Connected Movement

Connected Movement

Motion guided by thought

Unless you are a dancer, athlete or have practiced a lot of body awareness you probably don’t really pay too much attention to how your body moves.  Rather than tuning into our body’s natural movements or allowing our bodies to be moved we tend to think or do our movements.  Thinking our movements comes from our thinker deciding it wants to do something and then our body following through on that thought with the necessary actions.  For example say you are sitting on your couch and you have the thought that you would like an apple from the kitchen.  Your body then gets up and walks to the kitchen in response to this thought.  This is the process or act of doing.  This motion is guided by the thoughts in your head and often not in connection with the larger rhythms of your consciousness.  

When motion is guided by thought alone it is mechanical in nature, meaning you have to do the motion and there isn’t a sense of aliveness inherent within the movement itself.  In this previous sentence you are the thinker (as that is what most people identify themselves as) and the thinker/you is guiding the motion.  The process of pure doing, or moving guided by thought, involves effort and there isn’t a synergistic flow to it or something that is energizing it; you have to put all the work into it.  Another way to say this is that the movement is not connected.  Disconnected movement is movement guided by thought that feels like you have to do the work to produce the action.  This is how most people move most of the time.  

When our thoughts are the primary motivator of our movements we are then thus limited in our movements by the thoughts we think.  Our thoughts decide what movements we take, where we go, where we don’t go, how we are and aren’t able to express ourselves through our movements (including the movement of voice/sound) and what we think we are physically capable of doing.  The effects of this are vast and include how the movement of a single joint in our body moves or doesn’t move, the way a muscle or group of muscles tense up, or the posturing we hold ourselves in and extends into the expression of our purpose and what we move towards and away from in life.  When our movements are guided by the mechanical nature of thought intelligence we experience the limitation of our thoughts through this physical body which intelligence moves within. 

Intelligently Guided Motion 

Beyond the thinker

You may be wondering what can move us besides our thoughts?  Believe it or not there is something more intelligent then your thoughts that can guide your movements.  We are largely conditioned to believe that we are the thoughts we think, or one step beyond that, that we are thinker of the thoughts we think, and that our identity stops there.  This creates a limited perspective on who/what we are and that limited perspective is what gets expressed through these bodily forms as movement.  

What is this intelligence that lives beyond our thinking minds which can inform our movements and how do you access it within your own consciousness and experience?  One of the first pieces I’ve found to be fundamental for people in discovering themselves beyond their thinking mind is the development of body awareness.  What this means is learning how to drop your awareness from your head/thoughts into your body and simply rest it there.  Through learning how to rest your awareness into different parts of your body you begin to notice yourself and your energy within your body rather than be focused in your thoughts.  This opens your awareness to the more subtle aspects of your being.  This is simple in application, but requires a consistent practice to discipline where you allow your attention to go as it will almost always want to immediately go back into your thoughts.  

Navigating your awareness into your body you begin to learn presence and how to simply be without doing.  It is then through the next step of turning your attention towards your beingness that you become aware of yourself at that level beyond thoughts.  It is also here that spontaneously organized movement can arise that is generated not through your thoughts but through your being.  Here movement is effortless and not limited, controlled or determined by your thoughts.  It is also not mechanical, but instead has it own coordination and defies what the thinking mind previously thought possible.  The mind cannot makes sense of it, nor is it necessarily supposed to be able too.  Here, you the person, must have also developed enough trust, faith and surrender or you will not be able to experience beyond your thinking mind.  Without trust, faith and surrender the mind is simply unwilling or not ready to let go.  It needs more time to keep its confined, limited and illusionary sense of safety a little longer before experiencing freedom.  

At first some people experience this more organized, spontaneous movement as scary, strange or other worldly, but it is simply the waking up of your awareness to the beingness aspect of itself where thoughts don’t interfere and the intelligence beyond your thinking mind can get a moment to enter your body and organize it in a more efficient configuration.  Life is always evolving and moving towards greater organization, intelligence and knowledge of itself.  This is built into the blueprint of creation.  It is natural that we are waking up to this next aspect of ourselves where we tune to the more subtle aspects of our nature and our thinking minds get out of the drivers seat.  Here a more highly ordered and energized intelligence (that we are) can stream through and use the vehicle of the thinking of mind to express through rather than the thinking mind running the show.  Overtime and with more tastes we become more stable and rested at this level of our being and our identity shifts from thinker into illuminator or simply pure awareness.  

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

Linear & Nonlinear Reasoning

Linear & Nonlinear Reasoning

Stages of development

The next stage of development we move into as older children and adolescents is that of analyzing, reasoning and trying to make sense of things that we perceive.  For many this comes in the form of logical and linear reasoning as this is what is mostly reinforced in our schools and culture.  It is black and white and views progress as moving from point A to B without deviation from the line.  It is focused on finding cause and effect relationships in which 1+1 must=2.  While others develop abstract or nonlinear reasoning.  In this type of reasoning things don’t move in a sequential fashion or progress on a straight line from A to B, but instead may move from A to P to O to D.  There are infinite shades and dimensions of all colors and things move out in many directions from one point.  A singular cause and effect relationship is a mute point as everything is influencing and effecting everything else, 1+happiness+an apple might=2.  People often categorize this into left brain vs right brain activity, where left brain is linear/logical and right brain is nonlinear/abstract.

