Can you believe it? We’ve been coping with layer upon layer of stress––toxic politics, climate change, the pandemic––and here comes the threat of nuclear war. I understand that being rocked to our core is part of The Shift. We will never go back to the way we were before all this. We will be changed in ways we cannot imagine. In the meantime, we need to develop coping skills to reduce our anxiety.
In stress response, survival mechanisms drive us to imagine many possible outcomes (all of which have not yet happened, and most of which will never happen). Our energy is pushed up into the top of our body, compressed in our heads. We become energetically top-heavy and unbalanced. It is important to re-balance that by consciously moving our energy back into our whole body. This is what is meant by “grounding”––we become more connected to the ground. By freeing our energy, grounding helps us to welcome the unknown with creative space instead of fearing it.
A Teacher arrived to help me with this. She is a woman with cafe-au-laite skin and a big loose afro, flow-y and full of grey hair. She closes her eyes and hums, a resonant sound that moves through her bones.
Oma: There is a way of being in the world, a way of being that transcends the physical. As you know, transcendence does not mean leaving the physical world. It means incorporating the physical and the spiritual, being both at once. Then you are active in both Point and Zone simultaneously.
You are going to be entering a new world. You will need to be grounded and undistracted. This is the place to do this.
Oma turns her face skyward and slowly blows air from her O-shaped mouth. Then I do that too. It brings me back into my lower body. She points a long-nailed finger at me and says practice that.
I take a deep breath and raise my face to the sky. I shape my mouth into an ‘O’ and slowly release my breath. I feel my energy move down through my whole body, filling my torso, my legs, my feet, and joining the Earth. I am simultaneously reconnected with the Earth and expanded into the space around me.
Deep exhaling through the ‘O’ is the kind of breathing that women instinctively choose during labor, reducing anxiety and connecting with their lower bodies. (Interestingly, it’s also the kind of breathing that smokers practice many times every day, although paired with a harmful drug.) There are many practices that bring peace through this kind of breathing: lap swimming, brisk walking or hiking, yin yoga, meditation, sleeping. These practices produce extended, even, in-and-out breaths. Rhythmic. Creating energy balance through release and revitalization.
Oma points up to the sky. I look up and see the clouds, fluffy and flowing, like her hair. She smiles and winks at me. She tucks her head and curls her back, forming her body into a ball, which becomes a cloud. Her hand appears out of the side of the cloud-ball, and waves good bye to me.
See you, then. See you Everywhere.
I hear her lips smack a little goodbye kiss.
I feel pleasantly happy and relaxed.