For me, soul is where spirit and body merge, the place where we can explore our multidimensionality, the many layers of our experience. Strength is the card in the Major Arcana where our animal bodies meet our spiritual selves. I want to share with you some simple methods for reconnecting to your body, your energy, and in turn, your soul, so you can feel safe and strong enough to journey into your deeper layers. While our spirits are whole and complete, our bodies take more time to catch up. “Catching up,” or merging spirit and body, is what we are here doing, and it takes time. When our bodies are grounded, more of our own energy can occupy our space, and we are available to listen and tend to our sensations and needs, instead of being bombarded with outside energy, or operating from a system that needs more soothing than stimulation. You know the feeling of being overwhelmed, when you just can’t get your space and you want to throw your hands up and say, “enough!” We have all been there, especially as sensitive beings. When our systems are overloaded with stress, we go out of body or we shut down; while helpful in the moment, over time it creates issues around having access to body awareness and cues that tell us we need to set a boundary, or leave an unsafe situation. It can also disconnect us from access to our feelings of pleasure, joy, desire, and love. Our deepest knowing lives inside of our bodies, and if we are disconnected, we remain apart from the magic of truly trusting ourselves. We also become more susceptible to outside energies that can knock us from our center, our place of inner strength. It becomes harder to access higher wisdom from a place of wholeness, where the facets of us that need healing have been met, loved, held, and integrated. Disconnect happens through cultural messaging, as well as through trauma. We have all the wisdom within you already, it is simply a matter of committing to uncovering it and honoring it. When we can acknowledge the pieces of ourselves calling out for our attention, we can begin a new relationship with those aspects of ourselves that are longing to be held and expressed, so we can live mindfully, rather than having our unconscious bits take over and cause a ruckus in order for us to be able to see what it is we need to be paying attention to and respecting within. We try to tame the wildness within us by turning away from these pieces of ourselves, because it can be scary to meet these raw and unruly pieces; until we realize these parts of us are the treasure, the ones who will require us to step out of expectations and into our true desires, intuitive nature, and personal power. From a grounded place, we can allow space for our creative nature, emotions, and untamable wildness without trying to control, suppress, or stamp out our shadow or our light. When we do so we encourage everyone around us to step into their truth courageously and compassionately as well. This is the practice of presence and dynamic aliveness. This is the practice of learning that strength does not mean force or control, but rather being with ourselves closely, and listening kindly to what is here for us to be with and love through. At its core, strength is about self trust, which will allow trust to exist in our relationships to all that is.
Practices for Reconnecting to Your Inner Strength
Boundaries mean saying “no” as much as they mean saying “yes.” It means being in complete ownership of your time, energy, and resources, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Creating boundaries entails having discernment around what is truly valuable to you, and that requires re-evaluation regularly as you grow and change. It means creating space for what you want to feel and experience, first by deciding what you need to let go of in order to do that. A willingness must exist to do the courageous work of living your life on your own terms, in a way that nourishes your ability to show up for yourself, and replenish your reserves so you can show up for others. Make more room for what fills you up, and release what drains you. Sometimes this means letting go of relationships, or simply stepping back. Communication makes boundaries more solid and clear, as well as compassionate. We don’t need to be overly protective or defensive of our space, when we are fully inside of it and owning it as ours; but a certain level of integration of past trauma and healing of the nervous system is important in order to feel like we are in charge of our experience. Grounding practices are vital for being able to own our space, heal, strengthen ourselves, and sense subtleties within our bodies that are vital to our well being. We are in charge of how we meet our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our souls, and each other. Find your space first in the quiet moments you make for only you. You will notice your impulses to quit, reject, and give up are much more calm, and drastic changes or abrupt shifts are less nourishing than finding how you can weave these changes slowly, creating a new way of seeing and being; your choices will follow the tone you set. The tone begins with what you allow in your space, and making clear what you are no longer available for, so what you are available for can find its way into your daily life. Boundaries can be as simple as saying, “This is what I am available for and desiring to engage in. This is what I am unavailable for and unwilling to engage in.”
Make a date with yourself in nature. Even if you live in a city, gravitate towards the plants growing there, keep an eye out for flowers and trees that entice you. You can find a quiet spot in a park, or if you live near wild places, take a hike on a trail or walk along the shore of the ocean. Maybe there is something that has been on your heart or mind, something calling for you to look at in a new way. Or maybe it just feels good to empty the mind and move the body. When you feel the urge, stop at a place that feels inviting. Get yourself still enough to just listen and notice. Ground yourself into the present moment with your breath, maybe some movement. Feel the earth as your body, and your body as the earth. You can bring a journal after some time spent grounding, and write what comes up for you. But you can also just notice. Be a witness to your immediate experience. See how what you notice (animals walking by, the feeling of fear, the feeling of bliss) is a reflection of your internal state. See how this quiet noticing, sitting still after moving your body, is a way of discovering deeper emotions and thoughts alive in you. Witness nature moving around you, watch how you move within nature, and notice how you feel taking up space as a tiny, vital piece of this vast world. Maybe something you see in nature has a message for you. Ask a tree or a plant what it has to say about it’s experience…you might hear just what you needed to hear (because after all, you are the one listening!)
