Postponing & Prolonging Pain

POSTPONING & PROLONGING PAIN

Trying to get rid of experiences that you don’t like

There is no better way to postpone and prolong pain then attempting to get rid of experiences that you don’t like.  What do I mean? Simply that we will do just about anything we can to not feel pain or discomfort of any kind even when its blatantly inside of our experience.  Whether the pain be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual in nature there is often an inherent aversion to all forms it.  Our aversion to, along with our attempts to get rid of, deny and prevent pain, are exhausting, depleting and prolong the pain that we ultimately feel.  

Why do we dislike feeling pain so much?  Well the most obvious answer is that it does not feel good, but it runs much deeper than that.  We have a tendency to create stories about what pain means and this is the real pain.  Most all of the stories we create are along the lines of what it is we feel we will lose if we feel the pain and acknowledge its presence rather than move away by trying to get rid of it or change it.  Common examples are that we are afraid that the pain means something is really wrong with us, that we won’t be able to do the things we want to do, that it will get worse, that we will always feel it and it will never go away, that it will interfere with our life, that we won’t be supported, that we are bad or wrong, that we are not important or valuable, that we felt hurt, that we might die, etc.  These stories keep us pushing away the uncomfortable sensations and feelings at all costs and propel us to try to get rid of or prevent pain whenever it comes into our experience.  

To state the obvious you can’t actually get rid of your experience.  You can attempt.  You can physically manipulate or alter the stuff of your body, and the stuff you put into your body, which may provide some relief of sorts, but more often than not the experience returns or remains, that is until you shift yourself.  Your experience of what is occurs in direct response to you.  Experience cannot occur without the experiencer, and you are the experiencer not the experience itself.  This is quite tricky to dissect out as we tend to identify ourselves as the experience itself, which is why we feel powerless or helpless when faced with challenging or painful situations.  Until you really get this you will seek relief (separation of parts of your experience) more than healing (inclusion of all of your experience).  You will attempt to get rid of, move away from or try to prevent certain experiences (which is simply another type of avoidance) because your only way to feel in some level of control is to try to manipulate your experiences.  As long as you don’t recognize yourself as the experiencer you will be victim to experience and your only hope in feeling better is if your experience changes.   

LENSES OF VIEWING PAIN

Widening perspectives 

There are many perspectives with which we can view pain.  The most typical, collective perspective that is chosen is that of “problem”, meaning the perspective that pain means that there is something wrong and thus we search to get rid of that which is wrong.  Even though this is the most culturally approved perspective it is not the only one.  More and more people are courageously challenging this perspective and choosing novel lenses with which to view pain when it arises in their experience.  One point of clarification that I’d like to make is that at times it is necessary to seek direct support for your physical vehicle and what I am about to share is simply in addition too (a yes and and approach) rather than a replacement for.  You can have novel perspectives on pain that don’t view it as a problem and still seek support at the physical level.  The distinction being that the seeking of direct physical support is in alignment with your new perspective and not as a way to get rid of your experience.  

One novel view is that of seeing pain as a message from Self to self to assist in remembering or realignment with our true nature.  Part of being human is the forgetting of what/who we are.  Due to this forgetting we make agreements with ourselves prior to incarnation to help us remember.  Pain is one way we do this as it speaks loudly and gets our attention typically more than anything else will.  So if we perhaps are either in a deep state of forgetting ourselves or life wants to help us remember ourselves at an even larger level, we might experience pain as a messenger to realign our lives, mainly our perspectives, with what feels good.  If we can pause our story of wrongness long enough then we can begin to see where we might have a belief that is out of alignment with our true nature or some way we are engaging with life that is outdated and in need of an upgrade.  

