Rituals to guide you from Breakdown to Breakthrough.

 

Healing Power of Ritual

Ritual is something that I have always used as a marker to honor times and places both physical and metaphysical in my life.

Ritual speaks to the deep unconscious places in us and has anchored intentions and goals for me when life has gotten hectic.

This can be as simple as a cup of herbal tea or something as elaborate as this water purification ceremony, I experienced in Bali. This Ceremony occurred whilst I was on a Tigress Yoga retreat in July last year. I went with all sorts of wild intentions, most of them unrealistic! One of them was seeing this holiday as a ritual place marker of healing and time out. The problem with this was that I had an expectation of what healing looked like.

My expectation was that I would go on this magical holiday (it was really really magical) I would have 10 incredible days off (the first 10 days of actual holiday down time in years ) and I would magically spring back like a magical elastic band version of myself. Viola! Keri 2.0. Expectations much? The reality went a little differently.

But it was EXACTLY what I needed and it was in fact just what I had been asking for. I just didn’t know it at the time because it looked a whole lot like MORE breakdown… nothing like I expected breakthrough to look at all.

It was much like this water temple purification process actually.

I don’t know about you but the idea of going to a truly ancient spring on a beach in Bali bathing in the ocean and being blessed and cleansed conjured up all sort of (unrealistic) images. Eat Pray Love has a lot to answer for, but as these images can attest I looked much more like a drowned rat than a divinely inspired Julia Roberts.

 

IMG_0389

Bucket after bucket of salty spring water is tipped over your head as you are chanted over and a cup of coconut water is offered to you that, somehow in-between gasps and dunks, you are meant to mindfully ingest.

The actual blessing itself was quite like being caught in pounding surf, where you mistime the waves and get dumped trying to gasp for air before the next wave lands on your head.

Most of the time instead of feeling serene and mindful, graciously letting go and inviting in my carefully thought out intention I was just praying that I was ingesting the coconut water and not actually giving myself some deadly parasite that would plague my health into old age… I’m still not convinced that didn’t in-fact happen.

Bali TY & Water Temple 043Bali TY & Water Temple 046-1Bali TY & Water Temple 033

Did I feel different? Did I feel changed? Did I leave a different person?

You better believe it.

That pledge that I made to myself, the intention that I had set in action had been witnessed by the gods. Lets be honest I’m an out of the closet Pagan!

I am completely in love with the Balinese reverence to nature and beauty; these places have power if for no other reason than we believe them to.

And that is enough for me.

Rituals - Breakdown to Breakthrough

I came home and I couldn’t in all honesty continue life as I had been. Working with out rest, running from heart ache, avoiding tending to some very large wounds.

In the following months everything unravelled.

A wonderful mix of anxiety, depression, shocking cortisol levels, high testosterone, absent estrogen, exhaustion, and an overwhelming inability to leave the house, left me bewildered and wondering how on Earth I had found myself having another breakdown. Seriously?

The REALLY important thing to realise here and this realisation is only available in hindsight. Is that ALL of this was actually me breaking through. It was the last point of contraction before the process of expansion could take place. And if I hadn’t had such an amazing team of people around me, if I didn’t have all the knowledge of my own years of training I would have believed that I was getting worse. Many people indeed told me I was.

I can tell you now that I wasn’t. Things do actually get worse before they get better but not in the way we think.

It has taken a huge amount of self belief, self care and faith to trust the intuition and self awareness that reassured me in the scariest of moments that this was not under any circumstance a downward spiral.

It was the upward one.

If you find yourself in this situation, in the heat of the moment it will be hard to tell the difference.

So here I am sharing my story with you, to let you know dear reader that there will be moments when you doubt your own resurrection story that ‘something has gong wrong’ with your carefully laid plans of healing your heart and soul.

Do not doubt yourself. Surround yourself with the best team of people you can find.

I involved medical science, herbal medicine, psychology, exercise and meditation.

And above all trust your intuition.

