How to maintain mental balance in the face of fear

After being sucked down the ever-deepening black hole of today’s news, I decided to look for something happier. It didn’t take long to find Sunny Skyz, an online media source with the tagline, Live. Laugh. Love. I scrolled past one happy tear-jerker after another unsure of what exactly I was looking for until this title grabbed me.

Stolen Therapy Goat Found, Reunited With Depressed Cow

I laughed out loud.

It’s about maintaining balance. Too much of anything tips me over. I don’t mind being toppled by an excess of joy, but when warning bells in my head signal an overabundance of darkness, it’s time to change course.

In my late fifties I had a teacher. Three times a month for fourteen months I sat with a group of six others to learn from this woman. I’ve never run into anyone else who talked about the things she did, or used the words she used. Every week she blew my mind.

As the world goes dark I remember her teaching on valences. A valence, in chemistry, is the power an element or atom has to combine and form molecules. She used the word to refer to the power of energy to attract like energy and our need to be aware of the affect that has on us.

She talked about valences over countries – collective energy from the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of the people and politics of a nation. The more powerful that energy becomes, whether positive or negative, the more deeply it impacts those living beneath it. It takes determination and a strong will to remain on an even keel when the overarching force is dark.

Her warning was for a country.

With the vast tentacles of the internet broadcasting doom on a daily basis, our entire world is blanketed in death-energy. The uncertainty of not knowing when or how this epidemic will end, doesn’t bode well for staying centered. It can send our thoughts spiraling into overwhelm and leave us feeling anxious, panicky, worried and afraid.

Those of us who are natural optimists fare better in times like these. We usually know what it takes to maintain a healthy state of mind when faced with difficult times. But even those blessed with eternal sunshine in their souls may be struggling with this one.

I’m grateful for having spent those months with my guru. She didn’t stop with the explanation of valences, she taught us how to work with them, physically and mentally. She showed us how taking just a few minutes to ground our bodies can make all the difference in how we deal with stress.

To ground energy, place both feet flat on the floor, take a deep breath and say your name out loud. You can do that anywhere. It takes about three seconds.

A three-minute grounding meditation can help you relax and bring your focus back into balance. I hear you groaning. Try it! It’s only three minutes.

Set a timer. Then…

  • Pause, take a deep breath and place your bare feet flat on the floor. (Wear stockings if the floor is cold!) Wiggle your toes. FEEL your feet in contact with the ground beneath them
  • Place your hands on your stomach. Take 3 breaths as deep as you can. Feel your stomach rise and fall with each breath.
  • When you’re ready, close your eyes.
  • Breathe deeply into your stomach while counting slowly to 5. Hold your breath for another count of 5. Breathe out while slowly counting to 5. Continue breathing in for 5, hold for 5, out for 5 until the timer buzzes.
  • With eyes still closed, notice how your body feels starting with y.our feet and working your way up your legs torso and arms, to your head. Really pay attention to how your body feels. Slowly open your eyes.

These are simple techniques to do on your own. They can be life-savers when time is short.

But…

If you have ten minutes and want to go to war with the valences, I challenge you to The Warriors Path Grounding Meditation. I love this one, but it’s not for the faint-hearted! You’ll see what I mean.

Image result for warriors path grounding images

When I’m grounded it’s easier to detach from the stories, turn off the news, and take care of myself.

Whether it’s Sunny Skyz and therapy-goat stories, or my guru’s guide to grounding, I hope this post has provided a respite from the daily grind of negative news. Better yet, I hope you’ll find these tools help you de-stress and maintain your mental balance.

Happiness Lesson #1

Photo credit to acolorfuljourney

Photo credit to acolorfuljourney

BE IN THE NOW AND ALLOW.

That’s my mantra. It helps that it rhymes. It also helps that it’s short and easy to remember. Even so, it’s one of the hardest instructions to follow.

When we want something, we generally want it now. If there are roadblocks to getting it now, we waste days trying to figure out how to get past them.  Often several options involving effort present themselves. Maybe we have to convince someone else to get out of our way. Maybe we have to borrow money. Maybe we try to form alliances. Whatever it is, the stomach knots, the mind spins and the result is STRESS!

LET GO.

Yes, that’s it, let it go. Whatever it is you must have, pushing, tugging, and creating angst for yourself is not the way to get it. If it’s yours, then it’s already yours and the timing will work itself out. If it isn’t yours, but you MAKE it yours, it comes with a warning. It probably won’t bring happiness and blessing to your life.

For too many years, by sheer power of will and a little creative juice, I went after what I wanted, timing be damned. In the process I left a trail of broken dreams in my wake. In my 40’s I began to ask why and seek answers. I started to wake up. Old habits die hard, but a true desire to change is a mighty force and I truly desired a different life.

Letting go of the need to control circumstances was probably the greatest challenge of all. But eventually I stopped having to plot the future down to the last toenail.

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When faced with uncertainty I just did ‘the next right thing’. If that wasn’t clear, I felt my feet. Right. I stopped where I was, planted my two feet flat on the earth, and focused. It’s the quickest way to be grounded in the present moment. Then I repeated my mantra…”Be in the now and allow.”

Peace comes with letting go. Then magic happens. When we move out of the way, we make space for energetic forces that defy our limited site-lines. We allow abundance. We invite blessing.

People ask, “What made you choose Bali?” Well, it wasn’t like that. The energy of Bali chose me, and I allowed it.

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