Reclaiming Your Power. The Solar Plexus Chakra

Hello beautiful people and welcome to your weekly dose of Celestial Goodness. As always, thank you for joining me in this space, and on this journey. I hope that you had a wonderful week. Isn’t it amazing how much can happen in one week? Over the last two weeks we took a small detour in order to pay tribute to both love and to black history month. This week, we return to our conversation about the chakras. On our chakra journey we have made stops at the root and the sacral chakras. Not only did these two chakras teach us important lessons about creating a solid foundation, our role in the larger community across space and time, and about how we are in relationships with others, it also taught us the importance of finding balance, pleasure, inner and outer security, and joy. See this week’s video here:

Now we arrive to the third chakra—the Manipura or the solar plexus chakra. You would be right to associate “solar” with the sun and with all things radiant and vibrant. When I think about the solar plexus, I imagine the sun shining its bright golden light all over the world, and reminding us of its power. This chakra has a similar vibe. It is the chakra that reminds us to take back our power, to exude that power, and to let our energy shine for all to see. We are shining our unique and individual light so that collectively we can light this whole place up! Liz Simpson says, “At a societal level, the Solar Plexus Chakra relates to our connection with others, but without the Root (First) Chakra’s reliance on the tribe, or the Sacral Chakra’s emphasis on partnerships. It is about the power to be an individual, to be unique, while celebrating our continuing connection with all humanity.”

The Sanskrit name for the Solar Plexus chakra is Manipura. It translates to “city of jewels” or “lustrous gem.” Many consider it to be the seat of the soul because it is located in the upper belly at the diaphragm (between the naval and the base of the sternum) and it serves as our center of personal power. The color associated with this chakra is yellow or gold. The element associated with the manipura is fire. 

When we think of fire, we think of an element that has the power to transform. In my blog/video on the element of fire, I said, “Fire is the element that both destroys and creates. Fire needs to consume something—wood, coals, something material so that it can flourish. In the process, it creates energy for us to have light to see, to cook our foods, and to warm our homes. Fire is transformation and the determination of our will. Fire represents passion, creativity, and purification. Without the pressures of the heat from fire, a diamond remains a lump of coal. Many of us have gone through our own individual passage through fire in our lives, and we are still here to tell about it.”

This is also the lesson of the solar plexus chakra. As a place of transformation, power, personal freedom, choice, authenticity, self-will, and self-confidence, it is important that we use these things in the right way. What do I mean by that? This chakra rules over the ego, over personality, and over identity. When this chakra is healthy, opened, and aligned, you feel self-confident, you have respect yourself and others, you are spontaneous, uninhibited, you have self-acceptance, you are self-motivated and have a strong sense of purpose. You are also blessed with good health and even fame. In addition, you can easily shake off fears of rejection and criticism, and be secure in your own unique identity. When this chakra is imbalanced or blocked, you become extremely concerned with what others think, you are insecure, need constant reassurance and validation, stressed, indigestion, are a workaholic, have difficulty making decisions, controlling, judgmental, angry and controlling. Some physical symptoms could include stomach ulcers, stomach weight, diabetes, allergies, and extreme fatigue.

You can use your personal power in ways that empower yourself and others or you can use it to make life hell for others. In Psychology Today, Robert Firestone writes that, “there is a clear distinction between personal and negative power… Personal power is based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction, and meaning in one’s interpersonal world. This type of power represents a movement toward self-realization and transcendent goals in life; its primary aim is mastery of self, not others. Personal power is more of an attitude or state of mind than an attempt to maneuver or control others. It is based on competence, vision, positive personal qualities, and service. When externalized it is likely to be more generous, creative and humane than other forms of power.”

On my own journey with the solar plexus chakra, I think back to ways that I have given my power away in the past, and how I reclaimed it with the help of doing some solar plexus work. Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any.”

· There have been times in my life when I sought external validation from others. I sought recognition and approval from others when I needed that recognition and approval from myself. Echkart Tolle said, “Stop looking outside for scraps of pleasure or fulfillment, for validation, security, or love—you have a treasure within that is infinitely greater than anything the world can offer.” Please clap for yourself.

· In other situations, I waited for someone to give me permission—permission to live, to take action, to create the life that I wanted. It was like I was waiting for the sky to open up and someone adultier than me to say, “Do this, or do that.” Part of taking back your power means that you decide when the light turns green. You decide when you put your foot on the gas. Some people in my life know that when I was in my early 30s, I reclaimed my birthday. I stopped letting others dictate what I would do to celebrate this important day in my life. I decide to do things that were meaningful to me and that I would enjoy. For one birthday, I took the train from DC to NYC. I spent a lovely day at the Met with my friends Alan and Richmond. We had lunch overlooking Central Park. I people watched that day, wrote in my journal, and then went to see the Lion King on Broadway for the first time. It was exhilarating. Also, I splurged and sat in the 1st row. I soaked in everything—the music, the costumes, the theatrics. It was incredible. No permission is needed to enjoy your life.

