' A therapist friend once suggested that I try to think more metaphorically about my experiences. I admit that I scoffed, just a little bit, at the advice. After all, as an English professor, I certainly spent enough of my time dealing with metaphors. Why extend that to my personal life any more than I already did?
But I decided to give it a try. To make the proverbial long story short, I found it helpful, useful, and fun. Thinking metaphorically about what is happening in your life can give you both needed distance, and deeper insight. Finding parallels in nature, history, or mythology pulls you out into a larger point of view. This can help you personalize universal themes, and vice versa. Exaggerating your situation through metaphor can sometimes help you actually laugh at yourself. And getting creative with metaphors can offer fresh perspectives, allowing you to see new solutions.
My first impressions of the chakra system skewed them toward the metaphorical. They seemed so strongly linked to life themes, that for a long time, I didn’t consider them on a physical level at all. That changed when a friend cleared my third eye chakra and a fierce headache simply dissolved. I began clearing them for headaches and bellyaches when my children were young, and always felt newly astonished at their rapid results. Funny, but I had to learn to take the chakras literally.
As a culture, we’re becoming more aware of the interlaced nature of our minds, bodies, and souls, but many of us still tend to compartmentalize our workings. Approaching the chakras more holistically can be a great journey of multi-level understanding. I’d like to share a quick example. At the winter solstice, I offered a class in which we identified an intention for the next annual cycle, and then checked in, to see if there was a chakra that needed support for carrying that intention forward. “I’ve been working steadily with my root chakra since that night,” a woman in the class told me recently. “As I’ve been meditating on the root chakra, I have realized that we’ve lived here for years, and I still don’t think of it as home.”
This is a huge realization, and one that makes perfect sense given the themes of belonging and stability associated with the root chakra. But what she said next was even more significant: “I began wondering what I could do that would help change that. I decided to plant asparagus in my garden. Since that takes several years to mature, it means I consider myself ‘rooted’ and committed to being here, at home.”
What a beautiful example of working with the literal and the metaphorical aspects, the mental and physical dimensions, simultaneously. Her root chakra--and her wide-open awareness--offered a valuable insight, along with an action that she could take to make a positive shift occur. Plus, she’ll get to look back on all that in a few years when she’s eating her asparagus!
Explore Your Chakras in this Upcoming Course:
If you live in the Albany, NY, area, we invite you to join us in a wonderful, 7-week interactive chakra class coming up in April, 2016. Integrative nutrition and health coach Joan Bender, LMHC, and I will be teaching a course all about energy, food, and the chakras, entitled Care and Feeding of Your Chakras. See http://www.jbenderwellness.com/caring--feeding-your-chakras.html for more information and registration.