Weekly Theme: The Root Chakra

Weekly Theme: The Root Chakra

oot chakra healing - red root chakra symbol

Weekly Theme: The Root Chakra – How to Heal & Align The Muladhara

Welcome to the chakras series! For the next 7 weeks, the weekly themes will be all about the chakras with the root chakra coming first. In this article, we’ll explore the root chakra and uncover some methods for how to heal yours.

The Background on Chakras

I personally never really understood the chakras until I got attuned to Reiki and even then, I needed the cliff notes version of what it meant to “open” or “align” said chakras. I’m honestly still not even sure if I pronounce the word correctly. Some say chakra while others say shakra. Nonetheless, that’s a tomato/potato argument, right?

Chakras started to make sense when I started to put the work in (who would’ve thought). Putting in the work means you get to know your chakras versus the chakras. Your chakras are cool and all, but I have to focus on my own. It’s not you, it’s me. Feeling uneasy about understanding chakras? Just know, you’re not alone.

Chakras as Energy Centers

We should spend some time with our 7 chakras, or energy centers when we’re working to befriend and love ourselves. In order to feel inner peace, we must allow each chakra to give us insight into our true desires for ourselves. Frankly, finding inner peace is what life is all about, right? When we find love within ourselves no matter what, we are always at peace and filled with love despite the who, where, or why surrounding us.

Well, at least that’s my truth. Everyone is different. We’re all on different paths but how cool is it that all our paths are so close to one another during this time in our journeys?

Chakras & The Energy Body

Do you want to know what else is cool? Not only do we have a physical body but we also have an energy body! Do you know what they say? Actually, I don’t. What? Two bodies are better than one? Double the body, double the fun? Those are lame. Nevermind.

In school, we are taught about our physical body and the components, such as the circulatory system and the human skeleton (speaking of which, have I shown you the spine I got at a yard sale yet? If not, come to my office to meet him!). However, schools should really teach the parts of the energy body, like the energy channels and energy centers (not to mention how to do your taxes). They go hand in hand. Physical hand in energy hand, if you will.

Chakras & Energy Flow

Energy connects and flows through the physical body through the chakras. When all of our chakras are open, energy can run through them freely and harmony exists between our physical and energetic bodies.

What Are Chakras?

Fun fact: There are actually hundreds of chakras in the energy anatomy – 114 to be exact. They all affect our spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being. We’ll focus on the 7 most common chakras:

  • Crown Chakra
  • Third Eye Chakra
  • Throat Chakra
  • Heart Chakra
  • Solar Plexus Chakra
  • Sacral Chakra
  • Root Chakra

Happiness can be so easily obtained by slowing down and getting to know every single part of yourself. Who you are, what makes you feel complete, believing in yourself, loving yourself, sharing it with the world, knowing your worth, and plugging into the divine. Guess what? Those are literally the chakras explained in a sentence.

Balancing The Chakras: A Mario Cart Analogy

When I think of the chakras, I think of Mario Kart. I said what? Mario Kart. I was always Toad, who were you? At the beginning of the race, there is a character guy on a cloud (his name is Lakitu and he is a Koopa, I looked it up) holding something resembling a traffic light. If you close your eyes, I’m sure you can remember the sound of the distinct “beep beep beeeeeeep” as the countdown happens for the players.

That “beep beep beep – GO” is what it feels like when your chakras are aligned. Starting at the root (beep) all the way up to the crown (beeeeeeeep). Rev up your engine and start cruising through life while trying to avoid anything that would throw us off track and unbalance our chakras.

Like any good Mario Kart race, there are always going to be banana peel wipeouts and/or bombs in our way. But knowing what keeps you centered and balanced allows you to get back in the race and in alignment with your true self.

If that’s not too weird for you, I also like to think of my chakras as little doors leading to magical
places in my body I can visit to learn more about myself and what my energy needs to feel
amazing. For instance, you may have heard the term “heart space”. This is your heart chakra! But that’s not for another few weeks, stay tuned for that adventure.