Another perspective on pain takes into account the emotional-physical body connection indicating that pain means something needs to be felt.  When there are feelings that we are not willing to feel or experiences which evoke deep emotions that we bury rather than feel, often our body will feel the build up of tension that this creates.  What isn’t felt binds energy and therefore we feel pain in the physical body.  It isn’t always obvious what we are avoiding feeling and often times subconsciously we don’t want to feel because feeling invokes movement and change that we may not be ready to make in our lives.  However as soon as we give ourselves the space to dive into ourselves we can access the emotions thus allowing them to run their course and keep moving through us.  This can propel us into taking much needed action in our lives and we begin to see the pain as the catalyst for necessary change rather than a problem.  In this way pain is a tremendous gift.  

Thirdly pain can be seen as an indication of reorganization.  When we are actively creating change and becoming anew in ourselves old structures need to destabilize and that can at times be experienced right down through the physical form.  The destabilization process can bring with it sensations or pain or discomfort as we become anew.

In summary I invite the seeing of pain as simply another part of experience.  The more you can dismantle your charge around pain the easier it will be for your physicality to repair itself.  That dismantling comes from changing and widening your perspective.  We must learn to work with ourselves in this way rather than against ourselves in fighting what is as that simply postpones and prolongs the experience of pain.  It is sometimes the hardest to get ourselves to surrender and allow the experience of pain, yet the reward is great when we do and the freedom that we feel despite whatever is occurring is revealed on the other side of it.  

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

Defenselessness

Defenselessness 

Beyond Self-protection

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

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

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

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

Defended vs. Closed 

Choosing openness or closedness

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

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

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

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

Your sickness is not your fault

Your sickness is not your fault 

Symptoms don’t mean anything about you

Upset girl feel down having relationships problems“What did I do wrong” is the question we frequently ask ourselves when we are experiencing some kind of sickness, pain or illness in our body.  There is the tendency to blame ourselves for those things that manifest in our physical body, and we go to great lengths to attempt to figure out exactly what is was that we have done wrong.  Often this means losing sleep, feeling tense and confused, and spinning our minds in an attempt to figure it out.  We think if only we could figure out what we’ve done wrong we could fix it.  

The first thing to address here is that your sickness is not your fault.  This doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain things that would be helpful for you to change in your life, but fundamentally your sickness doesn’t mean anything about you. You are not bad, wrong or imperfect because your body has a particular sensation or is expressing something that’s been labelled illness.  One of the ideas that the alternative health community has made more prevalent in the last 10 years is this idea that your “symptoms mean something.”  Many people have taken this to mean that something is fundamentally wrong with them and they must figure out it is so that they can stop their body from expressing in a particular way.  If they could just fix themselves then they could fix their body.  This erroneous thought pattern sends people into a spiral of self blame and shame about having symptoms and doesn’t bring people closer to healing but instead further from it.  

Instead the idea that your symptoms mean something should only be viewed through the lens of seeing symptoms as a  red light that says hey stop for a moment, pay attention and see what needs to be done differently in your life.  It is not about saying that something is wrong with you or even that you’ve done anything wrong in the past.  Its simply a call for a different way of interacting with life now without any judgment on the previous way you’ve been interacting.  Rather than choosing the endless search for meaning instead ask yourself questions such as “how could I interact differently, how could I show up differently, what is life asking of me now in this moment or rhythm in my life, what is this expression currently perfect for.”  The answers to these questions should flow in naturally, and not be forced or figured out.     

Disempowered to Empowered Health

Feeling bad to feeling good

healing and transformation

Making this switch from “what did I do or what am I doing wrong to make this current scenario in my body happen” to “what is life asking of my now” moves you from a state of disempowered helplessness into present moment empowerment.  From a disempowered state of being you don’t get clarity and you endlessly seek answers to the problems you are perceiving with very little change or result.  In empowered health you realize that nothing was ever wrong and still is not wrong, but instead life is guiding you through these “symptom expressions” to help bring forth another part or version of you that is ready to emerge.    

