Passion for Life

  1. Body Voices
  2. Lost in Thought
  3. Grounding Your Self
  4. Centering
  5. Passion for Life
  6. Sacred Sexuality
  7. Self Awareness
  8. Compassion
  9. Self-less Expression
  10. The Zen of Insight
  11. Crowning Glory
A New Series—The Body Speaks
voice of body

(In the first in this series of articles, I provided you with a handy little chart that provides the location, description, and characteristics of the Chakras. Use the link if you want to refer to it.)

In last week’s article, we began to look at the second chakra. I mentioned that the Second Chakra area, located 2 inches below your navel, is part of a region that encompasses the lower belly and the lower back.

From a developmental point of view, this “relationships area” rests upon the firm foundation of the First Chakra—the groundedness chakra. What’s really important to “get” is the idea that personal, emotional, and relational development requires that you “transcend and include.” In other words, in order to move on, one needs to have mastered each level. Once you are grounded you have the stability to engage in meaningful and stable relationships.

swirling energy

Passion is as passion does!

This week, we look at passion for life. Metaphorically,

passion for life is located at the lower back

—from the waist down, excluding the sciatic nerve pockets.

2nd chakra from back

Contained within this region is the sacrum, the triangle-shaped bone that is just above the tailbone. It is not for nothing that the word sacrum derives from the same root as the English word sacred.

We might take from this that we are built in such a way that we ought to see our life’s work—our vocation—as both sacred, and something to be passionate about.

It is to this sense of sacred passion that we turn our attention.

As we use this series of articles to take a tour through the body, it is important to remember that our goal is balance.

Here’s a weird thought for you.

In the case of the back pelvic region, the balanced state is full bore passion for life.
Given how emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually “dead” most people are,
this seems almost impossible.

Some weeks ago, I wrote that our societies, through socialization, attempt to “normalize us.” I think it’s a bit more insidious than that. When you think about it, people who are compliant, docile, and calm—to the point of boring—are also the easiest to manage.


Society does love its sheep.

Most people are familiar with Thoreau’s famous quote,

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.”

Passion scares “society,” and passion scares us. We think of those who have been considered creative geniuses, and part of us thinks that their genius hovered on the edge of madness—think van Gogh, Gauguin, Picasso.

Mostly, when confronted with passion, we’d like to see it dialed back.

What I’m suggesting, and what I’ve seen in Bodywork, is that our passion for life, or perhaps better put, the thermostat for our passion for life, is set way too low. We think “semi-numb” is normal.

choose your passion level

I am really wondering what the world would look like if “normal” was
closer to van Gogh than Elmer Fudd.

Let’s take a moment to talk about balanced Yin and Yang. The first, and perhaps the more obvious distinction is between the left and right sides of the body—the left side being Yin, the right side being Yang.

As we think about passion for life, level hips indicate the perfect balance between Yin intuition and Yang effort. That’s just one example. In other words, passion for life requires both

  • an internal, intuitive, emotional YIN component, and
  • a practical, thoughtful, rational YANG component.

Here’s another important Yin / Yang comparison. The front of the body is Yin, and the back of the body is Yang.

You could say that the back of the pelvic region, which is the home of passion for life, must be enacted, or externalized.

The front of the pelvis is Yin, and is the home of sexual passion, which must be internalized, absorbed, and shared. We’ll talk more about this next week.

Let’s return to passionate living, vocation, and sacredness.

Passion for life means living out your vocation. I suspect that most of us are aware that at some point in our lives we had one or more “burning desires.” As I said regarding socialization, our parents and tribes want such “burnings” to somehow be inoffensive, so that we can fit in.

For most, our passions and desires were something our parents teased us about—and if that didn’t discourage us from stepping out of the norm, some gentle or not so gentle form of repression was applied.

Parents have dreams and aspirations for their kids, and those dreams and aspirations are framed by the lifestyle and culture of the parents. Most parents freak out when they see the kinds of things that their kids are passionate about—that “turn them on.” So they do what they can to force the kid to fit in. They suggest that the thing that they’re passionate about is just a passing interest, or a hobby. Or they declare it off-limits altogether.

Kids don’t know any better, and actually listen to their parents, so they learn to tighten down and block their passion. From a Bodywork perspective, this involves freezing the pelvis, and tightening the muscles that are just above the pelvis.

the bump

Shake it ’til you make it!

And, of course, it is so that Westerners are reluctant to move their pelvises at all.

I remember a trip Darbella and I took to Jamaica, and as we were walking to our room, the bellboy kept saying, to both of us,

Mon, move your pelvis! You so tight! Walk like this, mon!”

The key to overcoming blocked passion for life is twofold: physical, and mental.

