Excerpted from Chakra Empowerment for Women: Self-Guided Techniques for Healing Trauma, Owning Your Power & Finding Overall Wellness by Lisa Erickson, from Llewellyn Worldwide Publishing. Lisa is an energy worker specializing in women’s energetics and sexual trauma healing. In this book she presents twelve chakra activation processes, all specific to variations in women’s energy bodies. Every chapter includes case studies and sections on how this chakra is often the most impacted for women in general through cultural conditioning as well as sexual trauma. The following excerpt is from the throat chakra chapter, ‘The Throat Matrix’, and begins with the story of Maia, who came to Lisa for energy work.
Maia was twenty-six and a prime example of an overtalker. It was difficult to break into her narrative to speak, and while she clearly needed someone to truly hear her, it hindered our ability to do any meaningful energy work. She told me that her primary goal for our work was to help gain some financial stability. Although she had certification as a masseuse, she had never been able to make ends meet through it and had ended up jumping from job to job in the service industry.
When we spoke, Maia would typically begin with a story of some situation or encounter at work or with a friend that had triggered her and then tangent off into situations from her childhood that she believed had contributed to her being triggered. While often insightful, everything stayed decidedly on an analytic level, and it was difficult for her to express how she felt or where she experienced a particular emotion or energy in her body. Often it was difficult to ask these questions without deliberately interrupting her.
I asked Maia to first begin working with the Root Bowl [a tool presented earlier in this book related to the first, or root, chakra] to ground and connect with her body. Although she could connect with the exercise as we did it together, once she began talking afterward her energy surged upward, into her throat and third eye chakras, creating a hyperactivity there that then expressed through her talking and self-analysis. I described for her what I was sensing and asked her to do the Root Bowl daily between sessions, and to practice staying grounded in her lower chakras as much as possible, without popping upward.
We worked with Maia’s root chakra for several weeks, focused on releasing blocks from past experiences that had hindered her ability to connect with her root and to stay grounded in it. Although Maia became more aware of her tendency to disassociate from her root, she continued to use her excessive speech as a wall at times, slowing further work. We then shifted into working with the Throat Matrix.
It was while working with the Throat Matrix that Maia really began to open up. She mentioned having been sexually abused by a family friend when she was between the ages of five and eight years old. Although Maia had very clear memories of what had occurred, she had only ever told one person, her mother, when she was around seven years old. Her mother reacted very angrily and accused Maia of lying, so she never spoke of the abuse again. In fact, Maia insisted that this abuse was not an issue, that she had moved through it on her own. Nevertheless, I encouraged Maia to continue working with the Throat Matrix and to consider journaling about her abuse if she felt it would not be traumatizing to do so. I also suggested she seek out counseling specifically around her abuse. She was not interested in counseling at that time but agreed to use the Empowerments and attempt some journaling on her own.
Over the coming weeks, Maia became more and more open about her abuse; more importantly, she was able to express the emotions she felt around it. She was able to express how angry she felt at her mother for dismissing her and not protecting her, how betrayed and angry she felt toward her abuser, and how much shame she had internalized over what had occurred. She was able to pinpoint where she felt these emotions in her body so we could work with them in other ways. Above all, Maia’s entire way of communicating shifted; she was now able to engage in exchange with periods of truly listening and responding as opposed to creating a verbal wall through overtalking.
Maia eventually did pursue other forms of counseling and healing in addition to our work. With time, she was able to transform her life. Although her mother had died several years before, she spoke to her sister about her childhood abuse, who believed her, as she had memories of her own that validated what Maia remembered. This sharing and validation in particular played a huge role in Maia’s transformation. As she faced and healed from her abuse, her need to disassociate from her lower chakras diminished, and Maia was better able to stay grounded. We also aided her ability to financially sustain herself, her original goal in our work together.
Maia’s story demonstrates the crucial role that true sharing and communication plays in our healing and growth process. Many of the challenges Maia faced in her life were related to her inability to stay grounded and manifest utilizing her lower chakras. But it was opening the gateway of authenticity in her throat chakra that paved the way for her transformation. Maia had kept the secret of abuse inside for so long and habituated using speech as a wall between herself and others. Once this secret was released, she no longer needed this wall and could begin to integrate her emotions and energy holistically, stay grounded and centered in her root chakra, and truly communicate and connect with others.
Women’s Energetics: True to Yourself
For women at this time in history who are working to change longstanding cultural and social forms of oppression, the most valuable energy work we can do is empowering our navel and throat chakras in order to own our power and voice. Speaking up for yourself and speaking truth to power— whether in a personal relationship, workplace, or social context—is how the work unfolds.
One of the biggest conditioned patterns that many women have to break through in terms of owning their voice is the habit of using speech as a means to please or placate others. As we talked about in the Navel Fire chapter, girls are still rewarded for niceness, and women are often expected to be the relationship balancers and caretakers in couples and groups. This conditioning can function on a very subtle level and be difficult to see, so I encourage you to look for it, even if you feel you are a woman who speaks her truth.
One way to do this is to spend a few days keeping a communications journal. Keep a small notebook with you, and as you go about your day, pause after social interactions, and ask yourself, “Did I feel responsible for that situation in some way? Did I choose what I was going to say in order to elicit a particular response? Was I trying to avoid a response I didn’t want to deal with? Was I placating or pleasing someone I was speaking to or who was present?” If you are very honest with yourself, you will likely find that you are doing this much more than you realize.
Of course, to some extent there is no problem with this. Sometimes we speak to elicit the response we want to influence people, placate them, or get them to like us. There is no problem with this ... if we are aware of it and it is not the only way we are in the world. What you are looking for are the ways you have become habituated to this, the ways in which this type of speech has become your unconscious operating system—the extent to which you are communicating as a form of self-protection or validation instead of as a means of self-expression and connection.
