Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 7 Self-Care for the Seventh Chakra: Be Connected

(Artwork Courtesy of Canva)

              The Seventh Chakra is found at the crown of the head. Some see it as a 144 petaled lotus which is waiting in ready to bloom open to unite with the brilliance of the Divine. Quality of connection at this chakra can be supported by the quality of connection (and self-care we are doing) at the rest of our major physical chakras of the body. This pole inspires us to unite within ourselves to the Divine source, as the first chakra helps us to be grounded, practical, and in the physical. Both are important. The 7th Chakra is where we discover and continue to expand into our connection with the Divine. “It is also our ‘grace bank account’ the warehouse for the energy we mass through kind thoughts and actions, and through acts of faith and prayer (Myss, 1996, p. 265).

The Vedic tradition teaches that there are three main paths to the Divine: the path of knowledge or Jyana, the path of spiritual devotion or Bhakti, and the path of selfless service or Karma. These 3 paths can translate to any spiritual path or religion. The path of knowledge is often thought of as being found through the study of sacred teachings; it is a path of the mind. Spiritual devotion engages the heart through practices such as chanting or singing holy songs, prayerfulness and kindness. Selfless service involves performing acts of compassion without attachment to outcome or reciprocity, as a way of serving the Divine that is seen as being within all beings. You may relate to one or all of these paths, or other paths to having a relationship with the Divine. Another way that many feel connected to the Divine is through group worship and study, such as through churches, synagogues, temples, or spiritual groups. Others feel connected when in the splendor of natural places. Being around animals or children can remind people of the purity of life, and help them to feel closer to the Divine. There are countless ways of meditating to seek inner connection with Source. What way or ways do you find work the best for you?

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Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 6

Self-Care for the Sixth Chakra: BE INSIGHTFUL

 (Artwork Courtesy of Canva)

The sixth chakra is also commonly known as the 3rd Eye. This is where we have vision to see into things deeper than the surface level. We can engage this chakra to delve into the secrets of life, understand things in a more comprehensive way, and see how things are connected in the bigger picture of life and our place within it. In this center, we wake up more and more to see beyond the paths we were told to follow to see what is true for ourselves. We can open our eyes to see the truths that are hidden in plain sight. We find deeper purpose and meaning in all that is presented. Engaging the power of this chakra, thought can become more and more conscious.

The sixth chakra involves our mental and reasoning abilities, and our psychological skill at evaluating our beliefs and attitudes. The Mind chakra resonates to the energies of our psyches, our conscious and unconscious psychological forces” (Myss, 1996, p. 237). This chakra connects us with intellectual thoughts and our personal interests and motivations. The forehead part of the brain is where the prefrontal cortex of the brain resides, which is where the brain performs executive functioning. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for processes of motivation, spatial memory, focus, thinking, calculating, and serves as the “inspiration area,” and personality center, connecting with the emotional processing centers more central to the brain (Grujičić, 2021). The pituitary gland in conjunction with the hypothalamus direct the glands of the body, which are in charge of the hormones and chemical production in the body (Grujičić, 2021).

The pineal gland is the gate to the mystical.  Zina Hany (2020), who has a background in pharmacology, and who is a public health expert, educator, researcher and lover of meditation states that, “According to theosophy, our third eye is a pea-sized endocrine gland nestling just below the center of the forehead called ‘pineal gland’. This mystic gland (which corresponds to the sixth chakra ‘Ajna’) is considered to be a psycho-physiological center that has physical, mental and spiritual dimensions. The enigmatic gland allows a diverse perception beyond ordinary sight; thus, it’s significant to understand its capabilities, in order to have an alerted attention to its wellbeing.” She goes on to explain that the pineal gland has more blood flow (per cubic volume) than any other organ, which also means it is biologically set up to have more concentrated energy than any other place in the body. The pineal gland produces metaphysical neurochemicals including melatonin, DMT, Serotonin, and Pinoline which are responsible for sleep, dreaming, cognitive function, mood regulation, visions and more (Hany, 2020).

When we think of the 6th Chakra as an energy battery, and one that may need to be fed with Self-Care in order to stay “charged,” important questions arise:

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Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 5

Self-Care for the Fifth Chakra:
Listen and Be Heard

The Fifth Chakra holds the energy and issues surrounding Communication. Often you’ll hear the term speaking your truth, when referring to the Fifth Chakra. While that is a very important part of this energy center, listening, really paying attention to what someone is communicating (as well as paying attention to what they aren’t saying, and the feeling tone of those words) is just as an important part of this soul center or chakra. Good communication is made up of the two: Expressing (speaking, typing, writing, etc.) and Receiving the nuances of communication (listening, reading, etc.).

