This past week has been profoundly difficult for so many of us. Regardless of your political views, it’s clear that the presidential election has brought out intense feelings of anger, grief, despair, anxiety, fear, and division. There have been many tears in my treatment room since the election; many patients have described feeling traumatized. Others have expressed feeling determined, motivated, inspired to take action, awake.
Some of us are feeling called to create – to write, to paint, to compose music. I have heard endless heart driven declarations to be more loving, kind, and compassionate to our fellow humans. Whatever you are feeling is OKAY. Your feelings may shift from hope to despair, darkness to light, love to anger. This is also OKAY.
We are being called to heal, both our communities and country, and ourselves. All darkness comes to light to be healed and transformed. This is a time to keep our self-care practices close, as we desperately need them right now. I’m sharing some of my favorite practices with the hope that you’ll find them healing, helpful, and supportive.
Flower remedies are made by infusing spring water with wild flowers. Each flower has a unique energetic vibration and healing property. Flower remedies help to lessen the charge of intense emotions, thereby restoring balance in the mind, body, and spirit. I’ve found them to be especially helpful in times of acute stress or trauma. I’ve listed several from Bach Flower Remedies that I think are very appropriate for what many of us are currently feeling.
ASPEN: treats fear of the unknown
GORSE: encourages a brighter, more positive perspective when you feel there is no hope left
OLIVE: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual exhaustion
STAR OF BETHLEHEM: softens the impact of shock, grief or fright (anxiety, fear, shock, terror)
WILLOW: helps to release anger, resentment and bitterness over a perceived injustice (helps to cultivate forgiveness)
BACH RESCUE REMEDY: A 5-flower blend of Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose & Clematis indicated for short-term use. This is a good general choice when one is experiencing an acute crisis or trauma.
*Bach Flower Remedies can be purchased at most health food stores.
This is one of the most effective stones for grounding oneself in their physical body. Many people I’ve spoken to in the past week have expressed feeling incredibly ungrounded. It is from a grounded space that we are able to come fully into our power, and to move forward with purposeful action.
“Hematite is a strongly grounding stone, assisting one in carrying very high frequency energies while still remaining connected to the Earth and one’s body. Hematite can help one see the silver lining on every dark cloud and the light at the end of every tunnel. It lends one strength, courage, and fortitude for moving through adversity. It is a powerful stone when one is seeking to integrate the shadow self.” ~ from The Book of Stones by Robert Simmons
Suggested Use: wear as a bracelet
Rose quartz is a gentle yet powerful stone of emotional healing. Rose quartz calms the mind, releases worry, fear, anxiety, and past emotional trauma. It stimulates and opens the heart chakra and clears the emotional body, so one can come into full alignment with their Spirit. Rose Quartz is the stone of the compassionate activist – the healer who is able to transform adversity through the power of love. Rose quartz teaches us that love is the highest form of medicine.
Suggested Use: wear as a bracelet or pendant on a necklace at chest or heart level
Black tourmaline is a stone of energetic and psychic protection, ideal for anyone in a challenging circumstance or environment. Black tourmaline helps to clear oneself and their environment of negativity and disharmony. It helps to transmute and purify negative energy, turning it into useful energy. Black tourmaline helps one to release obsessive or compulsive behaviors, negative or limiting mental views, chronic worry and anxiety.
Suggested Use: wear as a bracelet and/or place a piece of it in your general living space (where you spend the most time) or your workspace
*I generally recommend cleansing new stones before use by placing them in the sink under very lightly running, room temperature water for 10-15 minutes. Stones should then be cleansed on a monthly basis.
One of the fastest ways to shift one’s mindset and mood is through the use of essential oils.
Our sense of smell is closely linked to the limbic system, a group of structures in the brain that influence heart rate, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. This area of the brain also contains our emotional processing center, and has an enormous impact on our moods, emotions, and behaviors.
Lavender has a powerful calming and healing effect on the nervous system. It helps to release tension, anxiety, stress, and worry. It is excellent to use in the evenings to settle heightened energy, and to promote deeper and more peaceful sleep. If you’re experiencing nightmares or stress dreams, lavender essential oil will help with this. Lavender harmonizes energy, so it’s good to use after a stressful encounter or heated exchange with someone.
