A Posture Quirk We All Share

Rewire Your Core Strength

My life has been committed to dance, fitness and posture. And although everyone I have ever worked with has a unique tension template that presents a unique posture blueprint of his or her life story, there is a generic posture quirk that we all seem to share.

We typically keep our weight back on our heels rather than on the balls of our feet.

The most notable change in the human evolutionary silhouette is how the pelvis has had to adjust forward for an upright posture and bipedality––two-legged walking­. I suspect our generic posture quirk is illustrating that we are still in the evolutionary arch of this metamorphosis.

When our weight lags behind like this it causes our pelvis to tip, hip joints to compress, and our spine loses its S-curve. The back muscles, iliopsoas and quadriceps muscles all have to overwork. The result is back pain, hip and leg tightness, and we literally shrink our height.

The support needed to achieve our uprightness lives in the buttock muscles. These powerhouse muscles are the strongest muscles we possess; yet, we wag them, tuck them, and sit on them more than we use them!

The way to access the buttock muscles for the purpose of standing upright, and owning your strength, is to adjust your hip bones forward. These are the two pointy bones in the front of each hip, not the central pubic bone.

To do this, simply rock your body’s weight onto the balls of your feet and you will feel your pelvis adjust under you. Once you permit the hip bones to be aligned, your buttock muscles naturally engage so you don’t fall on your face.

The moment the buttock muscles engage you experience their power supporting your torso’s weight, instead of your lower back muscles supporting you. Also, you immediately adjust your attention from experiencing what’s in front of you, to experiencing what’s above you.

  • This upward attention is with gravity, the universal force that is constantly beckoning you out of the status quo to embrace what is unique in you.
  • Upward attention also stops the forward momentum that distracts you from being present.
  • And finally, upward attention connects you with the Divine, both within and without.

Your buttock muscles power you through challenge and pad your bones to rest. From start to finish the buttocks keep you in relationship with your power and vulnerability, keeping you stable and content with whatever unfolds in each passing moment.

In the Tao te Ching it states:

True wisdom seems foolish…

The Master allows things to happen.

She shapes events as they come.

To allow your buttock muscles to support your uprightness by placing your hip bones properly forward you develop strength and evolve beyond survival; if you clench the buttock muscles forcing the pubic bone forward misalignment and rigidity are, not only introduced but, what becomes your familiar go to posture.

As a race we are always evolving: physically, mentally, and emotionally, to align with evolving circumstances and environments. Strength is mastered by realizing the necessity to be fluid, neutral and present. Strength is lived by stretching to the outermost limits of an action, thought, or emotion, so regularly that it becomes second nature to be your whole self.

Wake up your buttock muscles with proper bone placement and you will rewire your core strength!

 

To relax the tension that blocks your strength, check out this FREE Surrender Tension in 8-minutes video!

 

Inner Space––The New Frontier

Carol Burnett as Miss. Wiggins

Empower the Space in your Pelvis  

 

Remember Carol Burnett’s secretary character, Wanda Wiggins, played opposite Tim Conway?

She was a constant distraction to her boss, Mr. Tudball. In addition to having an exceptionally low IQ, her blonde curls, fitted skirt, baby-doll sway back and turned in legs left Mr.Tudball persistently bewildered and distracted.

It was as if she never fully stood up from her chair before she would shuffle across the floor in her black pumps, cowishly chewing her gum, readying herself to take notations perched beside the bosses desk. We would all giggle at the obliviousness of her presence.

Her posture told her story. She clearly had no interest in asserting herself physically or mentally, and though she had a nice enough hair-do, manicure and outfit, she had no real objectives beyond that.

Perhaps we were all giggling at our own propensity to embody the same unexceptional disimpassioned attitude. Don’t we all fantasize about how much easier life would be if we just didn’t care so much about being outstanding?  

 

If you’re over forty, you can (occasionally) relate to Miss. Wiggins’ squatty posture when you try to stand up after sitting too long at your desk. In the last two inches of getting to your feet your body creaks in retaliation before allowing a fully upright stance. If you’re over fifty you may not even make it to fully upright!

