The Nervous System and the Earth element

A lady I know for many years shared with me in a conversation that she recently treated herself to a pedicure treatment at a local salon. It is one of those little things that can add a spark of the ‘feel good’ factor to our body, just by having the feet looked after. To see the momentary joy and expression of lightness on her face was enjoyable for me, too, and, while listening, my mind was transported to previous years around the same time, coming up to Christmas. It is again that time of the year when the body and what we have and own comes into focus. Paying attention to the feet can remind us of our connection with the Earth; with every step we take the body is carried by the feet and supported by the earth.

Like my conversation partner, who has become more aware of her feet, we perhaps are inclined to be more aware of our bodies at this time of the year. It is winter, the automatic inclination to put more clothes on wakes me up to the need to feel warm and cosy. Whether it is preparing hot and hearty meals, enjoying the Christmas lights around the house, getting busy with preparations, children looking forward to their Christmas presents, whatever you enjoy doing at this time, it can be special.

With the body coming into focus, some of us may feel a tendency to sleep more and be less physically active around this time of the year. An enriching perspective on the Earth element in the body constitution, called Kapha dosha, can be found in Ayurvedic medicine, which I have been mentioning in my previous blogs as it offers so much knowledge in the area of wellness. Follow this link to learn and understand more about Kapha dosha:

To read about how each of the four elements, including the Earth have specific roles in maintaining our mental health in better balance, please follow this link of an article from the Frontiers in Psychiatry Journal, USA, 2019:

The Earth: all living creatures, the body, people, plants, the environment.

The Earth: values, goods, money, beauty, being together, relationships, patience, presence, nurturing, what we love and believe in.

Everywhere there are differences between what different people own and have to enjoy or share at this time, not only materially but psychologically, too.

Some days, walking outside I open my eyes and ears to find a little smile somewhere, to hear a little bird chirping, or a kind look on somebody’s face. Sometimes, if I am present enough, and if my mind is not preoccupied with something from the past, or of an imagined future, then a smile, a bird or an expression of kindness appear. Sometimes what feels kind is just a branch of a tree magically lowering in the passing breeze. Other times, when the mind is “lost in translation” of past situations, people and circumstances, it can make me oblivious to the possibility of engaging with that which may bring joy in the moment. It seems as if the kindness, the smile or the bird’s chirping mostly manifest when there is a relationship, even a momentary one; a relationship conditioned by presence.

I am curious what your lived experience is on this, and so I will firstly share mine. This month I have experienced more kindness and loving attention from strangers, than I have known during the whole year. Whether it is a coincidence or not, whether it is given with a purpose in mind or unconditionally, these are questions to be found probably only in the mind of the one who perceives. In the last few weeks some people seem to be more openly showing kindness and appreciation to one another. At the same time, equally, my positive thinking has been quite challenged in other kinds of circumstances.

My next thought is wondering about the tools that support the mind in staying more present to receive the ‘good vibes’ regardless of where they comes from. The one tool I know and cherish is meditation, in its different forms. If you resonate with what meditation can offer, then there are endless possibilities to embrace it. The more you practice it, the more you appreciate it. Below is a link for a meditation on connecting with the Earth:

This year will be ending soon, symbolically, if we stick to the calendars and the seasons, yet, suppose that some of what we experienced will be naturally flowing into the New Year, is the year really ending?

If we set our intention to be more in a state of flow going into the new year, which echoes from the recent past do we wish to carry over the threshold?

I recently listened to a talk in which the speaker referred to the question of what it takes for a person to make good changes in oneself for the benefit of all. She highlighted that although we have many brilliant ideas and theories about what we should or could do, ultimately the change becomes manifest when it is flowing from the heart. This can, of course, be argued, as some people say: “Fake it till you make it.” Maybe there is a lot of sincerity in faking something before it becomes natural. Some of us learn better through repetition. There are different approaches to arriving at a desired destination, in the way our life journeys are different.

So, what is the way that has worked, or is beginning to work for you in your life, when you wish to make progress in a certain area? What is one part of your life that you are seeing yourself as a learner, or where you are continuing to experiment? What helps you make the kind of progress that is beneficial to you and those around you?