I miss you Broadway… we will keep the light on till you come back ❤

· Another way that I have given up my power in life has been when I have put everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. It is one thing to be a good and kind person—someone who cares about others, and is helpful and of service. But when you neglect yourself, and make others the priority—you are giving away your power. It is ok to put up healthy boundaries, and no is a complete sentence. I use to honor the needs of others before my own, and if I did something for myself, I felt extremely guilty. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup—and yes, the world will still go on without you, if you make space for yourself to rest, recalibrate, and do what you need to do for you.

· Another example is that there are many moments in my life when I have played small. I knew that I had more talent, ability, and energy to go for something more, but I was insecure. Where in your life are you playing small? Where can you aim for more? Where can you do more? Michael Buonarroti said, “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.” I have learned along the way that I am capable of some amazing things, and that I need to believe in myself. I am eternally grateful though to have some amazing people in my life who have believed in me when I struggled with this. Elizabeth Gilbert said, “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.” Why not argue for your gifts and talents? Why not argue for the things that are unique and beautiful to you? If you are listening to this or reading this, I hope you take this as a sign to aim high. I believe in you.

The Arc de Triomphe and I believe in your ability to triumph!

· There are many other ways in which we give our power away. Too much saying sorry when we have done nothing to apologize for, when we let others steer the ship of our lives, when we don’t listen to our intuition, when we don’t speak up about things that we should speak up about. The good thing is that life is fluid and we can always reclaim our power. Let the solar plexus light the way for you. Liz Simpson said, “Only by truly loving and honoring ourselves can we hope to act out of love and compassion towards others.” Indeed. Love and honor yourself.

Follow the yellow “solar plexus road”

So what are some ways to balance the Solar Plexus Chakra? 

· Meditation to balance the Solar Plexus chakra. Many meditations out there can help you to concentrate healing energies to the Solar Plexus area. Each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The solar plexus is associated with the sound/mantra RAM. Meditating and chanting to RAM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the solar plexus. Listening to 364Hz frequency or 528Hz while meditating is also great—these are the frequencies that resonates with the solar plexus chakra. It activates your imagination, intention, and intuition.

· Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies. Helpful crystals for solar plexus healing work are crystals that are golden or yellow in color. These include: citrine, sunstone, pyrite, mookaite, tigers’ eye, yellow jasper, and golden quartz. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your solar plexus chakra while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment.

· Colors. Surround yourself with the color yellow or gold. This color is most strongly associated with the solar plexus chakra. Wear yellow or gold clothing. Add some yellow or gold to your décor.

Add a little yellow/gold to your wardrobe 🙂

· Foods. Eat things like grains, cereal, sunflower seeds, ginger, turmeric, chamomile, fennel, cumin, bananas, pineapples, corn, lemons, and curry. Foods with a yellow color resonate with this chakra.

·      Get some Sunshine. The solar plexus chakra benefits from movement. It is also connected with the energy of the sun. Exercising or walking in the sun for even half an hour can be beneficial!

·      Mirror activity. Look yourself in the mirror, confront your inner critic, and say some nice things to yourself to bolster your confidence! 

·      Seek therapy. I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:

· Connect with the fire element. I have a blog/video on this. As a fire sign, I am cognizant about my own connection with this element. A medical astrologer that I admire, told me that I have to move to active the fire element in my chart. I give you this advice for your solar plexus work. Check out my video the fire element.

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few: I accept and value myself as I am. I treat myself with respect and honor. My personal power is becoming stronger each day. I use my power for good. I am confident in my decisions. I forgive myself for past mistakes and I grow from them.

As always, I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you keep shining as well. May you feel confident, loved, and like your authentic self. Thank you!

Black History Month. A Tribute to Black Excellence

Last week we had a lovely conversation about love. This week, I wanted to pay tribute to the fact that here in the United States it is Black History Month. First, we need way more than a month to celebrate the myriad achievements, accomplishments, and successes of black people in this country. But since we have limited time, I want to share a few examples of people who have inspired me, and who are the epitome of black excellence. See this week’s video here:

I heard it said once that America loves to categorize people. You have to choose a role or different roles for your life. Some roles will come more to the forefront at different times in your life and at different moments. I am for example, an immigrant, a UW-Madison Badger, an oldest child, a Sagittarius, a small business owner, a lawyer/librarian, a spiritual enthusiast, a woman, resident unicorn, book lover, and so much more. But one thing is always at the forefront in America, and that is that I am black.

Halloween one year. Reprising my role as a Gryffindor. I solemnly swear that I was up to no good 😛

I was born in another country, but when I came to America, I became very aware of this fact. I remember being teased for my accent and told, “Go back to Africa,” and innocently and naively replying, “But I am not from Africa. I am from Jamaica.” In the breathtakingly beautiful book, Americanah,

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie writes, “Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanaian. America doesn’t care.” She also says, “Race doesn’t really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don’t have that choice.” And it is true. When you come from a predominantly black country—I think that even as a child, you don’t necessarily think about race as much. Classism perhaps more, and even colorism, but even those additional byproducts of colonialism, move further down on the totem pole than race.

