Last week I had the pleasure of attending a workshop at the Omega Institute in New York called “Ignite Your Intuitive Healer.” It was led by homeopath, spiritual healer, and author Katina Makris, and author and founder of the Gateless Writing method, Suzanne Kingsbury. Both women are Lyme survivors and both of them look at least 10 years younger than they are. So we can assume they’re doing something right.
My fellow workshop participants were Lyme and chronic pain survivors, as well as some folks who were grieving great losses. Everyone was a writer. Our mission for the week was to tap into the energy of each of our seven chakras and write about what came up, without judgment or any kind of editing.
Chakras are energy centers in the body that run from the crown of the head to the base of the spine. Each chakra is associated with particular organs and systems in the body, and has a metaphysical association. The root chakra, for example, is associated with the skeletal system, as well as security and balance. So someone who often worries about their own safety and well-being, even unconsciously, might be said to have root chakra issues.
We meditated on each chakra, then were given writing prompts for each. Words just poured out of us. It didn’t feel cognitive at all like spirit was just moving through us onto the page. I was surprised by what came up for me. It often wasn’t what I would have expected given the prompts. That’s the magic of the Katina-Suzanne duo.
So there we were – nine strangers together in a room for a week, expected to share our deepest, darkest pain and desires. We were all super willing. I think chronic pain and grief will do that to you. You get used to being raw with people. Sharing was a really sweet experience and we actually laughed a lot more than we cried. We were not allowed to comment on the content of each other’s writing. We could say we liked it, that it touched us, or that is was powerful, but that’s about it. That explicit boundary created a very safe container in which we could release, transform, and connect deeply with each other. It was completely unlike my academic writing experience, which centered around criticism and feedback.
The beauty of the Omega Institute isn’t just the amazing facilitators it brings in, the beautiful grounds, the full scholarships they give out (!), and the local vegetarian fare they serve up at every meal. Both times I’ve been, I’ve appreciated the opportunity to connect with some of the other growth-oriented, spiritual seekers that it attracts.
During breakfast on the last day, a guy my age who’d attended a different workshop asked me if I wanted to dine with him and debrief our respective experiences. Umm, duh. I love a good debrief. His workshop was called “The Healing Power of Unconditional Presence” and he said one of his big learnings from the week of meditating was that, for him, pain is the medicine. Sitting with the painful things that came up for him, and exploring them instead of breathing them away, allowed him to move through them and come out lighter and stronger on the other side. I had a very similar experience in my workshop. Even though I’ve danced with my emotional pain before, I learned I still had some deep stuff lurking in my chakras.
My biggest breakthrough was acknowledging that I have experienced trauma. There’s a HUGE connection between trauma and Lyme (and Fibro and other conditions too). Katina and others talk about this, and I’ve historically puzzled over how I fit into that mold, given that I hadn’t had any significant trauma. Because I was lucky enough not to be repeatedly raped by a family member as a child, or experience something similarly vile, I was telling myself that I hadn’t experienced trauma.
Like many women, I am a victim of sexual assault. I have pretty much never talked about it because I told myself it wasn’t a big deal. I don’t know if any of my best friends even know about it, but my fourth chakra sure does.
The fourth chakra governs the heart, circulatory system, spleen, and immune system. It’s associated with love, compassion, jealousy, betrayal, and relationships, among other things. Our second writing prompt for the fourth chakra asked us to write about something we wished we could have said. An account of what I wanted to say to one of my assailants just poured out me. Literally, I didn’t even think for a beat between being given the prompt and starting to write. It was wild. Sharing it with the group was really, really hard, but also very cleansing and freeing.
After nearly six weeks of moving around, squatting in the homes of generous friends as a mold refugee, I showed up to the workshop super worn out, ungrounded and a little panicky. I left with a great lightness in my heart, and a lot of confidence that I will heal fully, run a thriving business, and make friends in my new town, even if I don’t know how yet. It was a real treat to continue to strengthen my intuition, something I’ve put a lot of intention towards in the last six months. I’m excited to share some of my favorite intuition-building tools in a workshop I’m leading next week called, “Stop Second Guessing Yourself and Channel Your Inner Wisdom.” Check it out here.