“If you are one of the millions of people who suffer pain, stiffness, arthritis, whiplash, slipped disks, and other neck problems, you have probably tried the gamut of treatments, including surgery, chiropractic, acupuncture, traction, yoga, or medications for pain. Any or all of these may offer temporary relief but probably won’t provide a permanent cure. So what is the prescription for better and more balanced communication and lasting relief from painful neck problems……In addition to medicine and behavioral changes, you must identify and change the negative thoughts that are triggering your health problems. In Louise’s affirmation theory, the healthy neck and cervical spine represents flexibility and the ability to see both sides of the conversation. But turn this concept on its head by introducing an unbending mind-set or bullheadedness and health turns to illness and disease—in this case, a stiff or painful neck.” ALL IS WELL ~ Louise L. Hay and Mona Lisa Schulz, M.D. Ph.D.
“Tight muscles creating an armor in the upper back are often loaded with rage that was initially aimed at ourselves but then get projected outwards toward others. This can be seen in what is known as the ‘dowager’s hump’, a formation of soft tissue that builds in the upper back, most often in older women. It would appear to represent a collection of angry, and resentful thoughts that grow without the means for expression as the years pass; it manifests as we get older and as our reason or purpose for living loses impetus.” The BodyMind Workbook ~ Debbie Shapiro
“If we are having neck and shoulder problems, we need to question ourselves. Are we being too inflexible in our thoughts? Are we being too rigid? Are we afraid to see what’s on the other side of us or behind us? Are we taking too much responsibility on our shoulders? Are we taking on responsibility that is not ours. Do we refuse to see other’s point of view or perspective? Do we allow other’s refusal to see our perspective affect us. The Healer’s Manual ~ Ted Andrews
“Pain and stiffness in the neck denote inflexibility in thinking. You may be in a situation that you feel you can’t control as you wish. You may feel someone or something around you has become a pain in the neck. Perhaps you are uncomfortable with what you feel is going on behind your back. Whatever the issue you pretend it does not bother you, but in fact you feel as if stuck in an emotional roller coaster. ~ Lise Bourbeau ~ Your Body’s Telling You: Love Yourself!
The neck tilts, nods and turns and supports the heaveyweight of the head and protects the spinal cord as well. The brain’s messages and major blood vessels travel through the neck to the body, and so too, do the major meridians travel through this area. To put it simply, the meridians are energy pathways that supply our physical and subtle bodies with vital energy—meridians are known to run under the skin; where they come close to surface is known as acupuncture/acupressure points.
“If you think of the meridians as an energy transportation system, a complex traffic network, you have a concrete model of how meridian energies interact. When a freeway becomes congested, it may be necessary to divert some of the traffic into another highway. An off-ramp may need to be cleared or widened. If a highway or meridian becomes backed up with too much energy, as occurs in the hubbub of life, a bottleneck forms. And the resources needed to support the community or the body [neck] are also blocked. It becomes difficult to provide food and remove waste products. Likewise, if a highway is damaged in an earthquake, even the critical support services that form the community’s “immune system” – like police, fire, and ambulance units – cannot function properly.” ENERGY MEDICINE ~ Donna Eden
“The 6th chakra..coordinates the harmonious cooperation of all the cells, organs and function systems of the body, as well as attuning the person’s way of living in the outer world with his or her plan in life and the constructive, harmonious interplay of the various personality aspects…..In addition, this creates a balancing effect on the stomach meridian, which runs from the area of the solar plexus over the chest, neck, and face through the eyes and shifts the activity of the brain more to the front section…Through the better functioning of the stomach meridian, problems can be processed more effectively and creative solutions for difficulties on all levels can be found and translated into reality. The resistance to stress is improved and self-perfection indirectly strengthened. According to..Traditional Chinese Medicine, without a well-funcitoning stomach meridian, no healing reaction can be triggered.” The Spirit of Reiki ~ Walter Lubeck
At the base of the brain is a complex of nerves that impart special energy to the ears, eyes, nose, mouth and sensory nervous system. It’s here that energy feeds your five senses, and when they don’t receive normal amounts of nerve energy the muscles can develop painful spasms which then restrict neck movements, causing strained ligaments that radiate pain to your head.