Anyone who has spent time with a young child knows their insatiable hunger to know why things are the way they are.  This is rooted in a fundamental curiosity to know the outer world with which we find ourselves abiding within.  As young children we are little explorers with awakening mental capabilities that we use to make sense of what we see, feel, hear, taste and touch.  Developmentally we move from putting things in our mouth and touching things with are hands when we are infants and toddlers to using our mind to ask questions about things and formulate thoughts about what we sense.  Once we think we know our outer world well enough we stop asking so many questions with that child-like curiosity and we now have many developed assumptions based on what all of the adults in our lives have told us about the world.  We are not really aware of these assumptions as we’ve simply absorbed the information given to us and made it into a concrete and factual world which we now live in.  

While many people have a higher tendency towards logical, linear reasoning as that is what we are taught as primary, most people have aspects of both types of reasoning.  However as a collective we tend to lean towards what the culture accepts and expects and find ourselves locked into linear reasoning even if that isn’t our natural default or tendency.  We go for what “makes the most sense”, “is logical”, which is implied to be the “higher, more prestigious order”.  Whether or not that is actually true or valid is up for debate, but the logical mind tends to be quite rigid, singularly focused, at times righteous and has a hard time coloring outside the lines.  For it to see itself, and for you to see it in yourself, can be challenging because it must be proven to with facts, data and direct cause and effect or else it remains closed, skeptical and judgmental.  

Addiction to Reasoning 

Shifting into presence

While reasoning, linear and nonlinear, are fundamental developmental milestones to this human experience many people get locked into and addicted to reasoning, especially linear reasoning.  We tend to need to know why things are they way they are rather than simply experiencing them.  We feel a compulsion to figure things out particularly when undesirable occurrences are showing up in our lives or bodies and we feel frustrated when we can’t make sense of it all.  We think if we could just figure it out, have some reason or answer be revealed to us, then everything would be ok again.  

While linear reasoning absolutely has its place say for example when organizing your house, structuring your day or creating an action plan for something very specific that you want to achieve or create, in the realms of healing it often gets in the way.  Our near complete obsession with thinking and figuring it out postpones our healing like nothing else.  Why is this so you might ask?  It is because all healing happens in the present, in fact healing is a return to the present, and when you are thinking you are not present.  Our minds have a really sneaky way of convincing us that if they can just have a few more thoughts or think about something for a little longer than they will get closer to some kind of knowing that will benefit them.  This is why we develop an addiction to our thoughts in the first place.  We think that our thoughts and reasoning will benefit us more than simply being present to our experience.  That somehow our thoughts have the answer separate from our direct experience of whatever it is that we are experiencing.  We have learned to become so reliant on our thoughts that we can’t even imagine or trust that there is another way.  We often perceive being present to our experience as inactive and being in our thoughts/head as active and productive.  As long as our minds are active we feel success or as if we are moving towards success, but to still our minds and experience simply being with feels boring or empty, unproductive, or like a waste of time, especially when we want answers.

The other piece to this is that our minds have agendas.  When life isn’t looking/feeling like we want it to the mind looks for a way out rather than a way inGetting out of our experience is impossible and yet we will try at all costs to do so when we don’t like what we are experiencing.  Getting into our experience is the process of presence.  To feel and see what is here without turning away from it is what allows for healing and eventually transformation to occur.  We are so busy being in our heads avoiding the aspects of our lives that we don’t want to feel and yet feeling them is the key to healing them.  Remember avoidance is simply a protective mechanism, a way that we can check out of our experience rather than into it, because sometimes what is here is too uncomfortable, more uncomfortable than our continual avoidance of it.  

Being in your experience provides all of the energy and information that you will ever need.  Your capacity to feel the emotions and sensations that are present in any moment, particularly the ones you resist or don’t like, is what allows them to be part of the whole rather than separate in a concept or thought.  This integrates them back into the unified whole of which they never really left, only your thoughts kept them separate.  It is from this place that you can see a larger perspective.  This is where the energy and knowingness for actions, transformation and change occurs.  There is no more figuring out.  There is simply knowledge of how to proceed and what must occur now.  If you find yourself “not knowing how” then you’re not present yet because when you are present you always know.  Here self-doubt ends and self-knowing is inherent.  

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

Inauthenticity: The Biggest Energy Drain

Inauthenticity: The  Biggest Energy Drain

Identifying your fake self

Business Executive and His Energy Level Concept Vector Cartoon I

Being someone you are not is absolutely exhausting and yet we attempt to do this all of the time.  Whether its in a social setting, work setting, or a one on one interaction with another person we find ways to filter, tame or ignore our true nature rather than just be ourselves.  Why is it that we pretend to be other, different, better, kinder or more amiable than we actually are?  It mostly comes down to wanting approval and acceptance by others and our fear of rocking the boat and creating a messy or destructive splash.  

