Holding Your Breath

Holding Your Breath 

Waiting for the shoe to drop

16854815 - funny young woman with colorful air balloons enjoyingSo many people are holding their breath, waiting for the next shoe to drop.  It seems to us that if we can just keep holding our breath then we won’t feel what is about to happen next.  Why is it that we don’t want to feel what will happen next when we don’t even know what will happen?  It is because our minds like to create the most potentially devastating stories about what things mean and how something that might occur might threaten us.  So we live with this lurking feeling of potential threat and we hold our breath in attempt to not feel it.

This holding of our breath is conscious for some people and unconscious for others, meaning you might be really aware that your breath is not fluid, rhythmic, deep, easeful or full or you may have no idea at all.  We often need contrast to become aware of ourselves and our patterns.  This applies to our breathing patterns as well.  If you’ve had experiences in your life where your breath was labored or challenged it becomes really easy to recognize when that is not the case because there is contrast.  However if your breathing has been relatively stable throughout your life you may not yet realize that more expansive or restful breath is possible because you have not yet experienced that something more is indeed possible.  

Breathing occurs naturally.  Air comes in and out of our lungs without us needing to think about it or make it happen.  Yet when this feels like it is not the case, for example if we feel short of breath or the breath feels shallow, there is quite naturally an added survival panic response that results.  It is like throwing more fuel on the fire.  As our anxiety heightens then our breath feels less and less full, the more resistance builds up in our body and the harder it feels to breathe.  Resistance is the primary ingredient that interferes with the natural process of breathing in the first place.  

This brings us back to the feeling sensation of waiting for the next shoe to drop.  When we clench or grip to protect ourselves from feeling something we put our body in a state of tension aka resistance.  Resistance makes everything more challenging including our breath.  Many people are not aware of how much they resist or attempt to prepare themselves against the impact of something potentially bad happening to them.  In fact it is this preparation or “on guard state of being” that is far more uncomfortable then simply feeling the impact of thing we are attempting to not feel the impact of.  

While this all seems rational and we might get it conceptually, particularly if nothing feels super uncertain or turbulent in our life in the moment, allowing ourselves to get it physiologically is another thing entirely.  To convince ourselves to feel the thing that everything in our mind is telling us is unsafe to feel or that we don’t want to feel is the perpetual dance we do with our defenses.  See for most people their defenses are running the show pretty much all of the time.  We tend to not notice this and think that we are in charge and not our defenses if our life seems to be going relatively well and we are in agreement with what is showing up in our reality.  However when our life shakes up a little bit and something arrives in our experience that feels unknown or undesirable we get a front row show to just how much our defenses are really in charge. 

Story of our Defenses

Bridge from concept to direct physiological experience 

perspective of wood bridge in deep forest crossing water stream and glowing light at the end of wooden waysSo you might be asking what is the story with our defenses.  First of all it may be helpful to know we all have them and their job is to protect us from harm.  They develop as mechanisms of survival for this body-mind organism.  Some of our defenses develop when we are really young and are more primitive.  They are more easily recognized as they tend to be more reactionary, emotional or physical in nature.  Other defenses develop when we are a little bit older and are more sophisticated, rational and logical.  These more sophisticated defenses are much tricker because they are based on socially acceptable rules of engagement.  We often think that we are these defenses and it is more challenging to see that our defenses are running the show of our life because we just think it is who we are.  These defenses are also more thought based meaning they are activated in response to memories of past experiences and anticipation of future events.  

Though the job of our defenses is to protect us from harm this comes with a cost.  That cost is fragmentation, separation and disconnection.  We have quite normalized living disconnected partly because we haven’t had a ton of contrast as to what it is to live connected, so disconnection seems normal.  The long term effects of fragmentation, separation and disconnection are far more reaching then any of us might currently realize.  

Bringing this back to our body, physiology and breath we must ask ourselves how we bridge this gap between knowing conceptually about our defenses to being able to move through them and feel the experiences that they are attempting to push away.  The result of this being that we open our system, relax and allow breath to breathe in and out of this body in its full, rhythmic, expansive, vital and deeply nurturing ways.  

If for a moment you think of breath as life, as what you are, rather than all of the rest of the stuff that you identify with, how would that shift your focus and change your relationship to breath?  In seeing that when you create tension patterns based on unconscious and conscious stories created inside of your own mind, that interfere with the movement of breath in and out of your body, what you are really doing is resisting life.  Creating resistance to breath is the foundation for resisting life.  Life is a myriad of infinite expressions and comes with an entire gamut of sensations, feelings, emotions and experiences.  Some of these sensations, feelings, emotions and experiences will feel amazing and others will feel horrible.  There is no real way around this unless you completely 100% shift your perspective to seeing only divine perfection in everything making every experience blissful, which for most people at this stage in the game is not impossible but highly improbable.  Due to this improbability at this current time/space nexus we must cultivate another strategy that will open us to life rather than close us down to it.  That strategy is willingness, self-permission, allowing and inner invitation to feel, sense and experience the entire gamut of whatever experiences show up in our lives no matter how uncomfortable or undesirable they are for us.  

