Staying grounded + phone sessions

Love in the time of coronavirus

Dear readers, I hope you are staying grounded during this time of uncertainty and fear. I recommend going outside in your bare feet and walking around on some grass, as often as you need.

Feel your feet sink slightly into the earth with each step. Enjoy the temperature, textures, and other sensations in your feet.

Imagine this connection with Mother Earth moving up your legs, into your torso, touching all of your tissues, permeating all of your cells, and leaving your body through the crown of your head.

You are connecting to earth and to heaven! This energetic experience is about being fully alive in the present moment. It’s a renewing and restorative antidote for upsetting news, conflict on social media, fears for ourselves and our loved ones, worry about our uncertain futures.

Texas bluebonnets blooming in my yard

Phone sessions

After checking with other craniosacral therapists, I’m changing the name of my new online service to Phone Sessions. Bear with me as I navigate this rapid change…

Quite a few CST practitioners are adamant that working remotely is not craniosacral therapy. (Plus the words “remote” and “distance” counter the connection we make, even when we’re not in each other’s physical presence. “Phone” connotes connecting with each other, but not physically. That’s exactly what we’ll be doing.)

This attitude is coming both from those who are Upledger-trained and those who are biodynamics trained.

I’ve trained in both, and I’ve trained in Reiki, which can be done at a distance.

In my ninth year of offering bodywork, I can only say that when I work, everything I’ve ever trained in and experienced while working informs my work. What I’m using at any given moment is what’s in the forefront of my awareness.

That could be what I’m sensing in my body, what I’m sensing in your body, what I’m sensing in our blended energy fields, where your body-mind system draws my attention and hands, changes I notice during a session. “The work” flows through me, and through you.

A few years ago, it became clear to me that I could not do bodywork without also being aware of my energy, your energy, the energy in the room, and the power of intent to influence energy.

This may sound woo-woo to some, but for me, energy is real and can be sensed, usually as subtle sensations, but sometimes not so subtle. It is described in the ancient traditions, yoga, meditation, Qi gong, shamanism, Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda.

We have energy centers and channels in our bodies. We have awareness. We have intent.

Anyway. Other practitioners are calling it energy work, remote healing, distance sessions, shamanic energetics, etc.

I prefer Phone Sessions. Clear and simple and not too woo-woo.

I stay on the phone with you during sessions, even though there will be some periods of silence during the call that allow “the work” to go deeper.

We can use speakerphone. I want you to feel free to share what’s coming up for you in real time, if you wish, and of course, you can also wait to share your experience for the end of the session.

I’m offering the first session for free: https://maryannreynolds.as.me/phonesessions

If you receive a benefit, schedule another session and pay what you can or what you wish via Venmo or PayPal.

Some people are unaffected financially by this slowdown, and others have quickly become destitute. I leave it to you to determine what is an honorable amount that you feel clear and good about. No need for guilt or shame, please!

I’ve run into this issue before: if you absolutely hate to hear “pay what you can or wish”, here are some numbers to make you happy. My regular rate is $100 an hour. If you can afford it, great. If not, sliding scale is $20 on up. If that’s not affordable, let’s talk about bartering or paying it forward.

Once you’ve received a session, you can gift sessions to others. I prefer that they know and consent to doing this and are open to quietly receiving at the given time, whether we connect on the phone or not if they are sick.

This is not a substitute for medical attention. It is not a cure for the coronavirus, nor will it make you immune. I believe it can give you more resilience, but you may not notice anything. That’s why I’m offering the first session for free, so you can find out.

What would that feel like in your body and in your mind, to be more resilient?

Please let me know if you have any questions. Call 512-507-4184 or schedule a phone consultation: https://maryannreynolds.as.me/15mphoneconsult

Thich Nhat Hanh on mindful walking and being grounded

I came across this excerpt from Shambhala Sun magazine from Thich Nhat Hanh on mindful walking. It is a way of being grounded, and since that is an essential energy of well-being, I want to link to it so you can read it all (one screenful on my laptop) and include an excerpt describing a basic element of the practice, in case you’re interested but pressed for time.

One way to practice walking meditation is to breathe in and take one step, and focus all your attention on the sole of your foot. If you have not arrived fully, 100 percent in the here and the now, don’t take the next step.

Here is his Walking Meditation Poem:

I take refuge in Mother Earth.
Every breath, every step
manifests our love.
Every breath brings happiness.
Every step brings happiness.
I see the whole cosmos in the earth.

May your day include grounded energy!

How to get grounded: the first energy

Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a training program for professionals assisting individuals in trauma recovery that was developed from the work Peter Levine, author of Waking the Tiger and many more books on trauma recovery. You can learn more about Somatic Experiencing here.

If you’ve read much of my blog, you know that reading Waking the Tiger was instrumental in my trauma recovery, that I spontaneously released blocked energy from a major childhood trauma while reading the book decades later, which not only was amazing but initiated a huge paradigm shift toward health and well-being for me.

I’ve been fortunate enough to attend several trainings and workshops with Brian D. Mahan, who’s a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP). Brian teaches SE to help people learn to help others with trauma recovery. Check out his website here: Brian Mahan, Body Centered Therapist.