It’s as if the space in your hips and lower back silently shrunk while you were busying yourself in your seat, right?

This shortening of the iliopsoas muscle––which travels through the hip joints from inner thighs to lower back­­––can lead to the downward spiral of our fitness. Age and job demands can cause us to shadow Miss. Wiggins or it can be the agitant we need to lengthen the Iliopsoas into an upward spiral.

Sitting encourages tension in your iliopsoas muscles because the muscles become shortened, differing from its elongated standing state. The iliopsoas muscles also collect tension from their responsibility to direct your movement––physically, mentally or emotionally––and they become over-controlling when compressed inward for too long.

Balanced muscle use inspires purposeful alignment and attention.

Sitting tasks need standing time-outs to restore the space in your pelvis. When you fully elongate your iliopsoas muscles you place your torso precisely atop your pelvis. In that moment you are absolutely present in time and space––an opportunity for mental discernment and spiritual awakening. You are standing in your strength.

 

In the Tao te Ching it states:

The Master does his job and then stops.
He understands that the universe is forever out of control,
And that trying to dominate events
Goes against the current of things (Tao).

 

Many of us, unlike Miss. Wiggins, do pass through this aligned state, often unconsciously, and experience a sense of self and purpose in the world when doing so. To support this aligned state consciously unite the core trilogy of your physicality: abdominals, inner thighs and buttock muscles.

You may, or may not, meet tension in your iliopsoas muscles when standing up out of a chair (yet!). But by following these simple steps you will ward off thwarting their upstanding value. This is how you know your iliopsoas muscles are in their fully elongated uprightness:
·      Ground through your heels to stand up, lean your torso onto your abdominal muscles and keep it there as your pelvis travels forward.
·      To adjust your pelvis forward press your hip bones forward until you feel your buttock muscles naturally engage.
·      When your buttocks naturally engage stop the forward press, and gently rotate your inner thighs toward your central plumb line to replace the iliopsoas muscles’ compressed grip.

When your core trilogy is united experience the silence of the moment. Recognize the inner space you have created in your center and the renewed vitality you instantly possess. This space is the Creator in you––your Spirit Self.

 

The Tao te Ching continues:

Tao in the world is like a river flowing home to the sea.

 

Making decisions from this silent space is making choices from the inherent wisdom you were born with, combined with the gathered information you studied to possess. The intelligence that lives in your body and your mind are united for your greatest good. You are living in your strength.

 

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Relax the Need to Be Heard

Find the Innocence of Listening

You know that sinking feeling you get when you have your hand up in a class or round table talk and the mediator isn’t calling on you? You have something relevant to say, but the powers that be silence you.

Typically for me, after recognizing that the dialogue was going to continue without my contribution, my hand would come down and I’d sit stoically stewing in, what felt like, their disregard. And this is where it would end.

More recently, rather than focusing on being disregarded, I started to deliberately take a step back and focus on regarding them. I’ve become curious about what IS being said. Does my point work with or against the conversation? Is there something I could learn from listening here rather than talking? Is my comment still relevant after they have finished discussing their perspective of the issue?

The outcome consistently surprises me. When the discussion slows down, the mediator addresses me and asks, “Did you have something to add Tammy?” With eager delight I speak my mind, I’m heard with genuine interest, and I feel honored.

When I let go of the need for others to respond to me, they became interested.

 

“Not needing to make things happen, one understands deeply.

Needing to make things happen, one learns about practical matters…”

Being disregarded is an old story in my life. It is not what is happening in my life now, but the old wound can easily be triggered. I have had to learn how to step back from this trigger––the need to feel heard and considered––to successfully develop in my career and relationships.

I suspect that I am not alone in this trigger!

Here’s what to do to unplug the trigger’s charge:

  •      First, take advantage of the stoic posture. Chin dropped and drawn inward shortening the throat, while the neck is elongated toward the sky like a swan, giving you the same alignment you would use if taking an actual step backward. Then rather than filling your neck and throat with stoic anger, open the crown of your head with innocence and wonder.
  •       Second, relax your eyes back in their eye sockets, remember that they are floating in water like when we float on a blow up raft in a pool, and listen from that receded and relaxed place.
  •      Lastly, recognize the added space between the eyebrows. This space focuses you to observe openly and you instantly enjoy receiving from the other(s).

