Physically and Energetically
What do you think of when you hear the phrase, “you are what you consume”?
Maybe you think, “shouldn’t it be ‘eat’?” Or maybe your mind goes to, “Oh yeah, I probably should have thought of that before my extra dessert last night,” or even better, “I’m so glad I’m on the right track with my diet!” Whatever your first thoughts are, I’m betting they revolve around food consumption, right?
Well, then you’re like most of us. If you’ve read a health article in the past decade, or if you’re a whole food enthusiast like myself, then you’ve probably heard that the term “you are what you eat” has been updated to “you are what you absorb.” This phrase shifted because we’ve discovered that, even when we make good choices (like eating a healthy meal), our body doesn’t always have the ability to take what it needs because of a physical block. Which, of course, opens up a whole new understanding of what we need to do to get/stay/be healthy.
But my brain went somewhere else…what if this phrase, “you are what you absorb,” could apply to other areas of my life? Think about it for a moment – what if all the effort you put in to thinking positively, or showing up in a way that serves you, or bringing in “high vibes” – what if all that effort can’t get through? Or maybe you’re not absorbing 100%? If your subtle body, like our physical body, has a block or is metaphorically constipated, a percentage (maybe even a large percentage) of the good energetic stuff you’re trying to consume can’t find its way into your system.
And, assuming our subtle bodies are constantly picking up something from our environment, here’s another thought: What if you’re absorbing things in your life you don’t want to consume, but you can’t see what they are?
I see this all the time. You walk in my door feeling overstimulated, stuffed, and exhausted, buzzed from the constant go, go, go…but you’re not sure why. Is it diet? Stress altering your hormones? Not enough sleep?? Maybe, maybe not. But consider this: you’ve been looking with your eyes and your rational mind (the tools we use the most) at the physical world (which is where we’re used to looking for solutions to physical and emotional problems); you’ve been asking science or seeking logical proof that all the things you’re feeling aren’t crazy. Meanwhile, maybe you’re feeling so stuffed because you’re absorbing too much energetically.
You’re not to blame, and you’re not crazy; you were conditioned like the rest of us to shovel your food (life) into your mouth with a big spoon, and choke down whatever you’re being served. We get over-inundated with information, behavioral patterns, thoughts, and ideas, and then we wonder why we struggle to know who we are, what we want, and why we feel more disconnected from the joys of life. And since this “food,” these areas/stimulants, are things we can’t see with our physical eyes or touch, we don’t know how to move it out of our way.
We do have the ability to affect this non-physical stuff, though; you can make room for more of what you want to absorb. It’s not your fault that you don’t know how – we aren’t taught to connect with that part of ourselves, or we learn how to numb out as adults. In other words, this is the energetic equivalent of being an 80’s or 90’s child (like myself) who was spoon-fed processed food (eating “numb what you can’t see” like it’s a microwave dinner) their whole lives without realizing there’s no value to it (numbing isn’t changing the situation).
So what can change the situation? Numbing out is only a temporary solution. You may obtain some short-term relief from being overstimulated, overwhelmed, or (fill in whatever uncomfortable feeling you have), but the moment you open back up, all your feelings, emotions, and “stuff” will come flooding back in, saturating your system. Then you’re left with no room to integrate any of the good work you’re trying to bring in.
As painful as this may sound, we need to resist numbing out, and instead feel, connect, and start to listen to the whole conversation our body has to communicate. This includes listening to the uncomfortable parts, because otherwise, you’re only getting half the story.
Everyone has the right to heal and understand themselves on all levels. Health is not a gimmick, it is a basic human right, and healing is the natural homeostasis of the body, mind and soul. Sustainable health starts with bringing awareness to the whole story, ie the various levels of existence – physical, mental, emotional, energetic – and listening to what is being asked/said.
Energetic blockages can be similar to physical blockages – you’ll probably feel low energy, brain fog, unclear, and stuck. So how do you start to listen and bring awareness to the parts of you that you’re unable to see with your naked eye? Let’s start with some background: understanding that there is a subtle side of being human and how it impacts our physical form.
If we’ve spent some time together in my private practice, you’ve heard me talk about the subtle body and its impact on the physical space you live in. I like to think of the subtle body as an energy field around your skin suit (physical form) that informs the physical body and mind. It is the subtle component which becomes our reality – thoughts become things. Our subtle body influences our physical body through our belief systems, thoughts, information from past experiences, outside programming, and agreements. And when these are out of balance, physical blockages form.
Let that sink in for a sec: this non-physical space influences our physical bodies, in all these different ways. And most of us don’t know how to do anything about it. As a child, you were taught how to take care of your physical body (unless you were that smelly kid in school – we all had one of these moments). One way or another, you learned that you need to take a bath if you’re dirty, brush your teeth if you want to keep them, what appropriate touch is, how to ask for what you need, how to share what you like and what’s not working for you, etc…
Since the subtle body system wasn’t taught in schools, you probably missed out on a couple of levels – not only learning what to do if your energy is off-kilter (I never heard, “Brush your energy twice a day so you don’t get cavities!”, for example), but you also probably missed learning what subtle cues to look for around your energetic space getting dirty or clogged (smelly kids have those stink lines, but energetic dirt? Invisible). By learning how to read between the lines, connecting the subtle and physical worlds, you’ll be able to receive and deal with information before it physically forms in the body.
Receiving this information for the first time might feel overwhelming – it can be a lot to process. Imagine being in a room filled with 20 other people, and each person represents pieces of information that your subtle body wants to share with you. These streams of information are coming through like multiple conversations happening all at the same time. Of course you wouldn’t want to stay and listen for very long! It would be way too stimulating. That’s why many of us were taught (or learned) how to numb out. Most of us use substances, like alcohol, sugar, books, movies, etc, to escape for a few minutes before the chatter gets stirred up again.
To unlearn numbing behaviors, we can start bringing more awareness to the more subtle side of being human. This could look like having a mindful practice, meditating, or some kind of routine; whatever “it” is, it is incredibly valuable to this process. It creates a much more manageable approach to receiving information your space has to offer you.
As a side note, this quantity of information is also why meditation can be “hard” for some in the beginning. Trying to listen to 20 conversations happening at the same time; who wouldn’t be overwhelmed/overstimulated by that? That’s not a party I would want to go to!
With this greater understanding of your subtle body, start small: practice the art of awareness. Listen to the feelings and sensations, and try to hear the messages. Once you can hear it, you can work to clear out some of the noise (this is the work I teach my clients in a class called Spiritual Housekeeping), and you will have an opportunity to clear out unwanted influences. Which allows you, at last, the space you need to take in what serves you.
Like eating and eliminating, this isn’t a one-and-done conversation. You’ll learn to clear things out and dust things off energetically on a regular basis. If things are still clogged, that’s a good time to visit a teacher or healer. Eventually,you’ll notice the conversations (outside noise) will start to quiet, giving you the opportunity to hear your truth and start to absorb all the good work you’re putting in. And oh man, do those affirmative, I-am-awesome energetic cookies taste delicious!