LIVING FEAR FREE

LIVING FEAR FREE 

A life without threat

Consider fear for a moment.  Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as a “fearful” person.  Maybe you feel that you only experience fear occasionally in moments when it’s called for or justified.  Fear is a sneaky little gremlin.  It is disguised as anxiousness, avoidance, tension, being non-confrontational, or trying to fix situations, yourself or other people’s experience of life.  It can manifest as sensations in the body such as digestive upset, headaches, muscular aches and pains, jaw clenching, gripping, inflexibility, tightness, trouble sleeping, difficulty relaxing and more.  Fear is the basic response we have to feeling a sense of powerlessness or like things are out of our control.  When fear is present our lower brain centers are activated and our higher, more conscious brain areas are not being utilized.  Self-survival and preservation is the name of the game.  We can only think about how we will get through the next few moments or minutes, and have little capacity to zoom out and see the big picture.

I would venture to say the fear is somewhere in the background of our experience most of the time even if we aren’t aware of its presence.  It can easily be called up into the forefront when we perceive a threatening situation, thought, emotion or sensation.  Evaluate for a moment the contrasting experience.  What percentage of the time, while you are awake, do you feel completely at peace with nothing to fix, nowhere to go, nothing to get done, no urgency, no tension in your body or mind, and non-reactive without a single disruptive thought?  All without utilizing any substances to be in this state.  

Because a peaceful inner state of being is desirable for most people, and because most people don’t experience that, we often turn to substances, foods or medications to numb out the fearful feelings and sensations, so that for a few moments of our day we can feel relaxed.  Due to our reliance on things that we ingest to shift our state of being, we might not even know what we are feeling.  This is true for many.  We are so disconnected from our fearful feeling state of being because we do our best to numb it down as much as possible.  While this is an ok short-term strategy, this is not a way to live.  Yet this is the way that most are living.  Kind numb, kind of checked out and just going through the motions of life and getting all the things done.  We think life is “ok”, but deep inside we know its really not that great and we aren’t sure how to be any other way.   

WANTING PEACE 

Fantasy or reality

Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to never feel or perceive threat again.  To be invincible in the yourself and in the knowing that nothing can harm or hurt you.  That nothing at all is out to get you.  That absolutely everything is working for you.  That every sensation, feeling and thought is there to support you somehow.  To be absolutely empowered.  This is a far stretch for most.  In fact many people likely think that this is an improbable state of being and living.  Yet what if it is our next evolutionary step?  The next rung on the ladder of our development.  To be completely fear free and live openly and invitingly with all of our experience of life.  It may seem like fantastical thinking, yet to me it feels more like waking up from the nightmare that our mind has created about our experience, and experiencing more of the actual reality that is.

How do we get there?  It’s simpler than you might think.  It requires only a few things.  First is the overarching desire to live in a peaceful state of being no matter what.  This desire must be strong.  I mean really, really strong.  If you don’t have an unshakeable desire for peace than you will be easily disturbed, because let’s face it life and most of our current perspectives about life, give us a lot to be disturbed by.  Your desire is the hope you have in overcoming your environment, the stories you currently have about your environment, and the fuel you need to make the changes in your life for inner peace.  The second thing required is the willingness to feel all the “bad”, uncomfortable or non-peaceful things you attempt to avoid feeling by numbing, controlling, tensing up, people pleasing and the like.  If you aren’t willing to face your underlying feelings than you will forever be running from them and paradoxically then they will run you.  Whatever we avoid rules and chooses for us.  We are not in charge when we are not feeling all of our feelings head on.

You can see it’s really not complicated.  It does however mean that you will need to do some things differently.  You are going to have to change some of your habits, preferences or addictions to certain substances or activities that check you out from feeling.  You may need to slow yourself down so that you can be more subtle in your awareness of yourself and pay attention to what you are feeling.  If you are someone who is always with other people you may need to prioritize some alone time so you can self-reflect.  None of these things are hard, but they require change.  When we don’t really want to change something, then it feels hard to change, but when our desire for something is strong, the change is easy.  That’s why I said that your desire must be strong or else the journey will feel treacherous to you and you will perceive obstacles that seem impossible for you to overcome.

It is possible, and even probable if you so desire, to live fear free.  To be an open channel of peace, love and presence.  To be a rested, still, stable presence in a world of nonstop activity.  This is not an impossible feat.  In fact I believe it is our next collective developmental step in consciousness.  To come back to wholeness and to heal, is to unify with all that is.  If we perceive threat we will keep some parts separate, which keeps us separate.  To drop our guards and be brave enough to feel all the things, will return us into remembrance of the one unified whole of which we are. 

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

LIFE BEYOND CONSUMPTION

LIFE BEYOND CONSUMPTION 

Our love of consuming

Being a consumer of life is the natural way of living for most people.  We love shopping and get excited when we have a package waiting for us at our front door.  We look forward to going to our favorite restaurants in order to eat and drink all of things that we enjoy.  We can’t wait to watch or read that new movie or book we’ve been waiting for to come out.  Scrolling our preferred social media apps to see what’s going on with our friends or in the world around us in one of our most preferred activities.  We are nearly constantly taking something in.  Whether that something is food, information, or tangible objects, we tend to like the feeling of things coming in.  In fact for many people this is how they relax.  In contrast, when it seems like life wants or demands something from us, even if we are the one creating that want or demand, we feel tense, vigilant or like we need to perform or show up in some extra alert way.  Sometimes just thinking about what we will have to give makes us tired.  

In a lot of ways consuming is easier.  We just sit back and let life in.  It doesn’t require any real effort on our part, except for perhaps deciding if we want to buy the shoes we like in brown or black, or choosing if we want to go with the fish or steak dinner at our favorite restaurant.  It’s low demand, not that complicated and in the end we feel some kind of satiation.  Our new outfit arrives, we get loaded up on information from our new book, or we get the latest news about our “friends” on social media, and we feel full.  Why does getting full feel so good?  It feels good because most people operate from a belief in scarcity and therefore any attempt to give feels like fuller depletion.  At least when they get they can momentarily not feel lack.  

