Chakra One says, "You are home. You are real. You are connected to the whole earth and you are nourished by it." In a firm and steady voice, muladhara says, "You are One and One is perfect." The whole story would begin and end right there if not for the awakening of desire that comes from Chakra Two.
Svadisthana is the Sanskrit name for Chakra Two. It means, "her favorite resting place." I imagine "she" to be the earth energy granted us through a healthy first chakra. That energy tends to rest and collect and circulate in Chakra Two because that is the dynamic home of a rich, humming, human energy that she loves to meet and mate with: that of the homo sapien reproductive system. Yee haw!!!
Chakra Two tells us that there is more than One. In a seductive whisper or an elated roar, depending on the circumstances, she says, "There's something else out there, baby. Let's move, let's meet, let's unite, let's expand, and let's have a hell of a good time doing it!" Without this energy there would be no need for other chakras because there would be no desire to move and connect and reproduce. Chakra Two is the impetus for the journey and the joy of feeling ourselves move.
Second Chakra energy is powerful. Just a few weeks ago I realized why I have had blockages there for so long--because I was terrified this power. And for good reasons! It seemed like all my scariest experiences had to do with the bigness of that power and the smallness of me.
• Childhood encounters with sexuality that I was too young to make sense of.
• Adolescent longings for the likes of Kurt Cobain and Agent Mulder that I had no opportunity to satisfy and no tools to discharge.
• At the same time as I was feeling these new desires, learning that my new female body would require lots of diligent maintenance and upkeep. (Enter some level of eating disorder for most young girls.)
• Being ostracized by my high school girlfriends for hooking up with the wrong guy.
• Developing unhealthy relationships with alcohol and my friends' prescription Adderall in college. Watching loved ones struggle with addiction.
• Deeply desiring a competitive career path in my 20's and being too terrified of rejection to truly pursue it.
• Despairing that I would never find a proper mate.
• Suffering from intense jealousy when my mate showed interest in another woman.
• Worrying that I would never have children.
• Spending 34 years in a sexist culture which told me that:
◦ A) My value as a person comes from being the best possible object of pleasure and
◦ B) To be the best possible object of someone else's enjoyment, I better forego my own enjoyments! Those things might make me too fat or too old-looking or too craven or too independent or too weird or too wild
All of this amounted to a huge amount of anxiety around the energy of the second chakra. My answer was to use a whole bunch of energy from other chakras to regulate the bejeezus out of it. I made lots of rules around how and when and why and with-whom I might get pleasure. I fused pleasure and suffering, as if you couldn't possibly have one without the other, as insurance that I didn't enjoy too much. When I did enjoy "too much," the guilt came on strong so that I remembered the price tag. (See New Year's Day, a.k.a. a handful of hours after the above photo was taken.)
That worked ok for a while. Until it didn't. See, the second chakra energy isn't just responsible for moving us toward a lover or glass of wine. It's responsible for moving us toward our personal and spiritual goals. Eventually I got to a sticky place on my path that I wasn't able to move past without more power. By getting that second chakra energy fully back online, and relieving the other chakras from being on 24/7 police duty, I was able to access more than enough juice to push past that sticky spot. And the not so coincidental side bonus: I am getting much more joy out of every moment.
mix for chakra two: brave deep waters
Music can be really helpful as we learn to turn on our sexual energy. This mix begins with cleansing water sounds and fluid melodies which are perfect for releasing anxiety and other blockages. Then it moves into tunes that won't let you keep your hips still. Then it asks you to dissolve completely into soothing rain and ocean sounds.
Listen for the profound Chakra Two teachings hidden in the music. Bjork tells us "It takes courage to enjoy it." Ibeyi teaches us how to let the water wash away our "ego and blame." Aretha teaches us that dancing can awaken our "spirit in the dark" and Vaults implores us to "just let go" when we feel like we're losing control and "let the midnight river roll!"
WORKING WITH THE SECOND CHAKRA
*This work can get into some deep shit. If you run into something that feels too big to handle on your own please ask for help. Reach out to me, a trusted friend or a mental health provider.