Jamaica’s motto is “Out of Many One People” based on the multiracial roots of the population.

There are many influences from around the world that contributed to the makeup of the Jamaican people. This includes: African ancestry (primarily from West Africa), British, Scottish, Irish, Southeast Asian to include Indian, Chinese, and Lebanese, Spanish, and the original Taino/Arawak Indians.

It is not uncommon to meet someone who might be a combination of at least several of these different types of lineage. In my own lineage, the predominance is African heritage, but there is also Indian (from South Indian), Scotland, Cuba, and Ireland. These are what we can trace to some extent. The cruel institution of slavery robbed a large percentage of people in the Western Hemisphere of the ability to trace their ancestry back very far. The things that I have been able to unearth have been helpful in helping me to understand myself. Why do I like the things that I do? Why might I be drawn to a particular place? I do think of all of my ancestors and how the crossing of their paths would eventually lead to me. For that I am thankful.

I have a deep love for Scotland…there is just something about the place!

Jumping back to America, when you come to America with black skin, you become very aware that as far as this nation is concerned, you are black before anything else. As you get older, in addition to dealing with the things that come along with growing up, you are also learning how to hold this aspect of your being as sacred. You are learning how to love what you have been taught to believe is not something worth loving. From your hair to your hips to your lips.

Natural crown

The past year has been an epic reminder about the harm that systematic racism and white supremacy have on this nation. But this blog and video is not about that, we have had plenty of that… this is instead a reminder that even in the midst of pain, grief, and the obstacles that are thrust in your path when you have black skin, that there are also things to celebrate. The brilliant minds, the triumphant smiles, wit, skills, talent, creative gifts, just the presence, and so much more. There is joy, laughter, and love to be held as sacred. There is Black girl magic to sprinkle across the spacious skies, the amber waves of grain, the purple mountain majesties, and the fruited plains.

First, how did Black History Month come into being? In 1913 on the 50th anniversary of the 13thAmendment (The Emancipation Proclamation), Carter G. Woodson and Jesse E. Moorland founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

In 1926, the group instituted Negro History Week. They chose the second week of February because it coincided with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. Negro History Week gained recognition in different cities across the country. During the Civil Rights Movements of the 50s and the 60s, it gained increased attention. In 1976, then president Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month. He asked Americans to, “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” And they have been quite the accomplishments. Here are a few:

·      Benjamin Banneker—farmer, astronomer, and mathematician among other things created the first clock in America.

·      Dr. Charles Drew invented a way of separating and storing plasma, which allowed for blood banks and millions of lives saved. 

·      Oliver Brown wins his supreme court case, “Brown vs. Board of Education,” where they declared separate but equal unconstitutional. 

·      George Sampson created the clothes dryer.

·      Althea Gibson is the first black tennis player to win Wimbledon.

·      Lewis Latimer invented the carbon filament that let light bulbs be commercialized. 

·      Ruth Carol Taylor became the first Black flight attendant in the United States

·      In 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivers his I have a dream speech. 

·      Daniel Hale Williams not only established the Provident Hospital and Training School Association in Chicago, but in 1893 he performed the first open heart surgery. It was the first time a patient’s chest cavity had been opened, and they did not die from infection.

·      In 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice. 

· In 1968, Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to Congress. She was the first black person and first woman to run for president of the United States. She wanted to be remembered “not as the first black woman to have made a bid for the presidency…but as a black woman who lived in the 20th century and who dared to be herself.”

Fellow Sagittarius…fellow daughter of the Caribbean…

·      In 1983, Guion Bluford became the first black person in space.

·      Alice H. Parker created the gas heating furnace.

·      In 1985 Gwendolyn Brooks became the first black U.S. Poet Laureate

·      Garrett Morgan created the gas mask and the modern traffic signal.

·      In 1990 Douglas Wilder became the first black governor of any U.S. state. 

·      Alfred Cralle created the ice cream scooper in 1897

·      Phillip Downing created the mail box.

· There are so many more inventions like: the mop, the modern toilet, the modern lock, pacemakers, pencil sharpeners, super soakers, potato chips, touch telephone, video game cartridges, the traffic light, lawn mower, lawn sprinkler, ironing board, blimps, automatic elevator doors, dust pans, blimps, and suspenders.

Beyond this rather impressive list of accomplishments, each day there is someone who is contributing to the collective history of this nation in some amazing way. There are some people throughout history who I have also really admired. This is a hard list to make because there have been so many notable people. I will share some quotes by a few favorites.

Maya Angelou: Well she’s here because she is one of my favorites. Writer, poet, activist, all around phenomenal woman. She said, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduce by them.” She also said, “Lift up your hearts. Each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings.”

Gwendolyn Brooks: Probably one of America’s most famous poets. Her words ring sweetly on the ears. ““Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies. And be it gash or gold it will not come. Again in this identical disguise.” “We are each other’s harvest; we are each other’s business; we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” “We don’t ask a flower any special reason for its existence. We just look at it and are able to accept it as being something different from ourselves.”