Suggested Use: 5 drops in an essential oil diffuser, 5 drops in a sea salt footbath or 5-10 drops in a full-body sea salt bath
Petitgrain is an instant mood shifter. It’s uplifting and expansive. Petitgrain clears negative, frustrated, or stagnant energy. It inspires a more positive outlook, even in the midst of great challenges.
Suggested Use: 5 drops in an essential oil diffuser
PINE, SPRUCE & DOUGLAS FIR
If your predominant emotion is sadness, grief or despair, use one of these essential oils in the Pine Family. These oils relate closely to the Lungs, and help release sadness or grief that is bound in the chest.
Suggested Use: 5 drops in an essential oil diffuser
* I use a basic ceramic diffuser heated with a tea light candle.
EMOTIONAL RELEASE THROUGH THE BREATH
Find a quiet place to sit for 5-10 minutes.
1. Identify what you are feeling. You don’t have to analyze it. Stay with the feeling. Breathe into it.
2. Ground yourself. If you are sitting, place your hands palm side down on your lap (this is very stabilizing). Any time your attention drifts, reconnect to your breath. This will help you to remain present and open to experience the feeling.
3. Feel the energy within the feeling. Where are you holding it? What physical sensations do you experience? Does your jaw clench? Do you feel a knot in your stomach? Does your heart speed up? Take as long as you need to really connect to the energy within the feeling.
4. Let go of the story line behind the feeling. Don’t judge what you are feeling as good or bad, simply acknowledge it. Attempt to look at your feeling from a place of compassionate observation. Breathe into the area/s where it is being held. The feeling may intensify. This is ok.
5. Notice how the energy within the feeling softens and expands with each breath. Continue to breathe. The feeling will eventually fade away.
6. Feel your body relax and become lighter. Rest in awareness.
The simple act of boiling water and steeping a cup of tea can become a healing ritual. Here are two of my favorite organic blends, each with calming, soothing, and stress-relieving effects.
TULSI SWEET ROSE by Organic India
This blend contains Tulsi, also known as Holy Basil, Chamomile, Rose Petal & Lemon Myrtle.
CHAMOMILE WITH LAVENDER by Traditional Medicinals
This blend contains Chamomile, English Lavender Flower & Lemon Balm Leaf.
MANTRA + CHANTING
8TH TARA ZHEN MIGYALWA’L – PHOTO: ALAN KOZLOWSKI
“The tongue is the heart’s flower. Speech is sacred and has
the power to call upon the sacred in ourselves and others.”
– artist & healer Christina Burch
Mantra are sacred messages that focus intention and create powerful vibrations capable of transforming the energy within and around us.
I have found chanting certain mantras to be incredibly empowering and transformative in my personal life. In light of the current state of our country, my Buddhist teacher Lama Tsultrim Allione has announced a Call to Practice – to recite the mantra of the 8th Tara Zhen Migyalwa’I, seen in the photo above.
Tara is a Buddhist Goddess with 21 different emanations or forms. The 8th Tara is the Invincible Heroine, Destroying Criticism and Harm. Her mantra is:
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE DAHA PATSA HUM PHAT SWAHA
“You can participate by visualizing yourself as the dark red ZHEN MIGYALWA’I (see photo). As you say the mantra either silently or out loud direct her powerful energy to the forces of negativity and destruction of the environment. See a swift positive resolution at Standing Rock, sane choices in government and wise action that promotes love, collaboration and mutual respect. See an end to hatred and violence, healing the wounds of classism, sexism and racism.
Generally we think of Tara as peaceful, but she also has fierce aspects that manifest when needed. Please keep your focus strong like a laser. I know there are many troubled places in the world, but let’s focus on the United States now and how what is happening here reverberates around the world. We need to mobilize.”
– Lama Tsultrim Allione
If you feel inspired to do this practice, chant the mantra at least 21 times in a row, ideally on a daily basis. I will be doing it, too.
If you have any specific questions regarding these self-care practices, please email me directly. I’m very happy to hear from you and answer your questions! And remember, even the simplest acts of self-care can have profound results – healthy, nourishing food, a good night’s sleep, proper hydration, time spent in nature, laughter, deep grounding breaths…