She is a professor with a doctorate in the hard sciences. Years ago, as an undergraduate, she made the decision she didn’t want children. As she says now, “My mother had never been mothered, and she couldn’t figure out how to mother me. I couldn’t imagine wanting to care for little, vulnerable people. I couldn’t imagine finding the patience or the love.” She was and is absolutely committed to her career; she knew she wanted tenure at a major teaching institution and she got it. She eventually married, but when her husband died, she felt no urge to seek another life partner. By 52, she had sailed virtually symptom-free through menopause. Now, three years later, she was told she needed a hysterectomy.
Her pain was so palpable it was like a third person in the room with us. “I’ll be barren,” she kept saying. “I’ll never have children.” And then two days later, when she was released from the hospital, “I am barren!” At one point she blew her nose and looked at me with a rueful expression, “I know that train left the station a long time ago, but I had no idea it would hurt so much to know I never gave birth…and now I never will!”
Barren was an interesting word because her life had been far from barren. She had mentored students and younger colleagues with enthusiasm and compassion for years. Her research was rich and life-giving. But her perception during those weeks and months was that there was no life in her and no potential for life in her; she was empty, dry, lifeless.
The Belly Chakra – located just below the navel – is the energy node that represents the traits of creativity, intuition, open and deep relationships, resourcefulness, and the self-worth that comes of feeling productive. Because it is the node that feeds energy to all the female reproductive and sexual organs (men’s sexuality is located in the Root Chakra), it can be a double-blessing for women when it is unobstructed, or a double-whammy when it metaphorically shuts down. During the experience of her hysterectomy, my friend’s emotional focus on what ‘could never be’ and ‘what never came to life’ blocked all the wonderful assurance and confidence of her earlier years and shut her away from the positive, creative energy that sets our bellies on fire.
And now a word for those of you who think I have gone right off the deep end.
When I created my first set of chakra squares, an acquaintance said, “I really like it, but is it real?” I am not the person to ask about ‘real’. Here is what I know: the mind is more powerful than we can begin to imagine and the connection between mind and body is closer than most of us are willing to believe. I also know that we ‘speak’ more languages than we bother to notice. Sometimes one set of images will set us afloat on magical seas, or unlock the doors to wonder and mystery. Sometimes it will require a different set of images entirely to free us from prison or destructive patterns.
The image of energy nodes pulsing with clear bright colors throughout our body is one that has helped thousands of people across centuries of time become healthier and more focused. So, I am willing to play with that metaphor to see whether it will heal or empower or renew or inspire me. This week it is my creative energy node (my Belly Chakra) and orange.
We are all compelled by our creative impulse whether that is creating a baby or writing a book. Some of us design and plant gardens, some build fine cabinets, some concoct perfect casseroles or decoct herbal tisanes. We compose; we paint; we make maps. There is something in the human genetic material that seems to need to produce: widgets or cookies, hand-woven cloth or hand-thrown pottery, ideas, inventions, legal systems, and religions.
I invite you to join me this week in celebrating that impulse and releasing it to inform and beautify, to help and heal. During these next days, take some time to center your attention on your belly space and to marvel at the organs that fill that space and support your life.
Here is a short meditation if you would find it helpful.
Close your eyes if you feel comfortable. If you would prefer to keep your eyes open, you may want to find something orange on which to focus. Allow your eyes to relax and go soft – receive the color gently rather than grasping for it.
Begin to breathe deeply, allowing your breath to slow as you sink into a quiet awareness of your body at rest in time and space.
When you feel centered, at rest, still, let your awareness drift into your belly. You may want to rest your hand there.
Let your mind drift back to a time when you had a ‘gut feeling’ about something. Did you trust that feeling and act on it? What happened?
Do you tend to trust your intuition or the creative impulses that nudge you to do something in a different way this time? If so, how do you feel when you risk something new? If not, can you identify what is stopping you from exploring ideas or hopes or dreams that are unfamiliar?
Without judging yourself, notice whether the energy in your belly is lively and constantly renewing, or whether it seems sluggish. Do you sense sparks or crackling flames or warm embers?
When you are ready, express your gratitude for your creativity and intuition, past and present.
Take three or four deep breaths and open your eyes slowly and gently, or refocus and be present here and now.
Here is my hope for us both this week:
Tease me with curious questions.
Shake me into kaleidoscope vision,
until I see everything sideways, upside-down,
impossibly beautifully strange.
Trust me with dreams too wild to be real,
too real to be ignored.
Dare me into risking my dignity
for breathless belly laughter.
Labor me into birthing
stories that have never been told,
hopes that have never been realized,
joy that can never be contained,
love that will never end.
Text © 2016, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2016, 2015 Immram Chara, LLC
NOTE: The first photo is Belly Chakra from the set of chakra pieces I am making over these seven weeks. It will be going up in my Etsy shop shortly. If you are interested in owning it, let me know. The second photo is a rose from the Royal Botanical Garden in Wisley (England). The third is the first piece from my 21-Day Art Journey-Exploration.