James Baldwin: I have mentioned Baldwin before, because he is always somewhere in my mind. Whenever I see any sort of injustice, I almost feel him looking at me, inspiring me to speak. “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” “Love takes off the masks we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within.” “Know from whence you came. If you know whence you came, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.”

W.E.B. DuBois: DuBois was many things—historian, educator, civil rights activist and sociologist among other things. He said, ““Now is the accepted time, not tomorrow, not some more convenient season. It is today that our best work can be done and not some future day or future year. It is today that we fit ourselves for the greater usefulness of tomorrow. Today is the seed time, now are the hours of work, and tomorrow comes the harvest and the playtime.”

Zora Neale Hurston: An amazing writer, anthropologist, and folklorist, she was wise and filled with insight about the world around her. She said, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” “Those that don’t got it, can’t show it. Those that got it, can’t hide it.” And this, “Sometimes, I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It’s beyond me.”

Jane Bolin: The first African American woman to graduate from Yale Law School, and also the first black woman judge in the United States. She said, “Those gains we have made were never graciously and generously granted. We have had to fight every inch of the way.”

Ruby Bridges: The first African American student to integrate an elementary school in the South, she said, “Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail. When you start a new trail equipped with courage, strength and conviction, the only thing that can stop you is you!” She also said, “I now know that experience comes to us for a purpose, and if we follow the guidance of the spirit within us, we will probably find that the purpose is a good one.”

Alvin Ailey: The famous dancer, choreographer and activist, he revolutionized the participation of African Americans in dance. He founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York City. He said, “I am trying to show the world that we are all human beings and that color is not important. What is important is the quality of our work.” “I wanted to explore black culture and I wanted that culture to be a revelation.” He also said, “Dance is for everybody. I believe that dance came from the people and that is should be delivered back to the people.”

Rebecca Lee Crumpler: The first African American woman doctor in the United States, she said, “I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to relieve the suffering of others.” “Selfish prudence is too often allowed to come between duty and human life.”

Lorraine Hansberry: An incredibly talented writer, she wrote, “A Raisin in the Sun.” She said, ““I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful, and that which is love. Therefore, since I have known all of these things, I have found them to be reason enough and — I wish to live. Moreover, because this is so, I wish others to live for generations and generations and generations and generations.”

George Washington Carver: An agricultural scientist and inventor, he discovered hundreds of products that benefited all of America. He had some great quotes. “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” “When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world.” “Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” “Fear of something is at the root of hate for others, and hate within will eventually destroy the hater.” “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” “There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.” “Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.”

There is so much that can be celebrated, and so many people doing good, blazing a trail (either loudly or quietly) each day. My cousin said that there is a temptation to believe that African American history began in Jamestown in 1619, but there is black history before slavery.

It is important to note that in American history, there has been slavery longer than there has not. As America attempts to reconcile it’s sordid history, we must also remember that there is a rich legacy that inspires, uplifts, encourages, and reminds us of what we can overcome. The legacy of not just surviving, but of living, loving, and thriving is also part of our birthright. I hope that you learned something interesting or felt inspired by one of the quotes from one of these amazing people. I also hope that you will do your own research, and see that black history is American history.

Puzzle & Bloom ❤

To celebrate this month, one of my besties over at Puzzles and Bloom is offering a 30% off discount code for their amazing puzzle which celebrate the beauty, diversity, and culture of black people! Use discount 30%OFF and check them out at:

May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may you realize that you are your ancestors wildest dreams.

What’s Love Got to Do With It?

What a year it has been already? On some days, time feels like it is standing still, and on other days, it feels like time is flying. I suppose the time feeling like its flying is why I hardly noticed that we were coming up to Valentine’s Day. I am taking a small shift away from talking about the Chakras this weekend to talk about another topic that I love to talk about, and that is love. Initially, I wanted to do something for black history month, but I will do that next weekend, and then back to our regular scheduled chakra conversation. You can find this week’s video here:

Also, this past week marked the Lunar New Year. This is the year of the white metal Ox. I read that this is a year for good luck and relationships. It is said that 2021 holds a wealth of promise for each sign. I also read that it is a year where hard work can really be rewarded, that there will be enhanced unity and harmony, and most importantly, there shouldn’t be any major catastrophic events, you know, like a pandemic. Since this year is marked by the color and element of white metal, there should be greater abundance, prosperity and success.

That sounds pleasant, and since relationships will be a focal point, let’s talk about love… Does it really make the world go round? What are the different types of love, and then Valentine’s Day? What’s it really all about?

We will start with Valentine’s Day. I don’t recall celebrating Valentine’s Day in the first few years of my life…my first real memories of it came when my family came to America. I remember nagging mommy to take me to the store to buy Valentine’s for my whole class. I would spend the time writing each one up, adding an extra message for my friends and other people that I like. I think I only wrote my name on the ones for people that I didn’t really care for, lol, ah childhood. I also remember asking mommy to buy chocolate after Valentine’s Day because it was cheaper. I hoped that would help make my case for why I should get her to spend her hard earned money on chocolate to begin with.

