Roots provide a base, right? They are the foundation for growth. A tree doesn’t merely sit on the ground, it grows deep and strong into it so that it can grow upward and outward toward the sun as well. There’s a great saying about parenting that goes something like…the two things we should be sure to give our children are roots and wings (attributed to Dr. Jonas Salk most often). It’s so perfect and sums up the basis of raising children so well that it’s hanging on our wall. And hopefully they feel both growing…even though their roots are scattered around the country.
I didn’t intend to talk about the kids, but let me made a little aside to do so, because this is an important – they are important. My husband and I grew up in rural New York State (no where near the city) seeing extended family often and playing with cousins at every holiday. Even now, not having lived in the area for decades, we still recognize the depth of the roots we grew there. Our kids, however, have had a very different experience. They’ve lived in five different states and seven different houses. They see their grandparents close to once a year. We have a tight group of the five of us, though, and the roots are still there. I told them recently that they’re like strawberry plants – sending out runners to root in a different place, always growing and always bearing fruit. And in the military world at large, mil-kids are thought of like dandelions, whose seeds blow in the wind like wishes and take root somewhere new.
No matter how you think of it, though, the roots we all have are internal (we aren’t actually trees, wink, wink) and no matter where our children grow up, they know where they’re from – and that’s our family, which turns out isn’t a place at all…but a people.
So, now that that’s said…the roots I got on here to type about for you are mine – the ones on my arm and the root chakra, to be precise.
This is my tattoo. I gave the artist a few requests and then let her draw what she heard me ask for. One of the requests I made was for strong roots. And I love what she did. They’re knotty and curvy and bold. I feel empowered when I show it off. Today, was one of those days. Eighty-something degrees outside and a tank top to show my confidence, my strength, my resiliency.
So, today’s been a good day, feeling strong, feeling rooted. Yesterday and the day before…a bit more transitional. As you know, Monday night was rough. Tuesday I wrote about it, which truly helps me. It helps me process and having that voice gives me power that I didn’t feel when curled in a ball crying. During the day, though, I was tired and hungry. Such an emotional upheaval would certainly take energy that I wasn’t expecting to expend. So those things didn’t surprise me so much. What did surprise me, though, was that my back hurt. A lot. And very low, which is not where I usually get back pain when I’m out of whack. But, since it wasn’t great I made an appointment for Wednesday morning, a week after my last appointment. Dr. Jason was surprised to see me so soon!
While he was trying to loosen the muscles around the base of my spine, commenting on how tight they were, he asked what I’d been doing. Physically I hadn’t done anything crazy, nothing unusual except cry for hours on Monday night. I didn’t tell him that. I pondered it, though, while wincing through this massage and adjustment. I know a little about chakras and know there’s one located at the base of the spine.
The root chakra, or Muladhara, is the foundation of all the chakras. It is associated with basic needs including security, safety, and survival. Hmmm…these were things that I was struggling with on Monday night. The negative energies surrounding how scared and shaken I was emotionally manifested themselves in severe blocking of that foundational chakra and physical tightening of the muscles in my low back. I figured this all out on the table at the chiro and confirmed it with a friend who is a massage therapist and Reiki practitioner.
I felt pretty proud of this realization – didn’t so much enjoy the discomfort preceding it, but loved that I figured it out, that it makes sense to me! And, perhaps the even more important breakthrough for me, is that I’m speaking out loud about it. I’ve told my husband, who didn’t look at my cock-eyed, perhaps because it was dark and he wasn’t facing me in bed…but I’m calling it a success. I told a new friend who doesn’t know me all that well and may or may not know about energy work and she didn’t run away. And I’m telling all of you! I’ve been worried to share this part of my life because I didn’t want to alienate or feel awkward or different. But, truth be told, I am different, and in the most lovely ways. And, I know a wee little bit about energy now, and I’m learning more every day, so if you ask me something…I might be able to answer and not just stare at you blankly. So, that’s good.
I don’t know how long you’ve been reading my writing, but back in January (which feels like yesterday!) I wrote the beginning of this post. I’d been learning about Reiki in bits and pieces for a couple years at that point. The first time I’d heard the word was when I timidly asked a friend who I thought might know if she could talk to me about energy. Turns out that she did know. And she taught me. I still wasn’t sure what it would mean for me, but I was careful about who I let know about this precious, new part of my knowledge base.
Bottom line, I was raised Catholic in a rural, farming area of the country. Even though I’ve always talked to the wind and seen animals in the clouds, I received clear messages from the people around me that that sort of thing is weird. That made me weird. That made me keep that part, perhaps the biggest part, hidden. It was hidden so well, in fact, that I didn’t realize how connected it is…that’s not even the right way to put it.
That energy isn’t connected to me, it is me.
And, I guess, I’m finally in a place where I can stand up and let you all know that I’m no longer afraid of the energy that I feel and see and am learning to utilize to reach out to others, steady myself, and spread the love I feel so strongly. I am a storyteller and energy healer, at my roots. Not fully realized, yet, but realized.
It’s exciting! Apparently for months (January was really that long ago?) I’ve felt on the edge of something that I knew but didn’t quite admit and now I feel like I’ve tipped over that and my hands are in the air and the wind is blowing my hair back and I’m totally wearing fringe today! lol That’s where we’ve come…from Monday feeling like I wasn’t sure how to face the world, let alone a group of kids, to today taking on the world with my face toward the sun and appreciation in my heart!
Roots. They’re a beautiful, sometimes dirt-caked, and gnarly part of us. They are what everything grows from. They’re where I started and they’ll support wherever I go.