A balance challenge involving some chakras

This is going to be a little write up about a meditation experience. If you’re a meditation-sceptic or don’t believe in chakra energy – keep reading!

Over the last 2 – 3 years my life has been as hectic as can be. Depression, burn-out, months of being ill. It’s a bit of a struggle called ME. I thought I was getting there, getting back on track. But the last 3 months have been roller coasters again, to say the least. Something’s still not right and ME is definitely not helping. Simply put, I have to accept that finding my balance is a long term project.

Anyway, I do yoga. In my own pace – read: half of the class I just lie on my back or in child’s pose. And during my favourite class, Meditate and Breathe, I learn to meditate too. At a very lovely yoga studio in Amsterdam, Yagoy.

During meditation practice this morning the teacher led us through a chakra-meditation. I had done this meditation before, with the same teacher. Basically what you do is stop at and focus on all 7 chakras.
I hear you…what on planet earth are chakras? Chakras are the energy centres in our body. We all have them. Even you, pessimistic lot! As mentioned before, we have a total of 7 chakras. Each chakra represents a certain aspect of our being. If you want to learn more, I advise you to check this article from mindbodygreen. For the time being I’m leaving the theory of the chakras behind and will tell you a bit more about the experience I had this morning.

There we are. Meditation cushions under our bums. Eyes closed. Starting at the first chakra. The colour is red and the chakra represents our foundation and the feeling of being grounded. No matter how hard I try to colour the area of my tailbone red – visualising helps to focus – and concentrate on the first chakra, I’m like a radio that can’t find the right frequency: Kkgggghkghhhggggggggggggggg-redredred-kkkkgggkkkkkgghggghgggh-foundation-kkkkgggkk-focus-please-kkkgghg. Sitting up straight, dividing the weight equally. No no. No such thing. I’m convinced I look like the Tower of Pisa, all my weight comes together in the right side of me. Next stop: chakra number 2. Colour: orange. Same story all over again. This continues and I notice that frustration is starting to boil. However, the frustration is kind and cuddly. It tells me to fire away some questions at my yoga teacher after class. That doesn’t mean I’m not doubting myself. Why is it so hard for me to connect?

Then we arrive at chakra number 6. The third eye. Right in the middle, where your eyebrows would (or maybe do) connect. This chakra represents our ability to focus on and see the bigger picture, it’s the energy of our intuition and imagination. The moment my attention moves to this indigo spot, it explodes. It feels like an enormous beam of light and warmth coming out of my forehead. Travelling faster than light. A high pressure water jet. Coming right out of that tiny little place. It flows like a fountain. My whole body, head to toe, heats up. In a nice way. I realise that’s exactly how a radiator must feel when it’s on full heating-speed. Equally warm, throughout my whole body. This explosion, this fountain continues when I focus on the seventh – or crown – chakra where our ability to connect to spirituality lies. The sensation of overflowing, of energy and warmth. It just doesn’t stop.

To help you visualise (and because in November I focus on drawing) I made a little sketch of the experience:

Me and my chakras.

Me and my chakras.

The experience beautiful, the feeling of warmth and energy so comforting! Despite the feeling of failure at the start I felt rather good after the meditation. So good even, that somehow I knew I would be able to do the bridge pose again. Which I haven’t done for at least 10 years and which physically is just a no-go at the moment. However, it does show how good I felt. Yet I knew that there was a serious disbalance. How else can you explain that chakras 1 – 5 hardly do anything whereas when we get to number six and seven all I have to do is sit back and they do their magic for me? The chat with my teacher confirmed this. The energy of all 7 chakras ideally should be the same, a balance of freely flowing energy. In my case, the foundational energy seems like it’s nowhere to be found.

Whether you believe it or not, in everyday life this blocked energy in our chakras can lead to illness, emotional distress and such. A general feeling of being unbalanced and unhappy. And truthfully, it seems to me that this could be one of the underlying factors causing the disorder in my life.

Here’s to a new challenge. Namasté!

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Discipline and the diary

November is all about drawing. It’s my focus this month. And not only up here at Tessie’s Projects, also in my non-digital daily life drawing is taking over. A serious project! More on that will follow. ASAP.

I’m no illustrator, have no serious talent when it comes to paper and pencil. But I like drawing (or in my case more scribbling and doodling). I like the idea of being able to draw. Being able to sketch what I see, even. Giving form to the ideas that hide in my head by putting pencil on paper. For my study Interior Design it is handy to have or develop sketching skills, too. It’s ideal if you’re able to quickly sketch the ideas of your client, for instance. So I try my hand at drawing, sometimes. The best way to develop sketching skills is the simplest way: start sketching. Every day. Not for 5 hours. Just one thing a day. A simple thing to start with. A mug. Your telly. Knives, forks. Whatever. Easy peasy. Child’s play.

But not for me. As always, when I have to (no, want to) practise things such as sketching, I start doubting myself. Get scared even. And to prove myself that indeed I won’t be able to, I set the bar too high. So I can’t reach. Easy peasy! Mostly this results in not doing it at all – procrastination. My favourite hobby. Tomorrow. Tomorrow. I love you. Tomorrow.
Same with writing. The ideas are enormous and are fired at me by my brain. I can’t keep up. So I stop before I even start. Even a simple diary must be a master piece. Let me illustrate (did you see that one coming?) this: in March 2013 I started a diary, inspired by a tip I read in some book. The tip was perfect, especially written for me: Just write one sentence a day in your one-sentence-a-day-diary. No pressure at all. And so I went to a cheap shop. Bought myself a cheap notebook. And a cheap ribbon. And I started. Of course I added an accompanying sketch a day to the just-one-sentence. To practice my sketching skills. Otherwise the bar would be too low.

It’s a shoe! A day, a sentence, a sketch.

 

It didn’t even last a month.

As it’s now November and I’ve sworn to draw a lot this month, I dug up the one-sentence-a-day-diary. And I’m gonna do it again. Every day. One sentence. One sketch. I’ll report to you.

To keep up the good work I often seek inspiration on the internet. There’s a lot of illustrators to be found, all unique and independent. It’s always inspiring take a good look at their technique, their fantasy, their solutions. Also, sketching-diaries are booming at the moment. Just type “visual journal” or “visual diary” on google and you’ll get results aplenty. My favourite isn’t a contemporary, however. It’s Christiaan Andriessen, who drew in his diary daily from 1805 – 1808. Trendsetter he! The book “De wereld van Christiaan Andriessen” (in English “The world of Christiaan Andriessen”) is the publication of this 19th century Dutch artist’s diary.

Christiaan Andriessen

From the trendsetter’s diary. Christiaan Andriessen.