UNWINDING TENSION

UNWINDING TENSION 

Physical, emotional & mental pain

We’ve all experienced tension.  Tension can live in our muscles, bones, ligaments, organs, glands, cells, or any tissue or part of our physical body.  Tension can also live in our subtler (visually unseen) bodies such as our emotional, mental or soul bodies. We can be either conscious or unconscious of our tension.  For example we might be aware of tension in our neck muscles, but unaware of tension say in our kidneys or bladder.  Or we might be aware of tension in our belly, but unaware of tension in our spine.  There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to where tension shows up and whether or not we are aware of it.

Why is tension created?  Tension is a mechanism created, ultimately by us, to protect us from feeling pain or other uncomfortable sensations, feelings or thoughts.  For example say you are in a car accident.  You will most likely create some physical muscle guarding (tension) in order to protect underlying organ structures and also to not feel such intensity of physical pain.  This is the most obvious of expressions and easiest to be conscious of.  The more awareness you develop of yourself the more you can tune into subtler and subtler levels of tension that exist in your less dense bodies such as your emotional and mental bodies. Say for example you are in a relationship and your partner does something that triggers you in some way.  If you slow yourself down you will be able to track the tension in your emotional body that may or may not have a physical manifestation or expression.  If you do this you will be able to notice what emotional pain you are attempting to avoid or lessen through creating tension.  Same is true if you have a particular thought or thought pattern that is out of alignment with the truth.  That thought will create tension in your mental body that again may or may not have an emotional or physical expression, but if you slow yourself down enough you will be able to track what mental pain you are attempting to decrease through creating tension.

When we create tension we essentially block or dampen part of our experience.  This can be helpful in extreme physical or emotional situations where we don’t have the resources or awareness to integrate and process the experience that is happening as it is happening.  What will often happen then is that we will develop a certain tension/holding pattern in our system that stays in place until we feel safe and/or ready to allow the experience to be felt.  Sometimes unwinding happens naturally and organically once we are out of the intense situation.  However other times it doesn’t happen naturally as we aren’t quite ready to feel or have the resources to process what occurred.  So we stay in a more bound or closed state, also known as a tension/holding pattern, which again we may or may not be aware of.   

TRANSCENDING LIMITATION

Walking towards pain

Let’s face it, having a human experience is intense.  Whether or not you’ve had some particularly intense experiences or you’ve lived more of a “normal” life, it is pretty much guaranteed that you have some degree of tension/holding patterns in your system just by the nature of having this human incarnation.  Tension is not bad or wrong, it’s simply an effect of not desiring to feel something that doesn’t feel good.  You could also term this resistance.  Resistance is often not intentional, nor is the avoidance of pain necessarily evident to most.  Many people are unaware of how much they avoid discomfort of any kind, in fact most create their lives specifically to avoid pain.  Again none of this is fundamentally bad or wrong, instead it simply points to why we have the experiences, life and awareness that we have, which are frequently sprinkled or riddled with a sense of disconnection, limitation or blockage.    

Tension creates an arbitrary sense of separation and inherent sense of limitation.  Whether that separation or limitation is experienced physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually depends on the individual and what lessons they gave themselves to learn.  You are of course unlimited, eternal beingness that has no edges, limits, or incapabilities, but telling that to someone who is having a human experience is kind of like telling a kid that play isn’t real.  It just simply doesn’t compute. So while we are here in these bodies we must learn the lessons of separation/limitation in order to transcend our current perspectives of it. One of the ways to learn the lessons of limitation is through increasing your awareness of your tension patterns in both your physical & subtle bodies and walking towards pain rather away from it.  What we avoid we can’t experience and therefore can’t unwind.  If we can’t unwind the tension that was created than we stay stuck in a particular holding pattern in our physical and/or subtler bodies.  This then gives us the perpetual experience of limitation or lack of full self-expression because how we hold ourselves relates to how we see the world and therefore the experiences that we have.  

