Today I went to a yoga class, that focused solely on the 4 corners of the hands and feet. The beginning was slower than I was accustomed, with much attention given to what the teacher called “the foundations of yoga,” the 4 corners of the hands and the feet, and how the alignment of these squares affects our ability to feel grounded as we move through the poses, and how this translates to living our lives. The painstaking time she took to bring our attention to something so basic as pressing down the 4 corners of the hands or feet, in order to get the most out of a pose, struck deep.
My life, much like everyone’s since last Friday (12/14/12), has been shaken considerably by the sudden loss of such young life, and has left me feeling unsure of what to do. I have sent daily healing prayers across the miles to those who are grieving. I have hugged my husband and children tight, appreciating them and all the chaos that comes along, with a new sense of humility. I have listened to the radio, heard the president speak, spoken with friends, and made donations of books and gifts to local charities. I am trying my best, with one foot forward at a time, to go on.
All of this has made me think: what are my foundations, what it is I rely on when things get tough. I am lucky; I have many that I have been blessed with establishing in the past 10 years. For those who have been following my blog, you know I write, meditate, pray and create art. I am trying my damndest to reach out to others, my weakest link, having experienced a traumatic childhood. But still, I make myself reach out.
I also practice ritual, and I’m not shy to admit, I love practicing ritual, and wish I did it more. I light candles in honor of any number of things; I make altars, a collection of sacred objects, smells, tastes, textures, that have specific meanings, also in honor of any number of things. I speak during these rituals, putting my ideas about myself and life out there to whoever is listening. I have lain outside at night, underneath the hopefulness of the new moon (planting the seed), or the luminous fruition of the full moon (reaping the harvest), and both dreamed and cried. I also practice family rituals, like kissing my wonderful husband and children every morning, and before we go to bed each night. I wish we could have a family dinner, but Louis’ many food aversions prohibit that presently.
These are the things that carry me through times of uncertainty.
The 4 corners of the hands and feet are also related to our root chakra, I leaned this morning. This information also brought me on alert, as I had been meditating on the root chakra for a few days. The root chakra, which is a store house of energy, is located between the genitals and the anus, and represents feeling safe and secure in the world. When this energy is flowing, we feel alive and vibrant and physical with life. Life is sensual, and to be experienced fully. When it is blocked we feel scared and fearful, and out the body. Life is no longer about vitality; it is about protection and survival.
I can imagine many root chakras suddenly stagnant, including mine.
This is a time of turning inward, of exploring your foundations and rituals, the things that carry you through when life gets hard. It is through these foundations that we will find grounding, and through this grounding, that we will find strength and compassion, vs. fear and despair.
If you don’t know what your foundations are, now is the time to think and create. It can be anything; a thought, word, action, object. You do not have to sit under the full moon like me (I am a bit crazy); it can be something as simple as imagining that suffering is washed away every time you wash your hands, or affirming, “I am (you fill in this part),” every morning with your eyes closed. You can write how you wish the world to be, and put it in a wish box (I have one!). Or perhaps like me, you need more family rituals to anchor yourselves as a living unit, vs., separate individuals, as some families are. I see out to the movies family night more regularly in our future.
Healing starts with you; find your foundations and rituals. Open your root chakra. Out of grief, comes compassion. It is with compassion that we can huddle as a humanity.