Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chakra Shower

The chakra shower is a wonderful watery way to learn about the chakras. A warm shower is the perfect tool to use to physically visualize the chakra system on the back of the body. The chakra system is a key to physical health. By taking time each day to bring the mind to the chakra system, you will energize your entire body through the energetic centers of your anatomy that is invisible to the naked eye.

Stand in a shower with a strong jet stream. It is helpful if the water pressure is good and that the water is rushing out of the showerhead and not falling in an arc as in a waterfall. With the water spraying down in a comfortable temperature, face away from the water and aim the stream at the area of the sacrum, the triangular bone at the base of the spine. Let the water pour down and into the sacral chakra area. Breathe into the experience, clear your mind and bring your attention to the point on your body that is being contacted by the stream.

The sacral chakra is the area of creativity. Imagine you are drawing the energy of the warmth and the pressure of the water into your sacral chakra to feed your creative life. Imagine the energy of the water feeding your pleasure or passions, hobbies or work. Visualize your goals and bring the waters energy to your goals like a current of electricity.

Let the shower stream move up the spine to the area of the solar plexus. The solar plexus chakra is located just below the ribcage on the front of the body. Locate the corresponding area on the spine by imagining a straight line passing through the body to the back. As you become more connected to your chakra system, you may be able to sense exactly where the chakras are by a difference of sensation in the chakras. It is sometimes a good idea to change the temperature of the water in between chakra areas to help the mind reinvest in the exercise.

The solar plexus chakra is the ego center. It is the chakra that holds our personal information. We learn about ourselves through every relationship. Everyone you know and love and even those you don’t are telling you about you. As the water, hits your solar plexus think of yourself as a sun. The kind of sun I first learned how to draw when I was a kid was a big yellow orb with rays coming out as lines from the center. You can use this image or one of your own, but imagine yourself radiating out through the water from your solar plexus chakra and connecting with all the people in your life, and with all the people on the planet.

Let the water, then, move up toward the heart area on the back body. Again, changing the water temperature will reinvigorate the exercise. The chakra areas on the back body are harder to connect to because most sense organs are on the front of the body. The back side of the body is visually harder to see which makes it harder to feel for some people. The use of the water is a helpful tool to connect to these hard to reach areas through the sense of touch.

The heart chakra, as the energetic source of love in the body, is our center for compassion, empathy and affection. Feel the water fuel your love connections. Also, think about those in your life with whom you have difficulty offering love. Let the water flow in the space between you and these others. Feel the warmth and pleasure of the water and hold it in your body as a feeling of love.

Move the water up to the neck or throat chakra. This chakra area is very sensitive to temperature since the spinal cord and major arteries move closely to the skin. Play with your relationship to the water. Let the throat chakra choose the temperature.

The throat chakra is the communication center. Imagine your words flowing in and out of your body on the stream of water. Imagine that the chakra area is actually pulling the water toward it, that it has the power of attraction. Let this inward flow empower your ability to listen to the communication around you. Next, imagine the stream as coming out of your body as the power of your words chosen wisely.

Place the shower stream to the back of your head. This stimulates the third eye chakra. Feel the water flowing against your head as intuitive information. Imitate the functions of the third eye chakra by imagining the water penetrates the back of your head and helpful intuitive information flowing into your mind. Intuition comes to us when our minds are sensitive and receptive. Open to the water stream and imagine yourself absorbing most of the water before it flows down your body.

On your own time, move so that the water rains directly down on to the top of your head. Adjust the water again so that the temperature is slightly cooler than you are now used to and imagine that the water is coming into the body cascading down the insides of the body, cooling the thoughts and filling the body with energy. You could also imagine that the water is actually lifting the body off the ground and pulling the body against gravity.

Turn and face the stream of water. If you wish, move down the front side of the body and stimulate the chakra system from the other side. Position the jet stream to contact the center of the forehead with a nice gentle warm current. Imagine the earlier visualization ideas or try something new. Perhaps imagine that the water is feeding your brain beautiful ideas that will help solve all your problems. Visualize that the water is alive and communicating with you. Listen to it. Talk to it with your mind. What does it need to tell you?

Move the stream down to your throat chakra. Imagine inhaling the temperature and softness. Move the water down to the center of your chest and imagine the water is melting and opening your heart. Imagine the water is concentrated stream of love reaching inside and holding your heart in the absolute most perfect way possible.

