I want to start this column with an invitation to join in SpiritFest on Halloween weekend at Kripalu. It will be an enchanting weekend of dancing, chanting, and drumming—a triple treat for your spirit this Halloween. Come and join in this festival of spirit!!
I will be joined by my absolutely most favorite chant leader Girish, who has a voice that is healing to listen to with soulful songs that move the heart, along with Aimee Gelinas who is an incredible drum teacher.
Just last week Girish, who lives in California, was at Kripalu leading kirtan (chanting) during a yoga teacher conference. I was in the middle of leading my 5-day SomaSoul workshop called Awakening the Heart when he “performed.” Performed isn’t quite the right word for what he actually does, since he offers such depth and passion through his voice and invites such spirited participation from the “audience.”
The experience was an incredible awakening of my heart and spirit and helped me go back to teaching the following day feeling renewed. In fact the next day we were focusing on acknowledging and bringing healing to the wounds that are present within the heart.
The value of linking together an experience that lifts or awakens the spirit before diving into the difficult waters of the psyche is so very important and that’s what I want to talk about in this article.
When I studied Psychosynthesis 35 years ago, a particular system of psycho-spiritual therapy developed by Robert Assagiolo, a colleague of Carl Jung, he spoke of the need to access the energies of the higher self before we do the rigorous and difficult work of healing what’s locked up in the “lower self.” The lower self in his framework contains the psychological wounds and defenses within the psyche.
Before or as we go about dealing with those painful feelings locked in our minds and bodies and the defenses we all have around these painful feelings, we all need the support and energy of our higher self, God or spirit to be with us in this journey of healing.
Consider this for yourself. Have you noticed that when you try to work with or deal with difficult or challenging emotions inside like fear, loneliness, or depression while you are deeply caught in the eddy of these emotions it just doesn’t seem to work—it’s like chasing our own tail or getting swept into the whitewater currents of emotion.
We need to connect to spirit, the higher self, God, prana, chi, beauty, love…and have moments of infusion of spirit into our minds and bodies. This isn’t about transcending the pain but connecting to spirit as we plunge into the often dark waters of our psyche and soul’s journey.
I have taken this particular teaching that has also been profoundly reinforced in my years of study with Body-Centered Gestalt Psychotherapy into all my workshops. And it was such a blessing to have Girish present at Kripalu right smack dab in the middle of my Awakening the Heart workshop just the evening before we took the plunge to bring healing to the wounds of the heart . Perhaps the great Spirit arranged that.
So, we all need to have our spirits lifted. Life can weigh down on us sometimes. I’m writing this after I just found out that I have to do some major renovation in my house due to some water damage that insurance doesn’t cover. Yuck!
As I heard this news my heart sank, my guts churned, my breath got super shallow, my mind started to spin and it felt like my spirit exited out the top of my head. In that moment the last thought in my mind is to lift my spirit or bring balance to my spirit. Yet that can be exactly the focus I need in order to navigate through difficulty. Consider that for yourself, that as your spirit takes a nose dive or a trip to Mars, you might need to renew, lift or balance your spirit.
What activities do you do that help you lift your spirit, renew your spirit or bring balance to your spirit? Take a few minutes to reflect or journal what those activities are that help you love yourself in this way. This is so very important to know what resources you have in your toolbox, particularly when your life journey gets challenging.
Now consider and commit to setting aside time each day to do one or a couple of these activities. And even in the midst of a storm in your life, you may need to open up the umbrella of one of these supports so you can reconnect to life-giving energy as you navigate through the storms of life.
And if you can, come lift your spirit with me, Girish and Aimee at SpiritFest in a couple of weeks!!