Only when we view symptoms, pain, illness, or anything in our life for that matter as wrong, do we feel bad.  Feeling bad does not make us feel good or make us healthy.  Obvious point yes, yet many people insist of feeling bad about what is happening to their body, circumstances or situations.  Feeling bad about what is does not promote healing, does not provide the energy we need for our lives and for physical healing, and does not promote us participating in our life in the ways that we desire.  Again I am not saying that symptoms don’t indicate some kind of change is wanting to happen in your life, they almost always indicate that some kind of change is eminent, but its not about self-blame and shame and thinking that something is inherently wrong with you.  

Sometimes symptoms do require extreme measures to resolve in the immediate, particularly if they are life threatening.  I am not suggesting to ignore symptoms when they arise, in fact I’m suggesting the exact opposite.  We all must work with the symptoms that arise in our body in whatever ways feel best to us and our in resonance with our being.  We must all evaluate this for ourselves.  To choose that which feels empowering to us rather than reacting out of fear.  

When you move into an empowered state of being things flow in.  You know what you need to do.  Things seem feasible and possible.  Healing will happen.  Change will occur.  Rather than searching around in the dark for answers you know and that knowing comes from inside of you.  You know what must change, you know who you need to seek out for help and support, it isn’t a guessing game anymore.  The outcome is still uncertain, as that is always a mystery, but the certainty in yourself is there.  You are listening to yourself, your own guidance and your own knowing.  This brings inner peace and calm no matter what outcome ensues.  

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

Being with physical pain

Being with physical pain 

Types of pain

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

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

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

Mastering the primitive nervous system

Coming back into connection with yourself

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

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

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

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

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

Pain as sensation

Pain as sensation

How physical is physical 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transform, transform, transform

Transform, transform, transform 

Moving beyond is not bypassing

Asian business person flying through ring of fireThere is an idea in the personal growth community that we must feel, feel, feel.  In fact it seems that we are just supposed to keep feeling our feelings for an indefinite amount of time and if we move past feeling than we must be bypassing something, in denial, or not really healing.  

Now I want to back up a second here.  Feeling emotions is a super important step in the healing process, which most people avoid like the plaque.  Many people are scared of their emotions or don’t really know how to access their emotional body, while others are lost or merged with their emotions and even identify themselves as their emotions.  I want to emphasize that while feeling your emotions is absolutely necessary in the healing journey it is not the final destination.  And while a percentage of people are feeling emotions as they arise they are not actually feeling the deep pain underneath their emotions which is often connected to of how their life is not working in some way.  

Some people have a relationship to their emotions that they are like this never ending pit from which they will never escape or move through while simultaneously believing that to actually move through would mean they are avoiding something.  Let me tell you this, to never move through or beyond your emotions is to avoid life, not the other way around.  If you stay stuck in emotions and never move through them you don’t get to live because you are so busy feeling your feelings (or if that’s not enough your projection of what you think other people are feeling), and complaining to yourself that you are so overwhelmed.  

So I want to give you permission right now to move through feeling.  To be ok with allowing emotion to pass through you rather than you staying stuck inside of it.  The main reason we get stuck inside of our feelings is because we haven’t accepted them as they are (this goes for body sensations as well).  We may be aware of them, we may even have acknowledged them, but we haven’t fully accepted them and so we stay in resistance (which is the experience of stuckness) all the while wondering if our emotions (or sensations) will ever shift so that we can feel better.  This leaves us victim to and at the whim of our feeling states which isn’t a very powerful (or fun) place to hang out   

The other side of feelings

Your powerful self

So what is on the other side of emotions you ask?  A whole lot of powerful, creative play!  To really harness the energy of your emotions you must take action in a new way.  The purpose of emotions is to create momentum for you to engage in a new pattern or way of being in your life.  Frequently I see people feel some aspect of their emotions, but then do, think or be nothing different in their life.  This is what I call “emoting” or feeling emotion without taking new action.  Yes emoting can feel good, and energy moves when you feel an emotion, but you must simultaneously use that freed up energy purposefully to do something different in your life.  

