Recently I had a student say to me, “Since this whole pandemic began I’ve been noticing that there is the I, there is the ALL, and there is “us”. She was curious as to how, as an empathic and sensitive being she could contribute positively to the ‘us’ without drowning.
I loved how she brought this question and awareness to the fore and I think the answer is so important right now. Especially right now when I see that perhaps even more than a virus what is threatening everyone’s quality of life right now is tenuous mental health—the constant unknowns coupled with health threats, big changes, and increased stresses from the changes we’ve had to make in our daily lives seems to be driving everyone mad in their own way! So in answer to her question of how to best help the “us” I responded by saying—“The first thing you need to do is shut down your access to the “us” so that you can feel the ‘me.’” Then, you focus on the Me. You beef it up. You love it up. You find what it loves and move toward that. You align with your values— some of which may be changing during this time—and you take action that commits to those values. You boost your inspiration, your experience, your resiliency (and I’ve got some ideas on that below) in whatever way you can. To boost the “us” you must first boost, amplify, and fortify the “me.” It is actually what will help you do the job the most effectively.
I once saw this very clever television for car maintenance in which they showed a person going jogging in a leg cast. They mentioned, “You wouldn’t do this to yourself—why do it to your car?” or some such thing. Caring for your own mental health and well-being is like prepping your body for a long run. We are all running a marathon right now, every single one of us. And to do so, you don’t just jump out of bed in your pj’s with your broken leg, no breakfast and nothing to drink and run. You tend to the body and being in order to build your strength so you can finish with health and grace. You can’t help the “we”, the “us” if the “me” is running on fumes.
As I answered her question and addressed the issue of how to best add positively to the “us” a very clear image came to me regarding what is happening to us all right now.
It is this: We are all in the same room. We are standing shoulder to shoulder (even though that seems unthinkable now – energetically we still are). The room is dark—like a movie theatre, only there is only ambient soft blue white light from the screen. No images are currently on the screen but they come from time to time depicting what is happening around the world—we watch as an attempt to make sense of what is arising in our own reality. In the room there is also this overwhelming sense that we are all standing there awaiting the next information to come over the loud speaker. We have no real sense of an end of this time period. There is also no real idea of what is going to go on beyond this dark room and therefore it is kind of hard to even think out and certainly harder to plan what may or may not be coming down the pike or in the future. It’s frankly sort of oppressive—this place we are all in collectively. The place of “us” as my student put it—but also the place of “I.”
As I looked around the room in this vision I noticed that tension was high in this environment and almost everyone held their body rigidly and looked around anxiously EXCEPT FOR CERTAIN PEOPLE. These people were in the “us” but they weren’t frantically stressed out. These people who weren’t as tense as the rest of the “us” were the artists, the meditators, those with a relationship to a divine higher force, and those who had turned their attention within. For those people it was not the waiting for the voice on the loudspeaker that had become their god—the thing they are devoted to— it’s was their inner voice/their connection to the divine/ their watcher of the play. Every single one of these people, depending on who they were was either meditating, or sketching, or painting, or writing—doing some sort of art. They were drawing the room, or the faces, or the things they love, they were writing stories, or prayers, or poems or documenting experiences that they have had—or they were sitting quietly gaze inward. They were meditating or repeating the divine names. They were calming their minds and beings. The most interesting thing was what I saw happening to those who stood close to these people. Those people in proximity to them were actually more relaxed as well. It was this art or this devotion to something higher that allowed these individuals peppered throughout the room to weather the oppressive atmosphere of the room of the collective “us” without the tension of those around them. And even though most people in the room were (are) still waiting for the loud speaker—you could visibly see the difference that those who are turned to this inner divine sanctum are having on those around them. Those nearest them were most relaxed. They looked more casual, alert and ready, but not panicked. They were being positively affected just by being in proximity to those who are turning into higher source.
So what can we do to help the “us”? It seems two fold to me. First we can unplug for a time and find out what is happening with the “me” and bolster that. We can also turn our eyes inward or to the divine. We can get out our art supplies, or our prayerful books, we can tune into our Higher Selves, pray, or chant. As a method of understanding what is happening around us, as a method of tuning into the higher wisdom that exists (even during times of pandemics), and as a way of calming our own beings and bodies thereby building our resiliency we can devote ourselves to something higher than ourselves— in whatever way is most accessible for us.
Am I making sense here? Do you see what I am getting at? We do NOT best positively influence the “us” by holding our collective breath and waiting intensely, forever, with ramped up nervous systems for the next news to arrive on the loud speaker. Those practices are not going to get any closer to the end of this global pandemic. We have to turn within. I know that is starting to sound cliché—but hear me out for a moment because I’ve got some ideas on how we best do this if you are stuck.