Communication can be challenging. Public speaking is very common deeply-held fear for the majority of people. Speaking to someone about feelings can be very scary at times. Ghosting is real… sometimes people would rather just disappear than to say (or even text) “I don’t want to interact with you anymore” and face challenging communication and feelings.  Addressing loaded topics, finding the strength and courage to speak about something important to you, or finding the right worlds can be very difficult.  It can also be challenging to listen to things that one doesn’t want to hear.  It can be challenging, for some, to listen at all.  It requires presence and much more.  Many people are usually skilled more at speaking or listening.  Which is easier for you? While some of these things may come naturally, you will most likely find there is always room to grow.  It is now so much more common to text, social media chat or communicate in a way that isn’t in person.  What does that tell us about society’s willingness and ability to interface with emotions?

Self-care for this chakra is a really important one.  The physical and energetic area associated with this chakra is the throat, neck, and jaw and I find it encompasses the ears.  Physical tension, pain, and other issues in these areas may point to issues on an energetic level with this chakra.

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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!).

Continue reading “Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 4”

Empaths: How Let Go of Other People’s Energy and Feel Like YOU Again

Have you been told all of your life that you’re too sensitive? Do you feel frustrated because if you knew how to be less sensitive, you surely would be?! … it’s possible you may be an Empath.

So… before I move on with the blog theme of Self-Care and the Chakras, I want to talk about Empaths – especially the kinds of empaths who feel other people’s feelings, thoughts, and/or physical sensations in their own body, namely:

Clairsentience – “clear feeling,” sometimes a “gut knowing,” and this can include feeling other people’s physical sensations in your body.

Claircognizance – “clear knowing,” which can include what other people are thinking. Just knowing and often not knowing how or why you know.

Clairempathy – “clear emotional understanding,” which can include the overall feeling tone people in a room, a business, a person, or a situation.

(I learned of clairempathy and some types of empathic abilities not listed at this free webinar. The 8 psychic senses: https://events.genndi.com/register/169105139238452730/ddf993f290 http://www.thespiritualactivator.com. I’m not advertising, but just wanted to share a great resource, and give credit where it is due).

Being an empath is a double-edged sword, meaning there are positives and negatives, depending on your perspective. You may feel overwhelmed by other people and life-in-general at times, and may have to work really hard not to feel bombarded by other people’s thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations (including pain). Being around groups of people can magnify those effects. BUT here’s the good news! You can tune-into positive and uplifting feelings easily also: like joy, peace, subtle energy, spiritual realms, and the world (and multiverse) beyond you. This, like any skill, just takes practice.

Feeling overwhelmed by other people’s feelings, thoughts, or sensations may feel like a curse.

BUT the positive flip side is: empaths can tap into positive emotions, sensations, and information easily too!

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Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 3

Self-Care for the Third Chakra: BE YOURSELF!

While we can get inspirations of creativity from the second chakra, it is the 3rd chakra, solar plexus area of the body where those creative ideas can ignite into outward expression and inspiration. Here we hold the key to allowing creative ideas to dance in the light. This chakra holds the awareness and energy of your sense of self, personal power and strength, self-worth, deservingness, knowing and valuing who you are, and your personal identity. Your passion for life and ability to set healthy boundaries also are energetically based at this center.

Ego resonates at this level: at a balanced and healthy amount, underinflated, or overinflated. When you feel creative impulses regarding how you want to touch this world in a way that is your unique expression, it is your fire and sense of self that can inspire you and help you feel worthy of carrying out these creative goals. Understanding your soul purpose(s) and unique gifts you have chosen for yourself (at a soul level) can be especially meaningful to feeling a strong sense of self, believing in yourself, and passion for life.

Your solar plexus (solar – fire center… no coincidence here) is at the base of your sternum where your ribs come together, and in the area of the stomach, which is an area of your body that burns extremely hot. The color of this energy center is yellow like the sun. The third chakra holds the important life questions:

Who AM I? What do I WANT? What is IMPORTANT to ME? Do I feel deserving of pursuing, receiving, having, doing, being those things?

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Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 2

Self-Care for the Second Chakra: BE FLUID

The Second Chakra is an orange ball of energy and awareness in the upper pelvis, below your navel and at the level of your sacral bone at the back of your pelvis. This chakra includes your sexual organs of creation (ovaries, uterus, testes), your genetic material for making new life. This area also includes your hips. While the first chakra connects us to the ground, it is in our second chakra and through our hips that we begin to feel fluidity of movement.

