An exploration, an inquiry: having lived seven decades and entering my eighth, how has my life-force moved through my seven chakras?

Chakra: in ancient Sanskrit, chakra (pronounced with a hard “ch” like chime and a rolled “r”) means “wheel” and refers to energy points in our bodies. The seven chakras are thought to be spinning, unseen disks of energy. The chakra energy centers are aligned via the Sushumna Nadi up and down the center of the spine and rotate freely without blockage for optimum physical and emotional health and well-being. The practice of Kundalini Yoga works to keep the spine open and flexible for life’s full expression and to develop awareness about our subtle/energetic body.

Birth to Ten Years: 1951 – 1961
The First Root Chakra: Muladhara means Base of Support at the base of the spine. The qualities associated with this chakra are grounding, stability, security and support.

My earliest memory: I am 4- 5 years old, sitting on Grandpa Winn’s lap. He is teaching me to tie my shoes. I feel secure and loved. I start school, I feel different from other children. I want to stay home and play. I hate school. I have a dark secret…I like other boys. My grounding base of support are my parents, sister, cousins, aunts and uncles. I feel seen and loved. I am learning to depend on myself and continue to contemplate I may be the only little boy in the world who feels this way. I search for some kind of higher power to help me.

As a child what were your fears?

 

Ten to Twenty Years: 1961 – 1971
The Second Sacral Chakra: Svadhistana means Inner Dwelling Place at the reproductive organs. Qualities associated with this chakra are fluidity, receptivity, creativity and pleasure.

I am drawn to God, even at ten years old. I still think I may be the only boy growing into a young man who is attracted to the same sex. I have a girlfriend, we have sex. At the end of this decade, I discover my full sexual expression with another man. I am 18 years old. It is indeed an inner dwelling place. I am creative, perceptive and learning to explore life’s pleasures. I am curious about the world and other people. Singing is my creative passion and the way I most honestly express myself. I am developing a higher sense of intuition.

What were your first sexual experiences and how did they impact you?

Photos from Decades: One & Two

Twenty to Thirty Years: 1971 – 1981
The Third Solar Plexus Chakra: Manipura means City of Gems at the solar plexus, our core. The qualities associated with this chakra are vitality, determination, conscious action and divine will.

College graduation arrives. I am in West Berlin, I enter the world stage as a performer: full of vitality, determination and very much connected to a higher power. I observe myself and others feeling connected and disconnected at the same time. I travel seven years through Germany, England and the west coast of the U.S., performing without a permanent home, moving from one hotel to another. I have no sense of place or home because we are always traveling. Our contract is canceled in a Nevada casino, the owner”s girlfriend suspects my homosexuality. I retreat to the closet for the remainder of the decade. I am living out the heat of the solar plexus. I am not living my authentic life.

When have you felt the power of your gut? How did you act on it?

 

Thirty to Forty Years: 1981 – 1991
The Fourth Heart Chakra: Anahata means Unstruck/Unhurt at the heart center. Qualities associated with this chakra are love, compassion, empathy and forgiveness.

Throughout this decade I find connection. I experience love and all the positive and negative emotions associated with love. My heart is broken. I feel abandoned and learn some of life’s biggest lessons: self-love, self-compassion, empathy, forgiveness and
ultimately self-acceptance.

My sales and executive career flourishes. My personal life spans three relationships. My life feels compartmentalized: a kind of don’t ask/don’t tell experience. For the first time I truly embody the metaphysical truth that my consciousness is like a radio station. I am continuously broadcasting my thoughts, feelings, impressions, intentions and I receive signals of like value.
I come roaring out of the closet. It is 1988 and another anti-gay ballot measure appears on the Oregon ballot. I am making that long 18-inch journey from my head to my heart.

When has your heart been broken? How did you grow?

Photos from Decades: Three & Four

Forty to Fifty Years: 1991 – 2001
The Fifth Throat Chakra: Vishuddha means Purification at the throat center. Qualities associated with this chakra are communication, expansion, discernment and purification.

AIDS purifies my spirit. The first two years of this decade are a deep dive. I feel it is work for my soul and this pandemic is way beyond the effects of my personality. I explore my own internalized anger and homophobia. My partner dies of AIDS. It is
1993.

In 1994, I meet the love of my life, Richard: honest, hard-working, passionate, fun, loyal, kind, generous, supportive, opinionated, a natural leader, charismatic, curious. I could not have recognized those qualities in Richard unless I owned them in myself. We are now in our 27th year building upon this foundation.

When and how did you find your authentic voice?

 

Fifty to Sixty Years: 2001 – 2011
The Sixth Third Eye Chakra: Ajna means Wisdom between the brows. Qualities associate with this chakra are intuition, wisdom, clarity and vision.

I am now connecting more with my wisdom body. Aware of my internal guidance system, my intuition, mental clarity and vision are the benefits. I begin performing again. I am in touch with the deeper and more vulnerable parts of myself. I communicate easily with others and approach life with a fearless attitude. I put myself back on stages. There is no place to hide. I am aware life is expressing through me. I just have to get out of the way.

