In a recent chakra healing session (a humbling experience for a New York artist with a bit of a cynic up her skirt), a healer revealed to me that I dwell deep within the caverns of hyper masculine energy.
I paused to notice my appearance, assessing where my aggressive side was manifesting. But I was quickly reassured that this was not a commentary on my Doc Martin boots or short hair cut, and had nothing to do with my partner choice. In fact it wasn't coded in my gender expression at all. Instead, the healer was pointing to the imbalance of energies in my spirit.
From the chakra perspective, feminine energy is located in the sacral or second chakra and promotes juiciness, emotion-based creation, flow, sexiness, sensuality and intimate connection. The satisfying feeling when a painting or poem seems to be channelled from the source with ease and passion, is the feminine energy at work.
The ultimate goal is to bring both male and female energies into harmonious balance within a single being, but we all know that balance can often feel like the world's biggest myth. My recipe for balance? I was all work and no play. I needed to tap into my inner child.
Here are five creative ways to access your sacral chakra to find your divine feminine ... even if you don't always feel divine:
When I've exhausted myself on creativity pruned for my career path, I find comfort in being a spectator and putting my finger back on the pulse of the energy children find in the crayon box. Collaging or creating a vision board is an exercise that sparks the creative juices.
Riffling through visually rich material to land on colors, textures and imagery that excites us can be soothing, energizing and recalibrate our creative compass. Without putting pressure on the product to go anywhere, we get to engage the element of play and touch, act as curator of our own gut-driven visions and allow ourselves to daydream.
2. Play dress up.
When I was a child, my mother kept a chest in the basement closet filled with her mother's old clothes. Grandma was a very petite woman and my sister and I take after our father's towering height, so the dresses fit us perfectly when we were 8 and 10 years old. We'd mix and match, wear lime green box hats with a bit of fringe, paint our faces like animals and adorn old hippie skirts. Playing dress up was our creativity and our bodies, the palette. We were unabashed in the ability to imagine ourselves as moving art.
Replicating this instinct in adulthood might look like an impromptu photo shoot with a friend, just for fun. It might be rummaging around a thrift store for unique combinations of patterns and textures. It might be donning your boldest combination for an outing on the town. Think with the creativity of laundry day, when your go-to pieces are soiled and you have to assemble what's in the back of your closet, into something passable for the world. Some of my best outfits were born this way.
3. Revisit story-time.
I'll never forget when a mentor of mine shared her vast collection of children's books with me. In her understanding of the world, adults love to be read to as much as children. How many of us have laid in the dark begging a lover for an invented bedtime story to fall asleep to? How many of us have relished in inventing a story where our loved ones play the starring role? Storytelling is an inherent part of our daily experience, whether in the form of framing an organizational mission or just plain gossip.
Using these tools in playful practice can open us up to a depth of imagination. Try writing with a loved one — each with 500 words — based around a singular element, such as an orange. Compare notes and enjoy what arrives.
4. Get naked.
Sex aside, being naked can tune us into our senses. Like a radio channel being tuned to the right music, we can feel the sensations we like and dislike, and how they sit in our being. For many of us, body shaming leads us to stay 99 percent covered up during our lives — and straight into pajamas at night time. With a little bravery, what can we learn from revealing our skin?
Lay on the bed after showering. Assess the air on your open body. Notice where you're holding tension and release it. Feel free to rub your hands over yourself — forearms, breasts and thighs. Wrap up in a cozy blanket and rest a warm tea mug on your belly. If you feel moved to increase the pleasure — hey, go for it! It's your body.
Or you could take out the paint and get artistic on the canvas of a loved one's skin. See how the paint takes, and feel the brush as it glides. Resist the urge to feel silly! Relax into the joy of sensation and color. Invest in a massage, go skinny dipping and engage in naked yoga. Stretch, sip coffee, or take a hot bath. Extend your shower time and sit on the floor of the tub. Grab your partner and unleash the beast!
5. Find your ritual.
Ritualizing creative play can take the mood of a romantic date. A friend of mine light candles, slips into a loose Kimono and arranges flowers next to her while writing. Another finds deep joy in cooking meals with the phone off. Snapping images of flowers with a camera while strolling the botanic gardens is another's practice. My husband unhooks from the creative work of film and art direction by day, into the play of painting and electronic music making at night.
Building these touchstones into a regular practice can help us expand into a space reserved just for us — our expression and honoring of the divine feminine. It ensures we will not let the connection slip away in the to-do lists of the daily, but to open, petal by petal, the soothing textures of an aware existence.