|Me about 5 years old|
I was raised Catholic. I let go of the church when I was eighteen years old. Actually, when I was seventeen, I began questioning everything, including church doctrine. It was the first time I felt confident enough to even ask questions. I wasn't getting any answers to those questions that I could live with, so I began to let go. I have many bad memories associated with my religious upbringing. I have been psychologically and emotionally scarred by priests and nuns so deeply, that I continue my healing process to this day. In fact, my only pleasant memories of being Catholic are about my love of ceremony, incense, bells, and music. When I attended St. Catherine's Elementary School in Norwood, Massachusetts, I learned to sing the Mass in Latin. Those classes were my favorites. I love sacred music and singing it even now. In fact, this coming weekend, I will enjoy my first choral concert of hymnals and spirituals as a performer in the Greater Tiverton Community Chorus. I am very excited about it. The harmony moves me like it did as a child singing in church with my school class.
These particular chakra classes use art therapy as a very effective medium to express images, ideas, thoughts or revelations revealed to us through meditation and guided visualization exercises. The classes are taught by Barbara, a mature woman, who is a licensed psychotherapist. She began her long career as an R.N., and found both paths unsatisfying. She discovered a course taught at Salve Regina University; graduated from it, and is now also a mentor for new students in it. The women I am meeting in these classes are my age or older. One was younger and is one of Barbara's students. It is fun for me to see these women and other people I am meeting at the gym, for example, around town. Seeing people I know, who Larry doesn't know, makes me feel like I am becoming a "local" in Tiverton. It's a nice feeling.
I learned about these classes from my new massage therapist, Linda, who happens to be Barbara's daughter. Linda and Barbara share the same space in an office "strip mall" next door to my new Primary Care Physician. My new doctor introduced me to Linda. I love small towns because everybody knows everybody else, and a new resident can make very good connections just by asking. I also found my new dentist by asking the women working behind the registration desk at my new PCP's office. "Ask and Thou Shalt Receive." It works!
The throat chakra relates to communication, creativity and self-expression. Glands involved are the thyroid and parathyroid. Other body parts included are the neck, shoulders, arms, hands, tongue and ears. Associated animals are the elephant, bull, lion, and the spider. Chief goals of this chakra are achieving harmony with others, self-knowledge and creativity. It's life lesson is the power of choice and personal expression. It's color is a clear, bright blue. Singing was highly encouraged. Joining the Tiverton Chorus around the same time I began this class was very a propos.
The "third eye" chakra relates to intuition and wisdom. The life lesson is emotional intelligence. Its goals are to achieve the ability to "see" other than with the eyes. It is associated with the sixth sense. Associated body parts are the pituitary gland, eyes and the base of the skull. Its color is indigo and is located above and between the eyebrows. It's animal is the dragonfly. We worked a lot with dreams in this class. I actively kept a dream journal.
Chakras all have a front and back side. They rotate in a conical shape. We experiented with the back side by having each of us in turn lie face-down on a massage table. We took turns holding a prism hung from a loop of what looked like fishing line over the place where the back side of the chakra resides. When we found it, in every case, the prism began moving. Sometimes it moved quickly at a diagnol angle; sometimes in a circle. With some it moved more quickly than others. When I saw this and felt it myself, I was amazed. To hold the prism and know I was not moving it in any way, watching it spin made my jaw drop. To have the prism held over me, that place on the back of my throat or head (in the case of the sixth chakra) felt very warm to hot. After it was done, I touched that place with my fingers and it indeed felt as warm as I felt it in my body.
We were required to create a final project for each class. Throughout the eight weeks of each class, one exercise we had as homework every week was to color mandalas. At first, all this coloring just felt time-consuming and useless. As time went on, I discovered that taking time to sit and color is very calming, relaxing and meditative. I found I enjoy it very much and asked for a book to continue to color them after the class ended. We were given such a book as a final gift by Barbara. In fact, at the end of each class, we had a lovely ceremony where she gave us a gift bag themed after the color, animal and function of each chakra. We received mineral stones with a little bag to hold them in, a candle, a book or two, more useful information to use later, and a little chatzke, like an Willow Tree angel and a hand-carved heart-shaped stone by women in Haiti of Haiti stone as a way to support them. Each gift group was just lovely; very generous and thoughtful.
Here is the personal mandala I created for my final project on the throat chakra. It includes musical notes, a saxaphone (which came to me in a visualization as an instrument I had some affinity with), feathers, flowers and vines. I have a very strong connection to birds and flowers, so I adorned much of my mandala with these images. When completed, I felt it needed another dimension, especially after experiencing the back side of my chakra, so I added blue ribbon flowing in a spiral from the center.
I have always scribbled and dabbled with painting or drawing, but in these classes I felt that my artistic skills were defective. I found I needed lots of permission to experiment with messy mediums, like watercolor paints, for example, or pastel chalks. Now, at the end of my second class, I am drawn to both more than gel pens, crayons or markers. I discovered that some images require one type more than another. In the sixth chakra class, I took more time to just experiment with painting. We had homework one week to just sit with "beauty" for its own sake and create a piece of art. Here's what I came up with sitting in the sun in front of my spring garden.
I had lots of dreams about being "in the resistance" in wars. I attribute this to my fight for my own emotional and psychological independence from the expectations of others. They also included lots of magic and sorcerers. One dream included visiting Mozambique. I was being escorted by a male friend there. One place he took me was an old palace now in ruin. I had been watching an episode of "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain that night, so I'm sure this is where my dream originated.
But there was a panel in the tiled floor that we stood in front of. Someone else took a hammer and broke the glass panel. When the glass shattered and fell into the hole, the person said, "The veil is broken." All I saw was a smokey, swirling indigo darkness. I knew I was supposed to just jump in, so we did. I did, without hesitation. We floated down through the indigo haze until we reached a place with a maze of rooms using flowing curtains for doors. I never actually touched bottom, but floated around from room to room. In one room, people were smoking dope. Others were just empty. What I felt was that this was a peaceful place that I could return to anytime if I wanted. Here is the entrance I painted.
My final project for the sixth chakra was the most difficult for me. Instructions were to decide what my life's dream is. I was very upset because I realized I didn't have a dream. My life has been about creating and achieving many dreams so far. But, I realized that at this phase of my life, I don't really have a dream. Everything I thought I would be doing: becoming a published author for one, is no longer very desirable. Blogging has helped my need for immediate gratification on that score. But, Barbara helped me to see that having a dream doesn't have to be about my own accomplishments.
I realized with her help that my dream is to have the strongest body I can; to be as healthy as I can right now. My dream is to be as strong and healthy as I can with as much energy as I need to be with the grandchildren I hope to have one day. I want to have as much energy as I require to bring them along on all the new adventures we can imagine; having as much fun as we can stand along the way.
I learned that a white-tailed deer is the animal totem protecting my third eye. This totem means I am "entering into a time of plenty, but the path to get there has not been without sacrifices.." I read that if I am in a phase of my life where I am wandering about without a clear sense of direction, which I am, I can go ahead and just enjoy it. I have such a sense of guilt about not being productive enough. But, I can let all that guilt go and just relax and enjoy my life exactly as it is. I can appreciate the blessings I have received without the need to feel guilty or to justify it to anybody, let alone my Self. I deserve everything I have. I made good choices to get me here. I will continue to learn how to just relax and enjoy them. This drawing with real bird feathers showed me that my heart chakra is unbalanced and out of alignment. I know that once it is balanced and healed (hopefully when I take that class or before on my own), my inner Light can fully shine. Until that day, I will do the best I can, one day at a time. Sometimes one moment at a time.
|My Ethereal Spirit Self|