SPRING IS UPON US! In a few short days, the season of new life will have officially arrived. Are we ready?
Clearing out spiritual cobwebs.
This time of year, many people feel an urge to do some “spring-cleaning”. After a long winter, we are ready to clean-up the cobwebs we have accumulated during the colder seasons. We dust, sort, and tidy-up our homes. We also clean-up our diets by incorporating more of the warmer seasons’ abundant fresh produce. Day by day the light grows stronger. We spend more time in nature, exercising and enjoying the fresh air!
It is as important for us to purify our energy as it is for us to cleanse our physical body and the space we are in. If that sounds a bit far out and woo-woo, it is actually very practical. If we recall our high school physics class, one of the first things we learned was E=MC^2. This formula basically means the physical world (matter) is made up of energy. Energy is neither good nor bad. It is completely neutral. Like so many things, it is what we choose to do with energy that can be helpful or harmful.
The Yoga Sutra and using our energy wisely in relationships.
Protecting our energy means more than just protecting our physical body or the space we are in. It also means that we protect our prana. Prana means “life-force energy”. Prana is what enlivens and animates us. It is the difference between a living being and a corpse.
We receive prana in four basic ways: through our breath; food and water; sunlight, moonlight, and nature; and through other people. For most of us, the first three ways we receive prana are relatively simple. In order to live, we must breathe. Through pranayama (yogic breathing techniques and the fourth of the Eight Limbs of Yoga) our breath can be used as a tool to purify and balance our body, mind, and spirit. Proper nutrition and hydration are important. In a very literal way, we are what we eat! The food and water we consume becomes our bodies and our minds. Finally, as Carl Sagan so aptly put, we are made of star-stuff. Humans are composed of the same elements as the rest of the natural world. In a really beautiful way, spending time in nature under the light of the luminaries is like returning to the womb.
The fourth way we receive prana is where most of us experience our greatest difficulties. We exchange energy with other people. When a person who manages their energy appropriately walks into the room, we feel uplifted. This isn’t because this individual is always happy or more holy than anyone else. It doesn’t even mean they have been having a good day! What this indicates is that this person has found ways to take care of their energy so that negativity is dealt with in healthy, appropriate ways. This allows them to share energy with others in a way that leaves them feeling better, or at least, not any worse.
Fortunately, our yoga practice gives us guidance on how to protect our energy with regards to other people. Yoga Sutra 1:33 instructs us to be happy for those who are happy, have compassion for those who are unhappy, cultivate joy for accomplished and virtuous people, and to disregard those who are wicked. These four methods give us a simple way to set appropriate boundaries, foster healthy relationships, and manage our energy wisely.
Taking responsibility for our energy with healthy boundaries.
The care and keeping of our energy are our responsibility. Setting healthy boundaries is a vital component to managing our energy. From a yogic perspective, there is no such thing as a toxic person. People are not toxic. However, there are people who behave in ways that are harmful to others. Furthermore, not every person has positive intentions for us. Some very misguided, wounded people actually seek to harm others! When we come across such a person, it is in our best interest to, as the Yoga Sutras say, disregard them and move on. This doesn’t mean that it is our fault if a person hurts us! It simply means that if we can avoid people who do harmful things, to maintain our own peace of mind, it is best we do so. If we do find ourselves in a situation where we are being harmed by another person, the first step we can take it to get out of it. This takes courage! Fortunately, we don’t have to go it alone. Friends, loved ones, and legal, medical, and psychological professionals are resources we can turn to if we need help.
Besides physical boundaries, at times we need to set emotional boundaries. Many people do not intend to do others harm. They are simply unhappy. Having compassion for unhappy people doesn’t mean that we must answer every text, take every call, and allow them to “dump” their emotional baggage on us. There is a big difference between witnessing another’s pain and providing healthy support in their ability to bear it, and taking that pain on ourselves. We can’t fix other people’s problems any more than they can fix ours. Healthy relationships are balanced relationships. Things will never be exactly 50/50. Relationships aren’t that simple. At times, one person may need to do more giving and at other times they may need to do more receiving. However, both parties support each other as they do their own work towards healing.
Tips and tricks to keep our energy clean and clear!
People have found many ways to “clear their energy”! Sage, crystals, sound baths, essential oils…. There are many tools on the market that claim to energetically purify us body, mind, and spirit. With all the hacks and tricks available to us, which of them work?
Frankly, all of them work. Because energy is neutral, it cannot get dirty. If it can’t get dirty, then we can safely assume it doesn’t need to be cleaned. What does need to be purified is our intention around our energy. For example, if we find ourselves triggered by another’s actions, we may ruminate about it for days. We begin to suffer from a mild depression. Physical symptoms such as headaches and digestive difficulties start to occur. In fact, our outlook on life in general sours! We get lost in a cycle of negative thinking. In this case, our energy is low. Our intentions are out of alignment with our values. We feel stuck.
Tools and rituals help us to purify our intention with regards to our energy. It is a way of waking ourselves up from the nightmares of disconnection and disassociation. Indeed, there are many tools and rituals we can use to remember our connection to others, ourselves, and Source. It isn’t the tool or the ritual that purifies our energy. Our energy is always pure. The tools and rituals we choose signal to our psyche that this is so. They assist us in getting back on track, and hopefully more consistently staying there.
Because energy work is deeply personal, it is important that we select tools and rituals that work for us. Here are a few suggestions you can try to help you get started!
- Throughout time people have used sage for energetic cleansing, but now science is showing that it has measurable physical benefits such as antimicrobial properties as well.
- Clear quartz. This crystal is said to attune our energy by protecting against negativity and fostering greater connection with our higher self.
- Blessed water. Water has been used in religious and spiritual ceremonies for ages! Water cleanses us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. A blessed water ritual need not be complicated. During a full moon, leave a bowl of water to charge under the moonlight. This water can be used throughout the month to bless and cleanse yourself and other ritual tools such as your clear quartz. Bonus: Whether in a tub or shower, ritually bathing with Epsom salt or sea salt scrubs feels divine!
- Handwashing not only prevents the spread of illness-causing germs, but it is also one of the simplest ways to keep our energy clear when we’re in a pinch. Washing our hands and saying a simple prayer or intention that our energy serve our highest good and the highest good of others is a quick, easy method we can use when we are feeling energetically overwhelmed.
What are your favorite methods for doing your own energetic spring-cleaning? Share with us below!