“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” - Albert Camus
The Solstices are my favorite ‘power days’ of the year. Here in the northern hemisphere, the December Solstice is our winter solstice, and in the preceding weeks we move deeper and deeper into the womb-like cave of long, dark nights. On December 21st, the earth reaches its tipping point, and we welcome back the gradual return of the light. Connecting with this natural cycle, and energetically linking our own shedding and transformation with it, is tremendously powerful. Its the reason so many cultures around the world have linked this day, and the period around it, with retreat, contemplation, and transformation.
From an energetics perspective, I like working with a 6 week window, 3 weeks before Solstice and 3 weeks after, in a very conscious way (although I view the whole Solstice energy ramp-up as being felt about 6 weeks before.) So right now is the perfect time to begin your Solstice transformation, if you have not already done so. This year has been feeling especially potent to me, so to support you in this, I am offering a FREE Solstice preparatory meditation through Meditate Like A Girl on Thursday December 12th at 6pm PST/9 EDT. You do not need to listen live to participate – if you register you will receive the recording afterwards, and can do the meditation, and adapt it for your own needs, as many times as you like during the Solstice transit. Linking our intention and awareness together through group work of this type creates even more momentum and light for us each to draw upon.
In this post, I wanted to offer you some ways to prepare for this meditation, and for your own Solstice transformation. The first step is linking your awareness to the energy of this time. Symbols are one of the best ways to do this, as they speak to a deeper part of our awareness, our subconscious if you will, which is also the part of us most intimately connected with our subtle and intuitive awareness levels. By focusing on symbolic representations of the process we wish to initiate, we plant the seeds in our subconscious and subtle body for the work to begin. There are two symbolic representations of the Solstice shift that I like to work with:
Think of yourself, and your life over the last year, as in a caterpillar stage. You have been eating and eating, accumulating new experiences, some joyful and some painful. Through your personal work on yourself, you have also accumulated wisdom. You have come to see old emotional patterns as limiting. You have seen blocks and wounds that you previously had not known were there. Perhaps challenging situations have triggered you deeply, pulling you into some of these old wounds. Perhaps joyful situations have brought you to happiness you never thought you would feel. Either way, you are full and ripe – ripe with experience, with energies, with emotions – with life.
You are ready to move into a cocoon with all this fullness. You are ready to go inward, and transform all of this life into a new you. The dark days of pre-Sosltice are your cocoon. In the days and weeks following Solstice, you will emerge as a butterfly, beautiful and transformed.
The fascinating thing about the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly is that the caterpillar completely liquifies inside the cocoon, and then gradually from this liquid, the butterfly is formed. It is not like the transformation of a tadpole into a frog, where day by day you can see the gradual change – the legs emerging, the tail shrinking. If you could see inside the cocoon during the liquid phase, you would never guess a butterfly would emerge.
This is what the days and weeks leading up to Solstice are about – pulling in, welcoming in, all of our vast array of emotions and experiences from the past year (and before), into a bundle and inviting them to transform. The focus is not on release, or even healing (although both will naturally take place as part of this process.) The focus is on identifying, welcoming, and bundling all of the parts of ourselves that we have been working with. Instead of relating to these parts of ourselves as aspects we need to rid ourselves of, or even that we need to change, we simply gather them together, and allow the transformation to take place – we trust that it will, although we also generate some momentum towards our new awareness.
To work with this model of Solstice, spend some time contemplating what has surfaced for you within the last year. What energies and emotions within yourself have you been facing over and over? What have you sought to change or avoid (and can you gently let go of that urge to change or avoid these parts now, in order to simply be with them?) What internal tapes or patterns have you outgrown? What feels right to shed? Sense where you feel each of these energies within you, and prepare to bundle them together in your pre-Solstice cocoon.
Now think about what is ready to awaken within you. What are you ready to become? What would you like to become? Try and feel this, don’t just think about it. Feel the awareness and energy you would like to spend more time living within. Try on the change, don’t just think about it – gradually become it.
The Tipping Point:
Another useful symbolic representation of Solstice is the tipping point. Picture a seesaw that is very slowly shifting from one side to the other. On one side is all you have been working with this year. On the other side is what you can become. Solstice is a tipping point, when the balance finally shifts, and all the weight – the baggage – you feel you have been holding on to finally begins to lift. As it does, you naturally tip towards the other side – the lighter, freer you.
Working with this model is very similar to working with the cocoon model – you can use the same inquiry questions and contemplations. Sometimes the tipping point visual feels more relevant, especially if you have been working with very old patterns and wounds for a long time, and feel as if you are finally ready to let go of them, and the associated ‘story’ completely. If this is the case, often in the weeks leading up to Solstice, you feel very triggered – you feel as if very old internal voices and emotional patterns, ones you had long since moved past, have taken hold again. It is like a ‘last stand’ as the final residue of these energies rises to the surface and dissolves.