When speaking we make things happen––yang––when listening we allow things to happen––yin. On one side we are giving, on the other side we are receiving, both are essential for a dialogue. Needing one over the other brings an imbalance to the dialogue that can turn the communication spout off or cause defensive responses.

 

“… Core and surface are parts of the same whole.

It is in being open and innocent that the

Possibility of understanding arises.”

Tao Te Ching

This became apparent in my daily life when I started to address my newly adopted parrot, whom has shown signs of mishandling, with receded soft eyes rather than gregarious let’s-be-friends eyes, she instantly started purring. She clearly felt more comfortable when I was in a listening posture. I believe she felt no expectations to be or do something she didn’t want when I was listening. It was a breakthrough in our relationship.

If listening is what creates trust in a relationship, perhaps we could all learn to soften our gaze and open our crown to the wonder of innocence.

 

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Peaceful Duck

THE UNIVERSAL LAW OF PAUSE

Peaceful Duck

When We Stop Chasing It––We Experience It.

Allowing myself to sleep in past 6AM, a gesture that I don’t often make to myself, I listened to my two cats scampering about in a determined crazy-cat frenzy. If you’re a cat owner, you know that untamed state that possesses our sweet kitties and then mutates them into wild beasts?

I indulged in a mattress belly flop, half awake and half asleep, in that magical subconscious paradigm.

“Do that which is not done by doing.
Make that which is not made by making.
Taste that which cannot be distinguished by taste.
Hold the same regard for the few and the many.
Requite the unkind with kindness…”

As I listened to their industrious pitter-patter for a long luxurious moment, I handed over my current labor-intensive chase to create my perfect world, to their obvious commitment to do the same. At this particular time in my life the culmination of life altering events were coming to fruition at once.

I was involved in the last days of the last editorial read of my first book’s deadline. I had just adopted an Amazon Parrot to join my already befriended Conure of 18 years. Both had been in the works for years.

The pressure to finesse the perfect book and the perfect birdhouse were both rooted in creating alignment in the world. The book’s focus being alignment between mind and body, the bird focus being alignment between adversaries––cats and birds.

When I finally decided to get up and face my day’s demands, what I found gave me pause.
I had created my dream! It had arrived!

A tiny sparrow was motionless on my kitchen floor. One of the cats had clearly captured it and brought it in from the terrace. I know this because, though I sleep with the terrace door open the curtain is closed, so the bird did not fly in.

Startled, of course, I tried to access the situation. Was the bird hurt?

I had heard that handling the bird would ostracise the sparrow from its’ flock. For that reason I placed a clean dish towel over it, swiped it up from the floor, and brought it to a pot of dirt back out on the terrace to offer a safe and familiar resting place.

As my towel was raised from the sparrow, it quickly flew away. All was well in the world. In fact, it was perfect.

All that ruckus I had listened to in my hesitancy to get up and start my daily dream chase, was the innocent witnessing of my dream being realized.

My cats had plenty of time to annihilate the bird, (I know this because they’re great mousers) but they didn’t. They choose to play with the sparrow (it was that sparrows lucky day!). Much like their mama—me—plays with the parrots.

When I reflected back on my mattress belly flop I recalled how open my pelvis was to the bed and how my quadriceps extended in a relaxed surrender away from the determination that fuels my gut’s passion. I was in a state of what Tao calls “non-doing” receptivity. I allowed the cats to be at the helm of the household’s direction.

“… Thus, one of integral virtue desires what is not connected with desire,
Sets no value on the rare goods of the world,
Learns what is not learned through learning,
And induces people to return to that which they have overlooked.”
Tao te Ching

It was a moment of trust.

So accustomed to using my quadriceps to drive my passions forward, this incident reminded me that, yes my quadriceps’ actions produce my future forward, but my quadriceps’ release recognizes that yesterday’s future is now.

Balance giving and receiving to move forward tirelessly.

 

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Create Me-Space Throughout Your Day

A joyful young woman

Do you like your job?

