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Once upon a time, I was allowed back into our city of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. I had spent months embodied in adrenaline based worry, loss, panic, despair and anxiety after the natural events. I felt I was endlessly swimming in the middle of a body of water, trying to find a stable shore or at least a murky place to stand and just like our city, kept sinking with uncertainty. Home at last, with remnants of PTSD, our homes drowning and everything falling apart, I received a call I will never forget. I was formally invited by an assistant to Dr. Masuru Emoto to Lake Ponchartrain of all places, the very waters that flooded my new home.

I cried a river over you.

Dr. Emoto was a famous Japanese scientist and author of the first book I happened to pick up and read in my evacuation called, “The Hidden Messages In Water”. It really drew my attention with such a message on it’s cover. I too was trying to figure out how all of this could be healing or what message I wasn’t receiving. This along with Pema Chodron’s “When Things Fall Apart” were the 2 medicinal antidotes in writing I needed at the time.
“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to live in no-man’s land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

“To be fully alive, fully human, and completely awake is to be continually thrown out of the nest. To live fully is to live in no-man’s land, to experience each moment as completely new and fresh. To live is to be willing to die over and over again.” When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

Upon receiving this call I, for the first time since the aftermath of the storm, felt joy enter back in me. I thought I had left joy by an evacuated, abandoned roadside. After that call, I wasn’t putting on a fake smile to try to get through something. I spontaneously felt the corners of my mouth lift, my skin get warm, my life force back, breathing easeful and my cells charged with light. I felt a real joy filled “yes”. This type of “yes”, one undeniable, is when the Soul is aligned with and ignites the entire body naturally.

At the lake with Dr. Emoto, many Professors, musicians, scientists, Voodoo Priestesses, doctors and healers were present along with a few Tibetan Monks & Emoto’s team from Japan. We sent prayers, hopes, strength and gratitude for our survival to the water as a ritual, offering a cleansing acknowledgement to our suffering. It of course was the assimilation process that we all needed, shedding and transporting our own fears, exhaustion and sadness to anyone still experiencing the after effects of trauma. Through uplifting speech, we talked to the water. It was Dr Emoto’s belief that that prayer, through sympathetic resonance, could also raise the vibrational frequency of the water’s current consciousness, a symbol of the shared atmosphere of us all.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron

In Divine synchronicity, here I was, by a lake I had a hard time looking at because it took my home and life away. It was a salient permission to change directions and view this differently. The storm was a milestone never to be forgotten in all of our lives in the Big Easy in its catastrophic and rough on the edges entry, yet I still hear a second line or 2 eternally.

“I’m gonna lay down my burdens down by the riverside. I ain’t gonna study war no more.” Black Gospel published 1918. Writer unknown

The Hidden Messages in Water

Emoto’s book brought an incentive to attend to my emotional health during my evacuation. His hypothesis was similar to that of cymatics and geometric wave patterns through healing tones and resonant communication that I was familiar with through the work of Rudolf Steiner and so his pictures of frozen water crystals with specific words or sentences exemplifying discordance or concordance in matter was not too esoteric to me.

Pictured in his book were frozen water crystals exposed to sentences such as “ I hate you”, which had very non-congealed, disfigured shapes. Words such as “love” or “wisdom”” had interconnected uniquely geometrical patterning’s mirroring natural harmonic order and sacred geometry. His book emphasized a correlation to what occurs inside of us since we are mostly water, at about 50-60% as adults and 78% as children.

Denying an emotions assimilation, metabolization and elimination process can leave us dry of taking responsibility for ourselves emotionally. Emotionally undernourished, we then have no idea why something triggers us because we have no idea where such programming comes from and even if we do, it still feels uncontrollable.

Emotions are related to survival, heightening the sympathetic nervous system. They are always valid to the one feeling them and in some need of consideration as a part of our evolutionary process and holistic growth. If gone unrecognized or unattended to, they will eventually dump themselves somewhere or shut us down, impoverishing our state of health and presence, surviving instead of thriving.