I hope you will join me for the Solstice preparatory meditation this month to continue and deepen this work. While culturally we are urged to set goals and make resolutions for the New Year, truly on an energetic level, the work is so much deeper – and so much more rewarding. I hope that many of us can come together to empower this process for all. We will welcome back the light, and begin the movement towards summer, both outside and within.
Questions welcome in the comments! Namaste-
I’ve long wanted to record a guided chakra meditation for children, and after being asked 3 times in the last month for suggestions of one, decided it was high time I did so (never ignore requests that come in 3s!!) The following meditation has been kid-tested on my own three children (ages 7-9) and is suitable for all ages (including adults who want to feel like a kid:-)
Children love learning about and working with the chakras, because the chakras are body-based and are each associated with colors, nature elements, sounds, and visualizations. However, the focus when working with children is different than with adults. Kundalini exercises designed to urge energy up through the chakras are not appropriate, as they evolved as part of spiritual practices for adults, whose physical and subtle bodies are fully developed. In addition, many chakra exercises that evolved as part of energy medicine traditions are also not suitable for children, because they shift the endocrine balance of the body – every chakra is linked to a gland, and of course children’s hormonal systems are shifting throughout childhood. In addition, many children find chakra breathing exercises (pranayama) too restrictive or over-stimulating.
I don’t think any of these methods are dangerous for children, they just aren’t that helpful or enjoyable for them. In any form of meditation with children, it’s important to keep a few things in mind:
- Children need to move, so let them! Incorporate some movement into part of the meditation.
- Children’s physical (first chakra), emotional (second chakra), and ego (third chakra) awareness are still developing, so it’s important to keep them grounded. Begin with a strong foundation in the lower chakras before working with the upper chakras.
- Children enjoy colors, sounds, nature, and visuals. Teens may be able to simply sit in silence, and begin to appreciate this, but most pre-teen children find it stifling. If the goal is for them to embrace meditation as a life-long tool, keep it fun!
In the following guided chakra meditation, I’ve attempted to incorporate all of these principles, working from the first chakra up to the crown in the classical mode, but shifting from visuals, to sounds, to imagining, to keep it interesting and free. The three lower chakras are done standing, and incorporate some movement, while from the heart up are done sitting down. The entire meditation is a little over 10 minutes, which is the upper limit for most pre-teen children, but you can adapt it yourself to make it longer or shorter. Don’t worry if children are fidgety in parts, that’s all part of the process.
Here’s how the energies of each chakra are cultivated in this meditation:
- First/Root Chakra – Stand firmly on the ground, visualizing yourself as a tree, with strong roots reaching into the earth for stability.
- Second/Sacral Chakra – Continue the tree visualization, but place the hands on the lower belly and sway, as if being blown by a gentle wind.
- Third/Navel Chakra – Place the hands over the navel, imagining the sun shining down, filling your belly with heat and light.
- Fourth/Heart Chakra – Transitioning to sitting down, place your hands over your chest, and visualize a beautiful flower blooming beneath them.
- Fifth/Throat Chakra – Hold the fingers of your hand over your throat, hum, and feel the vibration in your vocal cords.
- Sixth/Third Eye Chakra – Return to the tree visualization, and imagine where you would most like to be a tree (a mountain, a cliff over the ocean, a rainforest, etc.) Imagine the sights and sounds around you.
- Seventh/Crown Chakra – Briefly visualize light at the top of your head. Then refocus in your heart and navel to return to the middle body, and complete the meditation.
I hope you, and the kids in your life, enjoy!
Click the arrow to stream live:
Or, to download, right click on the link below and Save, or left click and then do a Save As once the file has started to play (methods will differ depending on your system and browser):
P.S. Please note that this Thursday, October. 24th, I will be a guest on the blogtalk radio show Life Potentials by Diantha Harris, along with co-guest Molly Boeder-Harris, founder of The Breathe Network, and we will be talking about holistic modalities for healing sexual trauma. You can listen live or by recording later. Also, if you haven’t checked out this month’s issue of Meditate Like a Girl, I completed my chakra meditation series with an article and meditation for the crown chakra, and a mid-month article on Trauma-Sensitive Meditation Tips. May these be helpful and empowering for you. Namaste-
First off, a quick reminder that the Walking the Mystic’s Path Teleseminar begins this weekend. If you are at all pulled to it, please read through the description and email me with any questions (email is on the description page.) Or, if you aren’t pulled to the word ‘mystic’, read through how I use this word in an old post Are You a Mystic?
Now to the topic at hand – energetic boundaries and avatars. First, a quick definition of how I use these terms:
Energetic boundaries are the subtle body emanations we use to filter the external energies that we come into contact with, allowing only those of benefit or use to us to enter our own energy field.
