DARE TO RELAX

DARE TO RELAX 

Move beyond threat

It’s quire ironic that what we tend to want the most we literally have to dare ourselves to try.  Something that is as natural and ordinary as relaxation is often perceived as a threat by our own psyche.  If we let our guard down, rest and simply be then we often feel exposed, vulnerable and like nothing will get done or accomplished.  So rather than choose what we desire, which is a state of rested, relaxed openness, we choose tension and vigilance.  For most people this is their near constant state of being.  Even if they are “non-doing”, meditating or engaged in relaxing pursuits, most are not really relaxed inside of those activities.  In essence most people are super skill deficient at truly relaxing even if they give the appearance that they are.

If you relaxed, or said another way, were just being yourself, people would view you differently.  This is one of the top reasons why we don’t relax.  People, like our partners, kids, bosses, co-workers, friends, and family members develop expectations of us based on what they are used to experiencing with us.  When we change our ways, even if they are more natural ways to us, others may respond curiously or even negatively to you.  They might feel more distant from you or like they aren’t getting their needs met that they are used to getting met by you.  This tends to rock the boat, and because most people want to please or accommodate to other’s perceptions of them for their own safety and security needs, we don’t like to rock our boats.  We’d rather feel a low level of underlying internal tension and discomfort than threaten our relationships with others by being ourselves.  

If this all sounds a bit crazy, it’s because it is.  There isn’t a ton of rationality when it comes to human behavior despite the fact we like to think of ourselves as very rational beings.  We really aren’t.  We are highly emotional regardless of the overlay of functional, competent human.  We also tend to fear that if we relax we won’t get, create, or accomplish all of the things that we desire too.  If we relax then certain things might not happen; things we want to happen real, real badly.  We tend to believe that it’s all up to us and therefore we have to keep going, going, going on and we can’t relax for a moment less everything we want falls apart or doesn’t come into fruition.  We tend to think that how things turn out is up to us, when really the only thing that is up to us is how we show up to whatever it is we are excited to create.  If we really got that than we would never show up tense again.   

SURVIVAL TO SAFETY SENSATIONS 

You’re in the driver’s seat

Tension is a survival sensation while relaxation is a safety sensation.  Due to the fact that is doesn’t feel safe for us to relax because people might view us different, react differently to us, or we because we might not get, create or accomplish everything that we think we need or want to, we tend to have the experience of feeling a lot of survival sensations.  Survival sensations are tightness, constriction, heaviness, pressure, irritability, anxiousness, held or shallow breathing and general bodily uncomfortableness.  Often it’s hard to sleep, there is difficulty with digestion, and we feel tiredness or fatigue.  In contrast safety sensations occur when we are relaxed, or again said another way, just being ourselves.  Safety sensations are lightness, levity, flow, clear, awake, alert (but not vigilant), bright, ease, allowing, and rested.  We tend to sleep well, digest well and feel restfully energized throughout the day.  

We all know that we prefer to feel safety sensations over survival sensations, yet the pre-dominance for most remains in feeling survival sensations.  What does it take for us to make the shift?  First is the realization or recognition that survival and safety aren’t something that is outside of us.  What I mean is that it’s the inner information that determines what sensations we will experience, not the outer information.  This does take some level of reorganizing the inner information, but the good news is that you are the source of that information.  Through self-awareness and some inner investigation you can fairly easily uncover what information you are creating and informing yourself with, which is thus creating the sensations that you experience.  Through developing mastery in this way, of being fully responsible or in charge of your state of being, you take the reigns back on how you experience life.  Rather than life experience informing you, you inform life experience.

In order to make the survival to safety shift we also need to be fed up with being the victim of anything.  We can no longer believe that life happens to us, but rather must see that life happens through us, for us and for all.  This is a big leap yet it is the leap required in order to generate safety sensations and a sustainable state of rested, relaxed, present beingness of self.  If we choose to keep the perspective that something is wrong, that we were wronged, or that something might go wrong, then we will continue to generate survival sensations.  Not everyone is ready for this type of radical “re-perspectiving”, yet it will create inner, and I believe, eventual outer peace.  

It’s important here to remember to not make the victim perspective in you wrong or bad, but simply see it as it is, accept it, love it and develop/choose beyond it.  It is in the development beyond it that the rested-ness and safety sensations you desire live.  This is not out of reach for anyone.  It is the developmental progression.   In a way it is destined as the natural and organic advancement, and yet the choice is yours.  Your free will in the perspective you choose is yours, at least for now.  At some point all will merge into a larger collective consciousness until your state of being reaches full unification.  For now choose how you want to see and notice the power you have to effect your experience and the world.  

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

UNWINDING NEUROLOGICAL DEFENSE

UNWINDING NEUROLOGICAL DEFENSE 

Dismantling our protection from pain

We’ve all experienced tension.  That tight, constricted, unrelaxed feeling.  Sometimes it feels hard to breathe.  It can come with feeling overwhelmed and like there isn’t enough time or resources available to us.  It can be challenging to discover and feel what we are feeling.  Often it comes with uncomfortable sensations in the body.  Tension is means of protection.  We create tension, and our body feels that tension, in order to protect us from pain, when we perceive that pain might be present or imminent.  The pain, which tension is protecting us from, isn’t always clearly evident to us.  Yet if we investigate we can always find the thing we are attempting to avoid feeling or experiencing.  

