It’s very common, especially during a crisis such as a global pandemic, for those in the healing arts who are often empaths, nurturers, and givers to over give.
Those in service-based industries are usually very intuitive, very oriented to anahata (the heart chakra and healing center), and highly sensitive people who are masterful at working with those traits. These are your superpowers and makes you good at what you do.
The shadow of that is when your heart chakra gets out of balance—meaning you’re not grounded, centered in your own experience, or processing your own emotions and feelings, and you’re giving out a sense of need rather than abundance.
To keep anahata in balance it’s important to know when you must pull back from your giving nature. When you over give, you have an excessive heart chakra. It might be overdeveloped or it’s a coping mechanism for what you’re experiencing.
Take a moment and observe. Does this resonate with you? Are there times when you feel like you’re over giving and not able to process your own emotions?
Whether you’re a therapist, yoga teacher, educator, or anyone in a service-based industry, it’s important to know how you can stay grounded and tend to your own emotional and mental needs while also holding space for others.
Here are some important takeaways from my video:
I want to give you permission to pull back and withdraw from any outer or generative force if you don’t feel like that’s where you are. It’s especially important to be mindful of this when going through a life transition, challenging time, and yes, a pandemic.
This is something that I learned I must do. My father passed away about a year ago, and there were several different phases over the last year when I needed to literally pull off of social media—Facebook, Instagram—for over a month at a time in the fall, summer, and winter.
I had to completely pull my efforts inward and not have external reach. I didn’t have the energy for it. I needed to tend to my own inner world. It wasn’t an active healing process, but I needed to reserve my energy for myself.
In a recent interview with my friend Danielle LaPorte she explained that during the pandemic she also had to pull back and notice when she was jumping in to help friends or reach out too much out of a need to feel validated and to meet the expectations of others to show she was loving and supportive. This co-dependent tendency is common with teachers, healers, therapists, and others in the healing arts.
I had a similar conversation with Maria Sosa, from Holistically Grace who maintains a large following on Instagram, regarding how she shows up and offers support, inspiration, and education as a professional on that platform while at the same time addressing her own needs and her own emotional journey as we go through this crisis.
Ultimately, we want to cultivate a balanced state of heart chakra. So that you’re giving, but you’re giving from a place of overflow, you’re giving from a place of generosity, and from a place of true inspiration.
The most important thing is that you’re creating from your intuition; from your truth.
If you’re not in a place to create from abundance, it’s OK to pull back and balance your needs.
In our Yoga.Pysche.Soul.TM training we often talk about feeding your own inner spirit first. I also love the phrase: create before you consume. You must tend to your intuitive spiritual practice—whatever nourishes you (going on a walk, journaling, reading inspirational and spiritual books, etc.). This is definitely about putting your oxygen mask on first.
And then, if you feel inspired and if it’s true for you, offering to your students and people from that place.
It’s important to notice that you are triggered and what is activating to you.
Recently, I went on my personal Facebook feed which I don’t do very often, and I was scrolling through and it was so overwhelming to me. There was one dear friend from graduate school who is intubated with COVID-19 and I didn’t even know he was in the hospital. Another friend whose father is in a coma, another one’s father-in-law is in a coma because of COVID.
I came out of that experience of scrolling my personal Facebook feed and was so overwhelmed and felt so much sadness. As a therapist and like many of you, I’m a highly sensitive person and have a strong intuition and strong capacity for empathy.
Knowing this about ourselves, it’s important to really monitor our triggers and know our own constitution and capacities
In my case, I knew I had to pull off Facebook and tend to my own emotions. In addition to naming my feelings and breathing, I asked my partner for nurturing.
Any kind of breath like sighing moves energy out of your body. Sounding out of your body is very important. Singing, chanting, yelling—make any kind of sound your body wants to make.
Shaking is an incredible tool to discharge energy and emotion. Literally shaking for 5 minutes is one of the best things you can do—just like a kid, just like an animal.
Keep in mind: You don’t have to do anything. You don’t have to show up. You don’t have to heal the world. You don’t have to inspire every day or every month if that’s not where you’re at.
I’d love for you to share. What are the practices for you that are helping you manage your own overwhelm, sadness, grieving, and anger? What do you do to keep your own vessel strong and clear to be in service?
That was a Whole, Entire Word of Affirmation. Giving myselfnpermission to pull back hard, at first attempt but is becoming 2nd nature for me.now as the triggers become more apparent in this season of change for me (I returned tondostnace teaching in September). I typically pull back and refrain from posting on social media, engaging in conversations that trigger anxiety and stress and I go outdoors: walking my neighborhood with my daughter, exercising in our living room and listening to meditative music. I’ve gotten much better at calling a thing a thing for the sake of avoiding emotional and spiritual fatigue. The challenge is rebounding from those unexpected triggers and/ or experiencing which are unsettling because they touch on a pain point not fully healed.
Oh my gosh Ashley, the timing of this was amazing. As some of you know, in the past 18 months, I’ve lost my mom, marriage, moved out of my house and living in various places, lost my dog and my business shifted due to COVID. I haven’t taken much time off from teaching yoga, and my massage practice has been slow because of the pandemic. Through all of this my left hip has progressively gotten worse; intense pain when I go to bed, guarding, decrease range of motion, and some days I can hardly walk. I’ve been getting more aggressive with my treatment seeing an acupuncturist, PT, massage and chiro/applied kinesiologist. It’s amazing how emotionally charged it is. When I think of my soon to be ex-husband is when it flairs. The hip becomes so guarded that I can’t move. Stuck, support or instability are words that I’ve been using to describe my sensations, which is exactly how I’m physically in my emotional body. Last night I contacted the few yoga student’s that I have and told them I needed to take some time off of teaching (6:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. twice a week). I told them I needed to go deeper in my own healing journey. THEN this morning I was getting caught up on e-mails when I came across this one. PERFECT….thanks for affirming my decision and for looking out for us! I’m SO grateful that you are part of my TEAM!!!! I knew when I signed up for this course last January that it was exactly what I needed! Bless you Ashley!
Thank you for this conversation. I needed it. I am feeling so depleted and drained, that your conversation was a reminder to retreat, regroup, and recharge myself. I am a social worker trying to empower and support parents through remote learning, as well as taking care of my father that is bed-bound.
2020 has been challenging.
Yes save yourself FIRST before saving others.
My morning sadhana is number 1 on my to BE list.
And then I can handle my external responsibilities.
Trying to remember to feed my own inner spirit first (devotions, exercise, walk).
thank you for providing this!
Thank you show much ! I follow you on Instagram but I have decided to take a detox . Iam still connected to you and your videos !