Navigating the Dark

I seem to be apologising a lot lately! My shadow side showing up and getting projected out on to others. Perhaps it’s a quick cutting comment, or an energetic withdrawal and being cold, or more easily being in conflict. Sometimes it’s a sense of inner turmoil and feeling down, with self-doubt and addictive or self-defeating patterns showing up. Bleh! I don’t like when this is going on. I feel my body tense and a bit numb to emotions. I feel my vibrations low. I can sense I’m being protective or defensive. My mind is not trustworthy.

It’s a bit like walking through a bog (very Irish analogy), trying to tip-toe through, yet every so often dropping in up to your knees, or even falling flat on your face in the mud, and then blaming someone else rather than laughing out loud and rolling around in it!

Does any of this resonate for you? I’m hearing it from many people these days.

Navigating the dark, (c) Georgina Peard

Navigating the dark, (c) Georgina Peard

But of course!! Of course it’s so strong right now at the time of the Samhain, as we move into the darkest part of the year. We also had the dark new moon in Scorpio last weekend. Nature is always reflecting in and through us.

There is a blessing here folks! Oh yes! If this is showing up for you now, or whenever it does, it’s because you are being invited to acknowledge and love these shadow parts and the powerful energy they contain. No-one is whole without their shadow integrated.

You can try to fight it, hide it, ignore it, deny it, throw it away, and clean it up, but this will never work. Instead, own your shadow, name it, befriend it, dance with it, harness it and then channel it through the heart.

The dark holds your greatest gifts and power.  

The stronger the energy for you, the stronger the initiation. Congratulations, its means you are ready for this big transformation! This energy locked in the shadow is ready to be revealed. Are you ready to step up and be more of you?

When our shadows show up, it’s so easy to allow negative thoughts take over and feed a self-depracating inner dialogue. Our actions can exaggerate the situation, like not getting enough sleep, always staying busy, over-eating, spending too much time on the internet, or snapping at loved ones.

These thoughts and actions stem from a deep pain – the pain of feeling that, because of these shadow parts, we are bad, fake, and undeserving of good things, like love, community, success and happiness. As a result we choose the safe path in life and not to show up fully or go after what we want (in case we are found out and rejected, abandoned, humiliated etc.).

This is our core unworthiness and, the good news is, we all have it. 

The relief comes when we realise we are all the same, we all hold shame around these shadow parts, and so we step out of the fear of this unworthiness and we dare to face and befriend the shadow.

The extent to which you can take full responsibility and hold strong self-love for yourself when working with shadows, is the gauge of your personal growth and awakening. It’s not that they never show up again.

Navigating your inner landscape, and especially the dark, with love and compassion, humour and humility, is key to your freedom and happiness. 

BRING MORE CONSCIOUSNESS AND LOVE TO YOUR SHADOWS :

  • Make time to be still with yourself. Listen and feel what is really going on for you.
  • Love yourself and the shadow parts, like a mother unconditionally loving a child.
  • Give your shadow a name (mine is Gertrude) and role play with her/them.
  • Acknowledge your deeper pain and your needs.
  • Share your shadows, pain and needs with someone who can love you there.
  • Practice apologising in a way that you take full responsibility for your part.
  • Get more rest and sleep.
  • Take walks in nature on your own and open to her wisdom. Sing, dance, breathe.
  • Get clear on what you have learned.
  • Celebrate your progress.

Thank you
Finally, thank you for doing this work and bringing more consciousness to your shadows. Here I am just touching the surface of this subject, but it is, in my opinion, the most important ‘work’ we can do to transform our lives, our relationships and our communities.

Be gentle with yourself. All healing has its time. The first step is just to love yourself and know that all the way to your core, you are good, all good, and you are loved.

 

Listen deeply
Live courageously
Love fiercely

Georgina x

The remarkable health benefits of Yoga in the grass

One of my favourite things about summer is that I take my yoga and meditation practice outside and I leave the mat at home. Mmmmmm, fresh green grass between my fingers and toes. When I drop down on to my belly I put my whole face in the grass and breathe in the delicious earthy smell. I complete my practice lying on my back, arms and legs spread wide, surrendering fully into the support of the great Mother. I soak in her loving energy. Ah, bliss!

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Breathing in her goodness…. Yoga in the grass. Photo: Georgina Peard

The cool thing is, that there are also heaps of remarkable health benefits to getting our feet and hands and bodies directly into the grass.

Earthing‘ is the scientific term for connecting the human body to the earth, including walking barefoot in the grass, earth or sand. I love this word!

If you think about it, we spend most of our time disconnected from the earth by the soles of our shoes and other general habits, like sleeping on beds. (Time for some camping?!)

