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Part Four: Making room for the good stuff
It is amazing to me what the body is capable of storing. If you’ve followed my writing for any length of time, you have certainly heard me say to ad nauseam that the body houses the mind and the spirit. This was my mantra and message to others, all those years I spent in the fitness industry. Trying to convince people of the importance of taking care of their bodies because our bodies are a vessel that carry around the mind and soul - the two things that really matter. But my understanding of the body as a vessel unfolded in a much more profound way, after physically witnessing trauma and confusion leaving it.
When we think of purging, vomiting is typically what comes to mind. While vomiting is common during ayahuasca ceremonies, I personally did not experience it. Thank goodness - I hate to puke. It is one of about a thousand things I was afraid of as a kid and I think, as a result, my adult self shields me from it. I’ve vomited once in the past thirty years as I can remember. But purging is the body’s way of releasing and it can take on many different forms: yawning, crying, diarrhea, laughing, sweating, shaking, and in my case, bleeding. I yawned incessantly during every ceremony but on the second night, after experiencing a release of self loathing and overwhelming forgiveness, I bled. You must understand, I am nearly through menopause and haven’t had a period in over nine months. Yet, when I returned to my room, I passed a blood clot. (I apologize now to my male readers who would rather not have this visual.) It was obvious to me this was not a period, but pain and suffering I had held in my reproductive organs for far too long. Gradually, over the next week, I felt my body releasing the guilt and shame I carried in my sacral chakra. Now, before I say much more, I have to admit, if you asked me what a chakra was before several weeks ago, I would’ve said some bullshit areas yogi’s and other “woo-woo” practitioners talk about, with colors and energy supposedly radiating out of them. Another clear example of a state of judgement I lived in without even recognizing it. But as we worked through the seven chakras during pre-ceremony yoga, the realization of what was happening in my body hit hard. Issues with the sacral chakra can be seen via problems with the associated organs, urinary tract infections, lower back pain, and impotency. Emotionally, this chakra is connected to our feelings of self-worth, and even more specifically, our self-worth around pleasure, sexuality, and creativity. I began experiencing menstrual issues in my teens, with ovarian cysts, heavy cycles, irregular cycles and ultimately the inability to carry a pregnancy to term. After the birth of Kathryn, I had two miscarriages and a subsequent surgery that emotionally left me void of any desire to have a child of my own. All these years, I chalked this up to my luck of the draw and have actually been grateful for this part of my story because it brought me to adopting my daughter Scarlett, who is the greatest gift of love in my life. What I didn’t realize, is the amount of trauma, guilt and shame I’ve carried in my sacral chakra for decades. I had sex for the first time when I was in the seventh grade - talk about womb trauma! For fucks sake, look at a seventh grader. They’re children. But when you are forced to grow up as quickly as I was, by the time you hit middle school you start doing adult things because you feel like you’ve been adult all your life. These early sexual experiences were the start of my association of guilt and shame to intimacy. Leaving me disassociating during sex my entire life - being physically present but in my mind needing to envision anyone but me participating in the act. Add to it a traumatic pregnancy, miscarriages, infidelity, guilt, shame, lies, self-loathing - and you’re left with a toxic energy soup swishing around inside your body, unknowingly. This is the trouble with stuffing things deep down inside. They don’t go away, they fester. Things in life leave us wounded and while wounds may heal, they leave scars that last forever. The trouble is, we then spend a lifetime, unsuccessfully trying to cover up our scars. But the scars of life cannot be removed like some ridiculous tattoo you got in college. Instead, we have to do the work to accept them. And for the few brave souls who are willing to do the really hard work to accept them, we eventually learn to love our scars as part of who we are.
Words are inadequate to describe the freedom, love and peace I began to feel as all these things were purged from my body. The best I can do to describe it is to say all of the things that never belonged in my body were washed away, leaving me clear and clean. The guilt, the shame, the negative association of sex and intimacy, all gone. The bloated sensation I’ve had for many years, gone. As is the pain in my hip and back that was so severe at times it left me unable to stand fully upright. When I say the pain is gone, I mean GONE! I am completely free from pain that started over thirty years ago. My hardened lower abdomen that has always felt like my “defender” has softened and I’ve lost twelve pounds. I made room for the good stuff.
And as if all these emotional and physical changes weren’t proof enough of the power of energy stored in our bodies, come to find out I’ve been drawn to my sacral chakra long before I even knew what it was. The sacral chakra is indicated by the color orange, which happens to be my favorite color. It is symbolized by the lotus, which is tattooed on my body, was the name of my company and tells the story of overcoming adversity, pushing through the mud to reveal the most beautiful version of itself. A story that was painted on my company wall and a story I am known for by many. Coincidence? I think not. The sacral chakra, Svadhisthana, taken literally means “the dwelling place of the self.” It is the center of our passion, creativity and artistic expression. It is no wonder I am now expressing myself in my most beautiful form. My writing feels effortless, free from self censoring out of concern what others will think. My sexual life and intimacy has blossomed into something I’ve never experienced in fifty years of life. Pure, unencumbered love. No wonder - I discovered the dwelling place of myself.
Our bodies truly do house our mind and spirit. Until now, I just never realized the magnitude of this statement I had been making for all these years. And best of all, this purging wasn’t the only release I experienced. Ceremony three brought about another release that left me feeling and behaving like an entirely new person.
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