As compassion for ourselves, others, and the planet develops and grows, we begin to feel ourselves expand. Just by our decision to embark upon this journey of spiritual transformation, we took the first steps to leave the state of contraction and selfishness behind. By now we are growing and expanding so much that we are bursting out of the bonds of the cocoon.
For the eighth month, stretch your wings! That is, let your mind, heart, and soul reach out into the world. Focus on feeling the different ways in which you are connected to everything, both near and far. Notice the interconnectedness of all things.
In the last journal entry I discussed the difference between compassion and empathy, and how our empathic ability and understanding allows us to find compassion for others. It is through both empathy and compassion that we learn, or remember, that we are truly all connected and interconnected. It is this awakening and awareness that clears the way for each of us to expand.
However, challenges can arise as we expand, as we open ourselves to empathically pick up on others’ emotions and states of being, and as we extend compassion towards others and in turn ourselves (as we learn to face, accept, and understand our own pains and suffering). A question was brought up in the last entry’s comments about how to face the challenges of “moments of empathic build-up,” and what to do. The protective and instinctual thing most of us would do is shut down, withdraw, or become emotionally numb. However, this leads to contraction, which inhibits our spiritual growth and often makes us feel alone in the world.
In order to be open and expand without becoming overloaded by what we pick up empathically and without allowing ourselves to be so open that we become drained by others, firstly we need to be grounded. When grounded, we are centered in our Be-ing, and it is easier to differentiate between our own emotions and others. Being grounded helps to turn the focus and awareness within, from the heart and soul, instead of the ego/mind’s over-thinking and illusions of the external circumstances. When grounded we can observe both ourselves and others with clarity and compassion.
There are many ways in which we can ground ourselves. Some of these I have mentioned in other posts, but here is a list of some practices that help us stay grounded and bring us back to center while at the same time bringing to our awareness the interconnectedness of all. They are also good for our health and spiritual growth:
- Breathe! Stop for few minutes to take some deep breaths when feeling overloaded with emotions or overwhelmed by others’ emotions. Breathe deeply or do some Pranayama practices.
- Meditate or just sit quietly clearing the mind of thoughts.
- Do some gentle moving meditation such as walking, tai chi, or yin yoga.
- Engage in intense exercise to help burn off and release extra steam so it’s easier to ground.
- Visualize roots coming from your feet growing into and connecting to the nourishing support of Mother Earth.
- Do devotional practices, such as chanting Mantras, prayer, or reading sacred texts.
- Physically connect to the earth: walk barefoot on the earth or beach, garden, or be in nature.
- Staying well-hydrated also helps. Water, like earth, is a feminine element, and they help us stay connected to our divine-feminine within (men and women) which is intuitive, empathic, and compassionate.
When in the midst of an empathic build-up moment with others, we may not be able to stop and walk away to do some grounding, but remember that we can always breathe. Our breath connects us to the universe, and every other human, animal, and plant on the planet. It both clears the clutter of the mind and opens the heart to connect to all with compassion. Like the butterfly free from the contracted confines of the cocoon, open up, stretch, and fill your wings with breath!
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I was interested in reading down your list about keeping hydrated.. It appears this last week I have had an appetite for more water.. 🙂 I raise my glass to you Julianne.. and thank you once again for a most enlightening post 🙂
Thank you 🙂 I know you will always find enlightening words to present on your site that illumine the way for the soul and render the darkness less fearful and more intelligible.
DN – 12/04/14
Yet another erudite and inspiring post in which I found something more to add to your previous journal entry. Thank you Julie.
The general advice previously offered has already begun to have an effect with me, particularly the breathing, and in a couple of moments of unwarranted provocation during the past week I have recalled your advice about ‘grounding’ and found a way to ‘detach’ from the natural impulse to participate. In addition, and no doubt as a consequence of the astrological chaos that is currently unfolding, I have also encountered an increasing hostility and confusion in other people’s emotive outlook on life and have shared with them several of your methods for warning off doubt and confusion arising from external influences and particularly from other people. I’ve no doubt that the week ahead will prove just as problematic, so this post arrives just in time to both encourage and support.
Curiously, or synchronously, depending on which way you look at it, whilst visiting a friend out of town this week, I stumbled upon a second hand book store that I’d never visited before. Perhaps because it’s tucked away off the main high-street I’ve simply missed it, who knows, but it is a most intriguing place: dusty windows, a half-light illuminated interior, and stacks of books rather than neat and ordered shelves, and all infused by that earthy smell of age. As with all books that I own, most have found me rather than me look for them, and this title was no different…it fell from a high stack of books that I tried my best to avoid whilst heading deeper into the shop. It’s called ‘Unholy Hungers – Encountering the Psychic Vampire in Ourselves and Others’ by Barbara E Hort (1996). It is a fascinating and thoroughly engaging exploration of the (psychological) vampire archetype in myth, film, and literature, and within many personal relationships in a narcissistic society such as ours. The author offers insight into how psychic vampires originate, how we allow ourselves to be caught in their clutches, and how we are able to protect ourselves from their seductive influence. It sounds an intriguing read and should anything practical be contained within its pages, I’ll mention it here for you to caste an enquiring eyes of my comments, if that is okay with you?
Thank you again Julie for valuable and practical advice. I was going to expand upon your post and ask how you viewed the ‘expansion of the individual’s consciousness’ in regard to the desire for change in the wider world and more specifically how you viewed this relationship to the Age of Aquarius/Capricorn in which mankind’s evolution is currently positioned. But perhaps, that’s a discussion for another time…
As always, I’ll look forward to the next journal entry, and indeed to any other posts that are forthcoming. I am always left feeling elevated and well guided. Take care.
DN – 12/04/14
Thank you and I’m glad my advice has helped so far. Yes, the next two-three weeks astrologically are going to be very interesting for many. Personally, the grand cross hits exact points in my natal chart, so I am thinking about putting that discussion into the next journal post as I think it will help many in dealing with the cosmic influences in their lives. But, as usual, I won’t really know until I start writing the post and see where my inspiration guides me. I will, of course, expand on expansion since that is the theme for the month. 🙂
I love how you let books find you, and the one you found likely came to you at a necessary time, even if it’s just one sentence in it that helps you in the coming weeks.
Sending light and blessings to you,
Such a beautiful post Julieanne..it is very tricky to keep yourself from drowning in others energies if you empathise deeply..the ability to protect yourself is vital as to help you need your head above the water to see those drowning but not let yourself be pulled down with them where you can no longer help…a tight rope line that can take many many years to walk with confidence 🙂 hugs to you sweet girl Bev xx
Practice, practice, practice Miss Bev! 😀
Oh I will..found myself several times taking that part of me to an outside spot where it’s much safer 😉
Good idea! Now get some sleep!
Hahahahah I will..listening to rain on the roof and the pups snoring by the fire…so lovely….but yes best I get to bed …mum hahhahah 🙂 xx<3
Really helpful post,
You’re welcome! Namaste _/l\_
Beautiful. I can feel the energetic pull as I stretch my newly discovered wings. The universe seems to be waking so many of us….I see the birth of many butterflies breaking through a dark and heavy fog…changing dark to light, re-birthing, changing and transforming the world around us with our energy anew. Happy expansion to you. Beautiful post.
Thank you! Beautiful comment! Namaste _/l\_