This is a tall order I know.  Yet the only way to the other side is through.  Going through means feeling and experiencing all of it so that none is left out, split or fragmented.  This is how we arrive at the experience of connectedness and wholeness.  We leave nothing out.  We reject nothing.  Through that we arrive at wholeness.  Breath, life, moves in and out of these bodies, free and unimpeded.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Becoming

Becoming 

Making the shift into who you desire to be

VanityYou have all probably heard the phrase: think it, feel it, become it.  Its often used to reference a process of transformation in becoming something that what we desire to become.  We use our thoughts to think it, then our feeling bodies to feel the qualities we want to become, and through feeling it we become it.  When we want to become something anew there is often also a process of simultaneously undoing who we have previously thought ourselves to be as frequently who we desire to be now is in conflict with what we currently think we are.  

Most of us aren’t even really aware of who it is that we currently are and even beyond that. that who we are is a choice.  We don’t realize that we carry many underlying assumptions and hidden beliefs about ourselves that are based on our life experiences.  If fact most all of who we think we are has been based on our life experiences.  How frequently does it seem that our life experiences have just happened to us, particularly early on in our lives when a large portion of our identity is formed, but even continuing through into the present?  Therefore how much do we just assume that this is “just who I am” and not question it or think that we could ever be different?  This is one of the conundrum’s of having lived disempowered and not realizing that we have always been in the driver’s seat.  If we begin to see/accept that we have chosen every single one of our life experiences (this occurs through acceptance of what was/is) then we can begin to see how our identity has been chosen by us.  This is a breath of fresh air because that means we can also choose anew at any moment.

The assumptions we have about who we are also come with a lens of perception.  That lens of perception becomes the filter with which we then view ourselves through.  Meaning say that we have an assumption that we are weak, strong, cold, warm, unloving, loving, kind, unkind, likable or unlikeable, etc. then we experience ourselves as those qualities and we also view our world from that perception of ourselves.  This is quite literally how we “create our reality”.  Our reality is created by who it is that we think we are and that lens of perception than filters everything we see.  This is why if we want to change our reality (i.e. experience of life) we must actually just change ourselves, as reality follows our perception which comes from our sense of identity.  

Final Becoming 

Relinquishing our role identities 

Surreal portraitOne of the ways to bring more awareness to the self-discovery process of who it is you believe yourself to be is to take a look at your roles, and the responsibilities and activities that come along with them.  These are often indicators as to who it is we think that we are.  Perhaps you are a business man/woman, a scientist, doctor, community leader, a father/mother, daughter/son, wife/husband, an organizer or planner, an athlete, outdoorsy, indoorsy, a reader, an adventurist, etc.  Looking at your roles provides insight into who it is you identify yourself as being.

Again who it is you identify yourself as being is how you will experience yourself and the world.  Let’s say for example that you have the role of being a “wife” or an “athlete”.  Often when we take on a role, we identify as being that role.  You think that you are a wife or an athlete and therefore that role becomes part of your identity.  Every role always comes with some level of expectation of how we must show up within that role.  That expectation could be created by us or have been created by others.  Either way if we’ve agreed with ourselves that a particular expectation lives within a certain role, and if we don’t fulfill those expectations, then we take it as a personal deficit.  

The truth is that we are not our roles, nor the responsibilities or activities that come along with them, but because we are merged as the role then when we don’t meet those role’s responsibilities or perform the activities associated with the role we feel bad about ourselves.  The self that we feel bad about is not our true self.  The self we feel bad about is only the one with which we’ve come to identify ourselves as through becoming the role.  To relinquish being merged with our role’s identities doesn’t mean that we can’t/don’t still participate in the responsibilities and activities that come along these roles.  It simply means that we don’t identify ourselves as the role.  The falling away of being merged with any and all roles is what allows you to taste and know your true self, which is beyond any and all roles.  This is the final becoming.  

Simply put the process is this.  Fully accept yourself as you think you are right now.  Investigate your roles and decipher who it is that you’ve created yourself to be.  See how that has filtered your entire perception of life.  Recognize the power of think it, feel it, become it.  Who is it that you desire to be now?  Through full acceptance of who you’ve been there is no longer resistance or incongruence with who you are wanting to become.  Think and feel your current desire of who you want to be often.  Realize that the final becoming is the embrace of all the things you have thought that you are not.  This allows you to realize that you are all and ultimately that you are the chooser/becomer of whatever becomes and not the becoming itself.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal  Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Authentic Caring

Caring Disguised as Agenda 

How do we care without agenda?

man manipulated by cunning woman to make a proposalWhether we want to admit it or not most of us have an agenda to the things that we do and the ways we behave, particularly when it comes to other people.  Agenda can be tricky for us to see in ourselves.  Often it is disguised as caring, but when we dissect it out further we frequently find that our caring isn’t pure.  We discover that we really want something in return for the things we do or the ways that we behave, even if its simply to be talked to, treated or touched a certain way, or to have others love us or show up in a way that we are more comfortable with or desire to be around.  

