Posts

Second Chance at the Truth

Tammy on left; Bruno on right.

 

How do you keep internal peace under external pressure?

There are times that your mind analyzes a situation with clarity, yet you’re still triggered emotionally. You can feel trapped in your reaction and blind to a peaceful resolution.

Your mind and body are misaligned. The information your mind gathers and the story your body conveys seem to be on two different tracks, or different intensities of the same track.

The other night, sitting outside for dinner in the chill of winter (the only COVID option) I was met with this kind of mind body misalignment. My dinner date was sharing with me her newest business venture––herbal care. A healing art she had no education in.

I was stunned. My mind was clear that she was putting herself in liability danger and possibly endangering her customer’s well-being. As a 4-year herbal medicine graduate I tried to explain. The conversation was, to say the least, challenging for me.

Returning home with frozen feet and a chill that rose up my spine like a piercing icicle, I huddled in front of my space heater to thaw out. I was still reeling from the conversation and questioned my heightened emotions around the situation.

I felt mentally sound in my position, but emotionally triggered by my friend’s choice.

The next morning my head was nailed to the bed. There was a muscle spasm under my right shoulder blade that prevented me from lifting my head off the pillow! I felt like my body had been high-jacked by an incensed internal being. The aftermath of tension/stress overload!

So, I used a 3rd Eye Practice that allowed me to ask my body questions. It’s a practice that encourages my mind to take a backseat, while my body’s remembering can feel for the answer.

I place one finger lightly between my eyebrows. I let the sensation penetrate so deeply that the base of my skull widens back away from my neck, my eyes float upward and flutter under closed eyelids.

In this expanded position I asked my body, “what are you holding onto, what’s got you so triggered?”

After a quick filing of visuals, I settled on a childhood memory about my Saint Bernard Bruno. I thought, this can’t be the trigger! So, I asked again. And again, I landed on the Bruno story. So, I dug in and looked around to see what I could find.

At the age of 8 or so, I was letting Bruno out of his dog-pen to play in the yard. When exiting the pen his tail got caught in the gate’s hook lock. He pulled and all the fur and skin ripped off the end of his tail! As he wagged his tail blood was flying everywhere!

I screamed for my parents to come quick!

They came running and wrapped Bruno’s tail with paper and plastic. Then off to the vet we raced.

Bruno was fine. But I felt responsible for letting such a horrible thing happen. After all, I let him out of the pen. So, it must have been my fault that he got hurt in the doing. I decided, and formed a belief, that it’s very easy to hurt someone unintentionally.

BINGO! That “feeling state” was the very same “feeling state” I was having in regard to my friend practicing herbal medicine without a license. The guilt and protection my body held––my childhood trauma––was entangled in my clear-minded response to her.

It’s been a week of heating pads, epsom salt baths and resting on a foam roller, while feeling compassion for the little traumatized Tammy who loved her dog. I realized that I hadn’t unintentionally hurt my 4-legged friend, but rather, he’d had an accident. I wasn’t at fault.

In rewriting my old story’s belief, I’ve also soothed my emotional charge toward my friend. My mental position has not changed, but my emotional tolerance has. I can now extend out of my story into hers. And an ease, for her to be on her journey without judgment, has ensued.

I’ve gotten a second chance to align with my life and correct my skewed judgment of fault.

I can thank my friend for the opportunity to reframe this belief-forming story. As I look at it now, it’s been a constant undercurrent influencing my life. I have always looked at life through the lens of, “I could hurt someone!”

Self-aligned strength asks us to dig beneath the surface of our reactivity for a greater, more meaningful, self-aligned truth.

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.