I recently spent a week completely alone. Well, without my family I should say—mostly alone. Boy did I need this. I was in that intense and dried up place that months and months of 24 hour mothering, mostly being home, and incessant house wifeing brings me. Within these constraints I slowly start to shrivel and die. It’s true. (Especially the housewife bit!!!) Because I’m mom-ing and working so little right now (only seeing clients on the weekends and teaching some evenings) I also have had on the whole very little access to the things that are ME beyond mothering. My husband wisely recognized that I seriously needed a break. So I set off on my own leaving my family behind for a week. I could sum it up in three words: it was bliss!
Before I left I knew this is what I was going to do while away: pray. While I was gone I came to some pretty clear conclusions about how it benefits me personally but also how conversing with the divine would also benefit us collectively right now.
If praying feels like it has too thick of religious connotations to you- let me tell you how I see prayer: it’s a conversation with the divine. I mentioned in my book, Getting Answers: Using Your Intuition to Discover Your Best Life,that the universe is responsive to you. In fact as I’ve thought on it lately—my whole book, Getting Answers, is literally about how to engage in this conversation with the divine—and how to understand when, where, and how it is speaking back to you. To me, praying is a conversation with a benevolent force much bigger than yourself. Sometimes it is with your own Highest Self: the wise part of you that has been around for eons and/or knows why you are here. Sometimes it is a conversation with your benevolent ethereal guides (we all have them). Sometimes it is a conversation with the ascended masters that you know and love. Sometimes it is a conversation with the divine force that runs through all of nature.
As I’ve felt drawn to different prayer practices more and more I also see that on a larger scale this divine communication is part of what we are all needing to bolster our own resiliency. This knowledge, experience, and understanding that allows us to remember that there is a divine benevolent force that actually does have our back—and is willing to communicate with us even during great periods of unknown.
If the image of bending on one knee, hands interlocked sitting before your bed (or in a church) comes to mind when I say “prayer”—I’d like to encourage you to expand your notions of what this divine conversation can be.
Here are some examples of prayerful practices I have been doing lately:
Mantra repetition—sometimes using something called a japa mala or prayer beads
Free flow writing—where you specifically tune into and are writing to the divine (or one aspect of it).
Making rock stacks, or nature altars with intention, or offering flower petals with prayers
Offering heartfelt thanksgiving to the land and other gratitudes.
Spending time deeply observing nature. Nature is ALWAYS in the divine flow. It does not deviate ever. If you need to get into this divine flow get outside. Lay on your back—watch clouds and birds, and trees swaying in the wind. Do it now. Do it now while the temperature is nice! But also because once you tune into its rhythm consistently and regularly you start to know what it does for you—what medicine it holds. Then during the winter months when you have to bundle up to access it—you’ll still move toward it because you crave it—because you KNOW how it connects you to the divine. Or at the very least you’ll have the memory of you doing so to sustain you and to write poetry about! Get outside. Get outside. Get outside. Nature is healing. It’s divine. Listening to it is a prayerful stance (and one in which answers often reveal themselves).
I’ve got more with links below too.
There are so many ways to pray. I truly believe that almost anything can be a prayer with the right attitude—but right now I’m rejuvenating those practices that have held power and beauty and depth for me in the past within this divine conversation. It’s such a healing balm. So I’m offering it out to you—like a mala (prayer beads) sitting in my hand waiting for you to take them. If it’s important to you, like it is important to me, like it was to my student last night—to add positively to the whole—then focus on building your resiliency. Art, prayer, meditation is a breath away at any moment.
All my love,
Extra Resources on this topic/that have been inspiring me of late:
I read again Elizabeth Gilbert’s, India section of her book, Eat, Pray, Love. It put me back in touch with prayerful practices that have held me in the past.
My book, Getting Answers: Using Your Intuition to Discover Your Best Life As I mentioned, I realized again recently that this book is really about a conversation with the divine. In this case it’s more geared toward accomplishing tasks, getting answers, gaining desired experiences than reverence for the all that is—nevertheless it puts you in understanding that you are in dialogue with the Divine.
Buddhist Prayer of Forgiveness:
If I have harmed anyone in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through my own confusions, I ask forgiveness.
If anyone has harmed me in any way, either knowingly or unknowingly through their own confusions, I forgive them.
And if there is a situation I am not yet ready to forgive, I forgive myself for that.
For all the ways I harm myself, negate, doubt, belittle myself, judge or be unkind to myself, through my own confusions, I forgive myself.
* * *
Aimée Cartier is an author, psychic guide, and the founder of Intuition University. She is committed to helping others understand their own innate intuitive power and the positive soul guiding force it can be– through these challenging times and beyond. More about her and her work can be found at www.AimeeCartier.com.