When we choose approval or acceptance by others over our own natural impulse or nature we drain our own energy and dim our inner flame.  We literally become a shell because we’ve lost connection to our essence.  We are gone and only the outer clothing of the image we project remains.  We have all had this experience.  Perhaps you’ve found yourself in a conversation with a friend, client or co-worker and were completely drained afterwards. Or maybe you were in a social setting not speaking or engaging at all, yet feeling like you should be interacting in someway and find yourself similarly exhausted just being in that setting.  In these scenarios the ideas that we have about what and who we should be and how we should interact dominate our inner environment and take over our person.  This is the birth of the inauthentic version of ourselves that we think that world wants more than the authentic version.

The disappearance of the real you and the presentation to the world of the fake you gives you the illusion of safety and security, which is why you choose it over the real you.  This illusion of security provided by the acceptance of you by others temporarily feels safe and reassuring yet has significant long-term costs.  The costs are a drain to your life force which has physical effects on your body and its capacity to heal, rest and regenerate.  There is also a dimmed down expression of yourself that often comes with a sense of either not knowing yourself, liking yourself, valuing yourself or a lack of self-confidence.  Lastly there can be the experience of frustration that comes from not listening to or following through on your natural impulses or excitements.  In these ways your inauthenticity and choosing safety and security over your own beingness becomes the biggest energy drain.  The greater your inauthenticity the more lethargic, moody, tired and eventually sick you will feel.  These are the effects of disconnection from ourselves.   

Your Inner Fire 

Inviting the messy, destructive & chaotic

the burning woman head profile

Due to our conditioned propensities towards organization rather than mess, constructive rather than destructive, and calm rather than chaotic we live within a limited range of ourselves while attempting to control and manage life so that we experience more comfort rather than discomfort.  Our often complete aversion to discomfort makes us a planet of people pleasers and do gooders that jump to immediate alleviation at the first sign of upset or distress while simultaneously feeling suffocated, constricted and tight as we keep ourselves confined to expressing only that which is pleasing and containable. We wonder innocently enough why it is we feel so tense and why its feels hard to breath while not allowing ourselves to feel a grain of discomfort and thus only allowing a fraction of our expression.  

To invite the entire range of ourselves to play we have to be willing to feel the burn from time to time.  Not everything we say is nice and not everything we do is kind, nor is it always supposed to be.  Sometimes the most loving way to be has nothing to do with niceness, kindness or making sure others are ok with our expressions.  This isn’t a permission slip to be belligerent, but rather a permission slip to be authentically you.  We each are and have access to every characteristic and aspect in existence.  We are all parts and all parts are us.  To only play with or express a few parts is what gives us the experience of limitation.  

Your inner flame or fire is your source of passion and life force.  It is lit when you are simply being you.  There isn’t anything extra or added that you need.  In fact it is quite the opposite.  It is the dropping away of the added or extra, which are the filters and layers of falsity, allow your fire to burn effortlessly and as brightly as you are.  This is when you feel the most alive, energized, and vital.  Fire also has the capacity to burn away that which is false or inauthentic to you.  The more you allow the flame of your authentic self the clearer you become in yourself.

What then is required of you is simply to be yourself.  This is the experience of being rested and energized simultaneously.  To have the ability to respond, act and be in accordance with your true nature and not be dependent on other people or situations that you find yourself in to give you an external sense of comfort and safety.  This is the expression of confidence and self-worth.  To no longer compromise yourself at the expense of other peoples thoughts, opinions and perceptions of you.  To value your expression enough to simply be it no matter what.  This is what it is to be authentic.  

Inviting the sometimes messy, chaotic, destructive and uncomfortable is a good practice as it will stretch you out of your safety nets and help you drop the filters you have up that you don’t even know you have.  Moving towards your aversions of discomfort rather than away will liberate you from them.  Your freedom lies within being able to be with all expressions of you and not just picking and choosing the select few that you like or feel good to you.  When you can be with all of you, you are free.  

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

Trusting Others

Trusting Others 

Fear, betrayal & mistrust

Men's hands hold the female palms.

Relationships with others are key to life.  It is nearly impossible to have zero relationships with others as our world is interconnected and inter-reliant.  We rely on others to support us in various ways as they symbiotically rely on us.  Relationships can be causal such as the the one you have with the person who checks out your groceries or they can be more intimate such as that which you have with your family or significant others.  

The foundation that underlies all relationships is our capacity to trust others.  If we’ve had experiences of betrayal, being hurt, left or not seen/heard by others than our capacity to willing trust other people can be diminished.  We may find it challenging to open our selves up to others and trust that we won’t feel hurt by them.  At the extreme end of mistrust of others we may isolate ourselves as much as possible from other people and minimize relational interactions, even ones that support our basic needs.  We may feel skeptical of everyone and vigilant to their behaviors as we look for any subtle sign that we might get hurt, disappointed, or let down by them.  At the most extreme end there is simply the assumption that we will get hurt no matter what and we therefore completely close off ourselves to other people even if we have to interact them.  We don’t allow for an energetic exchange to occur between ourselves and others and therefore our experience is quite lonely, sometimes cynical, and we can come off as harsh, cold or mean to others.