Say for example you really desire to experience blissful, ecstatic oneness with the the divine, yet simultaneously you have mental tension patterns (thoughts & beliefs) that tell you how unworthy you are.  You can’t know yourself as infinite worth if you are constantly avoiding the thought/belief of unworthiness or if you don’t even know its there.  The thought/belief unworthiness will create a tension pattern in your mental body that will feel like it blocks you from knowing yourself as infinite worth.  That must be moved towards and unwound through feeling that which is untrue (i.e. unworthiness and the pain associated with that thought).  For another example say you really want to be full self-expressed, but feel emotionally triggered for a good part of your days.  Being emotionally triggered is another way of saying that you are avoiding feeling emotional pain, and you can’t be fully self-expressed if you are simultaneously avoiding a part of yourself and your experience.  That would be a contradiction. 

The key to sustainably unwinding the tension patterns in your system is through walking towards what’s been avoided, which is often uncomfortable and the last place we want to go.  However freedom is through and not around those experiences.  The other option is to know unequivocally that you are love and remove all self-doubt of this truth instantly.  This is entirely possible, however not as probable as doing the work to increase awareness of yourself, your tensions, your avoidances and resistances, and then navigate right into them.  Not to stay there for eternity, but to walk right on through them, fully experiencing what they have to offer, and coming out as free, open love on the other side. 

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

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

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

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

The spinal gateway

The spinal gateway 

What the heck is a spinal gateway?

Touching something unknownEarlier this week one of you lovely people asked me “what are those spots you keep touching on my back’?  What a fantastic question!  I bet more of you have that question so I thought I would take the opportunity to write this week’s article in answer to that very question.  

If you remember my article from a few weeks ago that was entitled “Consciousness & the Spine” I wrote about the five different tension patterns that occur within the spine.  Those tension patterns get created due to some experience(s) that we’ve had that we haven’t been able to fully integrate, and if you remember there are different states of being (consciousness) that correlate with each pattern.  So why is that important here?  Well in order for you to become aware of those tension pattern within your spine you need an access/entry point or a “gateway” into that pattern.  You need to somehow, someway become aware of that pattern in your spine so that the tension pattern can begin to unwind itself.  The spinal gateway is just that.  It is an access point, an opening, into a particular tension pattern in your spinal cord where you can begin to become aware of that pattern.  So when I am making those touches on various spots on your back I am working with your spinal gateways, helping them open and develop so that you can become more aware of yourself, including how you hold tension and where you have resistance.

One of the things I say frequently to many of you is that awareness does so much, in fact I believe it does pretty much everything.  It brings that which was unnoticed or unseen into realization, and then through realization, you as an individuated expression of the One have the capacity or power to work with what is.  The only thing left after the moment of realization is for you to come into alignment with that which was realized.  All of that to say that the spinal gateway is a portal for the light of awareness to realize itself manifesting through a particular pattern of tension in your spinal cord.  This is important and what I feel differentiates Network from a lot of other work out there.  It really is a  self-awareness method.  Its not about me doing something to you, but instead about helping you find your own self, become aware of your own self, so that you can self-regulate, self-align, and self-adjust.  Everything that I “do” is to support your awareness waking itself up to your self and the development of the spinal gateway is one of the prime ways I do just that very thing.  

Development of the spinal gateway 

How the spinal gateways change and grow

Touching something unknown

Spinal gateways live between each of the bones in your neck and also along the sacrum bone in the pelvis.  They have both a very precise structural aspect as well as an energetic portion to them.  This means that they have a particular physical location (which is dependent on the tension pattern that is present in your spinal cord on any given day), but that they also have a nonphysical aspect which can grow.  You can think of the shape of a spinal gateway as a little vortex, spiraling with energy, but anchored into the spine between the bones in the neck and sacrum.  Also remember that just because the gateways are at these precise locations doesn’t mean that they are impacting only those precise locations that I’m touching.  The gateway is just the access point into a particular pattern and the pattern can be either localized to that area or have resonance at various other locations in the spine or body that I am not directly touching.  The beauty of the spinal gateway is that when it is accessed it can find all the other areas in the body that have the same tonal frequency or resonance with that pattern without requiring that it is directly touched.  This is why often you might become aware of some sensation, energy, or tension in a different part of your spine or body when I am touching say a spot on your neck or sacrum.  

