During my first reiki appointment, I was inspired to create a special place to center myself. As she worked, Jean described the colors she saw coming from each of my chakras. Those that were blocked had muddy colors masking vibrant pools of color underneath.
Working on my Manipura or Solar Plexus Chakra, she saw a deep grey volcano, full of ash. As she released the energy the color changed to reveal molten amber lava, full of life waiting to flow. When I looked for more information at home, I found out at this chakra is salient to my ‘stuck’ places right now. Lifting the definition directly from the Chakra Bible by Patricia Mercier: “Key issues governed by Manipura are issues of personal power, fear, anxiety, opinion-formation, introversion, and transition from simple or base emotions to complex. Physically, Manipura governs digestion, mentally it governs personal power, emotionally it governs expansiveness, and spiritually, all matters of growth.”
Another chakra that emitted strong colors was my Vishuddha or Throat Chakra. She described the color as blue-green, but tight as if there was something I was afraid to say, or holding back. While it may be surprising to hear from some who know me well, I have a hard time expressing myself honestly. For the most part, I avoid confrontation for fear of hurting those I love. It is easier to simply swallow my frustration, make do and go along rather than openly address an issue. Again, from the Chakra Bible: “Physically, Vishuddha governs communication, emotionally it governs independence, mentally it governs fluent thought, and spiritually, it governs a sense of security.”
As an empathic person, prone to taking on the emotions of others, Jean suggested I would benefit from a centering practice using circular breathing patterns to discharge excess energy. I routinely absorb energy from the emotional outbursts I witness in my day which leaves me feeling overwhelmed. Her suggestion inspired me to create a pillow with the two colors of the Throat and Solar Plexus chakras. It would live in a corner of my bedroom, the warmest and sunniest spot in our house, and the place I consider my refuge.
When I returned home that afternoon, I put aside my other projects to work on the flat felt for a meditation pillow. I specifically chose hand dyed blue faced leicester roving for the nubbly whorls left in the finished felt. There is something about the curly patterns in the wool that speaks to me.
For the stuffing, I used part of a fleece I’ve been cleaning for a couple of weeks. Bought last January with the intention of using it to stuff large pebble cushions, it sat in my garage ignored. The lanolin hardened with mud and muck, leaving a very dirty fleece resistant to normal methods of cleaning. After soaking and rinsing, soaking and rinsing multiple times, I decided to cut out the crusty locks and then wash the cleanest bits a fifth time.
While the process is painstakingly slow, it was both meditative and therapeutic. More than half the fleece remains in the bag to be finished, but I love the wool I’ve rescued so far. It is soft, shiny and kinky. Suddenly, I understand why some people are compelled to process their own wool from scratch, though I don’t see myself doing it again any time soon. Still, for this purpose, it seemed like the perfect thing for stuffing a pillow that was full of meaning.
As I move forward, on the first day of my thirty seventh year, I am setting out my intention to walk thoughtfully and carefully through my day, taking the time to conserve my energy and discharge the negative in a safe way.