“Believing in life means we can trust—trust in the nature and rhythm of life with all its constant change. We believe in transformation, change, and purpose . . . we’re not a bondage to the past. No matter what we’ve done, what decisions we’ve made, we set ourselves free to trust ourselves now. We trust what we feel, we trust what we know, we trust what we think we need to do next. Believing in life means we trust that the lessons we’re learning are real. They’re valuable and Divinely ordained—even when learning a lesson means feeling pain.”
I’ve been crying a lot lately. Over the past nine months, I’ve cried much more than I ever have before. In August, my 95-year-old grandmother suddenly passed away in her sleep. We had just spent two beautiful weeks with her in Maine and she had returned home to New Jersey. A few days later, she went to sleep and never woke up. It was a beautiful way to leave this world. However, even though she was 95 years old, it was a complete shock to my whole family. We just did not see it coming. Naturally and expectedly, the tears started then. Losing her was like losing all of my grandparents all over again. It was the end of an era. She was last in our family of that “Greatest Generation.” And she was simply a magnificent person. In that moment of loss, I made a conscious decision not to hold back the tears and to allow myself to feel the emotions as I experienced them. Then a couple of months later, my beloved nine-year-old yellow lab, Riley, died after just a few weeks of being sick. We did not see that coming either, and I cried more the week before she died than I have ever cried before in my life. It’s like the flood gates had opened and big, ugly, sobbing tears that I couldn’t control were the result. Losing a beloved family dog is just SO sad. But I can see now that the tears were also for my grandmother and all of the others that I have loved and lost. Of course, my story of loss is not unique, and in fact, I recognize that I have been spared the trauma of profound, sudden, gut-wrenching loss and grief throughout my life that so many others have experienced. However, it is undeniable that there is so much heartache, pain, sadness, grief, and suffering surrounding us all. But I am learning through experiencing these emotions with so much rawness that I have a choice.
The other day, I was reading the above passage from Melody Beattie’s Journey to the Heart about believing in life, not loss. She wrote that believing in loss means that we focus on the loss, the sadness, the pain, the tragedy in our lives and all around us and that it has some kind of control over us. We stay stuck in this pain. We are tethered to that pain. Believing in life, however, means we trust where we’ve been and where we are going. We trust the pain. As I read that passage, I thought, “That is the second chakra.” There will be pain, loss, sadness, and grief in this life. It is not our job to deny that or repress that. It is also not our job, nor is it healthy to remain stuck in that pain. If we are to live a passionate life, we must allow that grief in. Feeling grief and sadness and pain are a part of our humanity. It is what connects all of us. Instead of resisting it, we must learn to weave it into the fabric of our life, of who we are. Embrace it all. And trust that those lessons, and that pain, is leading us down the right path. We trust where we have been, no matter how painful, and where we are going. That is believing in life. And it is something we must practice every day.
Believing in life aligns so perfectly with the second chakra. Moving from resistance to ease, stagnation to fluidity, restriction to expansiveness, control to surrender. This is the second chakra. It is called Svadhisthana, which means “one’s own place.” Located in your lower belly and sacral area, this is where emotions are held and released. When balanced here, we feel motivated, we live passionately, and our movements and decisions are gracefully executed. We trust in change. We embrace it all. When out of balance we hold back, we bury our emotions, feel confused or conflicted, we live and make decisions from a place of fear and loss, inadequacy, and repression.
There is so much uncertainty right now. So much unknown, and so much that is beyond our control. Family and friends are suffering, dying, and in so much pain. Businesses may never recover. So much of our lives and choices are not within our control. And the more we resist, the more we attempt control, the more we will suffer. The second chakra teaches us patience and grace during times of change and transition. It teaches us to go with the flow, the ever-changing, ever-moving currency of life. We allow the pain in. We weave it into the fabric of our lives. When we release the resistance to that pain, that is when we are most fertile, most creative, most connected to our intuition and our truest purpose in life. If you are feeling stuck, resistant, stagnant, disconnected from your feelings, disconnected from your purpose, or trying to control too much, I invite you to do practices that connect you to the second chakra and the fluidity within you. Float or swim in the ocean, take a bath, do a hip opening yoga class, breathe deeply into your belly. Cry. Write. Create. Gently circulate what is stuck, feel it, embrace it, and let it go. Through the study of this chakra, we find our own sweet place in this world.
Chakra 2 | Svadhisthana: One’s Own Place
LOCATION: Sacral area: Lower back, abdomen, hips, sexual organs,
inner thighs, knees, and joints
CENTRAL FOCUS: Creativity, pleasure, movement, expansion, flow
PRACTICES: Opening and widening the hips, working with polarities
POSES: Hip openers (Pigeon, Frog), core strengtheners, lower back
IMBALANCED: Lower back pain, menstrual irregularities, digestive
problems, hormonal issues, sexual dysfunction, indulgent, emotional,
addictive, rigid, joyless, numb
BALANCED: Full yet contained, graceful movement
BIJA MANTRA: Vam
RESONANT SOUND: Ooh, as in pool
MANTRA: I FEEL
- Where and with whom do you feel most at home? What does being at home within yourself feel like?
- Do you accept and nurture your feelings?
- Do you believe you have the capacity to create your experience? If not, why? If so, how?
- What does creativity mean to you? Do you consider yourself a creative person? How do you express creativity in your life?
- Are you comfortable with your sexuality? If not, are you able to work toward healing your sexual imbalances? Do you use people for sexual pleasure, or have you felt used? Do you honor your sexual boundaries?
- Are you a controlling person? Do you engage in power plays in relationships?
- Are you able to see yourself clearly in circumstances related to power and money? Does money have authority over you? Do you make compromises that violate your inner self for the sake of financial security? How often do your survival fears dictate your choices?
- Are you comfortable with change or the unexpected?
- Are you in touch with your gut instincts?
My work views all the elements of being a human—the physical, emotional, and mental—as deeply intertwined… It is from this whole-person perspective that we can best identify the underlying causes of our struggles and empower ourselves to heal.
My companion journal to Inside here: https://amzn.to/2xZdAP0