The smallest shoppers in the cooperative grocery where I work often grab my attention most. Children in the 18- to 24-month range amaze me with their laser-like focus. Perched in their shopping cart, they appear to drink in their surroundings. Recently, I saw a toddler gripping a shampoo bottle. She gazed at the label intently, as though analyzing the ingredients, just as she had, no doubt, observed her mother do. More often, young children experimentally reach out towards all sorts of products, even those far beyond their grasp.
Reaching for objects is a primary developmental skill. The process of identifying a desirable thing, honing in on its location, and then reaching out a hand to make contact and to pull it toward us is one we repeat constantly. Sometimes we are mindful about it: we decide what we want, we find it, and we take action to attain it. We extend ourselves toward whatever we wish to welcome in to our journey through life. Other times, we are operating on autopilot, carrying out old patterns and programs. Sometimes we are barely even conscious that we are reaching. We are just acting, or reacting, by habit. We may reach for salty or sugary snacks, or caffeine, or alcohol. We may seek out the company of familiar--but not necessarily beneficial--activities or relationships.
We do all this on a physical level, but we also do it energetically. Aspects of our energy systems can reflect these mindful or not so mindful "reachings-for." Energy gets stuck in patterns that keep pulling in what we don't really want. Sometimes this happens because a deeper part of us feels the need to "replay" certain events, in the hope that we can revise or heal them. When we have learned new strategies, this reaching for a replay can help us. But often, we haven't acquired the wisdom to do much more than watch reruns.
This can be where practices such as mindfulness meditation, and Energy Medicine, shift the playing field. Getting clarity on what you want to reach for is key; these practices help clear the cobwebs. Energy work can also be invaluable for resetting habit patterns, so that you aren't stuck in a reactive reaching rut.
Heaven Rushing In
An extremely simple practice for reaching out to draw in fresh, new energy is called "Heaven Rushing In." Like the baby lupine leaves collecting raindrops, you can collect the goodness of the universe in your outstretched arms. To prepare, simply stretch your arms out to the sides at shoulder level. Breathing in, raise them above your head, until your palms come together, and exhale them down, in prayer position, to your sternum. Take another breath in and out, as your thumbs rest against an acupuncture point called the "Sea of Tranquility." Then, on an in-breath, stretch your hands toward the sky in a "Victory" pose. Stay as long as you like, imagining yourself as a chalice filling with heaven energy. When you feel full, bring your hands down, palms moving back to your chest, drawing that new energy toward your heart. I like to end with a bow, stretching my arms down, to offer back some of this energy to the earth.