Defenselessness

Defenselessness 

Beyond Self-protection

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

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

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

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

Defended vs. Closed 

Choosing openness or closedness

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

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

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

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

Body Intelligence

Body Intelligence

Stress & Acceptance Physiology

There is a natural intelligence to our bodies.  It is clearly evident that our bodies know how to coordinate a zillion biochemical process each day without us even being aware of it.  Modern medicine has barely scratched the surface in understanding the complexity of the way that our body operates and functions.  While it has made advances in looking at the physical components and parts it almost never steps back to see what is the operating force for this physical body in the first place.  

It is obvious that when we cut or injure ourselves that our body initiates a sequence of events to heal the tissue.  Different tissues tend to repair at different rates.  Many of what we label disease processes are the body’s intelligence attempting to recalibrate or heal itself in the best way it can given the situation it finds itself within.  Even when things seem maladaptive to us, meaning producing some kind of symptoms, this is often an intelligent process that is initiated to help adapt and heal the body.  This is also why simply eliminating symptoms can be dangerous as the body created them for a purpose, which is to support homeostasis and healing.  The adaptability and capacity of this body intelligence is really quite astounding and one that we often don’t give much attention to unless it seems to not be working correctly.  

This begs the question as to why it seems that this intelligence fails us at times.  Why does the body not repair after injury or find that perfect balance in its internal processes that we maybe once experienced?  Why does the body’s intelligence sometimes need external or outside assistance?  Lets start with the most significant cases first and work our way backwards.  In the most significant of cases an injury or insult to the body structure is so great that the body’s intelligence can’t reconnect and revitalize that part of the body despite its best attempts to do so.  You might see this with a car accident where there is loss of a limb or a stroke when a portion of the brain dies.  Connection has been severed and the body’s intelligence simply can’t reach or reconnect to that part.  When a part of this body is disconnected from its intelligence source its energetic resource is limited and it eventually ceases to function.  This is what we would call a death process of that part.  When intelligence completely ceases to inform this body structure that is what we call a full or complete death of this physical form.  Again this is the most significant of cases. 

Now at the body level we experience death processes every minute and this does not mean that a portion of the body or the entire body dies.  Believe it or not millions of cells die each second and millions of new ones are born each second.  Unbelievable I know but look it up for yourself.  The death process is actually a very important part of the regulation and health of this body, so much so that I would say that our resistance to a death process occurring is one of the major factors that interferes with our ability to heal.  Wait, what did I just say?  Yep you read correctly.  Due to our often impatience, fear, loss of stability in our body of what once was and wanting to go back to how we felt in our body before a pain or symptom arose we tend not want to let go of what once was.  We thus create a state of resistance aka stress physiology in our body and we are attempting to live in the past which always creates suffering because its impossible to do so.  In this way we interfere with the emergence of the new (which is on the other side of every death) by holding onto the old with the grips of our current idea of life.  When we are unwilling to accept what is, including the potential or actual death of the way that things were, we get stuck.  When we are stuck we desperately seek for some answer or some clarity that will bring us back to the knowing we once knew rather than this new state of uncertainty and instability that we find ourselves in.   

Now back to the body’s intelligence.  The body’s intelligence is always programmed towards health, vitality and wholeness in its actions.  When communication between our body tissues and the intelligence that informs them are intact and not interfered with this information is effortlessly communicated behind the scenes of our conscious awareness and our body functions optimally.  However if this information cannot reach the tissues of the body for some reason then the communication cannot get relayed.  In my opinion and experience the number one thing that interferes with this communication process is us.  Meaning we create the interference in the system through the inner state of being that we are choosing.  Now are there other things that interfere with this communication besides our inner state of being?  The answer is most definitely yes.  Not creating a good physical environment for the body by consuming crappy foods, crappy thoughts and not taking care of the physical body in the ways it needs all interfere.  These things are vitally important to our physical health and vitality, but they are not the entire story.  

