So it begins…

We reach for the sun and call upon the yellow ray. The ray of life, the ray of creation, the ray of consciousness, the spark of fire. We call upon the flame to burn within us and temper our passions into strength. With strength we fight the dark, pulsing and straining, to realise it is a part of ourselves, part of our strength, part of our fear. We laugh, and put down the fight, merging, becoming whole, becoming stronger. Anodea Judith

Will you take a moment and come for a mental meander with me? Follow me down a verdant garden path, under draped yellow flower lights, past a Buddha garden into another world…

I created this space. With my own hands. A sanctuary, a place of love and light, where the very walls and floors are imbued with my vision. Hand-polishing the floorboards and painting the walls, whilst practicing the Chakradance script, I have embedded the essence of Chakradance in the walls and floors of my studio.

Yes, my body aches, and hurts. My flesh is covered in so many cuts and bruises and blisters, a reality that any novice renovator would empathise with. I am physically stretched to my limits. Financially stretched to my limits.

And yet, I have never felt so happy and grateful to be alive. Hell, I have never felt so alive. Is this what to feels like to manifest your intentions? And it isn’t what I thought. Intentions do not manifest through meditation and divine blessing alone, but through hard labour, dedication and self-sacrifice. Is this what it means to set your heart on a goal and doggedly follow it through, clearing hurdles, diving through obstacles, embracing the unknown? Ah!

Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed. Paulo Coelho

flower lightsstudio

Last night, at the end of a of my first Chakradance class, I was feeling such a wave of gratitude, first to the powers that be, yes, but also, to myself. I was able to acknowledge how hard I have worked to make this dream a reality. And that’s new for me.

I am usually a ‘never enough’ kind of girl, especially when it comes to my owns achievements, I have a rather critical eye. Something about this endeavour, setting up my Chakradance studio, has bypassed that to a degree. I felt happy, I felt satisfied, I felt grateful. I told myself “You did it, girl!”

I never imagined a year ago when I bought the Chakradance DVD that it would lead me to this point. And yet everything has prepared me for this. Years of meditation, a fascination with the chakras, and healing, and inner journeying, has culminated here.

Part of me keeps expecting a crash. I mean it was only twelve months ago my adrenal system crashed, and I was unable to crawl my way out of bed for a few months.

I can’t help but think perhaps I am pushing myself too hard, and yet, there’s no evidence to suggest that. And in fact, despite my renovation-related injuries and a reasonable tiredness, I feel great. I make sure I finish each day with a salt bath and meditation, and despite some understandable muscle soreness, my body is holding up amazingly well.

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Survival is not enough – we must learn to thrive. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Perhaps its time to acknowledge the power source within – my solar plexus chakra.

Known as Manipura in Sanskrit – which means lustrous gem – the third chakra revolves around themes of personal power, physical power, self-expression, and will. It’s the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our vitality, drive, and sense of purpose.

Manipura is about your individuality, about allowing yourself to be yourself, and accepting others as they are. It’s about taking responsibility for you and your life, not blaming or making yourself a victim. This requires belief in yourself and good boundaries with others. In some ways, this chakra is our ‘inner teenager’ – inviting us to address issues of identity and unbridled passion.

Located in the area of the diaphragm and stomach, this chakra relates to concepts of self-definition, personal power, and positive emotional expression. This is your core, your centre.

This chakra represents our “get up and go,” our action, our will, our vitality, and our sense of personal power. Its name, Manipura, means “lustrous gem.” We can think of it as a glowing yellow Sun, radiating through the centre of our body. Anodea Judith

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Balancing this chakra brings the ability to create healthy boundaries, balanced personal power, will power, and positive self-value. It governs the digestive system, the lower back, and the nervous system.

The energy of manipura is expressed as the element of fire. Traditional aboriginal cultures have strong relationships to fire using it in shamanic rituals and land-care, as well as for warmth and food preparation.

Jung believed in the connection between the psyche and the chakras, now it seems this connection is expanding to physiological connections between the chakras and the physical organs of the body. Jung equated the energy moving up through the chakras, known as the ‘kundalini rising’ as analogous to the awakening of the soul experienced in all cultures, described by Jung as the emergence, and ultimately the assimilation of the unconscious self. He saw the chakra system as a framework for the developmental phases of higher consciousness.

The manipura represents the stage where we are born again, into the fire of passion and awareness of a self beyond a relationship to others: family, tribe and community. It is entering the fire that allows us to emerge and connect with the spirit world, the world of the gods, and the cosmos, the collective unconscious, in Jung’s words it is “what will follow when you have made your acquaintance with the unconscious.”

But what is passion, what are emotions? There is the source of fire, there is the fullness of energy.  A man who is not on fire is nothing: he is ridiculous, he is two-dimensional. … So when people become acquainted with the unconscious they often get into an extraordinary state – they flare up, they explode, old buried emotions come up, they begin to weep about things which happened forty years ago. Carl Jung

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The Solar Plexus Chakra is particularly associated with the adrenal glands which regulate the immune system and metabolism, and the pancreas which regulates insulin production.

The adrenal glands are two glands that sit on top of your kidneys that are made up of the adrenal cortex – the outer part of the gland – and the adrenal medulla – the inner part of the gland. The adrenal cortex produces cortisol – which helps regulate metabolism and helps your body respond to stress – and aldosterone – which helps control blood pressure. The adrenal medulla produces adrenalin – which helps your body react to stress.

The pancreas is a large gland behind the stomach close to the duodenum. It digests your food and produces insulin, the main chemical for balancing the sugar level in the blood. All the body’s cells use glucose (sugar) as an energy source. The level of sugar in the blood is kept constant by insulin, which is made by special cells in the pancreas. If the cells are not working properly and insulin is lacking then diabetes develops.

We often associate adrenalin with the ‘fight or flight’ response, our instinctual survival response to a real or perceived threat.

The problem is, in our busy modern lives, we tend to live in a constant state of such arousal, aggravated by excessive caffeine intake, and so our adrenals either tire out, or never get a chance to do their other important jobs. The adrenal glands release hormones that are essential for to life, so we need to take care of them.

What is this life flowing in our bodes like fire? What is it? Life is like a hot iron. Ready to pour. Choose the mould and life will burn it. Mahabharata

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Last year, in fact exactly about a year ago, I suffered from adrenal fatigue (amongst other things including severe anaemia and depression). It was health crisis most likely as a result of having thrived on stress for too long. After my divorce, well truthfully long before my divorce, my life was very stressful and I had never really settled into a calm and relaxed space.

Although I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone, it has been valuable for me to see the toll that long-term stress took on my health.

And even as I write this, I feel a touch of that bone-weariness again. I know I have been pushing myself, burning the candle at both ends. At work and then painting half the night, or at the hospital with my dad.

Good sleep habits are the best remedy for adrenal fatigue. I was prescribed 9pm bedtimes, which I stuck to religiously for 6 months or more, and it really helped. I have got undisciplined again, and it’s not highly conducive to dating or having a social life, but I need to find a happy medium.