Chocolate itself has a fascinating history. On a trip to Mexico, I learned about the healing, medicinal, and purported aphrodisiac-esq qualities of cacao. Growing up in the islands we ate the cacao plant, and we made a delicious chocolate tea from the dried fruit. Like in ancient times, we mix the chocolate with cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk. It is said that cacao helps to heal depression, insomnia, nervousness, and that pure cacao can even regulate blood pressure and sugar levels. In ancient times, chocolate was for royalty.

Chocolate Margarita in Mexico… Delicioso!

This carried on with colonialism, and when the British learned about this delicious treat, they were not immune from loving it. Apparently, Queen Victoria had a thing for chocolate, and the British confectioners took advantage of that to start mass producing the sweets. In 1868 Richard Cadbury created a heart shaped box of chocolate for Valentine’s Day. You know Cadbury—the eggs, think the Cadbury bunny eggs.

But how did Valentine’s Day even come about? I read that the origins of Valentine’s Day are actually pretty wild. Of course, as with most things, there is controversy over the facts. Some historians trace Valentine’s Day back to a Roman celebration called Lupercalia. It was an annual festival that was observed in Rome from February 13th to February 15th. The purpose was to avert evil spirits and to purifying the city. This purification would release in good health for all, and increased fertility. It was also called dies Februatus after the thong used for purging (februa)—we will get to that. That is also the origin of the name February.

Essentially during Lupercalia, male goats and a dog were sacrificed by one of the Luperci (a priest of Lupercalia—a member of the brothers of the wolf). It is important to note here that Rome was said to be founded on Palatine Hill by two brothers—Romulus and Remus. They were raised by a she-wolf, “La Lupa Capitolina” or the “Capitoline Wolf.” So wolves play an important role in Roman history and mythology.

At the Capitoline Museum in Rome (Roma Capitale)

After sacrificing the goats and dogs, an offering was made and there were additional festivities. The Luperci cut thongs known as februa from the skin of the sacrificed animals. They would run naked around Palatine before returning back to their base. During the run, they would hit people (mostly women) with the thongs. Apparently, pregnant women believed that if they were struck by the thong that they would have a smooth pregnancy and delivery, and if a woman was barren and struck by the thong, that she would become fertile. This festival also included a matchmaking lottery. In the lottery, men would draw a woman’s name from a jar and they would be paired up for the duration of Lupercalia. Some matches resulted in marriage. Maybe that is the romantic origin?

In other accounts of the history of Valentine’s Day, the Romans still had a role. Emperor Claudius II executed two men both with the name Valentine on February 14th in the 3rd Century.

The Catholic Church honored them with martyrdom, and this resulted in the celebration of “St. Valentine’s Day.” In one version of this story, Saint Valentine was jailed for ministering to persecuted Christians. He restored the sight of his jailer’s blind daughter. In other stories, he was said to write letters to the jailer’s blind daughter, and he signed one letter with “Your Valentine,” before he was executed. In another tale, he performed weddings for Christian soldiers who were not allowed to be married. It was said that Saint Valentine wore an amethyst ring, with a cupid engraved on it. Soldiers would see the symbol and ask him to perform their marriage. Some people think this is why the amethyst is the birthstone for February. In the 5th Century, Pope Gelasius I established the Feast of Saint Valentine. This was while simultaneously trying to cancel the Lupercalia, however he was unsuccessful. The day had become attributed to purging, fertility, and love.

Many ancient writers like Shakespeare and Chaucer helped to romanticize Lupercalia and that helped to transform it into a sweeter sounding holiday. In A Midsummer’s Night Dream (my favorite Shakespearean work), he said, “Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day, all in the morning betime, and I a maid at your window, to be your valentine.”

In some other cultures, the time marks the coming of spring, and this is something that we can all love. In the 19th century, many people started exchanging paper cards and this tradition carried on when the holiday crossed the pond. In 1913, Hallmark Cards began mass producing cards for the holiday. Valentine’s Day is big business—with sales of more than 20 billion dollars spent annually to celebrate. So even though the holiday has become so commercialized, does that mean the love element is lost? I have celebrated Valentine’s Day with a romantic partner in the past and now the present…but I have also celebrated Galentine’s Day with my dear friends. (A few of the people I’ve celebrated with below… <3)

I think love is too powerful to be diminished by capitalism. There are several different types of love. You can express any one of them at any time. According to the ancient Greeks, there were eight different types of love.

·      Agape: This is the highest type of love there is to offer. It is selfless love. It is unconditional love. It is free from desires and expectations, and is often considered to be a more spiritual form of love. 

·      Philautia: This is self-love. You take care of your well-being, and you recognize your self-worth. It is also about compassion for the self. You cannot pour from an empty cup. Once you love yourself, you can provide love to others. 