Pain can come in many forms.  It can be purely at the body/sensation level.  You might experience this in a car accident or a fall where you finding yourself bracing (i.e. creating tension) in order to protect the body from damage and lessen the impact.  You may also have a chronically painful part of your body.   Often we create tension around that area in order to attempt to not feel the pain as much.  It’s not the tension that is painful even if that is what we think is the source of the pain.  The true source of the pain is often below the tension.  The tension is the means to dull what is underneath it.  Pain can also be felt at the emotional level.  The root of most emotional pain is the fear/experience of being unloved or unlovable.  At the next level up pain felt at the mental levels is often rooted in not being enough, sharing enough or having anything worthy to give/be.  Lastly pain is also experienced at the spiritual level, which is rooted in believing we are separate from spirit/God.  

Due to the fact that most people don’t want to experience pain we learn to create protection or defense from it.  We gear up and create armoring.  This armoring is like a neurological suit that we wear that we don’t even know that we are wearing.  Everything we experience or interact with gets to come into contact with this suit.  The suit is a filter.  It’s not who we are, but it is often who we think we are and also who others perceive us to be.  Loosely you could call this our personality, and it also comes with a particular way we posture our body, talk, walk, think, perceive, dress, eat, behave and the sensations we have or don’t have.  It colors our entire world.  The suit comes with wiring.  That wiring is called neurological defense.  There are patterns and architecture to neurological defense.  These patterns are specifically what Network Chiropractic addresses.  Network assesses for the patterns that are present and helps wake up awareness and liberate energy inside these patterns of protection, so that your true self may be known to you.   

OPENING INTO THE HEART 

Rewriting the nervous system

The true self is the heart.  It is that space or experience of relaxation and easefulness that is joyfully and blissfully present.  It is light and spacious.  It is all inclusive and allows everything inside of it to be as it is.  It is energized and alive.  It is awake.  It sees nothing as wrong.  There is no resistance and we feel just as our self.  Nothing to hide, protect, avoid, or run away from experiencing.  It is that which we are all hungry for and finding our way into in our own ways.  The heart is not just for some people or for some times.  It is for all times and all people.  

The heart seems absent, foreign or mysterious to us when we are in a state of neurological defense.  When we are in protection mode we view ourselves as a subject/object that is independent from other subject/objects.  This is how most beings in the world view themselves and also why there is such a disconnection from the heart amongst our collective at large.  When separation is the predominant perspective than there is always something/someone to protect ourselves from.  Yet when that predominant perceptive changes to non-separation or unity, than protection becomes nonsensical and arbitrary.  

The heart isn’t something hard to find.  Its all pervasive, ever present and never comes or goes.  What does come or go is our focus or attention on it.  When our focus and attention is wrapped up in all the ways we need to protect ourselves to physically survive, get all of our emotional needs met and to satisfy the demands of the stories we’ve learned to tell ourselves about what our life is supposed to be and who we are supposed to be, then the heart is not in our view.  Shifting priorities, changing stories and reconditioning the neurological patterns present in your energetic and physical configuration is required in order to experience life as heart.  

Opening into the heart is closer than you think.  It’s not too hard to find/feel glimpses of it.  These glimpses are important as they start to light up pathways that don’t get lit up that frequently inside most people’s nervous systems.  This is what Network entrainments provide the container for as well.  During entrainments an energetic field is created that is organized in such a way to amplify the experience of heart for you.  While the gentle contacts along the spine help dismantle neurological defense, this field or container of the heart is readily present and available.  With continued tastes, touches and glimpses of this field of the heart, a person can receive and exchange more and more energy and awareness with this field.  The energy, awareness and perspective of heart then becomes the dominant program in your system.  The heart starts speaking louder than the pathways that are fighting for survival and viewing life from a scarce and separate perspective.  This is the progression, the objective and the intention.  It’s simple.  It’s available.  It’s time is ripe.  

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

FEAR

FEAR 

Perception of powerlessness

What is fear?  Fear is the thought that something bad might happen or the perception/belief that something bad is happening in this moment.  Fear often comes with a cascade of emotions and bodily sensations such as panic, powerlessness, unsteadiness, tension, pain or uneasiness.  Fear is almost always found right along side of uncertainty, where the uncertainty is undesirable by the perceiver.  The hallmark of fear is a sense of unavoidable, uncontrollable doom of which you can do nothing about.  A sense of powerlessness to circumstance floods your mind.  The typical reactions to this powerlessness are to brace yourself for potential impact, become apathetically detached or fight it all costs.  

You have all heard the saying that “what we fear controls us” and it’s true.  We give our free will or our power to whatever it is we fear.  It then decides for us rather than us being the decider.  We forfeit our chooser-ship-ness and allow ourselves to be chosen for by the thing out there or over there that we deem as frightening or unwanted.  We do this blindly.  In a way you could call it an act of faith.  Faith in our conviction of powerlessness in which our blind act of handing over our power reinforces.  