The Solar Plexus Chakradance is the dance of the hero warrior. The music is tribal and dynamic, the guided imagery encourages us to reconnect with our inner masculine energy and power. There is something incredibly liberating about dancing like a Kiwi Haka – grunting and stamping my feet. It releases a part of me that seems to lie dormant much of the time.

Creating and holding a vision for our endeavours does not mean being attached to perfect outcomes, more it is a compass to hold and refer to when the sun clouds over and the seas get rocky. It is a vision of the direction we saw from the high vantage point on the coast before we set sail, and once we found ourselves out at sea, we can refer to that vision for guidance, inspiration, direction and courage.

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Woodchopper Exercise by Anodea Judith

Stand with feet planted firmly on the ground, knees slightly bent, heels about two feet apart. Raise arms together over the head with hands joined. Arch back slightly. Making an “ah” sound as you descend, swing the whole upper portion of the body downward bringing your hands between your legs and through. The motion should be smooth and rapid, emitting as much force and power as is possible. Let the sound be full and loud. Repeat five to ten times in a session, and feel the energy break through into your upper body. This exercise is also an excellent anger release.

Affirmations from Chakra Anatomy:

I love and accept myself.
I stand up for myself.
I am strong and courageous.
I am worthy of love, kindness, and respect.
I choose the best for myself.
I express myself in a powerful way.
I am proud of my achievements.
I honor my self.
I choose healthy relationships.
I am authentic.
I direct my own life.
I appreciate my strengths.
I feel my own power.
I am free to choose in any situation.
I seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
I am at peace with myself.

Bless!

 

Images:

Sun Dance

Last dance with the sun by goddessathenaiegirl

Dance in today’s sun

Sun dance by visualsoup

Dancing woman

Beautiful couple dance love sun

Sources:

Manipura – The Power Chakra by Anodea Judith

The adrenal glands

Jung illuminates the fires of the solar plexus chakra

A look at C.G. Jung’s English Seminar on the Kundalini Yoga by Kevin Aiello

Sunshine and daisies and depression

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Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I’ve suffered from bouts of depression since I was 13. The black cloud is always there lurking, waiting for the moments when I’m over-tired and stressed, disappointed in life, but it’s only truly debilitating for me at times.

Normally, if I take good care of myself, and the depression is not too prevalent, I am a very happy, perky, glass half-full, capable, type of person. I love to smell the roses, roll around the grass, and pick daisies in the sunshine. I love to dance and smile and laugh.

Possibly my tendency to depression started even earlier. I do remember lying in bed at night as a young child, ruminating. Worrying about my Dad being out in a storm – he had a habit of falling and breaking bones on rainy nights. Worrying about the Earth suspended so precariously as it is, spinning in infinite space. Worrying about infinity, because I couldn’t fathom the concept. I knew there was a big bang, but what was before that? How can something come from nothing?

Worry is encoded in my DNA, inherited and finely-honed by generations of Irish women. It is my gateway drug to depression. Left alone long enough, in a negative mind-spin, and I can go from content to despair in 180 seconds flat.

Here’s the rub. Life can be great. It can be fun and joyous and fulfilling. Life can also be right up in your face all mess and guts and mud. Because that’s reality. And sometimes reality is all those things at once. The love and the stench of life.

Robin Williams’ tragic death this week has got so many of us, me included, all thinking about life and death. And depression.

I guess, for me, it feels like I lost a member of my extended family. I didn’t know the guy, but he featured in my life for three decades. Like the eccentric uncle who lives overseas, who you never actually see, but sends ridiculously funny postcards from exotic locales at Christmastime, and you just adore him from a distance.

I don’t know if it’s a coincidence, but this week quite a few of the people I love are seriously depressed. And even though I have experienced depression, it’s one of those things that when you’re not in it, you don’t really get it. I look at my beautiful, talented, “so much to live for” friends and just think, but why?

If you know someone who’s depressed, please resolve never to ask them why. Depression isn’t a straightforward response to a bad situation; depression just is, like the weather. Try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness, and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend to someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest, and best things you will ever do. Stephen Fry

I read a great article this week called Meditation Isn’t Enough – A Buddhist perspective on suicide by Lodro Rinzler. He touches on the stigma of depression, not only in society at large, but in the Buddhist community. I have found this to be so in many communities that focus on a spiritual way of life. Many make claims, to which I have subscribed in the past, that if you practise (insert technique/program here) well enough, it will heal all your ills.

I have seen some Buddhist teachers make remarks about depression as a form of suffering; that one should be able to meditate and have everything be okay, in lieu of prescription medication. That is not true; meditation is not a cure-all for mental illness… Buddhists can’t just take everything to the meditation cushion and hope it will work out. When things get tough, as in to the point that you can’t imagine getting out of bed in the morning tough, you need help. And there should be no shame in seeking it. Lodro Rinzler

I have suffered periodic bouts of depression since I was 13. Depression and puberty hit me in one fell swoop and I went from a moody but pretty sparky kid, to a sullen, tubby, and terminally sad teenager.

I was put on antidepressants as a teen after an attempted overdose, but I didn’t stay on them. I’m not sure why. As a young adult, I ‘self-medicated’ with alcohol and recreational drugs, until I found myself in rehab and a 12 step program at the age of 25.

The 12 step program absolutely saved my life from alcohol and drug misuse, but never really addressed the depression and anxiety that underpinned it. As such last year, 14 and half years free of any mind-altering substances, I found myself suicidally depressed. I was also extremely physically unwell at the time. In fact, I basically crashed, broken down in mind, body, and spirit.

My body ached with heaviness and lethargy. I was tired all the time but couldn’t sleep. Trying to talk to people or be out in the world was physically painful. My focus, concentration, cognitive, and speech faculties declined rapidly. I felt completely worthless and alone. And then, it got worse…

Finally a good friend intervened and told me to go to the doctor. She lovingly said to me, “How bad do you want this to get before you admit you need help?” At that stage I was unable to sleep, eat, work, or leave the house. I was having back-to-back weeping or panic attacks.

I don’t want to see anyone. I lie in the bedroom with the curtains drawn and nothingness washing over me like a sluggish wave. Whatever is happening to me is my own fault. I have done something wrong, something so huge I can’t even see it, something that’s drowning me. I am inadequate and stupid, without worth. I might as well be dead. Margaret Atwood

My anxiety was such that I would spend the day circling my flat, deciding to do one thing, say a load of washing, then getting distracted by the need to vacuum the floor, buy food, and wash the dishes – activities that only a few months before I seemed to manage with ease. And after telling myself how completely useless a human being I was, I’d end up on the floor in fetal position, sobbing, and thinking that really I should just kill myself because it wasn’t getting better and everyone (my twelve year old son included) would be better off without me.

That to me is the nature of depression. I HONESTLY thought my son would be better off with me dead. That’s crazy town! I know logically no matter how bad a mother I am – and really I’m okay – my family would always rather have me here. Plus the fact I have been very close to families where members have suicided and I know the devastation. Yet, none of that was powerful enough to overcome my depression.

