Create the Life You Imagine ~ July 2019
The Practice: Self Esteem – How do I express my Soul in my relationships with others?
“Relationships and our ability to successfully navigate them are a key element of a successful life."
~ Carl Jung
In the third chakra, we let our Divine spark emerge from the heart center and into our mind, and then focused our energies on creating the right thoughts, beliefs and conditions to bring our Soul into expression. The third chakra work is solitary work. We get crystal clear about who we are and how we choose to use our life force, and then we practice a discipline of mind and an integrity of action that helps us to hold that thread of connection to our Soul. As we continue to flow from the crown down, we draw that mental clarity into our body and continue our work of expressing the power of our Soul through our second chakra. The second chakra is where we really embody our divine Self in our physical body and where we tap into our sense of vibrancy and aliveness. The words that go with this center are vitality, passion, connection, feeling, sensuality, sexuality and community. It is in this center that we come into authentic connection with life, with our bodies, with our feelings, and with our relationships. It is where we cultivate a deep sense of flow, presence, and engagement with the rich tapestry of people and experiences that are part of our life journey.
While the third chakra is solitary work, the second chakra is community work. The second chakra center is where we practice expressing our truest Self in relationship with other people, and it is through our relationships that we enter the real drama of being human. From this center we use all of our human senses to see, feel, hear, sense, taste and touch the full range of human emotions and experiences we create as we share our lives with others. We experience bonding, belonging, bitterness and betrayal; friendship, family, floundering and failing; desire, deliverance, disappointment and disconnection; longing, love, loneliness and loss. As we move from the crown down in our experience of learning and growing, relationships are the high-ropes challenge course of the work. Even when we are confident and crystal clear in our mind about who we are, holding onto that thread with poise as we enter into the full gamut of feelings and experiences that surface in our relationships with others is where we really learn about the grit and grace required to grow and thrive in this human experience. It’s easier to manage ourselves when we are alone in our room, its more challenging to hold onto ourselves when we enter a crowd.
Relationships teach us about both reflections and projections. For good or for bad, in relationships other people mirror back to us who they think we are, and we project our inside stories about ourselves back out onto the people in our relationship circles. For this reason, our relationships are fraught with opportunities to lose our hold on that thread that connects us to our Soul. From the small self we move into relationships from the narcissism and insecurity of the personality expecting others to anticipate and meet our needs, and our fragile sense of happiness, fulfillment, worthiness and self-esteem depends on how well my mother, father, brother, sister, friend, lover, spouse, partner or boss treats me on any given day. If we are fortunate enough to have a community of strong and healthy relationships around us, it is likely to support our ability to remember who we are and to hold ourselves in high Self-esteem. If we are engaged in relationships with people who are not emotionally healthy or conscious, however, we risk losing our connection to our Soul and getting drawn repeatedly into our old, small self patterns grounded in low self-esteem.
Our parents and family members are our first mirrors and the lessons and stories about ourselves that we learn in our families of origin tend to get planted deeply into our second chakra system. As we continue our life journey, we will engage in a bigger community of relationships, but remember that we take our stories with us. We will engage with friends and romantic partners who love us, adversaries who push and challenge us, and teachers, bosses, co-workers and others who support us or test us as we unfold into our most authentic Self. All of these relationships have the power to remind us who we really are and to strip away the parts of ourselves that are false or inauthentic, or to reignite our low self-esteem stories. When we hold ourselves in high esteem, we will attract and choose relationships that reflect that clarity about who we are, and we are likely to grow into the power of our Soul with less stress and struggle. If we have low self-esteem, we will inevitably find ourselves in relationships that mirror our small self stories. We may find that we attract and choose relationship partners that actively reenact and reinforce our low self esteem stories through critical or abusive patterns. Or we may find that we unconsciously co-opt others into playing a bit part in our small self drama by projecting our inner story onto someone else, and playing small and powerless in relationships with otherwise healthy people who have no idea that we are just acting out our starring role in our own small self story.
