30 March 2011

Root Chakra

Photo from Spiritual Healing Portal
The first chakra, also known as the "root" or "base" chakra because of its location at the base of the spinal cord, is called Muladhara in Sanskrit. With four petals on its lotus symbol, the root chakra governs the physical aspects of the body. It helps us to properly ground ourselves and it inspires practicality and a love of life. The root chakra is associated with the color red, a good thing to remember if you (like me) are into color therapy.

When the root chakra is balanced and open, we feel receptive to others and we take good care of our minds and bodies. When the root chakra doesn't receive enough energy or stimulation, we feel doubtful, listless, and unworthy of love. In a relationship, we are clingy and possessive. This chakra is linked to lower back pain, gynecological problems and a weakened immune system.

So how do we open, or balance, our root chakra? For aroma therapy relief, try burning sandalwood or patchouli candles. For color therapy, try to add a little bit of red to your outfit each day. For gem  and crystal healing, try carrying around a ruby, red jasper, or obsidian. The key is to focus on activities that help ground and center: cleaning, planning schedules, and gardening are some good examples. Walk barefoot to help bring yourself closer to the earth.

If that doesn't sound very fun, you can try mantra repetition. Maybe you won't believe in the mantra when you first start, and that's okay. As you speak aloud the mantra several times each day, try a little more to believe it with each repetition. Some key affirmations for the root chakra are:
  • "I am here." (Physically, mentally, emotionally, and in the sense that you want to be here)
  • "I love life." 
  • "I am open to the spirit of life."
  • "I am a part of the earth." 

29 March 2011

Song of the Day

Christopher Paul Stelling
"The Museum Vs. Jesus"

28 March 2011

the burden of showing people who they really are

i see myself in an owl
     with pink felt fur and flower eyes
and tiny hearts etched into
     the backs 
               of his ears and on his belly, 
                           charcoal squiggle lines
he presses his orange wings tight 
to his downy chest, his beak dipped and round
like the top half of an exclamation point
                                          he carries a mirror
                       buried in his spine

24 March 2011

Inspiring Each Other

After reading a copy of my self-published poetry book, An Unfamiliar Ache, one of my old high school friends Daisy Tan made this drawing to keep on her wall to represent her renewed vigor for life. To me, the poem represents longing and loving someone (Todd, in my case) with so much honesty and fervor that you hope they'll stay with you for as long as possible, since neither of you can live forever. 

When Daisy sent me this drawing, though, I thought about the poem in a new way. We don't only have romantic soul mates; our lives are intertwined with the energy threads of everyone around us, especially the friends we make and choose to open our thoughts and hearts to. And in that sense, too, I hope that I can create lasting friendships that will never die. As Daisy wrote to me, "Whether it be to a person or to a cause, let us live passionately."

And I think living passionately is the most important thing we can ever do with our lives. 

(Side Note: Please purchase my poetry book if you can spare the funds! Or, if you want a signed copy, contact me directly at chris.doka@gmail.com and I'd be happy to arrange something with you!)

23 March 2011


Since Wednesdays are supposed to be my New Age posting days, I've decided I'm going to start a Wednesday chakra series. I'll introduce you to chakras and, over the next few weeks, give you a little bit of information about each one. I know a lot of readers are probably going to be skeptical about chakras, but give these posts a chance anyway and, even if you don't believe in them, hopefully you can at least learn something about them. 

Photo from: http://www.seeingthelight.org/?tag=chakras
The word "chakra" comes from the Sanskrit word for "wheel" or "disk," representing the supposed shape of the six energy centers of the body, located in the spinal column and branching out from there. Each chakra, represented by a different color, manages a different type of energy - physical, emotional, mental. New Age practitioners believe that the chakras can be "balanced" so that they are all spinning in the same direction at the same time. When a chakra becomes imbalanced, physical symptoms begin to manifest from the inner energy turmoil.

22 March 2011

21 March 2011

Website Review : Test

I've recently become aware of a website that gathers together links for different kinds of tests and information about them, ranging from the Myers Briggs personality test and computer firewall testing to questions about pregnancy tests and when one should take them. The idea of the website is a good one; a collection of test links is a good resource for any person to have, and especially for someone like me who is addicted to taking online quizzes (especially compatibility tests and the ones that are like which type of fairy would you be if you were living in a fantasy realm?). In execution, however, the site leaves much to be desired.

I like the simplicity of the site, beginning with it's title "Test" and the small side description stating "Test Information." At the outset, the viewer isn't overloaded with too much information and there isn't any self-promotion that's going into the website. To me, that's important. When a website focuses too much on self promotion and not enough on content, it's a definite turnoff. Although the graphic beneath the title - a man walking along an empty road - doesn't directly relate to testing, it works in this context because it creates a subtle statement of every person's individual search to answer questions about themselves and their lives, which is exactly what all of these tests supposedly help with.

After the graphic, though, the entire site loses the effectual and simple approach that drew me to it. All of the different types of tests are listed below in 25 rows, each containing roughly two to four different types of tests. Each type is a link, and when you click on it, you're taken to another list of links, these more specific for the type of test you've chosen. Although there's some semblance of categorization among them, it takes too much scrolling to find exactly what you're looking for and too much repetition among the entries. For example, the words "personality test" appear more than 5 times in different places. In my eyes, this takes away from the legitimacy that the site has thus far garnered. 

