“You are, therefore I am…”. Thich Nhat Hanh
I have always thought of Winter as a “First Chakra” season. In the short, dark days and cold weather of winter, it is the first chakra, better known as the Root chakra, that connects us to the earth through our feet and legs. Go outside in your bare feet and pull in the earth’s energy, feeding your roots in the same way that you water your garden. First chakra energy connects us to our survival instincts, our ancestors and our Tribe; it carries our physical structure, feet, legs, joints and bones, the hard and soft connective tissues, including red and white blood cells and the rich marrow inside the bones.
It makes sense, then, to fill our pantries with the sturdiness of beets, whose gorgeous red color is also the color of the first chakra as they help to increase blood flow to the brain and other areas of the body. Eating all those fibrous root vegetables - red potatoes and carrots, radishes and parsnips - will keep your immune system strong during this season when colds and the flu are making the rounds in epic proportions. It is appropriate to eat them in abundance now. Lycopene, the compound that makes all these foods red, is a potent antioxidant found in foods high in Vitamin C and other polyphenols. Without Vitamin C, we couldn’t make the connective tissue matrix in our bones, teeth and skin. Vitamin C is also crucial for the functioning of the adrenal glands and immune system.
This is not the time for too much raw food that will make your insides cold; nor is it a time for isolation. It is a time for connecting and identifying your Tribe and to gather. The first Chakra holds the emotion “All is One”, as medical intuitive Carolyn Myss, Ph.D. has written. This goes along with the the Buddhist concept of Emptiness, or Inter-Being…You and I are connected…Without you, I wouldn’t be me. Since it is also the season of the color red, it is a good time to wrap yourself in red clothing as you eat your red root vegetables, red meat (if you are not Vegan or Vegetarian) and Ruby Chard. Knock yourself out eating pomegranates, baked apples and roasted red pears. Because of its emphasis on structure, the first chakra thrives on protein foods and the minerals that are found in them. Ask yourself: Do I feel grounded in my career and social life? Am I living in a community that I feel connected to? Throughout my life, have I been able to “stand on my own two feet” and support myself comfortably, without fears of not thriving? Have I handled my survival well so that I feel safe in my life….
Many years ago, I had a mentor who introduced me to the seven body Chakras, or energy centers, and taught me how to use them to heal myself and others. Her name was Valerie Hunt, Ph.D., and, aside from being a powerful intuitive, she was a professor of biomechanics at UCLA (her day job). She used her evenings and weekends to teach workshops on Energy Medicine, which propelled me into my studies with physicist Barbara Brennan and others who could teach me about this invisible world of healing. Along with Dr. Thelma Moss at UCLA, Dr. Hunt created a lab to record the sounds of the Chakras. She invited me into a small group she had formed to do research on Past Life Regressions using the Chakras as a way “In”.
Along came Carolyn Myss around this time, who visualized and wrote about the fascinating links between the Hindu chakras, the Christian sacraments and the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life, all interwoven into the energetic tapestry of which we are all a part. More recently, researcher and nutritionist Deanna Minich, Ph.D., wrote her book, “The Rainbow Diet: A Holistic Approach to Radiant Health Through Foods and Supplements”. This book is a modern approach to Energy Medicine, connecting foods, supplements and herbs with the energy systems of our bodies and of the Earth.
As we consider the first chakra and its energy, it is the perfect time to think about its attributes, our Tribal connections and, importantly, our tribal epidemics. Along with the grounding forces of the first chakra, it also has its emotional and physical dysfunctions. Emotional issues, such as Depression encompass the energy of the first chakra, along with physical issues like chronic low back pain, sciatica and immune related issues. Did you know, for instance, that according to health trends, within the next few years, 50% of us (one out of every two people) will be diabetic. We all know at least one or two people who are diabetic or pre-diabetic, who have the five characteristics of Metabolic Syndrome and are Insulin Resistant. If this sounds like you, you are not alone; many of your tribal members stand with you in this completely human-made epidemic. Yet, we are all responsible for the health of the Tribe and we can all join to change the epidemics that don’t serve us.
Perhaps you will be able to take some time this winter to more thoroughly ponder the energy of the Root chakra, staying with real food choices that support your healthy survival. Perhaps you will choose supplements that will keep you healthy and begin to think about ways to shift the needle away from the lifestyle habits that feed the epidemics of our time. Food is political, and each time you purchase real food that feeds you in healthy ways, you send the message of a Tribe that wants to be healthy. We made the epidemic of diabetes by purchasing highly palatable processed foods, high in unhealthy carbohydrates and we can also turn it around.
In the next newsletter, I will talk about the energy and attributes of the second chakra. For now, remember the energy of the Tribe, the first chakra, the power of survival and All is One.