Everything has energy. I promise you this is not some woo-woo, hippie loving, tree hugging, psychedelic-infused philosophy. I mean, it can be if you like, but there’s actually science behind this. Think about it - everything on our planet is made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of three even smaller particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons, which are made of even smaller particles - quarks. These particles swirl and twirl around each other at varying distances and are held together by energy that is literally called “The Strong Force” (Lucas, 2014). The Strong Force acts like a sort of glue, holding all the particles together. With that said, it’s easy to see how if everything - sentient and not - is made of atoms and atoms are mostly or at least held together by energy, then, everything has energy. Essentially, we’re in a sort of energetic pinball machine, bouncing off of one another creating a dynamic cosmic dance party that’s not only stirring within us but around us, all the time.
I’ve never really thought about or felt the impact that this energy has on me; in fact, I’ve been blind to it for pretty much my whole life, at least consciously, until recently when I began to explore sensations within my own body - the subtle and, sometimes, not-so-subtle physical, emotional, mental, and energetic feelings that ripple within and throughout my being. During my explorations, I came to realize how sensations transmute into energy and then, do a sort of tango with the energy of other beings and the environment. Admittedly, upon the initial awareness of this energy dance, I felt incredibly overwhelmed, like I was a toddler attempting to walk for the very first time but with two left feet. I felt unsettled, uncoordinated, and inept, suddenly, in situations where I was noticing the energy dance.
I remember the first time I noticed it. I was at home with my German Shepherd, Nala. Because she is a German Shepherd and probably because she’s deeply attached to my family and I, Nala’s number one priority in our home is to keep us protected, and she’s great at it. In particular, she has a habit of guarding the backdoor to watch when people and trucks drive by, and she warns us (and them) with ferocious growls and barks. Her warnings can be unexpected and excessive given that it’s a main road people use to and from their homes, so I began training her out of this habit, which is like trying to train a fish to breathe on land instead of water, without too much progress. I was starting to get really frustrated and that frustration was trickling out onto her. I would call her, and she wouldn’t respond; sometimes, she would even look back at me and then turn right around and resume her barking. The more and more she ignored me, the louder and louder my voice would rise with frustration and anger and equal ferocity until, suddenly, I would scream, “NALA!” She would break from the door in these moments and whine and cower as she slinked towards me, ears back and tail tucked. I felt horrible upon seeing her cower in fear and knew that this was not the way to teach her; I didn’t feel good about what was happening and neither did she.
So, I decided to switch my approach; instead of getting frustrated and calling her with my own loud, barking voice, I paused and took a few rounds of breath to connect myself with my inner peace, and only after I felt grounded, I called her with a soft, calm voice, usually something along the lines of “Come, Nala, come. Yes, I see (the truck or person)…we’re okay, Nala. Come to me; there’s nothing to fear. Thank you for letting me know.” As I used this calmer voice and softer messaging, guess what happened? Nala broke much more quickly from the door and came to me, not whimpering and cowering but confident that we were okay and that she wasn’t in trouble for being herself. The difference in her response and her energy was so profound. The same could be said for my own energy, for I was transmuting my frustrations into peace while also sending Nala acceptance and gratitude for being herself, for honoring the innate gift of protection she arrived with the moment she was born. Rather than trying to train her to become something she wasn’t, I started focusing on teaching her when and when not to protect. In other words, I started working with her energy and innate gift of protection rather than against it.
I began realizing other areas of my life where I wasn’t working with the energy of others, where I was practicing behaviors that disrupted the energy dance and, consequently, upsetting the natural flow of life while robbing others of their life experiences. Situations with my kids and my husband are great examples. If they shared a particular challenge they were having, I would take responsibility for their feelings and rush in, giving advice or ways to fix themselves or the problem they had versus allowing them to just share and be okay with not being okay. I noticed my lack of compassion and judgment for a distant relative who has mental health and addiction challenges; rather than seeing an unwell, injured human being struggling for love, stability, and acceptance in this world, I focused on her behaviors that felt really challenging to my own ego and named her as “bad” or “wrong.” With friends, I noticed how much I talked versus listened, and with former co-workers, I began to realize how I had equally clogged the airwaves with my own voice more than listening and valuing their ideas, consequently diminishing the opportunity for collaboration. I felt a sense of sorrow for my past actions and behavior patterns: my careless acts, my lack of awareness, my habit of exerting control over others, my need for love and my belief that this love was something outside of myself, something to attain rather than seeing it was already living within me.