So what does this look like?  First to give you a location on the “healing” map this is the stage of early transformation.  When you use emotion to take action you are beginning to transform.  Transform means that you are transforming some aspect of yourself.  Maybe you are reclaiming your inner freedom, or your joy, or vitality or physical health.  No matter what aspect of yourself that you are transforming it all follows that same path.  First you have to be fed up enough with the old way of doing yourself and see straight on that how you have been doing life has not been and is not working.  It must be different.  No longer can you go on trying to make it work this way.  Its not working.  When you get to this point of “its not working” you have typically felt tons of emotions, uncovered many layers of yourself, and have had many insights and revelations about how you have been protecting and defending yourself from pain.  You also are beginning to see how you have managed and controlled your life to avoid feeling pain and discomfort which has prevented you from moving into what you desire (which is that aspect of self you reclaim through transformation).  Get this, the avoidance of really deeply feeling your pain and how you are currently navigating your life in ways that are not working, is the biggest hinderance you have to transformation.  Now that may seem contradictory to what I said on the previous page but its not.  People are mostly looped in what I call “superficial emotions” which means emotions that still on top of deep pain.  Once you feel the deep pain and discomfort that you have been avoiding there will be no other choice but to do you differently.  

Once you have been able to access the deeper pain it doesn’t become all fairies and butterflies.  You must now use your will to do you differently.  You have to set down new patterns, create new habits, and think different thoughts daily that are aligned with what you want and that aspect of yourself that you are reclaiming.   You need a lot of reminders to yourself throughout this process because those old patterns are easy to resurface.  If your desire is simply to feel happy, you must consistently, several times a day, think happy thoughts and feel happy.  Its not just going to organically happen.  You must do it.  Nothing and no one can do this for you.  This is your will and your life.  From this place you start to realize that you are in charge.  You are the creator.  You are the decider in your life.  Always have been, always will be.  Welcome to your power.  

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

Using anger productively

Using anger productively  

Harnessing the power to transform

43775966 - angry bearded man screaming into the phonePeople use anger in a myriad of unproductive ways.  Those that express their anger unproductively use it to blame others for their problems, prove their rightness and feel in control.  People also repress their anger unproductively.  Doing this allows them to be insignificant, not take a stand for themselves or what they value and not be the authority in their lives.  Neither of these ways are healthy, nor do they harness the transformative power of anger.

One of the reasons why people don’t know how to work with their anger effectively is because it hasn’t been modeled in our culture.  We are taught that anger is bad or scary (so we repress it) or have learned that its what we need to do to manipulate a person/situation and be seen, heard and get our needs met (express unproductive).

The real purpose and power of anger is to use it to create standards for yourself and your life.  Lets say you are changing a story that you have about yourself that “you are not worthy”.  You declare a new story for yourself that now says “you are pure worth and love”.  In order to do this effectively you must first be fed up and pissed off enough that you’ve been dropping your standards on who you are up to this point.  It must become intolerable for you to entertain the story that you are not lovable.  If it is does not reach the level of intolerability you will sink back into old patterns.  Anger gives you the fuel to say, “no more, this is not good enough for me, I’m never going back.”

Permissioning & directing anger

Find your fuel

Anger does not need to be explosive to be impactful.  It does need to be direct, clear, unwavering and come from a place love for self and others.  Productive anger has the quality of being firm in what is being conveyed or upheld, and simultaneous soft in it coming from a deeply caring place of creating greater value for all involved.

People who have learned to repress their anger they can find it challenging to permission themselves to feel it.  Repressed anger can be masked in neutrality, boredom, niceness and uncertainty.  For these people, in finding their anger, they will often laugh when their anger arises to disperse their uncomfortableness with it.  People who have learned to express their anger unproductively find it difficult to soften and care about themselves and others in the midst of their outburst.  In directing their anger they will go into blame of self or others.

confident womanRegardless of how you have learned to deal with anger in the past the goal of productive anger is to help you be your own authority by moving through victimhood into empowerment.  From an empowered place you are the decision maker of what is right and wrong for you and you alone.  There is only your standards for your life and you are accountable to keep them.  It is moving through layers of conditioning about what you’ve been taught about how things work and who you are, to becoming the determiner, creator and master of your life.  Productive anger is key in this process of providing the fuel to transform the places you keep yourself small so that you can shine in your magnificence.  Using anger productively is fiercely loving yourself enough to care about your life.