Why do we so blindly and obediently give away our power?  Partly because we don’t actually know that we have it.  Your free will is your power.  They are synonymous.  Most do not know or are unfamiliar with their own power, meaning they don’t realize themselves as having free will.  There are no classes in our early educational system that talk about that fact that you are free being, that you have free will or that focus on simply allowing you to be yourself.  Rarely are your natural impulses allowed to be expressed, but instead the opposite is the case.  We are told what to do, where to go, when to be there and how to conform.  Very little if any attention gets placed on the inherent nature of our sovereign, free self.  No wonder we are such a lost and confused society.  We don’t realize our free will because it has become so entangled with the culturally accepted norms of our society.  Often to be in your power, or choosing for yourself rather than based on what others may view as right, gives the appearance of being set apart from them.  There are certain others that may want nothing to do with you if you decide for yourself and it is contrary to how they view.  You may view some of those others as being very important to you.  They may provide for you physically or emotionally, and since our most basic need is connection we will do whatever it takes to not lose connection with others less we feel isolated, alone or unsupported.  This is how we innocently give away the power we didn’t even know we had.   

FEAR’S REMEDY

Knowing your inherent freeness 

Yes you are already free.  In this moment you have all the freedom and free you will ever have, no matter what the circumstances are that are currently showing up on your screen of life.  Your free will has always been intact.  The fact that this has probably not felt like the experience you always have is only simply because you have not realized this basic truth, that you are already free.  You still believe part of you to not be free yet, which means you don’t experience seamless freedom.  You believe you need this thing or that thing, this person or that person, this situation or that situation, and so you manipulate yourself (which includes conforming, compressing or not being yourself) in order to try to get what you think you need or want.  You develop strategy, sometimes very efficient and effective strategy, but there is no trust, only reliance on strategy.  This means you can never truly relax or rest, hence the tension, unease, pain and discomfort of fear prevail in your experience.  

People often view freedom as external, meaning being able to do the things they want to do, live where they want to live, be in relationship with who they want, have their body function in a particular way, etc.  Inner freedom has nothing to do with this idea of external freedom or being able to do what you want or have the things you want.  See if we view freedom as an external phenomenon than all the ducks always have to be lining up in the right rows, and if one one duck falls out of alignment then the system crashes and we are not free again.  This is not true freedom.  Even though many people think that they want freedom, and that they will be free when their circumstances of life line up with their picture of what they think they want, most people don’t actually want inner freedom.  Instead they want the external picture of what they think freedom is. I am not suggesting that you should not have preferences or desires and not move towards them.  I personally believe you should follow those impulses.  Instead I am simply pointing to the fact that freedom does not live inside of them.  Freedom lives inside of you.  How can you be in the worst, most undesirable situation and still recognize that you are free.  That’s true inner freedom.  What would that take?  What would it take to simply be yourself?  It takes only one ingredient.  That ingredient is trust.  Trust in yourself.

I’ve noticed an interesting dynamic over the years.  Despite the fact that many people think that they want to be free, sovereign and realized in their power, in actuality most people really don’t.  They want someone to tell them what to do because they feel so lost and uncertain inside.  They want someone else to direct the ship, to support them, to take care of them, to provide certainty for them so that they don’t have to decide for themselves. They want an authority figure so they can just rest already because they are so tired of being scared and lost.   So much so that they are willing to give their free will up and over for it.   What lays underneath it all is that ultimately people don’t want to be wrong, alone, unloved or unsupported.  These are our greatest fears, and because we are unwilling to face their potential and see through them, we live in the dark and lack trust.  While in the dark we grip to anything that we can, anything that seems to maybe know, because we feel we do not.  Self-doubt is the story we hold dear and remain steadfastly devoted to our conviction in our powerlessness.  To wake up from this all, to stop blindly giving over your free will, you must directly plunge into what you fear most so that you can experiential develop the trust that comes through doing so.  This is not something that will just automatically occur.  You must take an active role in this process to wake up to the truth that there is nothing to fear.  That fear is only a perception, a story and that you can find your way through it to the other side.  

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

Defenselessness

Defenselessness 

Beyond Self-protection

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to live defenselessly.  To not react, protect, prove, rationalize or justify yourself to anyone including your own self.  To become so completely transparent that everything moves through you and nothing sticks, lodges or festers away inside of you.  To be so open that no longer is any ounce of separation perceivable by you.  To no longer be afraid.  

We all have a different relationship to defenses.  Some of us think we need to have defenses so that we don’t get hurt physically or emotionally.  It is after all the job of our defenses to protect us from feeling pain and surviving.  Defenses get activated when we feel threat.  That threat could be to our physical or emotional survival or to our sense of self in regards to how we both see ourselves and others see us. However this all begs the question as to if there is something more than reacting to survive or to keeping our sense of self fixed, and the exploration of allowing the impact of pain rather than attempting to keep it at bay.  

You may wonder why in the world would you allow yourself to feel pain willingly whether it be physically or emotionally.  You might ask, what’s the sense in that?  Feeling pain when it’s present is the number one catalyst to healing, transformation and self-empowerment.  It is also what allows you to come back to into presence and an innerly resourceful, clear state when you feel lost and can’t find home or clarity inside of you.  Feeling pain provides the fuel that moves you into the directions where you’ve been too scared to go.  Pain, or the perception of pain, lives underneath fear.  When we don’t allow the pain that is underneath the fear, then fear runs the show of our lives.  Fear reacts.  Fear can see only a very limited perspective which includes only itself.   

It doesn’t take much of feeling pain to get us either in a state of full acceptance of what is or moving us in a new direction that we must take.  Sometimes people have an idea that they have to keep feeling pain over and over and over and just stay in a painful state indefinitely in order to heal.  This is not advisable or beneficial.  Pain is simply the catalyst or activator into healing and transformation and not what is supposed to become your lived day to day experience.  If you find yourself in a perpetual state of experiencing pain then you are mostly likely stuck in your story about pain rather than actually feeling it or you are postponing an action that you must take and not listening to the message of the pain.   

