Category Archives: Chakras

Core, courage, heart

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we’re revisiting posts about heart for Time Warp Tuesday, the monthly blog hop offered by Kathy at Bereaved and Blessed.

Kathy says this month that:

“Heart” can mean so many things. It’s at the core (from the Latin for heart) of our physical being. It’s the seat of courage (another “cor” derivative). It’s our physical, emotional and spiritual center. Have you ever written about heart, and if so, in what sense?

Early in my blogging career I wrote an 8-part series on the chakras, a sanskrit word meaning “wheels of light.” There are 7 major chakras of the body along the spinal column, starting with one at the base of the spine (the 1st or root chakra) and moving upward to the crown of the head (the 7th or crown chakra). The three lower ones are earthy, of matter, and the three upper ones are more spirit-oriented. The nexus of these upper and lower chakras is located at the 4th chakra, the heart center.

4th chakraThe Heart Chakra: Divine Power within You is my Time Warp post this month. If you’re having emotional issues around trust or resentment, physical issues in your heart or lungs, trouble forgiving someone or “getting over” something, or if you have victim patterns, you may find this a helpful post.  I drew from the work of Ethel and also of Caroline Myss, PhD. The post covers the qualities of the chakra, its color, seed sound, verb, Christian and Jewish parallels, and a healing thought or affirmation you can use as you clear and tune your heart chakra. The post also includes an exercise you might do to transform and release “icky” energy, and some thoughts on why and how to forgive.

May your heart overflow with love this week. Will you be my Valentine?

Click over to Time Warp Tuesday to read more posts about heart, and maybe even add your own (even if it’s no longer Tuesday).


What’s better than a good book? Discussing that book with friends. Sign up today for the upcoming virtual book tour, The Sound of Hope.

— This painting and the others in the the Chakra series were created by Lisa Brown-Olsen.

Crown chakra: here and now and purple

We’ve worked our way up to the top, the Crown Chakra. This is the place of transcendence, of realization, both materially and spiritually, of Unity.

Need catching up? Visit any of these previous entries in The Rainbow Within Chakra Series

1st: Root chakra
2nd: Sacral chakra
3rd: Solar plexus chakra
4th: Heart chakra
5th: Throat chakra
6th: Third-eye chakra
7th: Crown chakra

Do any of these apply to you?

  • I just can’t see that there’s a larger pattern than what I see.
  • I want answers, but I am afraid of them.
  • I want to know the will of the Divine and live by it, but I am afraid it might require me to make changes.

Unity erases the illusion of distinction. The masculine and the feminine are one. The physical and the spiritual are one. All opposites are conjoined. There is no difference between you and not-you.

This is the symbol of the tao — two opposites joined as one, each with their antithesis embedded in its deepest part. And because all is one, space ceases to exist. And without space there is no time. We came from Unity and we are working our way through the illusion of duality back to Unity via awareness and consciousness.

The Crown Chakra is your connection to Source. It is where we fully merge our physical and spiritual selves and see through the illusions of time and space, seeing ourselves as the timeless beings we truly are. This moment-to-moment realization enables us to live and love in the only time that really exists — the present moment.

Here are some indications that you’ve got an imbalance in your Crown Chakra.

Emotional, mental and physical symptoms associated with imbalance:

  • Crisis of faith — a Dark Night of the Soul
  • Chronic exhaustion that is not linked to a physical cause
  • Sensitivities to light and sound and your environment

The color is violet. I have always been drawn to purple. Royal, gorgeous, purple (hence the color palette of this blog).

The seed sound is silent. The Crown Chakra has no sound.

The verb is “to know.”

The associated endocrine gland is the pineal.

The Crown Chakra has to do with being. Pure being.

Christian Sacrament: Extreme Unction. To receive the grace to finish your business in the present moment.

Healing thought: Live in the present moment.
I’m having a hard time writing this entry. I have worked a lot on my six other chakras and have experienced balance at times in each. But the Crown Chakra remains a mystery to me. And I don’t often occupy the present moment — I am more likely to be found in either the future or the past.

In our energy work classes, Ethel would lead us through guided meditations to open our Crown Chakras wider and wider. Most of the time, people have a thread-sized channel between this chakra and the Divine. With such small bandwidth, it’s not surprising that I would be short on inspiration and physical energy!

While meditating, I envisioned opening up my Crown Chakra to the size of my thumb, then the diameter of a toilet paper tube. I once even got it as big as a compact disc during an exercise where we classmates helped each other experience, energetically, our own physical deaths (we were actually lying on massage tables unharmed. The idea was, once you’ve faced your own death, you can live more fully without fear, in the present moment).

Ethel said something about the importance of loving your body just the way it is, of living “in” your body. She says that when you’re dwelling on hurts and injustices, you are living in your emotional body — in a past that can’t be changed. And when you are planning for events and contingencies yet to come, you are living in your mental body — in a future which exists only in theory. It is only when you occupy your physical body, along with the awareness of occupying your body, that you are in the present. This is why focusing on the breath can be so helpful in bringing your consciousness into your body and into the moment. That’s where all the answers are.

Seven years ago, I sat with my Grandpa for awhile after he died. I had never been with a newly dead body before, and my grandpa seemed not-so-different than he had moments before. A prime difference, I concluded, between a live body and a dead one is breath and flow (duh). The breath — reSPIRation — is the process by which we continually join our physical and SPIRitual selves. Breathing — the act we do 10 (or so) times a minute, every minute of the day — is an exercise of our Crown Chakra. Why not do it mindfully once in awhile?


