Throat Chakra

The throat chakra is connected with communication. It helps us to express ourselves, our feelings, and our personal truth confidently and clearly. I still don’t know exactly where I lie on the sliding scale of believing all of these things. However, I do find it fascinating to learn about chakras and integrate this knowledge into my own life. At the very least the chakras are a nice way to visualize a lot of the obstacles that come up within ourselves. Sadly for me, no matter what chakra I think about, it seems like I have a blockage in it. It’s no wonder I feel so anxious and on edge.

Today I wanted to focus on the throat chakra though. For me, like the heart chakra, this chakra is easy for me to buy into. Our language even has phrases that have become part of our shared culture that seem to reference this energy center. “Frog in your throat,” “lump in your throat,” “choked up,” “choking back tears,” all of these remind us of that familiar sensation of tightness in our throats when we are struggling to speak.

It seems like the art of communication has become more and more forgotten as humanity becomes more comfortable texting than speaking in person. It is much easier to choose the right words when you have time to think about it and carefully craft your response. Especially without the added pressure of the person waiting right in front of your to hear what you have to say. With texting you can take as long as you want to figure our the perfect way to phrase your thoughts.

For the longest time I’ve described my difficulties with speaking my mind as a fear of confrontation. However, lately I’ve started to think that it’s more than that. I’m just afraid to speak my truth. I am so concerned with what other people will think of what I have to say or the reactions it may illicit. I pause, panicked, searching my mind for the most polite and non-offensive way to speak the words I want to say. So many times I’ve gone along with something I didn’t want to just because it was too difficult and awkward to say no. Even when I’ve mustered up the courage to say no, I often feel ashamed and guilty about it. I have to stifle the urge to profusely apologize. And apologize for what? For being honest? There should be no shame in being true to myself. The idea that so many times I’ve put the needs and desires of others ahead of my own just to avoid feeling awkward saddens me deeply.

I hesitate to be so open and share the details of my private life any more than I already have on this blog, but no one knows who I really am on this site anyway, so fuck it. The reason I’ve been contemplating these things is because of my date yesterday. I notice my shortcomings in self-expression the most when I am dealing with romantic relationships. I usually seek out a partner that is so emotionally intelligent that they are able to compensate for my extreme lack of personal insight. I realize that is unrealistic though. I can’t expect my partner to simply carry my weight. I must try to push myself through my own hardships.

Anyway, I always dread the moment when someone I’m dating tries to be physically intimate with me. I’ve mentioned on here before that I have a very low sexual interest, especially with people I’m not in love with or very emotionally bonded to. There have been many times in the past where I have given reluctant consent to sexual encounters simply because I felt obligated to. I felt too guilty and awkward to say no. I realize the horror of that statement, but it’s true. Even though I did that to avoid confrontation or uncomfortable conversations, it never ended well for me as you might imagine. This attempt at avoiding healthy communication and mutual understanding and respect led to a lot of pain, heartbreak, and even more unpleasant conversations down the road.

Knowing that my date was going to be stopping at my house to pick me up yesterday, I had already tried to mentally prepare myself for what may come later on. Sometimes I’ll even do something like avoid shaving so the embarrassment of them discovering that forces me to be true to myself and say no to their advances. Humiliatingly enough, sometimes that has even failed. As I had anticipated, the dreaded hour drew near where this lovely man I met wanted to go further physically than I was comfortable with. While I am proud of myself for sticking to my guns and declining, it doesn’t change how embarrassed and ashamed that moment made me feel.

I did my best to explain that it was only because I still did not know him that well, but I feel I could have said much more than I did. I desperately wanted to discuss it more, but that damn frog in my throat wouldn’t let me. I spent the rest of the evening suffering in silence. I am always afraid that saying no will result in the end of that relationship. I know how foolish that idea is though. Wouldn’t I rather it end there than have slept with someone who would have stopped talking to me if I hadn’t? Just the idea of sleeping with someone for any other reason than because I deeply desire to is terribly sad.

Part of the issue is a lack of experience in these types of scenarios. I don’t have many healthy examples to draw from. Most of my social skills have been adapted from television and movies. But when it comes to sex, these sources are even more unrealistic than usual. In my mind, it seems perfectly reasonable to not have sex with someone the third time you’ve ever met. Then why do I feel so awful for saying no?

Part of my fear is not knowing when, if ever, I will want to say yes. One of the many reasons romantic relationships are so hard for me to navigate is that I struggle to enjoy each moment as it comes. I am always wondering what the end result will be of every decision. I can’t enjoy a kiss, because I’m busy panicking about where it might go from there. I can’t listen to my own body when I am worried about what will make the other person like me the most. I guess the only real way to improve my communication skills is to keep getting practice through uncomfortable moments like these. I’m sure it’s much more embarrassing to be declined than to be the one declining. Yet my empathy for the other person’s position only makes what I’m experiencing all the more painful. Just a few days ago I was so happy and excited. Now I’m not sure how I feel at all. I feel detached and depressed mostly. I have no idea where this relationship is going to lead, nor do I know where I want it to at this point.