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

Love infused physiology

Love infused physiology 

Upgrading the cells of your body

humancellsWould you like the cells of your body to function at a higher level?  Curious how?  There is much scientifically proven evidence which now indicates that lifestyle choices and emotional states influence how your cells function.  What this means is that the food you put in your body, the exercises you engage in and the emotions that you have will influence how your body functions.  And there’s more.

Science has been relatively mechanistic when it comes to how it thinks about the body.  Meaning it sees you as parts, and when one of the parts quits working, you fix it like parts on a car.  What science is now showing us, which fields like chiropractic, acupuncture and energy medicine have always known, is that there is a substance (energy) that informs the body.  This field of energy is non-physical but informs how the physical body functions.  The field has both electric and magnetic properties and is therefore called electromagnetic.

Your brain and nervous system are extremely pivotal in how your body functions, however studies now show that your heart has even greater influence.  The electrical signals that come from your heart are 60 times stronger than that of the brain and the magnetic signals are 5,000 times stronger (HeartMath Institute).  This means that activating your heart is even more important than keeping your brain active in order to produce health and longevity!

How does your heart speak?

Activating your heart

Clearly your heart is important.  The question now is ‘how do you activate it?’ Your heart speaks through feeling.  It can both sense (called intuition) and produce feeling. Your heart is like your own little portable electromagnetic sensor and generator, and powerful one at that!

You are the determiner of the feeling states your heart produces. There are 3 general feeling states:

  1. Negative: When you activate feeling in your heart that would be termed “negative” you produce disorganized signals and information, hence you feel crappy and have poor energy.  Disorganized signals sends distorted information to your brain, confuse your cells and create ill health.
  2. Neutral: When you feel neutral (meaning you are not actively producing negative or positive emotions) then your body gets neutral information and you have limited energy.  This means you have energy for the basic necessities of life and to fuel your body, but that is it.
  3. Positive: When you activate “positive” feelings with your heart, you produce highly organized information, which equates to feeling amazing and energetic rich.  Highly organized information excites your brain and improves energetic efficiency.

As crazy as this sounds, what is required is for you to feel good about feeling bad, and to actively produce positive feelings instead of being in a neutral state.  When you do this you increase the organization of your heart’s electromagnetic field, which infuses your physiology with love.

Network Chiropractic helps infuse your physiology with highly organized energy by helping you find, feel & use your heart and clears your nervous system from any interference to your heart’s abundant energetic resource.  If you would like more information on this topic Dr. Hessel will be giving a talk in the office on Wednesday March 29th at 7p on Heart Based Living & Love Infused Physiology.  Hope to see you there!

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

What does your spinal diagnosis say about you?

44785944 - attractive woman with back pain at home in the bedroomWhat does your spinal diagnosis say about you?  

There are hundreds of official diagnoses when it comes to spinal conditions.  People are most familiar with low back pain, disc herniations, cervical or lumbar radiculopathies, scoliosis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and arthritis of the spine.  Each one of these has a different mechanism for how it shows up in the body.  The aim of modern medicine is to determine which condition is present based on signs and symptoms so that proper procedure can be performed.

People with spinal conditions often turn to a chiropractor when they 1) don’t want to have a surgery that their physician has recommended or 2) their medical doctor has told them that there is nothing else they can do for them except for pain medications.

One of the reasons that chiropractors are successful at helping people in these situations is because we look at the entire spinal system, not just where it hurts or has a “problem”.  We also evaluate the biomechanics of the spine, posturing, behaviors, thoughts and emotions that contribute to what is showing up in your spine.