Yes there is the obvious fact that we need to food to survive, albeit much less than most of us would like to think we need.  We also need clothes, but probably not near as many as we buy.  Information is helpful to make informed decisions about things we don’t know about it, but many of us are addicted to consuming information without taking any real action on the things we learn.  Social media can provide us with some sense of connection with others, but most people are just mindlessly scrolling to see if they are missing out on anything.  While most people probably wouldn’t fully admit it, they just want life to happen to them without them having to do much work.  This means that rather than creating we would prefer it be given to or have things done for us.  An example of this would be if someone gave you the option to either work your way to $1 million dollars or be given $1 million dollars, nearly everyone would opt for the later.   Case in point, most of us would prefer to receive support and care rather than give it. 

WORKING, CREATING & GIVING 

Stopping the consumption cycle

Giving is work.  It does require something from us, namely our time, energy, and focus, which are, our most precious of resources.  Because they are our most precious resources, we tend to want to conserve them, not use them up or give them away too readily less we run out of them.  But what are we really saving them for?  Do we think that if we don’t use them then we can store them up?  Are we afraid if we give our attention to one thing then we won’t have the energy, time or focus to give to another thing?  Perhaps you are ambivalent about what we want to give too.  Maybe you have difficulty making a decision about what is important to you.  Perhaps you just feel like you don’t have enough time, energy or focus and are living in scarcity about your state of inner resourcefulness.  We are always plotting in our mind what we think we have the inner resources for and therefore how willing we are to show up to life.  I am not denying that rest is important, it is, however most of us are way underestimating and underutilizing our capacities.  Why?  Because we think our inner resources are going to run out.  

I could tell you that there is no such thing as time, that it is simply a made up construct, but it’s likely that you will keep operating as if there is time.  I could tell you that you are the source of energy itself, but you will probably continue to feel like you don’t have enough of it.  I could tell you that you’ve got nothing but focus, yet you will claim that you get easily distracted.  These ways of thinking and believing are just habit.  In some ways you know that timelessness, infinite energy and inexhaustible focus are true, yet they aren’t true for your experience of life, at least not yet.  If you really embodied that there is a surplus of energy, no time and that you could focus on whatever you wanted to for however long you wanted too, what wouldn’t you do?  I imagine that your relationship to work, giving and creating would be mighty different.  I would think you would stop living by the clock in your head, your stories of limited energy and your distractible focus. 

Consuming is not the only way to live.  It’s not negative to consume.  We all need to consume some.  We need food, rest, nourishment, information, education, and social connection.  However when we are coming from scarcity of our inner resources of time, energy, and focus, with the fear that they might run out, then our consumption levels increase.  Sometimes to the point where we never feel satiated no matter how much we take in.  To remedy this we need to clearly know when we are full and stop consuming.  At that point rather than taking in more we need to switch to giving through work or creation.  That is the natural cycle of giving and receiving.  

Some people might say that they don’t know when they are full because they have overridden their fullness levels for so long.  If that is you I recommend this, when it stops feeling good and begins to feel bad, or like an addiction or obsession, or you find yourself becoming less present or more checked out, you know you’ve reached the fullness point.  So rather than watching another movie, reading another book, eating another piece of chocolate, having another drink or scrolling another social media app, stop in that moment and find a way to give, work or create instead.  This is when you move beyond a life of consumption.  The secret is that this is where energy, focus and timelessness live.  Never again will you fear them running out because you are living inside of them.

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

ENDING URGENCY

ENDING URGENCY 

There is nowhere better to get

Everyone in the world seems to be in a mad dash to get things done or be somewhere other than where they are.  We drive fast, think fast, move fast, send text messages fast, eat fast… fast, fast, fast.  Always onto the next thing and never being inside of what is now.  We have some kind of belief that somewhere else is better, more fun, more exciting, more relaxing, or more peaceful than where we are now.  If we could just get to those moments or times when everything looks and feels better and lock them in for eternity, then we could stop with all the urgency and just be.  Yet even when those transitory moments of peace or better come, we can’t seem to stop, slow down and enjoy the moment.  We only recognize that this moment will change and be gone soon enough.  

How do we ever live relaxed and in a state of “be”ing with the near constant change, activity and movement of life?  How do we stop trying to get somewhere and rather be where we are in each and every moment?  One of the most fundamental beliefs that we must work with in ourselves is the one that says that something is better than now.  How many times throughout your day do you find yourself engaged in an activity just hoping to get is over and done with?  Perhaps you feel this way during your morning workout, or when you are at work and things don’t seem to going as you want them too.  Maybe you can’t get something to work right on the computer, or you have a class at school you don’t enjoy, or an annoying neighbor, roommate or some other person you have to deal with.  When we find ourselves in these types of situations we mostly just want to be out.  For it to be done and over with because we do not feel pleasant, relaxed or at peace.  We think once this activity, task, conversation or situation is over then we can relax and be.  

The thing is life is loaded with movement, and might I even say what seems to feel like chaos, stickiness or mess.  There is simply a lot of stuff going on that never seems to stop and things are rarely perfectly packaged and placed as we would like them to be.  So what’s the answer here?  How do we bring what we want to experience to every situation that we find ourselves in?  Attempting to manipulate each and every experience, circumstance and/or person in our life (including ourselves) is exhausting, and quite frankly impossible, even though this is what most people try to do.  The answer rather is that we must pause our sense of urgency, of wanting to get out of our experience of “ick” or overwhelm, and drop into it rather than try to get out of it.  By moving into our experience the possibility to transform ourselves inside of it becomes available.  When we transform ourselves we transform our experience of whatever it is we are experiencing.   

LIFE’S PACING 

Surrendering beyond ourselves

Have you ever noticed that life seems to have its own pacing?  It operates at a speed or rhythm that sometimes aligns with our own and at other times not so much.  Sometimes the pace of life feels too fast and at other times too slow.  We may find ourselves feeling urgent in either scenario.  If the pace of life feels like it’s moving too fast then we try to speed ourselves us to meet that pace and the demands of all of the movement of life.  If the pace of life is too slow for us then again we try to speed ourselves up hoping that life will respond to us and speed up as well.  Either way we are gearing ourselves up for the race to somewhere else.  