This post researched, in part, from Anatomy of the Spirit , by Caroline Myss, PhD. The paintings for this series were created by Lisa Brown-Olsen.

guide to living in open adoption

Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a young adult daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Third-eye chakra: seeing with the mind of G*d

If you already have a well-tuned sixth chakra, you might as well close this window because you already know what I’m going to say. That’s a little joke. Ha ha.

Need catching up? Visit any of these previous entries in The Rainbow Within Chakra Series

1st: Root chakra
2nd: Sacral chakra
3rd: Solar plexus chakra
4th: Heart chakra
5th: Throat chakra
6th: Third-eye chakra
7th: Crown chakra

I love this painting, don’t you? The color is so rich. There’s an ethereal quality of floating over the earth (the material) and of also being immaterial. The head lifted from the physical body to the heavens signifies, to me, the meeting of our mental body with the Divine mind. I am taken in by the imagery.
If you’ve ever found yourself staring at someone’s unibrow (or your own), you’re also looking in the area of the sixth chakra. Odd to think of a unibrow looking back at you.

Do any of these apply to you?

  • I fill my time with busy-ness and prefer it to stillness.
  • I have beliefs that no longer work for me and I’d like to let go of them, but I don’t know how.
  • I don’t really rely on my intuition. If I even have any.
  • I am afraid of change.

The Third Eye Chakra is the home of intuition, insight, wisdom, clairvoyance, truth, imagination, and the ability to visualize. Its Sanskrit word is ajna, meaning to perceive or to command. This energy wheel influences the brain and nervous system, the eyes, ears and nose, and the pineal and pituitary glands.

Here are some indications that you’ve got an imbalance in your Third Eye Chakra.
Emotional and mental:

  • Feelings of inadequacy
  • Closed to new ideas, and ideas by others
  • Difficulty with emotional intelligence
  • Inability to learn from experience (like Benjamin Franklin’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results).

Physical symptoms associated with imbalance:

  • Brain tumor or stroke
  • Neurological imbalances
  • Blindness or deafness
  • Spinal difficulties
  • Learning disabilities

The color is indigo. Like a velvety dark sky after dusk and before the deepest dark of the night. (It’s said that “indigo children” are born with wide open 6th chakras.)
The seed sound is “OM.” You know, the sound New Agers take a lot of teasing about. Om is a good chanting phoneme for opening and activating your Third Eye Chakra.
The verb is “I see.”
The associated endocrine gland is the pituitary.
The Third Eye Chakra has to do with releasing perceptions that aren’t true and seeing what is True and timeless.

Christian Sacrament: Ordination. To receive the grace to make sacred your path of service. Buddhists call this “Right Livelihood.”
Jewish Sefirot: Binah, and Hokhmah. The duality of the feminine and masculine energies of G*d. Binah is the energy of the Divine mother, symbolizing compassion. Hokhmah is the energy of wisdom (the Divine masculine), symbolizing the contact point between the Divine mind and personal thoughts.
Healing thought: Seek only Truth.

Clairvoyance. Clairaudience. Clairsentience. Seeing Truth. Hearing one’s inner voice (which is, in fact, Divine). Knowing with certainty.

To what degree do you experience these?

I exercise clairsentience in small things. Like which route to take home. The timing to pitch an article idea to an editor. Where my car keys are.

And this inner knowing has also been there for me in the bigger things. There was the time I heeded the voice when it told me to accompany a friend to a comedy improv show. That night I was captivated by this blue-eyed, intelligently humored performer, whom I asked to meet and who now is called “Daddy” by my children. There was the time I trusted my voice, going against “common sense,” when it said I’d be better off if I quit my job in academia. I did, and we’re somehow not destitute. I followed this guidance in choosing our adoption agency, the necessary route to our two children. And often I can see what blocks my clients in their quest to adopt a child.

But much of the time I don’t stop and listen. I don’t always notice my inner vision, and I don’t make room for that knowing.

Why? It takes time. It takes space, and it takes stillness. DOing is easy, but BEing, not so much. And it’s during the BEing that the Divine mind can reach us.

So here are some ways to clear and activate your Third Eye Chakra.

  • Meditate. Even 5 minutes is beneficial.
  • Practice yoga. This helps you get into your body (and out of your head) for a time, and be present with your breathing.
  • The more you follow your guidance, the more you’ll get guidance. So begin following it in the small things (whether to go straight or turn right), then the bigger things (what to do about your career or your “quest,” whatever that may be).
  • Practice freewrite journaling.
  • Walk a labyrinth.
  • Just before going to sleep, focus on the internal space between your eyes. See what images appear, what thoughts come up.
  • Ask G*d/the Divine/the Universe to give you guidance. Simply asking opens the channel.
  • Whatever your problems are, depersonalize them. In other words, see them as opportunities for you to become whole rather than as punishment, karma, injustice, justice, or bad luck.
  • With intention (“I intend to clear my third eye”), grab at the space in front of your forehead as if you were clearing a cobweb. Maybe, metaphorically, you are.

It’s late now, and I’m off to get some shut-eye. Hopefully, a triple dose (another little joke. haha.)


This post researched, in part,
from Anatomy of the Spirit , by Caroline Myss, PhD.

The paintings for this series were created by Lisa Brown-Olsen.