If you don’t feel like getting outside, you can create a ritual for yourself indoors to tune in. Make it work for you, keep it simple. There is no wrong way to create a ritual, it is as simple as being with yourself, and you can get creative. You can light candle, burn some sage or palo santo, put on some music, or create an altar with some of your favorite stones and images that evoke a feeling you wish to honor. The purpose of ritual is to acknowledge something sacred and personal, to recognize a threshold has been crossed, or a journey that is beginning or ending. It is grounding and centering, and keeps the sacred alive in the “ordinary.” I love to create altars as a simple ritual of reverence to the sacred in the ordinary. Altars are a way to a sense of home wherever you are, a reminder of your power to create safe spaces for yourself. Any space can be transformed into an altar, and anything of meaning to you can become a part of this creative dedication. See the altar as a living prayer, a liminal space bridging seen and unseen worlds. I place little offerings of love to the mystery, to spirit, to the unfolding self, to the earth, to the cosmos, to those who have gone on before me, to icons of divinity or humanity– any piece of inspiration along the journey. I may write something to call in or release and place it on the altar with intention, or I may collaborate with another person or a group of people, a creation honoring the collective vision. The altar exists in the space between stillness and movement, between knowing and un-knowing, where I give deliberate attention to the moment.
Making time for creative expression is so valuable. It doesn’t have to be big or grand or even beautiful. It is just about making the space for something to be expressed through you. It is about being moved. You can gather together magazines, glue, paper, colored pencils, or paint, and make a collage. Collage is a wonderful way to explore the subconscious. It can be very interesting to see what images draw your attention, and then to start noticing a theme coming up as the images collect. Freely painting or drawing without an intentional outcome is also a way to move into the flow without the critical mind determined on “outcome” getting in the way. Dancing to your favorite music is another way to move beyond what “makes sense,” and into pure sensuality. Drumming is also a potent way for me to come into presence with the rhythm of my body and energy; letting myself be moved by the beat that comes through is grounding and enlivening. More sensuality, less sense will bring you more here, and less somewhere else. Getting out of the logical mind and into the body and emotions really helps move energy, emotions, releasing perfectionism, stagnation, and soothing the nervous system. Stagnant energy can result in bottled up emotions, which can result in aches, pains, inflammation, and general funkiness. On that note, maybe being creative, going on a walk, cleaning your space, or making time for a self-created ritual feels like too much right now. How about just getting some bodywork? Lying down, breathing, and receiving is an amazing way to reconnect to yourself. Or maybe being alone and quiet doesn’t sound helpful, and you just need to talk to someone and let it all out. None of this has to be complicated. Inner strengthening is all about listening to your deepest needs. Keep it simple. Keep it present. Keep it you.
Having a meditation practice focusing on grounding reconnects us to the earth to replenishes vital life force. Sinking into this stillness and being with what is, will naturally clear away energy that is draining you. I like to think of it as bringing me back to me; after all, we are made of the same components of the planet! Grounding through meditation will help keep you balanced, with greater grace and fluidity. In order to unwind and release, we first have to anchor.
Once you connect with your body, and the flow of energy between you and the earth, you really don’t need to worry about “doing” anything except being present. It is about connecting you to your body, your basic goodness and well being, and creating spaciousness in your experience. Allow what comes up to come up; focus on you in the present moment. Trust that with practice it will become easier and you will see changes happen externally when you can come back to yourself again and again. You can do this anywhere, at anytime. It is the simplest and most profound practice of energy management, and often overlooked as so much of what we are taught is about “getting somewhere else” to get what we need.
My favorite way to ground through meditation is in nature. Whether you live in a city or in the countryside, find a spot that feels inviting. Sit on the ground, perhaps with your back against a tree, or a rock that hugs the curves of your body. Take a few deep breaths from your belly; inhaling in through the nose for 4 seconds, out through the mouth for 8 seconds. Or gently breathe from the belly, letting it rise and fall with the inhale and exhale. Feel that all that you need is right here, right now.
Imagine opening your root chakra, at the base of your spine; feel a golden thread, dropping all the way to the center of the earth (or imagine it however feels right to you.) As you anchor in, receive the energy of the earth. Feel your body as the earth, the earth as your body; feel the interplay of energy. Feel how held and supported you are. If you want, you can imagine the cord, or thread, spreading out as wide as your hips. Feel the fullness radiating down your legs, through the bottoms of your feet. Open the energy centers at the bottom of your feet, connecting down down down to the center of the earth. You can also visualize your body as a tree, or a rock, or the ocean, and feel what that is like. Feel the earth energy running up through your entire body, through every cell, muscle, bone, organ. Feel yourself being nourished. Feel you coming back to you. Stay in touch with your breath, but don’t worry about how you’re breathing, just be with it.
You can also visualize the energy moving through your auric field, the space that belongs to you, all around you like a beautiful globe that protects you and nurtures you. I also call in colors that feel healing and nourishing. Gold, violet, and emerald are my go-to colors that fill me with unconditional love and strength.
Make grounding a daily practice, whether that is through time in nature, ritual, movement, body care, creativity, visualization, or breath, or whatever feels essential for you. You are in charge of your space, and your intentional practices will greatly strengthen your body and energetic field over time, making your boundaries clear, your vitality bright, and the way you move through the world graceful and connected.
3 thoughts on “Major Arcana VIII: Strength Part Two”
wonderful reminders about a practice to stay in our bodies, Emily. I have not been able to connect myself with an alter practice, but feel clearer about how much I want to do this. Thank you!
Angela! Thank you so much for stopping by and reflecting here. It’s such a personal practice, it really does come from feeling and that sweet timing where it just lines up and feels natural; as you can probably tell I am not a fan of following rules set out by others on “how it should be done,” and that certainly goes along with “when it should be done.” I love making altars with intention, even if that intention is subtle…like, just wanting to have my own space and connect in. Then it becomes really interesting to me what comes through, what I choose to arrange, and how that weaves its own story and reflects back to me something I may not have even been conscious of. It’s a magical way to reveal deeper longings and knowings. Always with some room for the mystery. xxoooo