“Emotion”, from the Latin word “emovere” is translated as “to remove, move out, or agitate”. The sympathetic nervous system, related to emotions, the limbic system, the right brain hemisphere and to serotonin levels, doesn’t always allow for a moving out of emotions right away if the primary concern is staying alive. Bessel von der Kolk M.D., author of “The Body Keeps The Score”, states that this can damage both the healthy aspect of the imagination of the creative right brain hemisphere through depersonalization, or going numb, coincidentally clouding the memory or the maturity of structure and logic of the left brain hemisphere.

We state to let go of our past a lot in yoga. This can sound a bit lofty. And how really? If the past is unattended to, which includes this morning, yesterday as well as our childhood, it will be difficult to be present in adult bodies now. This is incentive to say the least, as I myself do not want to remain a stuck little girl in an adult body but instead a strong woman with the vigor and play of youthfulness.

In our Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher Training, one definition of trauma that stuck with me was “the inability to be present.” Allowing ourselves to remain emotionally broken down is an unattended to child in an adult body. Being here now pays regard to no longer being infantilized emotionally from what has past so that a youthful, vivid, healthy imagination of the present is enlivened and enjoyed.

Everything we do can further stabilize or destabilize our emotional health. It’s not just the unprocessed, inner child past we turn to, which is commonly the cause of emotional programming. We can keep emotional instability going through taking on too much, keeping unhealthy company, staying up too late and having poor diet or recreational choices, all devoid of emotional repair, perhaps even amplifying it further. Anything left unattended is not a state of healing.

The Emotional Sheath: Manomaya Kosha

The Map of Consciousness in Yoga, called the “Kosha System” offers us insight as to the nature of emotions. It demonstrates the most Original aspect of us and how we went through sheaths or layers to slow ourselves down into an eventual nonlinear physical form.

Within the very middle epicenter of this layered system is the emotional body, called the “Manomaya Kosha”. Although emotions can not be narrowed down to just one part of the brain, anatomically, a major measurable location is the amygdala in the limbic system within the temporal lobe. This system diagrams energy fields, but as a physical expression it is our basic functions of understanding, motor and cognitive skills as well as what we emote or feel, forming decisions from these basic inner child felt senses.

“I think, therefore I am.” quoted by Rene Descartes is the primary function of the ego/emotion based “Manomaya Kosha” whereas the Soul, or Atma, our Origin and Cause might state “I am, therefore I think.” Emotions and the ego, as their nature, commonly dominate our entire reality, feeling to be a cause instead of an effect.

In this 5 sheath system, the emotions, caught in the very middle, can get close proximal feedback coming from all kinds of different directions. Considering this dimensional layout, its quite understandable how our emotions seem to get entangled, complex, polarized, dormant or dominant.

The Basic self or Inner Child

The “Inner child” or “Basic Self” is something I learned in Energy Medicine. The basic self of you is the one that wants to have fun, gets excited, enjoys, wants entertainment, needs to be loved, needs to be taken care of and is assuming an inherent trust.

A child needs to know their emotions are being heard, and have been given permission to feel. They can’t initially regulate their emotions or bodily functions until learned by mirroring a hopefully healthy and present caretaker. Helplessness and survival is often a primary prompt to the heightened emotion of a child and an inner child.

As an adult with an “inner child”, the inner adult needs to know how the emotional body is doing and so any emotion is indeed important communication for a healthy and whole system.

The Emotional inner child can also be quite creative, innocent, and lack awareness to boundaries until learned. Without a balance of both the inner adult and inner child working symbiotically we can remain arrested developmentally. Effects to this may be a harmful lashing out or disassociation.

All emotions must have a processing period or they metastasize one way or another, internally or externally from the basic self. When feelings lend themselves towards inner suffering, our “interoception”, or, “how we feel and sense inside and somatically”, is numbed, which can dull proprioception. Commonly, since emotions are not crucial to literal life and death survival, the basic self can often take a back seat and is disadvantaged, feeling neglected or frozen.

If attended to, our basic self assists us as adults with healthy emotional responses, such as feeling sad when experiencing loss instead of numb, or enthusiastic when someone they love is happy instead of jealous, and compassionate overall to the suffering of all beings. The basic self offers playfulness and a youthfulness to get out of the box with far less predictability and more of a healthy, curious imagination.