When we lack trust in others we will often find reasons why we can’t trust based upon another person’s actions or lack of actions. We will use their actions/non-actions as a justification to ourselves as to why we can/can’t trust.  In this way our capacity to trust will seem external to us and dependent on the person(s) rather than the recognition of our internal choice to trust.  When we don’t recognize our internal choice to trust or not trust we will feel powerless and like it is not up to us, but instead up to them.  Often we will expect them to somehow change so that we can trust them.  This is the disownment of our power and the projection of that internal disowned state onto other people.  

Its important to recognize that this pattern of behaviors of mistrust is not us.  It is not who we are even if we are engaging in it.  Instead it is simply a protective pattern/mechanism which we have learned in order to protect ourselves from getting hurt.  As long as we keep the pattern going then we can keep people at a distance and the fear we have of feeling hurt by them is diminished.  The down side of this is that we don’t get to develop the level of closeness, intimacy and joy of being with others that most of us crave.   

Divine Relating 

Courage & resolution

divine relatingWe are all familiar with the phrase “divine timing”, which implies the resting into the perfect unfolding and sequencing of life events.  This capacity to rest into divine timing is birthed from our willingness to trust the timing of life.  This means being ok with not knowing for certain at what pace things will unfold but knowing that however they unfold will be perfect and that it will all work out in the right timing.  This same trusting which we can do with timing also occurs in relationship to others.  I like to call it “divine relating”.  

What is divine relating?  Divine relating is birthed from an internal state of trust of others.  It has nothing to do with the other person, but only with you and your willingness to trust others.  Trust always implies not knowing for certain what the outcome of any moment, situation, interaction or relationship will be.  Simultaneously with that uncertainty is an inner knowingness that however it turns out it will be ok, even if that means that at some point you feel hurt by another.  Its the willingness to stay open and feel the hurt rather than close yourself off from other people altogether.  There are no guarantees as to how we will feel at some moment in the future and living trying to protect ourselves from never feeling hurt, disappointed, unseen or unheard is a very lonely life.  

So is there some kind of perceived risk in trusting others?  From our mind’s perspective absolutely.  Our minds and their patterns are all about minimizing risk and protecting us from pain.  If we solely listen and abide by our mind’s protective patterns then we will live the experience of a very limited life where things will be mostly flat/neutral.  Well this will be ok for many people and is the life that most people live, for those that want to experience a greater range of life experience and ultimately freedom, they will need to learn a different way.  The entry point or metaphorical door to that different way is trust.  

When we have the courage to choose trust and not base our current experience on our past experiences we can create a new pathway for ourselves that is empowering.  One where we see that it is up to us to choose trust and that it is not dependent on others.  One where we can create empowering boundaries for ourselves based on our preferences and standards for what we want and deserve.  

When we completely resolve the pattern of mistrust of others we realize that our soul, essence, true self has never been hurt or harmed.  Though our body or mind may have experienced hurt we realize that we are not our body or mind and that ultimately there is no other.  To love other is to love self.  To love self is to love other.  Through choosing trust we breakdown the walls of separation and experience the unity that always has been and is.  We end the internal fight.  We feel what it is to rest.  We directly experience connectedness and stop creating separation.  

Unity is inescapable.  We cannot keep anything or anyone separate from it no matter how hard we insist on trying.  It is all inclusive.  On the other side of mistrust is immense love and compassion for self, other and all.  This love dissolves the bars around our heart and reunites it with the one heart of all.  

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

End of Avoidance

End of Avoidance 

Leaning into your discomforts

avoidance 2There is an overarching tendency to push away parts of our experience that are unpleasant or that we don’t like or prefer.  Many of us are not even aware that we are pushing away certain parts of our experience instead we just know that we don’t like what is and that we are in some way uncomfortable, whether physically or psychologically.  This tendency to avoid, push away or get rid of certain parts of our experience makes for a state of inner resistance also known as suffering.  Some of us suffer loudly while others do so silently, so silently that they hardly even notice it themselves.  

Most people have a belief that when all of their experiences are pleasant or their personal preferences are all actualized then they will experience peace and happiness.  The thing is that experiences constantly change and come and go.  In one moment all of your preferences may be actualized and in the next moment you may find yourself not preferring what is happening at all.  Due to the fact that nearly all people base their state of being on circumstances this means that you feel happy and peaceful when your life experiences line up with what you prefer and unhappy when they do not.  

Your experiences only determine your state of being in the ways that you allow them to, but in order for you to consciously choose your state of being you must first be in full acceptance of what is.  If you are pushing any aspect of your experience away you are not in the driver’s seat of your life.  Instead you are victim to that which you refuse to accept and your creative options for moving with or adapting to life are extremely limited.   