There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold- with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer. Barbara Kingsolver

If you are fortunate enough to have never experienced depression, I find this blog post by Allie Brosh explains it rather well…

And people offer all kinds of unhelpful advice, “why don’t you go for a walk?”, “you need a hobby,” ” stop worrying!” “you need to go out and have fun!” “I felt sad when… and I did… and it got better.”

Now while all these suggestions, in addition to good diet and exercise, are wonderful ways to manage inactive depression, when I am in a depressive episode, I can’t do any of those things, and you suggesting I should, only makes me feel even more hopeless and sad.

During this time, my favourite periods were when I was completely numb, all cried out, no real anxiety, just a low level hum. As long as no-one looked at me too closely, or knew me as the vivacious, bubbly, happy sort I could be, I could pretend to be okay.

I didn’t want my picture taken because I was going to cry. I didn’t know why I was going to cry, but I knew that if anybody spoke to me or looked at me too closely the tears would fly out of my eyes and the sobs would fly out of my throat and I’d cry for a week. I could feel the tears brimming and sloshing in me like water in a glass that is unsteady and too full. Sylvia Plath

Fortunately between my friend’s entreaties and a moment of lucidity where I realised it was possible that if this continued, I could kill myself against my own will, I realised that none of my fears about medication could be worse than this.

As I said, I realise my thinking patterns exacerbate my depression, and I’m sure my days of self-medicating did some disastrous things to my brain chemistry. I have tried to correct this balance with diet, exercise, meditation, vitamins, essential oils, bodywork, and positivity.

However I understand depression is more complex than that, if changing my thinking, my diet, practising mindfulness, and energy work were enough to cure depression, mine would have gone long ago. My depression is a chemical imbalance, a medical condition and like other medical conditions, sometimes medicine is required.

When you’re lost in those woods, it sometimes takes you a while to realize that you are lost. For the longest time, you can convince yourself that you’ve just wandered off the path, that you’ll find your way back to the trailhead any moment now. Then night falls again and again, and you still have no idea where you are, and it’s time to admit that you have bewildered yourself so far off the path that you don’t even know from which direction the sun rises anymore. Elizabeth Gilbert

Colin Wilson has written many books, from his first seminal work The Outsider at 24, to the one I’m currently reading Super Consciousness at 75. His life’s passion has been to understand consciousness through the examination of the great writers.

Why were the existentialists so dark and nihilistic? Why did the romantics, after discovering a world of beauty and love, invariably die to suicide and alcoholism?

Wilson suggests that many artists and writers experience glimpses into another consciousness, a place of such sublime beauty that everyday life seems, by comparison, depressingly bleak and dull. He cites the poems of W H Auden as conveying what he terms ‘life failure’ the sense that all the life force has simply gone out of a person, all the feeling, the passion, the oomph. It’s a rather neat description of depression, isn’t it?

It’s no use raising a shout.
No, Honey, you can cut that right out.
I don’t want any more hugs;
Make me some fresh tea, fetch me some rugs.
Here am I, here are you: But what does it mean?
What are we going to do?
W H Auden

Wilson had much to do with Abraham Maslow – who wrote extensively on peak experiences – but unlike Maslow who believed these experiences were random and out of our control, Wilson was sure that there was a way to create the environment for these experiences to occur.

I tend to agree. While depression is undeniably a chemical and genetic illness, there are, albeit rare, cases where depression has been cured by a spiritual awakening, Eckhart Tolle being the example that springs to mind. Tolle had a spiritual experience at the depths of his depression that not only transformed him, but resulted in many books that have given hope and comfort to many other people.

While I am very grateful to live in a time where I can take medication to alleviate my depressive symptoms, I don’t necessarily equate that with a solution to the underlying problem. Having experienced the states of both ‘life failure’ and ‘super consciousness’ that Wilson and Tolle and many others like William James write about, I want to investigate this more.

Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness, any misery, any depression, since after all you don’t know what work these conditions are doing inside you? Why do you want to persecute yourself with the question of where all this is coming from and where it is going? Since you know, after all, that you are in the midst of transitions and you wished for nothing so much as to change. If there is anything unhealthy in your reactions, just bear in mind that sickness is the means by which an organism frees itself from what is alien; so one must simply help it to be sick, to have its whole sickness and to break out with it, since that is the way it gets better. Rainer Maria Rilke

Wilson writes that the ingredient lacking in ‘life failure’, that is so obviously present in ‘super consciousness’ is feeling. Now, I know folks may jump at me here, depression is full of horrible feelings, but hang on a tick. The feeling he refers to is that sense of feeling a part of all of consciousness, all of life, a feeling of connection. Depression, for me, is the complete opposite of that, it’s like someone has cut the cord to that connection. He also says a key factor is ‘absorption’ – in the sense of being truly engrossed in something we love, for me it would be writing.

These ingredients – or the lack thereof – speak to me of the heart chakra. The connectedness, the deep feeling states, and the love and deep absorption in actions that are ‘close to our hearts.’

Depression for me is associated with lethargy and a lack of will to power. As such I associate it very much with a weak or inactive solar plexus chakra. The solar plexus also governs the intellect, and to me there is no denying that depression is, initially, an illness of the intellect.

During my intensive chakradance work as part of training to be a facilitator, I had some intense experiences with this chakra. Since then I feel my inner fire has been fully ignited and by tapping into that fire, I can produce a state of energy and vibrancy which can override my natural inclination to inaction and depression.

Now, I am not for one moment suggesting I have a cure for depression, Like all medical conditions I recommend expert medical help. I do believe that there are ways to help the energy body become more resilient. For myself, depression is intricately tied to being a deep thinker and highly sensitive empathetic person, as such I am susceptible to other people’s emotions and indeed the emotions of the world as I empathise with the horrors occurring on a daily basis.

In the past, I thought suppressing this “dark side” of my personality was the way. Attempting to distract myself with happy thoughts and gratitude – which are valid practices in and of themselves, not a cure for depression. I realise now, that denial makes it worse, what I seek now, is integration.

“Depression'” means literally “being forced downwards”… When the darkness grows denser, I would penetrate to its very core and ground, and would not rest until amid the pain a light appeared to me, for in excessu affectus [in an excess of affect or passion] Nature reverses herself… Anyway that is what I would do. What others would do is another question, which I cannot answer. But for you too there is an instinct either to back out of it or to go down to the depths. But no half-measures or half-heartedness. C G Jung

In Jungian psychology the shadow is the part of self we try to deny but that must be integrated for wholeness. Depression has been my life-long shadow. Yet I see how it has taught me. Without depression I would not have empathy with the pain of others. Without depression I would not have spent long periods alone, deep in thought in a quest to better understand myself and my place in this world. Without depression I would not have sought with such hunger the words of the great writers and poets and musicians, whose soothing words salved my aching soul.

