The Hummingbird, whose medicine is JOY, represents your inner royalty; JOY is at the heart of ruling your kingdom, of rising above any situation, of overcoming challenges with ease. JOY fuels the ability to be emotionally agile; to hover, move forward, backward, up, down or sideways. When we have JOY in our lives, we can live with EASE.
In this exercise, you will spend 3.5 minutes a day for 6 days writing to the Hummingbird within – that tiny space with the capacity to hold something magnanimous; your inner JOY as it relates to the ways Hummingbird moves in the world and where you are in life (hovering), where you have been (backwards, sideways, up and down) and where you are going (forwards).
To assist you in accessing the joy-filled Hummingbird space, consider getting in touch with your younger, well-prepared self – the self that enthusiastically throws herself into experiences and is not afraid to express the full spectrum of her emotions.
JOY can be found anywhere, experienced at any time. Often our JOY can appear to be unmoving as if in a state of torpor to survive the winter of our chilled hearts.
Hummingbirds can rest and perch and even withstand the cold temperatures but they cannot be confined; trapped JOY perishes as quickly as a hummingbird trapped in a cage.
1)Set a timer for 3 ½ minutes
2)Write freely in your magical diary
3)Consider structuring the entries in the form of a short letter addressed directly to Hummingbird
4)Use the below prompts (one per day) to assist if you feel stuck
Our emotions, and how we respond to them, can be as nimble as Hummingbird when JOY is fully honored, ignited and expressed:
Hover – take a pause and feel nourished by where you are right here, right now. Where is your JOY? What brings it to you?
Backwards – employing hindsight we can honor a time in the past when we felt joyful. Write to hummingbird about how you hold those images and moments dear to your heart. Express gratitude.
Up – a chance to look down from a perspective of above; what JOY does Hummingbird see from this vantage point? What opportunities are there?
Down – write to Hummingbird about a time you doused your JOY for what you thought was the benefit of someone else.
Sideways – was there a time your JOY was expressed in a way that made you or others uncomfortable? Was it misplaced because it wasn’t fully expressed?
Forward – commit to Hummingbird your intention to spread JOY within yourself and share it with others
On the 7th day, after you have spent time addressing and uncovering the JOY inside, take what has been stirred up and turn the energy towards your closet, where clothes offer an immediate channel for expression.
Spend just 3 ½ minutes looking at or even just thinking about your current closet.
Ask yourself: what clothing inspires JOY in you? Is there something you don’t typically get to wear that you wish you could? A Sequin romper? A silk robe? A pair of panties you think are only for “special occasions”?
Build your outfit for the day around this item and commit to embodying JOY in your fullest expression, even without speaking, and experience how your heart sings a new tune.
Or perhaps you recognize it as a melody your heart sang before you grew accustomed to denying yourself access to the JOY, the Hummingbird, within.
Once these exercises are complete, notice how Hummingbird begins to again make the joyful sounds in your life – a buzzing feeling in your heart like wings beating 50 times per second.
A personal note:
This practice is adapted from a dream I had the night before I would be officially saying good-bye to my father’s house. For months I had put every ounce of me into spending his final moments with him, to planning his service, delivering the eulogy and then moving out of our home of 20 years. My entire being was exhausted, my business was on hold and I hadn’t seen my daughter in weeks. This dream reminded me that whether we are in the rut of our mundane lives or even in the depths of grief, JOY remains and begs to be set free.
Helena Grant is a Life Stylist on a mission to help women live the lives they desire and deserve by exploring channels of creativity, wellness, spirituality and material abundance. She works 1:1 with clients to find profound, lasting and fully-embodied happiness. CLICK HERE to discover ways to work directly with Helena.
COURAGEOUS A Transformative 5-week Journey of Coming Home to Your Infinite Self Do you find yourself contemplating transformation right now? We are all cocooned inside, facing the reality and intricacies of our relationship with ourselves. Understandable considering...
It’s a new world now and with all the upheaval, the drastic changes and the pall of uncertainty, nothing will ever be the same.
And yet, there is still truth and JOY to be found, even if in some ways we are being held captive in our homes in order to stay safe and healthy.
Well, we also need to stay SANE and that’s not always easy, especially considering the global crisis around us.
In some ways, I have quite a bit of expertise when it comes to mental health, and I come by it honestly through the best possible school in the Universe: experience.
As a highly sensitive person who learned early on how to hide and disassociate from intense emotion, I needed to unravel ineffective coping mechanisms that throughout adulthood started causing more issues than they were solving (because really, drinking red wine and smoking pot will only get you so far in life…).