Remember what we refuse to accept is often subtle or completely unseen by us.  These blinds spots are often experienced as a sense of disconnection, lack of presence or energy,  or seeking out distractions without the seeming ability to refocus.  Other ways in which our blind spots are experienced are through rationalization or making logical that which is happening or attempting to turn our experiences into something pleasant or pleasurable.  One way of doing this is by pasting something on top of our experience while still not being in full acceptance of what is underneath.  When you are in full acceptance of your experience as it is there is no need to paste anything on top of it or make it different in any way.  This doesn’t mean that your experience won’t change, it may or may not, but your inner resistance will have ended and you therefore feel a sense of inner peace no matter what the circumstances are in that moment.   

Beginning of Peace 

Embracing of all

Newborn Baby Boy Floating on a Swim Ring

The fastest way to peace is radical acceptance of what is.  Peace does not mean all external things (including your own body) are pleasant, kind, and quiet.  It simply means that your mind is.  This is how you come to know the unshakable, undisturbed nature of your very own beingness.  There is also a distance of sorts that gets created between you and your experiences or circumstances.  You are no longer fused or merged with them and due to this your perception is expanded and you are able to see that which you were previously blind too.  It is only here that we can gain true clarity.

Another thing begins to happen at this point of un-fusing or un-merging with our experiences; we realize that our preferences are not so important.  This doesn’t mean that it isn’t still nice when our preferences are what we are experiencing, but we also realize that they don’t have to be, and either way whatever shows up we are happy and peaceful.  

When we sink into discomfort the rewards are so great.  We liberate ourselves.  We become autonomous.  We come to know our true self.  There really is no reward greater.  The nature of love is all embracing and all including.  When we resist or push something out of love’s all embracing nature we suffer because we are going against the fundamental truth of our nature as we are love.  I know it seems hard at times to accept those things (experiences, sensations, feelings, etc.) which we don’t prefer or that we even judge as wrong, bad or should be different than they are, but the larger truth is that everything should be exactly as it is.  When you fully get this you embody your power and you embody love.  

What is also realized at this point is that your truest preference is not to have all the external situations or circumstances turn out or be a certain way, including the sensations and experience of your body, what your true preference is, is to know yourself and be yourself.  In knowing yourself and being yourself you express love perfectly and can’t help see the perfection of the divine folding and unfolding all around through your circumstances and experiences.

Know that at times we forget this.  Also know that all experiences are intentioned to bring us back into this remembering.  If you find yourself in resistance, not wanting to feel the discomfort of something or a lack of your preference being experienced, remind yourself that you can use this very experience to remember your true nature as love.  Know that just as easily as you can resist an experience you are having you can equally accept it.  There is no special skill you need to learn in order to accept, you just simply do it.  You stop insisting on wrongness, badness and your personal preference for something else, and you drop into what is here now.  In that moment connection is re-established.  You find and feel home inside of you again and just like that you begin to have a different relationship with all of your experiences that show up thereafter.  

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

Unwinding the Subtle Body

Unwinding the Subtle Body 

Tension in our lighter bodies 

unwind subtle bodyMost of us are aware of tension in our physical body.  It is quite obvious when a part of our body feels constricted in its movement or a muscle feels tight. People however are less aware of tensions in their subtle body.  Your subtle body/bodies are those bodies that are less dense and therefore less physical.  For example your emotional body is a subtle body.  You can’t see your emotions (except as they express though your physical form) you can only feel them..  Your mental body is also a subtle body.  You can’t see your thoughts you can only think them.  Lastly your soul body is your most subtle body.  Again you can’t see your soul body you can only directly come to know it.  Each of these subtle bodies can hold tension or restriction. We are frequently less aware of our subtle bodies and even less aware of the ways in which we guard, protect, hold tight or resist within these aspects of ourselves.  

You can’t heal or change a holding pattern or a particular way that you are binding energy until you can see and feel what is going on.  Self-awareness is the number one primary ingredient as without that you are simply unconscious to yourself.  The second essential ingredient is your willingness to spontaneously and authentically feel your patterns once you can see them.  When you are authentically feeling there is an instantaneous opening of the heart.  This is what unbinds that pattern and your system.  Most people are really gifted in intellectualizing their awareness of themselves and also intellectualizing their feelings.  When we “intellectually” feel our feelings rather than authentically feel them we may feel a temporary release of energy but we will not feel a deeper connection and wholeness with self.

Probably the easiest way to increase your self-awareness is by slowing yourself down.  Sometimes this is a physical slowing down, but even beyond that is a slowing down of your emotional and mental bodies.  When our awareness is occupied with incessant mental chatter or is getting hijacked by emotional triggers it is very hard to notice our subtle bodies.  Even though we are thinking thoughts or having feelings we are often not really aware of what we are the thinker or feeler, we are instead merged with the feelings and thoughts.  Until you can recognize that you are thinking or that you are feeling you are simply fused with the thoughts or feelings and not really aware of yourself.   

Increasing your Openness & Receptivity 

Expanded states of being & knowing

Goddess eye and Color space background with stars.

