Adaptation. It seems to be the name of the game these days. With so many moving parts, continuous change, and a constant stream of unsettling headlines, not to mention the daily ins and outs of managing life during these times… you’ve no doubt felt the impact either physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually or all of the above.
I know I’ve felt overwhelmed in many moments, and have found myself continuously needing to adapt, again and again. From the ups and downs of my son’s new school norms, to adapting my business and clients to the new reality, to embarking on much needed home renovations all at the same time… It’s been a lot. On the flip side of that, I also know that for many people it’s the endless days of “sameness”, without the usual activities, social engagements and changes of scenery that has led to a sense of overwhelm.
The Value of a Morning Routine
Even before Covid, my morning routine was sacred, and it’s something I always advise clients to create for themselves. Just as a cell phone needs to be charged up at the start of the day, we also do better when we begin our day fully charged.
By prioritising this “charging up” time before emails, social media, text messages, the day’s headlines or even the weather report, we are practicing intentionality – choosing, before anything else is able to influence us, how we will show up and respond throughout the day.
My morning routine consists of meditations, visualization, stretching, journaling and reading, and involves me waking up at 5 AM. It’s a highly personalized practice that I’ve built and tweaked over several years. When I coach clients, I don’t simply give them the routine that works for me. Instead, I advise them to start with at least 5 minutes of fueling themselves every morning in a way that makes sense for them, and it’s a good way for you to start as well.
Those 5 minutes are for you and you alone. Whether it’s 5 minutes of standing outside or at an open window, 5 minutes of music you love, 5 minutes of reading your favourite quotes, 5 minutes of meditation, 5 minutes of running as fast as you can… make it YOU.
Over time, start increasing the amount of time you spend fueling yourself, and seeing what genuinely fuels you.
Staying Calm During the Chaos of COVID
Once COVID set in and our new (but temporary) conditions persisted, I found that my carefully and self-lovingly cultivated morning routine was not enough to calm my overwhelm. I needed more to fuel myself and to be able to support my clients and those around me.
I started also doing 1-2 minute stretching exercises during the day. I would put my feet on my chair and lay my back on the floor. Try it. It’s amazing what this pose can do in between Zoom calls!
I would also take a few moments during the day to sit on my meditation pillow, close my eyes, put my hands over my heart and take some deep breaths. I also worked to continuously create from what was happening.
All of this helped… but it wasn’t enough.
The overwhelm, anxiety and fatigue kept coming up. I had taken on too much. True, I was saying no to a lot of things and trying to be conscious of my decision making, but there was always something unexpected and outside my control to throw me off.
All of my appliances broke down over the summer. My washing machine spun out of control, smashed into a wall and burst open due to a manufacturers defect. The Ikea kitchen I had ordered was delayed by two weeks, which they only told me about AFTER gutting my existing kitchen… it just seemed to go on and on.
I turned to my guide. Yes, even coaches seek coaching and healing in times of disconnection. After all, how can we coach and heal others unless we are continuously working on becoming the best version of ourselves?
My guide told me, “Melissa, you mastered meditation and tuning into the higher levels of your being. Now you need to master tuning in from the lower levels. You need to connect to Mother Earth more from your root chakra. Your default programming is that you need to do everything on your own, that you can’t depend on anyone. You are taking on too much, not connecting to the earth and not allowing the Universe to support you.” She is one wise sacred woman.
Trusting the invisible
It’s true that I’ve never felt that I could fully lean on someone without being disappointed. And it’s true that this is part of programming, going way back to how I was raised. It’s why I feel the need to not only do things on my own, but to get it “perfect.”
It is an exhausting pattern and not an easy one to change. It takes continual work and support. Asking for help was a step in the right direction, and it pointed me to the next step I needed to take (isn’t it wonderful how when we do the thing we feel in our heart is right for us, that it so naturally brings us to the next right thing?). I needed to truly trust the Universe to support me. That meant getting out of my mind and trusting the invisible.
Needs of Safety and Security
In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the lower levels – the most basic needs of the human being – are physiological and safety needs. If these needs are not met, you can’t reach up to those deeper needs of love, esteem and self-actualization.
