About feeling safe and your first chakra

This Friday the 13th full moon has been illuminating a deep fear for me. The fear of not being safe. The fear of being violated. The fear of the unconscious Masculine.

On Thursday I shared a randomly selected picture from the past and its story on my Facebook page. It’s been a moment in my life where I was close to being violated. I was assaulted and robbed by two guys when walking late at night in Córdoba, a city in Spain I had never been before, looking for a hostel. This moment changed the way I behaved up to today. I became much more careful and alert.

In a way I feel this was the lesson I needed to learn, in order to avoid bigger damage. We do live in a world with a lot of unconsciousness and I needed to learn to take care of myself, to prioritize my personal safety, comfort and well-being over less important concerns, such as money, food, exercise, time or the opinion of other people. In this particular situation, I exposed myself to the risk of walking alone in dark, narrow streets I did not know, just because my inner accountant insisted to find the most economical stay – rather than to simply choose one of the easily accessible hotels. In the end this choice cost me much more than money (and the money I ended up spending anyways, since after the assault the police escorted me to one of the better hotels). It cost me my peace of mind. My feeling of being safe. And it could have been much worse. For the rest of my trip I would make sure to have found a hostel by 5pm in the afternoon – and would not leave the room anymore afterwards.

While also before the incidence, which happened in 2005, I would feel – or be aware of feeling – unsafe sometimes, the feeling has been much more present ever since. As a child it had been normal for me to go and play in the woods with my friends – without parent or smartphone. For years I would go running alone in the woods and parks – again without phone – and not even once think of the possibility that anything could happen. Even if I was in the middle of nowhere, with no one around, even if it rained or was getting dark. I would often walk back home alone while living in Madrid (usually to save myself the cost of a taxi). After the incidence I would no longer do that, unless it was a well-illuminated street with many people on it or unless I really did not have any other choice, but then I would run.

Running is a sign of being in fight-or-flight survival mode. It is a way to use and move all that stress energy, to escape and reduce the intensity and discomfort of what we are feeling. I remember how as part of a 4-week therapy in 2010 I got the (optional) task to walk through a forest at night to overcome fear (this was a safe environment). I did it, but I was still running for the most part rather than doing it consciously. The same was true when walking on the Camino de Santiago in France in 2013. While I felt relatively protected on the path, the one time I left it to make a detour to visit a special place, I ran the whole 4 km. Whenever a car crossed my way in the middle of nowhere, I would feel extremely vulnerable, get very tense and just pray that nothing would happen.

Even walking back home today, 14 years after the incidence, I realized how I cringed at every car that passed me by slowly (probably just looking for a parking), that turned on the street before me or that I passed by while it was parked with lights on. I noticed how I was suspicious of any man – and especially groups of men – I crossed, how I took the longer road because it was busier and more illuminated, how I did not even choose the sidewalk alongside the park. And I had just come from a full moon cycle in which we had done a lot of grounding work… I did not run, not even rush, but simply walked normally, observing my fear and reactions with presence, sensing into them.

The question with fear is always whether it is true body wisdom fueled by intuition and warning of a real danger, or whether it stems from old stories and imagined, irrational scenarios. I sensed that it was both in this case. I know that if I perceive the energy of a place or of people to be healthy, I am not afraid. I was camping all by myself recently in Spain and felt relatively safe, even when my phone decided to stop working for two whole days and nights (ok, the first night I did face some vulnerability fear). In a city like Brussels on the other hand more caution is definitely wise and advisable. And at the same time I felt that my mind was exaggerating the risk in this particular situation.

Rationally I know that what is meant to be will be and that feeling safe is first and foremost an internal state, which will simply be reflected in the outside, no matter the space, time and precautious strategies. If my inner Masculine is toxic and violating me, in other words, not putting my physical or emotional safety first, this is what I can expect to see reflected back to me in my outside experience, too. There are many moments in my past, where looking back I feel I was extremely naïve and can be lucky nothing happened. And even when I was indeed being robbed back in 2005, I was still protected somehow. I had to learn my lesson, but I was not harmed physically in the process. I only lost material things. So the whole story could even serve to reinforce my trust and feeling of safety rather than diminish it… and to some extent it does. However, our primal fight-or-flight stress response has a big emotional component, too.

Our capacity to feel safe physically (and also emotionally) is related to the state of our first chakra. The more stable it is, the safer we feel in this world and in our bodies. The less open and balanced it is, the easier we feel afraid, unsafe, scared, anxious and worried. Experiencing situations that make us feel unsafe, destabilize our first chakra. Oftentimes this happens already at a very early age. It is during our time in utero and in infancy that the first chakra – the root – the foundation – is developed. If our roots are not strong, it is hard to feel safe and confident later in life. And still, even as adults, we can strengthen our roots, we can free ourselves from unconscious, reactive patterns, we can transform the way we interact with our emotions, so they have less power over us.

I know that my first chakra was definitely out of balance in 2005. I was still recovering from my eating disorder, still very obsessed with food, calories, weight and exercise. I was very penurious, not very comfortable spending money, even when I had it. I was still prioritizing cheap over quality and over my personal comfort and well-being. I did not yet trust in abundance and there being enough for me. I was not grounded, living mostly in my head, disconnected from my body. I was still in victim mindset, often feeling punished by the Universe. Unconsciously I must have not felt safe and the assault simply helped to bring this feeling into the light, so I could work on and with it.

Since then I have done a lot to strengthen my first chakra and it is much more open today. And still, my lingering fear shows me that I need to continue nourishing and supporting it. Luckily, I have many tools at my disposal these days. I am happy to share them with you through my various Camino guidance options.

Chakra Discovery Evenings

There is also a specific evening series on chakras coming up. As of October, Lindsey Curtis and I will take you on a discovery journey through your different chakras. One evening per month we are going to explore and nourish a different chakra through embodiment, nutrition & imagery. This is a unique and very powerful combination, since these three modalities correspond themselves to the different chakras:

Nutrition = Root & Fire
Embodiment = Flow, Circulation & Expression
Imagery = Vision & Insight

It is a complete & holistic approach that addresses you as a whole and nourishes you on all levels: the physical, emotional, mental & spiritual.

We start with the root on the 4th of October. All info and sign-up here. You can also spread the word by liking, sharing and indicating interest in our facebook event here.

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