Being aware of tension in your subtle bodies is important if you desire to increase your openness and receptivity to energy, information and life.  When we unconsciously bind energy in our subtle bodies we may think we are open and yet there are worlds of energy and information that we are not in direct communication with.  It may seem strange, paranormal or mystical when other people seem to be tapped into something that we are not aware of or can’t seem to track or access.  Again most people are not aware of how they are binding energy or holding tension in their more subtle bodies and thus keeping themselves separate from more expanded states of being and knowing.

Dismantling the tension bound in your more subtle bodies often comes with the experience of feeling exposed.  Exposed because you literally are dropping the energetic walls between you and seeming other so nothing is hidden.  When our minds still believe that there is “other” then we can feel a sense of risk or danger in dropping these more subtle resistances or defenses.  Also people can feel overwhelmed, violated, invaded or the like in becoming more all pervasive and less defended in their subtle bodies.  When this is the experience it simply means that there is some more fundamental work to do in regards to personal trust, safety and development of sense of self.  We must become a person before we can dismantle our personhood back into the one infinite source that we are.  This is the developmental progression and the evolution of it occurs in perfect timing.

Another aspect that often arises in dismantling the tension in our subtle bodies is our self-worth.  Due to the nature of the learning here on earth at this time many people have a fundamental belief that they are unworthy or unlovable.  This sense of unworthiness is in itself a resistance or tension in opening into the infinite intelligence and love that we are.  To feel unworthy of love makes it challenging to receive the love that we are and so we subtlety and unknowingly push it away.  Instead of opening more deeply towards it we keep it at bay as we feel undeserving of it.  This reinforces our experience of separation, otherness and limitation.

For many healing is what is required at this stage of the game.  Healing being a coming into wholeness and coherence.  Understand that healing does not mean that a part of us is different. Healing means that a part of us knows that it’s loved. Nothing changed, nothing given, nothing taken away, all forgiven.  It is when we arrive here that we can deepen more and more fully into letting go of even the most subtle threads of resistance and tension that keep us separate from our more expanded self.  In truth we are all love.  All resistance simply keeps us from this truth.  

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

Opening into Nothingness

Opening into Nothingness 

Going beyond thought

Stars and material falls into a black holeWhether you are aware of it or not opening into stark nothingness is terrifying for most.  We both hunger to feel emptiness and instantaneously grab onto the next thing or thought the moment we taste even the slightest sliver of nothingness.  We are so bound up in our thoughts, worries, ideas, activities and the like that few of us even get a glimpse of what it feels like to experience total emptiness.  The irony is that emptiness is our natural state of being and yet most of us have never experienced it.  

Emptiness or nothingness is what is prior to or before thought arrives on the scene.  When thought does arrive it creates and colors the world that we see and what we call reality.  Reality for most people is just a conglomeration of their thoughts.  True reality however is completely without thought.  It simply is.  Pure beingness.  Awareness itself.  Why is it that we are so terrified of our natural state of pure beingness?  Well firstly it is because there is no separate, individual self in nothingness.  This means that the you that you think is you, let’s call this the “thought” you, dissolves into nothing.  There is no you in the traditional sense that you’ve come to know.  This feels completely destabilizing to the one you think you are (often people describe it as the feeling of death) and so the reaction-response is to fuse back with thought to feel a sense of stability again.  

Secondly in order to even taste nothingness we must be in a state of total openness and acceptance.  We cannot be attempting to make something happen, figure anything out or control something with our head/thoughts.  All of these put us in a state of resistance or closure, which equates to creating the experience of separation or otherness.  You cannot know nothingness from a state of perceiving otherness.  Many people however try to do this and nothingness becomes another box or container for their mind to explore rather than directly know.  In order to truly experience nothingness you must fuse with it thus becoming it rather than continuing to fuse with thoughts.  

When you make the commitment to open your system and let go of thoughts rather than continue to use your thoughts to figure out how to open your system, you will begin to know the beingness and the world beyond thought.  You cannot get beyond thought through using thought.  You must relinquish the thoughts altogether less your awareness will habitual continue to latch onto them out of familiarity and comfort.   

The End of Otherness 

Surrender into the Self

relationshipsAs we approach nothingness from a still separate point of view some of the experiences that we have are centered around feeling like we won’t know, that we will be totally useless, that we will be completely exposed or vulnerable, that if our mind/thoughts don’t inform us then what will, and above all we doubt because we don’t yet know what is on the other side of our thoughts.  We don’t perceive that we can trust that nothingness will provide and contains everything that is known and needed.  

The only way to really work with this is to allow yourself to feel the energy of all of these states of being that arise.  That means allowing the feeling of not knowing what is or will happen next which brings in the felt experience of trust, feeling exposed and vulnerable which brings in the direct experience of openness, feeling the spacious empty nothingness that is without thoughts which brings in the direct knowing of yourself.  See we often say we want to trust, or we want to be more open, or we want to more clearly and directly know ourselves and we think that we have to do something or figure something out in order to do it.  The truth is that trust, openness and knowledge of self come through you staying with those feeling experiences that you keep trying to avoid which just happen to be trust, openness and knowledge of self.  The direct path to what we desire is always inside of what we are currently experiencing.