Now, imagine me as Ms. Frizzle, from The Magic School Bus (honestly, we’re kind of similar…) let’s get in the VW bus I borrowed from next door and go explore the chakras!

The Root Chakra aka The Muladhara

What Is The Root Chakra?

The root chakra is just that, the root. It’s the foundation. When the root chakra is open, we feel confident in our ability to withstand challenges and we’re able to stand on our own two feet. When our base chakra is aligned, we know who we are and we stand firmly in our beliefs and morals. While our other chakras open us up to creativity, confidence, love, communication, intuition, and spirituality. If we want them to stay open and balanced, our root chakra energy must be grounded.

Where Is The Root Chakra Located?

This chakra is located at the base of our spine. The root chakra is responsible for our sense of security and stability. This is the foundation of who our true self is.

The Root Chakra Mantra: I AM

Each chakra is affiliated with a color, an element, a crystal, a planet, as well as yoga poses, glands, and mantras. The root chakra mantra is “I AM.” Let’s play around with this:

  • I AM safe
  • I AM centered
  • I AM grounded

But also (and this is where the cliff notes come in) I AM Kristin. At my root, at my base, I know who I am and stand firmly in my beliefs and morals. Each chakra is a “level up” to coming into your highest self. Your true self.

The Root Chakra’s Element & Life Force Energy

The root chakra’s element is the earth element encouraging our ability to dig in and feel firmly
rooted in our life. When exploring the root chakra, think about your relationship with yourself and the world around you. Where do you feel grounded? When do you feel calm and stable? These are the desires I was talking about.

If we are feeling distracted, anxious, lost or unsafe, tap into those desires. I AM Kristin and I feel secure and grounded outside. If I am super busy bebopping around the Barn, you may see me barefoot. This helps ground me and brings some calmness to my very fast brain.

How to Balance The Root Chakra

I breathe into my root, imagining the red glow around my chakra get brighter and brighter. This helps center me and slow me down from beaming so fast that I may take off into outer space. When our root chakra is opened, a calm and steady energy will run throughout our body. We’ll feel grounded and at home in both our bodies and in the world around us. How peaceful does that sound?

I encourage you to spend some time opening your root chakra this week. Reconnect with the earth. Eat some red foods (hot Cheetos don’t count!). Speak affirmations such as “I am safe” “I am at home in my body” “I am at peace with the here and now”. Carry around a red jasper. Ask yourself, “What are my basic needs to survive? Do I have easy access to all of these needs, or is there anything I struggle to attain?”

Grounding Meditation For The Root Chakra

  1. Bring your attention to your root chakra at the base of the pelvis.
  2. Visualize the trunk of your favorite tree growing down from the base of your spine.
  3. Breathe deeply in and out as you feel held and grounded into the support of the Earth.
  4. With each exhale release what no longer serves you. Send it down the tree trunk and into the Earth.
  5. With each inhale, imagine drinking in the exact nourishment your body needs today.
  6. Sit with this visualization for 5 to 10 slow deep breaths, feeling embraced and supported by the Earth.

Journal Prompts For Root Chakra Healing & Alignment

To help incorporate the theme into the groups this week, I have found some great root chakra journaling prompts from Zanna Keithley to assist in group discussion topics.

