Managing Stress in Uncertain Times: The Tree Mediation
How does one remain calm in the midst of a global crises? We all have different coping strategies for managing 'Coronavirus' Stress. Personally, nothing calms me more than being outdoors on a warm, sunny day. Puttering in my garden. Walking outside. Reading on my deck. Yet, in the Northeast, early spring is uncooperative and unpredictable. Most days are cold. Many are cloudy, rainy, or windy. Today, it snowing. Definitely not conducive to my outdoor, stress-reducing activities.
The majority of the population has been told to remain indoors as much as possible to avoid the spread of Coronavirus. Yet, self-isolation is lonely. Even boring. Many, like me, are beginning to feeling stir-crazy. This alone, is anxiety producing.
One of the tools I use to manage 'indoor stress' is utilizing the following meditation. Its a quick and easy way to ground oneself-even if one is not a 'practicing 'meditator':
You may find that you prefer to be barefoot for this meditation, allowing for the full experience of connecting with the earth. If you find that wearing socks or standing on a mat is more preferable, please feel free to do so.
Now, place your feet flat on the ground. Notice your soles and the sensations you feel. Notice how your feet feel with the connection they have made. Rest your arms gently by your side.
Scan your body slowly for areas of tension- areas of unrest or stress. Maybe your head or neck is tight. Maybe you notice your shoulders are held high. Let go of any knots in your stomach or your heart. Relax your arms, your hands. Relax your gluts and legs. Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes. Just relax.
Now, notice your breathing- is it fast and labored? Maybe it is already slow and steady. Just take a moment to become aware. We will begin to focus our control on our breathing. Let’s do this three times. Breath in deep, and breath out, pushing the air through your nostrils. Breathe in with awareness, breath out with strength and purpose. Last time, breathe deeply, pulling the breath into your stomach, feeling your rib cage and lungs expand. Now breath out, pushing the air out of your lungs, out of your nose, out with strength.
Now let’s add another element to our breathing:
Imagine roots, as if your body is a tree. Let your legs and the soles of your feet descend as if they are the roots of a tree. Your feet extend deep, deep into the ground, deep into the core of the earth. You may notice you have very thick roots that firmly pull you down. Roots that connect you to the energy and strength of the earth. You may have some thinner roots that spread out to cover more area, ensuring more security and abundance.
Now breathe up through the roots- move your breath from the soles of your feet, up through your calves, and thighs. Feel the breath move through your legs up to the core of your body. Let your tree grow up through your ribs and shoulders- with your outbreath, relax your arms and neck. Feel the in breath in your throat and let it expand into your head, relaxing your brain, your forehead, your thoughts. Imagine, with each in breath, you are extending the roots up to the crown of the head.
Feel your energy move from the soles of your feet up through your head and into the sky. With each in breath, notice the cleansing energy come into your being. With each outbreath, release all of the tensions in your body and negative thoughts in your mind. With your next in breath, feel the power of the earth move through the roots of your feet up through your stomach and heart, to the top of your head. With your outbreath, gently release this stress; let it go into the air, let it go into the sky. From the roots deep in the center of the earth, draw energy up to the crown of your head.
If you get distracted just notice your thoughts then let them go. Accept your distraction then draw your attention back to the soles of your feet, your roots, strong and powerful.
Notice your breath, notice the energy you draw from the core of the earth. There is abundant energy. As you breath out, let your stress and emotions escape into the atmosphere. Continue to breathe deeply. Pull the energy from the center of the earth, feel the energy cleanse your body. Feel your outbreath releasing the tensions and worrisome thoughts you carry.
You are encouraged to continue this breathing until you are relaxed, reenergized, and free from stress and tension. Breathe in deep from your roots, from the soles of your feet. Pull in the energy the earth has to offer. Allow this energy to spread throughout your body and allow your stress to be released from the crown of your head.
When you are ready, please start to shift your awareness back to the soles of your feet. Notice how the ground feels below your body. Notice the connection your feet have made with the earth. Be aware of the energy the earth has given to you.
Bring your awareness to the strength and relaxation that you now embody. Bring your awareness to your roots and to the connection you have made. You are encouraged to bring this energy and peace with you throughout your day.
Give it a try. You may be pleasantly surprised at the results