The spinal gateways grow with continued care, contact and reinforcement.  This is one of the reason why the frequency of care is so important, especially in the first year or two of care, which is when a lot of the development of these gateways occurs.  It takes a certain amount of repetition to create these gateways and then for awareness to unwind the tension patterns associated with them.  When people first start care the gateways are often small and very close to the physical body.  They are felt as areas of rapport.  This is where your bioenergetic life force lives and as the gateway develops here there is greater awareness of the physical body and a sense of safety that arises.  As care continues and I have you lift your neck or sacrum you are beginning to stretch the spinal gateways both physically and energetically.  This activates your emotional body and emotional energy becomes the fuel that gets the gateway to stretch and grow more.   The energetic portion of the spinal gateway begins to live a few inches away from the physical body in what’s called your emotional field.  With this people often begin to have more awareness of their emotions.  

Then as care continues two spinal gateways start “talking” to each other.  One stretches and then the other stretches and a rhythm starts to develop between the two of them.  This activates the lower mental body where clarity, personal sense of self and discernment lives.  The energetic portion of the spinal gateways grows to about 2-3 feet away from the physical body at this point into your lower mental body/field.  This then continues until a “figure 8” motion begins to develop between two spinal gateways.  The rhythmic motion becomes more organized and fluid.  This activates the upper mental body where you can begin to see beyond boxes and stories and have more a visionary sense of self as creator of your life.  Here the energetic portion of the spinal gateways have now grown to 6-8 feet in distance away from the physical body into your upper mental field and with that your sense of “body” and self begins to become much more expansive.  

Heart Chakra concept. Inner love, light and peace. Silhouette inAll of this spinal gateway development occurs in the first two levels of  Network care.  Then in the third level of care the focus is on the development of the heart gateway, which is similar to the spinal gateways, but there is only one heart gateway rather than multiple like the spinal gateways, and the location is around the physical heart.  The heart gateway develops throughout the 3rd level of care and a coordination is learned between the development of this heart gateway with the spinal gateways that where developed in the first 2 levels of care.  In this 3rd level of care both the heart gateway stretches and grows in distances of several feet away from the physical body and the spinal gateways grow to about 8-12 feet and beyond.  This is where your soul body/field lives.  The coordination that develops between the heart gateway and the spinal gateways is one where your heart/soul is informing your thoughts, emotions and physical body.  

When people are fully in the 3rd level of care as their baseline the patterns of tension that were originally in the spinal cord aren’t really there in a traditional sense of a constricted tension pattern anymore, but instead just mere resonance or tracing.  In that way you can fully glean the awakened or oneness perspective of any pattern that previously had you held in a separative frame of mind.  That becomes the lens with which you see all of life.  The dance between soul/spirit and human becomes evident here and ultimately culminates in where the personal self stops leading the show and the soul prevails as the one that guides this human vessel.  

I hope this helps you understand the importance and function of the spinal gateways and why I am always touching those particular points on your spine.  I like to think of them as portals into more of you and as they grow you get to access more and more of yourself.  It is quite literally upgrading the neurological circuitry and with that you can communicate with more of yourself through having developed these access points into you.  At the most fundamental level they provide you with a way to become aware and resolve tension patterns in your spine and life so that you you can participate more ease-fully with life.  At the more developed levels they allow for integration of various aspects of yourself to come into awareness, helping you transcend perceived limitations of an individuated personal self, into the one heart, one love, one being that we all are.  

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

Why is your nervous system important?

Why is your nervous system  important?

Nervous system 101 

33891023 - the human nervous system on a black backgroundMost people are vaguely familiar with the term nervous system.  Your nervous system consists of your brain, spinal cord and all of the nerves that come out from your spinal cord.  Those nerves extend out and connect to all of your organs, bones, muscles, and cells in your body.  Every single thing in your body is in communication with everything else thanks to your nervous system.