Defended vs. Closed 

Choosing openness or closedness

Defenses keep things away from us and make us unreceptive, un-influenceable, and un-feeling.  This is because a state of defense is a closed, self-contained state of being rather than open and unified.  There are times when a closed state is preferable and your capacity to discern when this is appropriate is a key factor in your personal and spiritual development.  There is also a difference between a defended state and a purely closed state.  The prime difference is choice.  In a defended state you are reactionary and not in full choice or conscious of your chosen state of being.  Meaning no matter what you try to do you can’t shift from closed back into open and you are often triggered or thrown by what is occurring.  Your reactor or survivor is running the show rather than your chooser and you are locked into the pattern.  However when you consciously choose a closed state because that is what best serves or is preferably by you in a particular situation there is no difficulty in shifting from open to closed to open again instantly and at will.  You are also not triggered or knocked out of your center.  This is because you are aware of yourself and not merged with the situation that is occurring.  This is true self-empowerment and an important stage of development.  

Being defended is the the opposite of growth.  What this means is that in order to grow and evolve, both personally and spiritually, you must find your way through your defenses.  You cannot learn when you are defended, you can only protect yourself.  One of the reasons that we often feel disconnected or that we can’t feel or see what is going on beyond our limited perspective is because we are defended in a closed off state and frequently we don’t even know that we are.  This is why learning how to tune into yourself through your body is such a vital resource in discovering your patterns of protection and defense.  Rather than speaking through words or thoughts like the mind does, the body speaks through sensation, breath, movement and energy.  It is through learning to tune into those aspects of our being that we can begin to discover where we protect, how we avoid and where we are not open or receiving energy or information.  Through this discovery of protection we can begin to make contact with fear, and the pain that is underneath that fear.  Developing the capacity to be present with the intensity of these sensations and emotions is our gateway into healing, openness and unlimited energy.

Defenselessness is our natural state.  Open, vast, receptive, and connected.  It is only because we have taken on forms that we have become identified with that we have developed defenses.  With this we’ve learned to perceive ourselves as separate from and therefore having something to protect ourselves from.  In absolute truth there is no other and on a relative level there is the appearance of other.  Don’t be swayed by the multiplicity of forms and the illusion of separateness that they create.  Look past appearances and see with the heart.  The heart sees but one, feels but one, knows but one.  Stop confusing yourself with the form of this body and come to know yourself deep to and beyond the form.  Here you will experience the freedom of defenselessness.

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

Being with physical pain

Being with physical pain 

Types of pain

There are four primary types of pain each having their own flavor of expression. Physical pain is the most obvious being that of the production of unpleasant sensations in the the body.  It often deeply activates our survival mechanisms and more primitive, reactive brain structures.  Emotional pain is experienced when our feelings get hurt or we feel unloved or unloveable.  This is less connected with our immediate survival and more with our sense of a personal self and inherent worthiness.  Mental pain is the experience we have when we’re trying to force or insist that life to be a particular way,  when we argue with what is and can’t see outside of a limited perspective.  This is often connected with who we are in the world, what we want to accomplish and how we are perceived by others.  Lastly spiritual pain is that which we feel when we tap into the collective at large and feel the suffering of a group or community.  Spiritual pain is the least personal of all the experiences of pain, but it tends to invoke a high desire towards service towards others when felt.

Though none of the pains that we experience are necessarily easy to be with I find that physical pain can sometimes be the most challenging for us. Our relationship with physical pain is such that we feel the threat to our survival through its expression.  Most of us have subtle, or not so subtle, beliefs in place that to allow ourselves to feel physical pain may ensue our demise. Even if our higher brain centers know this is not necessarily the case, the lower primitive survival structures take precedence and rule our reactions.  

Due to the perceived threat to our survival that physical pain activates inside of our psyche we have a higher tendency to protect or guard ourselves from this type of pain.  This creates a hyper-vigilance which activates our sympathetic (fight/flight) nervous system, creates massive amounts of tension and hijacks our awareness.  In this state of being our capacity to recognize that we are not the pain and that the pain does not control us is quite limited.  We feel consumed by it and have lost awareness of anything else.   

Mastering the primitive nervous system

Coming back into connection with yourself

separated by wallUltimately we must become the master of this primitive survival response of our nervous system so that we can learn to be present with physical pain rather than consumed by it.  When we guard against physical pain we wall off our awareness from  that particular location within our body.  Walling off awareness creates a sense of disconnection from that expression.  When we perceive disconnection we feel powerless because the expression is something other than us. When something seems other than us the mind perceives it to be an external problem and often goes into trying to figure out the solution to that problem. This is a rabbit hole without resolve. You will constantly be looking for and trying the next best magical cure.  

When instead you begin to create a connection with this aspect of your self that’s expressing as a painful sensation you begin to realize your power again.  You realize that you can be with this expression too. That you can even move into and towards it rather than away from it.  That you don’t have to protect yourself from it, but rather that you can experience it. 

It is through this and through realizing your power and thus your capacity to work with these sensations that you can come back into oneness with yourself and with that which was previously perceived to be other than you.  This is how all healing happens in every category of pain.  In this way you begin to master those primitive survival responses of your nervous system.  Rather than letting them run the show of your life you develop greater awareness of your self beyond them and with that new options for how you can engage with these painful sensations begins to open up.  With that you stop seeing pain as the enemy that’s overtaking you and you discover how you can work with whatever sensation arises.  In this working together communication happens.  Vital communication.  Communication that is required for all systems to function and work coherently towards a common vision, in this case a physical vehicle that moves with ease.  