When you are ready, let the water move down to the solar plexus, a few inches below the bottom of the rib cage and equidistant to the navel. Don’t forget to move your mind inside each of these centers. Your thought stimulates these centers which in turn stimulates health and peace within the body, mind and spirit. Let the water then fall to the sacral chakra. The area just above the genitals in the front of the body. Play with the water temperature at any time and within any chakra point.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to stimulate the root chakra in most shower stalls. The root chakra points downward between the legs, and between the genitals and anus. A bidet or hand held shower head would be the perfect tools to use to extend the chakra shower to this final energy center.

You may have noticed one chakra area triggered emotion or discomfort. You may feel like returning to one chakra in particular or each again in turn. The chakra shower is a creative process. Experiment and to listen to what your body has to say. There is no way to do this exercise incorrectly.

Giving Thanks for Love and Art

Giving Thanks for Love and Art

After you have had your turkey, come and shake of the sleepiness of overeating at Love and Art. If you’ve always been meaning to come but have never quite made it, you’re missing something really wonderful. If you’ve come to Love and Art, then you know its true.
I was realizing the other day that I never explained the concept of Love and Art. When I first came to Seattle to go to graduate school, I was interested in the ingredients of transcendent experiences. I studied danced religions and somatic explorations searching for the common elements that make us let go, open our hearts and have an excellent time.
These ingredients include:
Dancing for a long time to excellent rhythmic music like the Voudun from West Africa and Haiti. The music at the last Love and Art had the whole room vibrating. It was ecstatic for real.
A creative ritual conducted by a shaman- like figure. Shaman, unlike priests, don’t know where things are headed but they set things in motion and then watch the magic happen. Jonas and I don’t know what will happen, but it always does.
Wine. Jesus loved wine.
We welcome one another in a circle of community like the native Americans.
We spin and twirl and make ourselves dizzy not unlike the Dervishes.
Performance, which is an integral part of most religions.
We touch, hug, and roll around which is straight out of the church of contact improvisation.
Add to it some sort of cool somatic or chakra exercise and it’s just a really awesome time.
So come this Saturday after Thanksgiving and give Thanks for Love and Art. Bring some leftovers or water or wine.
Leave $2 in the jar and get ready for an awesome evening.

Studio Current
1417 E. 10th Street
Capitol Hill
Seattle, WA

November 28, 2009
7 p.m.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Who, What, When, Where, Why, How Chakras

No matter how long or short, every life has a beginning, a middle and an end. No matter how simple or complex, every life has story. There is always a main character. In your life story, it is you. Every life story happens somewhere and every main character does something. Over the course of a life, the main character goes on an adventure where stuff happen, hardships are endured and lessons are learned. To learn about someone new, we ask questions about their story. Where are you from? What do you do? We ask questions because our stories are essentially who we are. We may have heard someone say “my life flashed before my eyes” when they come close to death. It is at the moment of death when the story of our lives is most apparent. When all of our belongings and our bodies are left behind, it is the story and the lessons of our lives that we take with us when we go.
I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who. ~ Rudyard Kipling

The “Five Ws and an H’ refer to the six interrogative questions that writers ask in order to get the full scoop when writing a story. These six questions are who, what, when, where, why, and how. If we were to ask ourselves the “Five Ws and an H” questions of our own life stories, we would get different kinds of answers depending on where and how we looked. Our minds would produce a list of information about who we are, where we live, and what we do, a story full of facts and events. Our bodies will have a very different kind of answer. Our bodies hold our life stories in the story of our health, and the growth and healing we’ve experienced. While the chakra system, as a bridge between the body and the mind, will tell the story of our lives on the level of our energy.
As we ask our chakra system who, what, when, where, why and how, we find that one chakra would hold the energetic answer to each one of these questions. These pairs help to illuminate the chakra system. As the energetic part of our life story, who, what and where are the more concrete questions. These are answered by the lower three chakras, the root, the sacral chakra and the solar plexus. How, When and Why are more abstract and these questions are answered by the upper three chakras, the throat, the third eye and the crown. As we seek to understand the way in which our life stories are present within in our chakra system, we discover an invisible dialogue that passes back and forth between our bodies and our minds.

From the solar plexus chakra, we express the energy of who, who we are as the main star of our story. This chakra at the level of the base of the ribcage, is in the central area of our bodies just as our personal identities are central to our life story. This chakra is the ego center. All of our self identifying information exists within the ego/solar plexus chakra. From here we radiate the energy of who we believe ourselves to be as an individual and as part of a larger community. It contains our histories, education, culture, gender, and personality. Any energy or information that makes us the incredible individual that we are is expressed from the solar plexus.