When do you completely lose track of time?

Photos from Decades: Five & Six

Sixty to Seventy Years: 2011 – 2021
The Seventh Crown Chakra: Sahasrara means Infinite at the crown of the head. Qualities associated with this chakra are freedom, unity, lightness and joy.

This seventh decade is one of continued growth. I am trusting my own life experience to answer the questions I seek. Losing my parents and the AIDS pandemic in earlier decades highlighted my own mortality and the need to be conscious of the choices I
make. Every choice has a consequence. I had always connected my sexual expression with my life-force. I feel most alive when a bright follow spot hits me on a darkened stage. I love being surrounded by darkness and standing in the middle of the bright
light. It feels as though time stops and I am skiing down the black diamond run. This is no dress rehearsal. I am fully alive and in the present moment.

Time on my yoga mat is more and more meaningful. How do I take what I read, write, study and absorb and apply to my life? My yoga mat is a metaphor for living. Balance and breath, strength and connection, flexibility and insight. This life awareness is of little value if I cannot take the mindfulness, the knowingness, this balance into my everyday life. My students frequently hear me talk about integration. The nanoseconds on our mat when we feel the sense of body, mind and spirit merging. These sacred moments are when we truly experience wholeness.

How do you know when you are living from your highest and best self?

Photos from Decade: Seven

Seventy Years to ? – Stay Tuned
Some yoga philosophers say there is an Eighth Chakra surrounding the body, an ever present energy field.

This new and emerging eighth decade…I accept I cannot stop the passage of time and how gravity continues to affect my body. My singing voice is no longer what it once was. My voice shows me how to accept life as it is. As I continue to age, I suppose it will be the first of many changes, some of which become losses. Right now it is my teacher. My vibrato continues to widen and my ear still hears it. I don’t want to perform past my prime. Although my sexual energy is waning, it is still ever present and I am more in charge.

I look in the mirror and see a much older face with extra skin here and there and the ever-present barnacles of life. As I bend and flex on my mat, I see new areas of crepe skin. I have a full head of pewter-colored hair. My body hair is still dark, although thinning on my legs, another sign of andropause/manopause. Some mornings I get out of bed and my spine is so stiff, it almost feels fused. The Kundalini Yoga kriyas/sequences and the powerful breath work open and stretch my spine for another new day.

My yoga practice enlivens my vitality. I am very strong at 70. This is a new season of life. And one of the most freeing realizations is finally accepting I have nothing to prove. When I was younger, I felt a responsibility to be all I could be and to use my gifts to make a difference. These are worthwhile intentions and, at some point in this last act, we are well served to let some of that striving go.

I have always been a seeker, since my boyhood. My spiritual path has evolved through Christianity, New Thought: Science of Mind/Dr. Ernest Holmes, Buddhism and for the last twenty years, Yoga Philosophy.

I believe more and more in the randomness of the Universe. I am also convinced what I think about I attract. I have no proof of an anthropomorphic God pulling strings from some other dimension or giving God, life-like qualities. This seems belittling to something that remains nameless and unknown. And, still, what is the consciousness that seems to connect us all?

My life has been an out-picturing of my thoughts. We are ALL ultimately connected. Tethered through this life-force we call Prana. What if could truly grasp !the other person represents a part of me?” Would I be more kind? More attentive? More forgiving? More compassionate? Less judging?

With my remaining years, how do I live a life with optimum health, freedom, joy and a deep connection with all that is yet to be experienced? So many sages remind us it is all about being in the moment. More answers I know are on my mat. And I intend to be there every day…until my last day.

My Brazilian massage therapist, Nelson Olivera commented recently, “Rocky, your daily yoga practice makes your body very strong with lots of lean muscle. You may look old but underneath your skin, you are 10-20 years younger!” Head down in the massage cradle, I belly laugh and say, “Yes, this is true and today I am 26 years old and full of wisdom!”

Sat Nam.
Sanskrit translation: “My truth is my identity.”

Rocky Blumhagen

 


 

If you wish to further this discussion about your own process of aging, or how the chakras help create more body awareness, email me at [email protected] or via the Contact Page.

PHOTO CREDITS: Mudras for Awakening the Energy Body – This wonderful set of 40 artful cards features 7 Chakras and 33 Mudras. Each has been selected for their particular ability to focus energy and expand consciousness. With colorful artwork on one side and instructions on the other, these cards are accompanied by a 112-page illustrated guidebook.  Within its pages you’ll find informational descriptions as well as guided meditations designed to support you as you begin to put the mudras into the practice. For more information about these cards, including where you can find them online, please visit Rocky’s Favorites.

“Mudras: For Awakening the Energy Body is a deck and book set that I have had my eye on for months now, before it was even released out onto the market. The production value by U.S. Games here is way high. If yoga, meditation, or Eastern mysticism is of any interest to you, then I recommend that you get this deck.” – Benebell