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In October of last year, I restarted therapy.
Although most of the last five years had been dedicated to learning to love and understand myself (and others), I knew there were deeper realms within that had yet to be healed.
An oversharer by nature, I hadn’t anticipated this process being too challenging.
I’ll happily admit I like to talk about myself – struggles, triumphs, embarrassments (hence my career choice), but there was something different about this particular dynamic.
Lila, my therapist, always begins our sessions in the same way.
Once she’s greeted me in reception, she ushers me in to our room where we sit facing each other on two floral sofas.
Then, Lila looks in to my eyes, smiles, and says…
These first moments of silence between us are always excruciating.
Nine times out of ten, I find myself reaching for one of the cushions on the couch to cover my solar plexus, despite knowing this probably ‘means’ something in therapy terms – and we’re going to spend a significant amount of time discussing what, exactly.
I do it anyway.
After repeating the same cushion debacle at the beginning of every single session, I decide to launch in to some intensive research around the significance of the solar plexus.
To understand is to heal, my acupuncturist once told me.
Biologically, the solar plexus comprises of a thick cluster of nerves and supporting tissue behind the stomach, just below the diaphragm and manages numerous crucial functions including intestinal contraction and adrenal secretion.
Spiritually, it’s the centre of feeling, emotion, harmony and intuition and where the ‘Manipura’ or ‘third chakra’ is located (‘chakra’ being the Sanskrit word for the seven energy centres within our body).
Because of this – and the fact the solar plexus is closely related to our immune system – stress (whether emotional, mental or physical) has a huge impact on this particular chakra, and can be felt as a kind of tightening in that area.
This tightening leads to a blockage of energy flowing through it, and the result is that we start to feel lonely, isolated, anxious, insecure, afraid and/ or incredibly vulnerable.
In other words, I cover this chakra with a cushion because I feel gravely exposed.
Although I know I’m safe here with Lila, I’m somehow terrified of how clearly she seems to see me. All of me.
I realise I’ve spent so much of my life hiding who I really am (from myself as much as anyone else) that, despite all the work I’ve done on myself over recent years, a deep part of me still resists fully trusting another person.
We’re all terrified of being truly seen, I think.
Because we think our mistakes, struggles or issues are so much worse than anyone else’s (even if all reason and logic points to the contrary).
In her book ‘Material Girl, Mystical World’, my friend Ruby Warrington writes:
“To truly be available in your relationships, you must first be available to your Self.”
In therapy, I’m practicing being available to myself whilst at the same time being witnessed and available to another, which makes it doubley hard.
But then again, perhaps it’s doubley healing, too.
I’D LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU:
Have you ever found yourself covering your solar plexus when feeling vulnerable? What situations tend to provoke such a response?
And if you have any other helpful tips around how to release the blockages from this particular chakra, I’d love for you to share them with me below :)