Energetic avatars are a kind of boundary we consciously emanate to fulfill a certain role in our life, and/or to attract the people/places/experiences we want to have.
Both of these differ from auras or energy fields, although both could be said to be a kind of aura or field. The difference (as I use the terms) is that auras and energy fields are what unconsciously emanates from our chakras and energy/subtle body. They are based on the totality of the vibrations operating in each of our chakras. Boundaries and avatars are emanations we consciously strive to create, to serve a specific purpose.
We of course aren’t always conscious of everything we are emanating – this is exactly the point of the spiritual journey. As we move through our path, we become more and more conscious of our depths, and as we do so, we are more conscious of what we are taking in, and of what we are emanating. So to a very large extent, our ability to create and maintain healthy boundaries and avatars is dependent upon our level of self-awareness. The more conscious we are of our demons, our shadows, our triggers – and all of the emotional and mental patterns that are generated by them – the less of an unconscious hold they have on us. As we our liberated, our vibration and all of our energy fields shift naturally.
For this reason, I am always somewhat reluctant to talk about energetic boundaries. We are conditioned to think in terms of all of our problems and causes of suffering as being ‘out there’ in the world, and so focusing on energy boundaries often plays into this. We think ‘this person is sending me negative energy’ or ‘that person is an energy vampire’ or ‘this place drains me’, and then we expend a lot of energy trying to avoid or fend off those people or places – energy that we could be utilizing to pursue goals or awakening.
The truth is that we can never 100% control the ‘outside’ world, or our circumstances. We can, however, live from a place ‘inside’ ourselves that cannot be touched by any of this. The best boundary is actually knowing how to find and maintain our center. Then no matter what happens to us, or what energies come at us, we do not suffer. We cannot be triggered into an emotional place or ‘story’ that makes us unhappy. It is all just the tides of our world, and we greet it with equanimity.
That being said, in today’s world, it’s not an easy task to find and maintain our center, and so developing some boundary techniques can be very helpful. For women especially, I find that a phase (at the very least) of consciously focusing on generating boundaries can be life-changing. Women in particular are conditioned to take on the energies of others. We are conditioned to take responsibility for others’ emotions, and for the social dynamics of any group we are in. This can be a tremendous gift once we are conscious of it and can work with it strategically at work or in our homes. But for most of us, this conditioning operates under the surface, resulting in us taking on energies that are not ours from our partners, spouses, friends, children, and extended family. We create co-dependencies or ‘contracts’ where it is our job to process others’ emotions, in exchange for some perceived role others are playing for us (often not an even exchange.) And if the emotions or energies we are processing are anger, fear, depression or anything heavy to carry, it can completely eclipse any sense we have of our center, or even contribute to illness.
When it comes to ongoing relationships in which we do this, we are really dealing with more than poor boundaries – we are also dealing with energy lines or cords. That’s another topic for another time, but if you would like to do some energy line and clearing work, please check out either my DailyOm course or my free e-book, as both include an easy exercise for this, and you can do it outside of the context of the rest of the course or book. However, consciously working to generate boundaries for a few weeks or months will most certainly help you get a sense of what you might be taking on, and to filter enough out that you can begin to find your center again. Usually, after this amount of time you will develop a habit of creating this boundary, and will no longer need to sit and go through the steps (although it’s always good to do so.)
There are lots of ways to generate an energetic boundary, but like all subtle body work, it is mostly about intent. In today’s world, the most useful everyday boundary is one that draws mostly upon our root (first) and navel (third) chakras. Our root chakra connects us to the earth and our physicality, and our navel chakra represents our personal power and will (among other things). To combine these two, along with the intention to filter out that which is not useful or beneficial to us, is the fastest and most effective boundary to develop. So just to break it down, here are the steps:
- Focus on your tailbone – your root chakra physical focal point – and visualize a vibrant red light shining there. Imagine this red light is fueled by earth energy coming up through your feet into your root.
- Visualize this red light moving upward, to just under your navel (although the navel chakra color is often considered to be yellow, for this exercise you will stick with the red light from your root.) Take a moment to feel yourself calm and centered here in your navel, in your power. From your navel, imagine this red light emanating outward to create a protective, luminous red ball of light all around you.
- State an affirmation along the lines of “This boundary filters out all that does not benefit me. May I only take in those energies that are beneficial or useful to me. May all other energies dissolve upon coming into contact with this boundary, and return to the universal energy from which they came.”
You do not need to spend a lot of time on this. Try it at the end of any meditation practice you have, before you leave the house in the morning, and any time during the day in which you think you need boundaries. Of course, if you feel it is not working, take a look at the situations in which you are feeling the most compromised, and assess what patterns are being triggered in you. Boundaries do not change what others direct at you, but they can help you change your response.