There are the 4 steps for working with any Chakra: HONOR >>> MEET >>> HEAL >>> INTEGRATE
These steps tend to work in a loop. We honor a chakra by studying it, connecting to it, observing it and awakening it. This work helps us meet the chakra, to discover how it functions (and fails to function!) in our life. In meeting the chakra, we learn what improves its functionality, and also what impedes it. With that information we can heal the chakra, removing blockages there and inspiring fresh life. It feels so good to have an optimally functioning chakra that we feel naturally inspired to maintain its health. And that's the role of the fourth step: integrate. This means (a) putting that chakra to work in our lives and (b) establishing a regular practice for the chakra's upkeep--a way to honor it, meet it and heal it on a consistent basis.
- get curious about your experiences with sexuality, longing, merging, pleasure, fluidity
- make a list of all your second chakra experiences
- read books, look around online
- attend workshops on the subject
- talk to people about it
- visualize an orb of pulsing orange light at the space between the navel and the pubic bone
- visualize the reproductive system itself, feel its liquid movements effecting the rest of the body
- bring to mind an object of longing sitting about 6 inches in front of the chakra, see if you can feel energy welling up in response
- lubricating, sensual movement
- qi gong
- tai chi
- modern dance
- vinyasa yoga with emphasis on smooth transitions
- dance parties! (these seemed to work best of all. i could totally surrender to the music and when i caught my reflection i saw a being vibrant, joyful and sexy)
While I did these things, I held an intention to MEET the energy. This part is tricky, because you have to have some maps of where you’ll find the energy and some ideas of what it will feel like when you do. But if you’re clutching your maps and descriptions too tightly, you might miss the thing itself! (Imagine wandering right past the person you’re seeking because you’ve stared at their photo so long you never expected to find him/her sporting a different outfit, expression or hairstyle.) To truly MEET something we must approach it with openness.
- I paid attention to my sex life and tried to give it a lot of room
- I paid attention to the ways in which I sought out pleasure or avoided it
- I paid attention to what tended to awaken a longing or desire
- I let myself get quite quiet in meditation before sending awareness down to the second chakra, so that my mind was less likely to trick me
- I let myself feel more deeply in sensual situations
I found that, for me, this energy is a kind of welling up of longing in the pelvic area. When I am able to meet this longing without some big story about the object that inspired the longing, or what I'm going to do to resolve that longing, I meet the svadisthana energy as it is--raw, beautiful, powerful and MINE!
MEET ITS INHIBITORS
To meet a chakra really has TWO steps. One, to meet the energy as it is. And, two, to MEET ITS INHIBITORS. These are energies from other chakras that are supposed to bring balance, but all too often actually damage the functioning of the chakra in question and the system as a whole.
Boy oh boy did I find a lot of opposition every time I went to meet Chakra 2! At first I couldn't get close to pleasure without feeling a kickback from somewhere else in my consciousness. The inhibitors I met were all bred from Fear. They took the forms of Guilt, Shame, Judgement, Repression and Oppression.
- Chakra 6 was throwing down its net of beliefs onto this energy. If my particular experience of movement, excitement, desire or pleasure didn’t fit neatly into my beliefs about how things are “supposed” to be, I felt cognitive dissonance and an inability to surrender to the pleasure and power of svadisthana's movements.
- Chakra 5 was tossing down labels and stories and judgements. Most of these stories were absorbed unconsciously from a patriarchal, Puritanical culture that I thought I had disavowed. The thing is, a lot of these stories made it in. It was really scary at first, to admit that I had downloaded narratives which were keeping my sacred sexuality imprisoned. But when I finally was able to admit it I was finally able to do the work of letting them go of their false labels and judgements.
- Chakra 4 is supposed to make the space for the other chakras to function properly, but all the judgement from above made me withhold that acceptance and love from Chakra 2. The energy of Chakra 2 didn’t/couldn’t actually stop moving, so it started to do its thing in the shadows. Ironically the damage is way worse when we can’t let things work in a space of acknowledgement and respect.