If this post speaks to you in your journey know that help is at hand. I’m kind of a specialist guide for The Dark Night of the Soul. (No water dunking required)

I’d love to hear from you. x

 

Subscribe to my mailing list

 

Qi Follows the Yi – Part Two

EmotionsNegativeCycle

 

Ah Yes! The good ol’ a picture tells a 1000 words!

The 5 elements that I have been banging on about for practically ever work together in this 5 pointed star type arrangement. If you follow around the circle in a clockwise direction you get the nourishing cycle. This is how things work in harmony. You can simplify it if you put it into terms of what would happen in nature. For example we need water to nourish new plants (wood) so there can be growth and then in turn those trees feed fires… and on it goes around.
The star cycle that criss crosses shows us how things are kept in check. Keeping it simple as I can metal ‘controls’ wood….(metal chops down trees) makes a bit of sense right? It does get a little bit trickier when we bring the organs in, especially knowing how complex their functioning is from a western point of view, let alone Chinese Philosophy!
But keeping it simple… you know how I love to keep things simple, an example would be when we eat lots of cold forming foods, e.g. dairy and our digestion doesn’t process this effectively the Earth function of transforming our foods into fuel we can use diminishes. This affects his friend the Metal element (next in line) resulting in a build up of phlegm in the lungs, skin issues or constipation…….. kinda making sense Yes? Think children with allergies resulting in rashes.

So here we have a super fun chart of all the stuff that can go wrong when the energy is going in the opposite direction! In this picture we are looking at what happens when our negative thoughts and emotions start to get away with us!

Earlier on in this blog I talked about how our Qi (energy/ fuel) follows our Yi (thoughts/ concentration). This theory works in regards to all our mental / emotional experiences as wherever we are placing our focus and attention our energy will go. So when we experience an excess of any emotion this begins to tax the correlating organ and can set up, in long term situations, real physical pathology.

Now, I’m not one to want to bum out my readers so I’m going to turn this little chart into a silver lining. When we understand the very real interactions of these emotions and the physiological effects they are having on us we can begin to see and slowly master what we need to do in order to regulate these feelings that are not always super helpful.

I’m not saying here for a second the emotions are not an essential and necessary part of our biological vocabulary, but sometimes for a whole range of reasons real and imaginary we can get stuck in one or two of them, long after the correlating situation is long gone. Challenging situations in life can also be ongoing and without some way of managing our emotional responses these situations can and do often get on top of us.

My favourite example to explain this is by looking at the liver and the lungs.

The Liver is damaged by anger and frustration, or conversely an unhealthy liver ( one fed with chips, refined sugar and alcohol for e.g.) creates the emotional state of anger and frustration. Either way over a prolonged period of time this unhappy liver consumes more energy than can be created by its pal the kidneys and the water element and this sets up the right conditions for fear to become the predominate emotional state.

As a side note this also very simply explains how some recreational drugs damage the liver and set up the conditions required for paranoia and other fear based behaviours.

Anyway I digress…. Where do we look to balance and mediate this grumpy liver syndrome? Across the way to the lungs of course! The lungs positioned where they are above the diaphragm and above the liver on the right hand side are in the perfect spot to massage the Liver into a much better frame of mind. Slow deep breathing, gentle exercise or yoga is the ideal way to nourish this controlling cycle and re create balance in the five elements. Now I have to admit a grumpy person is not as likely to respond so well to …. darling do some downward dog…… but maybe a house rule of “walk off the grump” is a good idea?

The elements all work in their own way to regulate their counterpart;
The liver with its decisiveness and ability to create strong boundaries steps in when the the earth elements tendency to worry and obsess gets out of hand. The water element cools the fire of impatience with humility, this might be in the form of increased hydration or extra sleep, I mean, how hot headed are we when we’re over tired?
The stillness and meditative qualities of the spleen are helpful when managing an over worked water element. Remember this relates to will power and our adrenals. Each has its place and role in maintaing our overall emotional health, which in turn helps create our physical health and visa versa.

Keep this in mind next time you find yourself stuck in the rut of the same old emotional story running around our minds. Let the emotion move thorough you, and do what you can to support yourself.
(And feel free to let me know if any of this makes sense or if I need to do a little more explaining! )

Go Gently

K
x