All healing happens through connection and coming back into oneness with yourself.  When we forget our wholeness we appear to ourselves to be broken. From the perception of brokenness no healing arises, only further brokenness.  To join with what’s present (even physical pain), rather wall yourself off from it, creates balance, harmony and an optimal environment for you to thrive within. 

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

Consciousness & the spine

Consciousness & the spine 

State of being and your body

spine purpleOur state of being (aka consciousness) is always informing this physical form that we call our body.  On a basic level this means that our tone/vibration/or that which we are, is showing up in manifestation through this body.  Said another way the body is a physical mirror or manifestation of our non-physical self or our consciousness.  Due to this we can learn about ourselves and our state of being by paying attention to what our body is expressing.  

We are often not conscious of ourselves so our body gives us the opportunity to see ourselves through its physical form.  In fact most people identify themselves as the physical form itself and not the consciousness that gives the form its shape and expression to begin with.  This is largely why people feel disempowered.  Identification as the form rather than the consciousness that creates the form leaves us feeling rather helpless as we are trying to manipulate the form(s) from the belief that we are the form.  When you recognize that you are not the form but instead that which makes the form come alive now infinite possibilities open up to you.  

You can liken this to clip in the movie the Matrix where the child talks to Neo about the spoon.  He says you can’t bend the spoon, that would be impossible, you can only realize there is no spoon.  In this way you are recognizing state of being rather than form and therefore any shape or configuration becomes possible because you are aware as the consciousness rather than the form.  This is also why what you think and believe to be so is so.  Your consciousness believes something to be and thus that is what it becomes and what you perceive to be.  This emphasizes why it is important to discover what you are believing to be true (rather than simply accepting the agreed upon societal delusions that you’ve been taught), as they are shaping your reality and body.   

So lets connect this to your spine.  Clearly your spine is part of this physical form that we call a body and so its subjected to the same rules I’ve stated above, namely that your state of being directly informs the tension, holding or freedom of motion patterns within your spinal cord.  Your spinal cord is that bundle of fibers that relays information between your brain and body.  It allows consciousness (you) to express through this physical form via movement and function. If your spinal cord is severed (like in the case of a significant injury) or more commonly is stretched/distorted, then the functions and ways that you can physically express yourself become limited.  Let’s take look at how the spinal cord stretches/distorts in response to your state of being.  

Consciousness & the spine

Fragmentation and the resulting spinal cord distortion patterns 

15734407 - human radiography scan made in 3dIn the Network system there are 5 primary patterns or ways that the spinal cord stretches/distorts that have been identified.  When your spinal cord is stretched in one or a combination of these patterns, then you will filter your life experiences and what you perceive to be and how you express yourself through the lens of the distortion pattern (particularly if you believe yourself to be the body).  It is how you will perceive life.  Each of these 5 patterns is connected with a state of being.  Lets run through the nuts and bolts of those patterns.  

The first pattern is connected to tension in the spinal cord at the level of the first bone in your neck, which is called C1.  When this area is pulled taut it is often in connection to the perception or state of being that there is not enough time.  Some of the manifestations of this are you feeling like you never have enough time in a day, you can’t get it all done, running up against deadlines, perhaps procrastinating, find it hard to be on time or are very rigid about your time schedule, always feel over booked, can’t trust the natural timing and rhythm of life events, etc.  The basis of this pattern is lack or scarcity of time.  

The second pattern is connected to tension in the spinal cord spanning from the fifth bone in your neck down to the 2nd bone in your thoracic spine, or C5-T2.  It is connected with the perception that you cannot trust others, self or life.  There may be a sense of betrayal, people not being there for you or not reliable, feeling unsupported by others, a tendency towards anger and aggression towards others as you react to not being able to trust them, feeling like you can’t trust yourself particularly in relationship.  This is where the fight response of the the fight/flight mechanisms occurs (the above C1 pattern being the flight response).  The basis of this pattern is lack of trust.  

The third pattern is connected to your sacrum bone in your pelvis.  Here lives your sense of identity and who you are in the world.  When there is tension at this level of the spinal cord it is connected to having to be ‘somebody’ often other than yourself, feeling pressure by what society or others think you should be, aligning your center to something other than you, feeling confused about or like you don’t know who you are, often “losing” yourself in others.  The basis of this pattern is confusion or conforming your identity to what you’ve been taught or what others think you should be.  There is a lack of knowing self.  

The fourth pattern is connected to tension in the spinal cord at C2-C3 in your upper neck area.  When this area is pulled tight it is connection to the perception that life is about doing, accomplishment and thinking.  Some of the manifestations of this are you noticing that it is hard to feel, you tend to think or talk about your emotions rather than feel them, need to be in control, there is a tendency to overdo or over-think, may feel lost in thoughts or ruminating, tendency towards numbness or using your head over your heart, rationalization is chosen over intuitive knowing, life is not about fun but about accomplishing, tends towards over-achievement, etc.  The basis of this pattern is lack of passion.  