“The neck is a marvellous combination of yielding nonresistance, since it is able to turn in every direction. In good health it is strong, flexible and bends easily… When one has health problems in the area of the neck he is fighting, resisting, rebelling against someone or some circumstance of life, and has probably become intolerant.” Catherine Ponder
Constant tension in the neck area will block the voice and breath; in a stressful or fearful situation the shoulders lift creating a hunch-back effect which exerts pressure on the back of the neck, making it impossible to breath properly. This tension in the throat has also been associated with abdominal tightness which then produces a sensation of nausea. At this point we complain to the doctor or therapist about being unable to swallow and unable to breathe properly.
“If the spine is in its correction position, up and flexible in its support, then shoulders should hang down and slight back without tension. Habits that infiltrate the should are a result of holding, placing bracing or lifting against a force trying naturally to find its ease. In other words, we consistently go against the shoulders’ natural drift downwards by hunching them in a different direction. Even as you sit there reading, becoming more and more engrossed in the activity and engaged with the words and thought, stop and notice how much tension has started to overtake your shoulders and upper chest. This is the slow drifting tide of tension we have to fight against. In order to keep this area free of contraction continual release and monitoring are necessary. Even the slightest unease in thought or gesture can make the tightness return so we must put ourselves on constant reminder to release here throughout the day. The Right to Speak: Working with the Voice ~ Patsy Rodenburg
ANATOMY OF THE NECK
The neck actually consists of seven loosely joined cervical vertebrae at the top of the spine. The spine is near the center of the neck, not at the back as many of us imagine. This neck section of the spinal column is wrapped in dozens of muscles that contract and relax every time you move your head or alter the alignment of your spine or skull. These muscles have a tricky job on balancing what looks like a wobbling pumpkin on a broom stick.
“The head should naturally balance on top of the spine, its weight economically distributed. If you balance or juggle a heavy object on top of a pole you will instantly see how even the smallest shift will topple the object. Our head don’t drop off but a series of muscles in the neck and shoulders have to work overtime to compensate for any misalignment we are suffering.” The Right to Speak: Working with the Voice ~ Patsy Rodenburg
The most vulnerable neck muscle is the trapezius. It runs from the base of the skull down the back of the neck, where it fans out to the shoulder blades and spine. The head can weigh up to 20 lbs and carrying your head too far forward strains this muscle, which most of us do working at a desk, typing and looking at the computer screen.
Wearing high heels also strains the trapezius as the heels tilt a woman’s legs forward, thrusting her buttocks back. To compensate, the chest neck and head are forced to tilt forward. And this also means the trapezius must strain to hold the head in place.
The other major neck muscle is the sternomastoid. To find it, turn your head toward your shoulder and run your hand along the protruding muscle that extends from the base of the skull just below the ear down the front of the neck to your collarbone. The sternomastoid supports the neck to the side and front, whereas the trapezius controls front and back. If you brace your shoulder against a heavy shoulder bag, strain while lugging a suite case of scrunch up to hold your cell phone, you’re tensing both the trapezius and sternomastoid.
Are you short-sighted, as this can push the head forward straining the trapezius–and an aggressive attitude towards the world can push the head forward too.
Mental stress can create or compound neck pain. If you are depressed or angry, your muscles may tense without you even knowing. The longer the tension holds, the more likely the muscle will harden into a painful knot.
The key to breaking the spasm-pain cycle is to relax the muscle and increase circulation. Breathing exercises, a hot bath or heating pain might help as well as gentle massage and simple exercises.