Life’s pacing is largely out of our control.  There is a bigger orchestration at play to which we are mostly unaware.  Sure there might be things that you can do such as putting more or less activities into your day to day schedule, which you may actually need to do, but the bigger message here is in how you walk with life and it’s pace.  Not getting ahead of it or behind it, but rather being right with it as it unfolds.  What this requires is a surrender to the rhythm that is present rather than the rhythm we would prefer to be present.  While this might seem bold to say here it is: our preferences matter, but not that much.  While we are the kings and queens of our own world inside of our own heads, when it comes to the larger orchestration of life, we are part of the whole.  Often we don’t see from the whole, but only from the part we play.   In this way we are egocentric, not in a negative way, as it’s mostly innocent on our part.  Rather in a way in which we just simply don’t see the bigger picture.  We are not inside the heads of every single being in this universe seeing from the perspective of universal consciousness, therefore our scope and sight is limited to our own.  This creates immense confusion and frustration for us as we often don’t understand the what’s and why’s to the pacing and timing of things.  

Accepting confusion is one of the best ways to come back into rhythm with life’s pacing.  Understanding is not required for us to have acceptance.  In fact this is one of the great lessons of having this human experience.  Not necessarily an easy lesson, yet it does the job of eventually getting us into a state of surrender.  Surrendering to what is rather than what we prefer to be.  Only once we move into acceptance and surrender can we begin to see beyond ourselves and our egocentric human point of view.  We are in the unknown of what the moment is, contains and could be, rather than in our ideas, preferences or insistences about what is occurring.  

There is so much about the happenings that we don’t get to decide, even the happenings of our own bodies.  What we do get to decide is how we be, and whether or not we try to get out or be in rhythm with the moment.  When you feel urgency arise inside of you begin the practice of pausing.  Take a breath and let go of whatever you are energetically holding onto or trying to get done, and allow the state of “be”ing to be present inside of your experience.  Recognize that you can both be and engage in activity.  There is nothing to get over with, as there will always be more things.  Rather see the moment that you desire is now.  What you wish to experience is now.  Bring that to your experience and watch the magic reveal itself to you.  

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

BREAKING UP WITH SHAME

BREAKING UP WITH SHAME 

Exposing our hidden selves

Shame, which is an underlying sense that we ourselves are somehow bad or wrong, is a well grooved inner pathway for most.  Some people might first default to blame, which is simply shame projected outwards onto others.  Why do we carry around with us this sense that we are, or could be, bad or wrong?  Why is it that when other people disagree with how we are, or have opinions about how we should be, that we nearly immediately go into self-defense in the form of hatred or rejection of ourselves?  Shame is one of the most pervasive and debilitating feeling states.  When we feel it we tend to freeze, withdraw and judge ourselves.  We think thoughts along the lines of “if only I could be better or different than I am, then I wouldn’t be deficient, or bad or wrong, and people would love and include me.”  Talk about one of the most painful states of being in which there seems to be no good way out.  From the perspective of shame the only answer is for you to be different or better than you are in order to be loved and accepted.  This is battle that you will always end up losing.  You will lose because your sense of being loved and included is outside of you, and you will forever be chasing it because being loved and included is the most primary of all human needs and wants.  

We have endless strategies to avoid feeling shame.  One of the most primary ones is to stay hidden, to not allow others to see who we are, to put up fronts and be inauthentic so that people won’t judge us.  If we don’t let people see us then they can’t reject us or tell us that we are wrong.  If there is no one “real” at home inside of us for people to see then we can’t be accountable to being “wrong”.  If we just stay quiet enough, keep the peace, pretend to not know much including knowing who we are or what value we have to contribute or share, then we can avoid the painstaking judgment of others.  That is until we can’t.  There will be a time when someone judges us, when they disagree with us, when they perceive some kind of insufficiency in our actions or beingness.  There is no hiding then.  The cloak is off and we are exposed.  This is when the shame gets in.  We might react in anger, recoil in self-defense, or completely cut ourselves off from our own heart.  We are left with the feeling that we are bad and wrong, and often beating ourselves up about it or lashing out at others.  

You might be wondering where does shame come from.  It’s simple really.  It comes from a belief that you are bad or wrong.  Where did the belief come from?  The belief in badness or wrongness is such a pervasive societal belief that you would be hard pressed not to have pick it up somewhere along your human journey.  Maybe someone told you were bad or wrong when you were growing up.  Perhaps you learned it socially through peers groups, in school, or in your family.  It’s actually not so important where you picked up the belief, rather what is important is that you identify the belief living inside of yourself.  That you see it and recognize that you are now the source of it.  You are the one that keeps that belief alive, active, and true for you in your own psyche. 

NEVER BEEN WRONG 

Graceful learning

What if you’ve never ever been wrong?  Seems like a bold question, eh?  Would you believe it if I told you that you never have been?  For a moment you might feel some relief at that thought, but most people will go on to validate for themselves how it’s not true.  They will conjure up all of the times they’ve been bad or wrong in the past.  They will reinforce the belief in their wrongness or badness for themselves.  Most people don’t really want to believe that they are right and good.  When I speak about right and wrong as it relates to us as beings, I am not talking about detailed or factual information.  Yes you can be inaccurate about facts, or in recalling certain details, or about information.  What I am pointing to rather is who you are, including the things that you do and say.  If someone is frequently found to be insisting on their rightness by needing to be right about facts and information it’s often because they feel deeply wrong inside as to who they are.  It’s simply another shame avoidance strategy.  

Imagine for a minute if you could really embrace non-badness and non-wrongness.  If that could really be a reality for you.  How would you feel?  For most I would imagine that you would feel some sense of freedom.  It would be the end of self-doubt, the end of self-hatred and the beginning of an availability to life that you might have never experienced before.  See most of what we believe to be bad/good or wrong/right is based on what other people think or what culture/society says we should be like.  It’s not based on our own knowing.  If it was we would all just be being ourselves and wouldn’t think twice about it.  But almost no one is being fully and authentically who they are all of the time.  