For me, no matter how many times I say to myself, ‘now, remember to say or do this differently’, unless I am ready in my heart to receive effortlessly that different perspective that feels closer to a desired truth, I still walk in the old footsteps. Doing things in the old way may not be wrong, but may not propel a person further along the way either.

This year what we are, believe in, love, have and own have come so much in the foreground of our awareness, that it has shaken many foundations, personally, relationally and in society. Questions such as which opinion is right, who to trust, who to dismiss, and who to turn to for advice, have been asked.

What is intriguing though is the impact that asking these questions over and over again for two full years, can have on our mental health, and particularly, you have guessed if you read my previous blogs, the nervous system. It is part of being human to question and seek meaning and stability, however, when these conversations move through someone’s mind repeatedly, I wonder what it does to the mind, firstly, and secondly, to the actions of the person who owns the mind? Is the questioning making the mind stronger or more scattered? Or are we collapsing under the pressure of the duality and of the natural mysteries we have lived in for the past two years? Or maybe not finding externally all the answers to the essential questions can naturally boost our own ability to find solutions internally? Anyway, this conversation remains open.

Just like the Sun’s light seems to have changed its trajectory and, (if we imagine that) it must be shining in a different way from somewhere else, maybe we, too, may be able re-view our thinking trajectory in living with the surrounding mysteries happening in these times.

“If we surrendered to earth’s intelligence we could rise up rooted like trees.” Rainer Maria Rilke

Wishing you peace and stability this Christmas and beyond!

Merry Christmas!

Lighting up your candle this Christmas

Approaching Christmas time this year running around, walking, strolling, driving, flying or just staying at home, whatever route you choose to take to arrive, is a journey in itself. This Christmas is different for most people who have been touched by the changes of 2020.

Not knowing can be as painful as knowing something that feels painful. But the not knowing how life will turn out has the surprise element added to it.

I wonder if a rose bud feels any pain in the process of opening into a rose. Does it ask itself when and how it should open? What would happen to it if it opens?

Unlike the rosebud, many of us think a lot about opening up in new and uncertain circumstances. Maybe some questions asked deep inside the mind are:

Would it be safe? Will I be protected? What would happen to me and my family? What would people think of me?

This is also the beauty of an inner creative space. A space where personal and collective choices become essential.

If you feel that this year much or some of the experiences, people or things you hoped to have in your life have been taken away from you, then it is natural to also feel grief, sadness and loss.

Yet, looking around, there are many people who seem happy and content. At least in those moments of showing themselves, they were enjoying a loving partner, satisfaying work, the support of their family, a comfortable home environment, or just appreciating nature by taking in the sight of the green grass and the birds’ joy to be alive. Is joy as contagious as sadness is?

The shaking up of our inner and outer worlds this year has led to more inequality and gaps in the outer systems and the supports needed for those most in need of care and attention. And the shaking up reaches places deep inside, too. Maybe, you too, feel deprived of something, it does not have to be material things, it may be around missing a relationship, a place, or being unable to be with those close to you. And what is it like for you when you meet or see somebody who has what you would like? Rather than getting annoyed or envious, or allowing anger to grow in your mind and heart, why not consider something different?

When you experience some of the above, it may help to let other perspectives in, to widen the narrow or dark spaces where the mind can get caught up in for too long sometimes. Meditation surely helps to widen those spaces.

Mudita is a practice originating in the Buddhist meditation tradition. A Sanskrit word meaning joy, particularly sympathetic joy or the pleasure derived from delighting in the good fortune and well-being of others. Cultivating the feeling of altruistic joy through the practice of Mudita not only helps you to experience a more peaceful state of mind, but may also transfer to whoever or whatever you come in contact with during the festive season.

Feeling happy for those who are still enjoying the blessings of material abundance, high spirits, good health, family or loving relationships may be a place to start lighting up some joy in your heart.

Create your own miracle. Light up a candle inside yourself this Christmas and be curious about what happens!

Merry Christmas everyone!