ANOTHER METAPHYSICAL PERSPECTIVE
Metaphorically, of the many people I’ve treated for neck tension, 60% of the problem had to do with low self-esteem. Deep down inside they didn’t feel worthy of love and struggled with feelings of unworthiness. For many people, this low self-esteem had been caused from childhood fears of feeling unwanted, ignored, rejected or even problems going through the birth canal. (The neck represents the in-taking, the beginning of life. It is here that we swallow the reality that forms the essence of our life). Unknowingly, this affects a person both physically and emotionally, causing a fear of never quite measuring up. Many with neck problems, have a tendency to process information more deeply and become overwhelmed by criticisms, rejections, losses, betrayals and deaths. Unfortunately this makes them even more vulnerable to attack and control from the outside and much of their life is spend in devising ways of protecting themselves so that what’s deep inside their core isn’t discovered; they struggle with an inner feeling of shame.
Many people with afflictions to their neck love to look after others. Their ambition is to help others and often do this to their own detriment. The parents, you see, had invested all their energy in making their child dependent (which encourages sickness and weaknesses of all kinds) so the child would enjoy it when his or her pet is sick because s/he could look after it.
When in very early life, our creative self-expression is repressed and we are not encouraged to make our own choices, we find ourselves living someone else’s dreams, ideas or expectations. Unaware of an alternative, we experience frustration, tension and even depression; we feel restless, anxious or even guilty because we’re unable to get ourselves to do what we really want to do. When this happens we find ways to reduce our stress by eating sweets and pastries or opening a pint of ice-cream or a quart of beer and kill hours surfing the internet or watching TV. What we’ve done is repressed our feelings and diverted them into some form of ‘habitual pattern’. The longer this tension holds, the more likely the muscle(s) will spasm or harden into a painful knot. The more we suppress our hopes and desires the more we wither on the inside; we also become dependent on others to tell us what we want and where we wish to go. If we fail to speak out for ourselves, our suppressions can actually cripple us.
It is true that anxiety, jealousy, anger, creates stress that tends to strike the muscles in the upper back and neck. Stiffness in the neck can cause the cervical bones to go out of alignment by restricting the circulation and nerve energy, which may eventually result in rheumatism and/or cervical problems. The neck is one of our most vulnerable areas and when stressed could indicate an inability to express what we’re feeling, blocking off our communication. The neck is considered by many spiritual disciplines as the gateway or bridge to the spiritual world through which the breath must pass.
Anger can also come from a habit of reacting angrily instead of listening with patience and compassion. And these fiery outbursts of energy create a lot of acid in the body. The constant release of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol can sear the body in a way that is similar to acid searing metal. Even hours after the output of these chemicals, they still remain high in the body, elevating blood sugar levels, causing damage to the muscular system, decalcifying our bones and thinning our skin. This is when toxic emotions become deadly emotions.
When we are under stress, the thyroid gland has to work harder, pumping out more of its hormones. The thyroid controls our ‘basic’ metabolism, cardiac rhythm, and manages our ability to adapt. If stress continues, the thyroid won’t be able to continue its increased level of production and may begin to fail. When this happens, the immune system becomes confused and starts producing antibodies against the thyroid. As the thyroid falters, metabolism slows, causing mood swings, emotional outbursts, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, aches and pains in joints and muscles, and muscle weakness and coordination problems.
If you’d like to more about the metaphysics of the thyroid, EMOTIONALLY, PSYCHOLOGICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY DECODING THE THYROID
Problems in the neck area can also be caused by restrictive breathing. The muscles that lift the rib when we breathe deeply into the abdomen are the sternocleidomastoid muscles and the upper trapezius muscles on the back of the neck – shallow breathing can result in neck strain and chronic neck tension – and – the most common cause of headaches is neck tension, especially the excessive pull on the base of the skull where the upper trapezius attaches.
If you have any structural problems with your back, spine, neck or overall posture, this will restrict the nerve supply to your organs and digestive system; the result of this is poor digestion which can lead to toxic buildup of food materials in your intestines. From this, you might develop food sensitivities as the healthy food becomes toxic.
