My Reiki Journey Part 3: Managing My Own Energy
Once Reiki training helped me better manage my own energy and energetic sensitivity, it became much easier for me to distinguish between what energy was actually mine and when I was sensing something from other people. It's all so confusing at first, because the way energetic sensitivity works (in my body) is that I feel things happening inside my own body even when they have nothing to do with my condition. So, until we have a very firm grasp on what energy originates in our body and what is actually affecting our body from the outside - it can feel like all energies happening inside our body also completely originate from us. (Curious about Part 1 & Part 2 of My Reiki Journey?)
For someone who is energetically sensitive, "all the feels" can be happening "all the time." All the icky feelings, all the romantic feelings, all the hurtful feelings, all the health feelings- it's all there, all the time. Just learning how to manage our own "feels" is hard enough. Learning how to separate our internal feelings from outside feelings that might find their way inside our body is an entirely different task that's much easier to accomplish after we've learned how to better master our own feelings and health choices. I do not say that lightly, because this journey hasn't been short or easy by any means. It didn't happen after one meditation or reiki class. It has been a lifelong process of learning, experimenting, failing, and trying over again in order to get closer to a place of recognizing and repairing my own "holes" so that I can personally better understand that feeling of being "whole".
Here's a common example of how outside energy can get inside and affect us- and I think most people who have driven a car can identify with the transference of energy in this situation...
You're at a stoplight and someone honks their horn incessantly behind you. It's a red light, no turn on red, and you can't legally make any moves. You're stuck and they're stuck, yet they keep laying on their horn out of frustration. Up until this point, you were perfectly happy going about your normal day. However, after you hear their blaring horn, you now feel upset and agitated by the person behind you. Suddenly, instead of happily going about your day, you're now feeling anger and frustration at the sound of their horn, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with you and the situation isn't one you can change. Sound familiar? Now think about how someone's anger at home or on TV might affect you as well. We are surrounded by opportunities to be "affected" by outside energy, and living in a bubble isn't a sustainable option, so we need strategies to manage it all.
Before I understood how to manage my own energy better - I would take on that outside energy and get mad and upset at the inconsiderate person who was triggering me. It might take me a good hour or more to shake off that feeling and get back to my happy place. Other people that I rode in cars with would take that reaction to another level by flipping the person off out the window, or speeding out of the stoplight in anger, or any other number of angered reactions- all of which were triggered by someone else's problems that we couldn't do anything about. We weren't yet self-aware enough to realize that we had the ability to not react and not spread the anger onto others.
Now, rather than taking on that destructive energy and multiplying it back out into the world, I might shake my head and feel sorry for the person who is spewing their problems on everyone around them. They are literally making the world around them a more hateful and hurtful place. So now, rather than stepping into that energy and participating in that anger, I choose to consciously step back and remember that someone else's problems do not necessitate an action or reaction from me. At first, this is not easy AT ALL- it takes a LOT of practice before it becomes natural to separate the mind-body reaction and make it a choice to not respond to energetic triggers and emotional projections.
To a naturally empathetic person, it may seem cold and uncaring to let someone else's problems go by without joining them in those feelings (or in that cloud of energy which may have actually traveled from much further before them), but over time it becomes easier to hold a place of compassion for someone else's anger, hurt, sadness, or frustration, without actually internalizing it and multiplying it through our own feelings and reactions. It's also important to recognize that there is nothing "wrong" with having negative feelings in the first place- those feelings are great energetic lessons about where we may be stuck ourselves or need healing in our lives. If we ignore negative feelings, and we ignore facing them as energetic lessons, we are also ignoring the opportunities we have to heal ourselves.
Reiki is just one of many things that has helped me master holding that space for someone else without taking it on personally. Now that I've experienced many different solutions for dealing with "all the feels", I know which ones are most effective for different purposes in my body. Here's a little breakdown of practices that regularly help me master all of the feelings I can sense from others, as well as understanding my own energy better:
Meditation - helps me find my mental/emotional balancing point of peace and gives me a centered mental place to return to, which helps me with a lot of mind-body connections and flight/fight responses
Tapping (EFT) - helps me deal with sudden surges of anxiety and fearful thought patterns that seem to come out of nowhere and get in the way of returning to my emotional center
Yoga - helps me release tension, stress, and worry that accumulate in various areas of my body, and it tunes me into exactly what feelings I physically store in certain parts of my body
Reiki self-care - helps restore my vitality and stamina in a way that feels twice as rejuvenating as taking a nap, and just as centering as meditation. I also use Reiki to help me with pain relief in certain nerve, organ, and joint centers of the body that aren't as easily reached with yoga. After Reiki self-care, I feel more energetically protected in a way that allows me to enter situations I previously would have avoided due to my sensitivity.
Do I do all of these practices every day? No way. That would be a bit of overkill for my daily routine. I use the "take as needed" approach. Also, please remember that I'm not a medical doctor and this isn't to be taken as medical advice. I am only one example of sharing my story and what works well for me and my body.
If my muscles are stiff - I know I need to make time for Yoga.
If I'm feeling mentally unfocused and scattered, I know I need to make time to Meditate.
If I'm feeling energetically exhausted and drained, I know I need to make time for Reiki.
If none of these practices are helping me, I know it's time to seek outside medical help.
After I started doing Reiki self-care daily, I found that I was using meditation and tapping much less than before I practiced Reiki regularly. The more I practiced Reiki (along with every other healthy habit I could incorporate into my life), the less I felt energetically off-balance or triggered by negative energy around me. Reiki has become like a type of energetic forcefield to help me better manage living in a hyper-energetic environment like New York City. Thank goodness I already had some meditation and yoga practice under my belt before I got here- because this city can be relentless and consuming.
If I haven't done Reiki in a while, I usually begin to notice certain destructive feelings and triggers creeping back into my body in unexpected ways. This city is overflowing with all kinds of energetic triggers, and I've learned that a lack of self-care can do some serious damage to a highly sensitive person living here. Even with all the work I've done on myself, I'm still human. I don't have solutions for everything - but I'm always willing to keep learning, exploring, practicing.
.... Do you have a regular practice of emotional, mental, and physical self-care? What helps you better manage your feelings and reactions to the people and situations around you?