The fifth pattern has two separate manifestations to it.  The first manifestation is tension at the C5 bone simultaneous with tension in the coccyx/tailbone.  This pattern pulls through the spine in a flexion/extension direction and is one of the highest tension patterns that manifests in the spine.  When there is tension in this patterning the state of being is one of not feeling safe and/or not having enough in terms of resources.  This may manifest as feeling like you never have enough money or physical resources, not feeling safe to interact with others or the world, feeling like things have been taken away from you, or feeling violated or invaded by your environment or others.  The basis for this pattern is lack of abundance of resources.  

The second manifestation of the fifth pattern arises with tension at C2 in the neck simultaneous with tension in the sacrum.  This pattern also pulls all the way along the spine in a diagonal direction.  The manifestations of this pattern are connected with lack of abundance in relation with yourself and who you are in the world.  Often feelings of unworthiness arise, feeling like you are not enough, like you don’t matter, like there is no room for you in the world or that your presence isn’t worth taking up space, your life feels like not your own and that you don’t have anything to offer the world.  The basis for this pattern is lack of abundance of self.  

human bones radiography scan imageIt is important to remember that none of these patterns are you.  They are simply ways that your spinal cord has distorted due to the way your consciousness has interpreted events in your life.  We all have aspects of each pattern with the tendency towards stronger propensities to some.  These patterns are not stationary or permanent.  They change, even within a given day, or within a single entrainment session.  The amount of tension or distortion within these patterns also changes as you progress through care.  In fact that is part of what the levels of Network Care are all about.  As you move through the levels of care the tension within these patterns unbinds and the energy that was configured in particular distortion patterns within your physical form is released.  You become less bound or seemingly solid and more of the light of consciousness that you are can permeate and emit out through this vessel we call a human body.  

If we go back to our earlier example of the Matrix and the realization that there is no spoon but only consciousness, we can see how you becoming less solid and permeable to the light of awareness fits.  As you unbind your tension patterns you become less identified with the form and realize/experience more of self as consciousness rather than the body.  With this your consciousness views itself, and your perception, behavior/self-expression and the structure/function of this form change as well.  They literally can’t not.  So than rather than trying to change form from the belief that you are the form, your form simply responds to your awareness recognizing itself as the consciousness it is.  This is recognition of wholeness and the freedom of expression and motion is the result.  

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

Love as the ultimate self-protection

Love as the ultimate self-protection 

Survival responses

Young sporty man in kimono on white backgroundThere is an inherent impulse to protect ourselves when we feel a threat.  In these situations self-protection often looks like closing off our system and reacting from a place of survival.  With this there is a cascade of hormones and other biochemicals that are released in our body, which are collectively known as the sympathetic response (or in some cases the primitive parasympathetic response) of the nervous system; or what people commonly know as the fight, flight or freeze responses.  

These biological, primitive responses are the first place in which all experiences that we experience get filtered through.  When we have an experience we first filter it through the lens and level of “am I safe”, meaning will I survive or is my life at threat.  The second level which we filter through is if our sense of identity in relationship to ourselves is at threat (meaning how we feel about ourselves) and thirdly through the level and lens of if our sense of identity in relationship to others is at threat (meaning will others accept or not accept us).  If any of these levels feels at threat then we will react with some level of closing off and shutting down our system.  Some defensive responses are more sophisticated then others, but nevertheless there will be a physiological response where we feel separate from other selves and the primary objective that we will seek is survival of the body and preservation of our sense of self.  

In order to perceive a threat we must be in a dualistic frame of thinking.  Meaning we must see a separate you and a separate me.  If instead we were able to perceive as the oneness that is there would never be anything to protect yourself from as you would see everything as you.  Since most of us are not perceiving from oneness we have such a relationship with life that we must defend ourselves from it and continue to make sure that we are ok.  We do not sense the support that is there and therefore can’t feel what there is to rest into besides our own sense of an independent self that must continually look out for itself.  This is how most people live.       

Can love really keep me safe?

Becoming the field

Night sky with stars.The heart opens us into the field of one being, but we first must learn how to move our experiences up through the first three levels.  If we can’t allow an experience to move up through these levels then it will get lodged at the place where we can’t process it and we will be unable to integrate the experience all the way through our system ultimately into love and seeing it in its true essence.  When we can’t integrate an experience we get developmentally stuck there.  The experience gets frozen in space-time and we continue to replay it as if it’s solid, fixed, unchangeable and what we call “reality”.  When we recognize that this process is occurring this is when we often seek healing and support for ourselves.  

When we can move our experience to the level of our heart (the fourth level) this is where our capacity to remain open, instead of defended and protected, in the face of experience first arises. The distinction between self and other selves gets softer and more fluid.  As your awareness opens at this level you realize and become more the field between selves rather than an individual self.  At the level of field awareness you are more present and thus have the capacity to attune more to what is really going on.  There is more awareness, energy and intelligence available to you, as you, at this level.  Thus your attunement as the field directly effects the field, and since there isn’t a separate you at this level your perception of the experience will directly effect the outcome which you experience in its entirety.  

This is the level of awareness where having clarity in intention and opening the heart-mind to the knowing that the best possible outcome will be the result will directly effect the reality that you experience.  This is where love becomes the ultimate self-protector because it’s working at a level beyond individual selves and seeing all selves as one.  Deliberately and consciously creating your reality also occurs here.  To the separate, individuated mind this seems like an impossibility.  It doesn’t, nor can it, understand how this would be possible because it only has domain over the separate self as that is all it knows itself to be, and yet you are more than that.  