Your brain and spinal cord rest inside the bones of your skull and spine.  In their healthy state they rest in a relaxed position, with just the right amount of tone or tension.  Tone-tension is a very important concept.  Many people think that less  tone-tension is better but this is not the case.  If you don’t have enough tone-tension than you don’t have enough strength and stability, you are clumsier, floppier, slower and flatter.  If you have too much tone-tension you are tight, wound up, stiff and something could snap/break at any moment.  All tissues (spinal cord, muscles, organs, etc.) must have the “right” amount of tone in order to perform their functions appropriately.

Lets relate this to your spinal cord.  In its most optimal state of tone-tension it is able to relay messages back and forth between your brain and your body so that you can both receive necessary information from your environment and also take appropriate actions.  In essence so that you can be most responsive and adaptive.  Health is a state of responsiveness and adaptability.  In the case of either too much or not enough tone in your spinal cord, your nervous system cannot relay these messages appropriately, and thus your health begins to deteriorate.  As with all things when communication is impaired the system breaks down, so too with your body.

Getting the right tone in your  spinal cord

Stress, passion & life

So what creates too much tone or not enough tone in the spinal cord?

45856619 - portrait of stressed blond woman on white backgroundToo much tone is created when you can’t handle the circumstances of your life or you try to control-manage all of the details.  This is what people call stress and it creates hyper-vigilance.  These people often feel overly sensitive to life as they are in overwhelm.  They may feel everyone’s emotions, or only be able to eat certain foods, or need to be particular about their environments.  Sometimes they appear ultra functional.  Trust is  usually challenging for these folks and they may also use substances to calm down or “check out” so that they don’t have to feel as much.

bored ladyToo little tone is created when you lack passion and desire, or feel unworthy to be your unique expression of life.  These people often feel bored, like they aren’t enough and need to seek out more stimulus so that they can feel something, which makes them feel more alive.  Its hard for these people to take action, or have breakthroughs, they may feel awkward in movement, and their posture may be more collapsed and appear less confident.

I have found that most people have a combination of low and high tone in their systems.  Network Spinal Analysis specifically addresses spinal cord tension patterns in order to help create the most optimal tone in your spinal cord and nervous system.  It does this through gentle contacts that help your brain tune into your body and more efficiently regulate the flow of information throughout your system.  The benefits of optimal tone are an increase in presence, availability, communication, and health of your body-mind-spirit being.

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

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

Tension is not your enemy

15832931 - woman having headache isolated on blackTension is not your enemy… 

Its your protector

Have you ever been aware of tension in your body?  The type of tension I’m talking about here is an  underlying tension that is consistently present.  You might feel it predominantly in your legs, neck, back, head, belly, jaw, or maybe even your entire being.   Perhaps you became more aware of this tension after an injury, or a life change or challenge, or whenever you feel “stressed”.

Have you ever wondered why this tension is present and what purpose it serves you?  Typically we are so busy trying to “unwind” and “destress” our tension away that we never stop to wonder why its really there at all.

Tension is energy that is bound or held “in place” in the body.  It serves the purpose to hold reality “in place” for you so that you can function in your day to day life without feeling too much.  Essentially so that you can keep going despite what is happening inside or outside or you.  It’s your shield, your protection from things that might potentially hurt you.  Oddly enough holding tension makes you feel safe and secure and like you are in control of your life.

39405932 - outer space. meditation. woman silhouette. vector illustrationTension

The barrier between you & YOU

The intention of tension is to serve you by helping you feel less discomfort, but there are also drawbacks to its presence.  Tension puts your body in “on guard” mode and triggers something called your sympathetic nervous system.  This is also known as the fight or flight response. In this state your body can’t physically heal, its hard to think clearly and emotionally you feel either overwhelmed or completely numb.  Connection to yourself or others, which is one of our most basic human needs, is impossible when you feel tense.

Tension is also the biggest barrier between your little personality “you” and your bigger all knowing “YOU”.  You can think of this as your higher self, soul, spirit, purpose or passion.  This is experienced as dullness, flatness, mundane routines, and fatigue.

Pulling up tension gives the “illusionary” feeling of control and blocks you from feeling some discomfort, but it also disconnects you from the things that make your heart light up and make your life worth living.  Again tension is not the enemy, so trying to get rid of it by rubbing or stretching it out is only a temporary bandaid.  What is required is an ability to remain open (not tense) and drop into uncomfortable feelings and sensations when they arise.  Instead of guarding/protecting yourself, you move forward through whatever is happening without getting stuck inside of it.

