Located at the base of the spine, the pelvic floor, and the first three vertebrae, the root chakra is responsible for your sense of safety and security on this earthly journey. The word Muladhara breaks down into two Sanskrit words: Mula meaning “root” and Adhara, which means “support” or “base.”
Simply, the foundation.
To say I have been in survival mode for the past couple of months is dramatization of a strict routine ruled by weather and finances. Eat, sleep, and pay the rent. Every penny is counted (2.01 for a super small coffee), every minute is dedicated (can’t skimp on my 130 minutes of netflix a night), and I officially live by the bedtime feature on my phone (10:15pm reminder).
Writing this now, I even just realized that I cannot be alone on this. It’s the winter, none the less, we are cold and desperately trying not get sick. I mean, what if we actually had to take a SICK DAY? Nobody can afford those, anymore. Winter, you are something else. And New York too, goddamn, you’re tough.
During the last few weeks I’ve cried over a 9-5 survival job more than any grateful person should, counted just enough quarters to dry the last batch of laundry I could afford, learned how to set a mouse trap, and bring up the subways so effortlessly in everyday conversation with every other New Yorker. How quickly we get accustomed.
I’ve read books to go back. I go back to the days when Puerto Ricans fled to New York (Brooklyn to be exact) to have light, running water, and work. Go back when the Incas and Andeans who lost their land, but not their teachings. I also talk to my grandma. She tells me how easy it would be to make mofongo (after I buy a pilón, claro) and how she used to go to Prospect Park all the time, over 50 years ago….
That’s about the time, they were learning to survive to. From New Jersey, to New York, and back to New Jersey to raise a family and work their asses off. That’s where the foundation began. Merging Puerto Rico into an American way of life. My parents merging their Latin AND American values into our American Dream household. How I’ve been surviving? By trying to get to the root of where it all began.
I want the rice and beans to fill my protein deficient body, the bread to keep me full, the local squash and potatoes for that sweet nourishment I crave, sugar and coconut oil to for the cravings of my skin, classic salsa to keep my mind dancing when my body is too cold or tired to do so herself, and the New York spirit, because even when you have exhausted me, the reminder of fucking doing it, is still with there.
Rooting down with my culture and vegetables, surviving the winter months by keeping a roof over my head and my head out of the clouds, for once, I built my foundation. Lonely nights were filled with projects of dim lights and candles, perfect for cozy productivity in bed. Counting quarters taught me the value of accessible nourishing foods, not just for myself, but anyone who gets hungry. Subway rides gave me not space, but opportunity to go deeper, through the words of those before me.
This is how I root. Making my home in New York, with experiences I couldn’t have anywhere else, I dig my feet a little deeper, making sure I may extend my hunger, heart, arms, and mind ANYWHERE else, but with feet on the ground. In case you do need to go back to basics, the foundation will always be there.