The earth’s surface possesses a limitless and continuously renewed supply of free or mobile electrons. When we are in contact with the earth we receive a direct flow of this natural charge of energy, and it is this that produces some amazing health benefits, including:

  • improved sleep
  • reduced inflammation
  • improved regulation of endocrine and nervous systems
  • moderated heart rate variability
  • improved glucose regulation
  • reduced stress
  • reduced anxiety and depression
  • boosted immunity
  • decreased blood viscosity for improved heart health
  • improved wound healing

Multi-disciplinary research has revealed the practice of earthing can be used for the “prevention and treatment of chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.” Since chronic inflammation is now considered to be the culprit behind almost every modern chronic illness, this is really big!! Its HUGE!

So folks. Its summer! The grass is green! Toss off those shoes as often as you can and get your toes and bodies into the grass. Forget the yoga mat.

If you don’t have the energy for anything else, just practice ‘savasana’ – corpse pose! Do nothing. Just lie there and consciously soak up the natural energy boosting electrons. Let her heal you.

The more you surrender, the more you will feel this divine loving support of Mother Earth.

Relaxing in the grass

The more I let go, the more I feel her loving support. Photo: Georgina Peard

Check out my Toes in the grass Yoga Flow Video to help inspire you to bring your practice off the mat and onto the grass this summer!

Don’t give up. Create space and rest.

When you are feeling tired and lethargic, overwhelmed and anxious, grumpy and hopeless, it is your body’s call for rest. It is your heart’s call to be heard. It is your soul’s call to reconnect.

Create space. Rest. Listen.

Don’t give up. The song by Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel came on the radio in the car this week and has been repeating in my head for days (along with the image of their very 80s music video!).

A poignant message of love, empathy and hope, this song has such depth and significance, for our relationships with ourselves, with our partners, with each other.

As I prepare for my upcoming Rest to Rise programme of retreats, restshops and heart circles, the song made me reflect on our cultural trends and norms, and the epidemics of stress-related malaise, burn-out, depression and anxiety. So many people feeling disconnected and tired. So many people becoming more sensitive to a way of life that isn’t working for them.

These words started to flow and I wrote them down:

Don’t give up on yourself. Don’t give up on your heart’s passion for life, on your dreams. Don’t believe those negative, self-depreciating, hopeless or angry thoughts.

You are tired and weary, that’s all.

You have been pushing for too long. You have been trying so hard. You have been caught up in cultural trends and illusions, making you think you need to do more, have more, be more.

In your heart you are just seeking love, belonging and connection. You are passionate at heart, longing to live and love fully. You are doing the best you can.

Don’t give up. The pain that you are feeling is the pain of disconnection. It is the pain of holding on and holding back, of suppressing for too long the full expression of life and of humanness as it seeks to flow through you.

To be human is to be wounded. Loss and pain are inevitable. Your pains are those of all humanity.

Don’t give up. Don’t give up on your joy.

Your body is calling you home, like a wise old friend. Come home to the fireside, be comfortable, be quiet, be still. Rest. Let go. Let yourself be comforted and held. There is nothing to do, no place to go, nothing to know, no-one to respond to. Relax.

Be quiet. Be still. Rest.

Soften and let go. Let go. Let go.

Rest deeply. Rest completely.

In this place you will remember. Remember. Remember.

Grace and ease abide in this place.

Stay here for as long as you need. Come back as often as you can.

when-did-you-stop-dancing

Every week in my work I meet people whose bodies are struggling to keep up with the pace, chronic stress, being connected all the time to screens and technology, and the lack of down-time or space for rest. The result is a loss of creativity, vitality and passion.

I know this feeling in myself all too well. This is why I created Rest to Rise.

Rest to Rise is a customised programme that supports you to rest deeply. It empowers you to restore your health, energy, clarity and compassion.

Too many people are pushing through, using pharmaceuticals and other strategies like alcohol, work, shopping or food, or dropping into depression, to numb out the discomfort.

We all have times in our lives when we just feel exhausted, overwhelmed, hopeless and out of control. We may experience sadness, anger, guilt and despair. Whether it is parenting, or looking after ageing parents, the loss of a loved one, a health issue, work deadlines, financial pressure, or the growing pressure we put ourselves under to achieve and succeed some sort of status, it is only human to have periods in our life that are particularly taxing. It is only logical then that our bodies and minds need regular time off to rest and recuperate.

The source of the discomfort is disconnection. The remedy connection.

The remedy starts with creating space and resting, deeply.

If it is not comfortable or possible to do this alone, reach out. Support, love, belonging and connection is all available in abundance when we dare to ask. And oh yeh, it’s so enjoyable to just let go and have someone take good care of you!

So, please, don’t give up. Create some space for yourself and rest.

Everything feels different when we are well rested!

For more information on upcoming Retreats, Restshops, Massages and Heart Circles, check out my websites: www.resttorise.com   and  www.georginapeard.com   and join me on Facebook.

5 Ways to Detox Daily and Live More Vividly

In my series of posts on the ten principles for living happy kindly passed on to us by some pretty smart ancient Yogis, we move now to the Niyamas. These are principles for living authentically and relate to making choices in our lives.