"I began realizing other areas of my life where I wasn’t working with the energy of others, where I was practicing behaviors that disrupted the energy dance..."
I also noticed when I felt unsettled with other’s energy, where I didn’t feel heard or accepted or valued. I noticed the closing in my body that would occur, the feelings of not feeling safe to be myself, the sensation of my energy draining, and so forth. I began realizing that my body was talking to me constantly, and if I listened to it - to the sensations, to its voice - I could make more conscious, intentional choices in my life. I felt so empowered realizing how much power I had (and still have) over my own life and the decisions that I make, so much so that any false belief or urge to control anything outside of myself becomes a moot point. It doesn’t matter the choices and, therefore, the resulting energy that other people make and create; it only matters how I choose to act in response to those choices. I can choose to stay or not stay in a moment where my body is closing; I can choose to stay or not stay in unsafe environments; I can choose to stay connected or not connected to people who drain my energy. It’s all my choice…and it’s all your choice. Do you see?
This new consciousness has shifted and is still shifting my energy. It gains momentum each day with each intentional decision I make. I’m beginning to pause and listen more rather than offering suggestions to my family. I’m accepting the distant relative for who she is, both her light and shadow, and in turn, accepting the light and dark within me. I’m giving my friends greater space to share what’s going on in their lives first before sharing what’s happening in my own life, and as a result, connecting with them on a much deeper level. I’m putting my ego in check and recognizing that others can build ideas with me and that together our ideas create something far better than my own alone could ever manifest. I’m choosing not to stay in unhealthy relationships and environments. I’m choosing to listen to my body when it feels drained and either walk away from situations or take a little more downtime to practice self-care. It’s a conscious effort each day. With that said, I don’t always walk away from my daily activities feeling like I “nailed it”; there are still moments where I feel awkward within the energy dance. The goal isn’t perfection, though. I actually believe we’re meant to be a little messy. The point is becoming aware, and as I become more and more aware - aware of my thoughts, my feelings, my energy, my whole-body experience and well-being and that of others - this awareness becomes my truth cord (notice I said my truth cord, not others!). When I notice I’ve strayed from my truth cord, I just call it back by slowing down and reconnecting with my body and with the moment and all the sensations that the energy dance brings so that awareness and conscious decisions can return once again. As a result, my life experience is expanding. I feel more fulfilled and happier as I interact with others from a more community-centered, universal mindset. This awareness, this new way of being tells me the truth of it all: we all have energy to be shared and our own truth cords based on our experiences, and while some of the energy and truth cords may be similar or aligned, there most definitely will be some that are different and not aligned, and that’s okay. It’s all part of the cosmic energy dance party, and it’s meant to be experienced so that we can attune more to our nature.
Back to Nala, the German Shepherd, who helped me to see all of this: she is extremely happy these days. Upon writing this, I realized that our training had lapsed. I know she loved it as it fed her need to “work.” So we started it again, and she is so blissful! The name “Nala,” by the way, means “gift” in some dialects of Swahili, and that she has been, not just because of the love and loyalty and protection she provides for my family but also for all that she teaches me each day about how to love myself and others more unconditionally. She and every sentient being out there is a gift. Remember that, my love…you are a divine gift who adds to the magnificent energy dance of life.
The student and teacher in me, honors the student and teacher in you. Peace be with you.
February 23, 2022
Lucas, Jim. “What is the Strong Force?” livescience.com (2014, November 1).