Luckily, I have acquired an incredible toolbox and as I develop my Life Coaching practice, I am eager to share what I have learned, and what works well for me.
And so I present to you a snippet of my favorite tools right now – some are obvious but great reminders. Others are more novel and might make you go “WTF?”
Regardless of your response, I hope that what I share here is helpful and maybe even beneficial in these moments of social distancing and beyond. Especially #7 which is rife with methods that will serve for all your emotional triggers – now and in the future, whatever that looks like.
In my opinion, we create our own realities and with this global pause button, we have a perfect opportunity to reassess and recalibrate how we are showing up for ourselves (most importantly!), our families, our communities, and our businesses.
So here they are, in list form:
7 Tips for Staying SANE
Stick a pen in your mouth
Listen to nature sounds
Drink more water and BREATHE
Emotional Freedom Technique
The other day my daughter was helping me tidy up the house. The sun was shining, igniting the fragrance of the bright green grass outside. The windows and doors open, we watched and listened as birds flitted and chirped around the feeders.
While my husband and I tried to stay on task with the organizing, she threw her arms out and twirled around stating, in a sing-songy voice:
It feels like we are cleaning up Winter and welcoming Spring!
Adorable and insightful, that one.
And it’s true. Though we are all hunkered down right now, exploring what it feels like to bake bread with our own hands and have a government-induced reason to binge-watch Netflix, there is something in the air that hits this time of year.
And it ignites a desire to sweep away the old and welcome the new.
And with it comes the benefits of not only controlling what you can (the environment of your home) but it also feeds the relationship between our internal and external landscapes.
As without, so within.
And if you know me, and my work, you know that I’m all about cleaning up the closet!
Going through your clothes can be an exercise in reviewing who you have been, and with my methods, can help put you in touch with who you are becoming.
Because we are all going to be showing up differently so now is a great time to shift.
And since you might be looking at your closet facing another form of OVERWHELM, take a look at my self-study Capsule Creation Course. Creating a capsule wardrobe within your current wardrobe is an amazing way to get in touch with what you love to wear and what you want to wear more of – it becomes the backbone of a more in-depth editing process and it’s gentle and accessible. Both welcome feelings right now, as always.
Stick a pen in your mouth
This relates to what I mention above about the internal and external landscapes.
And I don’t mean eat the pen.
Rather, in a horizontal orientation, place it between your teeth. Doing so literally forces you to “smile” rather than have that RBF (resting bitch face) all the time that contributes to droopy jowls down the line.
We want to come out the other side of this pandemic better than when we went in, mmmmkay?
Leave the pen in until you start to drool.
That should be just enough time to lighten your mood.
Listen to nature sounds
One of the delightful results of what we are going through right now is fewer cars on the road, quieter streets and thus more opportunity for nature to infiltrate our lives.
In the past century there has been a global and systemic disconnection from nature – as if we have been in denial of what is truly within and around us for the sake of “progress”.
But now, all the factors we thought indicated our superiority over nature are shuttered and unavailable for the health and safety of our human race.
We have to stop racing, at least for the near future, and how wonderful we can relish in evidence of something much larger, older, and wiser than we are.
The cycles of nature continue despite our own shutdown.
Blossoms bely the unemployment rate and the warm sun can still fill isolated hearts with optimism.
Where I live in Connecticut the road in front of our house typically sees over 200,000 cars a day. But now that number has dwindled and at night, for the first time since moving here five years ago, I can hear the peeper frogs sing a nightly symphony from the banks of the river across the street.
If you don’t have access to any sort of nature, here is LINK to some relaxing river sounds.
Listen and see what happens for you. Yes, for you.
All of this is for us. It’s not happening to us it’s happening for us though being in full acceptance of that might take some time. (Scroll to tip #7 for more on expediting that process).
Drink more water + BREATHE
Back in my days as a wilderness leader for children, I was known as “The Water Dictator.” At the start of every trip, before we left basecamp, I would insist everyone drink a certain amount of water and then refill their bottles before setting out. And then I would monitor how much everyone was getting throughout the day, or days.
Many rolled their eyes but I knew well the effects of dehydration: lethargy, crankiness, hunger, inability to think straight.
Not ideal when you are on the trail. Or anywhere, really.
And I find that now, without the typical zeitgeist of yoga classes and errand-running, I’m forgetting about how much water I really need.
The trickiest aspect of mild dehydration is the hunger – a lot of times we think we are hungry but really we are thirsty.