Let’s talk about actions and things we say.  First of all people who love themselves and know that they are right and good don’t harm other people.  There simply isn’t motivation for it.  Doing harm to others is an outward expression that comes from a deep sense of self-hatred and self-rejection (i.e. shame).  Believe it or not, and it’s of course up to you to choose for yourself, but there are no actions or words that are bad or wrong.  Yikes.  You might disagree and you are more than welcome too, however the shame cycle never ends for you then.  You perceive some action or word as wrong in another.  You project that wrongness onto that person who now feels shame from your projection regarding their words or actions.  In response they act in some distorted fashion in order to not feel the shame.  Same goes for your own words and actions. What we perceive and feel we create.  The cycle continues unchecked into infinity.  

So then what about learning?  How do we learn if we don’t feel shame?  How do we up level and become more refined, loving and aware creatures towards ourselves and others?  Well again believe it or not, we don’t have to be bad or wrong in order to learn, and learning doesn’t mean that we are/were bad or wrong.  People can give their opinion to us, of something we did or shared, without us going into shame.  We can both stay open to the feedback and then decide what we want to do with that information.  Is there something constructive that we could learn from that person’s information without going into wrongness?  Could we just receive that information and note it or integrate it.  Perhaps there is nothing bad or wrong about what we did or didn’t do, but only learning to be had.  Also what if when you shared your experience of others with them you simply shared impact rather than judgment.  What if you took accountability for how you feel about what occurred while still providing information to another person about how their words/behaviors impacted you.  This is a high level skill yet it is learnable.  

We are all constantly learning and it doesn’t mean we are bad or wrong.  When you get this you can break up with shame.  While at one stage of your development perhaps shame was a good learning strategy for you, it’s also one that at some point quits serving you.  It limits your growth and keeps you disconnected from yourself, which in turn helps and serves no one. 

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

THE HEALING JOURNEY

THE HEALING JOURNEY 

Impatience

We are a quick fix society.  We want everything to happen instantly, if not yesterday.  Patience is not a virtue that many of us have anymore.  If our Amazon package comes a day or two later than what was originally projected we are irritated.  If we want to lose weight, but haven’t achieved our ideal size in 3 weeks time, we give up.  If the business we are creating isn’t up and thriving in 6 months time we see it as failure or not destined to be.  We think that everything is supposed to happen overnight, and don’t have much bandwidth for the journey.  The same is true for our healing.  If we have a sensation or feeling that we don’t like we think it’s supposed to be gone yesterday.  If we have thought patterns that we’ve been entertaining for most of our life we assume we should be able to completely be free of them in an instant.  When our sensation persists, the feelings we don’t want are still there and we continue to entertain thoughts that don’t serve us we see failure, either our own, or we project that sense of failure outwards onto others and see them as failing us.    

Even though we conceptually know that life is not about the destination but rather the journey, we are all trying to get to the destination.  We are all trying to get somewhere other than where we are.  We are trying to get out of this uncomfortable human experience rather than be present in it.  The attempt to get it over with (it being the sensation, feeling, thought, or experience that we don’t like or want) is our true suffering.  The result of resisting where we are is this gnawing, unsettling, anxious, depressive, distressful and disconnected state.  We go into wanting answers and certainty.  We jump from thing to thing thinking that our answers lie inside one of those things.  We think if we can just get some certainty about something then we will feel better.  If we could just know when this experience we don’t like will end, then we could rest.  Our impatience with not knowing and trying to get somewhere else, hijacks our capacity to be present and to heal.  We will not be able to touch healing or presence until we get this. 

Metamorphosis naturally emerges from presence.  Resistance keeps what’s in place in place.  Melting into what is frees us from it.  All of these things seem contradictory to the mind that thinks it needs to do something in order to fix it.  I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a time for action, quite the contrary.  Perfectly orchestrated action occurs when we come into agreement with what is.  The journey of healing is the return to wholeness, yet wholeness is now.  Unless we see the wholeness now, we not see it when we arrive at our preferred weight, when our business takes off, or when the sensations and feelings we think interfere with our experience of wholeness go away.   

SHOWING UP FOR YOURSELF

Learning the lessons of life

It takes a great deal of showing up for yourself in order to stop the pattern of impatience, which is really just avoiding the moment.  What do I mean by showing up for yourself?  I mean staying the course, being committed, having persistence, doing whatever it takes and being all in.  Don’t be flaky.  Dig your heels in.  Remember why you are and what’s important to you.  Don’t give up so easily.  Stop seeking instant gratification.  Surrender to your experience.  Celebrate the little and big victories every day, not just when what you think you want arrives.  The journey is a sequence of a billion tiny steps.  See the gift in each one.  Don’t want anything to go away.  Be more grateful for what is then you are desirous to achieve your goal.  Watch how that changes everything.

The reason that this changes everything is because you change.  The reason why being impatient and waiting for circumstances to change doesn’t make you any happier or bring you greater peace is because you don’t change in the process.  Something will arise inside of your experience in the next day, or week or month and you will find yourself cycling back into the same feelings of being impatient and wanting to get somewhere else.   You will never feel settled in yourself.  It’s not the circumstance changing that does anything except perhaps provide temporary relief.  The same gnawing, unsettling, anxious, depressive, distressful and disconnected state will follow you no matter what happens or doesn’t happen if you don’t realize that you are the source of it all.

Healing has absolutely nothing to do with anything going away.  Every sensation, feeling and thought that you have, that you don’t like, is a catalyst for you in some way.  What that means is that it contains learning for you.  There is something you are to discover, learn, accept and/or transform inside of you through this experience.  That’s it.  Despite all of our conditioning, which leads us to believe that healing is about certain feelings and sensations going away, this is not the case.  You can be perfectly healed, perfectly whole, and still experience feelings and sensations.  In fact it’s nearly guaranteed that you will.  When you approach feeling and sensation as information for learning and growth, rather than as a problem to be gotten rid of, you are effectively utilizing the catalyst that your higher self is offering you to learn whatever it is you need to learn.  