Well it turns out a staggering 70% of employees either, hate or are completely disengaged from their jobs.

This Gallup poll also said that even alluring workplace perks like nap rooms, free lunches, and massages did nothing to improve engagement.

It makes sense. Perks don’t address how we connect with our jobs. They distract us from our jobs.

Flex-time––personal time––offered workers the highest sense of well-being with a 44% satisfaction rate!

People want personal time and me-space throughout their days.

Flexibility to create our own hours, work from home, or take time outs whenever needed, gives us perspective. We are given the freedom to decide if the job we are doing rocks our world or doesn’t.

When we decide that we are where we want to be in our lives we get busy living it!

Disengagement, on the other hand, is a symptom of being uninspired. More often than not, this disconnect is with ourselves; the job is secondary. This can happen when responsibilities override our genuine interest. Once lost in a state of restraint, we become oblivious to our own authority and hunger. What is blaring, is the needs of the job, not our interest in the job.

Tao te Ching states:

The Tao is called the Great Mother:

Empty yet inexhaustible,

It gives birth to infinite worlds.

It is always present within you.

You can use it any way you want.

Lao Tsu

You can “use it anyway you want,” if you are still engaged with it.

Here’s the thing… your relationship with your job changes task by task. The need for connecting with your inner-authority––your need for me-space––is a revolving door that is always in motion. To extend yourself beyond the restraint of responsibilities, with interest rather than obligation, engage inwardly as deeply as you engage outwardly––STRETCH!

 

The more work that piles up the less effective it is to pull job responsibilities onto your already full plate. This overflows your comfort zone and contracts your stance––you feel inundated. Rather, when inundated, expand your self toward your work instead of your full plate. This distinction is crucial!

Stretch your world, your job and yourself.

Give birth to interest.

T. Wise

How do we give ourselves me-space when work piles up?

Posture is a simple way to create me-space so you never get so disengaged from your personal wants that you’re lost. To deflect the habit of pulling work inward, address your biceps muscles. Rather than contracting them, like when folded into a computer screen or hauling heavy objects, relax them.

Relaxed biceps open you in the direction of your attention, as if inviting an exchange. This changes the direction of your attention from inward to outward.

Try this…

When at the computer:

  • Sit with forearms resting on each side of your computer with palms up.
  • Relax your shoulder blades down through your bent elbows. This will open your chest and drop your shoulders.
    • Feel how the biceps muscles, that pass through the inside fold of your elbows, are relaxed even though they’re still folded
  • To type rotate your palms down without disturbing the elbows downward direction of weight.
    • Feel how the biceps muscles relaxed state allows your chest to stay open to receive. You stop grasping for what you need and instead invite what you need in.
  • If your elbows start to splay outward, notice how the biceps and chest start to grab and so does your attention. Self correct until your elbows learn a new habit.

When standing or walking:

  • Stand with arms down at your sides; relax your shoulder blades down through arms.
  • Rotate biceps and palms forward. This will open your chest and drop your shoulders.
    • Feel the biceps muscles open toward what you’re facing.
  • Walk with this rotation and feel how this outward attention opens you to receive what you pass by. A light exchange of energy happens with everything that’s alive.

Your body, mind and Spirit constantly need to integrate into its surroundings. If you’re too busy doing your job to be able to feel interested in it, release your biceps for a moment and breathe. You will be surprised how quickly you are inspired back into action.

To learn more about the BodyLogos technique, here’s a quick relaxation trick to Surrender Tension in 8-Minutes.

GIVE UP ON PERFECTION… and embrace certainty.

A child shrugs their shoulders in a quick up-down motion to communicate, I dun’no? They’re not worried about not knowing.

As an adult, the worry of not knowing can raise our shoulders with such a silent eerie creep that they freeze in that position. When we finally notice their up-tightness, we worry that if they drop so will everything we’ve worked for.

If we’re working to be an expert at something it’s important to remember:

An expert is a student.

As a student and Minister of Tao, I’ve learned that mind body relationships are central in order to effectively cultivate healing. The significance of our shoulder’s grip is twofold. The tension of a shrug relates to shouldering the uncertainty of our value; the freeze of a shrug relates to bearing the weight of unresolved moments of crisis.