There are no quick fixes.  Even if you choose to have a spinal surgery, if you don’t simultaneously make some changes in your life, your situation will likely not improve.  I believe this is one reason why so many back surgeries are unsuccessful.  Secondly, when you fuse or alter one part of the spine it will produce changes in how other parts of the spine function, which is why people often develop pain in previously asymptomatic areas of the spine after a spinal surgery.

How can something so gentle and non-invasive help?

Debunking the force myth 

We tend to think that if something physical is expressing in our body than we need something really physical to fix it.  There is also the idea that the more aggressive we are in our approach the more likely we will be at getting rid of it.  In this way of thinking the more force, aggression, doing or invasiveness = better results.

A-P-103Have you ever had the experience when you were trying to accomplish something, but you just couldn’t figure out how to do it?  You tried all your old ways of accomplishing, but nothing was working.  After exhausting yourself doing things and stressing out about it you talked with a friend to share your frustration and perhaps get some advice.  Your friend did not offer any advice but instead held an “invisible” space for you to talk while they listened.  At the end of the conversation you did not have an answer but you felt more spacious, clearer, and relaxed.  Your frustrations were heard.  The next day you went back to your project and saw a new perspective that you had not seen before, and alas you made some forward progress.

Your body works in much the same way.  When someone is present with your body, without trying to fix it, your body changes how it functions, postures and holds itself.  Chiropractic may be less aggressive and forceful than surgery or chemical alteration through pharmaceuticals, however when applied with presence its effects are much more profound.  The amount of presence you have in any endeavor is inversely proportionally to the amount of force you need.  The spine and nervous system respond to presence and the body will self-organize, self-regulate and self-heal when in the presence of presence.

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

Pain-free ≠ healthy body

Pain-free ≠ healthy body 

What does it really mean to have a healthy body?

I often hear people say to me, “I don’t need a chiropractor because I don’t have back pain.” While being pain free is nice, it doesn’t mean that your body is healthy and functioning at its highest level.  Pain is usually the last indication that something significant is occurring in your body.  If you wait  until you feel pain in your body to tell you that something is going on, you’re not paying attention to critical cues along the way.

body-painNow pain is not necessarily a bad thing either.  What it is, is a warning sign, a message that says, stop what you are currently doing and do it different.  When you don’t heed the message and continue your life in the same manner you end up going down a spiral cascade to less and less aliveness and participation with life.

To have a healthy body simply means that you are responsive to its cues  Your body is incredibly resilient and adaptable.  When you are responsive, by listening and taking action to make needed changes your body naturally heals itself.  You will know you’ve made the correct change because you will experience more energy, vitality, openness and participation with life.

Why a healthy spine is critical for a healthy body

Your ability to listen and take action

Most people don’t understand the importance of your spine in regards to the health of your entire body.  Your spine is not just the bones in your back.  It is also the muscles and ligaments that support your spine, and more importantly it is your spinal cord, which is the structure that the bones protect.

48864734 - human spine x-ray view, 3d renderYour spinal cord is your life line.  It is the communication link between your brain and your body.  Without it you do not exist.  It is also what allows you to pay attention, be aware of yourself, the sensations and cues your body gives you and to to take needed actions to change behaviors and habits that don’t optimally serve your body or you.  It is also the communication link between your brain and every muscle, organ and cell in your body.  If your spine is not healthy your ability to listen and respond is impaired and thus your health and function impaired.

So how do you know if your spine is not healthy if it doesn’t hurt?  Tune into how tense you feel, how easy is it for you to relax, to sleep, to digest and eliminate your food, to turn off your thoughts, to think clear, to take action and make changes in your life.  If any of these things are challenging for you, your spine is not expressing full health.

One of the things that I do in my office is assess the health of the spine and its ability to help you be responsive and take action in your life.  Get the health of you spine checked by a chiropractic professional to ensure its functioning to support you optimally.

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