chapter four: transform
When Gaia is ready to storm, she does not hesitate. She embraces her power to light up the sky and thunder across the land. She uproots trees, burns prairies and forests, and blows mightily across the sea.
Storms transform the landscape — and are often a precursor to the awakening of dormant life awaiting renewal, life that requires space to expand.
For our lives to transform, we must welcome the transformative power of storms in our own ecosystems.
Storms are transformative.
Storms clear the old, making way for the new.
Storms signal dynamic changes.
Storms shift landscapes.
Storms expose dormant life that’s ready to come alive.
Storms bring balance back to ecosystems, allowing what had become stagnant to thrive.
Storms show the power of nature.
Like the natural world, we too have intense storms. Our storms are more internal, and they often blow in unexpectedly. They can feel like a tightening in our chest, tears welling up behind our eyes or fear gripping our bones. Our storms are also the precursor to dormant life that awaits renewal.
Our conditioning often trains us to resist our storms. We have been trained to push back against feelings of discomfort, to try to pause and deflect the sensations that arise. We may blame others, use substances to push down our feelings, hide or yell or freeze. When the water rises up or our mind aches in discomfort, it’s a signal that we need to soften into the storm, not try to stop it.
If we embrace the beauty and power of planetary storms, then perhaps we can see more easily how our internal storms also signal transformation.
Softening into our storms means staying with ourselves when things get uncomfortable and allowing new space to open so our inner landscape can change. Staying aware of what our bodies experience and not paying undue attention to what our minds have to say can allow for old conditioning to fall away as new experiences and ideas emerge.
Like Gaia, we were designed for storms. We too are dynamic and ever changing.
The next time there is a storm in your external environment, pay close attention. Notice how it begins. Notice the subtle changes in the light, the air quality and the wind. Watch how the storm builds and what it brings to the world around you. Does it bring flashes in the sky, loud booming thunder, rain or strong winds? Stay with it, noticing all of its moods and shifts, and as it quiets and passes, look for the transformation that it created. Has it changed the environment around you?
Now take those same concepts and apply them to yourself, the next time a storm moves through your inner world. Soften into your storm by staying present to every single thing that happens. When you detect a storm beginning, watch the heat of your body change, watch what your mind does and how your body reacts. Are there tears (water), heat (fire), bloating (air) or a heavy sensation (earth)? Stay with yourself from beginning to end, and feel into the discomfort as well as the subtle changes it brings. When your storm ends, notice what has changed for you. Notice your capacity, strength and flexibility. Notice the deep self-trust that softening into your inner world creates.
When the fullness of who we are
free to move swiftly through our bodies
in an unfolding spiral
what was once hidden
now becomes an expression
of immense life
to be lived.
~ Naomi Irons
Press play to watch Deborah and Naomi share behind-the-scenes stories about creating Raised by Gaia and living a Gaia life.
In this video, Deborah and Naomi share powerful insights into how they allow storms to move through their inner worlds.
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Transforming Emotions Exercise
Invite yourself to begin to see your human emotions (sensations) as expressions of Gaia. This will begin to create a space of safety for you to welcome and experience all of your inner sensations. You will come to see that each expression of Gaia that you witness outside of you, lives inside of you and is designed to shift, change, transform and evolve your inner terrain, allowing you to come to know yourself with more clarity and grace.
Each expression that awakens inside of you reminds you of how interconnected you are with the wholeness of life. The life that flows through you also flows through the forests, the mountain ranges, the chickadee, the dormant flower, the change in seasons and the ecosystems that maintain and nurture all life. With the awareness that you are the exquisite life that lives all around you, now it is time to discover that inside of you.
We will give you three examples and then invite you create a few of your own.
Anxiety: Instead of describing it as you’ve come to know it, try describing the experience of anxiety as you would see it if it was outside of you in nature. It might feels like an earthquake moving in your body with tremors that agitate. Use the idea of an earthquake inside of you to invite your awareness to move deeper into your body, trusting that your body has the capacity to withstand the shifts it brings.
Sadness: Instead of describing it as you’ve come to know it, try describing the experience of sadness as you would see it if it was outside of you in nature. You may feel the expression of an inner waterfall or ocean wave activate the water in your body. Allowing the water to flow may invite a cleansed feeling and more space in your body.
Anger: Instead of describing it as you’ve come to know it, try describing the experience of anger as you would see it if it was outside of you in nature. You may feel the expression of fire transforming your inner landscape. As the fire is allowed to burn safely inside of you, a new sense of personal power and resourcefulness may emerge.
Now spend some time considering the expressions that move through your body on a regular basis. Can you find a parallel in the natural world?