The good news is that in many cases reconnection can be re-established.  The sometimes hard to swallow news is that we first have to accept the current-present-now state of our body before that connection comes back to life and our tissues can be re-vitalized.  On a body level this means that we have drop resistance, drop fight/flight mode, drop stress physiology so that the body intelligence can reconnect.  The physiology of stress (aka resistance) blocks physical healing and blocks the communication of the intelligence of the body with the body tissues.  Stress and healing physiologically work in opposition.  On a mental-emotional level this often means we have to stop thinking and start feeling the loss of what was, feeling the pain of not being able to go back, and feeling all of the other difficult emotions that are connected to not feeling or experiencing how you want to be feeling and experiencing being in your body.  

Acceptance physiology is radically different than stress physiology.  It’s the physiology of flowing, communicating, non-interfered with body intelligence.  When we quit holding onto what was, which is embracing the death of what we once knew, only then will we see the new that can emerge.  The clarity that we were so hungry for when we were feeling stuck begins to illuminate our experience.  We can see what needs to be done and take actions accordingly.  We become increasingly ready for whatever we need to do and be.  Our physical body may still be experiencing some symptoms but our relationship to their expression has dramatically changed such that we don’t even really mind that their present if they are.  This is the power of acceptance.  You have this power.  We all have this power.  

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

The physiology of self-hatred

The physiology of self-hatred 

Inner messages that are not so quiet

16907643 - generations men, all age categories, stages of developmentTake a moment to reflect on yourself.  See yourself as a baby, as a toddler, a child, a teen, a young adult, middle aged and the version of you that is here now.  As you see yourself at various ages and stages also notice how you feel about yourself at those different ages.  Perhaps seeing yourself as a baby invokes a tenderness towards yourself and seeing yourself as a teenager invokes slight repulsion.  Or maybe seeing yourself as a child brings sadness and seeing yourself as a young adult brings joy.  As you do this simply notice those versions of yourself that are easy to accept and like and also notice those versions of yourself that you resist or slightly push away.

There are ever so slight ways that we do not accept ourselves and being able to track where this lives in us is pivotal for moving into greater love for self and all.  Many of us don’t necessarily enjoy or seek out those places or parts of self that we don’t like, feel repulsed by or down right hate.  Because we often don’t look for or at these parts they show up in our life as judgment of others, aloofness or resistance to what is, and appear to have no connection to our relationship towards ourself but instead as something “external” to us in our environment.  

These inner subtle resistances, repulsions, and non-invitations of self are not so quiet.  Though it seems that if we don’t see them or look at them somehow they don’t exist, this is not the case.  They do exist and with their existences they influence not only our psyche but also create a body physiology of their own.  This physiology is one in which the human organism instead of functioning as a coherent whole, like the way a symphony sounds when all the sounds blend in perfect harmony, functions as parts that are not in communication with all the other parts.  These parts act as independent or separate units that are cut off from the whole of which they are a part of.  In fact they don’t even really know that they are part of something larger because they’ve been isolated for so long.  They have lost their connection to the larger organizing principle of the organism and thus must navigate with only their own limited resources.   

Creating coherence

Communication is the cornerstone

I relate the physiology of self-hatred to the feeling of navigating a room in your house in the dark while simultaneously every other room in your house is lit up, yet you can’t tell because you are in the dark room and it seems from where you are at that that is all that there is.  My educated and intuitive guess is that this is what disease is.  A part that is operating in the dark, disconnected from the light, trying to navigating with the best it has resource to in its separative and thus limited perspective.  Its not bad or wrong, its simply limited and out of connection with the rest of itself.  

We lose connection with ourself when we don’t accept, resist or hate a part of ourself.  We might have developed hatred of parts of ourself based on someone else’s distorted perspective of us.  For example perhaps one of our parents didn’t pay much attention to us when we were a child and so we developed the belief that we must not be interesting or important or valuable and we learn to ignore, hate or resist a part (or all) of ourself because we think it or we are not worthy.  Or maybe we didn’t make friends easily when we were a teenager and felt isolated and not included.  The tendency again is to hate this part of ourself because its not accepted or included by others.  We take that feeling of external non-inclusion and make it internal non-inclusion when we decide not accept ourself as well.   