To know ourselves, which is the final destination of the spiritual journey, is really just the beginning of life.  Before we know ourselves we are just trying to survive because all we perceive is separation and the fight for our physical needs, desires and existence.  If we have something than it means someone else does not have it and vis versa.  When we perceive otherness someone or something always wins and the other loses.  We fight to save live from the perspective of our eminent demise as we believe death of the body means death of us.

The end of otherness and the bridge into totality is the surrender into nothingness which is the true self or the true you.  This is to walk willingly into our own personalized ego death.  Ego being that perspective which believes itself to be a part, and apart from, rather than the whole.  This is the end to personalization of our lives and the unbending trajectory of the individual needs, wants and desires.  To be clear this does not mean death of the body, but to the perspective that body means separate from.  There is no separate you.  There never has been.  There has only ever been the thought of a separate you.  Separate you is just a thought.  When you relinquish all thought, even for a moment, you immediately realize this.  This is the direct experience and knowledge of self.  This takes you beyond the concept of you to where you no longer perceive other and the will of this body-mind instrument is divinely inspired and moved.  Personal insistences have dissolved and all that remains is God/Love/Spirit of which these vehicles are gladly utilized.  “Your” will becomes Love’s will as there is but one will.  

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

Inner Alchemy

Inner Alchemy 

Philosophy, practice & the Philosopher’s Stone

alchemy moon sunAlchemy is a philosophy and practice that has its origins in ancient Egyptian and Greek times.  There is both an inner and outer expression of alchemy.  The outer being the scientific, exoteric or objective experience that was associated with the transmutation of natural substances such as turning ordinary base metals like lead into more refined metals like gold.  It was also concerned with finding external elixirs to remedy all diseased conditions with the goal of perfect health and immorality.  This outer alchemy became the foundation for the now modern field of chemistry.  We can see evidence of this in fields like pharmacology that alter the chemical structure of matter in order to change its form and function.

There is also an inner alchemy that is spiritual, esoteric or subjective in nature that is associated with the transmutation of the inner immaterial being or consciousness rather than the outer material form.  The idea is the same however in that its goal is the purification and refinement of our essence from an ordinary state of being into an extraordinary state of being.  The resultant experience of this process is the knowing of our truer, more distilled, purer, refined self.  In modern times this can also be explained as the process of enlightenment or waking up that is spoken about in psychological and spiritual groups.  

Within the philosophy of alchemy there is a search for something called the “philosopher’s stone.”  The philosopher’s stone was the “substance” that allowed for this transmutation into something more refined or evolved to occur.  The core tenant of alchemy is that everything is evolving into a state of greater perfection.  This includes metals, plants, animals, humans and consciousness itself.  There is question as to whether the philosopher’s stone/substance was an actual stone or a metaphorical stone.  Clearly in the modern field of chemistry this substance/“stone” would be chemicals as that is what shifts the composition of the material.  When looking for this substance from the inner alchemical perspective the substance would be spiritual power aka life force, love or the soul.  The soul being that element or substance which allows for transmutation from ordinary beingness into extraordinary beingness.   

Your Inner Alchemist 

Soul metamorphosis 

3d illustration of an Angel in heaven land,Mixed media for bookWe all have an inner alchemist.  It is called our soul.  Some people are more familiar with their inner alchemist than others, in fact some people don’t know or deny the presence of it altogether.  Whether you are aware of or deny your inner alchemist or not does not make it any less real or present.  In time all gets revealed.  

The soul is that immaterial substance that breaths through all forms.  Forms being physical bodies, trees, plants, animals, rocks, as well as thoughts, emotions, feelings and sensations.  Soul is what is actually alive, intelligent and present within all things.   Other words for soul are life force, love, God, beauty, breath, energy, awareness, intelligence, consciousness, light, Sun, life.  Soul is the agent of life, vitality, movement and change.  When we are not aware of soul life seems to be happening to us as we view ourselves as objects that are done onto, we perceive things as random and disorganized, and the seamless connectedness of all of life is absent from our awareness.  Life appears as separate pieces and parts and never is the picture seen as whole.  

On the other hand when we are aware of soul, interconnectedness is evident and intelligent design is no longer denied.  Instead of life happening to us we realize that we are life.  This is fundamental to our awakening and the essential ingredient that makes the shift from ordinary being to extraordinary being and from the perspective of separate to one with/as.  The intimate knowing of soul bridges the gap, is the alchemical elixir, the inner philosopher’s stone, the transmutational esoteric substance that allows for the knowingness of the divine perfection of all to be revealed.   

Soul is a metamorphosing agent.  It is pure intelligence.  It knows how to perfectly unfold, reveal, and evolve itself.  The process of soul being realized is a metamorphosis that all are experiencing in every moment.  All consciousness is growing and moving towards the light of soul.  Soul is like a ray of sunshine that is constantly guiding, illuminating, informing and growing you, and you are continuing inch by inch, getting closer and closer to it.  The unification with it is the realization of it as you.  The real you, not the personality-body you.  This is the full acceptance of the divine self as you.  

