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