Ok, on to avatars, which as I said, are a type of boundary. We create avatars to project a certain vibration into a role we play in our life, and to define interactions we have as part of that role. Mommy Mystic is my online avatar. It is more than a website name and picture, although that is part of the mechanism of the avatar. It is an energetic emanation that represents the ‘teaching’ and ‘energy worker’ side of me. It is not the totality of me, or even the totality of what I teach and do within the energy work sphere. It is the vibration related to the work I do here, through this blog, and its related courses and writings.
As such it also serves as a protection of sorts (something I feel everyone working online needs) – anyone interacting with this blog is interacting with the energy of ‘Mommy Mystic’, not my own subtle body. They are of course related, but in a controlled way. It is so helpful to have avatars for exactly this reason – we do not need to bare our entire subtle body to everyone we interact with in every situation. Our roles play a purpose, and working through them is not inauthentic – it is simply a bringing forth the relevant parts of ourselves energetically for each sphere of our life. We may have avatars for work, family, or other hobby or social groups.
It can be very clarifying just to think about what avatars you would like to work from in your life. To do this, simply list the different ‘roles’ you play, and then list the words that represent the energies you most want to emanate as part of that avatar. For example, for Mommy Mystic, I of course want to emanate from a place of compassion and healing. But I also want to emanate from a place of confidence in what I say and do. And I want to create a shield, so that on the (rare) occasions when someone wishes to attack something I have written, it does not reach me personally. It is buffered by my avatar.
To practice generating your avatar, you simply do the boundary exercise above and then focus on cultivating within your awareness the energies you have chosen for that avatar. Feel them in your being, and see them emanating just outside your boundary as an energy field. Then imagine you are linking them with anything you create as that avatar. After a time, you will not need to do this as an exercise anymore, it will simply happen naturally.
When we talk about ‘attracting’ that which we want into our lives, from an energetic perspective we are talking about boundaries and avatars. Of course at any given moment what we emanate influences what we attract, and so again self-awareness is essential. We can say we want a healthy relationship, but until we have surfaced and let go of the parts of us that believe we don’t deserve it, we may continue to attract from that place. The same can be said for any other ‘goal’ we have in our life. The purpose of vision boards, affirmations, and other tools of this type is to shift our awareness into a place from which we can truly attract that which we want (of course knowing what we want is a topic unto itself, but we can tackle that another time!)
When it comes to working with avatars as a form of attraction, we are trying to put into our avatar the energies and qualities we wish to attract into our life. Most of us do this to some extent with our sexual energy – we develop avatars of flirtation that may be very different from our regular energy. This is one of the ways humans channel their sexual energy (and in many cases waste it!) – into their flirtation avatars. Any kind of charisma or presence goes far beyond physical appearance or personality. It’s an energetic attraction field that someone has learned to project (whether consciously or not.)
Working with an attraction avatar is very similar to developing any avatar – simply list the energies or qualities you wish to attract, generate them in your own awareness, and picture them forming a field just outside your regular boundary. Of course you can do this with any kind of goal – abundance, joy, creativity, insight. If you can find it within yourself, and emanate it outward, you can learn to work with it as a force of attraction in your life.
The deeper work, of course, is to ask yourself what it is you think you will have when you do attract what you want, that you don’t already have? If we seek to attract in the ‘outside’ world as a way of distracting ourselves from what we really need, or if we think anything we ‘get’ will be the magical ticket to fulfillment, we will be trapped for a long time. If we can use boundaries, avatars, and attraction as ‘tools’ for truly bringing more light and love into our lives, without becoming absolutely dependent upon the ‘results’, they can help us open amazing doorways.
And if you really want to explore energetic boundaries in depth, try Cyndi Dale’s Energetic Boundaries: How to Stay Protected and Connected in Work, Love, and Life.
So please share your own thoughts – what are your boundary needs? Avatars? Attraction fields? Namaste-
I have just returned from presenting at the National Sexual Assault Conference, attended by over a thousand social workers, counselors, rape crises center workers, and more, all devoted to ending sexual assault and abuse, and to helping survivors through their legal and healing process. I was part of the Wellness track sponsored by The Breathe Network, founded by Molly Boeder Harris (whom I interviewed here) to support embodied approaches to healing from sexual assault and abuse. I was truly inspired and encouraged by the interest in the workshops sponsored by The Breathe Network – my own workshop on mindfulness and energy healing for sexual trauma and assault, Molly’s on embodied healing, and workshops on both yoga and biofeedback for healing sexual trauma. As in other healing fields, there is a groundswell of interest in incorporating alternative and complementary healing methods into programs for survivors. Molly will be blogging more about the conference and our workshops herself soon, so keep an eye out for that on Breathe Blog.