In the second chakra we connect with our creative juices (literally and figuratively), and can learn to go with the flow of life, enjoy the sensual – as in connecting to life through our senses, and have emotional connection. There is a lot going on there, as there are at all of these soul centers!

How we connect with these energy centers changes from day to day, from life chapter to life chapter.

Are you feeling dried-up, uninspired, unconnected, emotionally numb? Does this chakra need a little love? Here are some questions that you can ask to find out. Would any of the following help you to feel more energized, relaxed, or connected to life now, today, or sometime soon?

  • Being in or around water (or listen to ocean waves or other water sounds)

  • Dancing (free-form in your living room, or with a class or group)

  • Being intimate with your partner

  • Being intimate with yourself

  • Listening to your own emotions (journaling, taking a walk or being still and listening to your own thoughts and feelings)

  • Connecting with life through your senses: do something that would be stimulating for your senses (it doesn’t mean you have to overindulge!)

    • Taste – Give your taste buds a treat!

    • Smell – Smell the roses (or anything that smells good to you)

    • Sight – Find something beautiful to gaze upon that touches something in you

    • Sound – Find that perfect song that just makes you say “yea!”

    • Touch – Exchange foot rubs with someone you care about, pet a random stranger’s dog, touch the bark of a tree, express your love through touch (in some appropriate way!)

This is by no means a comprehensive list.

Please share your experience if you feel inspired, or your favorite way to nourish this chakra or soul center.

Filling Your Cups: Self-Care and the Chakras, Part 1

Self-Care is important ingredient to life, but something that is often neglected especially for people who are parents, caregivers, or have busy lives and put their own needs last. Self-care is about choosing what will give you energy right now, what will fill up your battery, and it is part of regular health maintenance. BUT it doesn’t have to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult.

Thinking of “self-care” can stir up those “shoulds” in life: I should be taking better care of myself, I should meditate, I should eat better, I should take time to relax … BUT I don’t have the time, money, energy, or see how that is even possible. However self-care can be very personalized for you and doesn’t have to cost a thing. Self-care activities can be active or passive, stimulating or relaxing. It’s all about what you need to feel more balanced, energized, inspired and well-rested. Figuring out what that something is can be the tricky part because what is energizing and rejuvenating for one person can be draining for another. Even for one person, what can be energizing and rejuvenating one day can be draining and exhausting the next.

How do you know if something is truly self-care and not just a guilty pleasure? You’ll based on how you feel afterwards. If you feel uplifted, inspired, feel somehow better about life, then you know it was self-care. If you feel more drained, tired, feel worse about yourself or about life then it probably isn’t self-care. There is nothing wrong with guilty pleasures, as long as you don’t expect them to make you feel better beyond that fleeting moment.

How can you find the Self-Care Activities that will Recharge You?

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Are Your Relationships Draining Your Energy?

Do you have a hard time saying No to the people you care about? Do you spend a lot of time worrying about loved ones? Do you feel like people take more from you than they give back? Do you feel underappreciated? These can be signs that you are giving away your energy in your relationships.

Elenor Roosevelt said, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. Here’s where it can get tricky: the most powerful type of consent is often unconscious. This type of consent is based on deeply held beliefs. One belief, like I touched upon last week is about putting other people first and feeling guilty giving one’s energy to one’s self in self-care. It looks something like this:
    BELIEF: I want to be a good person. It is good to be selfless. It is bad to be selfish. Therefore I must always give people what they want when they ask for it. As a result, I feel guilty (selfish, bad) when I do something for myself.

    BELIEF: I am responsible for the happiness of all of the people in my family. Because of that, I end up thinking of every scenario where my loved ones could get hurt, could be disappointed, or make bad choices. I try to figure out how I can advise them, intervene on their behalf or somehow influence the outcome. As a result, I feel tired and drained.

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Why people confuse Self-care with being Selfish

Working with people with chronic pain, I often see a pattern of people feeling guilty or even selfish when they even think about self-care.  Lots of us, somewhere along the line, get the message that Selfish is Bad and Selfless is Good.

  • To be selfless can be translated as, everyone else’s needs are more important than mine.
  • To be selfish can be translated as my needs are more important than everyone else’s.

These are black and white, 3rd Dimensional, or duality-based beliefs.  Intellectually it makes sense that there is a middle ground, right?  There should be some middle ground between being totally selfless and totally selfish, because everyone has  a “self!”  Even if intellectually that makes sense, when our duality-based beliefs get triggered, it doesn’t feel that way.  It can just feel like I felt bad, like I was being selfish when I tried to take 15 minutes for myself, so I stopped trying.

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