So take a few nice big gulps of water the next time you reach for another #coronatinesnack and then wait a beat – you might find you don’t actually need the whole bag of chips to feel satisfied.
Oh yeah, and BREATHE.
Personally I forget this one. I get tense and I hold my breath. But that’s even worse than being dehydrated.
Doubly worse when you are not breathing and not drinking enough water.
Basic self-care, people. We can’t get our nails done right now but we can hydrate and breathe and keep our bodies functioning at an optimal level.
I admit it. When I first learned about this approach to “moving energy through the system”, I thought it was huey.
And there are plenty of people who refer to EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) as pseudo-science.
Which is understandable because of all the scientists who have studied it, no one can prove why it works.
Which doesn’t matter. Because sometimes we don’t have to know why something works, just that it does.
Once I got over how cooky and New Age (though it is based on ancient Chinese practices of chi and the presence of subtle anatomy energy meridians) it seemed to tap on various points on my head and torso while repeating affirmation-like phrases, I found exactly what the name implies: freedom.
For most of my life, I normalized anxiety to the point that I didn’t know what anxiety was, just that it was the way things were for me.
Once I eliminated my coping mechanisms (see reference above to wine and marijuana) I had to face a whole lotta EMOTION.
I felt anything but free.
And this practice has been a cornerstone coping mechanism for me anytime I feel that familiar sensation of tightness in my chest that has been known to cause the intermittent panic attack.
I promise, you won’t think it’s weird once you experience how well it works. It’s simple, accessible, and free.
Free freedom? Yes, please.
Here is a quick VIDEO I made walking through an anxiety release with a short introduction to what EFT is.
I am currently enrolled in a 200-hour yoga teacher training that, of course, is now online.
This past weekend one of my peers asked the question: why do we do yoga?
My initial what-a-stupid-question response surprised me but then I quickly checked myself (I am becoming a yoga teacher, after all) and realized that not only was it a valid question, it was a great one!
Yoga is an ancient practice that was created in order to better attain a deep state of meditation. By synchronizing breath and movement, all kinds of beneficial things happen for the body, mind and spirit which yoga (derived from the word yolk meaning union) works to bring all together.
Stretching relaxes us and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which supports the sympathetic nervous system which, working together, is what keeps us healthy and vibrant.
Which is exactly what we are looking for here, as always.
Strong, healthy and vibrant beings. YES!
So if you haven’t tried yoga, it is now even more accessible than ever with many studios offering online classes. I particularly like “live” classes where the teacher interacts with you directly so search your local studio )or beyond) for their mixed level classes.
Okay, so I saved the best, and my favorite, for last. Thank you for sticking with me (or scrolling down here from the top because you wanted the goods first).
Either way, I would like to introduce you to a concept that has turned me from one of those people who has a beautiful life but is deeply miserable into someone who can take leaden emotions and turn them into gold.
This is what I mean by Emotional Alchemy.
I truly wish I had discovered this process decades ago but alas, when we are really ready to learn, the teacher appears.
The premise of the process is rooted in the approach that as humans, we are responsible for our “ride” and our experience on earth. As such, we exist in a non-dual paradox that offers us the opportunity to experience a full spectrum of emotion.
So while there might be some boredom in your life right now, maybe you are feeling trapped and isolated?
Well, there’s literal GOLD in that situation and in some ways, a part of you, and all of us, wanted to know what that felt like both individually and collectively.
Kinda trippy, huh?
And it really, really works.
As an empath I have always experienced emotion viscerally.
Say something terse to me and it shoots through my veins like a bullet.
Give me a compliment and I have to grip onto the nearest piece of furniture.
Tell me something sad and I crumple to the ground.
But, when I learned how to alchemize my feelings rather than repress or deny them (what we are taught and often forced to do), the world around me changed because I began to interact with my experience in a new and rather exciting way.
Now life is more of a game.
Sure there are some D-I-F-F-I-C-U-L-T moments (because they are actually part of the fun) but they don’t have the same devastating effect on me they once did.
I have more energy. I get sick less. I’m able to show up for myself, my family and my business in a new, purpose-driven way.
And let me tell you, that is the ultimate goal of gold.
So, as you play the game of life, I offer to be your cheerleader as you navigate these remarkable times, while we set new precedents on a global level.
In any of the moments of questioning who you are or what it looks like for you on the other side of this, who you will be and how you will show up in the world – start to ask: who am I being right now?
It might be a question you ask more than once and when you do start exploring what that is, a whole lotta emotion can come to the surface.