I’m not going to give up just yet though. I have to remind myself not to be so serious all the time. Just enjoy the time I spend with this guy for what it is. I don’t need to know everything that the future holds. Part of the fun is not knowing. All I have to do now is stay true to myself and follow my own feelings and intuition, letting each moment unfold as it comes.

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Blocking Your Own Energy

Premium Vector | Buddha meditating in the single lotus position. hexagram  representing anahata chakra in yoga on a background.

Yes, I am still going on about energy and chakras. I was thinking as I drove to work this morning about my normal pattern of energy. I wake up, I generally feel pretty good, calm. But from the moment my alarm goes off, I can feel my body recoiling at the smallest things. I have already begun the processes of closing myself off from the world. I’ve begun the process of impeding my own flow of energy.

My mind immediately begins running through all the things I’ve got to do. Let the dog out, feed my pets, make coffee, take my vitamins, brush my teeth. My chest tightens, my breath gets shallow. I don’t want to workout, I don’t want to shower, I don’t want to drive to work. Tighten, close. I resist the idea of all my responsibilities. The day has hardly started and I’m worried about the evening, the next day. Tighten, close. I think about everything that went wrong the day before. I doubt myself. I am filled with fear. I agonize over what has already happened and everything that will or could happen. Tighten, close.

No wonder I am so exhausted by the end of the day! Whether you believe in the idea of chakras or not, all of this resistance, all of this worry and dread and regret and fear, no doubt has an effect on the body and mind. Whether you imagine it as cutting off or blocking an internal source of limitless energy or just using up the finite amount we have to draw from each day, it’s easy to see why there is such a huge difference from the way we feel in the morning to the way we feel by the evening.

The reason this idea of closing off the chakras, namely the heart chakra strikes me so much, is because it helps me understand why I usually feel like a totally different person in the morning and at night. Being tired just didn’t seem to fully satisfy as an explanation. It’s not just that I’m tired. I am also more stressed. I often even feel hopeless, uninspired, like no amount of beauty or passion can reach me, like those things never existed for me at all. When I view this phenomenon from the lens of the chakras, this drastic shift in perspective makes more sense to me.

When I first wake up in the morning, I have just returned from a wonderful period of total rest and relaxation. All the tightness and blockages I’ve stored up from the following day have released in the night. My heart is open. And as a result, for the first few hours of the day, I feel open. I am happy, excited, passionate, inspired. I can feel the energy from my heart space rippling out from my body, driving me onward into my day. But as I move through my routines, I start to block off that energy source little by little. Until nothing is left. My heart is closed. I am tired. I feel desolate inside.

Viewing things this way also helps me because it allows me to have hope. If I had expended all of my daily allotment of energy, what more could I do beside accept that I will always revert to this awful state of mind by the end of each day? Yet if it is simply a matter of unblocking the limitless source of my energy, I actually have a chance, regardless of what transpired earlier or how much stress I experienced. I always have the choice to open myself back up. To breathe and release. To let that energy flow through me once again.

I realize this all sounds like hippy-dippy nonsense to a lot of people. In fact, just a few years ago I would have been one of the people scoffing and rolling their eyes. But even at my most cynical and skeptical, I understood that there is a huge power in just truly believing something. We’ve all heard about the placebo effect. So even if none of this is true, it’s all about what works for you and what you find to believe in. I don’t really care if this can or can’t be proven for once in my life. I can visualize my heart opening. I can use this imagery to release tension in my chest, in my neck, my shoulders. I feel better. I can breathe more deeply. I am discovering ways in which I am able to live with more ease. And that’s all that really matters. I hope that sharing this new perspective is able to help at least a few other people live with ease too.

Opening

Well I didn’t think it was possible, but I’ve fallen even more in love with The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. It’s almost meditative just to read. The last few chapters have turned to discussing energy. Namely internal energy, chakras, energy centers, whatever you would like to call them. Once again, somehow this book presents me with things I’ve already known about and believed in, yet does so in a way that completely changes my understanding of these topics.

I’ve written about chakras before. I think we have all had the experience of feeling at least our heart chakra’s energy. It even stands out in our language with common phrases such as “heartbroken” or “my heart sank.” Even the throat chakra seems to be referenced with comments such as “choked up” or having a “lump in your throat.” The Untethered Soul brought another interesting aspect of this internal energy to my attention.