There’s a common misconception that once you get those bottom levels sorted out, it’s “all uphill from there” and that isn’t always the case. Life and circumstances are constantly changing, which means shifts can be experienced at all levels of our needs. It’s completely normal, especially in times of chaos and uncertainty, to need to go back to those basic needs. In fact, anytime you experience a sense of overwhelm or turmoil, it can help to look back at those needs, especially that of safety and a feeling of being secure, to see what you need to connect with and strengthen.
For me, it was a sense of disconnection from the earth and the Universe that was at the root of my overwhelm. I was feeling unsupported.
My guide’s advice to me was, “Sit down on the earth, your perineum to the ground, for at least 10 minutes a day, weather permitting. Mother Earth is a generator. When your circuitry isn’t plugged into the earth you are not recharging it.”
This is a practice called grounding. According to healthine “Grounding or earthing is a therapeutic technique that focuses on realigning your electrical energy by reconnecting to the earth.”
People practice grounding in different ways. My guide’s advice to me was a particular strategy involving the root chakra, but grounding can also be practiced by simply walking barefoot on the earth, or laying down in the grass with your arms, legs and head in direct contact with the earth. Theories about how it works range from the electrical energy in the earth, to simply the mindfulness of being in direct physical contact with nature.
I started following my guide’s advice and felt such a difference. I started to feel a stronger connection with earth. Practicing it daily has helped me trust more, feel more supported, and feel less overwhelmed. I have literally felt more secure in my attachment to the earth.
Grounding helps us connect to the invisible and to feel a sense of Oneness – a feeling of being connected to everything and, therefore, disconnected from nothing.
Dr. Alberto Villoldo is a medical anthropologist who studied healing practices in the Amazon with the Andean shamans. He said, “Until you glimpse non-ordinary, invisible reality, your brain will remain biased toward doubting ‘what’s out there.’ But, when you experience Oneness, the sense of separation dissolves, as you perceive yourself to be an inextricable part of the larger whole.”
If we only work at the level of the mind, we start to lose our mind. We need to trust and lean into the mythic. As Dr. Villodo says, we always need to keep one foot in the physical world and one foot in the spiritual world. To me, this means leaving no stone unturned at a physical and mental level, leaning into the divine, and trusting that my efforts will bear fruit.
Once I got this, I realized that more than half of my clients were going through similar situations, and that it was showing up in their personal and professional lives. I shared my learnings with them and started receiving pictures of them grounding in all kinds of different ways and sceneries. What a powerful way to create connection during such a disconnected time!
Reflections and Moving Forward
My new motto is, “Get your ass sitting on the grass.” This is what’s working for me today. I know I’ll have to modify my practice as the weather changes, but I also know that I’m strengthening my core self right now, which will help me continue to adapt and thrive through whatever the future brings.
As Fred Kofman, leadership development advisor for Google and founder of the Conscious Business Center International, says, “Instead of saying “Oh shit, why is this happening to me?” Try, “Oh fertilizer! How can this make me grow?”
For me, the fertilizer in all of this chaos, and all the ups and downs, was learning how to stay calm during a continuous, seemingly unending storm.
Let’s face it. It’s easy to stay calm when meditating in nature. It’s easy to stay calm when the world around is calm. For some, it can even be easy to stay calm in chaos, so long as you can see the way through. But, how do you bring that calm into the daily chaos, uncertainty and disconnection of life today?
For me, the answer is grounding, feeling Oneness, practicing an energizing morning routine, and healthy eating that nourishes and fuels me. This is how I hold myself in a state of connection and security, empowering me to continually work towards greater self-actualization, always creating from what’s happening around me.
Everyone’s path to connection is unique to them, but there are frameworks that can be used by anyone to create that unique path. These are things like a good morning routine, healthy habits that work for your lifestyle, and mindfulness practices that align with the energy you want to create.
If you need guidance on how to connect with the best parts of you – despite what’s happening around you, and even using what’s happening around you – please connect with me.