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Passion for Life

Passion for Life — The Body Speaks



Pas­sion for Life—The Body Speaks — we are built in such a way that we ought to see our life’s work—our vocation—as both sacred, and some­thing to be pas­sion­ate about.

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In the last arti­cle, we began to look at the zone of the body con­nect­ed to pas­sion. I men­tioned that the area encom­pass­es the low­er bel­ly and the low­er back.

This “relationships area” rests upon the firm foundation of the First Chakra—the groundedness chakra. 

What’s real­ly impor­tant to “get” is the idea that per­son­al, emo­tion­al, and rela­tion­al devel­op­ment requires that you “tran­scend and include.” In oth­er words, in order to move on, one needs to have mas­tered each lev­el.

Once you are grounded you have the stability to engage in meaningful and stable relationships.

In this arti­cle, we look at pas­sion for life.

Metaphor­i­cal­ly, pas­sion for life is locat­ed at the low­er back—from the waist down, exclud­ing the sci­at­ic nerve pock­ets (they are a part of the Ground­ed­ness region.).

Con­tained with­in this region is the sacrum, the tri­an­gle-shaped bone that is just above the tail­bone. It is not for noth­ing that the word sacrum derives from the same root as the Eng­lish word sacred.

We might take from this that we are built in such a way that we ought to see our life’s work—our vocation—as both sacred, and some­thing to be pas­sion­ate about.

It is to this sense of sacred passion that we turn our attention.

As with every­thing we write about, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that our goal is bal­ance. In this case, bal­anc­ing is between our under­stand­ing and our feel­ings. Rather than ignore or sup­press our feel­ings, we look to find mean­ing in what arises.

Here’s a weird thought for you.

In the case of the back pelvic region, the bal­anced state is full bore pas­sion for life.
Giv­en how emo­tion­al­ly, phys­i­cal­ly, men­tal­ly, and spir­i­tu­al­ly “dead” most peo­ple are,
this seems almost impossible.

Our soci­eties, through social­iza­tion, attempt to “nor­mal­ize us.” It’s even more insid­i­ous than that. When you think about it, peo­ple who are com­pli­ant, docile, and calm—to the point of bor­ing—are also the eas­i­est to manage–and are there­for prized by soci­eties seek­ing control.

Most peo­ple are famil­iar with Thore­au’s famous quote,

The mass of men lead lives of qui­et des­per­a­tion. What is called res­ig­na­tion is con­firmed desperation.”

Pas­sion scares “soci­ety,” and pas­sion scares us. We think of those who have been con­sid­ered cre­ative genius­es, and part of us thinks that their genius hov­ered on the edge of madness—think van Gogh, Gau­guin, Picasso.

Mostly, when confronted with passion, we’d like to see it dialed back.

What I’m sug­gest­ing, and what I’ve seen in Body­work, is that our pas­sion for life, or per­haps bet­ter put, the ther­mo­stat for our pas­sion for life, is set way too low. We think “semi-numb” is normal.

I won­der what the world would look like if “nor­mal”
was clos­er to van Gogh than Elmer Fudd.

Let’s take a moment to talk about balanced Yin and Yang.

The first, and per­haps the most obvi­ous is the left and right sides of the body—the left side is Yin, the right side is Yang.

As regards our top­ic, pas­sion for life, lev­el hips (as we look at the pelvic region from the back) indi­cate the per­fect bal­ance between Yin intu­ition and Yang effort.




So, pas­sion for life requires both

  • an inter­nal, intu­itive, emo­tion­al YIN com­po­nent, and
  • a prac­ti­cal, thought­ful, ratio­nal YANG com­po­nent.

Let’s turn to passionate living, vocation, and sacredness.

Pas­sion for life means liv­ing your voca­tion.

Most of us are aware that, at some point in our lives, we had one or more “burn­ing desires.” We remem­ber being “pulled” to excel at something.

Now, if the “thing” we were pulled to was “social­ly / trib­al­ly accept­able,” all was well and good. But in most cas­es, our yearn­ings and “burn­ings” did­n’t fit, so our tribes forced us to repress them. Our pas­sions and desires were some­thing our par­ents / tribes teased us about—and if that did­n’t dis­cour­age us from step­ping out of the norm, some gen­tle or not so gen­tle form of repres­sion was applied.

Parents have dreams and aspirations for their kids, and those dreams and aspirations are framed by the lifestyle and culture of the parents.

Most par­ents freak out when they see the kinds of things that their kids are pas­sion­ate about—that “turn them on.” So they do what they can to force the kid to fit in. They sug­gest that the thing that they’re pas­sion­ate about is just a pass­ing inter­est, or a hob­by. Or they declare it off-lim­its altogether.

Kids don’t know any bet­ter, and actu­al­ly lis­ten to their par­ents, so they learn to tight­en down and block their pas­sion. From a Body­work per­spec­tive, this involves freez­ing the pelvis, and tight­en­ing the mus­cles that are just above the pelvis.

The key to overcoming blocked passion for life is twofold: physical, and mental.

The phys­i­cal side, the Yang aspect, is about loos­en­ing the back pelvis through move­ment, exer­cise, and Body­work. The phys­i­cal side also requires actu­al­ly doing some­thing with your passion—as with an artist, you have to “put brush to canvas.”