It’s not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me. Stephen Fry

I need to be careful between the discussion of depression, as in clinical, and a broader sense of ennui or existential despair… I have both so I find it tricky. My friend says depression is not really the shadow, as the shadow is part of our normal self. Feeling bad and down isn’t necessarily a pathology, whereas clinical depression is. Similarly stress and anxiety are entirely normal and necessary responses to circumstance, but an anxiety disorder is a pathology.

The recognition and acknowledgement of my depression, the fact that it does co-exist in me with a very sparkly, bright personality is a good place to start. When I tried to ‘white light’ my depression away, to suppress and deny it, I got sicker. It is vital for me to integrate all parts of my being, to let go of the idea that the sparkly persona is preferable, to embrace myself as a whole self.

The realization of the shadow is inhibited by the persona. To the degree that we identify with a bright persona, the shadow is correspondingly dark. Thus shadow and persona stand in a compensatory relationship, and the conflict between them is invariably present in an outbreak of neurosis. The characteristic depression at such times indicates the need to realize that one is not all one pretends or wishes to be. Maxson J McDowell

So I need to make peace with my existential angst, to welcome it home and offer it a seat at the table with all my other archetypes of self, to hear its wisdom and balance out its rampaging, ravaging pain with other aspects of my being.

This is where meditation and energy work are, quite frankly, da bomb.

Connecting with the earth, the sky and my heart – using meditation techniques like the one I described in my last post – connects me to a deep and abiding source of energy and love. Every time I meditate, dance, pray, chant, or visualise light around me or others, I tap into this ancient wisdom.

My preference is to keep my body as clean of man-made substances as possible, including medication. But there is a point when that becomes foolhardy. Western medicine has saved many lives, that other therapies might have lost, and vice versa. It’s important to me to be open-minded to all therapeutic modalities.

Therapy in-and-of itself can be a mindfulness practice, where you bring your full attention for an hour each week to what is expressing itself in your body and your mind. Lodro Rinzler

It’s not that the medication has taken my depression away, but it has alleviated the symptoms to the point where I can function. To the point where I can read, and focus in meditation and dance, and write and talk. So for now, I take my medication both medical and energetic – and I thank my lucky stars that depression hasn’t taken me out, because boy has it come close at times.

And there’s nothing on my medicine packet to say any of this energetic and meditation stuff is contra-indicated, so if you haven’t already, maybe give it a try.

The lotus is the most beautiful flower, whose petals open one by one. But it will only grow in the mud. In order to grow and gain wisdom, first you must have the mud – the obstacles of life and its suffering… The mud speaks of the common ground that humans share, no matter what our stations in life… Whether we have it all or we have nothing, we are all faced with the same obstacles: sadness, loss, illness, dying and death. If we are to strive as human beings to gain more wisdom, more kindness and more compassion, we must have the intention to grow as a lotus and open each petal one by one. Goldie Hawn

Affirmations on depression (adapted from Therese Borchard’s article on Every Day Health)

I am valued even when I’m not productive.

I am loved despite my sadness.

I am not unwell because of a lack of effort or a failure at adjusting faulty thoughts.

I am appreciated even when I can’t contribute much.

I am needed even though I may feel worthless.

I am separate from my depression.

I am not any less of a person because certain people can’t understand my illness.

I have persevered and persevered and can celebrate my tenacity.

I am much more than my opinions of myself.

My brain is my friend.

My pain won’t last forever.

I am resilient.

I am a silent warrior.

I am okay where I am right now.

 

Bless!

 

Title image:

healthydunia.com

 

 

Life – live and unplugged

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Tell the story of who you are with your whole heart. Brene Brown

Last night I went to see Jen Cloher play a show with her band. Standing, encased in my lover’s arms, my head resting against his shoulder, I was relishing in the moment, in the music. As Jen played her achingly beautiful song ‘Hold My Hand,’ I realised that here I stood with the man I love, listening to Jen sing the very same song, that only weeks before I had been singing in my car whilst thinking of how much I missed having this man in my life. Yearning for him.

And as imagination bodies forth
 the forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen 
turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing, a local habitation and a name. William Shakespeare 

And now he is in my life. It was a little surreal. To see the shift that can happen in a matter of weeks. To see what happens when we open ourselves up to new possibilities.

Intentions have power, but only when we set ourselves free. Only when we can unplug ourselves from the tangled web of energetic cords that bind us to our fears, resentments, and regrets.

I have spent more of my life than I care to admit, imagining glorious things for myself, and then scolding myself for thinking such things could ever happen to me. I would never have dreamed of actually telling anyone about my flights of fancy, they’d just laugh. They’d call me silly. Who did I think I was? Someone special? Pul-ease.

femine treeAnd yet here I am baring my silly dreams to the world.

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Dr. Seuss

In my last post, I wrote that when low self-esteem causes us to seek validation and approval from others, it depletes our solar plexus chakra. As this chakra is the centre of our ‘life force energy,’ we need to consciously use this energy for our own needs: metabolism, power, and will. Only then can we be a force in the world.

In theory, I have known this for a while, but as the saying goes, the longest distance is between the head and the heart, or in this case the head and the gut.

Last week though, I finally ‘got’ it. I saw in neon technicolour my tendency to try to please others, investing my energy in their perception of me. I saw how this drains me, and even the little hits of approval I receive, do nothing to stem this haemorrhaging power.

And I saw clearly that when I am consciously in my power, when I accept myself unconditionally, and express myself uncensored, without needing the approval of others, oh, put sunglasses on baby, because that’s when I shine.

How ironic that when we try to impress others we lose the very power that makes us impressive in the first place.

It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. E.E. Cummings

And this takes a great deal of vulnerability. Unplugging from what other people think, from what our ‘tribe’ says is the way to achieve, unplugging from the quest for approval, and praise, and accolades, and money, and validation, and recognition, that’s not an easy ask.

Writing this blog is an act of courage for me, I see that now. Courage comes in many forms, and no, I won’t be nominating myself for a medal of valour, but that’s not to say courage can only be exhibited in the face of external combat.

I used to think I was alone in my doubts and fearful thoughts, but I’m not. Music has always reassured me of that. It’s okay to be vulnerable in music. I really loved a line from Jen Cloher’s new song about the “sushi train” of thoughts riding around and around in her head. It’s a powerful image. Powerful yet banal, as these thoughts often are. Fear happens to us all, and there is such power in admitting it.

We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. Brene Brown

Last year I was introduced to Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability. I’ll pop it in here for those who haven’t seen it, it’s worth a watch.

Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage. Brene Brown

The idea Brene espouses is that vulnerability is the pathway to true intimacy with ourselves, with others, and our authentic place in the world. Vulnerability isn’t weakness, it is the ability to risk baring yourself in order to be real, to be open, and to grow.

So when my last post went gangbusters – I got more hits in one week than I get in most months – I thought it was kind of funny, because it had felt a little raw and unpolished when I published it. Maybe that’s the point, raw is good. Raw is real and vulnerable.

Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity, innovation, and change. Brene Brown

Chakradance is a perfect place to explore vulnerability for me. It’s more than just dancing, it’s a journey within, to connect with our true essence, and I never quite know what will come up for me. Will it be joy, exuberance, tears, trauma, raw primal power?

Kat Gal wrote a great post in Tiny Buddha about her journey with meditative dance. I have to admit to similar experiences with the practice. A freedom from care of what I look like, from needing to be or do anything except what my body wants to express in that moment. It’s incredibly liberating.

In movement meditation class, people move their bodies as they feel like it, without judgment, just letting everything go, just being present, just being themselves. Kat Gal

earth-heartBeing fully present sounds great in theory but in reality, it’s not always comfortable. Sure when I’m seeing faeries and angels, dancing in golden pixie dust, and exchanging light rays with the moon goddess, it Rocks the Casbah, when I’m curled up in a foetal position releasing childhood trauma, not so much.

However, I have found that the faerie dust comes after I release the trauma and reclaim that lost part of self. There is a particular brand of joy that comes from facing your own darkness and seeing it has it’s own specks of light.

It’s the yin and the yang, the light and the dark, the doing and the receiving, and there’s a beauty in releasing trauma this way, it’s both powerful and empowering.

The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud. Coco Chanel

As I express my vulnerability and my innocence in this journey towards wholeness and integration, with childlike wonder and awe, I inspire others to do the same. People are so hungry for that feeling of aliveness that comes from uninhibited self-expression, the part of us that is creative, imaginative, the dancing, the joyful, the spontaneous, the unrestrained free spirit that wants to come out and play.

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains
Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend
More than cool reason ever comprehends. William Shakespeare

Creativity and vulnerability have infiltrated my business planning processes this week. In my last post I expressed the mental block I was experiencing in this area and I have been inundated with helpful suggestions to assist in my business planning.

It turns out this process can be incredibly heartfelt and creative, and thanks to the assistance of Johannah from Confetti Design, I have been shown a process to be creative in my expression of my business goals and the result is pure gold!

Since I have been putting my business aspirations out there, I have had some great discussions with other small business folk. It makes me laugh, because I never wanted to admit my vulnerability, yet in this blog, it seems to be all I do, and every time it is so freeing. And other people tell me it helps them too, and then people offer me assistance.

When will I just have faith that being vulnerable is the way to go, always, all the time, and put it as my default setting? (That’s a rhetorical question, by the way.)

There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community. M. Scott Peck

treeoflifeAll that time I have spent hiding from the world, from people. When really, you are often just like me. Just doing your best, feeling a little insecure, trying to make a difference.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. Maya Angelou

This week the gift I received from dancing the sacral chakra was the realisation that openness and vulnerability are essential to the creative life. Every week brings a new gift of awakening to self.

Chakradance, for me, has been a process of reclaiming my spirit, of breaking it down into the seven chakras, and being present with each aspect of my spirit in order to reintegrate it into the whole. Wholeness.

As I get excited by my vision and talk about it to others, it magnetizes, it attracts.

The truth is I love exploring the chakras – it feels amazing, it transforms my whole being and therefore my whole experience of life. It’s like being transported into a parallel universe of infinite love and possibilities. I want everyone to experience this awakening. Chakradance is an astounding way to do this. It’s fun, it works on multiple levels: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It meets you where you are and brings gifts with every dance.

While I dance I cannot judge, I cannot hate, I cannot separate myself from life. I can only be joyful and whole. This is why I dance. Hans Bos

Affirmations from Jon Patch’s blog inspired by Brene Brown’s video:

I am worthy
I tell the story of who I am with my whole heart
I have the courage to be seen as imperfect
I let myself be seen
I love with my whole heart
I am enough
I am willing to be vulnerable

Bless!

 

 

Images:

Gravity is a lie by Chiara Fersini

Feminine tree

Earth heart

Tree of life

 

Taking it out into the world

creative-dance

All that is gold does not glitter. Not all those who wander are lost. J.R.R. Tolkien

There’s been a lot on inner work going on for me lately: chakra healing, shamanic soul retrieval, and of course, chakradancing. Now it seems it’s time to take this inner journey out to the world, to share this gift with others. And I have to say, I am feeling a little scared. It’s all very well to dance around my loungeroom, but now I’m going to put myself out there and guide others through the journey of Chakradance. Am I up for this? Am I ready? Will I do it ‘right’?

Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate. Thomas Aquinas

Last week I went and danced with a dear friend. She’s been having some health problems and so we focused on the solar plexus chakra: the seat of personal power. I know that sounds a little Tony Robbins, but the power here is akin to the flow of electricity. If our solar plexus is compromised, for example, by us giving away our power through dynamics of low self-esteem and approval seeking, we can become very depleted in this area. As a result our whole system suffers as this inner ‘fire’ of digestion, metabolism and empowerment dwindles.

firebeach

One of the greatest losses of energy in this chakra comes from ignoring our intuition. We all have intuition, it is an innate gift, the issue is when we don’t listen to it. We suppress it, deny it, argue with it, throw fearful thoughts at it, and this all takes a lot of energy.

Your soul knows the geography of your destiny. Your soul alone has the map of your future, therefore you can trust this indirect, oblique side of yourself. If you do, it will take you where you need to go, but more important it will teach you a kindness of rhythm in your journey. John O’Donohue

Caroline Myss talks about how we have misunderstood and mis-used the notion of creating our own reality, applying this force at the level of the material and the personality (romance, power, prestige) but that is not really the truth. The reality we create is at an energetic level, in our thoughts, and where we, consciously or unconsciously, direct our energy. This concept needs to be applied it to the management of our spiritual energy, and of our energy output.

Where does your energy go? Have you ever considered this? Not just physically but emotionally, via your thoughts. Do you harbour resentments, fears, old hurts? This is the great responsibility of the human life – conscious management of our power. The chakra system is a blueprint of the management of our spiritual energy, according to Myss.

Last week my lover gave me a rune reading. It was a beautiful process, and as with tarot, can be used as a form of divination alongside therapeutic counselling, to uncover blocks and issues in the querent’s life.

The runes are the traditional writing, magical and divination symbols of the ancient Germanic peoples, which effectively covers most of Northern Europe. Specific symbols carved in wood, or representations of these symbols on cards similar to tarot, are used in a traditional formation representing the realms in Norse mythology. There is an apparent correlation between these realms and the essence of the seven chakras as explored in this article by Magin Rose.wood-runes2

The reading was in response to a query I had about Chakradance. I had felt that just as I was beginning to bring my business into the ‘real’ material world of people, there was a major block occurring. People get very excited by ideas, but when it comes down to actually committing to a physical place and time, would they do it? Would anyone actually come to my classes?

The runes selected were highly favourable, suggesting I have the favour of the gods as what I am offering is of value, and with a recurring theme of sea-faring. I saw the analogy that my business, my chakradance craft, is like a boat, a beautiful boat, but one that has never been on the sea, is it actually sea worthy?

