I’m just back from Colombia, where Simone and I had a great time visiting friends. What a beautiful and complex country: sophisticated, unequal, stunningly beautiful and ecologically diverse, sometimes dangerous, often friendly, and so much more.
Our time there reminded me that there is never, of course, one story of any place—or of any person. Sometimes the complexity can even feel overwhelming.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about looking inward, listening deeply to the more difficult parts of our own stories, and getting the kinds of support we need to do that work. How do we do that without getting overwhelmed? How do we make order of the complexity?
Do you ever feel like your body and your life is like a messy house? There are so many things everywhere, and you don’t quite know where everything is or where it all belongs….so you just kind of make do with what you can find but sometimes you get tripped up on something left around on the floor?
That is how I lived in my body for much of my life: it worked, I could run and dance and feel okay, but when I really quieted, I could also see that it was messy inside and often that mess would get in my own way.
One tool that has helped me enormously is yoga: yoga helped me come to more order, more peace and more energy.
Though a lot of contemporary yoga focuses on the external qualities, yogic philosophy and practice gives us really powerful tools to look inside and create more peace and health on a deep internal level.
I’ve found the teachings around the chakra system especially helpful. The chakras are energy centers that run up the body from the base to the top of the spine and above, each correlating to a different physical and emotional quality.
Often when we experience challenges in life, the energy of that challenge gets blocked in the body, and specifically in the correlating chakra.
When the chakras are in balance, we have greater understanding of and freedom with our stories. Balancing our chakras also strengthens the immune system and gives us more energy and vitality—on both the physical and emotional levels.
The philosophy of the chakra system also teaches us that we need to establish security—in the lower chakras—before we can release the upper chakras and be more heart centered.
We’re like trees: we need to be well grounded in order to be open to the winds and flexible.
This profound lesson helps us with our writing—we can’t look into those difficult places in our own stories or be our most creative and playful unless we feel grounded and supported.
It also helps us have more compassion—for ourselves and for others; when people don’t feel that security they are less flexible, open and heart centered.
The lower three chakras help us develop strength and a sense of security; the upper chakras help us open our heart and come into more aligned communication.
Pay attention to your own energy system. Over time you can notice where you are out of alignment, what needs to be cleared in your body and get the energy flowing more freely so toxins don’t build up.
I find it helpful to start through focusing on the lower chakras—on what gives you strength and security.
You can also get some results simply by bringing your mindful attention to that area of your body and paying attention to feeling grounded and supported.
You can practice with my video here.