Anytime we want anything in return for the way that we show up, the things we say or ways we behave, our caring is tainted with agenda.  Though wanting something in return may seem very normal or innocent to us, or even like we are entitled to it, it creates immense underlying and unnecessary suffering for us which we are often not really aware of.  It also creates a situation where we not truly being ourselves.  It pulls us out of our authentic self and we become some semblance of “ourselves” that we’ve learned to be and which we think gets us what we want from others.  Often these ways of being that we’ve learned are so engrained in us that we actually think we are them, when in truth they are just strategies and ways we’ve learned to navigate this world to feel internally safe and comfortable.

There is also often this inherent thing that happens when we care.  Its as though caring activates something inside of us that makes us want to control or manipulate the outcome or circumstances of our caring.  This can be seen in anything from a project you are working on, a business venture, the creation of a family, a book you’re writing, a relationship that you are in, etc.  As soon as we “care” there is this gripping that comes along with our caring.  We unconsciously hold our breath, tense up, and can’t stop thinking about how it will turn out, as if any of those actions will help our caring or the outcome.  This is where our initial excitement or care for something turns into manipulation, control and ultimately agenda.   

Authentic Caring 

Service vs. Slave

little girl bubbleBeing of service is true caring and that doesn’t arrive until you are completely without personal agendas.  This is how you can see/know exactly what will support life rather than trying to “figure it all out”.  Whenever there is a personal agenda you will find yourself feeling like a slave rather than feeling like you are being in service.  Service is simply being yourself completely and participating with life from the fullness of being yourself; sharing/expressing whatever excitement or thing naturally arises.  Service feels effortless and organic even though there is still work and activity involved.  Where being a slave is feeling like you have to do something, make something in particular happen, or showing up in ways that are not authentic to you.  Slavery feels effortful, disempowering and like something that you have to do or else you won’t be taken care of or things won’t work out for you or others.  

Rather than the focus being on what you care about, try shifting your focus onto simply being yourself.  For example say you are starting a project or a new relationship and you feel excitement being engaged within it.  The excitement is evident, but then the idea of the “future” comes in.  What will happen in the future?  What will be the future of this project or relationship?  We often get so ahead of where we are at that we lose contact with the present moment.  We begin to live in a future “idea” rather than where we are now.  Most people are living this way.  This makes us feel heavy, like things are effortful or hard, when really the effort or hardness is just our own manipulation or control of what is.  Things aren’t hard or heavy in and of themselves, its simply our relationship with what is that makes it seem so. We say to ourselves that our caring is motivating us, but really what is motivating us is a particular, hopeful outcome that we have for the project or relationship.  With this we begin to feel like a victim to our own desires and like we aren’t in control, which is why we attempt to control and manipulate everything.  Our focus is not on being ourselves, but instead on what we think we “care” about.  We’ve actually lost touch with caring because we’ve lost touch with ourselves.  

This is also where we drop out of being in service and into being a slave.  We are really being a slave to ourselves yet we think its to our circumstances and situations.  A slave to our own ideas, hopes, dreams and perceived needs to be comfortable and have the illusion of external safety,  security and love.  We give away being our true selves in exchange for our ideas and with this deep down we feel that we are out of touch with true caring.  We may become aloof or feel that its hard to connect with our heart.  We see that most of our “caring” is really an attempt to manage and control life.  We can even give the illusion that we are “on purpose” because we are doing all the right things yet we feel exhausted and unfulfilled.  We are only fooling ourselves. 

True caring is being connected to our hearts.  This is also how we are most authentically ourselves.  With that we no longer need to behave in ways that have underlying self-protective or self-assuring agendas because we know we (and all) are already taken care of and there is no thing we need to manipulate or control, even that which we seem to care about the most.  Trust arrives.  We can then be truly self-less (which is loving self) and truly without agenda (which is loving other) and experience true caring.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Body-Mind-Spirit

Body-Mind-Spirit 

Where’s Spirit? 

Meditation - flower of lifeWe are all body-mind-spirit complexes.  Many of us are aware of the fact that we have a body and a mind.  Less of us are aware of the fact that we have a spirit.  Conceptually it may seem obvious to us that we have a spirit however experientially many of us may not be making direct contact or have direct knowing of our spirit.  In fact often times when we do make contact with our spirit we may experience a few moments of bliss and then our minds comes plunging in trying to make sense of it all or even deny, forget, or flatten the experience of spirit altogether.  

Why is it that even when we have been on a spiritual seeking path for many years that spirit remains an elusive mystery to us in our direct day to day experience?  Why do we continue to attempt to rationalize spirit and put it in some kind of box to make sense of it?  Our minds so badly want answers and want to feel safe, secure and like they know what is going on even when they don’t.  Because we have the tendency to heavily rely on and believe the thoughts that our minds create as the sole reality there seems to be no way around this.  The mind believes that if it can just figure spirit out then it will know what spirit is.  This would be equivalent to the body trying to sense the mind and through sensation know a thought.  A sensation however cannot know a thought, just like a thought cannot know spirit.  Meaning you can’t use your mind/thoughts to know spirit.  Your thoughts can think about spirit, this is called conceptual spirituality and where most spiritual seekers hang out, but a thought cannot directly experience and know spirit.  

