Thursday, March 14, 2013

Just RELAX, man!!

Before going out into the field to do research or going on expedition, I try to make it a point to do something to balance myself emotionally and physically.
I want to go out there without any preconceived notions, judgement or expectations, but I also want to be sure I'm not traipsing through the wilds of who-knows-where all jangled to the core from a disagreement that morning or any other one of life's daily stressors.

To be in tune with nature, and its inhabitants, we need first to be in tune with our own rhythms- physically, mentally, emotionally, and even psychically and spiritually ( if you make practice of them ).
Meditation and meditative breathing are wonderful tools, as too is smudging. (see pictures of me below ) There are many different examples you can research online so I won't go too much into detail here (find one that's comfortable for you), but even if you take a few moments to sit quietly, eyes closed, and focus on your breathing, you'll find your body will automatically begin to seek homeostasis and balance. Breathing a nice gentle deep breath into the belly through the nose to a count of 4 ( both inhalation and exhalation ) is one of my personal favorite ways of balancing myself and clearing negativity in a jiffy if I don't have a lot of time to spend on it. Just a few minutes is enough to get you started and you can even continue doing this exercise out in the field.
 Smudging is an age-old form of clearing away negativity and bringing peace and positive energy to you. A smudge stick is a bundle of dried herbs. It can be any one of a number of herbs or combination of them. My personal favorite to use is a bundle of Sage, Sweetgrass, and Cedar.
Sage banishes negativity, Sweetgrass attracts positive energy, and Cedar is for protection. The smudge stick in the pictures below is white sage.
Again, there are many forms of smudging just as there are ways of meditating. Find what works best for you and your situation.
The main point is to ground and center yourself for the work you will be doing. Being balanced is the first step to going out there and doing great work in your field of research.
If you are stressed when you go into the field, not only will your work not being enjoyable, but the creatures of the forest can certainly sense that energy about you and will either avoid you or react negatively to it.  Remember.....An ounce of prevention( and preparation ) is worth a pound of cure!

In a meditative state of relaxation with spine as straight as possible, aligning the Chakras

Lighting smudge stick. Briefly allow it to flame, then gently blow out flame

Allow it to smolder. The smoke is purifying.

Using a feather to waft smudge smoke

Using hand to waft smoke while focusing on grounding and centering


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