This resource, which could be incredibly useful, would greatly benefit from increased organization, perhaps forming concrete lists for each test. Under "Speed Tests," for example, the creators could list the different types of speed tests, such as internet connection speed or typing speed. Information about each kind of test would also be useful, in order to capture the interest of a casual browser who isn't looking for anything in particular, but only looking for a link that seems worth clicking. And with some modification, "Test" would definitely be a link worth clicking.

Link: http://testpi.com/

Spring Tanka

Lately I've been trying to experiment with the English-language version of the 5-7-5-7-7 Japanese tanka. In the first two lines, the aim of the tanka is to describe an experience and its image in concrete terms. In the following three lines, the goal is to portray the feelings and thoughts of that moment. Although the English-language tanka can break the syllable count, I'm going to try to stick to it in my attempts and use it as a starting point for today's attempt:
my boyfriend's arms wrap
around the budding elm tree
     that passion will last
     through all our days together
     at least, i really hope so


15 March 2011

Song of the Day

Noah & The Whale - "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N." 

I'm going to see this band in concert on March 22nd with Todd; I'm expecting that it'll be a fun time. I'll post a review of it here afterward and share the experience. I think all of their songs have important messages, not always spelled out as simply as this one. But this one, in particular, makes me feel alright about my life, which has been turned a little bit upside down lately. It reminds me that something will always happen next if you just let go. And I think letting go is a lesson that everyone has to learn sometime.

14 March 2011

Writing Short Stories

I used to abhor short story writing; there weren't enough plots and subplots and the page limit filled me with anxiety. But recently, I've decided to try my hand at writing some short stories, and although I've only got one or two so far, I'm going to persist with it. If you have any tips on writing short stories to share with me, please leave me some comments! 

For now, I'll post the first paragraph of a short story I recently wrote to whet your appetite: 

"The road wasn’t on the map but Gale Kringlebot, of the wealthy Manhattan Kringlebots, walked along its dusty, bumpy spine. His brown cowboy boots jangled loudly - a result of the gleaming silver spurs on their heels - and bit into his pinky toes. His normal New York stride slowed to a wincing teeter as he tried to walk on the inside arches of his feet to take the pressure off his last little toes.  The nostalgia that constantly ricocheted around in his chest hit especially hard as he thought about the black alligator-skin shoes he would be slipping on right now if he were back in the city, instead of here, in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada.  As he stumbled over a rock camouflaged by the dusty red dirt swirling up around him, Gale nearly cursed – “Son-of-a-!” - and vowed to talk to his father about the ill-fitting boots; his father would see to it that the shoemaker’s reputation plummeted like the stocks he was currently advising investors to hoard up fast, before they took to the rebound."

07 March 2011


the staircase of the old house groaned when the elderly inhabitant passed
over its threadbare carpet smelling of lemon juice and licorice sticks
it watched her feet as it always did
her toes now trembling in her blue slippers the way they
wobbled tiny and pink with a baby's first steps or when
she broke three metatarsals in her foot 
her usual dancer's step fractured 
like the panes of a Tiffany stained glass window
her footstep pattern sunk into each stair
the grooves of her grip on the banister 
marked time more accurately than than the tree rings
of the giant redwood 
sanded after being stripped after being carried out
after being hacked down in the forest
that the staircase can no longer even vaguely recall
its only memories are not its own
the stickiness of childhood tears 
now a mere occasional creak
the swish of a companion footfall 
now faded to a whiff of salt and antiseptics
and when the aged slipper stops teetering along the ridges of its spine
the staircase will wait 
for the scents buried in the wood to hush
with the neighborhood's renovation and gentrification
the staircase will cling to its memories but will forget
a little more of its life with each passing year
until it is redefined by gleaming metal teeth 
and machines in a factory that have now replaced the men
whose hands first gave the wood its meaning 
perhaps those men would have thought twice
if they had known the loneliness of living forever

Weekend Roundup

Check out some photos from the restaurant "Butter," where Todd took me for a belated birthday dinner. It was probably the nicest place I've been taken, and the entire meal was incredibly delicious!

03 March 2011


a stained glass window pane
of blue-pink forget-me-nots
and a cryptic dedication inside
a book only 11 people bought

some plastic-swaddled poetry
buried on a closet's top shelf
and a glowing snowflake that
is starting to lose its shine -- 

     like little ghosts in a town of silver we flee
     and abandon each other to a lifetime being chased
     by memories that continually chomp away our paths
     until we're left spinning in circles, no hands no heads no mouths
     just words hanging in the air
     we shouldn't have done that

02 March 2011

Song of the Day

Since I didn't post yesterday on Entertainment Tuesday, I'll just recommend a song today instead. You've probably heard (by now) Mumford and Sons on the radio, since they've been getting some play for their song "Little Lion Man." But here's another of theirs that I like just as well, if not better:

"Dustbowl Dance" by Mumford and Sons

Writing Woes

There are plus and minus sides to every story, I suppose. And life is just as much a story as any other. So here are my plus and minus sides.

PLUS: My family and friends love and accept me. I have a wonderful boyfriend. I am employed part-time and making some money. I have applied to graduate school creative writing programs and am trying to pursue a path that makes me happy.

MINUS: I've already been rejected from one of the four graduate school programs I applied to, and it wasn't even one of the tougher ones to get into. I can't get it together enough to write poetry lately. I'm low on time and inspiration, and I might not have anything to read for Friday's monthly poetry open mic.

I guess I should go try and write something instead of lamenting about it on my blog, huh?