The biochemical cascade that is created in the body when the heart opens into love and into the awareness of one being is that of developed parasympathetic ease.  You physiologically feel the support which you can rest into, the container that is larger than individual self that feels that it needs to take care of itself all of the time because it doesn’t know anything beyond itself.  You realize yourself, this existence, as an expression of one being, and your nervous system connects in with the larger nervous system of that one being.  

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

Pain as sensation

Pain as sensation

How physical is physical 

Female with pain back pain and neck painPain can be a very intense experience.  While there are many types of pain (i.e. emotional, mental and spiritual), what I want to address here is pain that we feel physically in our body as sensation.  If you have a body it is pretty much a given that you have experienced painful sensations. So what are painful sensations really about and why do some seem to bother us more than others?

Without any labels attached or meanings given to it pain is simply an uncomfortable sensation.  Say for example you stub your toe on the couch.  Nerves in your toe send messages up to brain that say “ouch” and with that a flood of information in the form of chemical messages gets sent back down from the brain to that part of your body to repair any damage that may have occurred.  This is all coordinated by the wisdom of your body.  You don’t have to think to make it happen.  It simply occurs as a natural response.

So how is it that pain turns into massive distress?  Pain turns into massive distress for us when we give meaning to it or resist its presence.  Lets say for example you have pain in your neck and its been there for 6 weeks.  You have a particular thought or judgment that the pain should not be there because its been 6 weeks now, you are tired of it and you start to get scared about why its there and that it may never go away.  This is the first layer of distress.  Often we feel powerless to the expression of pain when we go down this line of thinking and we mentally seek for reasons why the pain is there, search for a label for it and try to do and find things that will get rid of the pain.  Secondly there is also often a belief that this pain is interfering with something you want to do, or will interfere with something you think you want to do in the future, so you equate that “pain=not being able to do something that I want to do.”  You have now given meaning to your pain.  The flurry of distress and resistance arises.  

The tendency is to think that the pain is physical since its appearance seems to be coming from your body, so we think we must need something physical to fix it.  However if you really read the paragraph above you will see that the distress isn’t actually in the physical body, but instead its in the mental and emotional factors that we have created about the pain, not  the painful sensation itself.  If we are really experiencing pain simply as the sensation it is, without content and story about it, there is relatively little thought about it at all.  It is simply one of the thousand sensations we experience on a daily basis, and although it may still feel uncomfortable it won’t have any charge to it.  Its more like noticing the sensation that you’re hungry or that you have to go to the bathroom, you still feel the sensation and move towards taking actions that those sensations impel you to do, but there isn’t any question, doubt or uncertainty about what must be done, you simply know as you are tuned to your body.  Same thing occurs when you experience pain as sensation without meaning attached to it.  You simply know what you must do because you are listening to your body.  That may look like stopping and resting, holding the part that hurts, breathing into, etc.  Again you don’t have to figure it out and go through all the mental content about what that sensation means and what you have to do differently, because you are simply listening to the sensation.  

Most the time we are not listening but instead trying to “figure out” when pain arises.  Listening is allowing and taking action from that listening.  If we are trying to figure it out we are in resistance and fix it mode and never feel certain what the right action is.  Having a conversation with your body is like having a conversation with another person.  If you are really listening to them you don’t have to figure out what to say, it simply comes naturally because you are present and attuned to them.  

This is really a life lesson which pain can be one teacher of.  We are often trying to impart onto life what we think it should be and then we resist or try to manage and control everything so that life looks the way we think it should.  While simultaneously we often feel lost and uncertain and beg for guidance and can’t receive it as we don’t recognize it occurring because we are so stuck in our particular perspective of how it should be.  

Knee pain, woman holding sore and painful legTo summarize here when we really listen we know and when we are not listening we always feel like we are searching for something we can’t find or don’t know.  On a body level to really listen we need to stop our stories and thoughts about  our sensations and simply be with the sensation.  One of the best ways I have found to do this is to put my hands on the particular part of my body that’s expressing the sensation and simply bring my awareness there.  I begin to acknowledge the sensations, without content or story, just sensation or feeling.  This allows me to drop the story and simply experience the sensation for what it is.  This often looks like really allowing myself to feel the discomfort rather than move away from it.  Through this process acceptance of the sensation and energy association with the sensation occurs.  Now nothing is interfering with the natural wisdom of the body to bring information in the form of those chemical messages to that part of the body to repair any damage that may need healed.   The biggest interference to healing is the stories we create about what things mean.  When those stories get suspended, even for a few moments, life flows in the way that life flows without us having to figure it out or do it.  

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

You don’t have to fix your less resourced parts

You don’t have to fix your less resourced parts 

Phew

fixingTransformation sometimes comes with this idea that we have to fix these parts of ourselves that are not as resourced.  That somehow we have to change these actual parts of ourselves that are behaving or thinking in ways that are not what we ultimately desire.  This often leaves us feeling overwhelmed and like we have to go to battle with these parts and somehow win them over because they are preventing our growth.  

Less resourced parts are simply patterns that we have learned with which we engage with ourselves or the world.  We call them less resourced simply because they are limited in their perspective.  To be less resourced is simply to see from a smaller lens or view, or said another way to not fully see or know what one is.  

These parts don’t need to be fixed or changed, they simply need perspective.  In fact to try and change these parts will most likely just piss them off and get them to react and activate even more, or it will create another less resourced part to come to its aid and protect it.  

