Open Up and Say “Om”

chakra meditation
Creative Commons License photo credit: AlicePopkorn

Hi, Karen here. While I’m off on a new accidental adventure in Barcelona Spain I invited my good friend Penelope Love to submit the following guest post. I know you’ll adore her story as much as I do. Happy Thanksgiving US readers!

My first intimate encounter with an Eastern medical doctor occurred not two weeks after 9-11, when recurrent images of crumbling towers on the nightly news all too accurately reflected my disheveled marriage to my first husband and correspondingly—my inner world.

There I stood at the outset of this fateful journey, my bare calves streaked with filthy water, my ankles rubbed raw and bleeding, again. Arrayed in my DKNY raincoat and spike heel uniform, I’d just dashed five blocks from my midtown Manhattan office and down a block decorated with Brazilian flags to make it to my doctor’s appointment on time.

It was already 11:03 by the time I found her location on the second floor of a…well, I’m still not sure, but I believe it was a residential apartment building. A massage sign on the downstairs door had almost thrown me off the scent, because being fresh out of the University of Florida, I was looking for a lone medical office, perhaps two or three stories and an elevator; and in light of a Catholic upbringing, I shuddered and almost didn’t pass go once I saw that sign. Yet I felt vaguely aware of some benevolent force drawing me in despite visions of oily naked bodies sprawled upon tables on the other side. So I went for it, never mind what that implies about me.

The door clanked shut behind me, and whew! No one else was there, yet my heart pounded audibly as I hobbled up the creaky winding staircase in gloomy dimness, only to find myself nauseous and trembling before a locked door. My ear pressed against the door, yet I heard nothing. Still, the suite number matched the insurance listing, so I knocked three times. At least one whole minute passed before a dim light flickered beneath the door frame, the door squeaked open, and there stood a little old Asian woman peeking at me from beneath the chain. I must have choked out the correct code word, because she invited me in and gestured that I should have a seat on her red antique couch.

It was the first time I’d selected a physician from my PPO list who was neither Jewish nor male, as my Sicilian father from Brooklyn had always advised. Though due to the nature of my concern, I felt somewhat justified in seeing a woman, and one of any ethnic roots at that, just so long as she might understand firsthand what I was going through. And although numerous female doctors were geographically closer to my office, I chose this particular doctor because I loved her first name, Naomi.

Yet even after I was given forms bearing her full name and M.D. designation, I was uncertain whether I had the right place. Just then another woman joined her behind the reception desk, and they whispered to each other, but not in English. Not to mention that all around me, the walls had been shelved with jars filled with some mysterious liquid and roots. And right when I managed to recall my social security number, a gray cat appeared at my feet, prior to leaping onto my lap and staring me down while brazenly meowing in my face. Still, the office stationary matched, so I tried petting the curious feline while I waited to be called, to take my mind off the dire situation that had drawn me to this most peculiar healing place.

Nearly 20 minutes passed before the first woman at the desk showed me to the room where I would meet the doctor. The second woman, the one who was speaking Korean with her, followed me in and closed the door. Now, she couldn’t be the doctor because other than my name, I hadn’t heard her utter a word of English, plus she was wearing a cute lavender sweater I’d seen displayed at Express last week. So I asked her when the doctor would see me. At which point, this lovely smiling woman replied, “I am seeing you now.”

“But,” I replied at a loss for syllables, “but….”

The beauty of her face and presence matched her name, yet I was stuck in my mind questioning whether this woman could effectively communicate with me about my urgent health issue. “But, are you, uh,” I fumbled, and then just blurted it out: “a regular doctor?”

Somehow, I timed that perfectly because just then she turned her back to me. I cringed in embarrassment until I realized she was just reaching for her lab coat and stethoscope. “Yes, I am a regular doctor,” she replied, and as she laughed and spun around, she was instantly transformed into my vision of a “normal” allopathic doctor. “Now please tell me, why are you here today?” she asked.

