In modern Korea, clients seek out shamans for any number of reasons: for spiritual guidance, help connecting with ancestors, assistance in a relationship or making a big decision, as a companion healing practice to allopathic medicine — and so much more. But what do each of these shamanic services have in common?
They all involve energy work.
We are all energetic beings, which means that everything in our lives—from our physical and emotional beings to the spaces we occupy and the things we do every day—can be distilled down to the energy within us and around us. This means that protecting our energy is really important.
Setting energetic boundaries can be a crucial self-care practice, particularly for anyone who is especially energy-sensitive or empathic. If you are someone who finds yourself sharply attuned to the energy around you, protecting and healing energetic practices can be tools to navigating the world without becoming overwhelmed, burnt-out, or impacted by energies that are not authentically yours.
When you encounter difficult energies in any given day—say, due to a challenging situation at work, an emotional crisis or a difficult relationship, or simply some wounded person throwing their energetic shade all over you— you can release them, so they don’t take up space in your body, heart, and mind.
Learning how to protect your own energy is an effective and powerful skill, and these tips below are some that I not only share with clients but use in my own life as well.
1. Take care of yourself and your energy. Energies are attracted to other energies that are on similar frequencies. This means when your own energy is vibrating at positive frequency (as in authentic, joyful, healthy state), more energies like that will be attracted to you. By focusing on healing our own wounds and nurturing ourselves to be the most authentic and joyful versions of ourselves, we are naturally protecting ourselves against other energies that do not serve us. Whether you engage in combinations of meditation, working with other healers, art and creativity, rest and play, etc. commit to take care of yourself and therefore your energy.
2. Practice Grounding. A grounding practice—like meditation, yoga, walking in nature, or even just standing barefoot on your lawn—uses the earth’s natural energy to recharge and anchor you to yourself. Not only does grounding feel great, but studies on grounding practices have also shown grounding exhibits measurable improvements in the reduction of ailments like stress and inflammation, while decreasing heart rate and improving quality and duration of sleep. I also find that I perform with greater focus and intention with less distractions and I make better aligned decisions when I am grounded.
3. Utilize visualization practices. There are plenty of visualization practices specific to energy protection. You can think of visualizations like your “putting on your armor”—your armor just happens to be invisible and made of positive energy. A few of my favorite visualizations includes imagining myself surrounded by a glowing, holographic, impenetrable light bubble of positive energy, or zipping myself up in a protective powerful suit like that of superheroes. No matter what visualization technique works for you, the key is simply to hold the intention of keeping your energy yours and authentic and protecting against other outside energies that are not aligned.
4. Practice energetic cord cutting. Cord cutting is another intentional, energetic practice designed to preserve your energy and protect you from any external energy that has the potential to overwhelm, drain, or harm you. In this practice, your “cords” represent figurative attachments to anything that is energetically unhealthy or imbalanced in your life: people, places, things, situations, experiences. Cord cutting can be particularly beneficial in a relationship or situation in which you are giving far more than you’re receiving, in a way that has become burdensome to you (think: people-pleasing, codependency, or a lack of healthy boundaries.) But sometimes you can even form an unhealthy energetic cord with a thing as well, like a house or a job. No matter your circumstance, a cord cutting practice can help to create energetic detachment and freedom.
5. Incorporate herbs, crystals, or other naturally high-vibration items. Items like herbs (sage, mugwort, etc), crystals, or even oracle cards can be a great addition to any energy healing practice. Smoke of certain herbs or incense can be great for clearing the energy of a space to start fresh, while crystals like black onyx, black tourmaline, hematite, jet, and smoky quartz can be used to cleanse and protect energy. Tarot or oracle card that represents boundaries, protection, or letting go can also have healing powers. However, while items such as these can help, it is important to know that YOU are the most effective and powerful tool to use for yourself. While it can be healing—and fun!—to include tools and items in your practice, you should feel empowered in managing and maintaining your own energy.
If energy protection and healing is new to you, or if any of this sounds a little too “woo”, approach these practices with an open mind and try one or two anyway. As you ease into energy work, see if you start to notice any shift in how you feel or interact with the world; especially if you have been struggling with feeling drained, burdened, or overwhelmed. Consider keeping a small journal or making daily notes on your phone—anything that will help you track shifts in your energy and note which practices work for you and which ones don’t resonate as much.
Remember, protecting your energy does not necessarily mean you’re overhauling your entire life: ending a relationship, leaving a job, moving house, completely removing yourself from a particular experience, or ceasing to love and care for who or what you’re protecting your energy from. While these big decisions and shifts may feel aligned for you to make sometimes, it is not always. With small, consistent mindful practice, you can maintain connections to the people, places, and things in your life—just free of the impacts of their energies that are not aligned to serve you at the highest good and greatest joy.
It can be enormously empowering, healing, and transformative to make the conscious choice to take responsibility for your own energy, deciding to live your life from a place of grounding, authenticity, and positivity, free of the energetic burdens of others. Rather than taking a passive—feeling as though energies overtakes you and renders you powerless or living in fear of showing up for your life at the risk of becoming drained—these energetic practices remind you that your energy is YOURS. You own it, you are in charge of it, and you can protect it and elevate it as necessary or desired.