The men­tal side , the Yin aspect, requires spend­ing time reflect­ing / med­i­tat­ing. Your “pas­sion-o-meter” is like­ly set pret­ty low, and you might have even for­got­ten what used to turn you on. You’re going to need some time to look inside, and to remember.

Build­ing… passionately.

I’m not sure why, but Jim­my Carter keeps pop­ping into my head.

He took a bit of time out to be the pres­i­dent or the USo­fA, but real­ly, two of his pas­sions are bring­ing peace, and serv­ing oth­ers. Which is sort of the same thing.

If you watch him now, decades and decades years after leav­ing the pres­i­den­cy, you will see that he’s pret­ty much on call when it comes to serv­ing his passion.

He’s often out there, swing­ing a ham­mer for Habi­tat for Human­i­ty. And he’s still the “go to guy” for bro­ker­ing Mid­dle East­ern peace. Despite being retired, if you get the joke.


Here are a few things to try:

1. Bodywork

Nat­u­ral­ly. The low­er back can be worked on some­what aggres­sive­ly, and it’s all about find­ing tight spots. The key is to apply pres­sure, on the back, to the top of the pelvis. You’ll like­ly find sore spots that will yield to pressure.

You can also grip and squeeze the big mus­cles to either side of the spine, just above where the spine meets the pelvis. 

As the tight­ness relax­es, you’ll feel warmth and the sense of a flow of ener­gy mov­ing up your spine. In Body­work, get­ting this ener­gy to flow is para­mount.

2. Find a Jesuit!

Not you again!!
Sort it out!!!

That’s a bit of a joke, but only a bit. The key is to track down some­one who can help you explore voca­tion. Thus, my tongue-in-cheek Jesuit suggestion.

How­ev­er…

When I was writ­ing my mas­ters the­sis, I used to “dig in” by spend­ing a week at a time at a near­by Jesuit Sem­i­nary. I want­ed the pri­va­cy, the soli­tude, and the qui­et to do some seri­ous writing.

But, hey, it was a Jesuit Sem­i­nary — and that means there were, wait for it… Jesuits! Every­where!

And despite a lot of bad press, most Jesuits are pretty smart.

They are used to talk­ing about voca­tion. They have tools for explor­ing voca­tion. One of their voca­tions is help­ing peo­ple to find their voca­tions, if you will. Now, of course, their prin­ci­pal direc­tion, in the past, was to find more Jesuits. These days, they spend increas­ing amount of times with the laity, help­ing them to explore their voca­tion — their pas­sion for life.

Fail­ing find­ing a Jesuit under­foot, you might choke back your increduli­ty and hire a life coach — but please talk to some­one and find some­one qual­i­fied. I’m big on qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and a six-month online course may just not cut it.

3. Breathe from Your Belly

Sure! You want me to prac­tice breath­ing! Right!

Your Sec­ond Chakra (the Low­er Dan Tian in Chi­nese med­i­cine) is locat­ed 2 inch­es below your navel. You want to work at bring­ing your breath to this place.

The eas­i­est way to learn to do this is to place your hand over the spot, and then breathe deeply, into your bel­ly. The breath should be deep enough to raise, or move, your hand.

Once you have a sense of what that feels like, imag­ine that your breath is bring­ing ener­gy to this point. You can play around with the “how.” Imag­ine the breath com­ing mov­ing down from your lungs or imag­ine ener­gy com­ing up from the ground. Does­n’t mat­ter, so long as the ener­gy ends up, on the in-breath, flood­ing the Sec­ond Chakra region.

On the out-breath, imag­ine direct­ing the ener­gy. For example,

  1. Imag­ine, on the out-breath, send­ing the ener­gy from your Sec­ond Chakra to your hands.
  2. If you are doing some­thing cre­ative, imag­ine the ener­gy mov­ing up your spine and flood­ing your cre­ative centre.
  3. If you’re with some­one who needs sup­port, breathe to your Sec­ond Chakra, and then imag­ine the ener­gy, on the out-breath, flow­ing up your spine to your heart. From there, imag­ine the ener­gy flow­ing into the palms of your hands—in Chi­nese med­i­cine this point is con­sid­ered an “out point” for heart ener­gy. And once it’s there, the eas­i­est way to “pass it on” is to give the oth­er per­son a hug.

Dance

The Sec­ond Chakra Region moves in three ways. 

  1. it turns in a circle—think the Hula. 
  2. it rocks side to side—think sal­sa dancing. 
  3. it tips up and down—use your imagination! 

There’s music that is suit­able for each of these three things. 

The key one is the third one. This motion is so impor­tant that we teach it as a part of breathwork—you learn to breathe and then you learn to add a pelvic tilt. So, spend some time mov­ing your pelvis as you dance. 


This is a bit of a snapshot of the “passion for life” part of the second chakra region.

Think about cre­at­ing a mas­ter­piece with every­thing you do. Con­tin­u­al­ly imag­ine the fire of pas­sion flow­ing up your spine. Visu­al­ize the sacred­ness of your life, relax your low­er back, and also spend some time mov­ing your pelvis.

I sus­pect you might be sur­prised by what emerges.


About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is known on the web as the Sim­ple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Pri­vate Prac­tice Coun­sel­lor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the lat­est being The. Best. Rela­tion­ship. Ever.
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