The only solution was some good old-fashioned business planning. Planning is something I often see as boring and restrictive, yet seeing the creativity as I write my business plan, the ideas flowing of how to launch my business, how I want my space to look, are actually really exciting. And it’s real.

We all begin the process before we are ready, before we are strong enough, before we know enough; we begin a dialogue with thoughts and feelings that both tickle and thunder within us. We respond before we know how to speak the language, before we know all the answers, and before we know exactly to whom we are speaking. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Come to think of it, it’s not that planning is boring, it’s actually scary. My usual modus operandi is ‘fly by the seat of my pants’.

Yes, that is a kind of intuitive living, but I think you can be intuitive and conscious of your decision-making and the direction it’s taking you. I traditionally make what seems like a great decision at the time, with no real thought as to how to measure if it actually is a good decision, and if so, how I will know that going forward. And when fear and doubt creep in, as they always do, I’m lost at sea with no compass, asking myself plaintively, ‘are you sure this is what you want?”

I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour. Henry David Thoreau

This week several synchronous articles have crossed my path, as I started to realise I needed more of a plan around my business, a friend’s new business was launched, with this wonderful article on why planning really helps calm the anxiety of launching a business – read it here at Confetti Design, and I received an email from Doreen Virtue about planning a spiritual business.

Johannah Chilcott, from Confetti Design, writes that there are three steps to keeping your head when starting a new business: building a solid foundation through research and planning, reducing objectives into micro-tasks to get things done without stress, and creating strategies for support, mentorship, and stress management techniques. It’s a very sensible approach, far less angst-ridden than my ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ no-planning-plan.

After the rune reading, and these gems of wisdom that have arrived in my inbox this week, the recurring message is that I need to plan, not because anything will necessarily go wrong, but because I will go into self-doubt, and a solid plan will remind me that I have prepared my boat for the ocean, I am sea-worthy. It will remind me of the reasons I embarked on this journey, and the solid ground behind and in front of me.2-seaworthy-jc-findley

Probably the most important part of manifesting my intentions is right here, this giving birth to them in the physical world, not shying away from physical limitations and obstacles, seeing this as part of the richness of what I am doing, breaking through old barriers of self-doubt and self-sabotage.

Success in any endeavour depends on the degree to which it is an expression of your true self. Ralph Marsten

I previously wrote about the book Creating on Purpose: The Spiritual Technology of Manifesting Through the Chakras by Lion Goodman and Anodea Judith in an old post here.

The jist of Creating on Purpose is that all creation is co-creation between energy forces which are always at work, and through awareness and energetic healing we can become a clear ‘bridge’ for these forces to flow through, and we can quite literally use our consciousness to change the world.

 You have the ability to draw down your own vision of what you want to create in your life and to manifest it here in the physical world. Your soul has a purpose for being here. Lion Goodman and Anodea Judith

The ancient vedic texts called the upward journey of energy throughout the chakras mukti, or freedom; Anodea calls it the ‘current of liberation’. This current enables you to liberate yourself from limitations and attachments. It is the commonly conceptualised path of enlightenment by ascending from the lower chakras through to the crown chakra.

Less understood is the downward path, which the ancient masters called bhukti meaning “enjoyment”. The descending current of bhukti is the process by which consciousness densifies into physical form. In its simplest form this can be thought of as the process used in any body movement. When you walk your consciousness tells your brain to instruct your body to walk, this thought travels via energy signals to the nerves in your legs, where it manifests physically as you walking.

This downward path of energy through the chakras is the process of manifestation, where ideas and intentions catalyse and are transformed into physical reality. This process begins at the seventh chakra at the crown and moves down to the base or first chakra.

But he was able to understand one thing: making a decision was only the beginning of things. When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision. Paulo Coelho

In Creating on Purpose, Anodea and Lion outline seven manifestation principles, which describe how the seven chakras are involved in various stages of manifestation. Lion is very clear that this is not about sitting still and manifesting abundance, this is co-creation between our energetic and physical forms which requires action.

blog-post-9-1-original-lmFor an intention to manifest there has to be an idea in your consciousness (7th chakra) you visualise it, including looking at all kind of related things and letting your imagination play with the idea (6th chakra), you communicate with people who can be helpful and talk about it (5th chakra), you ensure right relationships around this intention (4th chakra), you create action plans (3rd chakra), you infuse your intention with passion (2nd chakra) and you actualise the intention in the physical world (1st chakra).

The other process is dealing with resistance. Like my aforementioned reaction to putting myself out there, it is natural to experience resistance to any new intention or action. You need to identify and remove these obstacles and unblock your chakras to allow the current to flow freely.

Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. Albert Einstein 

Creating and holding a vision for our endeavours does not mean being attached to perfect outcomes, more it is a compass to hold and refer to when the sun clouds over and the seas get rocky. It is a vision of the direction we saw from the high vantage point on the coast before we set sail, and once we found ourselves out at sea, we can refer to that vision for guidance, inspiration, direction and courage.

Affirmations for starting your own business by Che Garman:

What I offer through my company has tremendous value.

My work is a labour of love.

I effortlessly channel my energy into working on my business.

I easily get the funds I need to help grow my business.

I believe in myself and in my company.

I build my business with understanding and dedication.

I contribute to the lives of others through the services I provide.

People are extremely eager to engage my services.

My chosen lifework is fulfilling and lucrative.

My company makes a positive difference in the world.

My business instincts are well-tuned.

My business is constantly growing and prospering.

My business is flourishing!

 

Bless!

 

Image:

http://wildlyfreewoman.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/creative-dance.jpg

http://witchblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/wood-runes2.jpg

http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/03/ce/7d/5f/seaworthy-gallery.jpg

http://s90.mindvalley.us/learnmanifesting/media/images/blog-post-9-1-original-lm.png

Ignite your inner fire

cauldronfire

There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the passion of life. Federico Fellini

Several nights ago I was awoken from a dream, quite literally, with a bang. In my dream, a large metal pot or cauldron blew its lid with a loud explosion. Previously, I would have thought nothing of this – its only a dream, after all. Now, after reading Jung and experiencing Chakradance, I am curious about the messages my subconscious communicates to me in my dreams.

After waking from this dream, I felt quite agitated and unable to go back to sleep. There was the strongest feeling that this dream was an important message from my subconscious and I intuitively felt it was somehow related to my solar plexus chakra. So after discussing this with my Chakradance teacher, I moved on to the next chakra. During the dance, I had a very powerful experience.

The dance of Manipura (the third chakra) begins with a flame, and as the music intensifies, the fire increases, and I danced like wildfire. I became one with the fire, I was fire, flickering and wild. It felt incredibly liberating and powerful, and then all of a sudden my perception shifted dramatically.

The experience transformed from being elemental fire, to being ON fire – being burned, encased in flames – and all the powerful emotions that came with it. Horror, fear, panic. Even knowing it was just in the dance, the emotional reaction was profound. Recovering in child’s pose, I found myself saying to myself, “that was then this is now, it is safe to be powerful now.”