“Darkness within darkness.

The gateway to all understanding.”

Tao te Ching

So What is Crisis?

Tao recognizes crisis as a plummet of both physical and spiritual energies. The belief is that we are spiritual-physical beings born with 0% spiritual awareness that develops as we mature, and 100% physical vitality that diminishes as we age. When our spiritual awareness and physical vitality collide and collapse we suffer crisis.

Mid-life crisis is an example of how these opposing influences affect us. If we do not develop spiritual awareness the lines cross without ever embodying wholeness or a true sense of Self, and the descending of our physical vitality create a defeated experience––crisis.

If we develop spiritual awareness and dissolve our self-inflicted distortions, the lines cross after a sense of wholeness is achieved. Awareness nurtures the body, extending our physical vitality well into our golden years, to experience a graceful, happy and long life.

Although mid-life is an anticipated time for crisis, crisis’ happens at any age.

How Crisis Can Lead To Certainty

Trauma from abuse, accident or loss, disappointment from rejection, failure or loneliness, exhaust physical vitality and can stunt spiritual awareness. In these moments of crisis, doubt about our self-worth, belonging and rightness can easily come into question.

For example, when I got fired from a job that had felt like a second home for 30-years, my first reaction was that I was a loser! If they didn’t see my worth in 30-years what chance did I have of succeeding elsewhere? And you guessed it, my shoulders did the upward creep!

If we have a way of weighing in with ourselves so we understand the nature of our doubt we can begin to create change.

Uncertainty around trauma is expressed through the carriage of your shoulders.

As the widest aspect of our skeletal frame, our shoulders’ posture illustrate the amount of space we are familiar with and feel worthy to occupy in the world; as well as, expressing the amount of heart we are accustomed to showing in ourselves.

The meaning of shoulder tension:

  •   Lifted tension––uncertain you know what is right.
  •   Dropped tension––necessity to be right!
  •   Narrow placement––discomfort in being seen in the world.
  •   Wide placement––comfort in being seen in the world.
  •   Rotated forward––uncertain in matters of the heart.
  •   Rotated backward––demonstrative in matters of the heart.

Relaxed, dropped, widely placed, non-rotated shoulders show comfort in being seen and open curiosity in matters of the head and heart.

This neutral placement stabilizes both mind and body. But we all circulate through these tense shoulder positions as we experience challenging situations in life. The posture you want to pay most attention to is the one that is consciously limiting you (physical discomfort) or unconsciously leading you (emotional uncertainty).

Deliberately surrendering shoulder tension unearths certainty.

Use your breath to surrender the misplacement that accompanies the need to be perfect, and surrender your shoulders neutrally. Certainty is on the other side of, I dun ‘no. A certainty in your own value.

Unraveling the tension of uncertainty takes more strength than rallying brute force in mind or body. You have to continually reorganize the habits your mind and body use to avoid the feeling of not knowing.

I could have fought for that 30-year job, after all their accusations were false. Once my tense shoulders dropped, I could stop reacting and see the bigger picture. I recognized that they had done me a favor. It was time for me to leave home and bring my message to a larger audience.

Going from familiar discomfort to unfamiliar comfort takes believing in your spiritual wisdom. Becoming aware of this inherent wisdom is what makes your life path yours.

Learn to Surrender Tension in 8-Minutes with this FREE video exercise.

How the Body Aligns You on Your First ______! And how you align it thereafter.

Malayan porcupine in nature

You meet someone new. Maybe in an interview or on a first date or a spontaneous introduction, and your heart responds openly. Your chest naturally rises, as if your body were smiling; and, the width between your shoulder blades retreats, like a porcupine retracting its quills.

 

More often than not you trust your heart’s message. You, almost without noticing, reorganize your inner self and let this new person into your life. Your passion to create alignment in business, creativity, friendship or love is ignited!

 

Then one day your body responds differently. Your chest contracts and your back widens—you are on high alert.

 

It is accepted in the West that the heart is our emotional seat and that the chest’s carriage expresses our heart’s emotional state. But in the East, it is understood that the heart carries our joy and the lungs carry our sadness, including the back’s carriage in the expression of our emotional wellbeing.

