PART ONE - EARTH, MY PRECIOUS BODY
EARTH – Muladhara
(the Root Chakra: “the earth supports me”, to be, “I AM”, the masculine)
In my years of wonderfully in-depth and extensive training in Anatomy and Therapeutic Yoga with Leila Stuart, I was amazed to learn, among many other remarkable things, that our bodies are made of exactly the same elements that make up the Earth. We are the same. It is the arrangement, structure, configuration and pattern of vital energy (and its creative cause) that creates different organisms, forms and objects, tangible and subtle.
My body is the earth. It needs palpable care. Clean, abundant water and life-giving foods. Sleep, rest, exercise. It needs constant balancing. Its systems are alive, unceasingly adjusting for homeostasis, a state of optimal functioning, a balance within all body systems including internal body chemistry and nervous system regulation, health and wellness in ones physical, emotional, social and spiritual state. Our bodies will always be moving toward homeostasis, with or without our knowledge. Our body’s wisdom is deep and wide, endless, miraculous. I am learning.
After a challenging early life with an abusive parent and 28 years of serious classical ballet training (from age 9 to 37), I had pushed my body literally to its limits. My body is amazing, and it performed! I counted on it with confidence. But, of course, it had its own wisdom. It began to hurt long, long ago. It bore the strain of stress, misalignment, overuse, disregard, buried pain and under-appreciation.
As I began studying yoga, including pranayama and meditation at age 24, I began to have a different relationship with my whole self, including my body. I began to learn how NOT to push to my limits, how NOT to demand full effort with every task, how to NOT get stuck in perfectionistic patterns. I began to learn to be respectful of my body, to listen, to be gentler. I learned the “middle road”. I have been walking, practicing, learning this road for years now. It has been a long, beautiful road that I could not even begin to encapsulate. It is my way of life now.
My respect and deepening understanding of the wisdom of my body is growing expansively and rapidly. I am becoming aware of so many, many things. I am being given such insight, much impossible to articulate, much that puts me in a state of wonder and profound humility.
I realize my body is precious and fragile. Precious because I live in it, through it, because somehow it houses the enormity of me. Fragile in that it needs deep care. It must be tended, like a garden. Like the soil of our soul. We must check on its aliveness and support it to be fully alive on the physical and emotional planes. We must try not shut down the ebb and flow, the “stuff” of life, which includes pleasure and pain, success and failure, light and dark, positive and negative, good and bad.
These polarities are necessary for life to exist at all. They create the energy of life. It is all precious. Our pain is a gift, as is our deep fulfillment. Loss and love are one. Our hearts are big enough for all of it. We need only allow it all. Then, we can experience how enormous we are, how powerful is our being, how deep is our soul, how grateful for life we really are. How brilliant and eternal our Light.
With this awareness, I feel more vibrantly alive, present to the beauty in the passing moments of my life, more in love with and appreciative of my loved ones, my friends, and also those who I find challenging. Open to learning through the ups AND the downs. The dynamic within is forever shifted.
Breathing deeply into my body, I slowly and systematically connect with my whole body, head to toes, core to periphery, outer and inner, sensing its physicality, the flow of all its systems, its emotional reality, its energy. I offer my body great love, compassion, caring, en-courage-ment, presence.
Being with my breath, I stay, do not leave, no matter what arises. I allow, let my body open, soften, flow, release, rebalance, and reveal. The truth of my existence and humanity becomes more present, my deepest self arising to the forefront of my mind and sustaining my awareness.
Softening and breathing gently, offering my humanity compassion and love, I feel my body as the soil of the earth, and as a great tree within the soil, intricately connected.
I am the soil, clean, dark, regenerative, full, rich, embedded, solid, fragrant and fertile. I am the tree, its deeply rooted tendrils growing, strengthening, anchoring, expanding in intimate, unbreakable relationship with the soil.
I go bone deep, coming into the hardness, softening the rigidity, the defenses, the held pain and fearful vigilance in my tissue. I let life flow through. I let go. I let be.
I feel composition, fibrous tenacity, powerful, deep energy, strong, weighted, solid, alive. I sink into the supportive pull of gravity, resting deeply in the weight of my body, on the real and solid Earth around and within me. I am present to the solid, flowing, alive presence of Life with my whole body.
I am the seed, the core, the center ring, the deep within the dark, nourished, supported, connected, anchored, and sustained by my depths, which are lower, deeper and more interdependent and sophisticated than I can even imagine. That core which somehow is, holds, and grows the most powerful, authentic Light.
I allow my Light to expand through the core and depths of my soil, to soothe, heal, nourish and strengthen my roots. I allow myself to grow from this core and depth, lovingly attending to all the layers and listening to what is there to teach me. I allow myself to flourish, create, renew, refresh, invigorate, express, strengthen.
How is it so that this Light is within our lowest, darkest level of being, that it is its creator, sustainer, force and flow?
I am supported. I am solid. I am safe. I am stable. I am strong. I am loved. I AM.
Integration of Muladhara, earth energy, power, stability, deep calm and presence
Our body tissue is divine yet will die. It is always changing, growing, aging. We must realize and accept that this constant change is life itself. We cannot slow it down or make it stop. Our body will die. It may suffer. Try as we might with our green juices, fresh air, yoga practices and light meditations, one day, all our bodies will wear out and die.
Life is not about avoiding death. Life is not even about perfect health.
Life is about Love. Learning to Love. Learning what Love is: a verb, a force, a power, the only power. Love for ourselves, love for all people, love for our world and all its incredible forms, love for all beings. Love for Life. Love for Love itself.
I celebrate this life force, even as it touches loss in me deeply. I feel deeply grateful. I feel deeply calm.
There is so much happening within me as I move through this challenging health situation and healing time. I am humbled, open, full of wonder, and so, so grateful.
May you all know deep Love for and within your precious body. May you all learn from its incredible wisdom, from the barely conceivable wisdom of our beautiful Earth. May it open you. May it guide you in thought, word and deed.
May it bless your life and the lives of all those around you.
Namaste and Love,