Just like the mind can see what might be helpful for the body, which the body can’t necessarily see on its own, the spirit knows what is helpful for the mind (and body) more so than by their independent faculties alone.  Spirit is that next level of ourselves which many of us are waking up too.  Its that intelligence which moves us into alignment and greater coherence once we make direct contact with it.  As our awareness finds spirit, spirit is revealed to us and becomes active in our day to day lives.  What then does it take to bring greater awareness to the spirit aspect of ourselves rather than being so heavily dependent on the body-mind aspects of ourselves? 

Bringing spirit into greater awareness

Beliefs, worthiness and self-commitment

Man with conceptual spiritual body art

In order to bring spirit into greater awareness for your direct experience of it you must first investigate any stories and beliefs that you have about spirit which don’t support your capacity to perceive it.  Our beliefs are our filters.  They color everything we see and thus everything we will experience.  Even if we have thoughts about liking spirit or thinking spirit is real, our beliefs will trump those thoughts.  Many of us don’t even know what we believe because we haven’t ever really investigated ourselves to discover it.  Once we do find value in this self-investigative process we will begin to see ways in which our beliefs don’t support the direct perception of spirit.  If you don’t directly experience spirit at all times you can bet you have some beliefs that aren’t supporting your capacity to know spirit.

Another thing that often interferes with our direct experience of spirit is our sense of worth.  Many of us feel incredibly unworthy of spirit.  Substitute the word divine, God, or love for spirit and you may find some of these unworthy feelings arise.  If you feel unworthy of spirit you will be unable to perceive spirit, or anytime you begin to experience it, you will find some way to deflect or push away the experience.  Often people will go into their head to try and figure things out as a defense mechanism to prevent themselves from having to feel unworthy of spirit.  Allowing yourself to feel the unworthiness, rather than go into your head or flatten out your experience in some way, brings you closer to the experience of spirit.  

Lastly where you place your value and focus is of prime importance.  If you only conceptually value spirit and get some sense of personal identity or validation from being a “spiritual” person this will not lead to the direct experience of spirit.  You must create a hunger so intense inside of you to know spirit.  This is how you will begin to stably experience it at all times.  Until that is your sole value you will find yourself distracted and more focused in your body-mind reference point of self.  

Many will get tastes of spirit, but few will commit whole heartedly to a life where spirit is in awareness 100% of the time.  Without this commitment the value gets placed on other things and experiences which take precedence, and suffering continues as you don’t yet know yourself.  It takes a full-hearted commitment to want to know yourself completely.  When you do you activate the pure potential of life to emerge through you into a myriad of infinite expressions and into this play of forms we call creation.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Your sickness is not your fault

Your sickness is not your fault 

Symptoms don’t mean anything about you

Upset girl feel down having relationships problems“What did I do wrong” is the question we frequently ask ourselves when we are experiencing some kind of sickness, pain or illness in our body.  There is the tendency to blame ourselves for those things that manifest in our physical body, and we go to great lengths to attempt to figure out exactly what is was that we have done wrong.  Often this means losing sleep, feeling tense and confused, and spinning our minds in an attempt to figure it out.  We think if only we could figure out what we’ve done wrong we could fix it.  

The first thing to address here is that your sickness is not your fault.  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain things that would be helpful for you to change in your life, but fundamentally your sickness doesn’t mean anything about you. You are not bad, wrong or imperfect because your body has a particular sensation or is expressing something that’s been labelled illness.  One of the ideas that the alternative health community has made more prevalent in the last 10 years is this idea that your “symptoms mean something.”  Many people have taken this to mean that something is fundamentally wrong with them and they must figure out it is so that they can stop their body from expressing in a particular way.  If they could just fix themselves then they could fix their body.  This erroneous thought pattern sends people into a spiral of self blame and shame about having symptoms and doesn’t bring people closer to healing but instead further from it.  

Instead the idea that your symptoms mean something should only be viewed through the lens of seeing symptoms as a  red light that says hey stop for a moment, pay attention and see what needs to be done differently in your life.  It is not about saying that something is wrong with you or even that you’ve done anything wrong in the past.  Its simply a call for a different way of interacting with life now without any judgment on the previous way you’ve been interacting.  Rather than choosing the endless search for meaning instead ask yourself questions such as “how could I interact differently, how could I show up differently, what is life asking of me now in this moment or rhythm in my life, what is this expression currently perfect for.”  The answers to these questions should flow in naturally, and not be forced or figured out.     

Disempowered to Empowered Health

Feeling bad to feeling good

healing and transformation

Making this switch from “what did I do or what am I doing wrong to make this current scenario in my body happen” to “what is life asking of my now” moves you from a state of disempowered helplessness into present moment empowerment.  From a disempowered state of being you don’t get clarity and you endlessly seek answers to the problems you are perceiving with very little change or result.  In empowered health you realize that nothing was ever wrong and still is not wrong, but instead life is guiding you through these “symptom expressions” to help bring forth another part or version of you that is ready to emerge.    

Only when we view symptoms, pain, illness, or anything in our life for that matter as wrong, do we feel bad.  Feeling bad does not make us feel good or make us healthy.  Obvious point yes, yet many people insist of feeling bad about what is happening to their body, circumstances or situations.  Feeling bad about what is does not promote healing, does not provide the energy we need for our lives and for physical healing, and does not promote us participating in our life in the ways that we desire.  Again I am not saying that symptoms don’t indicate some kind of change is wanting to happen in your life, they almost always indicate that some kind of change is eminent, but its not about self-blame and shame and thinking that something is inherently wrong with you.  