THE THROAT CHAKRA
“Expressing our feelings is the function of the Throat Chakra. People who are not prepared to deal with emotional energy often have problems with their throat, mouth, teeth, and ears. When we limit the flow of energy by blocking our expression, there is insufficient energy to feed these areas of the body, and energy has a difficult time reaching the higher centers of the mind. If there are energy leaks in the Throat Chakra because of suppression, negative energy will stay bound in the body and form the musculature and character style of the person. Energy will never rise up to the higher mind, to be expressed as thoughts, opinions or insights. This can produce engorgement of the tissues, rigidity of the bones and other congestive problems. The more we feel free to express ourselves, the more internal regulation we have for our mental and emotional functions. Energy wants to be able to flow in and through us” LIFE CHANGES With the Energy of the Chakras ~ Amika Wauters
When Alyssa came to visit me and other practitioners in the clinic, she was suffering from a condition known as cervical spondlyosis.
(Cervical spondylosis, also known as cervical osteoarthritis, is a disorder where the bones in the neck and the discs start degenerating. Anatomically, degeneration in the bones and discs of the neck are usually the result of wear and tear as we grow older. What happens, is, the discs lose their elasticity causing them to become more brittle. Along with the degeneration of disks, bony outgrowths may also form on the vertebrae which are called osteophytes. All these degenerative changes in the cervical spine cause compression and pressure on the spinal nerves that come out of the spinal cord producing symptoms of Cervical Spondylosis. The symptoms of cervical spondylosis are: – pain and stiffness in the neck which is usually progressive in nature; pain and numbness that radiates to the hands and fingers; headache that starts from the neck and extend to the back of head; loss of balance and vertigo (sensation of spinning or whirling with loss of balance).
No matter the temperature outside, Alyssa always, always wore turtle-neck tops or scarves right up to her chin. She spoke in whispers as if afraid to speak out and found myself leaning in more to hear what she was saying. The fifth chakra is associated with our ability to communicate and express ourselves. When the fifth chakra is balanced, we feel we have the right to speak and be heard; we communicate clearly and can express ourselves creatively. When the fifth chakra energy is deficient, there is a tendency to protect our throat, to be silent and to fear self-expression.
“Most people are not prepared to express the depth of their feelings. They chose safety rather than honesty. Their Throat Chakras then become congested with energy that eventually becomes stagnant..” LIFE CHANGES With the Energy of the Chakras ~ Ambika Wauters
At the base of the brain is the Medulla Oblongata. This area at the back of the neck feeds nerve energy to our five senses. When we have no desire, no will, our nerve energy becomes depleted, it never reaches our ears, eyes, throat or mouth. Our five senses are literally starved and react by creating a physical problem. When we are drained of energy, of power, our body steals it from our eyes, ears, nose, throat and mouth.
(Solar Plexus 3rd Chakra)
During Alyssa’s Reiki treatment, her mind/body spoke of her being intensely self-critical and, very much like a harping parent trying to redo herself over and over again (Solar Plexus 3rd chakra). This not only creates a crises and personally overhauls the personality; it also creates changes in friends and our surrounding environment. Alyssa said, she had no idea how to stop picking on herself. This self-destruct, self-punishment cycling was creating her bones to landslide, down to the pits, the bottom…in a devastating momentum. Alyssa hadn’t realized how big her self-criticism was. After the treatment she also realized all the struggles with losing jobs, her home, lifestyle, everything was her continually trying to start over and over again .. ‘trying’ to be ‘totally’ someone else. This tendency to ‘change’ also made Alyssa vulnerable, giving her power to others and leaving her insecure and bewildered.
The 3rd chakra is the center of self-esteem or the lack there-of; it’s the chakra of how we’ feel about ourselves; it registers every memory you have of being criticized and what you define as being attractive. Everybody’s approval you need is in this part of the body and how you react to people and situation in regard to your sense of self. For example, if you picture being attractive, anorexic, and permanently looking 24, or any other component of being attractive, your spirit will leave your solar plexus and temporarily plug into images surrounding the social mind that says, unless I accomplish that image, I’m not attractive. This is similar to what Alyssa’s energy was plugged into. In the past, she so desperately needed someone’s approval she started remodelling everything about her ‘self’. This may seem a little thing but it’s really a Huge thing because you’re saying to that person, “I agree with you, I’m not good enough the way I am, so I’ll let you remodel me.” So little by little you begin to negotiate your sense of self to please the other person.