I’ve discovered over the years that nothing shifts until we learn what we are to learn from it.  Even if one sensation “goes away”, if we haven’t learned the lessons from it, it will manifest in another way or form.  You just can’t get rid of your learning, despite how hard you might try at times.  Just to be clear this is not a form of punishment from our higher self to us, but rather it’s a gift.  I know it can be hard to believe that, especially when we really dislike our sensations, feelings or experiences, yet everything in this universe is working for us, it’s not out to get us.  Imagine if you can start to see and experience everything from this lens.  How differently would you experience your sensations and feelings?  How much more readily would the lessons be apparent to you rather than you aimlessly seeking for answers and solutions?  

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

PLAYING ALL IN

PLAYING ALL IN 

Avoid failure & lack

Most of us only play part of the game of life.  We gravitate towards, and give our energy to, things that feel like a safe bet or a sure thing.  We back away from those things that feel uncertain or which require us to rest in faith rather than fact or certainty.  The result of this is that we feel like we are only partially in the game, partially invested, and therefore only partially create, experience or be what we desire.  Why don’t we play all in?  Why don’t we give life our all?  The answer is simple.  We don’t play full out because we are afraid to lose and/or we are afraid of what we might have to give up.  You can call losing failure (personal or circumstantial), not getting what we want, feeling pain, hurt, upset, disappointment or lack.  We run so much from feeling the experience of failure and lack that it keeps us from playing the game of life.  

It’s a bit of a paradox.  By not fully playing the game we lose before we lose.  We choose failure before failure chooses us.  It’s a tricky little strategy.  Most people aren’t even aware that they are doing this.  They are so used to giving a quarter, half, or three quarters of themselves, that they don’t even realize that there is more that the can give to playing the game.    They cap out or give themselves an arbitrary ceiling when they have so much more capacity beyond what they think.  They might be moving along with their life and then hit a place where they feel uncertain.  They aren’t sure how to proceed or what feels right.  Maybe they feel a lack of confidence, resources, skills or knowledge.  Often when we don’t know “how” we hit an inner stop sign and just stop.  We don’t move forward or then we begin to feel stagnate or like we aren’t progressing.  

I find that not knowing “how” is frequently a way we keep ourselves underneath an arbitrary ceiling.  As long as we don’t know how then we aren’t accountable or responsible to keep going, because after all we don’t know.  There are times when we need to learn a skill, take a class, get a mentor or gain some type of knowledge, but when you are committed and playing the game full out you never let that stop you.  You find a way because you are committed.  You don’t allow it to become a reason to stop playing the game.  You don’t stop.  Rather you show up and keep finding your way through the maze of this human experience, learning and growing along the path.  Remember the juice is not in getting to the destination, but rather who you become on the journey towards the destination.   

YOU DESERVE GREATNESS 

Utilizing your free will

In addition to fearing failure and lack, there is another reason why we don’t play full out.  It’s because we don’t feel like we deserve a great life.  We are so used to our current way of living, that stretching ourselves too far out from where we are feels like too much for us to allow in.  We are so used to living in a perpetual state of not ok-ness, or waiting for the not ok-ness to happen, that we accommodate to feeling not ok as our normal state of existence.  We don’t actually feel or believe that we could be ok or that it’s ok to be ok.  If our life is going good we hold our breath waiting for it to not be good.  We live in this near constant inner state of yoyo’ing back and forth between not feeling ok and then feeling ok but being worried about when it’s going to end.  

So there is a very simple fact that is important to just accept, I mean really accept, which is that everything is going to change.  Even if something has seemingly been the same for 5 minutes or 50 years, it is guaranteed to change at some point.  This is the nature of life.  Life is movement and movement is change.  Most people don’t like or invite change because it feels uncertain.  They don’t know what to expect, and beyond that they are afraid of what they might feel like on the other side of the change.  When you really accept the inevitability of change you are much more willing to play the game of life all in.  You get that nothing will remain, neither the things you like nor the things you don’t like.  Great things will come and go.  Crappy things will come and go.  There is a constant cycle of this happening all of the time.  You can’t hold anything in place that wants to change.  If you try to you will fail.  

What is beautiful about all of this is that when you accept this you will also learn that there is an inner resourcefulness inside of you.  You will discover that your free will is in how you choose to see whatever it is that you are experiencing.  This is your power, and it is mighty indeed.  In a single instant you can transform your experience of whatever it is you are experiencing, even if you’ve been experienced it for decades or lifetimes.  This means that even though you might feel loss, failure, disappointment, pain, or lack of something that you desire, you can always be good, or dare I even say, great.  This is not to bypass whatever it is you are feeling, rather it is rise above it and say there is more than this, I deserve more than this.  More than feeling the way I do, more than experiencing what I am experiencing, more.  This is where you come on line.  This is where you get back into the game and begin playing, really playing.  You’ve already felt the pain, the loss, the failure, the not ok, and you are done tolerating it.  The ball is in your court.  

Many people don’t let themselves get to this point.  They don’t put their foot down and say enough.  Rather they tolerate less than what they deserve simply because they don’t think they deserve more.  But you do.  You deserve whatever your big heart desires and you are equipped with the inner resourcefulness, ie. free will, that is required.  It’s your birthright.  It’s who you are.  If there are things along the way that you need to learn then you will learn them, and more than that, you will learn through them.  Choose to play the game full out. Life is ready and waiting for you to say yes to it.  

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

SAY BYE-BYE TO WORRY

SAY BYE-BYE👋 TO WORRY 

Your most intimate friend

Most of us are familiar with worry.  In fact worry might be your most intimate friend.  We tend to spend more time with worry than we do our partner, family members, kids or friends.  Worry is often so intimate that it’s present inside of all of the activities that we do.  It’s there when we shower, while we exercise, as we’re working, and while we are getting groceries or pumping gas.  Subtly, or not so subtly, in the background is the thought, “will things work out” or “will things be ok”?  It’s like we are deathly afraid of how all the details of life will orchestrate themselves and we can’t seem to let it be.  Our best attempt to not feel totally helpless or powerless is to worry.  Somehow we think if we worry about whatever it is we are worried about then we can control how it all happens.  However because we know we can’t really control it, we stay in a perpetual state of worry, which you could also call stress or overwhelm.