Sometimes symptoms do require extreme measures to resolve in the immediate, particularly if they are life threatening.  I am not suggesting to ignore symptoms when they arise, in fact I’m suggesting the exact opposite.  We all must work with the symptoms that arise in our body in whatever ways feel best to us and our in resonance with our being.  We must all evaluate this for ourselves.  To choose that which feels empowering to us rather than reacting out of fear.  

When you move into an empowered state of being things flow in.  You know what you need to do.  Things seem feasible and possible.  Healing will happen.  Change will occur.  Rather than searching around in the dark for answers you know and that knowing comes from inside of you.  You know what must change, you know who you need to seek out for help and support, it isn’t a guessing game anymore.  The outcome is still uncertain, as that is always a mystery, but the certainty in yourself is there.  You are listening to yourself, your own guidance and your own knowing.  This brings inner peace and calm no matter what outcome ensues.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Claiming what you want

Claiming what you want 

Finding the fuel for change

28365465 - fictional forest hunter girl with bow and arrowThere are a thousand million reasons why we don’t claim what we want.  We think we aren’t worth it, can’t have it, don’t deserve it, are incapable of it, don’t know how to claim it, aren’t qualified, and on and on.  In fact frequently we keep our desires hidden even from ourselves.  We don’t want anyone to see what we really want because we feel shame, inadequacy or unworthy of what we desire.  Often underneath it all we feel that what we desire might un-include us from our groups, friends, families or society.  If we really investigate our relationship with desire we might even find that we have a negative relationship to desire itself.  As if desire is something bad or sinful.

We aren’t really taught to focus on what we desire.  Instead we are taught to “do the right thing”.  Meaning to do what everyone else does and what has been culturally agreed upon and accepted.  Most people are living in this way and they don’t even fully realize that they are not living in alignment or connected with what they desire.  If fact they’ve deluded themselves to whatever degree they’ve been able to that they actually want what they’ve been told they want without ever investigating for themselves if its actually true.  So it gets really tricky to see the truth of ourselves and sometimes the only way that you can notice that you aren’t living connected to your desire, but rather to simply “do” this thing called life, is a subtle sense of low energy.  Other signs are not feeling an aliveness inside, not feeling your heart open, noticing a flatness or dullness or feeling unable to connect to yourself or others fully.  

Really what needs to happen is that you need to begin to see how the activities you are currently engaged in, people/groups you hang out with or ways in which you spend your day to day activities don’t resonate for you.  It may not be that all things, people or activities fall into that category, but if you begin to really honestly take a look you will find some that don’t resonate and yet you are continuing to engage with them. 

Committing to yourself 

Energizing effort

warriorIf you are really honest you should begin to feel a sense of frustration with engaging in those things which don’t resonate for you.  Often what happens is people get to this point of feeling frustration (or sense of feeling stuck) and perceiving the frustration as bad, so they look for ways to alleviate this tension that is building.  They might watch a movie, play a video game, eat some food, drink some wine, have sex, scroll Facebook, etc.  They now feel less tension, but they also have less energy for change.  Alleviating the build up of tension will always drop the energy that is available to you to move towards what it is you truly desire.  

With this drop in energy your consciousness also drops into a state of powerlessness or helplessness to be able to do anything about your own life.  You actually believe that you can’t do anything.  That its just hopeless and quite possibly will just always be this way.  Essentially that you can’t change, and you really feel that you changing is not up to you.  That its up to some external circumstances or forces, and that unless the circumstances (which include your body) somehow magically changes, you’re doomed.  This is disempowerment.  This is disconnection.  This is lack of awareness of your self.  And it fucking sucks.  

Moving from perceiving powerlessness to realizing that you are the one with the power is a tremendous shift in consciousness and energy.  When you are brutally honest with yourself and claim what you want the power arises, the energy arises, the determination arises.  You become unstoppable.  Its going to happen.  There is no longer any doubt or question about it.  Yes there is work, yes there is stuff to be done, but rather than it feeling like draining effort it becomes energizing effort.  Effort which produces what you desire, which is always fulfilling rather than depleting even if the physical body gets tired.  This is the difference between acting from your alignment/desires versus working from a place of nonalignment with self.  When you are out of alignment everything will feel like massively hard work even if its just cleaning out your refrigerator or taking a shower.  When you’re in alignment the focus is no longer on the activity, but on your desire and alignment.  The activity itself becomes a non-issue and your desire the only thing that matters.

Discover what you truly desire.  Bring it into focus multiple times a day.  Speak it out loud.  Share it will people even if you feel timid or unworthy of it.  This will bring it more and more into the field of your awareness and strengthen your commitment to you.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Everything is energy

Everything is energy 

Beyond perceiving meaning

Sacred geometry symbols and elements background. Alchemy, religiEverything is energy.  We have all heard this, but what exactly does that mean and how do you perceive it?  Well the truth is you are already perceiving energy everywhere.  Even though things may seem solid, physical and real to you as you look at and feel them, the truth is that you are really just looking at and feeling energy.  Its simply that you have been taught labels and given things meaning so what you perceive is those labels and meanings rather than what is actually there.  If you suspended all of your labels and meanings all you would see is light (aka energy) because that is what everything is.

