Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Listening 6-29-11

Deep listening is an essential part of communication.  First of all, taking the time to be quiet and listen to the self -- to still the chatter of the mind and open to silence.  This is the time the upper and lower chakras can enter into resonance with each other, connecting mind and body.

Besides listening to the Self, practice listening to all kinds of sounds from the outside -- listen to the birds, to distant noises, the trees rustling, to music, even to the rhythm of words.

Active listening is a communication skill that helps others know they are being heard.  One person speaks without interruption while the other listens.  The listener then repeats back to the speaker what they heard being said.  The speaker makes any corrections and the process repeats.  Then it's time for the second person to speak.  This technique can do wonders to help solve communication difficulties.

It may be nearly impossible to communicate if we were never given the chance as a child.  In an authoritarian or overbearing family, if a child isn't given the chance to voice their own feelings or thoughts, it is difficult to trust and open up -- or to feel that your words are worth speaking.  It's important to reflect back to childhood situations and explore the roots of fifth chakra deficiency or excess.

Find ways to stretch your limitations -- warm up the body with exercise, then practice opening the throat with any kind of sound that comes from the inside.  From there, practice toning vowel sounds, and then singing.
And remember to LISTEN to yourself:  what is it your truth and how do you speak it?

Friday, June 24, 2011

SING! 6-24-11

The phrenic nerve originates in the emotional center of the brain.  It runs through the throat and splits -- one piece of the nerve going past the heart -- the two pieces of the nerve rejoin in the diaphragm.  We breath day and night, filling the lungs, pushing against the diaphragm and stomach.  We do this automatically, but it's important to remember that the phrenic nerve originates in the emotional center of the brain.  When we have significant emotional events, we always have a physical feelings in the stomach -- butterflies, ulcers, vomiting -- it's the phrenic nerve reacting because we're feeling it from the emotional center.  We're told, take a deep breath -- this helps free the phrenic nerve from its spasm -- the breath stretches the nerve out and calms down the spasms.

I learned all this from a fabulous woman named Sue Parker, who teaches music and singing.  I went to her on a Fifth Chakra "field day" to help open up my throat.  In singing, she said, we're constantly filling the body with air, releasing the phrenic nerve and the emotional center of the brain.  Singing makes us feel better!  With the release of all the air we begin a "dumping" of all the emotional stuff that has been stored inside.  Singing releases the same endorphins as laughter.

When the throat chakra is blocked, we separate from the chorus of life.  There's a block in the discharge of energy.  The throat closes down, bottling up the emotions, annihilating our ideas before they can make it out of our mouth.  We hide behind silence.

Practice deep breathing through the mouth, filling the diaphragm.  Expel the breath in a sound, singing different vowels, or just sounds.  Singing is a full body experience, Sue said.  I left my lesson exhausted and sweating, feel-good endorphins running all through my body!

Friday, June 17, 2011

On Voice 6-17-11

I'm reading a novel by Ann Patchett called Bel Canto.  There's an opera singer in the story and the following paragraph is about another character listening to her sing.  I couldn't help but think of the Fifth Chakra and the piece I posted called The Scream Within.

It was different in ways he never could have imagined, as if the voice were something that could be seen.  Certainly it could be felt, even from where he stood in the very back of the room.  It trembled inside the folds of his cassock, brushed against the skin of his cheeks.  Never had he thought, never once, that such a woman existed, one who stood so close to God that God's own voice poured from her.  How far she must have gone inside herself to call up that voice.  It was as if the voice came from the center part of the earth and by the sheer effort and diligence of her will she had pulled it up through the dirt and rock and through the floorboards of the house, up into her feet, where it pulled through her, reaching lifting, warmed by her, and then out of the white lily of her throat and straight to God in heaven.  It was a miracle and he wept for the gift of bearing witness.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Truths and Lies 6-15-11

I ran into trouble with my computer just as I was completing a big project -- my creative expression was erased -- my voice was silenced.  Now with a new computer, I'm back on line, and beginning the reconstruction of my project.
But I had to think about the whole idea of not being able to give voice -- how has that happened in the past?  It was familiar ground.

Events impact us with a vibration -- like a guitar string being struck.  If we don't or can't express our truth, the impact it's stored in the body as stress.  Energy comes in but not back out.  It's easier to block expression rather than its reception.  Having to protect the vulnerable core, choosing silence, hiding, are strategies developed because of fear or shame.  Better to be quiet, hold the breath, block expression.  Blocked energy over time can create health issues, such as high blood pressure, or problems with the thyroid gland.

Learning to trust, feeling safe and loved, are necessary steps in opening and healing the throat chakra.