When we are disempowered or held back by a dominating figure, we usually hold in our feelings of pain and humiliation. As said before, holding in negative emotions short circuits our nervous system, depleting our energy, circulation and digestive system. The energies of the solar plexus center affect the digestive system, the pancreas, the liver and gall bladder, the diaphragm, and the middle back. The diaphragm is also very important in the role of speaking. It allows us to express our deepest feelings inside. It helps us to connect to our power, our sexuality, our passion, our creativity and higher spiritual values. It begins at our 2nd chakra, the seat of our emotions. This area records all our repressed as well as passionate feelings.
The diaphragm is a muscle shaped like an inverted bowl that separates the chest casvity from the abdomen. As you breathe in this muscle stretches out to allow air into the lungs. As you breathe out, the diaphragm curves inwards and upwards to help force all the stale air out. The human body is designed to exhale 70 percent of its toxins through breathing. Only a small percentage of toxins are released through sweat, and the elimination of waste products from the body.
The scalene muscles attach to the sides of the neck vertebrae as well as the top two ribs. The scalene help stabilize, flex and rotate the neck; their main job is to raise the upper two ribs on each side when you inhale. The scalene muscles work extremely hard when your breathing is stressed or if your coughing and sneezing.
In upper chest breathing, the diaphragm is unable to expand and contract as it should, this overtaxes and shortens the scalene muscles and the trapezius in the neck. Shortened muscles in the neck causes undue stress on the
THE SACRAL (2nd) CHAKRA
Why you make the choices you make stem from your core beliefs and feelings about your inner power or lack thereof. Second chakra imbalances affect your mental and emotional perceptions and your motivations for making life decisions. This chakra keeps energetic messages of your development as a child. So in truth, this is where the inner child originates from. If the inner child is misplaced, due to trauma, it is usually found either in the base or solar plexus area.
Parts of the body controlled by the 2nd chakra are the sexual organs, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix, bladder and hip area.
The base chakra gives us stability, the 2nd or sacral chakra gives us movement. Without water, the earth would be infertile. Picture a beautiful waterfall flowing majestically down a mountain. Look closely at the rock formation and see how the water has gently carved, molded and smoothed the face of the stone. Together earth and water create a potent connection. This helps us to see that the sacral chakra also has to do with our bodily fluids, blood circulation, hydration and elimination. It is also linked to the lympathic system which takes us to the 5th or throat chakra.
When the Root (1st chakra) and sacral chakra are balanced there’s a harmony between the body/mind. If the 2nd chakra is blocked or never properly developed, our mental health can be affected. We may lack common-sense and be immature about personal relationships. We may exhibit an urge to control other people and react childishly, like having a temper tantrum to get our own way.
It is not unusual for people with traumatic childhood’s to have blockages in their first 3 chakras. Problems with their health may show in the muscles and nervous system, eczema, ulcers, kidney and structural (bone) problems. These 3 energy centers are the basis for the framework of the body.
BEGINNING THE PROCESS OF HEALING
I’ve written of the Three A’s before which are so vital in the process of healing, have added them again.
THE THREE A’s
Awareness, Acceptance, Adjustment
“The formula is simple. Take your greatest victory as your ceiling and your worst defeat becomes the place where your foundation will be built. Once that’s in place you’ve got a frame which you will fill with joy and sorrow. From your center will come the creative force of your being, your truth and your instincts. It is from this place that everything else evolves.” Linda Joyce
AWARENESS – To make changes to our world, we first need to know where we are before we can decide how to get where we want to go. If you got lost driving to my house, you’d call and ask for directions. To help you get here, my first question to you would be “Where are you now.” Awareness is about asking yourself….”Where am I now”; it always determines your next move.
ACCEPTANCE – Awareness and acceptance are intertwined. By learning to accept freely and uncritically where we are at this moment, we begin to allow our unconscious to release more knowledge about ourselves. The process of acceptance is one of acknowledging to ourselves that we are in fact perfect—it is where we are supposed to be right now.
