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 email@example.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!).