THE FIRST WEEK OF my Writing from the Chakras workshop is wrapping up, and it has been an eye-opener…or a something-opener. Taught by the talented Minal Hajratwala, this 9-week online course is meant to get us in touch with our body’s life energy, chakra by chakra, and writing from those places rather than just from our heads, which is where I usually get stuck. So this feels to me like the perfect workshop at the perfect time.
Week 1 is all about the Root chakra, the foundation. It’s where we find stability and history. It can be grounding, but it can be the source of intense struggle.
Everything about the root is, for me, loaded with contradiction. I find comfort and stability in my rootedness. It keeps me afloat, bringing home a paycheck, out of jail, off the street, sane. As in the plant world, roots nourish us. They keep us anchored, safe, and secure, all of which enables a certain amount of freedom; at the same time, roots can be limiting, stifling, suffocating, the source of strong inertia. They hold us back.
In the historical, familial sense, roots can be similarly stabilizing, a source of comfort and pride, giving us direction and a sense of connectedness; and there is the side to family roots that can feel oppressive. We can get stuck and spend a lot of time and energy breaking free, unlearning, pulling up the roots.
For me, this root stuff is complicated, but it seems to boil down to a question of risk-taking versus control. I have a tendency to take and hold control with so tight a grip sometimes it hurts me. I get tired. Sometimes I feel like I’m slipping, like I can’t hold on much longer, and then what? I wonder.
My need for control chokes me, but it protects me as well, like a warm embrace. I’m comfortable in it, in the big, protective hug I maybe never got as a kid, that I too rarely get as an adult. I feel loved by myself in those times. And I feel smothered.
How can something have such opposite meanings? I want to be in control. I want to be set free. I question if I’m strong enough to break free of my own gravity, the strength of these roots. And I wish for someone to help, to push me, to pull me out of the groove, the track worn deep over so much time and habit, and set me free.