For myself, the conference inspired me to drop my plans to make my first blog post this Fall about my summer trip to Yellowstone National Park, and the powerful natural elements and energies I found there (I will do that another time.) Instead, I decided to present some more detailed information about how the chakras are impacted by sexual trauma. As you probably know, I have a free ebook on this site with 10 guided exercises designed to aid the healing of the subtle body from sexual trauma and abuse, but by necessity that book really just covers a small part of what I usually do in teleseminars or when working with private clients. Since I believe in the power of information, I wanted to share a little more, for use by anyone who can benefit, or who works with individuals who might.
First, a few trauma-sensitive principles that are especially important to remember when working to heal from sexual trauma and abuse, or when helping someone to do so:
- Everyone’s healing process is different, and incorporating chakra work into a trauma healing process will be right for some, and not for others. Honor how you – or your client – feels.
- Always work with your chakras in a place that feels safe and healing to yourself and/ or your client. Our energy bodies are very sensitive, especially when we do this kind of work, and you want to feel as nurtured and supported as possible.
- Consider what triggers feelings of vulnerability or fear in you or your client, and adapt how you work accordingly. For example, much of the chakra work that I do utilizes guided imagery, and this is normally done with the eyes closed, which can be a trigger for some. If this is the case, you can try drawing images instead, or try visualizing with the eyes slightly open but relaxed in a soft gaze – this is easier than you might think.
- It is easy to get ‘spacey’ when doing chakra work, since our mind is initially not used to connecting with our subtle body in this way. Since trauma survivors can be prone to disassociating from their physical bodies, it’s important to begin with grounding visuals and exercises, and to check in with yourself or your client periodically to make sure there is still a body connection.
Below are the main ways that our chakras are impacted by sexual trauma and abuse, particularly women (whom I mostly work with). If you are entirely new to the chakras, check out the Chakra Page for resources. This is also a good place to find ways to work with each of the chakras, from guided meditations to books that might help (and check the Women’s Energetics page too.) Please also check out the resources at the end of the e-book for other organizations and books that approach sexual trauma healing in a holistic way.
First – Root Chakra:
This chakra is linked to our ability to feel grounded, safe, secure in our bodies, and connected to people around us. Our ability to access any of these is compromised when our root chakra is not strong. Physically this chakra is linked to our genitalia, and so it is very directly impacted by sexual trauma and abuse. Many survivors develop patterns of disassociation or disconnection from their physical bodies – a necessary survival mechanism to make it through abusive episodes or an attack. On an energetic level, this causes a ‘break’ from the root chakra, and so energy is not flowing upward from the earth in the way it ideally should. Working to gradually re-establish a healthy grounded connection to the earth and physical body are essential.
Our root chakra is also a crucial part of our ‘energetic inheritance’ from our family – physically we are rooted in the earth and our DNA, and so energetically we are rooted in earth energy and the energetic inheritance from our family. In situations where abuse has occurred within a family, and/or a family has been unsupportive, the root chakra may be very weak, and leave survivors with no sense of safety or security, regardless of circumstance. Working to help them disconnect from the dysfunctional energies and patterns they may have inherited, and to ‘re-root’ in alternative energies (nature, spiritual forces- both masculine and feminine) of their own choosing can help establish a new foundation from which to begin building a sense of safety and security.
Second – Sacral Chakra:
Disassociation often also manifests in the subtle body as a tendency to disconnect from the second chakra, which is linked to our emotions, creativity, sensuality, sexuality and fluidity/adaptability. This often means survivors have problems feeling their emotions in their bodies, but ironically this doesn’t mean they don’t feel others’ emotions. In fact, because the sacral energies aren’t fully integrated, and there isn’t a strong foundation in the root chakra, the sacral chakra is often unprotected, resulting in survivors feeling everyone’s emotions but their own. Focusing on boundary work, and on helping to sort out self-emotions and other-emotions is really key to ‘rewiring’ this tendency.
Shame and self-blame are also often held in this chakra, blocking its ability to flow and let go. Since a ‘blame the victim’ mentality is so prevalent in our culture, and often adopted by both abusers and family members, this is often one of the biggest challenges survivors face on an emotional and energetic level, and can play out in many different ways (including in self-destructive hyper-sexual behavior which may seem at first like an active expression of the sacral chakra, but may actually be rooted in feelings of unworthiness rooted in shame.) Focus on self-compassion and self-care is so important to help combat this, although sometimes the first step is helping a survivor own and express their anger – something shame or self-blame may have kept them from expressing.
Third – Navel Chakra:
Our navel chakra is linked to our personal power, boundaries, sense of identity, and ability to act effectively in the world, so it makes sense that some survivors have great difficult getting by in the world, often caught in cycles of abuse and/or addiction. However, there is another counter-intuitive way that abuse often impacts the navel chakra, one that I find quite prevalent, and that is a hyper-reliance on the active aspects of the navel chakra, as a survival mechanism. These survivors often develop exceptional intellectual and organization skills, and attempt to power through life in order to never be vulnerable again. In both cases – whether someone seems lost in the world or is hyper-independent – there is usually a lot of mental activity and/or habits of escaping into mental worlds.