The Calibration of Emotions

There is an incredibly helpful book and teacher that assisted making some sense out the nature and resonance of emotions as levels of consciousness. It offers a process of emotional maturation, no longer bypassing our own emotions by forever blaming others or staying busy, both still signs of repression.

This calibration system of emotions has personally inspired a permission to feel each emotion responsibly while having some reference point and foreshadowing signs to how certain emotions might affect the physical body.

I have shared this calibration system in my more newly revised Reiki 1Training. This is called a Map Of Consciousness but it is not from the Yogic System or any cultural or religious system at all. Here, emotions are presented purely as frequencies of energy. There is no moral judgement to them ethically. It is by David R Hawkins MD PhD and can be found in his book Power Versus Force.

Each emotion in this map particular of consciousness has a calibrated measurement to it from 0-1000. According to Dr. Hawkins, this is accessed by measuring emotions through muscle testing and kinesiology.

Shame: Calibration 20

Shame for instance, is one of the lowest energy resonances we can feel as humans, measuring at 20 It is a very slowed down measurement with very little life force igniting it whatsoever. This could be why shaming others as a tactic often proves damaging overall to the value and worth of life itself. Since we also speak to attractor fields in the levels of consciousness, often those that shame others carry a tremendous amount of shame themselves, keeping a degrading cycle going.

“When we get triggered in our wounds of shame we will do anything to anesthetize that pain. Often, we will project out more judgment to avoid that pain within.” Judgement Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein

Anger: Calibration 150

Just to show you the variances of enumeration, anger, which is often marginalized as bad, could promote serious build up’s of hostility if narrowed down as such. In the scale, anger has a much higher calibration than shame. It measures at 150, This is a drastic jump in the scale of consciousness. It is much healthier on the bodies systems and might even ignite fire, burning through inertia at such a lift.

Anger, according to this map, is not a place we would want to remain as still it destabilizes the bodies systems, substantially clouding judgement and compromising the immune system, but it is growth out of some of the lower calibrations, such as guilt, apathy and grief. This is a colossal evolutionary shift. Since we are multi faceted beings, it may be difficult to demonize any one emotion according to this chart.

Pride, Neutrality, Willingness, Acceptance and Hope

It is obvious from this chart there are more choices of higher resonating life force feelings than anger that are much more anabolic. Pride, neutrality, willingness or acceptance, for instance, are steps upward and quite different in measurement. Hope itself resonates at 310 as a frequency.

As a point of reference to dropping, clearly if you are in joy, measuring 540, anger, down at 150, could be a toxic or possibly harmful concave that is catabolic. If there, of course, it is to be felt, still noting your point on the field. This simply provides a map from which to witness our vantage point at the moment.

Dr. Hawkins has stated that most humans on the planet resonate at the calibration of 175, which is pride, the total association with the ego. He also states that often humans do not shift much from this number unless something deeply matters to them or they experience something devastating from which to change.

“You’ve got to learn to leave the table when love is no longer being served.” Nina Simone

Courage: Calibration 200

Where you see the line at Courage, which is at 200, is quite a jump in terms of the general population that is truly the big turning point in the measured calibration map. Anything from the line of courage upward is anabolic in the system and anything under the line does have the potential to be catabolic or desynchronizing overall as it activates it’s’ like attractor field.

It is courage that starts to get the emotions to express themselves in vital, healthy and helpful expressions This is the line drawn to what is now magnanimously powerful and no longer forceful. Force will always decline health and consciousness. This motivates us to make powerful changes instead of forceful ones, feeling naturally supported to apply a more life affirming emotional maturation or valor. Courage is a vital step for us all. Courage is the first trait of a Yogi described by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita.

Joy: Calibration 540

Joy can change us on a cellular level and bring the innate serenity back to our minds even in very trying and ever so unsavory times such as life’s storms or hurricanes.