In order to let go of worry we also have to let go of whatever outcome we are attempting to control.  Whatever thing we want to happen or not happen, the timing of something, and the flow of the details in between, we have to let it all have its own will.  We must give away our hope, agenda, insistence, and demand for the thing to happen in any particular way, or at all.  This is where it feels tricky to us because we perceive potential loss or lack.  If things don’t happen how we desire in our minds for them to happen, at the bare minimum we perceive inconvenience, and beyond that, that something might be lost.  That loss could be of anything.  A new possibility coming to birth, a relationship, how someone views or sees us, money, time or other resources, objects of our desire, a job, a project, our health, other’s health, and on and on.  We will do whatever we can not to experience loss of what we desire because loss feels like death, failure and can lead us into hopelessness, depression or despair.  So rather than facing the potential of all of that, instead we choose worry, because worry feels easier to feel compared to feeling the death of our dreams and desires.

The thing about worry though is that it hijacks the shit out of us.  We fall out of presence and into thinking about all of the things.  We are not available for what actually matters to us, who it is that we want to be and our chosen state of being.  We lose touch with the magic of life and ourselves.  On a physiologically level our body gets to experience the chemical cascade of worry, which looks like the inability to digest our food, sleep well, or feel energized, and we experience pain and tension in the body.  Then we get fixated on trying to fix all of these bodily expressions without addressing the core essence which creates their arising, which is worry.  While moving towards feeling loss, lack, or death of our dreams feels like a less desirable choice, you must ask yourself if it’s really worth the cost to keep avoiding your sense of feeling lack of control over all of the happenings of your life.   

THE OTHER SIDE OF WORRY 

Mystery revealing itself

We tend not to think too much about what is on the other side of worry.  Mostly we either wait in anxious anticipation, or we take massive action because we can’t sit still, and then we hope for the best.  The “best” being whatever our chosen preference is for the desired outcome.  The funny thing about being human is that we have such a small perspective on things, and despite our tiny viewpoint we think we know what’s best to happen.  It is a form of self-deceit that is mostly unconscious, because the majority of us have good intentions for what we desire.  However those good intentions, and our ideas of what those intentions look like when they are manifested at the physical level, interferes with our seeing.  It distorts and filters our perceptions.  We then create judgments or assumptions about what we are seeing rather than simply seeing it.  Those judgments and assumptions always feel bad because they are coming from our tiny little vantage point that thinks it knows what it’s looking at, all the while it’s missing 99.99% of the picture.  

Big picture here is that we have no idea what, the details or the timing of how things are supposed to occur.  We have ideas of how we would like it to all happen, but our knowledge of the actual reality of it stops there.  If we don’t recognize the limitation of our vantage point, of our filters and the distorted picture we have based on our preferences, then we will fall or push our way into control.  We will feel anxious.  We will experience overwhelm.  We will complain about being stressed.  All as avoidance to feel how much control we don’t have over things.  

Not having control over things does not mean that you are without power.  In fact it means the opposite.  Surrender is the ultimate power.  This is what you discover on the other side of worry.  When you stop avoiding feeling potential loss, a sense of powerlessness, or inconvenience you arrive into a state of presence and openness for life to reveal itself to you.  Presence in the ever present moment of revelation, meaning you come to know what it’s like to be in the unfolding rather than trying to managing the unfolding.  When you are no longer trying to control something it frees things up to respond and move, and what I really mean by that is that it frees you up to respond and move.  You become less rigid and fixated and more able to be a part of the unfolding.  This is also where the power of intention shines.  You can still intend for whatever it is you desire to intend, but rather than forcing the flow of it, you are in the flow with it.  It’s not two opposing forces, but one force moving and responding to itself.  You are not separate from what you desire, you are one with it, but as soon as you place what you desire out there onto a happening, object, event or person, you relate to it as separate from you and you have to figure out how to control or manipulate it in order for your preference to be experienced or expressed.  

The other side of worry is acceptance and peace.  It is a relinquishment of thinking that you know and a becoming present to what actually wants to happen, rather than what you think you want to happen.  You let things breathe, which ironically also means you breathe.  You experience life force returning to its unimpeded flow.  The intelligence that is life organizes itself with you included.  It still doesn’t mean that you will get what you want or that your desired preference will occur in the timing you desire, or even at all.  It does however mean that you breathe, you are at peace and in acceptance, your body receives easeful chemical cascades that allow it to function well and you get to be in the dance of the unfolding of the mystery revealing itself.

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

INTENTION & FOCUS

INTENTION & FOCUS 

A dash of magic

Intention guides life.  Life follows focus.  To some degree we all know this yet most of us aren’t really utilizing the power of it in our day to day life.  Rather we are often unfocused, scattered and distracted.  We decide for a moment or maybe two, that we want to feel a certain way, walk in a particular direction, or take hold of our state of being, but in the next moment we forget it.  We then wonder why we can’t seem to have the healing, life or state of being that we desire.  Then, on top of it all, we have a long list of impossibility beliefs to add into the mix.  If we muster up our will and utilize our focus, then this or that impossibility belief rears its head.  Feeling overwhelmed by it all, we stop in our tracks and give up.  We return to distraction because we can’t seem to find a way through.  We find ourselves feeling stuck, like we (or things) will never change and we feel resigned to life the way it is.  

I think the prime difference between people who feel like they are living aligned and those that struggle to stay aligned is harnessing the power of intention and focus, along with not being afraid of a little magical thinking.  If you’ve ever spent any time around a baby you know that they see the world through the lens of magic.  Something appears in front of their visual field and they get absolutely ecstatic.  They have no idea how it arrived or even what it is.  They are simply enamored and in a state of bliss by whatever it is they see.  They attempt to interact with it however they can, having no idea at all what to do with it.  This is what we call playing.  Then due to the fact that they have no label, definition or meaning, all they experience is magic.  Magic being the essence of the thing and not the thing itself.  As soon as we give names to things we no longer see the magic, and rather see only what we’ve decided something is.  All other possibilities flatten.  