So if you can’t fix or change the part then what can you do?  The first thing that any part needs is acceptance.  Acceptance of what it is exactly as it is, even in its lack of resourcefulness.  This often means accepting the things we don’t like about ourselves, the things we are typically running away from or are constantly trying to change because we don’t like them.  Initially this often feels bad to us which is why most people don’t automatically drop into acceptance, however if acceptance does not occur first then no true transformation will ever follow because you will be trying to still somehow fix or change the part rather than truly transform.   

True transformation

Gaining perspective

So then what is true transformation if it isn’t changing or fixing the part?  True transformation is gaining perspective and through that finding a part or aspect of self that has more resourcefulness.  You can think of it in this way, we all have a range of resourcefulness (also known as awareness).  I think of it as a spectrum, and we all land somewhere along that spectrum.  Sometimes we go up and sometimes we go down, but we tend to have a base point where we hang out most of the time.  This base point where we hang out can stabilize higher or lower along the spectrum depending on what we perceive to be occurring in our life and also based on our choices.  

So what do I mean by “based on our choices”?  Its this.  When you gain perspective and find a part that can see more clearly or has more resourcefulness you now have choice.  Previous to this you only had the limited perspective of the less resourced parts view, so in essence there was no other choice.  The only choice was what that less resourced part knew.  This is often where you are at when you feel the experience of being stuck but not knowing what else you can do.  You are merged with this less resourced part and therefore there are no other choice options available yet.

However with acceptance of the part as it is a new perspective inherently arises and now you see that there is another way or something that is more true than what that limited, less resourced part was experiencing.  You are now less merged with the less resourced part and have access to more perspective, more options and more of you.  

17420701 - two doors to heaven and hell  choice conceptThis is the first real place where choice arises.  Now that you have this new awareness or perspective you get to choose to see through the lens of the less resourced part or through the lens of this new more resourced part.  The choice  becomes more and more yours.  You will forget the new perspective many times and revert back to the less resourced view, but the more and more you see that you are in that less resourced perspective, the more and more you can align with the new perspective.  This does take dedication, persistence, and repetition.  You must be vigilant to yourself, noticing as soon as you can when you have dropped into a less resourceful state and perspective.  In this way you are not fixing a part, but rather gaining greater perspective which includes that previous part, but where that less resourced part is not running the perspective show.  Instead this new option for being arises more and more and you deliberately choose it more and more.  This is how you up-level yourself and how you shift your base point higher and higher along the resourcefulness spectrum.  This is the path of include and transcend.  

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

Self-protection vs. love

Self-protection vs. love 

Defense mechanisms 

We are taught at a very young age how to protect ourselves from the world.  Through our early development we learn strategies (defense mechanisms) to protect ourselves from feeling too much pain, whether physical or emotional in nature.  Some kids learn to “leave their body” to feel safe, thus creating a strong connection to the  spiritual realms but have difficulty being in their physical body.  Others learn to be angry and push people away, while others act out to get attention.  Some become little adults at a young age and become very competent in themselves so they don’t need to rely on anyone else.

Because we learn these patterns very early on they tend to stick with us throughout our adult years.  As adults these patterns make it hard to be present in our body, be  in relationship with others, allow others to help us and be intimate, real and vulnerable.  This tends to conflict with what we want as adults, which is often relationships, realness, community and making an impact on others through being present in our lives.

Though these strategies were helpful at some point in your life, as adults they are outdated.  They ultimately interfere with your ability to live from love in all of your thoughts, feelings and actions and keep you in survival mode, often unconsciously.  In most adults these protection patterns are unchecked, dominant patterns in your nervous system and are running the show whether you want them to or not.  This is why its hard to choose love even when you “conceptual” know its the right thing  and how you truly desire to be.

Neural patterning

Operating from love by changing your nervous system

As mentioned above these protection patterns become the dominant pattern in your nervous system.  Your nervous system consists of your brain, spinal cord and nerves, but this is not the most important part of the system.  Instead it is the connections that get created in response to what has occurred in your life.  When connections get created and reinforced they start to run automatically.  This is something your nervous system does so that you don’t have to consciously think about everything all of the time.  This is great when you have a pattern dominating the show that works well and is in congruence with who you want to be and the life you want to have, however if that’s not the case its time to check your patterns.

One way that you can see your nervous system patterns played out is through your physical body.  Protection patterns in the nervous system will show up in the body as tension in your spinal cord, a forward head with the shoulders rolling forward to compress your chest/heart, tight and ropey muscles and shallow breathing.  This is how your body responds to a lifetime of a protection strategy in your nervous system.

When instead love is the dominant pattern in your nervous system your physical body responds very differently.  Your chest will be up with your heart stretching opening, shoulders will be back, full breath will be easeful.

Even though most all people have some level of protection running the show the good news is that your nervous system has “neuroplasticity”.  What this means is that you can create new patterns in your nervous system at any time/age in your life.  It does however require repetition of learning a new way, over and over again, along with a conscious choosing, in order to extinguish an old pattern and set up a new one that works better and is in more congruence with who you want to be now in your life.

Network Spinal Analysis is a unique chiropractic system in that it teaches your nervous system how to destabilize old protection patterns and recreate new patterns that are ultimately informed by your soul, with the intelligence of love running the show.  When love is running the show you are a different being.  You have different thoughts, your body functions differently, you feel better and most importantly you are not concerned with protecting yourself, but instead how you can love, be in service and create the best world ever.

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