Chakra Series – 2nd Chakra

Beach BlissAnd forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.  – Kahlil Gibran

The second chakra is about pleasure, sensuality, touch, sexuality, creativity, fire, passion, life.   Its essence is water.  When open, there is an openeess to intimacy, an ability to express oneself freely, and a level of comfort with one’s sexuality.

When I was 25, living in the Midwest, I knew I was ready for a change.  I wanted to move west and applied to several colleges in WA, OR and CA.  I flew out to Eugene for a school visit and then drove down the coast of Oregon with a friend and landed in the Bay Area.  We stayed with some friends of hers in Berkeley in a communal household that seemed like the “overground” railroad stop for dead-heads and free spirits.  Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore.  The beauty of the Berkeley hills, the smell of jasmine in the air, the bountiful potlucks and the constant stream of colorful people coming in and out of the house awakened my yearning for life, like a hibernating bear smelling the winds of Spring.

One day we drove to “Red Rocks”, a nude beach just south of Stinson.  It was my first nude beach. We parked on a cliff and hiked our way down.  Far below, I could make out tiny brown people playing Ultimate frisbee (naked!) in the sparkling surf.  A few hours later, I was splashing in the waves, feeling the water on my bare skin and throwing a disc, leaping and jumping with abandon.  I felt like I was “home” and free in a way I had never experienced before.  I was sold.  I flew back to Illinois, packed up my car, grabbed my cat and drove back to Berkeley to the purple house on Oregon Street to begin my new life in CA.

That was 24 years ago.

Along the way, there has been plenty of “life” to fill in those 24 years.  College, Grad School, work, lovers, marriage, children, divorce, re-marriage,  friendships, yoga teacher trainings, ceremonial arts training, Reiki training, hospice training, work, travel.  Somewhere in all of that living, I think I lost sight of that free-spirit that is my nature.  One day, sitting in a women’s circle, the facilitator asked “If you were to die today, would you feel like you had reached your fullest sexual potential?”  I was shocked at how fast my mind screamed “NO!”

It’s virtually impossible to be a woman in this society and not have experienced unwanted sexual energy/attention at best, and sexual abuse at worst.  At 13, I was my full height (5’9″) and looked much older than I was. I attracted male attention and had no idea what to do with it,  I became overwhelmed and shut down.  I also had an aura of shame about this attention, as if somehow I had done something to make these men think they could speak to me inappropirately or touch me intimately.  I was confused and scared.  A part of me – my second chakra – closed down.    “The second chakra is water ruled.  Water holds emotional memories of past hurts and sexual abuse.  Deep healing is possible through this sacred vortex.  With great love and care it is possible to reclaim one’s eternal innocence and purity.”  (from the Triple Goddess Tarot)

This year, 2014, has been the year of consciously reclaiming my “eternal innocence.”   I am rediscovering my true nature; which is a sensual, creative, free-spirited being. As I near 50, I  ask myself, “If not now, when?”  This is my one good life in this body and I want to make it memorable and potent!   On the winter solstice last year, I set an intention to do the Level 1 training at the Human Awareness Institute.  The Level 1 workshop is titled “Love is a Miracle” and focuses on opening the heart, accepting and loving your body, and experienicng love and trust with others, among other things.  When I looked at their website, all I saw was “Love, Intimacy and Sexuality Workshops” and it was an edgy step for me to sign up to do this weekend – solo!  I can’t speak highly enough of the caliber of facilitation, the sweetness of the participants and the potency of the exercises I was lead through over the course of the weekend.  The other men and women who were in the training were sweet, courageous, gorgeous souls that I connected with deeply.  It was life changing for me.  Deep bow to my husband for letting this butterfly fly free and be there to greet me upon my return.  I know he is feeling the benefits of my deeper love and kinder heart.  I’m in love with the world right now, and it feels amazing!

Yesterday, in Santa Cruz, I went to the nude beach and met up with some friends.  We played frisbee in the sparkling surf and I felt alive and embodied – sprinting across the sand, leaping in the air to catch the disc, diving in the waves.  There were moments of pure joy of movement where the appreciation for my body bubbled up within and I laughed outloud.  I felt ageless, beautiful and sexy.  I thought to myself…”If I die tomorrow, I hope my friends remember me just like this.”  This is my essence, my second chakra spinning freely, an orange disc.  Afire with Shakti, sensual goddess, my passion for life dripping off of each strand of hair, empowered with Light and Creativity.

