Meditated for 6 minutes today. Boom!
I didn't want to go crazy, as I am planning on doing the next chakra here in a few, but here are my thoughts on the Heart Chakra.
Because I have had asthma my entire life, I was keen on trying to find out where this ailment falls in terms of the subtle body, and after going back and forth (4th or 5th?), I believe whole heartedly (pun intended) that asthma has to be a 4th Chakra thing.
This blog is going to be all over the place. I won't apologize, as it's a journal entry style blog.
Okay, asthma, 4th chakra, this should be one I pay attention to. A few of the prompts spoke to me, but the one method of meditation for this chakra that really hit home for me was repeating two words I noticed on one handout from class:
Inhale unstuck, exhale unhurt.
Man, that is brilliant. Often during an asthma attack, "stuck" is exactly how my lungs feel. I remember the first time I got into a camel pose in a Bikram class, I felt vulnerable, flexible, unstagnant, and terrified at the same time (like, holy shit, my chest is open my chest is open my chest is open, no way am I going to let my head fall back what are you crazy can I come up now).
As far as lifetime "unstuck" experiences, I relate the imbalances I have felt in this chakra (oh and there have been many) most to my choice to waitress for most of my adult life and feeling as though it was my ONLY choice. As the money became not as easy in New York City, (I remember moving here and making boatloads of money--in comparison--one Happy Hour pm shift could easily earn me $500 back in the day, as opposed to post-recession Happy Hours, which fell between $150-$300, depending on where I was working).
Ah, green, the color of money and the heart chakra, what a fine coincidence.
Doing the one activity that most people would not associate with asthma (running marathons) was actually the activity that freed up my heart chakra the most. After my first marathon, something inside me changed. I built up confidence and soon became manager of the bar where I worked. Not so long afterwards, I started personal training again, and for real--not prospecting clients in a gym, but actually working with clients in their homes, people of all types of ability. I discovered I was a teacher in some regards (a great lead in to the next chakra!!), and I hung up my beer opener and waitress/bartending cap for good (or so I thought--I have had a few shifts in the biz here and there when money has been tight between clients).
But you know what? I have other talents that have been stagnant for so long that I could be using to make ends meet. Being a great waitress or bartender is an incredible accomplishment. You deal with so. much. crap. And it teaches you how not to treat people. It also teaches compassion, over and over again, and this unknowingly prepared me for training. My compassion, my ability to guide someone (whether it be drink choice or through a series of exercises) falls within my true identity.
I'm having a real breakthrough here, as I think about how powerful language is. Waitress. Server. BarTENDer. Someone once told me, "You're an amazing waitress; you'll have no problem finding another job." This person said this to me as he was firing me during one of the darkest times of my life, but I wouldn't have it any other way, in retrospect. I did get other jobs, but I had to play Farmville first, and drink Trader Joe's wine while binge watching Law and Order SVU and grieving the death of my friend. It was 2008, and I was 27, and for years afterwards, I would said it was the worst year of my life. Now that I know I have more life left, I might disagree with my 28, 29 year old selves in the future. Now I say, "27 sucked", or "once I turned 30, I started to not give a damn". Tis true, the 30s so far have been the best for me, and they keep getting better.
I wanted to be done with the restaurant industry by the time I reached 30; I didn't retire completely until I turned 33. I have gone back twice (the most this last winter when I needed to get the dough together for this teacher training). I had to give up the gig as I started doing insane amounts of yoga, soul searching, studying--your body and mind are tired. One shift, I worked until 3am, and I was miserable and knew that I had to quit and never return. Not because of the nightlife, but because I was making myself so exhausted, and the money was not worth it. How can I be a good student, exhausted? How can I be a good teacher, exhausted? I also had to quit because a friend told me that I was so good at the hospitality industry, that I should consider going back full time, and why was I spending all this money on training? My god, this person doesn't understand me at all, I thought, when in reality he does, but he has not seen me with clients. He has not seen me in those moments of teaching when my client can finally feel their glutes fire up, or lats activate, and those moments are powerful.
I have started to substitute teach, and I had two students ask me questions after class the other night. It was awesome. Questions are cool. I love giving people answers.
I'm gong to have to end this now, and get coffee, but until next time.
I am way behind on homework, people, and I am not sure if that means something to my chakras or not, but I did start teaching a few classes (hooray), and my mind has been spinning from the possibilities of what this means to my overall career and life choices. More on that later.
3rd Chakra," the solar plexus chakra", the "I am" chakra on Maslow's pyramid of basic needs, is what I meditated on this afternoon. Maybe I was feeling a little stifled because after years of self-studying depression and heading to therapy, I feel as though I know myself pretty well. I decided to begin my five minutes of meditation by focusing on the color yellow (the designated color of the 3rd chakra).
After a moment or two of mentally enveloping myself in the color yellow, it wasn't hard to think of some "I am" statements that I believe describe me honestly.
I am a runner. True.
I am a writer. True.
I am a yogi. True.
I am a good listener. True.
I am graceful. Huh?
Okay, I'll take it. I may not be graceful in an Audrey Hepburn sense, but I do forgive others easily, I share the spotlight with others and can both be a participant and a leader, and I believe there is a lot of grace in being able to know when it is best to choose one or the other. So, fine. I am graceful.
I decided that I can ramp up my five minutes of meditation to eight minutes. Five minutes was too quick.
Thank you for joining me on this yoga homework journey! I have two more until I am caught up, so be prepared for more blogs this weekend.
Angie the Graceful One