By Celia Coates
If you’ve read WINN before, you know that “kindness” has been the subject of many posts. It is very important and of great value, but there are ways we can have too much of a good thing. We can end up living distorted lives if we try to be kind without a firm grounding in a healthy sense of self. We can become disempowered and our actions may be ineffective when kindness doesn’t come from strength.
A year or so ago I learned a wonderful way to begin powering up. Genevieve Paulson is a cherished teacher with great wisdom about the many dimensions of energy involved in being human. She taught me about the “Don’t Mess With Me” chakra. It was a new concept for me since I’d been brought up, as so many of us were, to be a good woman by being thoughtful, giving, nice, and kind to everyone. As soon as we stopped taking care of other people, as soon as we were for ourselves and stood up for our own interests, we risked being called a bitch. A bitch was not a good, or even acceptable, woman. For my generation it was often necessary to be, or appear to be, just sweet and generous. This was not training in anything like genuine kindness. Men have different problems with what they were taught about being kind but that’s another subject, for another post.
One day when I was talking with Genevieve she said, “Reach your hands around and gently massage your lower back just under your waistline.” She asked me how that felt. Until that moment I hadn’t been aware of how my back felt. (You might try this yourself right now.) We began talking about chakras, not the seven main centers of energy arranged along the spine, but the many small centers found throughout the body. Genevieve calls this chakra just under the waistline in the back the “Don’t Mess With Me” chakra. Chakras can be imagined as knobs you can push on or turn to get different flows of energy. We can open chakras by seeing or sensing energy moving into them. After the little bit of focus and massage that Genevieve had directed, my back felt different – more alive – and I had a new awareness.
This chakra often gets shut down in women. That can happen when we wear high heels, the back arches, and the chakra closes. High heels also put pressure on the toes and make us walk as though we’re stepping on eggshells. We lose the full foot action that grounds us when the whole foot hits the floor. Posture makes a difference to this chakra. As I was imagining the healthy way of walking I remembered the slur from long ago, “Your mother wears army boots.” Once again, the woman with her feet on the ground, striding with strength instead of tiptoeing through life, is criticized as not being a real woman. That’s a nasty thing to say about someone’s mother.
When the DMWM (“don’t mess with me”) chakra is shut down, the energy can be redirected so that it’s pulled forward into our bellies where it becomes emotional energy based in reactive feelings. In the back the energy is based in a proactive sense of self. Language often reveals core meaning – when we talk about having a backbone, getting our backs up, or putting our backs into an effort we are reflecting our sense that the back is where our strength lies.
Once upon a time women were not supposed to have much backbone. Our culture did not support women’s will to independent action. The Womens’ Lib movement of the 1970s gained us the freedom to be more than a wife and mother. Now we’re working on being full participants in life as a group – and as individuals, When the energies of the DMWM chakra are in balance and flowing we can be authentic and engage in strong and focused action. When we build up an energized sense of self and don’t care much about what people say about us, we can’t be “messed with.” Name-calling will not shut us down.
Real strength begins with a sense of your true self. Then being kind is genuine – it’s not about making ourselves acceptable according to someone else’s rules or for placating bullies. Kindness that comes from our strength has real power. That’s what we need more of now.
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Genevieve Paulson is the author of many books – among them,
KUNDALINI AND THE CHAKRAS
MEDITATION AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
TUMO – THE FIRE IN THE BELLY
And, with her son Stephen, she is the co-author of,
REINCARNATION: REMEMBERING PAST LIVES
CHAKRAS, AURAS, AND THE NEW SPIRITUALITY