Mentally fighting our current situation with judgements such as “I should be better” drains our energy and self-esteem. Without acceptance of where we are, there is no possibility of moving in a direction of our choice or of every enjoying ourselves fully.
For example, until some acknowledges and accept a current situation of being overweight, he or she cannot choose the goal of thinness and enjoy the process of moving toward it.
ADJUSTMENT – Once we are aware and accept where we are, can we go on to make the changes in our habits that we’d like to make and bring us to a greater state of health.
The keys to the stage of Adjustment are patience and moderation. Often we go too fast and become discouraged when we can’t change everything overnight, or else we think that the changes needed are so great that we’ll never be able to make them and discourage ourselves before we start.
Giving a voice to your independent point of view, will attract appreciation and love for the person you truly are. If you surround yourself with people of who you really resonate with, you experience the joy of knowing that you are valued for being there in the present moment with them. When you trust your own perceptions and act on them to create an inner equilibrium, you add the peacefulness of your presence to the situation.
When you go to your deep self and then express the balance and stability that is there, you silently invite others to go to that place within themselves. The power of your harmony impels others to go to their depths also if they wish to relate to you; in this way, through claiming your centre, you create harmony.
We can only build truly satisfying connections by first developing a secure relationship with ourselves; we need to accept and validate our feelings and needs and be willing to assert ourselves, even it breaks the peace as this actually creates a deeper and more authentic contact. We also need to apply this to our own bodies when we notice pain or discord. We need to go within and listen and discover how we’re using our personal energy and power…which also involves our sense of self-esteem and self-expression. It’s also learning about the cause and effects of our choices and how we wield our own power.
As you learn to consciously observe the transformation process, you will watch yourself repeating a lot of old patterns long after you seemingly know better. Spiritually and intellectually, you realize there is another way, but emotionally you are still clinging to the old habits. This is a difficult time. Try to be patient and compassionate with yourself. When you recognize the futility of an old pattern so clearly, it’s about to change! A short time later, you will suddenly begin to respond differently, in a more positive way.
ASSIGNMENT ~ FEELINGS LOG
This is a simple but significant assignment I gave to Alyssa and have shared with most of my clients;… for the next few days pay attention to your feelings and write a description in a journal or notebook just for this exercise. You’re going to find out what makes you feel good and what makes you feel sad, what irritates you, what frightens you, what makes you nervous, and what you avoid. All you have to do is write what happened immediately after the feelings … “I stepped out in the rain and felt happy … or .. walked into a room and felt uneasy”
This is not a feeling’s journey, it’s like a log without editorializing…
You see we all have the habit of trying to hide our feelings from ourselves. We automatically deny uncomfortable feelings and try to turn them into comfortable ones … it’s not easy to catch yourself doing that.
And if the event that triggered the feelings seems too small to have mattered, your active brain is going to go looking for something fancier and overlook the right event, so this project will be a bit difficult at first .. very similar to another meditation on this blog.. Counting Your Thoughts Visualization
Actually logging your feelings is making you accept yourself, and respect yourself, a whole lot more than a hundred affirmations saying “My feelings are all right” or “I’m a good person” The very act of noting something means you accept it.
What if you only really want good feelings .. “I just want to be happy and find my passion” .. well we know that doesn’t work.
We can all remember a time when we felt good, positive, bold, but we also remember times we felt rotten, for weeks and just couldn’t get rolling. There is a way to get through the bad feelings fast but squashing them won’t do it.
To work with feelings, you must use feelings.
If you’re feeling hurt, you probably need to cry. If you’re scared you might need to run for safety. If you’re angry then you need to speak out about the injustices done. And though we were trained to control our feelings in public and to think before we act .. it doesn’t mean we should make this a habit in our personal lives.