When we engage our second chakra from the small self personality of our lower triangle, we let others define who we are. Because we aren’t anchored in a deeper truth about who we are, our relationships with other people are likely to be largely unconscious and co-dependent, and we will get stuck in the same storylines over and over. Co-dependence means that we get locked in unhealthy and enmeshed relationships with another person and we lose our sense of our self as separate from the relationship. If we are locked in a co-dependent relationship, we give over control of our life energy and choices to the other person and their problems, we focus all of our energy on pleasing, protecting or pacifying the other person, and we lose our own peace by believing that we must control the other person or the situation in order to maintain our fragile sense of self inside the relationship. In co-dependent relationships we worry incessantly about being judged, abandoned, rejected or betrayed by the other person, and we fail to see the how the co-dependency pattern is slowly but surely stealing our life energy and interrupting the flow of our Soul, and how we are judging, abandoning, rejecting or betraying ourselves in the process.
When we flow from the crown down we know who we are, and our task is to live that truth in our relationships with others. We bring a strong sense of who we are into our relationships and if we stay conscious and aware, then our relationships allow us to further refine our ability to live in the truth of who we are.Conscious relationships are like looking deeply into the mirror and taking the opportunity to peel away any remaining projections or patterns that remain unconscious or unhealed. They can be the crucible of our awareness work if we are willing to remember that everything that is making us uncomfortable in our relationships belongs to us. The struggles we have with others are an invitation to come into fuller consciousness and awareness about ourselves. In our conscious second chakra laboratory, it is really never about the other person, it is always about us. Even if we are in relationship with someone who is messy, misusing power or abusing us, it calls us to ask ourselves some critical questions:
Why am I in such a relationship and what do I need to learn from the pattern?
What part of me is willing to be mistreated or disrespected or abused and why?
How have I co-created the pattern and how am I contributing to my own suffering?
What do I really believe about myself and how is my experience of the relationship simply a reflection of that underlying relationship to myself?
What boundaries do I need to set and what choices do I need to make to support my full unfolding
How might my own transformation transform what is happening in the relationship?
Our relationships will always remind us of the parts of ourselves that need attention or healing because we will continue to project our old wounds and patterns onto our relationships until we bring them into conscious awareness and work them out. Most of us discover where we need to grow in the context of relationships. Jung proposed that a formative question in our own development work is, “Who is bothering you?” Is it really the person in front of you or is it the person from your past that is being triggered in your awareness? Is it really the person at work who puts you down or is it the old feeling of “not good enough” that you brought in with you? Is it really your partner who overpowers you or is it your own failing to give voice to what you need that steals your power? Our relationships are just mirroring back to us our own soft spots. We need to cultivate an intense curiosity when we get stuck in our relationships, because despite our first impulse to blame the other, they are often just mirroring back to us the ways in which we need to grow, move, heal or change.
This kind of radical self-reflection cultivates the space for our Soul to move into our second chakra and offer some new awareness. If I can put my impulse to feel hurt, frustrated, rejected, abandoned or betrayed by my relationship on pause, I can look more deeply at the pattern using the presence and compassion of my heart center and ask, “What is this relationship offering me the chance to learn today?” If we have the compassion and confidence to ask this question, then we can bless the “other" for the learning, own our own struggle, take responsibility for our growth and unfolding, and ultimately bless the relationship for doing its work. This may mean we are challenged to give up our own self-defeating pattern and to really live into our Soul power, but we bless the lesson that we are giving away our own power and then the relationship holds the possibility for change. This may mean that we leave a relationship that isn’t serving us, but we bless the lesson that we deserve something more and now we can leave the relationship with the possibility of attracting something new.
I developed my sense of awareness and yogi calm through years of self-reflection, therapy, study, meditation and practice, and it works really well when I am alone in my room. But the real test of my learning is what happens in the messy space of relationships. If I watch myself consciously in my relationships, I notice that the yogi sense of calm I have been actively cultivating for years can rapidly evaporate when people I love, especially my children, are suffering. I can quickly lose my connection to that Soul thread and the powerful sense of trust and inner peace that goes with it, and move into the crisis control mode I learned in my family of origin. When I enter into this old dance, my intensity increases as I sharpen my senses and kick into action. My Problem Solver Rescuer reports for duty—a familiar childhood pattern—as I sense the impending crisis in motion and work quickly to assess, diagnose, and solve all the problems in front of me so no one gets hurt. But in the process, I re-enter my old co-dependent patterns. The dance of co-dependency wakes up the drama triangle where there is always a victim, a persecutor and a rescuer. By history and by personality, I tend to enter into that drama triangle as a rescuer, but inevitably I am also relegated to play the parts of persecutor and then victim because this is the inescapable Bermuda Triangle of codependency. As soon as I take responsibility for someone else’s life and choices, even when I do it out of deep love and attachment to their well-being, it activates feelings of fear, powerlessness and control, and we are all a hot mess in that space. If I can stay conscious about these old patterns, however, my relationships inevitably give me the opportunity to pull out of the old co-dependent pattern and to take responsibility for my own life and choices. In that more conscious space, my relationships allow me to practice new and healthier patterns and to release the old stories that no longer serve me or the people I love.