The physical side is about loosening the back pelvis through movement, exercise, and Bodywork. You might also say that the physical side includes actually doing something with your passion—as with an artist, you have to “put brush to canvas.”

The mental side , the Yin aspect, is accomplished by spending time in reflection. Your “passion-o-meter” is likely set pretty low, and you might have even forgotten what used to turn you on. You’re going to need some time to look inside, and to remember.

jimmy c

Building… passionately.

I’m not sure why, but Jimmy Carter keeps popping into my head.

He took a bit of time out to be the president, but really, two of his passions are bringing peace, and serving others. Which is sort of the same thing.

If you watch him now, 30-some years after leaving the presidency, you will see that he’s pretty much on call when it comes to serving his passion.

He’s often out there, swinging a hammer for Habitat for Humanity. And he’s still the “go to guy” for brokering Middle Eastern peace. Despite being retired, if you get the joke.

Here are a few things to try:

1. Bodywork

finger pointing

Naturally. The lower back can be worked on somewhat aggressively, and it’s all about finding tight spots. The key is to apply pressure, on the back, to the top of the pelvis. You’ll likely find sore spots that will yield to pressure.

You can also grip and squeeze the big muscles to either side of the spine, just above where the spine meets the pelvis. I’m not going to get into big explanations here about what all this means — you can read more on the bodywork pages on our website.

What I will tell you is that, as the tightness relaxes, you’ll feel warmth and the sense of a flow of energy coming from your tailbone, and moving up your spine. In Bodywork, getting this energy to flow is paramount.

2. Find a Jesuit!
jesuit with headache

Not you again!!
Sort it out!!!

That’s a bit of a joke, but only a bit. The key is to track down someone who can help you explore vocation. Thus, my tongue-in-cheek Jesuit suggestion.


When I was writing my masters thesis, I used to “dig in” by spending a week at a time at a nearby Jesuit Seminary. I wanted the privacy, the solitude, and the quiet to do some serious writing.

But, hey, it was a Jesuit Seminary — and that means there were, wait for it… Jesuits! Everywhere!

And despite a lot of bad press, most Jesuits are pretty smart.

They are used to talking about vocation. They have tools for exploring vocation. One of their vocations is helping people to find their vocations, if you will. Now, of course, their principal direction, in the past, was to find more Jesuits. These days, they spend increasing amount of times with the laity, helping them to explore their vocation — their passion for life.

Failing finding a Jesuit underfoot, you might choke back your incredulity and hire a life coach — but please talk to someone and find someone qualified. I’m big on qualifications, and a six-month online course may just not cut it.

I can make one or two recommendations, if you ask. Interestingly, I’m not particularly skilled at identifying vocation. I am incredibly skilled at releasing the energy required to fuel vocation.

3. Breathe from Your Belly
learn to breathe

Sure! This time you’re practicing breathing! Right!

Your Second Chakra is located 2 inches below your navel. You want to work at bringing your breath to this place.

The easiest way to learn to do this is to place your hand inside your clothing and over the spot, and then breathe deeply, into your belly. The breath should be deep enough to raise, or move, your hand.

Once you have a sense of what that feels like, imagine that your breath is bringing energy to this point. You can play around with the “how.” Imagine the breath coming in through your lungs or imagine energy coming up from the ground. Doesn’t matter, so long as the energy ends up, on the in-breath, flooding the Second Chakra.

On the out-breath, imagine directing the energy. For example,

  1. When I do Bodywork, I imagine, on the out-breath, sending the energy from my Second Chakra to my hands.
  2. If I’m doing something creative, like writing this article, I imagine the energy moving up my spine and flooding my creative centre, which to me seems to be in my head.
  3. If I’m with someone who needs support, I breathe to my Second Chakra, and then imagine the energy, on the out-breath, flowing up my spine to my heart. From there, I imagine the energy flowing into the palms of my hands—in Chinese medicine this point is considered an “out point” for heart energy. And once it’s there, the easiest way to “pass it on” is to give the other person a hug.

This is a bit of a snapshot of the “passion for life” part of the second chakra region.

For this week, think about creating a masterpiece with everything you do. Continually imagine the fire of passion flowing up your spine. Visualize the sacredness of your life, relax your lower back, and also spend some time moving your pelvis.

I suspect you might be surprised by what emerges.

Make Contact!

So, how does this week’s article sit with you? What questions do you have? Leave a comment or question!

About the Author: Wayne C. Allen is the web\‘s Simple Zen Guy. Wayne was a Private Practice Counsellor in Ontario until June of 2013. Wayne is the author of five books, the latest being The. Best. Relationship. Ever. See: –The Phoenix Centre Press

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