May all things move and be moved in me and know and be known in me.  May all creation dance for joy within me.  -Chinook Psalter

 

hOMe is where the heart is

hOMe sweet hOMe
hOMe sweet hOMe

I once heard a woman say that as soon as she sat on her yoga mat, she was home.  I will go one step further and say, when I sit and connect to my heart, I am home.  There’s a lot going on right now for me around the concept of  ‘home.’  For years I have prayed to be a “Citizen of the World” living the life of a gypsy, meeting people from different countries and learning about their cultures.  I imagined I would have a home base somewhere (Colorado?  California?) but most of the time I would be off having adventures – sometimes by myself, sometimes with Andy and sometimes with the kids.  As I write this, I think it sounds like the musings of a young girl and perhaps sounds immature.  Yet, these “adventures” I’m referring to stem from a deep desire to be of service, to connect from the heart with humanity, to experience the “oneness” in all things and to show this world to my kids.  To expand my boundaries into the unfamiliar, because in doing so, I get out of my ‘self’ with a small ‘s’ and see that I am a drop of water in a vast beautiful ocean.

vast

I once went to a homeopathist for a consultation.  After several hours of questions, she gave me my personal remedy – not for an ailment, but for who I am:  Falco peregrinus.

Know what that is?  Falcon.  Peregrin Falcon.  I looked it up.  Falco Peregrinus is Latin for Falcon Wanderer.  Yup.  Sounds about right.  I’ve lived in 2 countries and 11 states, and moved over 23 times.  In some Native American culture, Falcon is referred to as “The Stranger.”  I can relate.

Andy and I drove out to California this summer on our 3rd annual road trip.  Just us.  No cell phone service, no computers.  Just the two of us, a great playlist and a lot of sky.

Big Sky (somewhere in Utah)
Big Sky (somewhere in Utah)

Want to know what’s living for your partner?  Sit in a car with them for 2 days.  And listen, really listen, to what they have to say.  Turns out, sweetie has been phoning it in on our daily life.  (I knew it!)  I’ve been extra busy with kids, India, death work while he’s been busy with work but with a growing dissatisfaction with his time off.  This is a guy who is feeling his mortality, a man who loves the ocean and has never lived near one.  A man nearing retirement who has never had the luxury of time to himself.  I’m all about freedom (falcon, remember?) I never want to feel trapped and sure as hell don’t want my partner to feel trapped.

For the next hour, somewhere in Utah, under the vast expanse of sky, I listened to my husband talk about how unhappy he was in his daily life.  How he longs to live near the ocean before he gets too old to appreciate it.  How he’s lived in Boulder for the past 28 years and how he’s ready to leave.  A life lived for others…wives, companies, children – and now maybe it’s his turn…

The blessing of this talk was that I heard – really heard – him.  I took it seriously.  I love him and want him to be happy.  I want us to both feel free, never trapped.  Andy’s conclusion was that he could never live in CA because I wasn’t ready to make a permanent move – yet.  And so, he was trapped.  Stuck.  Grounded.

Long story short…we signed a year lease on a beach cottage in Santa Cruz.  Over the next year, Andy will live there two thirds time.  I’ll be there at least a third of the year.  This means we will be spending some time apart.  This means that sometimes I will be living in Boulder without Andy.   As much as I consider myself a free spirit, I have been surprisingly challenged by this new arrangement.  My beliefs around home, marriage and parenting are crumbling and there is no manual for this!  Where is my manual!!!  (shaking fist!)  Once again, I am pioneering a different vision of what is “normal” (I don’t think there is a normal per se) and I can’t find the “how to” manual.

Home Sweet Home in Santa Cruz
Home Sweet Home in Santa Cruz

When I am in Santa Cruz, I feel suspended in amber – like I have stepped out of my “real” life into a fantasy life I have dreamed up for myself.   I have a beautiufl yoga practice in Santa Cruz with an amazing community that has welcomed me.  I ride my bike everywhere.  I have a beach house where every thing in it has been carefully chosen by Andy and me.   I sit at the harbor and watch dolphins (yes, dolphins) play in the surf.  I surf!  I paddleboard.  I am going to learn the ukelele and paddle the outrigger canoe with other women on Thursday mornings.

When I’m in Santa Cruz, on a long weekend with Andy, I miss my kids.  half of my heart longs to be with them.  When Andy and I are apart, I am loving that he is filling up at the beach, giving himself the gift of being near the ocean and I am missing him and looking forward to the time we will be back together.  When I am in India, skyping from outer space, nothing could be more poignant that calling my children and getting the answering machine.  It’s rare that we are ALL together and when it happens, I cherish it.  Heart overflowing.

“There is nothing from outside. Try to understand that. All is in you. You are the storehouse of your totality.”

-Yogi Bhajan

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