53285081 - light and particles in a dark room through the opening doorOne thing I have discovered through experience time and time again is that when we can dive into that part of self, rather than move away from it, it can begin to heal, to reconnect to the whole of you.  On a physical level this looks like diving into uncomfortable and painful sensations.  Once you can “get inside of them” with your awareness they begin to realize that they are not alone, but instead of part of something else.  Your awareness is the light that is lighting up all other rooms in house.  By bringing your awareness into that dark room it begins to illuminate it.  Illumination brings greater resources to that part which is now coming into communication with more of you.  

In this way the physiology of self-hatred is simply parts of yourself that have lost connection with the bigger and more coherent version of you.  The mechanism of action is non-acceptance of self and the remedy is diving your awareness towards and into these parts so that they can find their way back to the light.  It takes a willingness to feel discomfort on all levels and the courage and faith to know that something else will emerge through on the other side.

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

Finding clarity in the dark mystery

Finding clarity in the dark mystery 

The role of our nervous system

28469896 - a child is hiding his eyes in the dark and looks scared or upset.Many of us desire more clarity.  This may manifest as a desire to have greater intuitive seeing and knowing or more direction and guidance in life.  Sometimes we may feel confused, lost, or like we are walking blindly or directionless.  We may plead or beg those “forces outside of us” to give us more clarity, direction, guidance or the answers we seek.  This leaves us feeling like we are at the mercy or whim of life, often times holding our breath and hoping it all works along the way.  

So how do we find clarity and guidance in what can feel like the dark mystery of life?  How do we know while simultaneously not having a clue?  The easiest, and least mysterious way, to gain clarity, direction, intuitiveness and guidance is by acknowledging what is and moving towards.

What does it mean to acknowledge what is and move towards? Let me back up.  Remember when I said that most of the time we are holding our breath and hoping that things work out?  This is true for most all of us.  We tighten our muscles, clench our jaws, hold our breath, sometimes we attack ourselves or others, and ultimately we try to not really look at what is happening while hoping that things turn out a certain way that we deem as positive or good.  

Why do we do this?  We do this because we are bracing ourselves for the unknown.  These visceral responses are part of the fight, flight or freeze responses that our nervous system responds too when there is perceived threat or danger.   We feel that if we brace ourselves than perhaps the impact of whatever happens won’t be so great.

 

Moving towards

Acknowledging what is

Largely the reason why we feel cut off, disconnected or lost is because our nervous system is so busy processing and responding to our perceived threat of the unknown (aka the mystery of life).  We perceive the unknown as dangerous or scary and therefore we lose access to the bigger whole that we are, which includes our sense of knowing and clarity.   

Its kind of like being lost in a storm that our mind and biochemistry created and not being able to see anything outside of this small perspective that we are existing inside of.  This is called defense physiology and it is a result of living in a defended and protected internal state.  There is a posturing that comes along with this particular state of being which is called defense posture.  In defense posture the head comes forward of the body and leads our life while the shoulders and chest draw inward protecting the heart from feeling too much, or sometimes from feeling anything at all.  When we are in this state we are only accessing a limited portion of ourselves which is why we often feel lost, disconnected, unclear, uncertain and eventually frustrated and stuck.  We lose touch with feeling and when we can’t feel its very hard to have any clarity in our direction, purpose or knowing.  We simply do the stuff of life but don’t feel much connection to what we do.  

48837246 - cliff jumping into the ocean at sunset, summer fun lifestyleIn order to gain clarity, connection and inner knowing we must begin by acknowledging what is present instead of  avoiding, managing, or protecting ourselves from it.  When we begin to acknowledge what is we are bravely moving towards the unknown rather than retreating away from it.  This is a bold step and it will feel unsettling in our body as our nervous system will still be running those patterns that say “this isn’t safe, protect, shutdown, protect, attack”.  It is through our persistence and willingness to feel uncomfortable and move towards the unknown of what is, even with the fear response activated in our physiology, that we begin to “override” these fear based responses in our physiology.  

We must experientially move through (not just think about in our heads), feel the discomfort of uncertainty, so that we can come through the other side having survived.  Through this experiential process our nervous system lays down a new pathway.  When we have acknowledged what is and have felt all of the scary stuff associated with it, only then do we have the knowing of exactly what to do and how to do it.  The mystery reveals itself to us. 

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