  • Has there ever been a time in my life when my basic needs of food, water, warmth, rest, security, and safety weren’t met? How did I feel during this time?
  • What can I do to ensure my mind, body, and spirit feel safe despite external circumstances?
  • What can I do to ensure my basic physiological and safety needs are always met?
  • What basic needs are met in my life, and what makes me grateful for each one? (Write one to three sentences for each need, describing why you’re grateful for it.)
  • In my external world, what helps me to feel safe? What helps me feel safe in my internal world?
  • What does it mean to me to be grounded? How can I cultivate the feeling of being grounded in my life?
  • In the middle of a busy and hectic day, what can I do to help myself to feel centered?
  • When the world feels chaotic, how can I remain rooted firmly to the ground?
  • Describe yourself as though you are a tree, with roots that keep you secure to the ground no matter how the wind blows.
  • What does strength mean to me? What makes me feel strong? When do I feel strongest?
  • What does it mean to me to be rooted in the present moment?
  • What practices can I incorporate into my daily routine that will increase mindfulness and help me to remain in the present moment?
  • Are there any situations, places, or common experiences in my life that don’t help me to feel rooted, secure, safe, and/or grounded? What can I do to help myself in these moments (or change the situation)?
  • Visualize your highest self walking through a beautiful, open field with your bare feet touching the ground. Describe this experience, including how it makes you feel.
  • Write a compassionate love letter to your body. Use affirmations to affirm that you feel safe, supported, and at ease in your body.
  • In what ways does my body always take care of me?
  • Finish this statement: “I build my life upon the foundation of _____.” Describe all the positive feelings and beliefs that create the foundation upon which you build your life.
  • What does it mean to me to be firm in my place of life?
  • Do I feel like my loved ones support me? Do I feel like the Universe supports me? What do I need to feel more supported?
  • Why is important to me to feel supported by loved ones and the Universe?
  • Reflect on this statement and what it means to you: “Every cell of my body supports my total wellbeing.”
  • When my energy feels depleted, what can I do to nourish and rejuvenate my body, mind, and spirit?
  • What can I do every morning to increase my energy and greet the day with enthusiasm and vitality?
  • Who is my truest, most authentic self?
  • How can I become one with my true self in each and every moment?
  • What fears or limiting beliefs hold me back from living as my truest, most authentic self?
  • Why is having an open and balanced root chakra important to me?
  • What does an ordinary day as my most grounded and secure self look like? How do I carry myself through the day? How do I treat others and myself? Write about this day in detail.

Let’s have a great week learning how to align and heal our root chakra, folks! If you want to become part of our groups or learn more about the mental health treatment program at Barn Life Recovery, never hesitate to reach out. We’re here to help you love your life again!

Weekly Theme: What is Respect?

Weekly Theme: What is Respect?

what is respect? A black and white image of an aikido practitioner showing respect.

Weekly Theme: What is Respect?

Growing up we learned that respect is saying please and thank you, making eye contact when shaking hands, or calling someone by their surname. While each of these is an example of practicing it, they only skim the surface. Looking at the big picture, respect is the act of showing consideration or regard to something or someone.

However, it can walk a fine line in certain situations. For instance, I am not saying you must learn how to respect your abuser or a leader destroying your nation. I’m talking about the respect you have for yourself, your neighbor, your partner, your kids, your teacher, your therapist, the grocery clerk, and the list goes on.

The Language of Respect

Language and context might be the most important piece when it comes to respecting. In fact, the way we communicate through words and actions is probably the most powerful way we show respect. It’s through both verbal and nonverbal communication that we portray our common ground with others.

Another way we communicate our regard for others is through modeling. Modeling is showing somebody the way you want to be appreciated and recognized by practicing the behavior toward them. However, it’s a two-way street because we cannot demand somebody’s respect if we are not showing them respect in return. To understand modeling better, let’s think about when we started learning respect.

Our first experiences learning respect were based on our environment. For you, maybe lessons in consideration came from watching the way your dad interacted with your mom’s parents or the way your peer acted towards the teacher. Think about your past experiences with respect. Recall a time you displayed it toward someone, a time you felt disrespected by a fellow human or a time you were being disrespectful to yourself. It’s likely these were all based on communication and modeling.

Below you’ll find a few examples of (1) respect vs disrespect (2) how to respect ourselves and (3) language of respect. These lists are tools to utilize when reflecting on respect this week.

What is Respect vs. Disrespect?

