What I had learned and had been doing (most ineffectively) was to block out the bombardment of energies with a shield of my own manifested over my skin. It never occured to me to draw on the energy of other sources to form a shield -- and that is the bulk of what this workshop was.
I'll start with grounding -- as that is always the most important. For me, this usually involves sitting down on the floor, grabbing something to eat or drink, and relaxing. Let the other energies that don't belong to me leave me. Visualize that extensive system of energetic roots that are always there beneath your feet, and let that other-energy leave through that. Just get it into the Earth -- ground it, as they say. Not only does it clear everything out, but it also gets you connected to that source -- the earth. We learned an epic visualization that was really interesting to me -- imagine your own heartbeat felt in the palm of your hand, then to your right hip and out through your right foot and down all the roots we had to visualize beneath us (although some people envision rocks, not roots)-- all the while syncing to the "heartbeat" of the Earth's source of energy. It was quite relaxing, in my honest opinion.
Next, centering. What I would usually do is focus on the center of the body -- some people would say heart, but if you think about it, it would actually be your diaphragm -- the solar plexus. Center your own energies by focusing on breathing (what in choir they would call breath control) from your diaphragm instead of with your shoulders. If you wonder what I meant by that, stop for a second. Do your shoulders move when you inhale? If so, change it. It may take effort, but envision when you sleep. Where then do you breathe from? Take note of that and keep trying. The visualization that we worked on was this -- envision the red light of that chakra point in your solar plexus growing and extending in all directions. At once you are the entire universe while being at the center of the entire universe. Then shrink the light back into yourself, and you are centered. It had to do with the concept of Microcosm and Macrocosm and existing simultaneously as one.
Then, shielding. This was the use of the above understanding of energy -- this is the practicality of learning it. Some people, I've learned, shield or have shields naturally without having to think much about it, if at all. When I first discovered that there was such a thing as protecting yourself against the energies of other things outside of yourself, I kept practicing until I found a way to block some of it. I would use a bit of my own energy, which is a golden light, and have it cover my skin. That way it would lessen the amount of emotional onslaught I would have to deal with. That year that I learned how to do this, I consciously made the choice to go out for the school musical. (And I got a part.) I wasn't as scared of dealing with people -- I was a little bit more comfortable in the presence of others, though still kind of scared. (To this day I still get nervous about it all.) I didn't understand or even think that I could draw on the energy of sources outside of myself. Today we discussed how different people have their own personal ways of forming shields by calling on energies outside of themselves. The visualization we practiced, which I thought was particularly fantastic, was as such: Envision a mesh net surrounding you, about 3-4 feet away. Then envision gemstones filling the holes in the mesh. For me, the mesh was tiny, made of braided fibers. The gems were jewelry quality, shiny and faceted little cabochons. Garnet, Carnelian, Citrine, Peridot, Aquamarine, Amethyst, Clear Quartz and Obsidian. (We were told Malachite, Lapis Lazuli and Jet instead of the respective colors of the gems I saw, but those didn't show up for me, I guess.) After that, we were to visualize them spinning within their mesh settings until they blurred and you could pass your hand through it if you wanted. Mine turned to a wash of pastel watercolors flying by, which looks really interesting. (So the element of water showed up and my admiration of watercolor painting was definitely there. Watercolor paintings are very difficult to get "right" in my opinion, anyway.) So finally, I felt calm. Even the others in the group noticed. It was cold -- the energy I normally feel against my skin/golden shield, was not there, so there wasn't that excess warmth. Also, I didn't hear the spirits as loudly, and I could sit in the room without knowing more than I should about how the others felt. It was fantastic, and I love love love this style of shield. I want to work on it a bit and add some norse influence to it somehow. Perhaps runes in the gems or the fabric of the mesh could be more like leather instead of synthetic material. It would all be part of the visualization.
The last thing we discussed is how to circulate energy from the Earth source through ourselves and to be aware of excesses and let it flow out before everything is closed up. Close the feet first -- then let the excess flow out through your hands, and then close off the crown. When you have enough -- and not too much -- you can probably work with it and probably not get much of a headache. It depends on the mastering of the skill and knowing limits, which I suppose will require a lot of practice. It kind of circulates back to grounding and centering again, really. Energy itself has no intent. It just exists. It is what we do with this energy that determines intent. Some people's energy work revolves around healing. Some around protecting. Some around magic and spells. Some around readings like Tarot. Some around just feeling connected -- all that energy from the source that you transfer through yourself then flows out, along with a bit of your own energy, to whatever it is you believe in. An energetic offering. Some of it revolves around charging an object with this energy -- for use later, perhaps. Some focus on enhancing the energies of other things -- such as making a potion by enhacing the ingredients. It depends on intent and skill and of course, practice.
We are all rooted -- we are human and at least our physical bodies come from the elements that the earth itself is made of. It can be said that all people have the capacity to do energy work. Some may pick up on it easier than others, while some may be shut off from understanding it, and so wall themselves away from it all. I don't know. I think being open to the possibilities that exist around us is the best way to go about this. Because it may help to understand. We never know.