Use toning exercises and mantra to practice sound and resonance.  And sing!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Scream Within 6-5-11

I wrote this piece twenty years ago.  I still struggle with finding my voice, speaking my truth.

I am the scream within
the voice that never makes it to the airwaves
the force that never breaks the surface
I'm on the inside  inside
bumping around  around
never making it out
and why  why

I know my quiet  my gentle  my whisper
but I do not know my ROAR

Why don't I just open my mouth  relax my throat  and let it out  let the scream out
When I drove across country I practiced screaming in my car
I drove back-country roads  in Kansas  Nebraska  Iowa and I wondered how loud I could scream  
I wondered how loud a sound could come out of me  out of me
so I tried
I drove back-country roads with the windows rolled up  in July  and I screamed
at first as loud as I dared  testing my voice  my strength  my ability to be loud
I felt embarrassed 
afraid some field hands would hear me as I drove by
afraid they would locate the scream as it passed by in a blue Suburban
afraid they would identify it as me
so I screamed loud
but I still held back thinking of others
fearful I might be judged  criticized  heard
and then I thought  what the fuck  so what if I'm heard
so what  so what  I'm testing something here  I need to know
and so I started a breath way down inside  way down
way down inside
and I let it build   build      slowly
I was in no hurry
I let it gain force   momentum    I let it swirl
around the inside of me like liquid swirling around the inside of a bowl
I let it take all the time it needed
and then I felt it as it began the climb out of me
the long climb   up    up   out   out
but with a force behind it
a power driving it  expelling it
and then I felt it fill my throat   my mouth
I felt it as it broke free
broke the surface of my mouth
pushed its way through my lips  a full gale  a hurricane
powerful winds flapping my lips in its aftermath
and the sound was loud
this time at last it was VERY LOUD
it was wonderful  this loud sound  this LOUD SOUND
releasing   shrieking   forceful  terrible  powerful   exhilarating 
I loved my sound

And the field hands busy at their labor in the green fields
they laid down their hoes
they took off their straw hats which protected them from the intense heat of the summer sun
and in great respect   I could tell
and in great awe   they applauded as I drove by
they waved their straw hats   they cheered
and they knew they had heard a very LOUD SOUND   indeed

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fifth Chakra Sound 6-4-11

Fifth Chakra.  Sound.  Vissudha (purification)
The issues are:
Finding one's own voice

The color is bright blue.  The location is the throat.
The demon is lies.

In the first four chakras we concerned ourselves
with form (1), movement (2), activity (3),
and relationship (4) -- things that are easily observed.
In chakra five, our attention moves to vibrations as the subtle, rhythmic pulsation that move through all things.

The meditation we'll be doing for the next forty days is the Meditation for Breaking Habits:
Sit comfortably.  Spine straight.
Make the hands into fists and extend the thumbs our straight.
Place the pads of the thumbs on the temples at the sides of the forehead, find the niche where the thumbs fit perfectly.
Lock the back molars together, keep the lips closed.
Alternately press the molars together and then release.  You will feel the rhythmic movement.
Eyes are closed and turned up.
With each pressure on the molars, silently vibrate the sounds "Sat-Ta-Na-Ma" at the brow.
Continue 5 to 7 minutes, breathing deeply through the nose.
You can increase up to 31 minutes.

Do shoulders shrugs, figure-eight neck rolls, fish pose, chant, and SING!

Friday, June 3, 2011

One more day...6-3-11

I miscalculated.  Today is the last day of the Fourth Chakra -- tomorrow we will enter the realm of the Fifth.  Stay with our Hum meditation and stay open to matters of the heart.

Recognize that the other person is you.
                                                   Yogi Bhajan

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Heart on My Sleeve 6-1-11

Picking up where I left off in my last post, my journaling set me on a course of learning to love myself.  For the occasion I bought myself a tiny gold heart which I began wearing on a long gold chain -- I wear it still.  Also, I decided to get a tattoo and chose a heart on my shoulder.  Both were reminders to love myself.

I said last month that I was deficient in third chakra energy.  I need more action steps, better boundaries, passion and power.  In the fourth I would say I'm excessive -- a strong movement outward which lets very little energy in.  This eventually depletes the core, which tries to replenish itself by connecting with others in the same excessive manner that caused the depletion.

It's like the story of being in an airplane when the oxygen levels are compromised.  When the masks drop, you have to put your own on first -- before you can help others.

Tomorrow is the last day of Heart Chakra -- Friday we'll be moving onto the Fifth.  I hope you have had a healing of your heart, that you've attended to the most vulnerable and sacred aspects within yourself, that you have found compassion, and that you are ready now to express your Truth.