Her kindness relaxed me so deeply that I nervously laughed out loud at my insanity, giggles at first, but then stepping up a notch in volume and frequency until I broke down into an ocean of tears.

Did I really have to tell her? Or worse, show her why I was there?

But I’d come so far for this, so I lifted my shirt and bra, only to hand her my breast.

Couldn’t talk. Given the size of the lump in my throat, I could only cry and point to a place where no woman wants to see a bump. Two minutes ago, I was concerned that she might not speak English—and here I was falling apart on her table, babbling in whimpering short breaths, interrupted only by my occasional yelp.

One look, one touch, and I knew. She understood me—everything.

I became quiet as she gave me a thorough exam in peaceful yet concentrated silence. Then she spoke: “Your breast is healthy, so tell me, what’s on your heart?”

Initially I didn’t understand the question.

After glancing down to notice my wedding ring, she added, “Is anything happening with your husband?”

I was stunned by her accuracy. “How…how did you know?”

“Because this pain is in your heart chakra,” she explained. “And all symptoms of disease have an emotional source, and so in order to heal, it is important to not just treat the symptoms but also to acknowledge the emotions.”

I confessed I had never heard of a chakra before, but her words felt true and compassionate. After years of running in and out of psychologists’ offices, I was overjoyed that a medical doctor could care enough to ask me such a personal question. The mind-body connection made so much sense! I wanted to learn all about it—and so right there, I started asking questions that later led me to profound insight.

In response, the doctor reached for her tattered copy of Dr. Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom* and opened it to a bookmarked page. It explained that the chakras are seven distinct vibrational centers in the human body running from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. In Dr. Northrup’s words, these energetic centers comprise “the primary organs of your body’s subtle energy system that correspond and with and affect specific areas of your physical body.” Which means, just as step-down transformers reduce overwhelming electrical currents into manageable amounts to power our homes, the chakras convert the unfathomable universal power of thought and emotional energy into the chemical, hormonal and cellular reactions that power our bodies.

I sat in shock on the doctor’s table, like a weary archaeologist who just excavated a long-lost tuning fork. The idea of chakras resonated and stirred a repressed passion in me—especially my heart chakra, because I felt certain I at least had one of those. The doctor educated me on the connection of this energy center to specific bodily organs, tissues and mental-emotional issues related to striking a balance between intimacy in relationships and being alone with myself. But what I wanted to know is, how did this doctor decipher my inner conflict with surgeon-like precision?

Then wham! It struck me—a question I’d never dreamed of hitting a medical professional with:

If I get divorced, could I ever be alone and be happy?

She responded with a gentle caress of her hand on my back, and her only prescription for me that day was: limit caffeine consumption to increase emotional awareness and then buy Dr. Northrup’s book to learn about my body’s inherent wisdom. And of course I did so immediately before returning to my office.

Never again would I be satisfied to treat ob-gyn problems or other health situations with a cream or pharmaceutical—because I now understood that any solutions formulated to assuage the symptoms of disease only further mask its painful cause. Feeling the love of the divine in that doctor’s touch proved to me that I deserved to truly love and be loved. Upon filing for divorce, I noticed a marked improvement in the health of my whole body, most specifically my breasts. I had become a dusty champagne bottle, filled with sparkling bubbly, ready to celebrate—and I popped, uncorking suppressed confidence and self-esteem. I felt empowered to assume responsibility for my life, knowing that I need not fear intimacy or anything else for that matter, not even death. Because now all I wanted to do was love myself and fear no longer suffocated me.

It is therefore my privilege to present you the chakras—seven keys that can unlock a healthy reverence for your body and the life you experience through it.

What insight does chakra wisdom hold for you? Share your comment below, or I invite you to email me privately about your personal experience.

Penelope Love is a Bioresonance therapist and Tantra instructor in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Florida. She may be contacted via email at penelope[at]penelopelove.com or through Discover Tantra.

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