The first, Saucha, means ‘that and nothing else’, most often translated as ‘purity’. This word tends to be a bit of a giggle for most of us, making us imagine white, angelic, virgin innocence and pureness, otherwise known as ‘boring’!! But don’t close the page yet because there is something interesting in this that does not require giving up everything fun in your life.

I think this is about being conscious of how you are being affected each day, and over time, by what you eat, the environment(s) you are in, what you think and say, what you hear and see, and all sorts of other factors.

What factors influence your energy and attitude?

Most of us are faced with air, noise and visual pollution and a general overload of stimuli every day. We may not regularly experience the extreme sensory overload of Tokyo’s gaming arcades or Calcutta’s slums, but we still have the morning alarm, the multi-media advertising, the flashing lights, the music, the traffic, the smells, the machines, the announcements, the raised voices, other people’s moods, the toxins we don’t see or taste in the food, drink, clothes and products we consume, and worst of all, our own negative thoughts!

Every day our energy, health and outlook are influenced by all of these inputs, experiences and stimuli. We may feel tired and heavy, agitated or depressed, or vibrant and energized. In general, we do not feel like we have any control over these changing energies and how they make us think and act. We may be ignorant to their origins and grasping for inappropriate solutions. We may act confused, like victims, when we are stuck in negative patterns.

Choose what makes you feel good

I think the yogic principle “Saucha” suggests that we have potential to be masters of our own energy by choosing that which is essential and nothing else. We can do this when we become conscious of:

  1. the choices we make, and we start to choose what makes us feel good – where and how we work, what we eat, what we think and say, what environment we live in, who we spend time with, what we buy, etc., and
  2. how everyday living affects us, and we regularly shift stagnant or heavy energy, cleanse our body, and shake off negative patterns so that life continues to freely flow through us.

Live vividly

By choosing what’s truly good for you and cleaning up your act, you can live life more vividly. It’s like wiping clean your glasses so you can see out more clearly, or doing a big clean out at home so it feels fresh and you can find what is important to you. Donna Farhi suggests that Saucha is “a testament to the positive power of association.”

Be the Master of your Prana

So here are a few simple tips for detoxing and keeping the prana, or life-force energy, flowing every day! If you’re feeling bad after a day at work, don’t just slump in the couch and vegetate….

1.    Breathe – From my experience, and also proven through science, your breath is an incredibly powerful, and super cheap, way to influence your mood, with innumerable health benefits. In sanskrit yogic breathing techniques are called ‘pranayama’ which actually means the control of the life energy. There are many different techniques with different objectives, including to calm, stimulate, cleanse or balance. For a powerful and simple techniques, take 10 minutes every day to sit or lie still and breathe deeply through your nose, using your diaphragm (so expand your belly as you inhale), and make the inhale and exhale become even. Notice the effect after just 10 minutes.

 2.    Move – One of the main reasons for Yoga postures is to shift energy. If you are feeling heavy and lethargic, stiff and restricted, negative and depressed, get up and move the body, very slowly at first, in rhythm with your breath, and gradually build it up, to shift the stagnant energy. You may like to practice some sun salutations, a gentle back bend or just get outside for a power walk. If you are feeling agitated and frustrated, it may be good to do some vigorous exercise, focusing on endurance and not straining – sun salutations or a bike ride – and then gradually slow it down with long deep forward bends. Either way consciously explore the sensations in the body and move in a way that feels natural and good, visualizing the breath and balanced energy flooding the body. Notice how you feel after 20 – 30 minutes.

 3.    Rest – Its funny how we avoid this when we are feeling tired and depressed, as much as we do when we are feeling agitated and nervous. And yet this is the balancing antidote for both!!  Rest is not the same as sleep. It is not the same as watching tv or reading a book. It is a conscious choice to be still and let go, observing the body and mind relax for at least 20 minutes. Lie down in a comfortable, warm, quiet, dark space (or just cover your eyes) to give yourself the best rest. Watch your preoccupations and day gradually drift away.

 4.    Express – I believe that unexpressed emotions can be highly toxic and stay blocked in the body’s cellular memory. All emotions are valid and human. We have to choose how best to express them in a way that is authentic to us but does no harm. That might be verbally, in writing, song, music, or art. It may be going to the top of a mountain or deep into the forest and shouting, or pummeling your bed or a punch bag. It may be through tears, laughter or sound. It may be shared or alone. Let them out consciously so the energy can flow again and only then choose how to act next.

5.    Drink – Drink plenty of water to hydrate and flush toxins through your body. Green tea is another great health drink, full of antioxidants. I love to make fresh juices with local organic fruit and vegetables to help keep my digestive system happy and dealing with life’s daily toxins. My favourite ingredients for this are carrot, beetroot, celery, apple, lemon and ginger. Mix ‘em up as your taste buds fancy!!

You are the Master of your energy. You have the choice!

Live with your senses wide open!

Image Credit: Colorfully