Monday, February 20, 2012

A Healthy Diet of All Things Orange

Sunday morning and a wisp of old moon hangs low in the sky. The dark moon this month falls on February 21, the two-month anniversary of my brother’s death. It was a waning gibbous moon on the day he collapsed, a waning crescent on the day he died. It was fat and full on January 8, 2012, the one-year anniversary of the Tucson shootings and the day we held a service for my brother in Southern California in the Methodist Church where all five of us Jackson kids had been baptized.
This Sunday morning, I feel like it is finally New Year’s Day. The blur I have traveled through that began with bullets on January 8, 2011, and ended with a deadly butterfly brain tumor in December is beginning to lift. The lifting has not come easily. It has required therapy, exercise, journal work and painting. It has led me toward wine and carbs and then pulled me back to healthier ways of being.
Damn Thirsty is one of my very favorite poems of Hafiz, the great Sufi mystic who lived in the 14th century. When you read his poetry, the words blend Christian/Muslim/Mystic into a seamless whole. You forever have to remind yourself that he wrote long ago because his words, even now, simmer and slam with truth and beauty; he is just so damned wise.
Damn Thirsty
The fish needs to say,
“Something ain’t right about this
Camel ride –
And I’m
Feeling so damn

The image of a fish trying to ride a camel hits homes. How much I have done in my own life that feels just like that – me being or doing things that match up with what I think my family and the world wants me to be, actions in sync with the way my external body happens to look, but that felt alien to my own innards, my own dreams and the deep stirrings of who I really am. The lesson I take from the last year is that my insides and outsides simply must live in harmony.

I have always been intrigued with the synchronicity that our unconscious minds ignore but that are right in front of us if we tune in. This morning, after several encounters with “orange,” I finally paid attention. I had an orange for breakfast, chopped up the orange flesh of a butternut squash for a dish I am making, and just changed my Facebook to an orange-hued frame. “What is this about?” I wondered when I realized the orange-tinged theme that was coloring this nearly moonless Sunday morning.

I immediately went to my chakra book and was thrilled to be reminded that orange is the color emanating from the second, sacral chakra. Part of my healing work has involved a much deeper tapping into this body of mine. Learning the places inside my body where grief grabs hold hard and refuses to let go; I have taken on these areas with meditation, yoga, and a much deeper tending of the type of foods I am using for fuel.
It is the Sacral Chakra that associates with the color orange or red-orange, that area just below the belly button that is paradise central, holding the magic and mystery of female sexuality and generativity. As the book told me, “This chakra often offers us the opportunity to lessen our “control issues” and find a balance in our lives…making changes in our life stream through our personal choices…maintaining a healthy yin-yang existence.”

All this orange, to me, is a great sign of life force beginning to again flow through me. I imagine a bright orange light emanating from my pelvic region, alive, pulsing, compelling me to create, breathe, sweat and live. I have been “so damn thirsty,” but am clearly making progress in taking in what I need to sate my thirst. I am a fish that has finally jumped off that camel, and gotten back into the pool of life that sustains. Today, I am going to eat one more orange, blend that butternut squash with pungent herbs and spices, and prepare to light one more candle, on what will be a moonless February 21, in honor of my brother, whose death is serving to move me toward a much more authentic life.

By Jacquelyn Jackson

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