·      Mania: This is exactly what it sounds like… it is an obsessive love towards a partner. This is madness in relationships, and can lead to issues of possessiveness, jealousy, and codependency. 

· Ludus: This is flirtatious or playful love that is usually found in the beginning stages of a relationship. This is where we feel butterflies and that sense of euphoria.

·      Eros: This is a primal love that deals with physical pleasure. Named after the God of love and fertility, it is sexual passion and desire. 

·      Storge: This is the love between parents and children, and between best friends. It is built upon a deep emotional connection. It is a natural form of affection that flows between family and friends. 

·      Pragma: This is mature love and it evolves and deepens over time. Pragma is love where the parties have put in the work to make it work. 

· Philia: This is affectionate love, and exemplifies the love in friendships. It is love without romantic attraction. Plato believed that physical attraction was not necessary for love, and this is the root of the word “platonic” friendship. Some refer to Philia as “brotherly love.”

I think we can all experience some or all of these in our lives, and in combination with each other. I believe that understanding the different types of love, and our own love language makes it easier for us to give and receive love. The Five Love Languages was coined by Dr. Gary Chapman and outlines five general ways in which we express and receive love. These are:

·      Acts of Service: These are the people who show love by taking action. They do things that they believe will help make your life easier. Show you care by doing the dishes, picking up coffee, or fill up the gas tank. 

·      Gift-Giving: These are people who like to have a visible symbol of love. They value the gift giving process, including the time spent thinking about the gift, and the meaning behind it. Show them you care by appreciating the gifts that they give to you, and by surprising them with meaningful gifts—small or large. 

·      Physical Touch: These are the people who enjoy touch. They want to cuddle, hold hands, and feel physical intimacy. You can show you care by making intimacy a priority!

·      Quality Time: These are people who value time—mostly undivided attention. They want to connect through conversation of activity done together. You can show you care by doing something where they have your attention. Take a long walk together, or take a trip together. 

· Words of Affirmation: These are people who value verbal acknowledgement of love. They love compliments, words of appreciation, frequent communication, and encouragement. To show you care, send unexpected messages, and genuinely support them.

You can take the quiz to find out your love language. I think it is important in partnerships—not just romantic ones—because Dr. Chapman theorized that most people tend to naturally give love in the way that they prefer to receive it. If this is your approach, you might actually miss that someone is showing you love because they are doing it in their way. They might also think they are showing you love, but you just are not receiving it because that’s not your love language. For example, if my partner washes the dishes as an act of service, they might think they are showing me love. But if what I really want is to sit with them for quality time, then I might overlook the act of service as an expression of love. I think these are helpful in developing and evolving in healthy relationships. I once had a conversation with my friend DeJuan ( about how I used the Law of Attraction to Manifest a healthy love. Some of the tips that I gave were:

1. Know Thyself. You want to work on yourself, not to “perfection,” because you are not perfecting yourself for a man or woman. You are getting solid in yourself—not only does this prevent getting absorbed into the other person, but it allows you to know what you will stand for. I think that when we are not in a romantic relationship is the best time to prepare for a relationship. Your relationship with yourself will always be important. Love yourself so that you don’t eventually put the burden on others to do it for you. Their loving you is icing on the cake. When you are in a relationship, remember that someone else cannot make you whole, you are already whole. Enjoy the lessons and companionship of that other person, but don’t make it their responsibility to provide your happiness.

2.     Believe that you are worth it! Believe that you deserve a healthy love. Don’t settle for anything less than that. You are worthy of love. You are love, loved, loving, and more. 

3.     Make peace with your past so that it does not sabotage your present. You are the captain of your destiny. The past graced us with important lessons, but don’t let the past be a shackle on your future. As you learn, and evolve, you will also learn a lot about the beautiful ways that love can enter our lives and transform things for the better.  

4.     Speak LIFE into your life! Speak love into your life. 

5.     Expect that the things you want will happen. In the words of one of my favorite metaphysical speakers, “You have to believe it before you see it!”

6.     Be authentic. Be true to you—to your wants, to your needs, and to your personality. Everyone is not the same, and it is important to do and say the things that feel natural and authentic to you.

7. Love, love, and love some more. We will talk more about this when we discuss the heart chakra…but I do believe that love is the most powerful force in our universe. I have seen it, experienced it, and work to be an advocate for it.

No matter how you spend Valentine’s Day, or any day, I hope that you remember that you are love. I hope you are reminded of that from friends, family, a partner if that’s your jam, but mostly from yourself. As Paulo Coelho said, “One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.”

And to my own love, As Emily Bronte said, “He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

May the stars shine brightly over your week, and may it be a week filled with love for you.

Dwelling in the self…Gifts from the Sacral Chakra

Hello beautiful people! I want to take a moment to thank everyone for respecting my need to rest last weekend.