Examples of Respect

  • Saying please and thank you
  • Setting appropriate boundaries
  • Complying with someone’s appropriate boundaries
  • Offering to pay for someone’s gas or treat them to something when they drove you to the airport
  • Not yelling/raising your voice at your partner during an argument
  • Holding the door open for someone
  • Noticing the trash is full and taking it out
  • Hearing someone out when they have something on their mind or appear dysregulated
  • Not being on your phone during a group session, spiritual/religious service, when someone is trying to have a meaningful conversation with you, on a first date, etc.

Examples of Disrespect

  • Not letting your partner talk or share their side when having a deep conversation or argument
  • Making a mess in a shared kitchen and not cleaning it up
  • Making inappropriate and harsh statements to someone when you’re angry
  • Not valuing another person’s opinion (doesn’t mean you have to agree with or adopt their idea)
  • Not helping your partner take care of shared responsibilities (kids, home duties, etc.)
  • Not asking before doing something that could be hurtful to you or another person.
  • Not resolving detrimental conflict
  • Unreasonably critical of authority
  • Going out of your way to make others look bad while acting innocent
  • Undermine another’s position, status, value, etc.

How to Respect Yourself

  • Knowing your worth
  • Holding yourself in esteem
  • Knowing the way you should be treated
  • Not tolerating people lying to you or mistreating you
  • Doing your coping skills intentionally
  • Saying no to going out so you can stay in and recharge
  • Doing things that make you happy (that don’t put yourself or anyone at risk)
  • Not abusing substances
  • Letting yourself express emotion
  • Self-acceptance and forgiveness
  • Opening your heart to knowledge and new experiences
  • Prioritize your needs to support good health, secure respect-based relationships and growth
  • Raising your self-confidence or self-esteem

Ways to Show Respect

1. Words of Encouragement

Description: When you or someone you know is feeling discouraged or having negative self-talk, you remind yourself or this person that they have the ability to overcome this challenge and recover from the negative feeling.

Example: “This is not permanent, you are capable and can make it past this. I am here for you.”

2. Words of Grace

Description: Instead of blaming yourself or others for mistakes, use acceptance or forgiveness for the mistakes and misjudgments. Give yourself or this person a chance to make things right.

Example: “You are not the same as your mistake. I know you to be a kind, caring human being. I forgive you and I’m here to help you learn from this setback.”

3. Words of Guidance

Description: Don’t just assume you or someone will find their way. I encourage asking questions or giving someone words of guidance.

Example: “Your questions help me know and understand you better. Please never think you have a dumb question. I want to help whenever I’m able.”

4. Words of Respect

Description: This speaks on the words and environment you have. For example, keep a climate of consideration and appreciation, allow others and yourself to know that you can have differing opinions, or admire someone simply for where they are at the moment. Likewise, admire someone because they are trying their best.

Example: “While I care about the outcome and other external measures of success, it’s also important to have a climate of mutual respect here. I plan to work hard to see that each of our opinions, thoughts, and feelings are respected.”

5. Words of High Expectations

Description: Rather than allowing yourself or someone to feel discouraged when they don’t show their best abilities, encourage yourself/them to pursue their goals and tap into their passion.

Example: ”I want you to achieve your potential, in whatever way you choose. What goals do you most want to achieve?”

6. Words of Hope

Description: In addition to helping yourself or someone through a hard time, help yourself/them envision a better tomorrow.

Example: “Today is hard but tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities.”

7. Words of Love

Description: Nurture your heart or the hearts of those close to you. Demonstrate how much you love and care for them or yourself, every day.

Example: *Looking in the mirror* “I love you and I am proud of how far you have helped me get in life.”

8. Words of Relationship

Description: Use words that build connection, such as sharing feelings and thoughts. Also, allowing the other person to recognize that their feelings matter.

Example: “I want to know and understand how you feel. Can you tell me?”

9. Words of Understanding

Description: Do not make assumptions and approach each situation with a perspective of empathy.

Example: “I want to understand your perspective. Please tell me what you think if you feel comfortable.”