As I incanted this affirmation, came a vision of a fiery caudron burning away the hurts of the past, all those experiences where I was persecuted, shamed, or abused for expressing my power.

Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know. Pema Chodron 

The image of the cauldron is interesting. In both Taoist and Celtic traditions, the three cauldrons are the energy centres which are equivalent to the seven chakras in the yoga tradition. The first cauldron is the cauldron of heat, or Coire Goiraith, and in the Taoist tradition, is known as “the golden stove” representing the refining and vitality of the life force into the Ching energy, which is basically a highly refined, super potent form of chi, or life force energy. Ching is creation energy, associated with the creation of life through sexual union.

Caroline Myss writes that all spiritual truths are present in some form in all the great spiritual belief systems of the world. She spent many years trying to find the correlation between the seven chakras, the seven Christian sacraments, and the Judaic Sephirot, or tree of life. This got me to thinking about my ancestry, which is Celtic – mostly Irish with a bit of Scot thrown in for good measure.

This Celtic wisdom is something which I have been intuitively drawn to through my chakra work and meditation. I became intrigued with finding an equivalent energy system to the chakras in the Celtic tradition. After experiencing an inner knowing during meditation, I research these “gut feelings”, and discover they are aligned with Celtic tradition. I absolutely love this practice in trusting my intuitive guidance. Jung would say I am tapping into the collective unconscious. At some level this wisdom in encoded into my Irish DNA, as much as the red glow in my hair!

Jung believed in the collective unconscious, a collection of memories and intuition from our shared human ancestral history. The collective unconscious appears to the conscious mind as archetypal symbols, which allow the wisdom of the unconscious to come through to the conscious mind.

Every individual stands between two worlds. The world of external perception and the world of perception of the unconscious. C. G. Jung

Previously, I wrote about the solar plexus chakra – or manipura – here, in a post from March, and its interesting to reread this post and observe how my experience of the chakra has deepened. The imagery of petals unfurling – that represents many of the chakras in the yogic tradition – like a flower blossoming into full bloom, is a fine analogy for the way this feels.

When I originally aligned the seven chakras with my seven intentions, I had no idea – no conscious Idea, that is – how beautifully serendipitous it all was. As I go deeper into the chakras, I am amazed by this intuitive ‘ding’. The third chakra is related to my third intention of purpose, which is the theme of manipura – who you are, self-belief, will, and the loving expression of personal power in order to shine your light into the world.

The goal in working with the chakras is to deepen your awareness of your self and your energetic/emotional self. Margaret Juliano

Known as Manipura in Sanskrit – which means lustrous gem – the third chakra revolves around themes of personal power, physical power, self-expression, and will. It its the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our energy, drive, and sense of purpose.

The energy of manipura is expressed as the element of fire. Traditional aboriginal cultures have strong relationships to fire using it in shamanic rituals and landcare, as well as for warmth and food preparation. When entering or leaving country, Aboriginal Australians burn leaves to perform a cleansing ceremony. Aboriginal people made extensive use of low level burning of land to prevent bushfires from getting out of control.

Fire ceremonies, such as the Native American sweat lodges, have long been used in indigenous cultures for cleansing and spiritual awakening rituals. In nature, fire has a cleansing effect. Many native Australian trees have seed pods that are only activated by fire.

Our bodies are our gardens, to which our wills are gardeners. William Shakespeare

Manipura is about your individuality, about allowing yourself to be yourself, and accepting others as they are. It’s about taking responsibility for you and your life, not blaming or making yourself a victim. This requires belief in yourself and good boundaries with others.

Located in the area of the diaphragm and stomach, this chakra relates to concepts of self-definition, personal power, and positive emotional expression. Balancing this chakra brings the ability to create healthy boundaries, balanced personal power, will power, and positive self-value. It governs the digestive system, the lower back, and the nervous system.

The chakras are the metaphysical shadow of the endocrine system. Margaret Juliano 

This chakra is adversely affected by physical abuse, or living in an environment of excessive control or fear. When out of balance, this energy of this chakra manifests in anxiety, a lack of mental clarity, lower back issues, and digestive problems.

Reading the list of issues from an unbalanced third chakra, I could be reading my prior medical history. Disassociation, anxiety, feeling powerless, a history of gut problems, and depression. Jung believed it is in the solar plexus that you hold old psychological wounds, trauma, and memories. Hence the feeling of being ‘sick to our stomach’ when witnessing or recalling a traumatic event.

Every time you don’t follow your inner guidance, you feel a loss of energy, loss of power, a sense of spiritual deadness. Shakti Gawain

Jung believed in the connection between the psyche and the chakras, now it seems this connection is expanding to physiological connections between gut and brain and our emotional/mental health. The field of neurogastroenterology – which, as it sounds combines the fields of neurology – the brain – and gastroenterology – the gut – is a burgeoning area of research and medicine, which is uncovering fascinating links between the gut and the brain. To the extent that the gut is being dubbed “the second brain”.

Current research is identifying links between the gut and the regulation of processes that are involved in: the immune system, mental illness, autism, bone density, and the regulation of mood. The most obvious example of the gut-brain connection is the feeling of “butterflies” in your stomach when experiencing anxiety.

The Jungian archetypes that relate to this chakra are the warrior and his shadow, the servant. In healing this chakra it is important to addressing any control issues, whether you tend towards the dominant or the passive end of the spectrum.

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’ Jack Kerouac

Try this beautiful solar plexus chakra meditation. Just sit and listen to the sounds and breathe slowly and deeply,

It is apparent to me that this third energy centre has so much to teach me, about owning my personal power, and healing my gut and brain.

When deciding on my seven intentions, the initial word I used for my third intention was passion. Then I decided on the word purpose.

It strikes me now, that there is a space between those concepts, a place of perfect balance between passion and purpose, between that creative fire and the loving manifestation of that force in the world. Purpose, to me, can become drudgery and obligation, this chakra reminds me to always keep the home fires burning, to stoke them regularly, to allow them to flare up in magnificent displays of healthy passion and zest for life, to light my way in the darkness.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark….Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours. Ayn Rand

The best way to stimulate the third chakra is to get your energy moving. Twisting poses and shouting also ignite this chakra, so twist and shout, baby.

This Lion pose is the perfect way to release your inner power. It releases your stomach, throat, and jaw, releasing any tensions and energy held there. It involves a powerful breathing technique that ignites the solar plexus chakra and releases emotions.

Lion’s Pose, Simhasana by Chakra Anatomy

lionSit on your heals with your back straight.
Lean forward and put your hands on the floor in front of you, fingers pointing backwards.
Became aware of any sensations in your abdomen.
Take a full deep breath and allow your abdomen to fully expand.
Feel the sensations in your abdomen and connect with your breath.
Then, with a roar like a lion, throw your tongue out as you exhale the emotions and sensations in your abdomen.
Repeat this roar several times – breathing in your abdomen, connecting with your feelings, and exhaling the feelings with the power of a roar.
By releasing energy and long held emotions in your abdomen, you create space for a smooth energy flow through your third chakra.

