One of the moms was talking about her daughter, who volunteered to sit beside a bothersome child at school (and provide calmness and insulate the rest of the class), and was now stressed by the bothering. The kid isn’t cruel, just keeps talking and leaching her energy.
This is based on an exercise from one of Lackey’s novels, combined with the notion of grounding from Lackey and Liaden. (And probably others I forgot.)
Chose a small object as a focus. It could be a gift from a parent given for the exercise, or a part of your body, or something you make with this exercise in mind. Choose it with intent.
Hold the focus close to you, and imagine roots connecting it to the ground. The roots are secure and carry strength, energy, security, calmness and comfort from the earth to the object. Concentrate on only one or two attributes that you expect to need. Trust that the others will come along for the ride and be there when you need them.
Now focus on the surface of the object, just a thin film. As the ground energy flows into the object, the surface expands, like a balloon. Let the surface expand until it surrounds your work area. Watch as it expands. Does it expand evenly? Are there areas it fills rapidly? Are there places it stalls? The surface will not be a perfect sphere.
Your work area is the area you control — the innermost circle of Covey’s Areas of Control. You and your work and your tools are inside. The distractions are outside.
You may notice the surface texture varies. It may be clear and transparent in one direction, and dark swirly embattled in another. Concentrate on strengthening and smoothing the rough and embattled areas. As in the physical world, a well-built object is pleasant to look at. You may need to let it shrink a bit, to a shape you can sustain. Again, this is part of Covey: Work on what you can control, not on what you can’t.
As the day progresses, watch how the surface changes. It will grow and shrink. Areas will need to become transparent, or strengthened, as you change tasks and environments.
When you no longer need the surface, consciously let it go. Either let it go all at once, or deflate it, or watch the walls thin. You may want to keep part of it as a portable shield between you and things you want to ignore. Or you may want to shrink it down to your skin while you walk between classes, then expand it again.
You may need to let the surface go and rebuild it differently when the task changes, rather than change it. You may want to develop a collection of focuses. Each focus will grow into a shield suitable for a different task.