We all seem to carry some kind of tension through the shoulders and neck as a reflection of the stresses in our lives. The stressors might be emotional, financial, fear-based and/or job related, or they might be sub-conscious and unknown. Whichever the cause, the result is always the same. It feels like a tight pull from the upper back into the neck, sometimes running up into the jaw causing clenching or grinding or maybe up into the temples causing headaches. Your shoulders feel like they are rising to meet your ears, or your head is sinking into your collarbones. The push-pull of tight neck muscles creates more than a little pain and discomfort in your life, especially if there are other muscles restrictions elsewhere in your body.
Whenever stresses overtake my generally calm life, it begins to feel like I am carrying a large backpack filled with heavy stones on my back. That’s how stress manifests in my shoulders and neck, like a weighty sack of woes that has laden me down… I carry around this imaginary rucksack full of anger, frustration, resentment, fear or heartache, all of it pulling me down into an emotional spiral of pain and tension. Then, at some point, I eventually have to question why I am creating this and what I need to do about it!
One of my lifesavers has been a simple meditation that I use when overwhelmed by knapsacks full of negative emotions. It’s an easy visualization, and here’s how you do it:
In the meditation, imagine that you are walking down a path carrying this sack full of heavy tribulations on your back, looking for a sacred and safe place to release your burdens. In your mind’s eye, see very clearly this sacred place, which, in this meditation, will appear as a large stone circle. In this circle there is a chair, a cauldron, an altar and a bonfire. You have all your aromatherapy essential oils assembled by the chair.
Walk into the circle, shrug off your bag and sit in the chair with the bag of woes in front of you. Slowly open your sack, look inside and very carefully reach in and grab the first object that your hand meets. Pull out the object, which becomes a representation of your negative emotion. For example, let’s say you’ve pulled out a rock with words describing your trouble or anger etched into it. Read what this rock represents then sit with it asking your Higher Self (or Inner Wisdom/knowing) “What do I need to do with this emotion (or pain or fear etc)?”
For this meditation your answer will be one of the following – you can place the rock into the fire and have it burn the anger away, you can place it into the cauldron and have it washed clean of pain or you can offer your heartache up to the Universe by leaving it on the altar. But before you do any of these choices, you first want to anoint the rock with essential oils to ensure that whatever it is you are releasing, it is done with the highest vibration possible. When you add essential oils to anything in a ritual, you amp up the frequency of the ceremony and make it more sacred.
Let’s say for instance, you are working on an anger that you are now willing to release. You might visualize dripping a few dro\ps of clary sage, rosemary, patchouli, melissa, helichrysum or cedarwood on the rock first, before deciding whether you want to burn or wash away the anger. If you are choosing to wash emotions away, you might put a few drop of essential oils in the water in the cauldron as well to help purify the energy. For fear you might imagine using chamomile, lavender, geranium, marjoram, bergamot, frankincense, neroli, or sandalwood on your rock. In emotional relationship problems, you could use rose maroc, neroli, jasmine, ylang-ylang, galbanum or frankincense. If you are struggling with frustration and stress, some good balancers are geranium, pine, melissa, rose, rosewood, elemi, sandalwood or grapefruit. For depression, you might use melissa, lavender, marjoram, chamomile, celery seed or neroli.
We carry so many different emotions on our shoulder and this is just one small meditation you can use with these suggested oils, but whatever you do, it is important to continue to look inside your imaginary backpack and choose to release those rocks. Many times we ignore these emotions, thinking they’ll just go away. But emotions build up insipidly in our muscles and need to be consciously dealt with and released. When we take responsibility for our own creations and move to positively let them go, then we can shift to a newly empowered way of being within ourselves – a much more confident and assertive being. In these days of gloom and stress, we need to be vigilant and keep moving forward with positive light and love. And also there are some easy self-help techniques to do for TMJ disorders and clenching the jaw.
Listen to an audio meditation of releasing burdens then click here.