I was talking on the phone with my friend Melinda the other day. Let me interject here that you would love Melinda. She’s immediately engaging and fun to be around. Do you have someone like that in your life? Good. Now, imagine you’re on the phone with them, and you’re talking about, naturally, Gwyneth Paltrow. Melinda had just seen her first episode of the hit musical TV show “Glee” and it was the episode featuring Gwyneth Paltrow. Therefore, she had just discovered that in addition to winning multiple awards for acting, Gwyneth can also speak fluent Spanish and sing and dance beautifully. It seems, in fact, there is nothing that this woman cannot excel at.
Melinda is struggling right now to find her path, the right career in the right city. Rather than letting Paltrow’s success tip her into despair, however, Melinda looked at it this way: Gwyneth Paltrow represents the dormant potential which is in all of us. The natural stream of our being flows towards Gwyneth Paltrowness, but it’s the obstacles to our flow, the kinks and gravel in our hose, say, that prevent us from being this way. For whatever reason, the karmic cards that Paltrow was dealt allowed her not to forget her nature, and to demonstrate for us what can be achieved when we do not doubt our worth. Seriously, folks, these are the nuggets of brilliance that Melinda just tosses out casually.
My focus in yoga practice this month is the second chakra, leading up to my workshop at It’s All Yoga on the last Saturday of January. Chakras are energy centers in the body, and the second chakra, “svadhisthana” – is located in the deep abdomen. Its element is water, and it is the primal seat of creativity. I have taught this chakra multiple times now, and this time I keep coming back to this connection – fluidity and creativity. The second chakra demands that we keep moving and changing, that we flow like water through that hose. When we remove the impediments, the kinks in that hose, we’re connected to the great fountain of our creative endeavors.
This year, I have begun writing morning pages, a la “The Artist’s Way.” This is three stream of consciousness pages, long hand, first thing in the morning. The point is not to have something interesting or even readable, the point is to dump everything you think on to the paper. I’m finding it does empty out your brain of a lot of the garbage that it totes around on a daily basis. Here’s what else I’m finding it does: it opens up a flow. It’s not called stream of consciousness for nothing. It trains you to allow thought to move into action without interruption, and more importantly without judgement. It widens the banks of this river of inspiration within us.
There’s plenty of time for judgement later. Certainly, having the discipline to edit artistic expression is helpful. I’m not publishing my morning pages, believe me. I revise my blog posts plenty. But that’s the work of the higher, more cerebral chakras. The second chakra is uninterrupted flow, undifferentiated abundance, fertility, creation.
It is said that in art we recognize our own discarded genius. May I add to this that in the apparently relentlessly cool lives of the famously talented, we recognize our own discarded GwynethPaltrow-nature. And then, like Melinda, we begin the journey to get it back.