The sacral chakra is the energy center from which we express our creativity. This chakra radiates within the center line of the body, from the heart of the pelvic bowl. Whether or not we create consciously, we are continuously in the act of creating our lives by responding to events, needs and desires. It expresses at the level of the sex organs and is therefore connected with the ultimate creative act of creating new life. Some of us choose to become parents or artists or both. Those that do, engage sacral chakra energy in a powerful way. The energy of what we choose to create is sacral chakra energy. What are you creating in your life story?

The root chakra is the energy center that connects us to where our story is happening. For all of us, the larger answer to this question is the same. Our home is this planet earth that we are tethered to by gravity, but individually, the answers vary greatly. They could include mountain or desert, ocean or plain, tropical or cold. In these modern times, we can move great distances at great speed and our home environments can change as many times as we wish them to, but no matter what, our stories are always held within the container of space. From a standing position, the root chakra expresses energy downward to the earth from the pelvic floor and anchors us wherever we go in our story.

We often ask one another “How are you?” What we are really asking is “How are you telling your story today?” How as a question means in what way? There are many ways in which to communicate our stories and we are often in the act of telling and retelling the events and our reactions to the adventure of our days. Our voices and words are powerfully creative. How we use them will have an important impact on the ways in which we understand and interpret our stories for ourselves and for others. The ways in which we choose to speak about our lives will color our epic tale. If we complain, we are telling the anecdote of a victim. If we look to the bright side of things, we shade our story with lighter hues. The throat chakra is our communication center and it is from this chakra that we tell our life story. How are you using your words to create your story?

The third eye chakra focuses on the when of our story. Of course, this includes when in history we are living, but more specifically, this chakra expresses the energy of our constantly changing consciousness. As thoughts pass through our awareness, the third eye chakra flickers through time. Thoughts of past, present and future fly through our minds at lightning speed. When a pattern in thinking emerges, it reshapes our life story. For example, when we are overly focused on an event in our past, we bring the energy of past events into our story whenever we think about them. As we live in the present, our story becomes about the past. Those who meditate, work to gain control of the mind by bringing it into the present moment. This allows the third eye chakra to align with the life story as it is happening.

The why of our story is impossible to explain. Why do we live? Why are we here having these life stories? This is the big question tackled by most major religions. It is a mystery and therefore, open to interpretation. But if there is an answer to the question of why, it exists within a higher order of reality that is beyond our knowing. Even though we cannot fully grasp this higher realm with our minds, we are still connected to it through our crown chakras. This is exactly where our crown chakra is pointing: up, out, and beyond our minds. We may never know the why, but we can remain open to the answer to this question on an energetic level by feeling up and opening to the energy that passes into and through our crown chakras.

The heart chakra does not have a question associated with it but it does hold an answer. In a way, it is the answer to all the questions. Who, What, Where, When, Why and How? Because. Because of love. The heart chakra holds the energy of love. Why do we live? We live because we can know and learn about Love. Every aspect of our lives can be seen from the perspective of love. Generosity, compassion and intimacy are easily connected with love energy, but what about greed, envy and anger? These are lessons about the absence or withdrawal of love. Experiencing an abundance of love and a vacuum of love are both necessary spiritual lessons about love.

A fish learns a lot about water when it leaps out into the air. In that moment, it learns about the temperature, density and gravity of its home. As spirit, we exist within a unified field of love and like the fish, we cannot know what that world is like until we leave it temporarily by living lives. But like early underwater divers, we are still tethered to the love of our spiritual reality through our chakra system. We are living lives and creating stories in these miraculous bodies because we are here to learn about the love we know from our spiritual home.

The Five Ws and an H…and a B

Who? We are embodied spirits with individual identities. Although each of us is an individual our identities are created by our connections to others.
What? Our lives are creations and the what of life is what we create of our lives.
Where? We live here on earth in three dimensional space and in our homes and towns and landscapes.
When? We live here now in the present moment and sometimes in the past and the future.
How? Stories need to be told and the way in which we tell our stories to others is the truth of how our stories go.
Why? Perhaps we cannot know why. The source of intelligence that created us is beyond our knowing. But we can feel why…
Because. Because we are here to learn about love and feeling love is at the heart of who we are.