Suggested Exploration for your Practices this month:
In Chinese 5 element philosophy, Late Summer is a season that brings us a pause. It is the space between the yang expressed in Spring and Summer and the yin energy of Fall and Winter. This year it is a season that has been speaking to me about the concept of home and the energies that the frequency of home brings to our lives.
Home offers us a place where we can rest and recharge our batteries; it holds the sense of pause that is such a relief to land in. Home is the safe base from which to venture out into the active world, knowing that we can return at the end of the day and replenish anything that has been lost or used up. It serves as a foundation for the rest of our life. It literally gives us the space to hold, process and digest our lives. And home is a powerful way to evoke gratitude. Just thinking about this soft place for me to fall into at the end of a day lets me connect to the feeling of being provided for, cozy and held.
In my Tai Chi and Qigong practices this month I have set an intention to discover these qualities of home in my lower Dan Tien. I allow myself to root into the reality that home is a frequency that I carry within myself and cultivate a felt-sense of this energy center as the foundation of my being. My Dan Tien, the earth within myself, is the center that I can return to at any time. To help me play with this, I have been doing visualizations. As I begin a daily practice I spend a few moments letting my breath collect the scattered, distracted parts of me. The air of my breath then delivers all of me to the Dan Tien, and once I have landed on the solid ground of this home base I am ready to begin. As I flow through the moving exercises of the form that day I allow and try to sense how each movement is energy originating in the Dan Tien moving out and expressing in the rest of my body and energy field. Finally, when I have finished my adventure, I imagine the qi I have collected flowing back into and collecting within the Dan Tien.
It is a relatively simple mental exercise to imagine beginning in, flowing from and then returning to the Dan Tien, but I have been delighted to find it offers my spirit profound nourishment. It reminds me that my source of stillness and peace is not an externally supplied resource, but an internally held one. The threat or uncertainty of not being able to access what I need or the fear that I will not be able to make it back to safe ground instantly evaporates. When my concept of grounding involved a tether into the external landscape, there was always the threat of getting cut off. Once I anchor my center and grounding within myself, I am free to detach from the outside circumstances that I find myself moving through. From this safe ground I climb to a broader perspective – a vantage point from which I can see that the waves around me may carry me and toss me about, but only I decide if they will unsettle me.
Connecting to the frequency of home within me also gives me the freedom to feel at home wherever I find myself. I have found that this practice of connecting with my Dan Tien and recognizing it as home base has furnished a path to inner stillness that I experience as more peace throughout the ripples of my life.
I invite you to spend some time connecting to the frequency of home or of late summer in your own practices this month and trust it will be a useful foundation for whatever the rest of the year will bring. Wishing you joyful explorations in the infinite energy field.
Susan Lucas, M.D.