- Chakra 3 hijacked the sexual energies for its own purposes, relishing the predatory nature of sexual power. Yes, Chakra Two energy can attract others, dominate them and leave them behind like spoiled goods. This is perhaps the scariest aspect of this energy and the one that Chakra 3 gets all fucked up on, claims as its own and wields with horrible consequences. When, on the other hand, Chakra 3 feared that it would become prey to someone else's predator, manipura put tight boundaries around svadhistana, making that energy totally taboo, making it the scapegoat for all ills, imprisoning it, and doing its best to stay high, high above its dirty ways.
- Chakra 1 hijacked the sexual energies to establish feelings of safety and a sense of home. It used pleasurable experiences just to get a break from fears of not being enough.
- Now, looping back to Chakra 7. This one doesn’t really inhibit anything. But these other negative relationships prevented me from connecting sexuality and spirituality and that perpetuated the problem.
The irony with this kind of work is that you can’t shame away Shame or judge away Judgement or Repress away repression. These things just grow if we do so. Instead I had to cultivate a space of acceptance for all my parts—even the parts of me that weren’t being accepting. This is the only way to stop the cycle of inhibition.
The best practices for being able to meet something without inhibiting it? Meditation. Listening. Pausing before taking action. Holding space for others. Letting others come as they are. Love.
You can see how, for me to HEAL this chakra, I actually had to address its relationship to all the other chakras. My intention to really meet Chakra 2 and my intention to really meet its inhibitors made up the bulk of my healing work.
It was important for me to give less power to the “shoulds,” stories and demands coming at svadisthana from the outside. If I got a sense that something from above was inhibiting second chakra energy I would ask myself, “Is that true? More true than the raw power or Chakra 2?” I would ask myself, “Is this prohibition keeping my life balanced and safe? Is that necessary?” If I felt safe and trusting enough I would try to let the second chakra energy flow out of the bounds being imposed from elsewhere.
It really helps to keep the other chakras busy! So, for instance, you can use chakra 6 to visualize the reproductive organs or to systematically work toward a new way of viewing sexual energy. Chakra 5 can give things new labels, tell new stories. Chakra 4 can hold the space for desire and pleasure to live without judgement. Chakra 3 can connect the power of 2 with its true purpose, utilizing its charge for a the greater good.
On its own, Chakra 2 tends to have the very wounds I described above. Here are some ways to work with them.
- work with sexuality
- address sexual trauma
- address sexual repression
- address issues caused by sexism in our society
- work with your feelings
- feel each emotion fully as it comes. what are the physical sensations right now? are there thoughts present?
- does anything arise in your awareness that makes it hard to just be with feeling? notice those things too. they are part of your experience of this emotion.
- can you feel that the emotion is fluid, not fixed? using water imagery to imagine the emotion as it moves can be helpful.
- work with pleasure
- notice what stories you have around pleasure. are there rules around receiving it? where do they come from?
- integrate healthy pleasant experiences into your life
- pause in your day and see if you can soften into a sense of pleasure (try it in moments that you label as “pleasurable” but also those that you don’t label that way)
- if you have addiction issues, work on those for sure. (you might find that they fall away on their own because of this work)
- work with power
- notice what stories you have around power
- when are you most powerful? what does that feel like? can you feel powerful right now?
- when do you give away your power? what does that feel like? why do you do it?
Well. At this point in the journey, the Second Chakra energy should be flowing! Just like its element, water, wherever svadisthana flows, the richness and diversity of life follows, multiplying and flourishing! Without being hyper-regulated by the other chakras, chakra two brings a rich and organic sense of empowerment, joy and drive.
At this point you can use this energy to revitalize anything that needs it: your sexuality, your creativity, your relationships or your physical wellbeing. That’s INTEGRATING IT.
At this point you will want to make a commitment to maintaining a positive relationship with this energy. I recommend starting with a VERY simple practice, but one that you intend to do regularly. Here are some examples:
- Every day I will sit and feel my second chakra energy for one minute.
- Every time I interact with water (doing the dishes, taking a shower, drinking) I will try to remember its sacredness.
- Once a week I will do something that I truly enjoy and I will let myself get lost in pleasure.
- I will begin every weekend with a wicked solo dance party. I'll make a 30 minute mix and not let myself stop moving til it's over.
These are just some examples. I would just choose one at first, otherwise you will just start to get overwhelmed. Your second chakra will let you know how to move forward with this work. Enjoy it!!!