You’re lounging in your pyjamas on a deliciously slow Sunday morning, reading a new book that has you in thrall. Your fingers are slick with buttered toast. There are crumbs in your hair. Life is good.
And then, the phone rings. It’s your friend, whom you love, and whose calls you’ve begun to dread because she’s become The Bad News Bear. She’s loving and kind and fun and you’ve known her forever and you can’t imagine your life without her, but…she kvetches. She complains. Endlessly.
She tells you, in excruciating detail, every terrible thing that’s happened since you last spoke — not just in her own life, but in her friends’ lives too. She tells you about deaths, tragedies, disasters. Everything — from tradespeople who don’t show up when they say they will, to her neighbour’s cat who was diagnosed with cancer and her aunt who is losing her marbles — is parsed with equal woe.
Your buoyant mood deflates as you slide further down your couch. Your toast grows cold. An hour later, you can’t feel your hand, or your ear. Your brain left the building somewhere in the middle of a long story about deadly aphids. You’re dying to get away, but can’t think of a kind way to end this conversation.
By the time your friend finally hangs up, all you have the energy to do is stagger into the kitchen and drown yourself in a pint of Chunky Monkey.
What you’ve just experienced is your energy field being flooded by a rising tide of your friend’s energy, along with her stories and fears, her feelings and thoughts. The Chunky Monkey? Sugar is one way your body gets back into present time, quickly. It has other, less salutary effects on your metabolism and moods, but it does restore you to yourself, at least temporarily.
So, yes, this is an extreme example of a common phenomenon. And, in this case, it’s fairly easy to track the pathway from you, enjoying a peaceful Sunday morning, to you with Chunky Monkey the only thing between you and ultimate despair.
And yet, we experience the effects of other people’s energy, their thoughts and feelings, and even of events that happen halfway around the world from us, every single day. All of these phenomena affect us, sometimes in painful ways.
We get stuck in narratives that aren’t ours. We feel helpless, hopeless, unable to effect change. We feel inadequate, alone. We find ourselves abandoning our dreams, sinking into a morass of despair or slogging through swamps of inertia and what’s-the-use. We lose our joy. We lose connection with what inspires and energizes us.
We are directly affected by the pressure of ambient events. We participate in the floating cloud of undigested feelings, incoherent thoughts, unintegrated energies that hovers around our world. Whether or not we’re aware of it, we feel the effects of all of these in our own bodies and energy fields.
The fact is, we live in intricately nested energy ecologies. The more skillfully you are able to work with your own energy field, and navigate the complex energy ecologies in which you are embedded, the more successfully you’ll create what you want to, in your life and business.
When you’re present and whole, your body and energy field are filled with the power and radiance of your soul, and of your incarnate self. Just as a healthy immune system keeps you from catching a cold — or any one of a multitude of virus-borne diseases that surround you at any given moment — a healthy energy body filters out energies in your environment that aren’t in harmony with your inner being.
On the other hand, when you aren’t present, when your inner state is more jumbled and fragmented than harmonious and whole, the unintegrated stuff within you becomes a portal through which energies that aren’t your own enter your energy field. You absorb energies from outside of yourself and experience them as though they were yours. This can lead to confusion, lack of clarity and direction, indecisiveness, overwhelm, and more.
Here’s a hypothetical example: You’re feeling kinda bored, maybe a bit lonely, so you browse your Facebook feed, or play on Pinterest, or dive into Instagram, feeling that familiar mixture of anticipation, overwhelm and increasing distance from your own body. Then, this happens:
a) You read one of your favorite blogs, or a great Facebook post. Or a sublime image pops up on your Instagram feed. You come away feeling inspired, enthusiastic, and buoyant with possibility. The feeling stays with you for a while, brightening your day, perhaps even inspiring a post of your own. Then, it dissipates…
b) You check out a link to a sales page or website. You find yourself feeling restless, dissatisfied with yourself or your business, convinced you need something. You don’t know what that something is, but you’re pretty sure you don’t have it. You’re also pretty sure you need to get it from out there — a book, a class, a retreat, a community, an experience. Maybe it will change your life. Maybe your world will morph from shades of grey to glorious color. Maybe…
In each of these scenarios, you’ve absorbed or matched the energy of the site you’ve visited.
The high you got from the inspiring post doesn’t last, because it isn’t your energy. It can reconnect you with your own soul, which is a powerful source of inspiration and enthusiasm, but if you don’t consciously shift your attention to the source of these qualities within you, the high will disappear sooner rather than later.
The dissatisfaction and restlessness you feel after visiting that website is not your energy either. But it plugs — like a bulb in a socket — into your own stories and beliefs about not being enough, not having enough, not knowing enough.
These stories and beliefs carry an energetic and emotional charge. So you end up feeling dissatisfied, restless, or empty, depending on how the energy interacts with your own stories. Or you feel suddenly angry, sad, thrilled or something else that you weren’t feeling before you began your Browse-a-thon. What you’re experiencing is the result of at least two things:
a) the effects of energy that isn’t yours, which can leave you with feelings and thoughts that aren’t your own, yet that feel overwhelmingly, and sometimes painfully, real
b) the prickle and zing of your own stories and patterns — your un-integrated stuff.
You can’t do anything with energy that isn’t yours. You can’t process it, encourage it to flow, or integrate it into your wholeness. But once you’ve identified it as not-yours, you can release it. It doesn’t have to run your life.
Discerning between feelings and thoughts that are your own, and those that are the result of energy you’ve absorbed, begins with knowing yourself. Be mindful of your own rhythms, your patterns, your loves and dislikes. Pay attention to the subtle movements of your own feelings, and get to know them. Know what your triggers are, and which patterns surface when your buttons are pushed.
Get to know your inner selves, and make friends with them. Bring them home to the heart of your wholeness, where they belong, so your inner three-year-old isn’t trying to run your business, or your thirteen-year-old self isn’t feeling responsible for managing that high-stakes meeting.
Develop an ongoing practice of centered awareness, and a daily practice of cleansing and harmonizing your energy field. This should be as simple and regular a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth. You are a physical, emotional, energetic, mental and spiritual being, so cultivate and nourish each of these aspects of your being-ness.
Ultimately, you are an incarnate, embodied soul. You don’t have to do anything to be soul — soul is who you are. But you can experience your soul’s presence within you by expressing it in your life. You can strengthen your soul-ness by doing what soul does. To be soul, do soul. Be kind. Be generous. Be loving. Be powerful. Bless the people and places you encounter each day. Bless yourself, your beloveds, your business, your world. Partner with the Devas of your neighbourhood, your business, your country, the Earth, to make manifest the pattern that each of them holds for the perfect unfolding of the life in its care.
The more you act from your soul-self, the more you will strengthen your inner radiance and become a source of soul in your world. And, the next time your friend calls and launches into a litany of woe, you’ll meet her with sovereignty, truth, kindness and love instead of burying yourself in that pint of Chunky Monkey!