THIS week, I’ll be turning 48. I know everyone makes a big deal about turning 50, but there’s something about 48 that feels more mystical to me. It’s divisible by three (I’ve always found three to be a powerful number). 4 + 8 = 12. 48 means I’ve completed four 12-year cycles. I’m not a numerologist, but 48 feels auspicious.
Today, I was discussing the fifth chakra or throat chakra in my Healing Our Stories workshop. The fifth chakra is the center of our willpower, the center of choice. Our ability to choose is our highest soul power, for it directs our energy away from situations, people or beliefs that no longer serve us, and toward things that we love and give us back more energy.
Our will is equal only to the choices that we make.
When you study the chakra system, it is good to focus on the word “system”, for no chakra exists alone. These energy centers located along, above and below our spine connect our spirit body with our physical body. Divine energy or life force (entering through the crown chakra on a daily basis, 24/7) is distributed to our chakras according to their various characteristics. Each chakra, along with nourishing a particular bundle of organs and nerves, articulates a particular aspect of self. The deeper we look into how to bring balance to each chakra, we begin to see that balance has to do with how much love we are giving ourselves. Mastering self-love on every level, at every chakra, helps us to experience our true soul power. The cycle of receiving Divine or cosmic energy, and using that energy to generate love through our empowered choices creates a Toroidal energy field, the shape of a healthy human aura.
Now, back to the fifth chakra.
We first encounter our will, not at the fifth, but at the second chakra or sacral chakra, the seat of our one-on-one relationships. The issue of control plays a big part here. Some people expend a lot of sacral chakra energy trying to control others, a tendency that tends to be applauded by tribal power. From the tribal point of view, power is measured by status – how many people you control, how much territory you have, how much wealth you’ve amassed. On the flip side, and more prevalent, are those who’ve relinquished control, those who allow others to manage them, usually in exchange for security and wealth. People-pleasing is born in this dynamic. This, too, results in a loss of power.
A healthy dynamic can be achieved when you realize the truth—that true power isn’t our capacity to control others, but in our ability to control ourselves.
In order to have healthy relationships with others, we first need to develop a healthy relationship with oneself.
When you learn to develop a healthy love and respect for yourself, then this will result in a balanced fifth chakra, a healthy ability to exercise your willpower.
When you truly love your self, then you will be able to use your will as an ally in choosing what is good for you and what will make you happy.
Even when you are next to “crazy makers” (a phrase coined by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way) and their control dramas, you can choose to unplug from their chaos and not be attached to or controlled by them.
A healthy fifth chakra means you are able to speak your truth. You have the courage to be your true self, to choose what is good for you and brings you your highest joy.
You will have the endurance to keep choosing for your self, in order to heal, to make your dreams come true, to be happy.
You can easily state your boundaries without conflict or drama. Your integrity will speak volumes louder than any shout.
And one of the best ways to use your fifth chakra is to help others become empowered.
Turning 48 feels like a milestone for me because I realize that I’ve grown so much from being an insecure girl with very low self-esteem to someone who loves herself enough to speak and live her truth. When I was in my teens and twenties, my guilty secret was that I wanted to become some sort of teacher. But I was so afraid of being called a fake or an impostor, to be told that what I was doing was wrong, that I chose to hide. As a musical theater performer, I kept myself safe by singing somebody else’s songs. Whenever I had live gigs, the idea of speaking to the audience in between songs, in my own voice, scared me more than the actual singing.
After my first marriage went up in flames, I made two promises to myself to help me on the path to healing. The first was like a mantra: “I choose peace.” Whatever I was faced with, I made the choice that felt peaceful to me. The second promise I made to myself was that I would grow my trust in myself. I had no one to blame but myself for my failed first marriage. I had made bad decisions, and I wanted to understand why that had happened. My experiences showed me that, rather than look outside of myself for solutions, I had to turn my view inward. To understand myself, I had to know myself. And then, I realized that it wasn’t enough to know—I had to learn to love my Self.
Luckily, there are many ways to return to love. I started with Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, a guidebook for creative recovery (and you don’t need to be an artist to find this book useful). I explored Vipassana meditation, yoga, pranayama, the spiritual exercises of Eckankar. Now, my practice as an energy healer and training to be a Self-Love Solutions teacher allows me to use my will to empower others.
One of the most healing moments I had was in 2008, while listening to Datu Victor Saway of the Talaandig tribe lecture about Schools of Living Tradition. He said that the first step in preserving one’s culture is to cultivate an appreciation for it. When you love your culture, then preserving it will be easy.
Replace the word preservation with “healing”, the word culture with “self”. The first step to healing the self is by loving the self. Love the self first, so that you learn to trust in your own God-given heart. Trusting your heart leads to clarity of your soul vision. When you love your self and know that you are worthy of your joys and your dreams, then you will understand what St. Ireneaus said when he declared that “The glory of God is man fully alive.” When you embrace the fact that who you are is what the Divine has intended you to be, then embodying the sacred truth of the fifth chakra will be as effortless as it is empowering: to surrender personal will to Divine will.
When you truly love your self, then you will realize that your will and the will of the Divine are one.