The issue with the power-through approach is that it is exhausting and unsustainable. From an energetic perspective, there is no or little flow upward from the root and sacral chakra – no sense of foundation or flow – so individuals are just left feeling like they are entirely on their own, always struggling and pushing through barriers. The most important thing in this case is actually to learn to let go, and to re-establish a healthy link between the first, second and third chakras. Then a focus on healthy boundaries emanating from the first and third chakra (root and navel) can help establish a sense of safety and filtering.
Fourth – Hearth Chakra:
In our daily lives, our heart chakra is most directly engaged in our relationships with others, and so this is where heart chakra damage from abuse and assault usually manifests itself. There are a lot of different variations however, including a tendency towards codependent relationships that deflect feelings of unworthiness or play out abuse dynamics in some fashion, difficulty entering into equality-based relationships, difficulty trusting or being vulnerable, or a disconnection from any sense of a spiritual support system. The work here then is mostly about looking at relationships honestly, and the dynamics that have developed. Self-compassion and self-care are again essential, as is facing any lingering feelings of unworthiness.
Fifth – Throat Chakra:
Our throat chakra is linked to our ability to communicate clearly, and especially to speak our truth, and feel our authentic self. Childhood abuse survivors often develop a survival strategy of filtering or ‘checking’ what they say, attempting to feel out what someone wants them to say, out of a fear of triggering a negative response. This prevents any real communication – any true expression of their inner lives through outer means, which is really what the throat chakra is about. There may also be patterns of swinging between over- and under- expressing. The healing focus here is on breaking these patterns by strengthening someone’s sense of connection between inner and outer. Sometimes doing this through non-verbal means – writing, art, etc. – is the most helpful at first.
Sixth – Third Eye Chakra and Seventh – Crown Chakra:
The third eye and crown are usually not directly impacted by sexual trauma and abuse, but they can become linked to disassociative patterns, if a survivor seeks to escape into dream worlds, astral dimensions, or pure imagination in such a way that it becomes dysfunctional (or the basis for addiction.) On the other hand, for those survivors who develop a hyper-reliance on their navel chakra (see above), there can be a fear of surrendering into the non-intellectual aspects of the upper chakras – a fear of the unknown. This can inhibit their ability to open to their spiritual nature, and to spiritual experience. So working with these chakras is really about attuning to the individual, and seeking to discover in what ways these chakras are open, in what ways they may have become an escape hatch, and in what ways they are closed down. Developing a balanced third eye and crown, that are grounded and connected to the lower chakras, is the most important goal. Usually, I would not work on either the third eye or crown with a survivor until the other chakras feel fairly solid and strong.
I hope you find this little summary helpful, although it’s just a smattering of what to consider. If you yourself are working to heal from sexual trauma and abuse, please know that you can, and be kind to yourself. You are brave! I welcome comments and additional suggestions on this topic. Namaste-
P.S. Note that the latest edition of Meditate Like A Girl is up, and it’s a great issue dedicated to empowerment. I have continued my chakra meditation series with a free Third Eye meditation. Also, please check out my latest teleseminar, beginning September 29th – Walking the Mystic’s Path. This is going to be great fun:)
It’s the heart of summer (in my hemisphere anyway) and as you can see I’ve been taking it easy on the blogging front, but I did want to share some wonderful books that I’ve come across recently, for both children and adults.
However, first a little ‘housecleaning’ – as you may have heard, Google shut down Google Reader earlier this month. When I first began blogging 5+ years ago, I initially linked to Google Reader for all subscriptions, including email subscriptions. So if you were an early subscriber, and if you happen to have come by this post through some other means today, please take a moment to resubscribe over in the right sidebar. And in another Google related change, Gmail is now sending a lot of newsletter and blog/site subscriptions to a ‘Promotions’ folder. If you are a Gmail user, you may want to check your Promotions folder and mark your subscriptions as non-Promotion so that they are not grouped with spam.
Ok, now that that is taken care of, on to books! My favorite read this summer is actually a young adult book called Wonder, by R.J. Palacio. Although this book was released in 2012, it’s had a slow, steady build (the best kind) and has recently gotten a lot of new press, so perhaps you have heard of it. It is about a 10-year old boy with a major facial disfigurement heading to school for the first time – to middle school no less. We learn about his first school year, with all its trials and tribulations, from his perspective and the perspectives of his family and friends. The author has called it a ‘meditation on kindness’ and that is really what it is – a very moving, tear-inducing one, at that. I think it’s a wonderful read for adults and children (8+ or so) alike.
