"At a Native American gathering in Arizona for the 1999 summer solstice, a Hopi elder said: ‘There is a river flowing now, very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and suffer greatly. Know that the river has its destination. The elders say we must push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate. At this time in history we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves, for the moment we do that, our spiritual growth comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves; banish the word struggle from your attitude and vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred way and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.’ Now, go to your mat and push off from the shore.” ~From Meditations from the Mat, by Rolf Gates
So I have been reading a lot about root energy and the first chakra. The areas of the body affected most directly by this energy center are the legs, knees, hips, lower back, and elimination organs. According to Caroline Myss, however, most afflictions can be traced back to imbalances in our sense of connection-- connection to what she calls the Tribe. In modern day society we probably define tribe in a number of ways, from family ties to groups we're a part of to how we make our livelihood... things and people that ground us, secure us, and connect us to earthly matters. It's those things upon which most of our daily experiences are centered. In the above quote, I think the special challenges our society gives us are highlighted. We're in turbulent times (it could be argued that every time is turbulent, and that is why I feel the above quote is so meaningfully universal)... and it's our willingness to be steadfast in our practice that helps us navigate and endure the turbulence.
I recently had the absolute blessing to begin working with a beautiful young woman afflicted with anorexia and pelvic and spinal osteoporosis. As she told me her story it became clearer and clearer to me that issues of safety and security in her life had been plaguing her for a long time. As a result, she suffered bouts of depression and anxiety that an interest in healthy eating helped alleviate. The problem was that the more and more she restricted her diet, the less and less she experienced the anxiety, so she began to go deeper and deeper into the disease. Now she is bravely facing the fact that this practice is not sustainable for her, that she wishes to get back to a more balanced way of living and eating.
I think we all find little (or big) crutches to get by with in this life we live. Each step brings us closer to the light, and we need only to take that first step (or that first swim, in the above quote) for other steps to follow.
Namaste, brave people.