Albeit unintentionally, the creation of this blog has taken me down a path of self-care this year that I am happy to have explored. The NIMH estimates that nearly 20% of adults in America struggle with anxiety, yet there are also estimates that say fewer than half of those that struggle seek any sort of treatment. I’d argue that those numbers are grossly misrepresented and that many more of us struggle with untreated stress and anxiety. In its own way, this blog and the adventures I’ve embarked on in this journey have been my own way of treatment.
Earlier this month, my quest led me to the Wildhair Studios Rock Shop (also sometimes referred to by the moniker the “Nice Rock Shop,” which I’m kind of in love with) in downtown Paducah. Nestled among antique shops, boutiques, and hairdressers at 311 Broadway, the shop provides one of the most unique shopping experiences our city has to offer. Whether you’re in the market for crystals, essential oils, or other homeopathic tools and remedies, the shop probably has what you’re looking for at a reasonable price. Additionally, the staff host classes in meditation and self-care, often charging next to nothing to attend. The latter was the stimulus for my visit to the store on February 5.
On the first Tuesday of each month, Susan K. Edwards, the shop’s owner and Paducah’s very own “chakra khan,” as I’ve come to call her, leads a 30-minute meditation session, and this month, I needed it. According to the social media event posts, the sessions typically teach the art of mindful meditation, but this month, Edwards taught us a new chakra alignment method she had learned at a retreat. I knew nothing about chakras before attending the course, but the information was interesting and certainly has me rethinking how I deal with stress management as I move forward.
Originally part of the early traditions of Hinduism and Buddhism, the chakras are an integral part of ancient meditation practices, as they collect and distribute energies that can, according to those who know far more than I, can become imbalanced as we trek through the struggles of everyday life. There are seven chakras in total, each with its own unique function and purpose.
You can read the chart for yourself, but a brief synopsis is that the root chakra provides the foundation for our lives, while those moving upward in the body each have a specific focus: sacral (creative/sexual energy), solar plexus (self-esteem, pleasure, willpower, personal responsibility), heart (love, self-love, relationships), throat (communication), third eye (intuition, foresight), and crown (connection to higher consciousness and the divine). When they’re out of whack, we might see imbalances manifest as problems in the areas of our lives governed by the chakras.
I was initially nervous to be in a class with folks who already knew so much more than I did, but luckily I was joined by the dearest peach in all of Paducah, my pal Emily, who gave me a crash course before the class started. Additionally, Susan really did take on the chakra khan role, and she was so patient in teaching me things I didn’t know. Aside from the three of us, there were a couple of other attendees who were also really helpful in providing tips to clear my mind to maximize the benefits of meditation. We sat through a 30-minute session being led through steps to help us focus on each chakra, then went on our own “mini-vacation” to a place in our minds. That part, for me, was most vivid and honestly provided a strange sense of calm I hadn’t anticipated before going in. Afterward, we talked about the class, our struggles to focus, and how we could work toward more effective meditations in our lives at home.
If I’m honest, I left not sure how I felt about all the chakra business and powers of gemstones and rocks, but I felt so comforted by being led through the class and being given tools to help turn my mind off for a bit. The first-Tuesday-of-the-month classes at Susan’s shop are free to the public, but a $5 donation is suggested.
Next time you find yourself in western Kentucky, stop by the Rock Shop at 311 Broadway and see for yourself the unique environment. I can’t wait to visit again on March 5. Perhaps I’ll see you there. And, if you’re not in our area, seek out opportunities in your city to find solutions to de-stress. The world is a pretty scary place. Let’s get healthy together.
Until next time…