One of the things that I help people achieve is an open nervous system so that the body can stay open  and feel life as it occurs.  Through having an open nervous system your body can heal quicker, function better and experience higher states of well-being.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC

Inner work is Hard work: Why do I need to change or transform? Aren’t I already perfect?

Why do I need change or transform when I am already perfect? Can’t I just accept myself and be done with it? The answer is Yes! Of course you can. No one is forcing you to change or be different than you already are. By the nature of your essence you are divine, perfect, enlightened and free. No one is stopping you from accepting this perfection of youexcept for maybe yourself… hence the need for your inner work.

Inner Work can feel like hard work.  I sometimes hear people complain about how hard the process of change and transformation is; and it can feel like that for sure. We often create quite a bit of resistance between who we operate as on a daily basis and who we know our “bigger” self to be, and resistance is energy draining. The more we resist the amazing, beautiful, graceful, loving, kind, generous, perfect, divine being that we inherently are, the harder and more effortful our inner work will feel.

Some of our resistance comes from beliefs we have about ourselves that are “hard-wired” in our nervous system. These hard-wired pathways are so pervasive that even if we try and think differently we end up resorting to the same old resistances and patterns. This is called neural programming. It is easier and takes less energy to do the same thing over and over. This is why our nervous system habituates and creates dominant pathways, so that we don’t have to think about everything all of the time. This can be beneficial and also requires our attention to continual monitor what works for us and what doesn’t work for us at any given moment. This is where most of us drop the ball. We get lazy, we fall “asleep” or go unconscious and live on automatic pilot.

One of the best ways to come out of automatic pilot mode is through paying attention to your body. Your body is the storehouse of your unconscious. It is a gauge for what is happening in your mind and will tell you when something needs to change because it no longer fits for who you are. This can look like tension patterns, pain, and disease. These are simply indicators that something is out of alignment with the bigger parts of yourself. And what do most of us do when these things arise in our body? We try and get rid of these expressions instead of using the energy available in them to make change. So we feel tired and like inner work is a lot of work, because we are trying to create movement (change) without any fuel in the gas tank.

The most pervasive and outdated pattern I have found in my own life and in my work with others, which brings the most resistance with it, is that we are not worthy of the grandness of who we “hope” that we are. We feel shame for getting what we want because we think it means someone else won’t get something or that we are taking from someone else. We feel grandiose or arrogant if we feel amazing about ourselves, and for some reason label that as bad. We fear we might not be accepted, fit in with others or be desired, so we will be alone and no one will love us if we love us. These are just a few expressions of how unworthiness can manifest in your life.

All inner work as I see it, is to bridge the gap between who you really are (love, infinite worth, amazing, precious, rare) and who you believe yourself to be most of the time (undeserving, ordinary, no real gifts to contribute, un-valuable, can’t make a difference, small). So if you already live as infinite worth, and know your preciousness and value in every single moment, then yes you are done with your inner work. However, if there is still a gap for you, then there is even more that you can realize and embody about your true nature. This does not mean you are less than or imperfect now, because you are perfect, it simply means that you have yet to realize the fullness of your perfection and live as it.

One of the missing links I find with people is that they have done lots of inner work through their mind but haven’t addressed their body. You must work through both. When tension patterns shift in your body that energy becomes available to you.

How do tension patterns shift? Through your nervous system receiving new input that you can hold yourself differently in your body and through diving into your resistances. This is where the energy comes from to make change and where transformation becomes less effortful and more sustainable. Many approaches bypass or avoid the resistance, labelling it is as “negative” and uncomfortable, and come from the angle of “just think differently.” While this may work for some people, others will need more energy, momentum, and fuel to create the change they desire, especially when it has been a lifelong pattern.

The approach I use to support people is called Network care. It works with you through your body to reprogram the dominant neural patterns to ones that serve you better now and makes available the energy to create change so you can live as the perfection you are.

Dr. Amanda Hessel, DC, MS, L.Ac