(I particularly love his blog post When Is Prayer, Yoga, and Meditation No Different Than Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll? Because you and I know people who are addicted to prayer, yoga, and meditation, trying to bliss out while avoiding feeling what they’re actually feeling!  I think I may have been one of them….)

Back to Brian’s workshop. It had the longest title of any workshop I’ve ever attended, and the title conveys the content: Imagine feeling present, grounded, centered, boundaried, embodied, empowered, in the moment, safe and joyful!  It was so much fun! I recommend this if you ever get the chance!

Also, schedule an SE session with him next time he’s in Austin or remotely via Skype. (You can email him at BrianDMahanSEP@gmail.com and view his Facebook page. Here’s a link to his YouTube videos. Here’s an offer for a 5-minute meditation video. To set up a session, his phone number is 323-459-1845, and he’s on Skype as SomaticExperience.)

I’m going to write about what attending that workshop brought up for me about some of these energies, with Brian’s artful facilitation in directing our attention to the body and using the “felt” sense. This content is universal (we all have bodies and awareness) and I’m running it  through my personal filters (writing, yoga, NLP, massage).

This felt sense is available to everyone with a nervous system. My NLP training is that we represent the world through visual, auditory, and kinesthetic channels, often favoring one at the expense of another. Therefore many people do not develop the felt sense (kinesthetic awareness for you NLPers), and they don’t know they don’t know—until someone starts talking about something they’re unfamiliar with, like boundaries, energy flowing in a certain direction, internal sensations/emotions (both kinesthetic).

I had a doctor once who had never heard of chakras. You get the idea.

Using and developing this felt sense is actually very significant to your overall well-being, and if you don’t experience much kinesthetic awareness, you can benefit from learning about it and experiencing it. I’ve been there. I know.

Many forces conspire to get us to numb out, to go to sleep, to not know who we really are. Think of TV, food,  alcohol, drugs, work, sex, busy-ness, perfectionism, emotional drama—the things people get addicted to serve the purpose of distracting us from experiencing our real, essential selves and all those feelings.

You know what? You don’t have to give any of those things up, right now or ever. Follow along if you’d like to add a new dimension to your aliveness, to wake up a little more, to put a little more life in your life.

If you are someone who wonders what the heck people are talking about when they say things like “I’m not feeling very grounded right now,” “He’s not his body,” or “Wow, that really threw me off center,” this is for you. If you’ve felt grounded before but feel ungrounded now, this is for you.

Being grounded refers to your body’s energetic connection to the planet, to the earth, to the ground. This energy always flows in the same direction in your body:

To experience this, do an exercise (and you may want to have someone read this to you):

Right where you are, without doing anything else, check in with your body. Scan it from head to toe and notice the sensations and lack of sensations.

Now take your shoes and socks off and stand up. Put your attention on the sensation of your feet against the floor. Take your time and really feel.

Feel the entire weight of your body squishing the skin cells on the soles of your feet into the floor.

Feel your heaviness. Just walk around and feel your weight.

Now stop and feel as if your feet have suction cups on them holding you in place.

Feel as if each leg is a tree, sending roots down deep into the earth. 

Now roll more of your weight onto one foot and feel the strength in that leg. Now lift the other heel ever so slightly. Switch sides and repeat. Now lift each foot higher. You’re rocking from foot to foot!

Do you feel a sticky sensation on the sole of the lifted foot? Can you sense its desire to return to the floor? Can you imagine invisible elastic between each foot and the floor?

Now stand still, evenly on both feet. Imagine the earth’s energy field embracing you, pulling you toward it with a gentle hug. Imagine mother Earth, Terra, Gaia, Pachamama holding you closely like a mother holds her baby. You can even prostrate yourself and surrender to it, hugging the earth back if you like. (If not, that’s okay too.)

Stand back up and imagine there’s an opening in the top of your head that opens to the sky/spirit/God/the cosmos. Imagine this energy flowing into your head and going down through the center of your body and down each leg and out your feet and into the earth.

This is you, fully grounded. Check in again, fully.

End of exercise.

Notice that our language has many ways of describing this energy: being grounded, feeling ungrounded, holding your ground, standing your ground, standing on your own two feet, without a leg to stand on, being sure-footed, steady on your feet, sticking a foot in the door, getting in on the ground floor.

Being grounded gives you a position on this planet, a space, a place that belongs to you and no one else, and it also connects you to this planet. You belong to the earth.

What does it feel like to be grounded? Remember what you felt like before the exercise, and compare that to feeling grounded. How would you describe the difference?

More importantly, when could feeling grounded be useful in your life? When might you particularly want to feel grounded? What ungrounded you?

Just for this moment, bring your attention back to your feet. Notice if you feel any shift of energy in your body.

Realize you can play with this, enjoy this, practice this as often as you like until it comes effortlessly (because the body is attracted to joy and pleasure, even the subtle ones). Then you can forget about it, knowing that whenever you need it, the resource of being grounded belongs to you.

Next: how to get centered.