Energy. A word we use so often, carrying many different meanings. We may speak about feeling that our energy is low or high on any given day in connection to our mood – or that we don’t have enough physical energy to do something – or that a certain person or place has a positive or negative energy. There is also the idea of energy as connection to the flow of “life force,” or prana. We constantly use, create, release, and conserve energy – beginning with the energy of our bodies on a deeply molecular and cellular level. We take in energy when we eat; we use energy when we move; and we release energy when we emote, as some basic examples. We are energy.
It’s a fascinating concept that started to take me back to memories of grade school science classes. E=mc2, right? Hmmm, what else?… The mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. Mass is a property of all energy. Energy is a property of all mass. Matter can be created and destroyed. Energy can be conserved. When energy is removed from a system, some mass is always removed along with that energy (absorbed by the new system). And then there are so many different kinds of energy! A short list including: kinetic, potential, radiant, thermal, chemical, electric, nuclear, magnetic, sound, etc.
I hadn’t really thought about it on a scientific level, but before leaving on my recent trip to California, I knew that I was holding onto a lot of excess energy – including, stress from work, and various anxieties that had been accumulating, building up, and holding me back. I was feeling very heavy (the mass of this stressful energy weighing me down). I knew that I wanted, and needed, to release some of this energy. And before my scientific trip back to memory lane (with Wikipedia’s help of course…) I also knew that one some level, I did not just want to simply get rid of the excess energy, but that I wanted to make an exchange of energy. That I could expel some of the energy I no longer wanted – offering it to the universe – and taking in new energy. To allow the old, heavy energy to be converted and re-absorbed into a softer energy – full of light and vitality – more graceful, creative, gentle & inspiring – with a deeper sense of purpose & perspective – cleansing myself of the negative energy that was taking up space in my body. I also wanted this to be a very conscious, intentional, mindful, and sacred act – a personal offering. A sacred energy exchange. Meant in no way to be religious in nature, but instead, spiritual and holistic.
So that’s what I did! Right there on that bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Big Sur, CA – and at many other times throughout the trip. The more I did it, the easier it became. And I knew that I didn’t have to be anywhere special for that conscious, beautiful, sacred energy exchange to take place. That in fact, I could be right in the middle of a stressful situation, and engage in the exchange. The breath. The in and the out. Exhaling just a little bit of stress that will no longer come back, and inhaling something new & fresh. And behold, we find our way back to the breath! To that simple energy exchange happening every second in our body. Where it all began, and where it will someday end. Always, fully, mindfully and intentionally – back to the breath.