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Lessons learned from the sea…

Sea urchin stings the full story

I firmly believe that there are signs all around us guiding us, showing us the way and giving us gentle nudges all the time to move us forward in the right direction. But we have to stay open and aware to them.

My recent experience with the dreaded Sea Urchin sting that I mentioned in the last update is one of those guiding moments I believe. So I wanted to share a little more with you here and also share some of the practices I used to help me stay calm and present in the moment and in the days after while I was healing.

Here is how it all began…

Yesterday, on day two of my menstrual cycle when normally I wouldn’t go near a swimming pool, I decided to go into the sea, to merge with the ocean. My hubby bought me some little sea shoes as the beaches here are rocky, but I really didn’t like the feel of them, so I went in the sea barefoot… The water was shallow and I found some seaweed to rest my feet in. I was enjoying the texture when I suddenly felt a sharp pain. I was shocked and quickly swam back to shore. I thought I had a splinter in my foot, but I had stepped on a sea urchin and needed a big needle to get the spines out of my foot! During my swim, I had been asking the water for a sign… She showed me a sea urchin – be careful what you wish for!

I was intrigued, so I did some research and discovered that sea urchins are called serpent’s eggs in Celtic tradition and symbolise life force and the primordial seed.

As an animal messenger, the sea urchin shows us ‘slowly and methodically how to manoeuvre with tenacity and patience. Nothing is impossible when Urchin is guiding you and metamorphosis and new developments are highlighted with sea urchin medicine. She teaches ways of extracting information out of the rubble of the mind and of day to day activities.’

But, I also felt she had taught me a lesson in boundaries and vanity. The shoes would have protected me, but I wanted to get closer to nature, forgetting that nature can be wild and powerful with a painful bite, so sometimes trepidation and care are needed…

This incident has slowed me down even more and I have slept lots and stayed close to myself, but I was grateful to the sea urchin for reminding me of how my Yoga practices help support me in the day to day. Through Yoga, breathing and the deep connection I have with myself, I knew it was all going to be OK and that it was something small in the overall scheme of things.

So yes, I was a bit vulnerable and raw the day after, and yes, I was a bit moody and swore (quite a lot!) when extracting the spines, but I was also able to stay present and give myself what I needed in the moment. I was able to feel it all without trying to distract myself from what was actually happening.

So what practices did I use?

• One of the practices I used and that I used in the moment of the sting impacting me and the splinters going in was to stop, rest and stay really present to the sensations that I felt in my body and to just follow them, not distracting myself from them but feeling them fully and following the flow of sensations in my body to be. This helped me to discharge the energy of the moment and let it fully flow in and out and through me, often in times of trauma and upset we carry on as normal and don’t pause to let the energy disperse.

• I also tried to locate in my body areas where I felt comfort to amplify the feelings of comfort in my body and being whilst I was also feeling discomfort. The two are never completely separate but often when we are in pain or discomfort we focus solely on that which amplify’s it, by finding comfort in the body we can begin to feel into both sensations simultaneously and this can help to decrease the pain and sensitivity and allows us to feel more whole and complete again, a mass of different feelings and sensations, coming and going and changing all the time.

• I did have to walk back to our accommodation after the sting which was painful, I focused on my breathing and again on finding comfort where I could, I used lots of golden ribbon breathing for the walk back and focused on the environment I was in, aware of the ground, nature around me, sky, sea to help me to orientate myself and to enable me to feel more safe in my body.

• Once back at our holiday home and after some failed tweezer attempts and a bit of freaking out after googling the possible side effects of sea urchin stings (never a good idea) …I got myself together and we spoke to the owners to get the tools needed to get the needles out of my foot, this involved a big long needle and some analgesic spray to numb the area. So lots of golden ribbon breathing was used again while doing this, a technique I teach for easing anxiety and labour pains, see the video here. Some swearing also helped and lots of loving words from my boys was useful too.

• Finally the next day I could tell my foot and me felt a bit sad, my foot felt very vulnerable and raw after being digged into…so I rested and slept and had a quiet day at our accommodation, not going far I stayed close to home and close to me and again really focused on orientating myself in the space I was in, was aware of my natural breathing, what would nourish me and I let myself feel sad and blue and didn’t try to change it. One of my teachers Judith Hanson Lasater often says if you are going to feel sad, feel really, really sad. Feel it all…In my experience if we can allow ourselves to really feel into an emotion / feeling or sensation and let it be, it does tend to change quicker into another emotion/ feeling or sensation. The more we avoid it the longer it lingers.

• I also took some homeopathic remedies and covered up with plasters for a while after when I got back into the sea and now of course those sea shoes don’t leave my feet.

If you would like to learn more about any of the practices mentioned then do get in touch and if there are any issues you are dealing with currently whether physical, mental or emotional that you would like support with let me know and I can start to build a list of potential new videos/ practice ideas and I can think about how I can best create and share these supportive materials with you.

Lara Heppell

About Lara Heppell

I use the incredible healing, calming, strengthening and restorative power of yoga to help you find the balance you need, no matter what stage of life you’re at. I couple this with Mizan massage, belly binding, birth preparation and doula services to support you as needed.

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