Joy is medicine. There may be a stigma that it is a candy coating, as though something to attain and something to feel ashamed about if not. We may pretend we are happy but joy is not that at this calibration. It is simply what happens once what was repressed is set free.

Joy shifts you. It’s magnetic. It’s a clear and undeniable effulgence of your spirit even when attending to burden and hardship.

“Whatever lifts the corners of your mouth up, trust that.” Rumi

In this type of highly calibrated and unconditional joy, we are still very much aware of suffering, loss, tragedy, anger, sorrow and critical thinking and aren’t pretending hardship is not there. In wisdom, we dance in all of those things with awareness, having checked in, not out.

The moment we think we may loose joy it is not joy that we think we are in. Joy might be covered up but can not be lost. Joy emits naturally when what was unprocessed is set free. Joy is expressed differently at all times and in all beings. It may be silent or boisterous. Metabolizing any experience fully is joy. The more we have processed anything, the more room for joy there is.

Emotions unprocessed are expensive, taxing, tiring or volatile. Fatigue equates as unhappiness in the body. It’s when joy is tired. Joy does not take energy or anything from anyone. Joy is you having breathing room. It is the abundance of your health, no longer in inner poverty.

There is a ritual we do in New Orleans for Mardi Gras where everyone gathers in front of Jackson Square to bring their burdens to the Mississippi River waters and set them free. cleansed, purified and remembered. That is joy. We do it every year, be it in grieving or in celebration, it’s still joy.

According to Paul Douglas, a leading Ayurveda Doctor, teacher and author in a conference I just attended on Metabolizing Emotions, all unprocessed experiences eventually read as a very deep sadness in our body, creating toxicity, or “Ama” in Ayurveda. Each experience can nourish our development, Even the difficult and unsavory ones.

Use Your Imagination

An imagination is a vivid sign of crafty and ingenuitive joy even in unsavory conditions. It counteracts a distressed right side of the brain when it begins shutting down both the memories of the left brain and the imagination of the right. A healthy imagination might even be what gets us through an unsavory condition or inspires us to process something ourselves with less hurt towards ourselves or others.

A healthy imagination and your creative potential might be the very sign that some pain has passed.

“I can’t tell you what kind of joy to put into your pocket, but everyone needs a pocket of joy.” Jonathan from Queer Eye Netflix Series

One of my most anabolic things in my pocket is Bhakti Yoga, the yoga for devotion and as a tool to process any emotion. It is my pocket full of joy and my happy place. Don’t forget yours and that anytime you need, you may lay all burdens or joys down by any riverside, as the river accepts you in any condition.

My Pocket of Joy Includes:
#1! Bhakti Yoga: The yoga of devotion, expression, art, writing, playing and
listening to music, singing, serving, dancing, laughing, loving, seeing others free
Walking Barefoot in nature
Going to the beach
Singing like no one is listening
Skipping between teaching yoga classes
Cooking surprise meals
Making Love
Telling someone I love them or they are beautiful, talented and worthy
Lighting candles
Praying for others
Smiling at someone
Planting a garden
Cleaning The home
Being with children
Being with our elders

“Only joy can be the final outcome found for anything” A Course In Miracles Lesson 292

“I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles disappear. It’s gonna be a bright, sun shiny day.” Jimmy Cliff

Remember your pocket full of joy, Swan Michelle

If you wish to go even deeper into these essays, check out my popular Dharma Deluxe package that offers online videos courses, songs Mp3’s resources, and greater depth to each month’s topic. It is a very affordable way to receive dharma and stay in touch with conscious themes together.

YOUR FIRST MONTH IS FREE and you can cancel at any time. I put my heart into it.

This months dharma deluxe course is on what too is my pocket full of joy, BHAKTI YOGA ONLINE VIDEO COURSE

My BHAKTI Yoga Video for this month includes:

  1. Learn a chant to the Divine Mother
  2. Discussion on emotional health as expressions of consciousness
  3. How to play simple harmonium with 3 notes
  4. How to play and chant 3 more complex mantras
  5. How to pronounce basic Sanskrit
  6. What Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion that is for the emotional body is according to key sutras from The Bhakti Sutras