Due to the fact that we have all been conditioned to death with meaning since the moment we were born, and most of us seek more meaning because that’s what we been taught to do, we are constantly creating separation where there is none.  Any time that you create meaning you create distinction and thus separation.  Separation equals suffering.  Ultimately nothing is inherently separate, you just keep creating that illusion in your own mind through your incessant meaning making, and thus create suffering for yourself.

Many times when people get interested in energy, healing or subtle energetics, they try to see something other than what is.  Like some other magical thing is supposed to appear to them.  Typically, at least in my experience, this strategy is not helpful.  You are not trying to see something other than what is there, you are just seeing what is there by forgetting what you’ve learned to see.  This may seem like semantics to you, but I assure that it is not.  When we believe appearances we are lost to seeing what actually is, as appearances are simply things we’ve labelled as something in particular.  

I have found frequently that as people go through this awakening of sorts of beginning to perceive what they label as “energy”, that they make it another object.  Essentially what they have done is given some meaning to the “energy” they are now sensing/perceiving and this births a whole set of ideas of good/bad energy or trying to avoid, move, or manipulate energy somehow.  They’ve taken that same meaning based strategy and pasted it onto the more formless aspect of being that is coming into their awareness.  So even though they may be learning how to perceive beyond certain meanings that they have given to things, their stage of developmental consciousness progression has not yet shifted beyond separation.  What I’m saying here is that being able to perceive “energy” in a more formless state does not make you more evolved than some other person who does not yet think that they perceive energy.   What really matters is making the shift in your awareness from perceiving separation into perceiving inseparable unity.    

Your energy bodies

Unwinding and unbinding

Outer space. Meditation.This brings us to your energy body.  We all have multiple layers to our energy body.   The first layer, if you will, is the physical body (which we are most identify as), then a subtle body (which is associated with our emotional body), beyond that a mental/wisdom body, beyond that a soul/bliss body, and beyond that the one body/being or pure awareness.  All of these bodies are accessible and perceivable to anyone, each one begin more expansive and formless then the one previous to it.  The degree of relevance for your journey at this time, and your desire to perceive the various level of your bodies, will determine your experience of them.

The subtle body, which again is related with the emotional body, is often what is waking up into awareness when people talk about being able to perceive energy as if its another object out there.  People often report seeing colors or visions, feeling vibrations or densities, hearing things and the like.  Essentially we might put all of this into the category of extrasensory perception.  It is also not uncommon that as people’s systems unwind tension that they begin to perceive in this way.  The more that we perceive and create meanings and labels, the more our spinal cords and nervous systems respond to those perceptions, and develop spinal distortion/tension/twisting patterns through which then experience the world through.  Those patterns become the filters through which we perceive everything.  We often simply experience this as tension, pain or the inability to fully relax and we really don’t know what else is going on underneath it all.  

Tension patterns keep us more bound, and thus perceiving only the physical appearance/label of things.  As we unwind and unbind, things begin to lose some that seeming solidity that we once thought that they had.  The less that we can create the tendency to label things the more our awareness will be able to progress further into our more expansive bodies.  Its important to remember that no awareness of self or of your various bodies is necessarily better or worse, its all inclusive of the previous layers.  It is however helpful to cultivate a desire inside yourself to experience yourself beyond and beyond and beyond if that so resonates with you, as it is through that desire that the path of further awakening will reveal itself to you.  

So I invite you to explore meaninglessness.  See what it is like to not know what it is you are looking at or touching.  Begin to empty yourself out of all your learned content about what is, who you are, and appearances.  Expect nothing, and that which is already, always there will be seen.  Remember energy/light is all there is, but don’t hold onto that as a concept, simply remember it and let it go.  Recognize that distinctions are illusionary and separation has never existed and you will begin to directly experience and know that world of inseparable aliveness of which you are.    

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, Network Chiropractor Boulder Colorado

The universe doesn’t owe you anything

The universe doesn’t owe you anything 

Getting wrapped up in getting

3401bfa7-75eb-4f7f-8110-b3bb9c606dc2This may come as a shock, but the universe doesn’t owe you anything.  This means your partner, kids, parents, friends, the government, social groups, teachers, mentors, clients, employees, employers, waiters, the school system, doctors, lawyers, other drivers on the road, people walking down the street, the person that scans your groceries, etc., don’t owe you a thing.  How often do we go around thinking and behaving otherwise.  We frequently have a mental disposition (that we aren’t even aware that we have) that systems and people owe us stuff.  That we are entitled for people to either give us certain things or act in particular ways towards us, and when they don’t we feel violated, cheated, or not seen.  Some of us express this overtly and others covertly. 