If you’re not alone with your feelings, don’t swallow them ,, just postpone them for a moment and go somewhere private to express them. Cry, tremble, shake your fists, curse the injustices. Do whatever the feeling seems to want you to do. Go ahead and groan or heave heartbreaking sighs in the bathroom. Snarl and punch your palm in the coat closet. Shiver and admit you were scared to death. I know it’s hard because we’ve learnt to keep all those feelings in but just a few minutes of expressing your feelings will radically lower their intensity and give them a chance to transform themselves the natural way .. just like a thundershower clears away dark clouds.
Unexpressed feelings are toxic. That’s why nature gave us the tools of expression–to discharge the toxins that have built up inside. Expressing our feelings is the only natural way to turn a bad feeling into a good one. When you’re alone, drop the facade we’ve been conditioned to wear and let the fear and hurt and anger burst out or you’ll carry them around with you for days, until they leak into scenes of your life where they don’t belong and wreak havoc.
Trying to pretend to feel better doesn’t work, same as the same affirmation said over and over again… the mind is so creative it eventually resents the dullness of the repetition. Whenever I try to repeat an affirmation over and over my subconscious rebels because there is a defiant child in all of us that doesn’t always want to do the right thing lol!
This exercise isn’t about silencing or arguing with our thoughts; it’s about listening and acknowledging them so we can begin making gradual changes to our internal critical self-talk
Do you feel tense, , To rectify this, learn to stop yourself for a moment and notice where your thoughts are. Are they in the present, past or future or directed towards a person or thing?
When Alyssa returned a week later, she couldn’t believe the many voices and images inside her head that put her down or said horrible things about her. It made her aware of how negatively she talked to herself and that this needed to change in order to feel differently. I also told Alyssa, our thoughts are part of where we scatter our attention, our power; they are made of old beliefs, experiences, feelings, fears and hopes all collected in a jumbling pattern; in a way they are alive and conscious, depending on how much power we give them.
Images we hold in regard to our past (childhood) as well as present time, influences not only unhealthy situations but can arise in the form of unhappy experiences as well as mental or physical illness.
For her 2nd Reiki treatment, I asked Alyssa to again listen to the critiques inside her head but this time, try and identify from whom these inner voices came (mother, father, siblings, colleague, teacher, partner, etc.) and if she could locate where she felt them resonating in her body. As the healing began, I asked Alyssa to illuminate and bring into focus the buried images/feelings she’d written down. With the hand placements of Reiki we worked together to bring the hurtful images/feelings out of hiding. Rather than zapping them out of existence, we surrounded and immersed them in light, where they began to lose their strength and destructive power. This would need to be reinforced again, and again, but each time, the critiques-within would lose more of their power.
I recommended Alyssa talk to the dietician in the clinic and consider other healing tools, such as Yoga, Tai Chi, EFT and massage. I also gave her meditations to help with her self-esteem.
The most important element to self healing is the ability to be present with your Self. You cannot begin if you are preoccupied with the past or living in the expectations of future times. All these do is scatter your ability to focus and leave you powerless.
Being in the present will begin the process of releasing powerful emotions that have been masked or blocked. It means courageously looking back and inward on a pain originally based on a fear…..an often painful process we all try desperately to avoid. AND when we avoid pain, we experience frustration, anger and exhaustion…..our bodies only get sicker.
Taking care of yourself requires discipline and focus……it takes a lot of courage to nourish and respectfully pay attention to YOU.
MEDITATION ~ FREEING YOUR BODY The Self-Esteem Companion ~ Matthew McKay Ph.D., Patrick Fanning, Carole Honeychurch, Catherine Sutker
People experience emotions in their bodies as well as their minds. Do you ever get “gut feelings” about things? Have you every been very angry and felt your stomach clenching? Or Experienced sadness as a heaviness in the chest?
Even chronic feelings of low self-esteem can manifest in your body. You may feel the hollowness of failure in your stomach, the pressure of self-blame on your heart, or the pain of shame in your throat. You have a painful hunch of shoulders from a fear of rejection.
The following exercise can help free your body of feelings connected to low self-esteem. You may want to voice-record the exercises for repeated use.
The first step is to relax your body and mind. Sit or lie down in a quiet place, close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly and deeply. Mentally check in with your body, scanning your muscles for signs of tension. If you find any tense areas, take a belly-breath and release the tightness as you exhale. Remember to scan your whole body—your face, chest, back, arms, stomach, pelvis, and legs.