I enjoy doing a variety of different things that allow me to live my life fully—even in this more virtual environment, but rest is always an important part of my life’s equation. Sometimes, we get the signs and we can feel it in our body—the need and the desire to rest. Do we, do I, always listen? Absolutely not. I know from life experience though, that if I don’t listen to the cues from my body to do something that I am being called to do, that eventually something will happen that will force me to listen. See this week’s video here:

I think it is important to remember and to just acknowledge that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and there can be some hard days, some hard weeks, in fact, and we have to be gentle with ourselves through this. We can be both grateful for certain aspects of our life, and yet simultaneously we can be grieving for the loss of people, things, events, and experiences that have eluded us due to this larger event that we are all collectively experiencing. We must afford ourselves the grace that we need during this time, and be respectful to ourselves about what we need. I suppose that is also why when I have felt the need to share on my blog and channel some of the things that anchor me, that ground me, and that help me maneuver through this thing called life. Hopefully some of this information is also useful and helpful to you!

So it is with all of this in mind that we continue our journey up from the first chakra, the root, and make a stop at the second chakra, the Sacral Chakra or the Svadhisthana. Liz Simpson says describes this journey as “the energy that shifts humankind from survival to nourishing the soul. From survival we have traveled upward to the “pleasure principle.” The sacral chakra leads us from basic existence to help us embrace what makes life worth living.” 

Svadhisthana translates to “where your being is established,” essentially it is the dwelling place of the self. Some say that it also means “sweetness,” because it is associated with things that make life sweeter. These include: pleasure, nurture, movement, and change. We must dwell sweetly within ourselves; we must make ourselves our home—we must hold our mind, body, soul, and heart as sacred spaces. Tad Williams said, “Never make your home a place. Make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it—memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey.” 

The Sacral Chakra is located two inches below your naval, and it is associated with the color Orange. Orange is a color of passion and of fire. As a mixture of yellow and red, it is a color bursting with energy and warmth. The Hindu symbol for this chakra is an orange six petal lotus with a white circle symbolizing the element of water, and a blue or silver crescent moon in the middle. If you look closely enough at the crescent moon you might see a fish-like creature within the moon. It is called a makara (some say it is a crocodile) and it holds similar energies to that of the Kundalini (a story for another day). Within this chakra is said to lie all of our creative pursuits and duties. Our dharma. Dharma is not super easy to explain in a short video, but it is a central and very important philosophy within Hinduism and Buddhism. The simplest explanation is, “that there is a right or true way for each person to carry out their life in order to serve both themselves and others.”

Because of the powerful and passionate energies that lie in this chakra, including those of our sexual desire, it can be dangerous when neglected. It can represent our greatest pleasure or our greatest pain. I read a quote that said, “Svadhisthana is a beautiful lake filled with both the disgusting muck and precious gems of the self. When you are ready, only you can unearth your true self. We can often see clearly what is in someone else’s lake, but this is avoiding the great responsibility of the sacral chakra.”  

Both the moon and the element of water which are both associated with the sacral chakra, deal with emotions. The sacral chakra is a hub, if you will, for our emotional desires, needs, wants, and security. It also governs creativity, sensitivity, sexuality, intimacy, emotional-wellbeing, self-expression, self-confidence, the nature of your relationships, your sense of being nurtured and cherished, your sense of being appreciated by others and freedom from guilt. This is also the chakra where we discover what things we enjoy out in the world, it is how we design a life that we want through interacting with the world, without losing ourselves to the world. It is the chakra that forms the foundation of a healthy ego.  When it becomes blocked or imbalanced, it can lead to some very serious issues. 

Imbalances with the chakras can have both physical and emotional/mental manifestations. As a reminder from our discussion on the root chakra, each chakra also has physical associations. The sacral chakra resonates with the reproductive organs, the bladder, kidney, lymphatic and circulatory systems, the prostate, the womb, the ovaries/testes, and the large intestines. These areas can be impacted when the sacral chakra becomes blocked or imbalanced. The sacral chakra can become blocked by fear, especially by the fear of death. Imbalances in the sacral chakra can also cause fears, insecurities, depression, reproductive issues, sciatic pain, lower back pain, low self-worth, guilt and even manipulative tendencies. A balanced sacral chakra that is functioning correctly allows you to feel fearless, fulfilled, confident, trusting, expressive, emotionally connected and secure, powerful, creative, and better able to manifest your desires. That’s a whole lot!

This chakra and I have a very personal history. It is said that empathetic people—empaths, hold a lot of the energy that they absorb from others in this area. If you don’t properly cleanse your energy from what you absorb from others, it can impact you by causing an imbalanced or blocked chakra. But this chakra can also reveal the fears, and the guilts that you don’t even realize you are holding onto. My parents, who I have mentioned before had me when they were both teenagers. I grew up hearing with an often unstated but lingering reminder in the back of my mind—don’t be a statistic. Don’t also become a teenager parent.

