Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 4

Self-Care for the Fourth Chakra: LOVING LIFE!

Photo from http://www.PEXELS.com, from the artist belle-co

I picked this photograph to represent this 4th chakra because Joy and Love for Life are a big part of filling up the energy battery of the 4th chakra. So often people think of “Love” just the love between people in a romantic relationship. While that is indeed a very special aspect of love, it just one part.

The heart chakra is the energy center that is most well understood energy center in Western culture, even if people mostly associate it with romantic love. The concepts behind the other chakras can feel pretty foreign to a large percentage of people, but thanks to the mythos of our cultural stories, movies and television, most people are familiar with the idea of an emotional heart center. We realize this emotional center is more than the vital, physical heart that pumps life-giving, oxygenated blood through the body system.

This emotional heart, or heart chakra, is the center where we experience love, having “heart” or the capacity to care for something beyond ourselves: be it the love of a sport, a cause, a group of people in need, the Earth, or a special person (to name a few). There are lots of kinds of love – brotherly or sisterly love, love for a friend, soul-friend, family member, or coworker. Then there is love that might be more accurately and comfortably described as compassion, caring, empathy, or appreciation for colleagues, patients, clients, people who you interact with through a work or volunteering situation, neighbors, people who have similar belief systems, or even people in need that you see on the news or on TV. Heck we can even feel love or compassion for fictional characters! (Lust as well – but that is more talking about the 2nd chakra).

There is also love for the self, and the capacity to receive love (which is often hard for some people). In fact this whole blog series of self-care for the chakras is one big way of talking about self-love, caring for yourself.

There is also Love for Life, which you can experience as a big passion for something special, or just the ability to laugh and have fun doing everyday things, or special activities designed for fun.

Another type of love is Devotional Love – or Love for the Divine (please insert the name of the Divine that fits with your belief system). I have respect for whatever you believe and hold sacred.  Please don’t get cranky with me for not thinking there is one right way of having faith. I want to be inclusive to people of all beliefs and faiths here.

The Beatles sang, “All you need is love!” I feel strongly that all of our energy batteries (chakras) need fed, but this 4th chakra energy battery is undoubtedly a very important one! When there is a lack of feeling of love for life, there can be an overwhelming “blah feeling,” or even sadness or depression. Hey, everyone has bad days sometimes, or things that come at them that are challenging.  Most people can forget how to love life from time to time, from minutes to years.  But coming back to loving life again and again … makes it easier.  It is a practice.  It’s my intention to spend as much time as I can loving life.  Loving life can include but doesn’t always mean jumping up for joy, sometimes it is more of a quiet appreciation, or even thinking – wow this thing that is happening is difficult, but I do know (even if I forget what that feels like right now) that love is all around me.

How about you? Do you have an intention to Love Life? Perhaps you haven’t thought of that consciously before. If not, maybe you’d like to start!

A little more on the topic of Loving Life: I had a turning point a couple of decades ago with this chakra. I was getting to this notion intuitively and through reading some inspirational books, but this little affirmation encapsulated it, and I started saying it many times a day for a year or more.  I still say it sometimes and smile, as this affirmation has become one of my intentions for life.  This affirmation encapsulated that new way of thinking and being.  In the book, Mudras, Yoga With Your Hands, Gertrud Hirschi shares the affirmation “I love life and life loves me.”  I love simple things that are profound. This affirmation means so much to me. What do these words mean to you? (Feel free to write a comment.)
(There are a few of other books that also really helped me with this shift, that I can share with you if you’re interested. Just email me at erika.lightfilledlife@gmail.com – but know also that there are so many fabulous books and blogs and writings that can do the same for you. Have that intention and start searching!).

This affirmation provided a lot of healing for my 4th chakra. Growing up, I often felt like an outsider.  It took awhile for me to feel lovable (from more than just a few people in my inner circle) by people in general, to accept the idea that anyone in the world could find me as worthy, lovable, worth caring for.  I began to see how life loved me in so many ways – the cool breeze on my face, a tree waving “hi” in the breeze, the beautiful sky I happened look up and notice, a random stranger smiling at me, a happy exchange with someone in a store, life situations that brought kindness and goodness my way. Just sitting with a tree and sending it love, I started to feel it loving me back.  Horses, dogs, plants, rivers, people… by seeing and looking for that love and goodness with them, I started to feel it reflected back to me.  It’s a practice that has changed my life. Please note my use of the word “practice.” It is something that needs to be returned to, gets easier with time, and grows with intention and attention.

Love for Life is something worth reflecting upon.  Focusing on your capacity for Happiness, Joy, and Love for Life fills your energy battery so you can bring more heart energy to your relationships.  Feeling love for life is part of loving yourself.  If one tries just to fill up their heart chakra or love battery only with love from their special person, it can drain that person and the relationship.  It can become addictive, codependent, obsessive, and sometimes downright weird.  Love can become a drug – especially when you think you can only get it in a love relationship. Find appropriate ways to connect with caring, kindness, and joy for life that fill your heart chakra, and you’ll find your heart can keep expanding its capacity for feeling love for life.

What do you love about life? What brings you joy? These are often questions that I ask my clients (when I’m doing Akashic and energy work) and patients (when I’m doing occupational therapy).  I ask that question because connecting with what we love helps us to connect with our purpose for being here.  Being sad, being depressed – can sometimes be a symptom of being disconnected to your soul’s purpose, and can be a sign that this (or another) energy battery is low.

There is always Love around us!  Divine Light and Love is present (I believe, and I know I’m not alone here) in everyone and everything!  It is a vibration.  Did you ever notice how when you’re in a crappy mood (I was reminded of this this morning) that things just seem to conspire to continue your crappy mood?  Even mechanical things may suddenly not work, appointments get cancelled, things just don’t go your way?

When that happens, pause.  Take a moment to open your heart – through prayer, thinking of what you are grateful for (even if it’s a few little things), visualizing love around you (perhaps with etherial beings beaming love at you), listening to beautiful music, seeing images that fill your heart (cue the puppy, kitten, and baby videos, and pictures of adorable old couples holding hands!).  Find what works for you in that moment to help your heart remember the love that is around you.  

Here is a prayer and intention that may also help, that I wrote for this reason.

Intention For Accessing the Love That is Always Around You
   Dear Beloved Friend Goddess, God (please replace those words as needed to fit your spiritual or religious beliefs),
    Please hold me in your Grace today. Help me to remember that your love is always present, inside and around me, everywhere.
   Help me to remember three ways you have already touched my life today with Divine Love. (Pause to let those thoughts come to you). I am grateful.
   It is my intention to be in the flow of Divine Love, Compassion, and Grace today.
   I open my eyes and heart to see opportunities for aligning with light and love, and sharing that energy through my thoughts, words, and actions.
   I feel how Divine light and love expands and grows as I give and receive it.
   I remember that all beings are worthy of love and kindness, and I endeavor to see the divine spark in all beings I interact with.
   Please help me to love life today, and to not deflect but to receive the love and kindness that is given to me.
   I feel my heart energy grow, and my joy for life grow, as I live in this grace of giving and receiving love and kindness. The cup of my heart overfloweth!  And so it is.

Wishing you love and kindness in your day, and in all your days to come.

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