Peeling Oranges

For my birthday, my husband painted our kitchen. We went from standard issue white to Raucous Orange just in time for fall’s brilliant maple show, and just in time to support a major sacral chakra clearing.

The sacral chakra is the body’s energy channel hub just below the navel where we internalize feelings around intimacy and emotional support. It’s where those emotional gut punches hit and is thought to be healed by, you guessed it, the color orange. He wasn’t thinking about balancing chakras, but my husband did, I think, sense that his gesture would be appreciated. It was an olive branch as much as a birthday gift.

At the time, I was experiencing a strange pain in the muscles and ligaments ringing the inside of my pelvis. When I moved, they seized and ached, inflamed. I had not felt anything like it since carrying a beach ball baby. In hindsight, this sensation marked the beginning of a chakra release. Sometimes when we let go of old emotional imprints, we feel it physically.

And we were letting go. My husband and I had recently admitted to ourselves and each other that the creeping gap between us needed to close and we committed to reconnecting. We planned an adults-only getaway, calling our upcoming trip our “reboot.” Hopefulness and affection began to lace our interactions.

In the car one afternoon, my husband casually mentioned that he was looking forward to our weekend away, then turned to me and said with overwhelming heart, “This is all that matters. You, our family, this is what is most important.” There was passion and depth to his hazel eyes, which I hadn’t sunk into for such a long time, and his voice spoke clearly from his soul, not with the hesitancy of mind. I melted from my default position of questioning and defensiveness back into a place of love.

From the broadened view a stance of compassion offers, I grasped for understanding of the tension we’d experienced. I made peace with the polarity of my fiery, analytical man. I developed new empathy for his inability to turn off and appreciation for the many ways he makes our world better. I accepted that the passion I adore is inseparable from the edge that sometimes stings. I finally opened to all of him, and he was waiting with widespread arms.

 We had bought paint on sale a year ago. The cans sat sealed in our cluttered basement. But in the months leading up to my birthday, we both felt the urge to clear out and clean up. We started sweeping through the house, cleaning out drawers, organizing the basement and purging cobwebbed belongings. During this housecleaning cycle, my dreams sparked an inner purge as well. Packed away guilt rose up, and I unearthed patterns that allowed healing.

This tandem clean sweep makes sense. The home is the sacrum of our family, cradling our lives each day. Loving, eating, fighting, playing, working all happen here, and our feelings become imprinted on the walls, fabric and structure of our home. We’d been stagnant, closed off and unmotivated to physically clear our home, and, emotionally, to address blocks in our relationship. Until something shifted. We hit an invisible threshold, cueing us to purify our house, paint walls and welcome new love. One morning, sipping coffee in our orange kitchen, I realized that my pelvic pain had disappeared.

While we still have closets to clean, our weekend away proved a true fresh start and reeled in years of gradual distancing. The turbulence at the surface, the misunderstandings, jabs and indignant hurt, have faded away, illuminated as a figment of a more significant, intimate whole. I see how fortunate I am to have a husband who knows when I need blanketed in orange glow and climbs scary high ladders to make it happen.

Journal Exploration

1.       Where do you currently feel blocks or hindrances in your relationships with loved ones? Do you feel tension anywhere in your physical body when you think about these blocks?

2.       When in your life have you felt unloved or experienced a lack of emotional support? Envision sending love to that version of yourself at that time. How does this practice affect you emotionally?

3.       Close your eyes, and inhale deeply into your abdomen, exhale slowly. After several breaths, envision breathing in soothing orange light and love with your inhale. Continue up to ten more breaths. Note how you feel emotionally and physically after this exercise.