Also having helped raise my younger siblings, I knew first-hand how difficult and expensive it can be to raise children. At some point the “don’t have children early, switches to when are you going to have a child.” Often the people asking these questions have no intention of helping raise said child. I devoted many years of my life to my education and to my career. When I went through a divorce in my late twenties, I did feel that pressure of a biological clock ticking away, and guilt and sadness at the perceived loss of this precious period in my life. Jamaican culture is the type of culture with many good and bad aspects. One of the shadow sides is a constant emphasis on asking women when they are going to have children. It can be so stressful.

I want people to stop asking women this. We don’t know the intimate details of a woman’s body—the things that she has been through, or the personal decisions that she has made about her body, or even whether she has lost a child already. This question can be triggering and painful.

A few years ago, I started experiencing a sharp pain in the area of my ovaries. I didn’t do anything about it for a long time because believe it or not, as humans, we can grow to live with immense pain. I went to see my doctor, and all of this led to the discovery of a very large ovarian cyst—caused from years of taking birth control to help regulate pain, a smaller cyst, and some evidence of endometriosis. I only knew about endometriosis because a friend was brave enough to share her experiences with it. I ended up having surgery, and experiencing the pain of internal physical healing. I know that a lot of women, black women especially also suffer from fibroids.

I believe that there is a certain stress that modern women hold in this area—worrying and wondering if they will be able to do it all. Children, career, and more. And if we don’t check one box, does that mean we are less than? It doesn’t and I think healing the sacral chakra is an important way of getting to the realization that you are amazing as you are, without any additional pressures from society. I don’t know my own personal future as far as whether I will one day have children, but I have been in the lives of many young people, and even more, having established a relationship with my sacral chakra, having learned to dwell in myself, has allowed me to be at peace with whatever the future holds. All of this to say, when working with your sacral chakra, look inward to see if there are any subconscious guilts or fears that you are holding. Can you let these go? You should let them go, gently, with love.

So what are some ways to balance the Sacral chakra? 

· Meditation to balance the Sacral chakra. Many meditations out there can help you to concentrate healing energies to the Sacral Chakra area. Each Chakra is also associated with a particular sound. The sacral chakra is associated with the sound/mantra VAM. Meditating and chanting to VAM for even a few minutes can be beneficial to helping balance the sacral chakra. Listening to 288Hz frequency while meditating is also great—this is the frequency that resonates with the sacral chakra. I once went to visit my cousin in Bermuda, and she took me to get sound healing and an amazing massage that I will never forget. The healer conscious of my previous surgery, did an amazing sound session that resonated with my sacral chakra. I will always be thankful for that.

·      Crystal Healing. Crystals vibrate with different energies.  Helpful crystals for sacral chakra healing work are: coral, citrine, carnelian, orange aventurine, and amber. Carrying these close to you and placing the gemstones on the area of your sacral chakra while lying down can be very beneficial to helping with alignment. 

·      Colors. Surround yourself with the color orange. This color is most strongly associated with the sacral chakra. Wear orange clothing. Add some orange to your décor. 

· Foods. Eat orange foods and foods that are centering—oranges, tangerines, mangos, pumpkin, cantaloupe, sweet potato, carrots, nuts and seeds, and squash are good ones.

·      Be Creative. This chakra is associated with creativity, and any blocks like writer’s block are associated with sacral chakra imbalances. The best way to engage with your creativity is to do something—anything. Paint, draw, make music, cook, write, bake. Julia Cameron, the writer of a phenomenal book, “The Artist Way,” says two things that I really love. First, “Boredom is just, what’s the use in disguise. And what’s the use is fear, and fear means you are secretly in despair. So put your fears on the page. Put anything on the page. Put three pages of it on the page.” Second, “In filling the well, think magic. Think delight. Think fun. Do not think duty. Do not do what you should do—spiritual sit ups like reading a dull but critical text. Do what intrigues you, explore what interests you; think mystery, not mastery.” And so please do anything, something that intrigues and delights you.  

·      Belly dance. Yes, I said it. Watch some tutorials from YouTube and get your sacral chakra moving. Since this chakra is below the belly, these types of movement, help to open you up!

·      Seek therapy to heal from past issues and insecurities. I will always include this, but I am aware that it can be difficult for some people, whether due to financial barriers or through other forms of access. There are resources available for low cost or virtual therapy. Here is a resource from SAMSHA:

· Connect with the water element. I have a blog/video on this. Water is one of my favorite elements. I love to soak in the sea, the river, or the tub. But I have also learned about the importance of drinking water. Check out one of my previous videos on water, and soak up the love that this element gives to your sacral chakra. See this one on the Element Water: See this one on the importance of Drinking Water:

· Practice your affirmations! Here are a few: I love my body. I am radiant, beautiful, and strong. I allow myself to experience pleasure. I feel emotionally secure. I am creative. I allow sweetness into my life.

I hope that this information was informative and that you can apply these in a practical manner in your life. Please let me know if anything works well for you!! Also, please feel free to drop more tips/suggestions in the comments. May the stars shine brightly over your week and may your sacral chakra help you to delight in all of life’s sweetness. Have a beautiful week.

(Some photos used from Unsplash & Google)