Ask yourself how you would be today if you really expected absolutely nothing from anything or anyone.  Not even expecting things like your blowdryer to work, your iPhone to turn on or your car to start.  What if you really got that nothing is obligated to work and no one is required to act or do in any certain way.  That nothing owes you anything.  First can you imagine how much gratitude you would have for everything, and I mean everything.  Second can you imagine the freedom that everyone in the world would instantly feel as they no longer feel any obligation to be something other then their pure selves.  Lastly can you imagine how much stuff you would have to release and the amount of surrender to the universe (rather than get from the universe) would be required of you.  

Many people have an underlying and often hidden, sneaky thought structure that is always looking for what it will get out of the universe.  It can be something as simple as what you think you will get by taking a class or going to an event or program.  Or what you will get through a project you are creating.  More complex situations like what you will get by being in a particular relationship with someone or having a family, or what you might get from a new job, business or career.  It all seems innocent enough and yet it sets up an expectation, which is always about what some aspect of the universe is giving you.  What would it be like to simply do things without any expectation of any return in any way whatsoever?  What if our entire planet operated this way? 

Giving to the universe 

From get to give

holding galaxy.jpgIf we put no thought into what we might get from the universe we often fear that our basic and social needs won’t be met.  Yet most of us haven’t really experimented to see if that’s true or not.  We’ve been conditioned to believe that the only way we can have all of our needs met is if we get stuff from things or other people.  What if however there is a different way?  What if through changing our disposition to one of giving to the universe we are inherently supported?  What if this is actually how the universe works and is our ticket out of our survival, lack-based, holding onto stuff, trapped in our lives, mentality?

We’ve all at one time or another experienced that feeling of pure giving.   How amazing it feels.  Like we are just emanating ourselves and there isn’t a single thought or concern about anything else except what we are giving ourselves too.  Its like we step into a magical world and everything else disappears.  Its pure beauty and pure love.  I believe that this is the world that we are all made for and that we came here to co-create together.  We’ve simply lost sight of it and replaced it with all the things we are currently experiencing instead of it.  That magical world didn’t go anywhere, its always still here, but you must act in alignment with it in order for it to reveal itself to you.  Meaning you must put yourself in the mental configuration of giving without expectation for any specific return of any kind at all. This is how you embody the fact that the universe owes you nothing.

I’d put my vote on that the universe does indeed work this way, supporting us as we truly give to it.  I’m not talking about obligated giving (meaning “I have to do this to support myself)”, but a true giving of whatever is needed and showing up for that in whatever ways that we can.  I’d also bet that if we made this shift in mental configuration our lives would be a 100% fulfilling and purpose led life rather than a life full of getting things done.  Don’t take my word for it though, experiment.  I’ve always found that the best proof is through self-experimentation.  Replacing expectations with thoughts of “what can I give to this, how can I contribute, what do I have to share” would radically change your reality, pretty much guaranteed.  

That is what I believe it is to be in true service.  To give and simultaneously be rested in knowing that you are supported by this magical world that you are creating.  When you are here no doubts to this knowingness arise.  Support is freely given as you give.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

The end of perceiving problems

The end of perceiving problems 

Recognizing the truth of what is

asian chinese child watching computerHow many problems did you perceive today?  2, 15, 30, 100?  If you really take a look you might be surprised by just how many things you view as a problem.  A problem can be seen as anything that seems to be wrong, out of place, broken, lacking, deficient or less than perfect.  A better question to ask yourself may instead be, “Did I view everything single thought, action done by me or others, and every single thing that arose in my experience today as perfect?”  If not then you can bet that you perceived problems today.  

We have an epidemic of perceiving problems.  We are conditioned like nothing else to think that something is lacking, missing, broken or deficient.  This creates a state of being of which we exist within of never right, never perfect, never whole, never enough… and it is such a painful existence.  Brittled with suffering which most people have numbed or find ways to numb themselves out from feeling on a daily basis.  We’ve normalized this way of being and think that its just what life is, this perpetual state of problems and wrongness with ourselves and the world.  I’d like to invite the perspective that that might be the biggest lie we’ve ever been taught to see.

So what’s the alternative?  To see all as perfect.  Simply notice that as you entertain the perspective of perfection what arises for you.  What things feel not acceptable or includable in the perfection of all that is?  Notice where you resist to believe it and want to insist on holding something as separate from perfection.  Perhaps it’s the words someone spoke to you, or an action you saw someone take, or a thought that you had about yourself that you didn’t like, or some sensation you have in your body.  Everything, and I mean everything, is part of the one whole perfect beingness of everything regardless of how we judge it.  To think otherwise is to create separation where there is actually no separation.  When you perceive, and thus create separation for yourself, you create suffering and find yourself living in an unkind, unjust, disconnected world.  Again I’d like to suggest that perhaps it’s not the external world that is this, but that all lies within the perceiver of it.   

The perspective of a perfect world 

From separation into unity

15694079 - fresh grass with dew drops close upIf perceiving problems creates separation and suffering than it is only logical that perceiving perfection creates oneness and unity.  Isn’t oneness and unity what most of us “conceptually” want and know to be true on some level yet struggle to make experiential in our day to day existence?  Then why is it when we are shown the way to make unity and connectedness our reality we turn away and continue our insistences and judgments of imperfection, problems and lack?  