 

… Trust your natural responses;

And everything will fall into place.

                                                                   Tao te Ching

 

Your body expresses a smile of truth through your chest muscles that relate to your heart’s joy. It expresses the need to protect your smile of truth through your back muscles that relate to your lung’s sadness.

 

Cocooned between chest and back muscles the Heart Center’s rainbow of emotions are communicated through your chest and back’s alternating rise and fall. This oscillation acts as your barometer regarding what you want to align with in each moment. Your chest and back muscles take turns aligning with the situation in question.

 

When passion turns to high alert this emotional yo-yo, exhausted by extreme alignment swings, locks into one extreme or the other. Tension is the result—a physical holding pattern—that steals physical strength and mental resolve.

 

Here’s the thing…

Passion leads to purpose. What you are passionate about does not.

 

When what you are passionately aligned with is leading you away from what feels purposeful, a deliberate realignment is being asked of you. The internal alignment that happened initially, without much thought, is now demanding thought.

 

Allow your body to express what you’re feeling before you try to reason through the situation. Restructuring does not mean your more assertive—yang —nature of your back shadows the more sensitive—yin—nature of your chest, or visa versa. This restructuring asks you to meet the conflict as an aligned team that represents your smile of truth.

 

The conflict is about your relationship with the other person, not the other person.

 

Posture is the first thing that cues you in on how you feel about your relationship with something. Dialogue with your body before it shouts out with pain and fatigue. Listen when it gets energized, relaxed and sits upright. Ask yourself:

 

  •      Can passionate choices be, less about the choice and, more about being lead toward your purpose? The teaching tools that ask you to explore your values and value.
  •      Can protecting your passion be training the muscles needed for you to be purposeful? The call to action that asks you to step into unfamiliar territory.

 

What have we turned our backs on because we didn’t know what questions to ask ourselves? Living life in shades of gray offers way more options that living in black or white choices.

 

If you let yourself be blown to and fro.

You lose touch with your roots.

If you let restlessness move you,

You lose touch with who you are.

                                                                Tao te Ching

 

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Sob Your Head Off It’s Good For You

Human face cloaked in mesh

Human face under a cloak of confusion

Expand your capacity to love!

You know those moments where no words can express or console your feelings; a deep guttural cry is the only way to pacify the hurt. It offers complete submersion into your feelings–separate from thinking–bringing solace to heartache. It’s as if, physically shedding tears makes room for mental resolution. And it is actually true–sobbing is a physical exorcism.

The deep muscular heave of a sob loosens the emotional grip of deep-seated beliefs trapped in your soft tissues. Beliefs misaligned with the present situation; beliefs that make you question love. (Yes, the body feels! The mind thinks.)

Even tears motivated by happiness, such as your daughter’s wedding day, there is a misaligned undercurrent belief causing the tears: you may have worried that she would not find a partner and be lonely her whole life; or on a more personal note, you may believe you’ll never attract the bliss of new love again in your life. Underlying beliefs are not always conscious.

The emotional undercurrent of mental beliefs runs through your body like a current that tumbles gracefully down the river. Misaligned beliefs create tensions that interfere with this emotional current, like a bend or jutting rock in the riverbed that creates a whirlpool. Physical holding patterns develop into pockets of tension that I refer to as psyche-muscular holding patterns. To release the pattern adjust your belief.

Easy right… just change your mind!

Not quite. First you need to release the physical tension holding the pattern in place!

Sobbing naturally creates that opportunity.

To create new beliefs, old beliefs need to first be released. A deep cry makes room for underlying feelings to surface, feelings you couldn’t access while holding yourself together. You begin to let go of the protective reason of thinking–the defensive self-talk that distances you from feeling love or loved. Your body’s feeling sense takes over and your mind is in a position to listen. This is a role reversal from how most of us operate in the world.

Think of it like this, attention is finite.

When your attention particles are all filled to the brim with excess thinking because nothing is making sense: life is overwhelmed with worry and doubt, or pent up fears are dominating your experience, there is nothing you can do but un-fill, undo, unwind–sob your head off! Thinking turns to feeling and you have a chance to consider if what you believe is actually so?