Fire meditation

stock-footage-big-flames-in-wooden-campfire-fps-slow-motionYou may want to use a candle to assist in your visualisation.

Imagine you are sitting before a large, controlled fire. Look into the flames. Feel the flames as a reflection of your inner fire.

Visualise your solar plexus as a beautiful fiery sun. Feel its heat, its power. Allow any fears that emerge to be acknowledged and then burned in this ceremonial fire.

Ask this energy centre what is your purpose? What is your will? Spend a few minutes in quiet meditation and afterwards write or draw the wisdom you receive.

My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humour, and some style. Maya Angelou

Solar Plexus Chakra Affirmations by Chakra Anatomy

I love and accept myself.
I stand up for myself.
I am strong and courageous.
I am worthy of love, kindness, and respect.
I choose the best for myself.
I express myself in a powerful way.
I am proud of my achievements.
I honor my self.
I choose healthy relationships.
I am authentic.
I direct my own life.
I appreciate my strengths.
I feel my own power.
I am free to choose in any situation.
I seek opportunities for personal and spiritual growth.
I am at peace with myself.

Bless.

 

For more on:

Manipura read this article by Anodea Judith

Chakradance here

And this article in Scientific American about the ‘second brain’ in the gut

Taoist alchemy practice ‘Circulation of the Light’ 

Jung and the yogic tradition here 

 

Title image:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-nLMuzwNcOig/Ub4wmu-yKII/AAAAAAAAthQ/nionRoomO7s/s640/L1000826_HDR.jpg

Lion image:

http://i1.ytimg.com/vi/n3quBUL5kTM/hqdefault.jpg

Fire image:

http://ak5.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/4929029/preview/stock-footage-big-flames-in-wooden-campfire-fps-slow-motion.jpg

 

Now is the time to shine like the sun

Manipura

This week’s WordPress writing challenge is The Golden Years, which got me to thinking about what that phrase means to me. I do love a challenge. Of course, then the Bowie song started running around in my head, as music is wont to do…

Don’t let me hear you say life’s taking you nowhere, angel. Golden years, gold, whoop whoop whoop. David Bowie

It’s a song of youthful exuberance – not to mention rather a lot of cocaine, apparently.

So I questioned myself. What are my golden years? Many people subscribe to the idea of school days being the best days, but I don’t. How could your best days be over before you’ve even figured out what to do with your life? And even though I loved university, my teenage and early twenties years were a time of disillusionment and descent into nihilism. If anything I became less golden, more dark and bleak. Lost in deep philosophical questions about myself and my place in this world.

My thirties were mostly happily spent mothering three boys – which I loved – and being in a difficult marriage – which I didn’t.

The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing – and then marry him. Cher

My mum always said her forties were her golden years – post the frenetic years of raising very young children, and with a sense of comfortability within herself – and I tend to agree. Apart for the hiccup of actually letting go of my thirties as a concept, when the digits slid over last year, I have to say I feel better about life than I ever have. Wouldn’t mind my 25 year-old body back, but what evs.

The golden age is before us, not behind us. William Shakespeare

Let’s segue here. Thinking golden, makes me think of the solar plexus chakra, the third chakra, which is said to radiate a golden yellow energy like the sun. This week I have been meditating on this chakra. Why? Well, read on.

Known as Manipura in Sanskrit – which means lustrous gem – its themes of self-care and personal power have been recurring for me lately. It’s easy to forget about caring for yourself, in this crazy and demanding world we live in. And the result of an unbalanced Manipura? Anxiety, indecision, stifled will, and suppressed energy. Er, no thanks. 

Always believe in your soul. You’ve got the power to know you’re indestructible. Always believe in, because you are Gold – Spandau Ballet

Manipura is the seat of personal power and will. It its the fire that fuels our metabolism, and if it’s activated it increases our energy, drive, and sense of purpose. Who couldn’t use some of that?

Located in the area of the diaphragm and stomach, this chakra relates to concepts of self-definition, personal power, and positive emotional expression. Balancing this chakra brings the ability to create healthy boundaries, balanced personal power, will power, and positive self-value.

Manipura is about your individuality, about allowing yourself to be yourself, and accepting others as they are. It’s about taking responsibility for you and your life, not blaming or making yourself a victim. This requires belief in yourself and good boundaries with others.

Part of the reason my forties feel so golden is that I have finally understood the concept of honouring my own power. In the past I tended to let others call the shots in my relationships. Trusting my intuition, as a guide to self-expression, has proved to be the most empowering thing I could do.

We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses—one foot is on the horse called “fate,” the other on the horse called “free will.” And the question you have to ask every day is—which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it’s not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort? Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love 

The fire energy of Manipura ignites your passion and will, encouraging you to take risks towards living your dream. As such it is the catalyst for your intentions, the chakra in which they transform from imagination to a will to action. 

Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage. Anaïs Nin 

My last post, on vision boards, was all about using your imagination and creativity to visualise your intentions. This is an important place to start. However if your intentions stay at that level, they don’t manifest in reality. The solar plexus chakra is the place where intention is transformed by the will into strategic action planning, with the fuel of passion to power things along.

I am finally coming to the realization that my greatest ambition is to be what I already am. Thomas Merton

So if you are feeling lacklustre, and wondering where your get up and go went. If you find yourself feeling angry that other people seem to be walking all over you and not realising you have your own needs. If your inner fire has been doused with apathy.  It might be a good time to get back in touch with the energy of your solar plexus chakra.

Nothing is impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible.” Audrey Hepburn

A great place to start is by reflecting on your successes and accomplishments, a reminder to yourself that you are a unique, worthy and valuable person. As you bring to mind your self-worth, imagine a bright, golden sun in the middle of your belly. Feel its warm rays radiate out to your entire body and surrounds.

As if the sorrows and stupidities of the world could overwhelm me now that I realize what we all are.  I wish everyone could realize this, but there is no way of telling people they are all walking around shining like the sun. Thomas Merton

Let your golden chakra shine like the sun. Like manipura, life is a lustrous gem, deserving of deep reverence. Laughing ignites this chakra too, so if meditation is not your thing, try the comedy club or a funny movie.

Every moment is a golden one for him who has the vision to recognize it as such. Henry Miller

So here’s to making THESE years, this year, right now, the golden years, for whatever stage of life you are in. 

If your third chakra is strong, you stay on task. You live deliberately. Your actions are in accordance with your intentions. You make a plan to do something, and you do it—without resistance, apology, or complaint. Anodea Judith & Lion Goodman, Creating on Purpose

I love these affirmations for empowering the solar plexus chakra from Therese Kerr’s wonderful website – written by Natalie Southgate of Chakradance – and this article is also where much of my information about this chakra comes from.

“I am worthy of the best in life.”

“I am capable.”

“I am powerful.”

“I set and reach my goals.”

“I stand up for myself and for what I believe in.”

“I know who I am and where I am going.”

Bless!

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