Ungrounding to Balance

toomuchMy eyes blinked open to the sound of rushing water. 4:38 a.m.

“How do I make it stop?” I thought.

After a moment of hesitation I called for help as the water started rising up under the door, flooding the room. A pipe had burst with the fluctuating sub-zero temperatures rising so quickly overnight. All that was frozen and stuck prohibiting the movement of the water that wanted to flow. Wanted to get through.

I got help, cleaned it up enough, and managed to get back to bed by 5:23, leaving an assortment of rags and mats and towels to sop up the remaining water.

As I settled back into sleep I did think, “the water is literally trying to get to me”.

Water keeps calling me, loud and clear. It has been for months in different ways. Now, here it was – literally crashing down on top of me and starting to rise.

The next day I grew in heightened sensation across my heart and chest. I noticed large blips of energy releasing from my womb (second chakra) continuously rising up. One after another enough energy would collect together and release, rising up.

Blip. Blip. Blip.

Rising up and then getting stuck – my solar plexus through throat constricted so tightly around the accumulation of energy, holding it tight. Minor things started to trigger me significantly, bringing up a strong sense of hyper-vigilance, allowing me to hold even tighter.

Feeling a fully heightened state of panic growing stronger I started to try to ground. To bring the energy down from that place where it felt so contained and intense that I actually thought I was going to explode. I focused on the breath over and over. I stuck to my practice, trying to ground and while it would work for a minute or two all that happened was more intensity of sensation.

The next morning I sat down on my mat and all that kept appearing was the name of one of my teachers. Instead of practicing on my own, I decided to get up and go to her class even though I was exhausted. The very thought of getting to class felt impossible and like too many steps. By the time I arrived, simply sitting down in class and seeing her was enough to bring tears up to the surface. I was ready to burst.

I held it back even as I wanted to let it out (and knew that I should).

In class we worked to balance our doshas. Basically we are born with a certain balance of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space) within us and the mixture of these elements can be seen as three different dosha “types”: vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (earth and water). We have a unique composition of these elements or doshas (prakriti) and as we find our way through the conditions of life they also can become out of balance (vrakriti). To find balance is to find that original composition of the elements within us, and not be caught up in the imbalances of our condition.

Throughout class I couldn’t tell where my imbalance was. I felt so intensely heightened in every possible way – the air quality and fire quality felt like they were stronger than normal. It must be vata or pitta. I completely disregarded the possibility of a kapha imbalance.

The teacher lovingly gave me a big hug after class and the tears started coming up and out instantly. A whole bunch of emotion released and she offered that I not resist the emotions.

Afterward, I felt much better. Much more clear.

The energy accumulated again over night. Not as strongly but in the same ways and holding in all the same places. There was less of it and I wanted to keep it that way.

I had an appointment with my therapist and suddenly her office seemed so far away. Like it had never been that far before, my goodness. Even watching the numbers on the houses slowly increase until I finally got to her door felt like they dragged on for years in between.

I finally arrived and with the thought of not resisting and all the work I’d been doing to ground I simply said that I didn’t know whether to ground or to go into the sensations.

“What have you been doing so far?”

“Grounding.”

“Is it working?”

“No…”

“Well then… try going into it”.

Sigh. I didn’t want to. I already felt like I was going to explode – the energy was so strong. I knew that wouldn’t actually happen and still a part of me felt like it might.

I stepped in and started listing the emotions.

Panic. Fear. Sadness. Frustrated. Loss. Fear. Anger. Inability.

I continued and we dove into some a bit further and more and more opened up as a few more layers ripped through and so much emotion came up and out. I didn’t stop it from coming.

By the evening I felt remarkably better. Completely clear. Something about releasing these emotions was working and yet I still didn’t fully trust it or make that connection.

Even though I didn’t think I was working with a kapha imbalance I went to my teacher’s workshop the next day. I didn’t know, but she could (thankfully) see it. The traces of the panic and emotions had returned and were accumulating again with less intensity than the day before.

We moved through a lot of energy and emotion through the class, releasing even more.

The key for me was also learning that an imbalance in the doshas always means there is too much of something. Too much earth, water, fire, air or space. The “too much” then also takes on a quality of being overactive (rajas) or under-active (tamas).

This suddenly made so much sense. My kapha condition (or imbalance) was that I had too much water and earth. This condition is often tamasic or lethargic and that quality was certainly there underneath and the main quality was rajasic – overactive. So even though I was feeling all this heightened energy it was the kapha that needed release (which also helped explain my simultaneous inability or lack of desire to move or change or do anything about it).

The water and the ground are rising.

Too much water and too much earth.

No wonder I’ve felt panic and the inability to breathe.

I can’t add more ground (as I was trying to do to ground the sensations through breath) when the imbalance right now is too much ground. It only makes things worse – more intense.

Too much ground.

The water wants to release.

It needs to rise up in order to release and that rajasic quality to the energy was letting it do just that. Except – all I wanted to do was add more ground to it. Cover it back up. Get away from the discomfort of all that build up. Sleep. Holding the energy was exhausting and sleep could let me avoid having to do anything with it. Plus it felt so cozy and comfy and satisfied the other more tamasic parts of my imbalance.

Right now I see the ground as old experiences I’ve locked away and the water as the old emotions also swallowed down and stored in my body. I’ve done so much work to draw all those things up to the surface – I like that part. The part I don’t like being caught off guard by is the waves of emotional release.

I like holding on. I’ve been doing it for a long time, collecting stagnant energy. I’ve been working a lot on getting that energy to move and… it’s starting to move. I’m letting it move in some places now freely and restricting it in others – resisting. Still putting on the brakes, just not as firmly.

So I have a choice. I can either hold it all in my body. I can hold it all in my solar plexus and heart and throat. I can continue to choke down all that old energy again and again and let it settle in my body.

Or… I can let it go. I can go into it. Feel it. Stop holding on to it all. Clear it out.

It’s the opposite of everything I want to do and everything I have always done. Except I know how to do this now. I know I won’t explode by facing things. I can start to trust the safety of allowing the flow of energy and emotions to happen. I don’t like it and it’s the only way out.

The majority of the energy has passed now. Traces keep accumulating and releasing and soon it will all be moved through.

I feel exhausted and wiped out except I’m not. Not really. That is just on the surface (coaxing me into false inactivity). Wiped out would mean some sort of lacking. In fact I have “too much” right now of a couple of elements. That’s all. And they want to come out. This layer wants to heal. It wants to be let go or it wouldn’t be rising up to the surface.

The best part is I don’t have to do this alone. Just like the call for help at 4:38 in the morning to fix the bursting pipe and water rising into my place I wouldn’t have been able to do this on my own. I needed people there to recognize what was happening when I couldn’t and know how to approach it. To help allow me to “burst”, to help me dive in, and let the water rise up and out, releasing the excess ground with it.

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