The other thing to notice is that when babies are playing they are totally focused.  They quite dislike it when you remove their “object of magic”, which they are entirely engrossed in.  Their attention might move from toy to toy, but they are just as present with the next non-labelled, no meaning magical thing that arrives into their sensory experience.  As we become toddlers and begin to develop our analytical thinking mind we want to know what everything is and what it all means.  We start to get lost in the world of concepts rather than in the pure potential of what is.  Our minds learn to multi-task and focus on facts, details and the like.  We lose connection to the essence of things and begin to focus on the things themselves.   We move out of present moment and into thought.  

IMAGINATION & REALITY 

Increasing will

And well who doesn’t love thinking?  To just let your mind wander from this thing to that thing.  To be lost in thought.  To contemplate.  To imagine.  It’s fun to imagine, yet for many it stops here.  You might think that imagination is just imagination, not reality.  You may even be very good at imagining, yet if you don’t have any intention or focus behind your imaginations they remain formless.  This is not a problem, again it’s great fun to imagine in our minds, it’s only that you will not have a different human world life experience.  You will be living in thought or concept.  There will be a disconnection between your imaginal world (you could also say your desired world) and what you actually experience.  We are at a stage of human development, in this space-time nexus, where there is massive disconnection between our desired realities and the ones we are living in.  It doesn’t need to be that way, however it does take a heap of intentional focus in order to bridge the seeming gap.

Intentional focus might not be as hard as it seems, but it may appear to come at some sacrifice.  See when we align ourselves with our intention and focus we have to let all of the other stuff go.  That other stuff consists of a lot.  It includes, but is not limited to all of our divergent or distracting thoughts, all of our tendencies to avoid what we think can or can’t be, our habits of comfort, our low demand energy states, our pictures or ideas of what our intention is supposed to look, be or feel like. We have so so so so many ideas, and while ideas are great for imagining possibilities, they can also get in the way of letting the picture of it all reveal itself to you.  Our desires or imaginations are like the seeds, our intention and focus the water, and the sprouting flower just sprouts as it does.  We don’t get to decide it’s appearance.  We can guide and set conditions for it, but we can determine its expression.  We can only nurture it’s becoming and then let it be what it will be. 

If we are too fixated in our analytical mind then we will overly focus on the form of what is.  We will perceive disappointment if the form doesn’t match our desire.  If we return to our infant pre-mind state, we can see only the essence, the magic, the seed, the desire and then accept the form, the picture, the image that is the result.  This acceptance is very different than resignation.  Acceptance sees the beauty in the appearance regardless, where resignation sees only what is doesn’t want in the appearance.  The distinction is the seer (ie. you).  From where do you see?  

Harnessing the power of intention and focus is learning to increase your will.  To be determined without attachment.  This is the dance of will and surrender.  Coming from and with everything you’ve got and then with full embrace letting it be as it is.  Giving or aligning your whole self to your intention in any given moment is magic.  Essence is seen and the forms naturally reconfigure in response.  This is not a forceful or manipulative will, but rather a sacrificial will of sorts.  A will that will give away all of its petty distractions, impossibility beliefs and preconceived ideas for its true desire or intention.  A will that aligns behinds itself and that is self-generative.  A will that takes all of you, but of which you can find absolutely nothing better to give yourself too.  A will that eventually becomes much bigger than you.

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

NEUROLOGICAL DEFENSE

NEUROLOGICAL DEFENSE 

Moving away from pain

Much of how we operate, move, behave, perceive, think, feel and sense is learned and habitual.  We develop strategies, patterns and ways of being through our experiences.  We learn to perceive and move about our world based on internal and external cues.  If we do the same thing over and over, or see something the same way over and over, we learn to create wiring or neurological patterning in our nervous system based on our perceptions or behaviors.  If we repeat the same thing enough times then the way we perceive something or how we move about becomes automatic or habitual.  This means that there is very little “registering” or conscious awareness that happens as we engage with life.  Life is simply a series of habits and reactions, that is unless we create novelty inside of our perceptions. 

If something hurts we instinctually move away from it and if it feels good we move towards it.  Hurt can be physical such as if we place our hand on a hot stove, or it can be emotional or mental such as feeling rejection or like we aren’t good enough.  Regardless of where the hurt hits us we learn early on how to protect ourselves from the pain of feeling it.  We might flee or run in order to move away from it.  We might fight back in order to push something away from us.  We also might freeze in place or go numb in attempt to avoid the hurt or pain.  On a neurological level there is a response to this avoidance of pain, which is commonly known as the stress response.  Most people are quite familiar with the terminology “stress response” yet most people don’t really get what it means for how they experience their life on a day to day basis.  

When we are in protection (i.e. avoidance) mode our nervous system wires and fires pathways that create various messages throughout the body.  These messages gear us up for fighting until we eventually burnout and the effect of this is what we call adrenal fatigue.  These messages also put us on alert, or in a hyper-vigilant state.  They get us to focus on what’s wrong or what might be out to harm us.  They create tension in the body so that we don’t feel the impact of harm or pain.  They effect our sleep cycles making it hard to feel rested or get good sleep.   They make it harder to digest our food, and they move energy out of self-healing and into self-protection.  This state of being is called neurological defense.  At any point in our life we can have experiences that don’t feel good to us and we activate these patterns of defense rather than feel the impact of pain or harm or potential pain/harm.  There is intelligence in these defensive patterns, however they greatly limit our experience of life.  We cannot move into healing and neurological openness unless we are willing to move towards that which we avoid feeling.   

NEUROLOGICAL OPENNESS   

Moving towards life

While there is intelligence to our defensive reactions and patterns in the body they also create great limitation in our experience of life.  They allow us to experience only a limited range of feelings, sensations, and thoughts.  They limit our behaviors, perceptions, and our relationships with self and others.  They cap the amount of energy we have access to receiving, giving and sharing.  They keep our bodies running in suboptimal energy conditions effecting our health and overall well-being.  They keep us from fully experiencing the range of our hearts and the hearts of others.  There is great cost to our avoidance of feeling pain.  

