle with rice or dried beans. then Tape the lid shut. You can click two pencils or short dowels together. Click two stones or pot lids together. Turn a bucket or large sauce pan over and use as a drum with a wooden spoon. You won’t need any fancy gadgets or electronics!
Try making a kazoo from a toilet paper tube with a hole punched close to one end and a square of wax paper or parchment paper rubber banded over the other end. Hum your favorite tunes into it!
Even if you’re alone, you can raise your vibrations by making rhythmic beats in fun and playful ways. Create a rhythm that feels good in your body and continue until your energy has shifted and you are feeling lifted up.
You might also find a drumming track and try some dancing and moving around in ways that feel good to you and express what you’re feeling. Do this for yourself and no-one else. Sing if you like!
Remember, you and your family don’t have to be great dancers or drummers to energize yourselves and have fun. Everyone from babies old enough to hold a rattle to great grandparents can join in the fun!
The interconnected rhythms with unique beats and movements contributed by each person can tie us together, feed our spirits, anchor us in the present moment, and energize our bodies.
Let the rhythm sound and movement carry you and your family to the place you want to be.