Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

809th Week: Energy Hygiene and Subtle Activism

Going through old files from my office, I came across an article from 1972 which described a process created by Yvonne Martine and taught to me by my mother and grandmother when I was a young person. It’s about a process of “breathing color” to create healing, physical and emotional vitality, and other outcomes. When I reread the article, I decided to begin to use the process more regularly as a form of “energy hygiene” for personal use, as well as a form of subtle activism for collective healing. 

Reading the article reminded me that various colors relate to healing and nourishing different aspects of the body and psyche. My limited understanding of working with color is that each color represents a particular frequency and I know from my experience that shifting frequencies/qualities can shift a mood, a physical symptom, the quality in a room, and more. My first recent experience with breathing pink, which is the most fundamental of Yvonne’s color breathing exercises, arose recently when I woke up two mornings in a row feeling discouraged and in a funk over our collective situation. It’s very unusual for me to go into a funk, so I was glad to have a practice I could engage  that might make a difference. After two days of breathing pink, I awoke on the third day and was back to my usual self. I could only imagine that breathing pink shifted the frequency with which I was resonating and allowed me to return to my more normal way of being.

My experience is that this particular color—rosy pink, specifically—naturally stimulates and orients itself to our heart intelligence and perceptions. As I’ve explored the heart’s perception and intelligence over recent years, it’s become clear to me that the heart sees and interprets experience quite differently than does the head brain. I sense that rosy pink supports cultivating the heart’s perspective and I feel that’s one of the most important things any of us can do at this time. The more I have spent time breathing and imagining rosy pink, the more at ease I have become, even in the presence of challenges. The effect is tangible and noticeable and I can’t shake the feeling that it has to do with having an even more open heart as a result of resonating with the frequency of the rosy pink.

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

808th Week: Easing Distress

When I woke up this morning, I noticed that I was feeling a sense of hopelessness around the edges and this is an unusual response in me. Rather than make up any stories about what it meant—above and beyond the obvious challenges we currently face collectively as well as individually, I found myself turning to my tried and true sources of grounding, practices that help me return to a steady sense of presence. 

There are two reasons I stay on top of this. First is my belief in collective consciousness and I don’t want to add extra distress to what is already a powerful experience happening to many people in our human family. The second reason is that I know how easy it is to inadvertently add activation to an already-distressing internal state and I have spent many years learning how not to do that. Adding activation to activation doesn’t help me or anyone and, when it leads to a sense of overwhelm and potential shutdown, can keep many of us from engaging in those actions that really could make a difference.

I’ve written about two practices I use all the time and I think they can’t be described often enough, especially these days. So, I offer them below, as I have a number of times before, and again invite you to experiment with them to find out if there are ways these approaches may also be useful to you.

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

807th Week: Nurturing Well-Being with Nature

Even though I’ve given up my office and am now practicing psychotherapy at home on zoom, I still get into Central Park just about every day. On weekends, I go to a bench that’s under a gathering of trees and read and do writing such as this. This particular morning, as I think about our troubled world, I am also aware of the steadiness, presence, and seeming serenity of the large, towering trees around me. When I’m able to clear my mind and simply be with the trees, I find that my bodymind begins to fill with their essence of steady presence. These earth-kin, because of their size and stature, convey to me—whether this is my projection or something actually coming from the trees—a deep settling.

I also notice the boulders and large rock formations that are so much part of the park and can sense into their grounded stability, as well. Somehow, these earth-kin, along with the trees, speak to me this morning about qualities of patience and presence. In addition, the vivid greens of the trees speak to me of healing, health, well-being, and I soak those qualities in, as well.

When I’m not in the park, I can have the same kind of experience with the “trees” that live in my apartment and with all the stone people who also share my home. The three felines who are my animal companions also convey a powerful ability to totally relax and then immediately be available for play or alertness, as the situation may invite or demand.

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Weekly Practice in Conscious Living

806th Week: Being a Mountain

During a recent attunement, I experienced myself orienting to my usual resource, steadiness, and I suddenly found myself “being a mountain.” My felt-sense experience was of the strength and steadiness of a large mountain and, what added to the experience, was the felt-sense of literally being part of the body of the earth. I could feel how I, as the mountain, had an unbroken connection with the entire mantle of the planet, that I arose from the depths of the earth, and that it was impossible to fall over or become disconnected from the stability of the earth itself.

As a regular practice, I invite myself and just about everyone with whom I connect professionally in the course of any given week to take a moment to feel into the steadiness that is an inherent part of their embodied, core presence. I remind people that the experience of our ever-present steadiness may fall into the background of our awareness and be momentarily unavailable, but it represents a part of us that cannot be disturbed. It’s an inescapable aspect of our wholeness and resides within our core presence.

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