I have been stepping up my prayer and energetic hygiene practice as I have been navigating through a deeply difficult and transformative time on this ancestral trip. My practices are simple, yet personally meaningful. This is why they work so well for me. I will explain more on that in a minute, but I want to share the results I get when I recommit to myself and my practices.
I see community surrounding children and also birth parents of children-to-be in ways that I do not often see in the US, or maybe I just do not notice. My own protective emotional walls, which can at times resemble the intimidating ones surrounding the US Embassy here in Bratislava, become more permeable and I invite others in more easily. My faith in the magic of today led to a sweet connection with a generous and kind Swiss entrepreneur at a café. Generosity is generative. And regenerative. By that I mean it builds momentum as it gets passed along from one person to the next. And it helps rebuild the parts of your heart or your spirit that may need some love and attention, as mine certainly did.
I am realizing how community has been a source of that generative and regenerative energy in my less-glamorous-but-real life at home in California. We cannot bring our supportive community with us all the time or into every new phase of life with us. So how are we supposed to stay connected when we are away from our usual comforts and people due to physical distance or a big life change? Here are a few ideas:
- Create structure in your day. This can be super basic. As an example, I wake up at 7 AM, I pray or meditate or journal, I eat or have some water or other preferred beverage, I set intentions for the day. Then throughout the day, I eat when I am hungry, and I rest when I am tired. When I am really struggling, keeping to this basic structure can be surprisingly difficult but I am rewarded with stability and calm in my spirit if I stick with it. Structure helps to ground the nervous system, providing predictability much like you would for a small child.
- Slow down. We find the small bits of magic in our days when we are not rushing through them. This takes some effort for me to wrangle my logical brain that wants to do “it all”, whatever “it all” means I’m not so sure. This is an example of patriarchal colonialist capitalist conditioning at work that teaches us to exploit others and ourselves to extract the most “worth” or “achievement” or “productivity”. Unlearning these habits is a process not so easily explained in one short blog post, plus I am still discovering a lot as I unlearn and heal myself. But regardless of its complexity, I wanted to make sure I emphasized the importance of unlearning social conditioning that only serves to undermine our sense of self. Pregnancy and children (and fur babies) teach us so much about slowing down to a more sustainable pace of life. Moments of crisis can also be great teachers. We need to pay attention and stay curious enough to question why things are unfolding the way that they are, as much as we would like to be done with the difficulty as soon as possible.
- Connect to your spiritual nature. Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés discusses going home to the self through the beautiful Celtic story of the Selkie woman in her book Women Who Run with the Wolves. The lesson to be learned from the story is that every Selkie woman will become withered and ill if she does not return home regularly. Home is an inner state of being more than an actual place. This is deeply important healing work.
This might mean taking a daily walk, hike or bike ride in nature, prayer, meditation, attending a religious service, singing, dancing, playing, creating your art, music, writing, photography, cooking, the list goes on. Almost anything can make you feel at home in your body and feel like yourself again when you haven’t felt that way for some time, and the process can look very different for different people. Just as I wrote this, a religious group walked by singing and creating exuberant music. That timing could not have been more aligned nor more magical.
- Energetic hygiene. This one is very important, especially for people who are sensitive to the energies of other people and more than human others like plants and animals, and to the energy of the earth. Lots of situations, such as an interaction with someone who has less than wholesome intentions, can leave us feeling like we’ve been slimed. Just like that TV show on Nickelodeon in the early 90s, or a maybe Ghostbusters when ghost goo ends up on your face. Practices like cord cutting, salt scrubs, and smudging with herbs are all lovely options to clear the energetic slime. I brought rosemary essential oil and yarrow with me on this trip, both are very helpful to work with if you are wanting to cultivate protection and healthy boundaries. I also brought a small white sage bundle gifted to me by a dear herb loving friend. Ethical note on white sage: this plant is sacred to native peoples of the Americas, specifically in California and northern Mexico. Please do not buy sage that has been a wild harvested as these plants are overharvested given the recent trend of using white sage without much regard for the plant and its sacred status. If you feel connected to white sage, I encourage you to grow your own in your garden or only source it from others who respect the plant and cultivate it themselves. Another way to smudge without burning herbs is using herbal sprays intended for energetic cleansing.
These ideas here all serve to make us more open and receptive to what good or necessary things that are coming our way. When we stay receptive and find trust in ourselves, trust in the universe/God/goddess/our spiritual deities and guides, we can find connection in our lives that may not look how we are accustomed to seeing it in our usual life, or perhaps the usual life that you may have had before making a big change such as having children. This leads to greater feelings of connectedness, support, joy, calm and clarity. These feelings are a fantastic antidote to the chronic loneliness many of us experience as a result of our modern lives.
I hope some of this resonates with you the new parent, the solo traveler, the person navigating the murky waters of a break up or healing crisis. Let’s connect. I would love to hear from you.
P.S. If you dig this post, check out my post about routines and rituals!
Should you need help with any of these types of wellness issues, send me a message and we can schedule a time for a free consult about what you want to achieve and how I can help.
Lauren is a perinatal nurse, birth doula and herbal consultant specializing in transformational emotional support in pregnancy, parenting, and during other periods of personal growth. She supports people through one on one coaching, classes, and online resources to create a support system through the use of herbs and body based techniques.