Keep this in mind the next time you’re sobbing your head off:

  •      Direct your attention to the essence of your feelings rather than the other person or your present situation.
  •      Allow your body to fully experience the physical wail–reclaim the child in you–and let go of needing to know all the answers.
  •      Keep it real–synthesize the heart’s joy and the lung’s sadness–allow them to coexist.

The hardwiring of beliefs around love comes down to the antagonistic emotional relationship between the heart and lungs. (Like people, every organ has its own personality!) Eastern healing principles recognize sobbing as an expression of sadness that lives in your lungs and the upheaval of joy that lives in your heart. What happens when we hold these emotions in is, we compress the chest muscles–the blanket that expresses the emotional condition of our heart and lungs. For this reason I call the chest muscles your Smile of Truth.

Signs that your Smile of Truth is becoming compromised:

  •      Concave chest & shallow breathing
  •      Protruding chest & rapid breathing
  •      Insecure sense of self

The release of tension that a good cry, meditation, stretching and relaxation all offer creates an “I don’t know” internal space where the certainty of our worries, doubts and fears once lived. Free attention can feel restorative or lonely and scary. Since tension is by nature character divulging, letting it go feels like letting a bit of you go. You revert to the innocence of your inner child and feel dependent on someone else’s wisdom to fill the “I don’t know” void. But that’s the great thing about being an adult. You have the wisdom to navigate through the “I don’t know” abyss. One thing is for sure, when you feel “I don’t know,” you can bet that you are in the midst of creating positive change.

It is Practical to be Spiritual

How your breath inspires conscious connection.

Strip yourself down to blind breath to get out of your own way.  By blind I mean, without preconceived beliefs and expectations that ultimately tighten your breath and take you out of the mystery and freedom of the moment. Take your preconceived definitions away and who are you?

You are raw to the bone; you are free!

Imagine your muscles surrendering their grip from your bones with each breath. The skeleton is free to align as it was designed to, without the tension of outdated beliefs and habits imposing themselves on your mind and body. To breathe life in and death out, in real  time, is a spiritual and practical journey that aligns you with who you are now, rather than with who you have been.

Conscious breathing opens up the body to receive oxygen and the mind to embrace purpose–the givers of life. Without a significant  relationship with your breath there is no significant learning that can thrust you forward into a self-fulfilling life. Instead, you repeatedly  defend your life’s has-beens. Conscious breathing invites you to question and realize that there is a transcendent perception to be  glimpsed in every moment.

Are there times you suddenly realize you hold your breath?
When do life surprises interrupt your breathing?
Are you aware your breath reacts to your emotions?
Do you use your breath deliberately to create a desired response?

It may sound grandiose to equate the simplicity of breathing with your spirituality, rather than with the intricacies of a religious testament. However, breathing is the very thing that keeps you connected to every moment. Breathing enthuses you to be  curious–curious enough to question your own ways.

CONSCIOUS BREATHING

·      Inhale. Notice your diaphragm relax and surrender outwardly. Like Buddha, fully accept what is. Let your body oxygenate and feed on the nutrients filling your bloodstream. Let your mind expand, connect, and allow for meaning, so you unite to the moment with intent to discover yourself anew.

·      Exhale. Notice your diaphragm gently contract inwardly. Like Gandhi, release all that is no longer. Let your body empty itself of that, which is exhausted of nourishment and plaguing your existence with tension. Let your mind become clear of run-on thoughts, so you are free to feel what is truly relevant for you in the moment.

Recently, Elise told me her psychotherapist advised her to meditate because she was her own worst enemy. Her negative self-talk was getting the best of her. She’s moving and leaving a job, she says, “it’s so hard to clear my mind; but this was crazy, surreal!” She focussed on steadying her inhales first, making it as full as possible, bringing in as much clean, white light as possible. Then she focussed on releasing the same amount of negativity and darkness through her exhales. She said, “My vision became clearer. I felt like I was at the beach, my breath was in sync with the ocean waves crashing at the shore line; I felt warm sunshine and clarity so easily.”