When you feel physically relaxed, try to quiet your mind. Clear out the random thoughts that dart in and out, and concentrate on a sense of stillness. If thoughts intrude, simplet let them come and watch them go, always returning your focus to the quietness of your mind. Now you’re ready to begin the visualization to clear your body of emotion-based pain.
Visualize the negative feelings that lie in your body. Give them a shape and a color. Make them as ugly and weird as you want. They could look like an anvil, a sword, a sack of potatoes, or an empty cave. Take some deep breaths. With each breath, see those feelings move out of your body and away from you. Watch the anvil leave your stomach or the choking fingers let go of your throat. You are floating past the bad feelings now. They are out of your body, and you are drifting away from them. They get farther and farther away from you. Keep fcuisng on your brahting as the negative feelings move farther away, first becoming a distant speck, the finally disappearing altogether.
Say to yourself: “These are feelings from the past. They come up whenever a situation arises that challenges me. I will survive them, floating past until until my body is free from all of the pain.”
In your imagination, step outside of yourself. Now you can see how bad you’ve felt. You can see how you struggle with these negative feelings in your torso and limbs. See your face, the position of your body. Imagine the location of any remaining negative feelings as a red glow in your body. It will fade in a while. Take deep breaths as you watch the red glow diminish. Imagine the bad feelings passing as the glow gradually fades away. If you wish, you can turn the red light into a neutral or relaxing color–pale blue or another gentle pastel. When you are ready, go back inside yourself.
Finally, envision a mental picture of yourself days or even years from now when these bad feelings are long gone. See yourself standing straight and tall, head up, confident, and relaxed. As you bring your awareness back to a more relaxed present moment, remember that you can do this exercise whenever your body is experiencing tension or pain from emotional stress.
Breathing is the most natural thing in the world. It is at the very center of our physical lives. It is instinctive and involuntary and yet how often do we let it work naturally? Most people most of the time are unconsciously hindering the full extent of their breath. Look at the breathing of a young child, and you will see the whole system working effortlessly. All the movement is centred in the middle of the body. This is because that child has not had time to learn any bad habits that can interfere with the natural process.
Now take a moment to observe yourself. Is your head freely balanced on the top of the spine, or is it held tightly in position? Is your jaw or throat tense? Are your shoulders braced up toward your ears or slumped forward? Is the upper chest caving in or being pulled up? Is your stomach relaxed? How free are your knees and feet?
All these little details, habits born from experience, can affect your breathing, making it inefficient. If your posture is bad, for example, the muscles that create the changes in the body that lead to the intake and outflow of breath are restricted in their natural movement, and the lungs cannot expand to their full potential. This can result in breathing only in our upper ribs, a habit we get used to and accept as normal.
Also, the breath and emotions are interrelated. When you are angry, you might hold your breath, or, if you are particularly nervous or stressed, your breathing might become very short and shallow. Most people only use their lungs to their maximum potential when they laugh or cry deeply –laughter and crying both leave behind a feeling of relaxation, a release of emotional tension. Think of how tired and cleansed you feel after a bout of wholehearted laughter, or relief you feel after a deep sigh. If you have ever had a massage, you will have noticed that as your muscles relax, your breathing deepens and slows.
Try is little exercise, it will allow you to feel how deeply you can breathe.
Stand upright with your feet apart. Cross your arms in front of you, and rest the palms of your hands on your shoulders. It should look as if you were giving yourself a hug.
In this position, relax your arms and shoulders. There should be no unnecessary tension in the upper body. Drop your head forward, bending from the waist. Breathe all the way out, and then slowly, naturally allow a big breath in. You will be aware of your ribs opening in your back, and it should feel like the breath will be moving right down your spine.
Repeat a few times. Drop your arms, and then return to an upright position, slowly–if you stand up too quickly you may become dizzy.
Trapezius muscle release (youtube)
Easy trapezius stretch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jiq1WbdfkE