In some ways we are really stubborn creatures who want to be right rather than perceive a more absolute truth.  We find a false sense of safety and security in our rightness and also validation of our worth.  Hence we keep our judgments of what we think is right and wrong.  We also don’t much like giving in to something other than what we think or accepting what is particularly when it doesn’t feel good.  So we guard, protect and aren’t honest with ourselves.  In these ways we disconnect from parts of our experience, sometimes alright labelling them as wrong, and other times just gently slipping our consciousness away from them, acting as if they don’t exist and even denying to ourselves that they do.  It’s in this more subtle way that we create separation within our experience.  

To perceive everything as perfection we must also include ourselves.  This is a major roadblock for some, as they may be able to perceive every single aspect of creation as perfect except for this expression which they call themselves.  After all we been conditioned to believe that we are unworthy and imperfect so who are we to perceive ourselves as divine living perfection? Isn’t that up to someone else to decide?  Nope.  Its up to you to decide and choose.  The truth is you are the only one that can change that perspective of yourself.  If you as the perceiver can’t perceive this expression that you call yourself to be divine living perfection you will always find yourself to be unworthy, things to be unjust, and in some way you will project this onto your perceived external physical reality and continue to find wrongness and problems with yourself and the world.  

We are in need of a massive shift in perspective on this planet.  To see things as they are rather than what we’ve learned that they are.  In this way we return back to our original, pristine, clear knowing of ourselves rather than the conditioned knowing and thus create a completely different world and set of experiences for ourselves.  

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado

Loving yourself

Loving yourself 

Unlocking the door to being alive

11613435 - abstract background with hearts.Loving yourself is the answer to every single question you’ve ever asked.  How do I get more energy, how do I have less pain, how do I feel more, how do I heal, how do I experience my soul, how do I know bliss, how do I know what to do, how do I trust, how do I make more money, how do I have the relationship that I want, how do I have more confidence, how do I serve…?   The list goes on.  Every single question that you have ever, ever, ever had comes back to this very easily understood yet less easily applied way of being and existing.  

Why is it so hard to love ourselves?  Why do we feel such unworthiness in our existence?  We fundamentally know that we “should” love ourselves and that loving ourselves is the key that unlocks the door to being alive and yet we don’t choose it.  We judge ourselves, blame ourselves, think we should be different than we are, worry that we are imperfect, that we’ve said or done the wrong thing or that we will, that we won’t be enough.  This can come out directly towards ourselves or we can direct/project this onto others or onto our situations and circumstances in life.  Either way the root is the same.  Something about us (or existence) is unlovable.  

Most of us have become masters at trying to get love and then pushing it away once we begin to taste it.  Personal relationships are a fertile ground for this type of behavior.  We so badly want love from another and yet simultaneously can’t receive it when its given.  This can also show up in wanting acknowledgement or reception by others of our work or something that we create.  We want the reflection of love through receiving attention yet when we get the slightest amount of that attention we feel uncomfortable, like we don’t want to be seen.  So this is the paradox of wanting to be seen and yet not wanting to be seen.  Wanting to be loved yet not feeling worthy of it.   

Return to Love 

Unloved to Loved

12635267 - hart graphic backgroundUnlovability is the root of all pain and suffering.  I believe it to be the primary root of most all sickness as well.  This is good news because if being unlovable is the root then the cure is evident and found in your return to love.  How do you return to love?  It begins with the seeing of how it is you have not been able to love yourself.  You must turn and look towards your unlovability.  Acknowledge just how hard it is to fully and unconditionally love yourself.  Looking at where you push love away in everyday situations.  Perhaps you can’t accept a compliment, maybe nothing you do is ever enough even if it was done well, maybe you don’t let yourself stop and rest because people “need you” so you must show up or you won’t have or accomplish enough, perhaps you can give love but feeling it directed towards you creates a feeling of shutdown or separation.  

Rather than keeping yourself in the dark be willing to look at how you push away and resist love.  It takes courage and yet you can do it.  The amount of light you can emit into this world is directly correlated with how much love you can receive and know yourself to be.  When you know yourself as love it is the end of figuring anything out.  There really are no more questions at this point, at least questions that come from lack and unknowing.  The only questions that seem to arise are those that are in direct connection with your already knowing state of self.  Its like asking a question but already knowing the answer simultaneously.  

When you know that you are love you can serve no matter what.  No insecurity or doubt in self arises about what you are capable of or what you should do.  You become a pure vessel and transmission of God/light and true giving arises.  You are no longer giving to others or creating out of lack of worth of self and trying to prove your worthiness to get validated or your safety needs met.  Instead you simple give because that is what you are.  There is no agenda.  It is not about self-sacrifice or being a martyr as those things come from the perception of lack, but instead about simply giving as the abundance that you know yourself to be.  Nothing is unsolvable and everything is seen as love.

Being rested as love is the most energizing and alive state of being.  The boundless freedom of you is experienced.  You no longer need anything from anyone or anything.  You know yourself, accept yourself and realize that you are love.  You can’t not see everything else as that for love is the fabric, the substratum and the essence of all of creation.  You included.  You are loved.  You are love. 

Dr. Amanda Hessel, Chiropractor, Network Spinal Analysis & Somato-Respiratory Integration, Boulder, Colorado