When we stop avoiding pain and allow ourselves to feel and be with it, some pretty amazing things happen.  First is that you can no longer be angry.  Feeling the pain we’ve experienced softens us.  Some people don’t even know just how angry they are because they’ve adopted other strategies of self-protection such as always being positive, people pleasing, or the more quiet version of anger which is self-hatred.  This can manifest very subtly as negative self-talk or simply not feeling yourself to be great.  If you don’t unequivocally know that you are fucking amazing then you probably have some work to do here.  Second is that your neurological, and thus physiological state, shifts.  All those messages that your nervous system sends out change in nature when you move towards life experiences.  Rather than messages gearing you up to fight, flight or freeze, it sends messages of relaxation and ease.  Food can then be digested, sleep happens naturally, and the self-healing mechanism occurs unimpeded.  Muscles relax, the posture becomes more upright and open, and your focus shifts onto what is here, what’s working, and on how life is supporting you.  Nothing is out to get you anymore.  You look for invitations and openings.  More opportunities seem to be available to you.  You feel more confident in yourself.  This is what I call neurological openness.

In neurological openness we participate more fully with life.  We perceive things that we didn’t perceive before, and we sense, feel and think differently because we are more open to life rather than in protection from it.  We become more awake or aware of our impact on life, others and ourselves.  We recognize more and more that we have choice.  This recognition of choice is the beginning place of novelty.  We start trying on new feelings, thoughts, behaviors and perceptions, which create and lay down new patterns in our neurology.  We become different and therefore experience life differently.  

The more we lay down the patterns of openness in our nervous system the more we move into the field of our heart.  The yummy bliss of yes.  Beyond participation with life we move into oneness with it.  We see that nothing in not us therefore there has never been anything to protect from.  This is the awakened stage of the healing journey.  From separation and self-protection into unification and love.  It is all available to you as you are ready for it.  

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

CHOOSING YOUR IDENTITY

CHOOSING YOUR IDENTITY 

Creating a new experience of life

It can often seem like we are not choosing who we are, but rather that we simply are who we are.  You might wonder what it even means to choose your identity.  To begin with your identity is made up.  It is composed of a slew of thoughts, feelings, beliefs and assumptions, many of which you might not even be aware of, which is why it seems that you are not choosing who you are.  However if you take just a little bit of time and come up with a handful of words or phrases that currently describe you, then you will start to get a clearer picture of how you see yourself.  This is important to do if you would like to see that your identity is in fact made up by you (consciously or not) and become more deliberate in the choosing of it for yourself.

Why is your identity so important anyways?  Your identity dictates what actions you will take or not take, what emotions you will have or not have, how much risk or safety you need, how you relate to other people and yourself, the information your body will receive or not receive, what you belief is possible or impossible, and how you view the world and all of its happenings.  I hope you can see that identity is a pretty big deal.  It influences your entire experience of life.  Good news is you are not stuck with the one you have!  Identity in indeed malleable, but you must first realize that it can be changed by you if you so desire.  

Just to be clear there is nothing wrong with any identity.  Choosing one identity over another identity is not better or worse, but rather only provides different experiences for you.  Ultimately you are not any of the identities that you conjure up.  You are that which is before all characteristics and qualities, but that is another conversation.  So make that list of qualities and characteristics that you currently feel like you possess.  What are the primary thoughts and emotions that you experience on a regular basis?  What beliefs do you have that inspire those thoughts and emotions?  How do you imagine other people see/view you?  What do you present to others or the world and how is that different than when you are by yourself?  Get as clear and concise of a picture of who you currently believe or know yourself to be.  Now ponder if there is any way in which you would like to experience something that you are currently experiencing differently.  Would you like to feel different, see yourself differently, relate to others differently, have different opportunities, feel different in your body, make more money, impact others more, etc.?  If the answer is yes then it all begins with a shift in identity.  We can’t experience anything differently until we first become different. 

A NEW YOU 

Bridging the non-real gap

Now that you have gotten clearer on who you currently are, you must also create what you would like your new identity to be.  If you came up with some ways in which you would like to experience life differently than you must ask yourself, “who would I need to be in order to have those experiences?”  What type of person would experience life in the ways that you want to experience it?  Write down whatever those characteristics, qualities, thoughts, and emotions are for someone who would experience what you desire to experience.  Then notice the gap between your current sense of self and the sense of self you need to have in order to experience life in these new ways.  That gap, which really isn’t a gap, but rather only a set of habits based on assumptions of who you are and who you aren’t, and a doing of yourself one way versus another way.  

To bridge the non-real gap we must do, feel and think ourselves like the version of ourselves that we now desire to experience.  We must break the habits of our previous self by laying down the habits of our next self.  This is where people often drop the ball because this takes work and effort.  It will take energy, determination and discipline in order to make the shift because your old way of doing yourself is effortless, routine and predicable.  It takes very little energy.  Building a new self is like a baby building its body.  It takes a ton of energy.  In a way you do become like a baby again.  You are learning and laying down patterns that you have not learned or laid down before.  There will be uncertainty or lack of clarity, a sense like you don’t know where you are going or how to get there.  That is all normal.  You don’t know yet because you haven’t traversed this terrain before.  If you already knew then it wouldn’t be a new version of you.

As always your desire is the guiding light.  The more clear you are in your desire of what you want to be now, the more clear the path will seem to you even if you don’t know what direction is up/down or right/left.  Turning the light up on your desire is also your source of energy.  Without desire we don’t feel much motivation to create or bring new things to light.  With desire we are lit up.  We are motivated, inspired, and take action in the direction of our new found dreams.  Along with creating new behaviors, habits, thoughts, feelings and emotions, there will be a letting go of the old ways of being.  It is like a sweet good-bye.  A good-bye that is done in gratitude for who you’ve been and everything you’ve created from this sense of you.  It’s kind of like selling a car you really love, but you know it’s time for an upgrade because the old one just can’t do all the things you need it to anymore.  You want to have new experiences so it’s time to upgrade, it’s time for a change.  

We are by our very nature creators.  We are the source of our creations.  How do you want to play with the toys in your sandbox today?  How do you want to experience life?  You are the source of it all.  Turn the light up on yourself, see who you are now and create who you need to be in order to experience life how you desire to now.  

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