Soul then is awake in this body-mind vehicle.  The most refined, distilled aspect of light shining through.  Free agency having realized itself as abiding in these forms, and all forms.  This is the inner alchemical transmutation of consciousness.  This intelligent design is the pre-programmed program of all of life.  All consciousness will wake up to itself, realize itself as the life principle, as the one creator.  This is the end of forgetfulness and beginning of eternal life.  

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

Holding Your Breath

Holding Your Breath 

Waiting for the shoe to drop

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

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

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

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

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

Story of our Defenses

Bridge from concept to direct physiological experience 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giving Everything Back to Source

Giving Everything Back to Source 

Tendency to hold on

Studio shot of worried and upset caucasian woman holding hands in pray near chin, squeezing it tight and begging for something, smiling nervously and standing with closed eyes over gray backgroundAs human beings we tend to hold onto everything.  This perpetual holding on gives us a sense of security and like we can somehow manipulate our external reality if we just hold on a little bit tighter.  Holding on is our attempt to control the spontaneous, unpredictability of life so that we are not caught too far off our guard where we perceive that things might get or go “bad”.  This holding onto life keeps our life looking a particular way and provides us with the illusionary experience of consistency and sameness.  While a part of us feels better when this illusionary experience of life appears to be intact, another part of us feels stifled and like it can’t breathe inside of delusion we are perpetuating.  

We not only hold onto material things like homes, jobs, relationships and such, we also hold onto thoughts.  In fact we are almost never entirely without a thought.  For many people to open into the spacious, emptiness beyond thought is terrifying.  I believe that most have never done it for much longer than a second or two, if even that, which means that we are always holding onto something.  Why the terror to let go you may ask?  Perhaps we fear that this world that we live in now, with all the things that we know, will disappear.  Perhaps the tastes we’ve had of freedom have felt “too free” and we prefer some constraint and limitation over our freedom.  Maybe we’ve created the story that we don’t know how to let go, or maybe we don’t even know that we are holding life in the grips of our own mind.  

Regardless of our reasoning or our lack of awareness into ourselves as to our patterns of holding the result of holding is the same.  Holding on always creates some level of tension in our body-mind.  That tension then becomes the filter with which we interpret and experience everything and with which we come to believe what is.  Tension patterns also create disconnection from source or from the larger organizing principle of creation.  This is the inherent function of tension patterns, to be self-protective of this individuated body-mind organism that we call ourselves, and yet simultaneous with this comes reinforcement of the illusion of perceiving yourself as separate from the rest of creation.   

Reconnecting with Source 

Its easier than your mind thinks

Happy girl jumpingRe-establishing connection to source is always easier than our mind thinks that it is.  It is the job of our mind to make things way more complicated than they are in actuality.  People’s minds like to talk about how they have to do this or that, change this or that, or how they just have to surrender and let go already.  Yet for most this simply stays in their mind as another thought or idea that takes up space inside of the infinite spaciousness of ourselves.  I find if people are talking about their need to surrender and let go they are quite far from actually doing it.  Why does letting go or surrendering stay in the mind rather than become our direct experience?   It is because ultimately we don’t really want to let go of what we say we want to let go of.  We prefer our uncomfortable (or unnoticeable for some that have less awareness of themselves) tension patterns and delusional stories of reality over ease and truth because more than anything else we fear what we might lose.  

So fear of loss runs the show of our lives until we boldly and courageously decide to no longer let it.  Not until we are willing to lose everything can we truly experience surrender.  Few people arrive here without exhausting every other possible route first.  We quite literally exhaust ourselves into the truth.  Our beliefs in scarcity, lack, and wrongness, that we won’t have enough, be enough, achieve the right things, things won’t last or turn out, that we’ve failed, will be alone,  etc… triumphs.  

How do we walk this path towards surrender step by step?  I have found that to give everything back to source is the quickest route.  This means making the commitment to first tune into yourself and develop awareness of your patterns of tension and disconnection.  As tension patterns arise at the body level immediately release them.  Don’t try to figure them out or process them at length, simply just drop the tension.  Rather than continue to hold on to it, let it go, just like that.  You will notice instantly more ease and breath in your body.  You will also begin to realize just how powerful you are and how you are the creator of your own tension patterns.  Second is the willingness to let go of your thoughts as they arise.  This will take consistent practice for most.  If you get fixated on a thought recognize the fixation and then let the thought go.  This is important particularly for thoughts that really grab you and bring you into a less resourced and often fearful state.  

As you do this more and more you will be developing your skill set in giving back to source rather than taking from or holding on as if nothing else will ever come your way.  Whenever we give back we are instantaneously rewarded with more energy and aliveness.  What we hold onto we maintain.  At best our energy state stays neutral which means life looks the same and feels mundane most of the time.  However what we give back to life, to source, frees us up and thus we become available to exponentially greater and greater states of energy.  This also means that we almost never know what will happen.  We are in the moment of ever present aliveness, trust, and knowingness in the perfection of it all.  This is what at our heart of hearts we all desire and seek no matter how much our minds want to interfere.  

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