Also for children is In the Garden of Our Minds, by Michelle L. Johnson Weider. This book is a great way for anyone to learn about Buddhism, particularly Tibetan Buddhism, although it is geared for elementary-aged children. It revolves around the daily life of a family with two school-aged children, and in each chapter their mother, or ‘Mama’, uses the events of their lives as a way to introduce them to a Buddhist teaching. I’ve published a full review at BellaOnline if you’d like more information.
For adults this summer I really enjoyed Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. As the title suggests, this novel revolves around a character who lives again and again. However, it’s not quite reincarnation, as she is born into the same lifetime over and over – a pre WWI British home – but depending on tiny twists of fate, or choices that she makes after, each life plays out slightly differently. It sounds like it might be repetitive, but it is carried off so brilliantly that I didn’t find it so at all – in fact I found it a real page-turner, but with lots to ruminate on too. Not everyone agrees with me on this though, as you’ll notice if you check out the Amazon reviews, so you might want to check out some of those for more info before committing.
On the healing front, the 3rd edition of Wendy Maltz’s excellent The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse was recently released. This is really a step-by-step self-help book for anyone working through sexual healing issues, and is not just for survivors of explicit physical sexual abuse. It is very compassionate and all-encompassing, and has long been on the Resource list of my own e-book, so if you are an abuse survivor and ready to focus on reclaiming your own sexuality, consider this book.
I also wanted to let you know about two new releases from authors I personally know and whose work I greatly respect. The first is The Subtle Body Practice Manual by healer and intuitive Cyndi Dale. I first came across Cyndi’s work when reviewing her The Subtle Body: An Encyclopedia of Your Energetic Anatomy, which has become the gold standard of energy healing resources. This new book is a companion to that book, oriented more around applying the information, and it’s written in such a way that anyone interested in energy healing can learn and experiment with the techniques that she shares.
Also releasing this month is Janice Lynne Lundy’s The Mindful Mommy’s Back to School Survival Guide. I haven’t yet had a chance to read this, but am so looking forward to it. Jan is the founder and editor of Meditate Like a Girl, and I have benefited from her wisdom for years. She has been a mother for 31 years and has so much to share! As she puts it:
“Life is short, our children grow too quickly for us to live any other way but gracefully and gratefully, with mindfulness and kindness at the core.”
She currently has a promotional offer going, and will also be conducting a mentoring conference call on this topic in September, so check it out.
And speaking of Meditate Like a Girl, the August edition is up, and in it I have continued my chakra guided meditation series with The Throat Chakra: Finding Your Voice.
I hope you are having a wonderful summer (or winter if you are down under!) and I look forward to getting back to blogging in earnest in late August.
P.S. Thanks to all of you whom have shared posts and resources from here on Facebook and Twitter. I can see the ‘counts’ on posts when this occurs, but don’t have any way of tracing who has done so unless you tag me. But I always appreciate the shares!
“I try so hard to stay positive and be grateful, but I just keep falling into these despairing thoughts. I know this is why I keep getting sick.”
I recently heard this from someone I was working privately with and it really broke my heart. This is a woman who has worked for many years in therapy to overcome feelings of unworthiness and shame stemming from having been sexually abused as a child. She has made great strides, and has been exploring energy work as a way to continue and deepen her healing. Her journey has led her to many valuable teachings that have helped her to shift her thoughts towards the positive, and to manifest more love and beauty in her life.
But now, she felt she had hit a wall, and it was sending her back into feelings of self-blame. She blamed herself for not being positive enough, for not being able to rid herself of negative thoughts, for ‘giving in’ to feelings of despair.
This is when positive thinking – and related law of attraction teachings – may lead us astray. When they become another ‘should’ in our life, and create a standard we measure ourselves against, always coming up short. We may begin to feel fear whenever a thought we deem ‘negative’ arises, afraid that it will manifest something detrimental in our lives. Then we fall into old patterns of self-blame or unworthiness, triggering an internal battle. For those who already struggle with these feelings (abuse and trauma survivors especially), this can be particularly detrimental, and prevent them from exploring the darker emotions that need to surface as part of any transformative or therapeutic process. From an energy perspective, this just piles on more shame, which specifically impacts our sacral chakra – my favorite chakra as most of you know!
This isn’t meant to discount teachings on positive thinking, the law of attraction, manifesting, or co-creation. All of these are tremendously valuable teachings and practices. When we first discover the power of our thoughts, and our ability to consciously shift them to align with greater happiness and love, it is an amazing epiphany. But in my view we need to know when to focus on them, and when to focus on self-compassion, acceptance, or exploring our shadow aspects. As the Sirius Black quote above says, we all have both light and dark inside of us. Bringing the light forth is not a matter of shutting out the dark, but about acknowledging both and making choices. And when we do this honestly and courageously, what we once thought of as ‘dark’ often transforms, and we discover the strength hidden within it, just waiting to express itself in a new – and in fact positive – way.