That, too, is a game and I can be the one on the sidelines cheering you to the ultimate victory: self-knowing and living an embodied and fully expressed human existence.
It became an existential debate – an internal conversation not just about what I spend my money on but even more profoundly, questions that centered around:
Who am I?
What me am I presenting to the world?
Of course they were fabulous. Well-made and ostensibly, quite comfortable considering I was teetering on my tiptoes, supported by a thin nail in a plushly-carpeted store.
And I think, in essence, these beautiful shoes spoke to me on a deep level because if I was a pair of shoes, I would totally be a pair of sparkly leopard open-toed booties.
One hundred and ten percent.
And yet, no matter how hard I tried, nor how long I sat admiring how adorable and sexy my feet looked as the light of the store danced off the glitter…
…I could not see how these beautiful specimens would “fit” into my life both literally and figuratively.
Sure I could have worn them that very night to the Gwen Stefani concert I was attending in Las Vegas. Paired with my denim jumpsuit they would have garnered just the sort of attention and compliments I revel in; the kind I dress for, the ones that are an acknowledgement of my embodiment and my ability to create unique ensembles.
But where else, and with what, would I wear them?
I spent many (MANY) painstaking (VERY PAINFUL) moments ensconced in envisioning additional circumstances that would justify the significant investment.
And I couldn’t.
Despite how creative I am, regardless of my visionary capabilities and in spite of how much of me just wanted to swipe my card and prance out with one of those adorable shopping bags, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.
I saw them becoming a WATERFALL ITEM and, even worse, something that might claim a position on top of my closet, out of reach and only taken down occasionally; something that might garner resentment.
Resentment not just because I might not have many opportunities to wear them but resentment because they just don’t relate to my life the way they might have, or the way I might have been able to convince myself they would, even two years ago.
They were absurd; and yet absurdly amazing.
And as such, they would not have eased into any realistic position in my current wardrobe.
They wanted more than that from me.
They wanted attention on every level.
And I fell deeply in love with them for that.
I felt perfectly at home in them at that moment, ensconced in the glitz of Las Vegas, but I knew they would not be at home once I returned home.
Everyone in the store was on board with me purchasing them. There was a sheen of peer pressure to take the plunge and just splurge.
They are amazing!
They are so YOU!
Those shoes are high fashion!
It felt like a lot of noise. All of the words and thoughts reminded me of why I personally prefer to shop for myself ALONE.
And in the end, after a time-warp of 90 minutes spent in debate, I came to the decision that I would feel more powerful walking out of the store without that beautiful bag of shoes in hand.
And please keep in mind, that whatever you bring into your life, what will serve as an extension of you and your energy, and either bring you levity and inspiration (or the opposite) – all of it needs to be aligned with who you are, who you are being and even who you are becoming.
But I find that in some situations, it’s best to create the space for something new. By not buying them, there’s room for something else that will truly serve me in my own transformation from someone who previously never thought twice about buying something that spoke to her on any level.
And so some of my purchases were not always level-headed.
Now I am realizing that in the work I do with others, and particularly in the work I am doing on myself, my own shifting, the conversation goes much deeper than those booties would have allowed me to go.
At that particular moment.
I am well aware that as proud fashionista and recovering shopaholic, those sparkly leopard open-toed booties might well haunt me.
But better that they do so from a distance rather than in physical form on a high shelf of my closet.
And maybe someday, after I daydream about them enough, I might proceed with bringing them into my life.
Because, you see, it’s about so much more than just the thing when it comes to style and our personal expression.
We get to decide. We get to choose what we buy, what we wear, who we are, the stories we are telling the world and ourselves.
And in those excruciating moments, I could not write a future for those sparkly leopard open-toed booties.
But I’m grateful for the experience of having tried them on and reveling in the beautiful brand Sarah Jessica Parker has created.
And I’m particularly thankful for the space that still exists in my closet and for feeling no remorse leaving the store empty-handed.
I could feel as I walked away that my bank account rejoiced and my soul breathed a sigh of relief that I’m no longer convincing myself that I am someone I am not.
I no longer need to hide, to create a façade behind anything.
The beautiful and the ugly, the joyful and the painful can all exist side-by-side.
And I will dance anywhere and everywhere no matter what is on my feet.
Helena Grant is a Life Coach and Transformative Style Healer specializing in bringing the spiritual to the physical by helping women express themselves through clothing. She works virtually one-to-one with clients who are ready to re-shape the way they see themselves and design the lives they truly desire and deserve. Find out more by clicking HERE.
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