The Energy Sponge

The Energy Sponge

Smoke trees in autumn are like a frozen fire.

In a way, the first weekend of a new year marks a tradition for my husband and me. We visit my parents who live around 80 miles south east from us – it is called the Karst region. This is the region where I grew up. For my husband and me the first weekend of a new year is a tradition of walks in nature, more specific, in the woods connecting the old villages with distinctive traditional houses made of stone. An old folk legend goes that the Karst region used to be covered by oak forest. When the town of Venice was being built on sea, the woods were cut and the region turned to a land of pastures. Today the Karst region of western Slovenia is a rocky landscape and home to all kinds of sub-Mediterranean plants like juniper shrubs, smoke trees and black pine trees. The last were planted about a century ago as a substitution for the legendary oak forest. Today, however, there are more and more oak trees growing and the region is getting its legendary forest back. The sub-Mediterranean climate has mild winters with little snow, but it is also known for a strong north wind that takes care of prosciutto, the dry-cured spiced ham typical of this region. My feeling is that Karst has a different energy from the energy of the nature where I live now. If nothing else, then it’s the calming smell of pine and juniper resin that makes a walk in nature a unique experience.

The first walk we did was exactly 11 years ago, in the year of 2000. I remember it well. We walked for several hours, with many pauses, when we had a few snacks. We were enjoying a rather cold, but sunny weather. And since then, we have made such walks our habit. The first few walks were even more precious to me, since only weekends were available for such long hikes. Later, that is after I had quit my job, walks in nature became instrumental in keeping my mind calm.

Why are nature walks so important to me? Through the years I learned to see myself as a sponge. A sponge, which does not absorb water, but energy. And the energy accumulates in that sponge. The result is that I may have too much of it. This is especially true in the period around New Year’s Eve. Events like visiting all the relatives and having enthusiastic debates, attending an outdoor New Year’s concert downtown (for half an hour only!), are obviously factors which elevate the energy in the sponge (me). A sponge having too much water has to be squeezed out. Similarly, my energy has to be squeezed out regularly, or else I get insomnia. I was once diagnosed bipolar and I went through several manic depressive episodes, which included some schizophrenia symptoms. The last episode took place in 2003 – see above: click on About me. For me, slow walks in nature are one way to squeeze out the excessive energy. I have written more about them here: http://www.helenasmole.com/2009/soothing-autumn-colours/ .

In my opinion, another effective way of squeezing out the excessive energy is by performing Tibetan massage. It was shown to us by Dr. Tsultrim Kalsang, a Tibetan doctor. The background of this method is given in the 5th chapter of my book which will hopefully be available soon. To make long story short, the masseur should put a Tibetan heat compress, soaked in hot oil, onto certain points on one’s back, hips, feet and palms. If excessive energy is present, it hurts at first, but it becomes bearable after a few-second of pressing. We do this in a calming atmosphere, having relaxing music on, burning Tibetan incense and candles.

May I warn you that all the above mentioned methods and activities are not a substitute for Western medicine anti-psychotic or mood-stabilizing medication. Walks in nature or a Tibetan heat compress massage can only serve as a backup to pills or injections and you should always consult your psychiatrist before trying any of the above mentioned techniques.

2 Responses to “ “The Energy Sponge”

  1. Rachel Sersha says:

    I love your analogy about the sponge! When I think of clearing out energy (especially after the holidays) a sponge is the perfect way to describe it. I too find walks in the woods calming. My favorite place is up the North Shore on the banks of Lake Superior. You would love it! I hope to show it to you one day. In our back yard we have a huge hill and all woods. Sometimes I will go walk there too because it is so quiet and serene. Keep up the great blogs!

    • Helena Smole says:

      Hi, Rachel! So nature walks work for you too. And we even have a common analogy – the sponge. Great!

      Thanks for the comment!
      helena smole

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