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.