I feel silly for never thinking of it before, but our emotions and internal feelings have a huge effect on our energy level. Even though this seems obvious now, beforehand I only really considered things like rest, diet, and physical exertion to have an effect on our level of energy in the body. But these clearly aren’t the only things that have an effect.

The easiest example of this that is mentioned in the book is the feeling of either finding love or losing that love. When we first fall in love with someone or even rekindle a romance, it feels like we are capable of anything. We have so much more energy! Everything is exciting, interesting, meaningful. It’s a breeze to get out of bed each morning. We even look forward to it. You can almost feel the energy bubbling in your chest. On the contrary, when your loved one leaves you, that same energy vanishes. You feel empty, exhausted, despondent. We have to drag ourselves out of bed. Yet the amount of food we have eaten or sleep we’ve gotten doesn’t have to change at all for us to experience these drastic shifts in energy. Isn’t that fascinating?

I guess I always thought that was all just “in my head.” But how can it just be in my head if I am truly experiencing it in my body as well? In this book, Singer explains that what we are feeling is the opening and closing of the energy centers (chakras) in the body. When our heart chakra is open there is an enormous flow of energy traveling through us. This is what we are feeling when we are in love. Our hearts are open. But when we lose that love, or close our hearts, we are closing off that source of energy as well. We are blocking the natural flow.

The truly exciting thing is that we can teach ourselves to unblock these energy centers, allowing ourselves to experience an abundance of energy. So much energy in fact, that it can even benefit those around us. We all have access to this limitless source of energy inside. We just have to learn to let it flow naturally instead of resisting or clinging to different parts of life.

Singer suggests we play a little game with ourselves. Just start to pay attention to your heart space as you go about your day. You will feel it opening and closing over and over. Notice when someone says something you don’t like or that hurts your feelings. Notice how it feels in your body. Does your chest feel tighter? Does your breath become more shallow? That is what it feels like to close. Also begin to notice what it feels like to get a compliment or have a meaningful conversation with someone. Do you feel an expansion in your ribcage? Do you feel a flush of energy, excitement? That is what it feels like to open.

Once we can identify these sensations in the body, we can learn to stop closing our hearts all together. We might feel as though we are protecting ourselves by closing our hearts, but this is not the case. All we are doing is limiting our energy, shutting it away, blocking it up inside. But with practice we can eventually get to a point where we always have access to our boundless inner energy. Wouldn’t it feel wonderful to always be in love and to share that energy with everyone we meet?

I am so eager to begin this journey of opening. As someone who always seems to feel tired, it’s lovely to realize I have more then enough energy. It just so happens to be locked up inside. I am ready to learn how to release and let go. I am ready to allow that energy to flow through me again. It isn’t going to be easy work, but I know it will be worth it. I am ready to begin again. I am ready to open.

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A Chat About Chakras

I don’t know why, but today I felt like discussing chakras. Before my yoga teacher training, I kind of scoffed at the idea of them. However, after learning more about them, I wholeheartedly believe there is something to this theory of energy centers in the body. So many of the ancient yogic ideas have turned out to be backed up by science. I am in awe whenever I contemplate how on earth they were able to discover this profound knowledge so long ago.

I would love to do some in depth research into any scientific studies that have been done regarding this topic. However, thus far I have been too lazy to do so. Despite that, I cannot deny the truth of these energy centers told to me by my own body.

I find it fascinating that many of these places in the body that supposedly correlate to different emotional and spiritual energies can be physically felt. Haven’t we all experienced that painful, sinking feeling in our heart space upon suffering a loss? Heartbreak is a universal, timeless experience. And it does indeed feel like a physical injury at times. I’m sure we have all also felt the swelling, the opening sensation of the heart when overcome with tenderness and love.

I’ve always acknowledged the peculiar connection with feeling strong emotion in the heart and the idea of a heart chakra, yet I didn’t think much of it. However, since learning more about the other chakras, I’ve begun to notice other sensations that seem to support the notion of these energy centers.

The solar plexus is generally associated with passion and energy. It’s location between the chest and naval is also where we tend to feel the butterflies of excitement as well as the burn of anger. Anger is supposedly one of the symptoms of this chakra being out of balance.

The throat chakra seems to also be commonly felt physically in the body. The expression “choked up” is one we all know to mean too upset or afraid to speak. This blockage can actually be felt. Almost as if one were actually choking on something.

When it comes to the other chakras, I have a harder time noticing sensation. Perhaps this is due to their distance from the center of the body or even a sign that I am not as connected to these ones personally. Whatever the case, I hope to learn more and more and utilize this bodily wisdom to help me in this life. I hope that what I’ve written today has piqued your interest and that you will keep an open mind and look into this interesting topic for yourself. Let me know if you find anything interesting!