Let's back up and talk about the root chakra first and the organization that is leading these retreats in Boulder. I first received an invitation from one of my darling yoga teachers, Sophie. It sounded so awesome, so of course I signed up: It would include a yoga flow led by Sophie, writing prompts led by a woman named Cat, and some coaching on implementation from a woman named Margaret. Together they are Breakthrough Writing Retreats, check them out... I know they even have a retreat in Costa Rica coming up! I thanked Sophie for thinking to invite me and she said, something along the lines of me being a "super yogi and talented writer". I can't tell you how much that means coming from one of my soul teachers. So, on a beautiful Saturday morning in late February I headed into Boulder for a retreat focused on the root chakra.
Now... I had taken a yin yoga teacher training in the fall in which I had learned that I am pretty deficient in my root chakra. This is funny and sad on many levels. I've done lots of work on trying to get more grounded in making choices from my values and yet when I get down to it I never feel financially stable and I'm always scared of where I'm going to live if for some reason I can't live in my current arrangement. It feels very unstable. And at 36, that's just not a good feeling to keep carrying around. In so many ways I've tried to shore things up... like I've been at my place of employment for a longer amount of time than any other place I've ever lived.... and I've lived in this same apartment for a longer amount of time than I've lived anywhere else... and I've had a dependable car again for the last few years so that feels good. Now the funny part is that the root chakra is literally located on the pelvic floor. So. Many. Jokes.
Anyway, some cool stuff from the root chakra workshop... were ways to stimulate and activate your root chakra are using Rosemary Essential Oil, or eating root vegetables (think carrots, jicama, beets etc)- in fact we had a delicious carrot soup, and beet hummus that we scooped up with jicama sticks. This really made me think about being super intentional about the foods I eat corresponding with nature, the time of year, and what I need.
Ok--- let's move on to the point of this blog which is actually the sacral chakra. This is a chakra that when I took the yin yoga teacher training the quiz had scored me the highest in--- which could actually mean I have an abundance of stuff going on. The sacral chakra has to do with fertility, creativity, and flow. If one has an abundance, it can lead to stomach problems. Taste is the sense of this chakra, the property is water, and the color is orange. Eating orange foods is the way to show this chakra some love.
Let's start with that. Oranges. Y'all know my love of oranges! When my mom was pregnant with me she craved oranges. And last winter when this country nominated Donald Trump as President I went into a hibernation of sorts and all I wanted was oranges. To me the sacral chakra is very feminine... maybe cause I just relate it to my own experiences with fertility. But I find the link between a chauvinist man who says despicable things about women and my craving of oranges to heal and nurture to be fascinating, knowing what I know now about how oranges are related to the sacral chakra. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. Who knows? It could just be as simple as a longing for a quiet, peaceful holiday like that in Louisa May Alcott's Christmas stories, or the Christmas stories of Truman Capote (which are beautiful by the way). Ok- enough about oranges.
My dear teacher Sophie, led us through a beautiful flow and we relaxed into Savasana to the sounds of one of my favorites, Alexi Murdoch's Orange Sky. Then we did a writing prompt- I wrote about sex. How long it's been- 9 years, 6 jobs, 4 moves, 3 cars, 200 or so yoga classes ago, one surgery & one long walk past a window full of newborns. That was my favorite line that stood out to me the most. From there we did another prompt digging further into that underlined part of our favorite sentence, or the part that was calling to us the most.
Babies have been on my mind lately. I've been trying to reconcile why someone else welcoming a baby into their life can make me so sad- especially when I say and believe that I don't want one. Why when it's choice now, does it always still feel like I'm not measuring up? Or that I'm not complete? Or that I don't have a purpose?
In therapy last fall & winter, I spent a lot of time thinking about how the sadness from 2008 is stored in my hips. How I don't move them anymore- not in fits of pleasure. Not to dance- which I used to love doing. When I delved into my second free write I talked about how in yoga I always breathe in the light down to my sacral chakra- to my ovaries, I picture it washing, cleansing, purifying that whole area. Just a really wholesome beautiful light. From this piece, we were to underline a phrase or a set of words that could be used as a mantra for this chakra; I underlined: bringing in the light.
Isn't that what I need to do? Bring light into those darkest days of mine. To see there was a reason and a purpose. To own that I don't want kids. And to be ok with that. And to celebrate others. Light. Celebration. Acceptance.
Next, we paired up with a partner to discuss the ways in which we are going to work on the work that we have to do in regards to this chakra; for me- sunsets. I'm going to intentionally schedule them. I'm going to show up for them. I'm going to choose "to put myself in the way of beauty." I'm going to soak in all that orange deliciousness. I'm going to eat cuties. I'm going to practice gratitude.
Now I have just one last weird thing to share--- and if you've stuck with me this long congratulations! Anyway, we did this meditation where we were to go to our favorite outdoor space- I don't know why but instantly my grandparents front yard popped into my head and I was standing under this HUGE tree that they used to have. The grass was cool, the shade felt nice. Margaret (who was leading the meditation), told us that we see a person in the distance, and to start walking towards them. The person in my mind was my grandpa. But as we got close to them, Margaret said, "that person is you". THIS BLEW MY MIND. Now maybe I just did it wrong and I wasn't supposed to see the face until she revealed that it was us 10 years from now. But even as she continued and she kept saying, "he or she is you". And I know she was doing this because there was a man at our retreat as well. But for me it opened it up to be ok that if who I was seeing was a man- that's ok- it was still me. Weird, I know. In yoga, we always say, "the light within me is a direct reflection of the light within you." Maybe me seeing someone who isn't me was just more symbolic. Or maybe it was something else. When my grandpa died, I had a crazy dream one time- I had a dream I was walking around as me but everyone who saw me was greeting me as him. And I was so confused, and I asked my grandma, "Why do they think I'm him?" And she said, "because they see him in you." It was a very weird and emotional dream... and when I woke I was both crying and laughing at the same time. And the other day on my yoga mat it felt like he visited me again.
In the meditation when I ask myself 10 years down the road (also known as my grandpa) what is the main word that describes my life, he smiles like sunshine, like an orange bursting with juice, and he says, "joy".
And I believe him.
Even without kids- joy.
Even if I never have sex again- joy.
Even if I have to learn the same lessons over and over and over again- joy.
Repeat the sounding joy.