Rewriting this pattern usually involves understanding the psychology beneath it, and changing it may involve other chakras. Here are some of the most common emotional foundations for this pattern, along with the combinations of Chakra Empowerments [from this book] you might use to support your work to change them:
Fear: If you grew up in a home in which you did not feel safe, or in which you could be severely punished for saying something deemed unacceptable, you may have developed communication patterns to create safety as a survival strategy. Perhaps you smooth over conflicts by changing the subject or making jokes, or perhaps you focus on placating the individuals with the most volatile personalities. You instinctively feel out and seek to manage the room or at least everyone’s response to you in order to feel safe. Combining Throat Matrix work with Root Bowl work is the best energetic support for shifting this pattern.
Unworthiness: We all want to be liked, but when we feel solid in our self-worth, we do not need everyone to like us or be validated in every social situation. If we harbor deep feelings of unworthiness or shame, we crave validation from others, often in the form of being liked. We may modify ourselves and our speech according to who we are with in order to fit in or to elicit praise, laughter, or a feeling of belonging. We can easily lose any sense of who we really are, trapped in an endless game of adapting to what people want from us. Social media often magnifies this trend, as we crave likes for our posts as a form of validation. Combining the Sacral Lotus with the Throat Matrix will support work on shifting this pattern.
Responsibility: Women often are the social and energetic anchors for any group, whether in a family unit, social group, or work team. We may feel as if we must play hostess at all times and that we are responsible for how others are feeling. If someone is unhappy or displeased, we take it personally and feel we must address it, even if the setting in which it is occurring is not something we have organized or arranged. Releasing this sense of responsibility is about reclaiming our boundaries; as such, working with the Navel Fire (and possibly the Second Skin, introduced later in this book) along with the Throat Matrix will support you in letting go of this tendency.
Sexual Trauma Healing: Liberation from Secrecy
All the patterns outlined above may be magnified by the experience of sexual abuse or assault. If you were abused in your home as a child, you may have adapted your speech and presentation of yourself to keep yourself safe or to compensate for feelings of shame or unworthiness. If you were assaulted later on in your development, the experience may have shattered your sense of safety or worth, resulting in similar patterns from that point forward.
But there is another wound to the throat chakra that is more specific to sexual abuse and assault survivors—the pain of secrecy and silence. If you are a childhood sexual abuse survivor, your abuse was likely a secret, and perhaps your abuser manipulated or threatened you to make sure it stayed that way. As in Maia’s case, perhaps you told someone but were not believed, and kept the secret from that point forward. Perhaps you sensed others knew what was happening but there was an unspoken agreement never to speak of it. Whatever form it took, your voice was stifled and you were forced to keep this painful secret—one that for many survivors creates a wall between themselves and others that feels impossible to surmount.
The situation is often very similar for adult assault survivors. A victim may never tell anyone of her assault or tell and not be believed. As well, in situations in which a survivor shares what occurred and presses charges, the legal process can feel disempowering and stifling. Even if a survivor of either abuse or assault does share her experience with loved ones, the response is not always affirming. Some people may be uncomfortable hearing about it or only want to discuss it once and then tell the survivor to move on or “get over it.” These dismissive responses create a new veil of silence and can trigger a lifelong struggle to decide who and who not to tell. Many survivors report agonizing over the decision of when to tell a new friend or romantic partner about their history out of fear of how the person will handle it. When not shared, it can feel like a barrier to intimacy ... but when shared, the result can often be the same.
The constant struggle over what to share with whom and when is for the most part unique in our society to sexual trauma survivors. Cancer survivors, accident victims, or victims of other crimes rarely feel the same conflict. On an energetic level, the struggle takes a toll, reflecting as a block or wall in the gateway function of the throat chakra. This block may manifest in any of the patterns we’ve discussed—undertalking, overtalking, people-pleasing, and so on. Working on dissolving this wall is one of the most empowering healing processes you can undertake as a sexual trauma survivor.
Working with the Throat Matrix for a period of time can support you in this process. If you have undergone or are engaged in counseling, it may serve as a forum for you to truly share what happened to you. Journaling your full experience or sharing it anonymously on a website designed for such purposes can also be powerful ways of breaking through this veil of silence and secrecy. You don’t have to shout your experience from the mountaintops to experience healing, but opening up communication in some way is crucial.
Allowing yourself to identify and express emotions related to your trauma, especially anger, is also often critical to opening up the bridge between your inner and outer selves. Anger is an important step in the healing process that shouldn’t be bypassed. Because I work with the chakras, I attract a lot of spiritually-minded sexual trauma survivors. I find that many are hyperfocused on forgiveness. They feel that they “should,” as adults, be able to forgive their abuser or assaulter. They say, “I know he/she was acting from his/her own damage.” That may be true, but I’ve found that if the stage of anger is bypassed, it often leaves subtle blocks of self-blame and shame that are never surfaced and released. Allowing yourself to truly express anger—at your abuser, your assaulter, and anyone who failed to believe or protect you—is an important step in the healing process.
You can do the release of anger as a visualization exercise, perhaps supported by a counselor, healer, or friend, in which you visualize you are speaking to the person, or you can write it as a letter. It does not matter if you are ever able (or ever want) to actually communicate your anger to the person. The important thing is that you open the dam and let the anger out; in doing so, you place the blame for what happened squarely where it belongs—with your abuser or assaulter, not yourself. Perhaps in time, focusing on forgiveness will feel appropriate for you ... or perhaps not. Personally, I don’t think it’s helpful to push forgiveness or expect it or hold it as necessary to move forward with life in a healthy and whole way. What’s much more important is your relationship with yourself.
Visit Lisa at : https://enlightenedenergetics.com/about-lisa-erickson
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