If we are awake and alive in our second chakra then we will be awake, alive and radiating our inner light in our life. We will engage deeply and passionately in the everyday experience of living and appreciate the extraordinary gifts of moving through life in a human body that can touch and feel the richness of it all. We will feel and experience and express our inner light and vitality and share that light with others through our unique gifts and sensibilities. We will also understand the power of relationships to support the full unfolding of our Soul through our human journey. If we hold onto that cord, we draw the power of the integrated and connected Soul with us and our intrinsic sense of worthiness and Self-esteem stays fully intact so we don’t depend on the other to give us that. The more intimate our relationships, the more likely it is that we will get to touch the darker places of our being. But if we can hold onto that cord to our Soul, and bring that light to bear, we will stop disempowering ourselves and each other, and instead disempower the old patterns.
When we get to the second chakra relationship center, our lower triangle personality goes out looking for a Soul Mate to complete us. When we flow from the crown down we remember that we are already complete and that the perfect partner for our personality self is literally our Soul. When we live into our second chakra from the crown down, life is an opportunity to express our Soul, our spark of the Divine Light, and we create relationships that support us in our full expression or fulfillment of that light, rather than expecting to receive that light from another human being. When you partner with your Soul, you will attract and build sacred relationships and a sacred circle of community where you have healthy boundaries, where you are safe to wrestle with the shadow parts of yourself, and where you offer the other people in your life the same privilege and freedom. When you partner with your Soul, you trust that your relationships will always mirror back to you the beauty of your Soul, as well as the parts of you that are stopping you or holding you back. When you partner with your Soul, your life takes on a natural sense of presence and flow as you use your senses, your feelings and your awareness to learn and grow, and then bless all the people and all the lessons you encounter along the way.
Wishing you the blessings and light of the Soul, as you create the life you imagine.
This week you might take an inventory of your relationships and use some of the questions above to identify patterns in those relationships that might be stealing your energy or stifling your passion about life. Whether you are struggling with your life partner or with the store clerk, the most powerful question we can ask when another person tips us over is, “What is this relationship offering me the chance to learn today?”If you can answer that question with awareness, you have some new opportunities to think about how to reconnect you with your Soul and to re-enliven your second chakra energy.
Esther Perel is a psychotherapist, couples counselor and bestselling author of Mating in Captivity. She works with couples to reawaken their feelings of passion, desire and erotic attraction in long term marriages. In her work she has discovered that we find our life partners most desirable and most exciting when they are radiating and alive and passionate about life. She challenges couples to quit waiting for the other person to turn them on and to take responsibility for feeling alive and vibrant in their own lives. This is good second chakra work whether you are currently in an intimate relationship or not. If our self-esteem is low or our relationships are not fulfilling, it is easy to lose our interest in life and to feel disconnected from the passion and vitality that are the gifts of a healthy and awakened second chakra. She recommends the following questions for exploration if you have lost your feeling of aliveness, vitality or passion in your life:
Underneath it all I feel …
I turn myself off when …
I turn myself on when …
To inspire you this week, click below to find Kate singing SHINE to help you remember that you always hold the seeds of your Soul in your pocket and all you have to do is unlock that power to shine. There's a great line that says, "When you say the truth, and the stories are gone, that's when you'll shine on." Let this energy fill your meditation practice and your week.You might use it in the background during the breathing meditation, by going to the Products Page on my website and just scroll down to the Transcendence CD and click the track. Both of Kate's CD's are available for purchase on that page.