Here is what can happen when we try to ‘force’ too much positivity – see if you have ever experienced a phase in which these patterns surfaced for you:
Feelings of self-blame inhibit self-compassion, and often the latter is what we really need to heal. Berating ourselves with thoughts of ‘I must just not be thinking positively enough’ or ‘I must have a negative vibration that is causing this’ just pulls us down further. Often this is like piling rocks on top of an already wounded sense of self and blocked subtle body. Focusing on acceptance of our darker feelings (not the same thing as wallowing) and offering this part of ourselves compassion in response, cuts through the tendency to create an internal self-war. Tenderness and gentleness can go a long way.
Blame the Victim
When Farrah Fawcett announced she had anal cancer (from which she eventually died), I was participating in an online energy healing forum, and several people posted something along the lines of ‘This is what happens when you are in a toxic relationship for too long’ (referring to her admittedly tempestuous relationship with Ryan O’Neal) or ‘She just has too much negativity in her life.’ Of course I don’t completely discount these theories – the foundation for chakra and energy work is the assertion that all levels of our being are interdependent, and this of course means that the energy of our environment, our relationships, and our thoughts impacts our physical.
But acknowledging interdependence is not the same as assigning blame or determining ’cause.’ We all want to believe that we can control as much as possible of our lives – that we can in fact prevent anything bad from every happening to us or those we love. But the tendency then is to seek definitive reasons why bad things have happened to other people, so that we can believe that since our life is different, they won’t happen to us.
I haven’t found someone yet, for whom this worked. Life is not fully in our control, and no amount of changing our thoughts will make it so. And unfortunately, when we focus on blame, we distance ourselves from others in a way that inhibits compassion. Compassion is born of equanimity, and an ability to accept without judgement. Ultimately, compassion is based in the knowledge that we are in fact all in this – in life – together, and all equally vulnerable, and equally mortal. And that’s ok, because we are all love too.
Problems can also arise when we try to use positive thinking to push away feelings we don’t want – but need – to face. Deeply held mental and emotional patterns often need to be explored and surfaced in order for us to shift them – just moving our attention away from them won’t stem their tide. They will simply build up inside us, and explode when the ‘lid’ we’ve created won’t hold any longer. Then we often spiral down into even deeper cycles of self-blame and regret. Repressed emotion is also linked to stress levels – the more energy we put into trying to control or hide parts of ourselves, the more anxious we feel in our everyday lives. Allowing and acknowledging all of our feelings, without judgment, creates an internal space in which we can accept, forgive, and transform.
Fixation on Outcome
This arises when we are completely focused on aligning our thoughts with a particular outcome – what we want to have happen. This is a powerful tool, and it’s true that when we put the power of our full mind behind something, it’s amazing what we can manifest. But we can also become so fixated that we lose the flow of life, and potentially miss other possibilities. So many of the best things in life are unexpected! Allowing space for this to happen, opening to the universe and allowing it to show us a different way, often yields happiness we could never have imagined – or manifest- on our own.
Of course part of the reason teachings on manifesting and positive thinking have become so popular is that we increasingly feel bombarded by negativity online and in the media, and we seek an antidote. We face on onslaught of fear and cynicism, and shifting our thoughts – and ultimately our consciousness – in a positive direction provides a powerful and necessary counterbalance. Research increasingly shows the value of this as well, in terms of both our physical and mental health. This is in fact a bedrock of my own way of living, and so I am not trying to throw the baby out with the bathwater in this post.
But personally, I find that the most important question to ask myself each day is ‘Am I opening more? Or am I constricting?’ There are times when consciously shifting our thoughts in a positive direction, performing affirmations, or working towards manifesting a specific life goal, is empowering and creates a joyful momentum. Then these practices create an opening, an expanding outwards, in our thoughts and emotions. And then there are times when this approach actually constricts our awareness, triggering us to fall into patterns of judgement and blame. In those phases, we may need to pause and look – really look – into what is arising inside of us, and give it some compassionate attention. Once we have done so, we will naturally begin to open again.
For what we all seek is happiness and love. Opening is the path to both, but boulders sometimes block our way. Ignoring the boulders rarely makes them disappear! But so often they dissolve as soon as we are willing to sit with them, and inquire why they’re there.
Please feel free to share your own thoughts on this. I wish you much happiness, love and yes – positivity! Namaste-
P.S. The next Energy Healing for Sexual Trauma and Abuse Teleseminar begins this Sunday, you can still register if interested. And be sure to check out this month’s Meditate Like a Girl- I have continued my chakra series with an article and meditation for the heart chakra, and a good friend of mine is the guest artist – check out her amazing and beautiful paintings of the feminine divine!