Breath brings the biology of being human together with the cosmology of our Universe; it is a physical-spiritual intersection. The study of life merges with the origin and evolution of the Cosmos. Life, as we experience it, is founded on this relationship with Creation,  making the breath of our existence a physical-spiritual union. Spirituality is not tied to religion it is tied to Creation.

WHAT NEEDS TO BREAK DOWN TO FULLY STAND UP?

Who decides how you present you?

In our effort to stand strong and straight, mentally and physically, we often project an ideal persona rather than a real person. A want-to-be persona that resembles a rooster showing its willingness to fight for dominance, prominence or survival takes over our posture. This outward display tenses our muscles, excites our nervous system and expects a response. We are taught, that this attention to posture will attract success. This is not necessarily the case.

The problem with this persona posture is that it is not connected to what is really within its silhouette. In fact, this fake-it-till-you-make-it stance can lead you further and further away from what is true for you. I am not implying that you should depress your posture when you feel depressed. What I am suggesting, however, is to lift your posture’s alignment to meet that depression, or whatever problem is surfacing; rather than ignoring what is actually happening within you and jumping over it. Though jumping over obstacles may feel like triumphing over challenge initially, it is only bypassing the problem temporarily. The problem will resurface again and again!

So what does it mean to stand strong? Is it an outward projection of what you want-to-be or an inward ownership of being you?

I am going to borrow from the military because they have recognized the power of posture. Though, I also believe their breakdown can be developed upon to include civilian lives and a more entrepreneurial mindset.

  • “At-Attention” military posture ensures strength through following another’s leadership. A soldier’s legs are together, thumbs pressed against the side seams of their trousers, fists closed. Their muscular system compresses their central line of energy, while their eyes focus past the scrutiny of their commanding officer. Abandoning one’s authentic nature, the soldier awaits orders for the protection of the greater whole.
    • This abandonment of self could be compared to your mind-body stance when addressing your boss, a job interview, or a professional/social gathering. Anytime your posture is forced because you feel beneath the person(s), task or challenge before you, this is a physical experience of aligning.
  • “At-Ease” military posture asks for strength through one’s self-discrimination. A soldier’s legs are spread, arms and fists relaxed but held behind their back. While the muscles of their limbs are at-ease, their torso remains attentive to what their rank tells them they should-be. A degree of authenticity is allowed here as eyes meet, and a relating to the truth of one’s experience or expertise is being sought after and discussed.
    • This should-be attention could be compared to your mind-body stance when at your desk addressing work-tasks, organizing your home, or on a first date. Anytime your posture is stilted because you feel you should-be a certain way, you are trying to live up to the expectations put upon you by yourself or another. This is a mental experience of aligning.
  • At-Peace–a life posture–upholds strength by allowing what is. Using the flow of energy to secure alignment, you become sensitive to misalignment. As the skeleton is prompted to align itself above and below one’s center of gravity, the muscular system becomes elongated and supple, giving the body’s central line of energy room to expand. This relaxed strength permits authenticity and personal reflection. One’s sense of self connects to their unique perspective, life purpose and self-development. Aligning oneself with personal beliefs ensues.
    • This relaxed strength could be compared to your mind-body stance when on vacation, involved in a creative project or an entrepreneurial endeavor. You are at peace with who you are being. This is a spiritual experience of aligning

Military postures are what most of us relate to as good posture, because they are physically aligned. Their unyielding rigidity in body and mind, however, when used as a life posture, are exhausting and cannot withstand time without exhausting you. Replacing your energy’s rigidity with flow, renews your relationship with yourself, to be one that is at peace.

We are all soldiers in life. Though abandoning one’s individual nature for the greater whole–to give one’s life–is viewed as upright and principled posture; I could say the same about a posture that is committed to one’s self. Breaking down the indoctrinated beliefs that it is selfish or unappreciative to believe in yourself, your differences, or your brilliance, is what truly escalates you fully into being! Self-awareness is found through a relationship with your body, mind and Spirit; and it is what makes conscious frontrunners that can lead by example.

To stand strong and straight is to know your beliefs, illuminate your resistance to living those beliefs and restore alignment, and be at peace with who you are being.