10. Words of Unity

Description: Expressing words of unity requires you to shed the mindset of “it’s my way or the highway.” Foster the culture of collaboration and cooperation.

Example: “I’m knowledgeable but that doesn’t mean I have all the answers. I respect your role as a part of this relationship.”

11. Words of Accountability

Description: In part, being respectful means holding others accountable. However, it’s most important to hold yourself accountable. Instead of allowing disrespectful behaviors, help others stay on track by having open communication and setting appropriate boundaries.

Example: “How you just behaved was unkind and disrespectful. It really hurt my feelings. Can we talk about it more so we avoid this happening again?”

Mental Health in Costa Mesa, CA

This week, our groups will touch on respect and you will learn about, explore, and reflect on its role in your life. Once you’ve finished this week of growth and exploration, it’s time to talk-the-talk and walk-the-walk of respect.

Interested in learning more about respect and its power to change your life? Learn more about Barn Life Recovery and our Mental Health Treatment program. Give us a call at (714) 798-9081.

Weekly Theme: Tai Chi

Weekly Theme: Tai Chi

Woman doing tai chi at sunset

Tai Chi: Integration with the Flow

Safe bets, based on successful old bets, are not bets. You are chasing. We want the fresh, fresh. We want what works now, not then.  And how might we align ourselves with that pulse of the zeitgeist of now? Redundancies aside, that pursuit to align is called Tai Chi. That integration with the flow is Tai Chi. The exact style of Tai Chi (Wu style, Yang style, Sun style, or Chen Style) is irrelevant. Styles are just approaches. The pursuit is what matters. Suffice to say, this pursuit takes time. And effort. Like anything that is WORTH it. We REFUSE to cut, copy, and paste. Every day, and every moment, and every theme, is a mirror of what is happening right now. Now is what we are seeking to apprehend and engage with. Now is the goal we wish to get a handle on. It is where we live.

 

The Filter in Which We View the World

Real life is brutal. Experience is a cruel teacher. Time is the real test, of anything. That being said, Tai Chi is all about practice. Day after day after day, practice. If you literally Google it, it means the art of mind, body, spirit. But the Google Gods left out a key word: Integration. Reality is overwhelming.  Tai Chi is the filter in which we view the world, like a Search Engine. We need something to filter out (and in) the gush of reality incessantly flooding around. And, not all information is even germane to OUR particular situation. In simpler terms, not all information is useful to you. Information is NOT the answer. Most of us have access to the information, thanks to handheld phones. How we USE that information is where the “rubber meets the road”, so to speak. Make the information have meaning.

 

Thoughts into Actions, Actions into Reality

Tai Chi is manifestation. It is wizardry, to put it mildly. Tai Chi is the way in which we restructure reality to serve our individual vision. It is how we conjure thoughts into actions and actions into reality. Tai Chi is your steering wheel to take over your world. Tai Chi is how we get ahold of our “selves”. It is liberation. Freedom. It is “a way” we break from societal constraints, personal constraints and genetic constraints. It is what we all seek, deserve, and reserve as our birthright. But it takes effort. Effort and time is the price. Which is just another way of saying “persistence”.  Even a fool becomes wise if she persists in her folly. In other words, if you are feeling sleepy, but you stick with it, you may learn something. Valuable things. Life-changing things.

 

The Center Point of Now

Tai Chi is the art of living in the “now”. Right now. There are no secret moves. There are no mysterious secrets. The enigma is this, and only this: grab hold of right now. It is all there is and all there ever was, and all there ever will be. A whole bunch of now, now, nows. All the rest is immaterial, not yet realized, yet. That being said, if we can create, together, ways of living in the now and getting real, real good at living in the now, we can breathe much easier. And live much easier. And create environments in which others may live easier.  We can become the center point of prosperity. The genesis moment. The center point of now. Which is just another way of saying oneness within the community of many.  We are all “ground zero” points of change.