"Go big, or go home!"
"No pain, no gain!"
We're all familiar with these statements, and others that also glorify intensity, drama and suffering. I definitely used to be a member of the Harder/Better/Faster/Stronger camp. I think it was a combination of my desire for efficiency, my highly competitive nature and the need to receive instant gratification in knowing that my efforts had achieved some immediately measurable result.
It took me an embarrassingly long time, but I finally learned that healing doesn't work that way. In many ways, I almost felt exempt from the Universal Laws of subtle energy movements. See aforementioned competitive nature. "If anyone can heal overnight, it's me! I'll just do this one big ritual and I'll be good!" Then Spirit would kick my ass in some form or another and I would be forced to slow down, work on the subtleties and not try to rush anything or create some grand Hail Mary healing gesture.
There were times when I was moving through deep healing crisis, and the only thing I could do to work on myself was some mini personal practice, but I committed to doing it every day. One of the most gratifying examples of this took place a couple of years ago as I experienced the trials of the Portland housing market and had no idea where I was going to live. During a healing session, the practitioner told me that my root chakra was almost entirely shut down. I remember thinking, "That can't be right. I'm very grounded." But as I considered this information, I realized that I hadn't adjusted my personal practices to accommodate the destabilization I felt from losing my home. I silently promised myself in that moment to work on my root chakra and my sense of safety every day, even if only for five minutes.
When I saw this healer again a couple of months later, she noted that my root chakra was not only fully back online, but huge! Also, all of my other chakras were more balanced and aligned because of the work I had been doing on my root chakra alone. Aside from the measurable difference in my energy field, I emotionally felt safer, more secure and confident, despite the upheaval in my living situation. I had worked every day for a few minutes on internalizing my sense of safety, rather than having my safety be dependent on external circumstances.
I share this story about subtle personal practice right now because this exact phenomenon is coming up for many of my clients and people in my immediate surroundings. I have had more discussions about subtle personal practices in the last couple of weeks than I have ever had in my life.
In a conversation with a friend of mine last week, we got around to talking about energy clearing. I perceived that his field was a bit "dusty" and asked him what he did for a clearing practice. "You mean like a sweat lodge?" He asked. I answered that a sweat lodge was a good way to do some bigger clearing, but asked again what he did every day for himself. "Oh. Nothing," he answered. At this point Spirit started poking me with a very direct message, so I asked him, "Do you believe that subtle daily practices actually work?" He looked a bit taken aback as he thought for a moment, then, almost sheepishly, answered, "I guess not."
We all like magic fixes. We like thinking that there's one golden gem of a ritual or practice that we can bring in to clean up our energies and erase all the wounds. That's why there are so many "Intensives" out there in the healing and coaching world. There are plenty of retreats, ceremonies and other ways to experience a supercharged dose of healing. There is absolutely incredible value in dropping into your process and doing nothing else for one day, three days, five days, a week, but unless your awareness of the subtleties and your established personal practice is there to back it up, it is not sustainable and the energies won't stick around. While much less sexy, the subtle consistency of your daily personal practice is going to be the thing that saves your ass and creates the solid foundation for all other healing work to take place.
I guarantee you that the subtle work that you do every single day will be one of your greatest tools. This is what will allow you to become intimately acquainted with your energies, your process, your intuition and help you cultivate a strong energetic foundation. It is this foundation that will provide a clear container for whatever intensive healing/coaching/ceremonial work you do, and give you a place to channel that infusion of new energy.
I tell people, "Doing a subtle practice two minutes every day for 30 days is more powerful than doing one hour of practice once a month."
How can you harness your own power of subtlety? Check this out:
A Personal Practice Primer
Congratulations! You're ready to begin your subtle personal practice. Here are some things to consider:
It's a good idea to receive some support in the form of healing work or coaching to help you determine the best direction for your personal practice. What energies would you like to develop?
How much time can you commit EVERY DAY to this practice? I tell my clients to choose something in the range of 30 seconds to 1 hour. Choose the amount of time that you confidently feel you can commit to every single day. If there are some days where you do more than that, that's great! But at very least, you are setting aside that minimum amount of time.
The Practice Itself
So, what are you actually doing during that timeframe? Part of what dictates your practice is the amount of time you allot. For example, if you give yourself an hour, that's enough time for some journaling, breathing meditation, embodiment practices and affirmations. If you give yourself 10 minutes, maybe a brief visualization and affirmation practice would be more appropriate. If you give yourself two minutes, you can create a brief, but rich practice of silence, gratitude and simply being present in your body.
Here are some suggestions of a few things that you might want to weave into your personal practice:
- Self-healing work (Reiki, chakra balance)
- Embodiment practice (gentle movement, stretching, yoga, exercise)
It's important also to change up your personal practice every now and then so it doesn't become stagnant. But for now, just get started!