3 of 3...if you made it this far, you truly want change <3
“All emotions, even those that are suppressed and unexpressed, have physical effects. Unexpressed emotions tend to stay in the body like small ticking time bombs—they are illnesses in incubation.”
Let’s get back to pain being the bodies language. What we have been led to believe is mostly that physical and emotional pain are 2 different things. That your heart ache is different than your tooth ache, and while I don’t disagree with that completely; what I find in my work and in my life is that they are not separate either. In my therapeutic massage practice, I find that most, if not all, pain originates from an emotional event or experience. Mostly, when we have a physical injury; in this case we’ll use a knot in the lower leg, the calf, we are taught to leave it alone or if bad enough ice or supply heat to it.
But in my profession, when we find a knot, we press on it and work it out. When I pair this with my healing and energy work and ask someone what they are thinking or feeling while I work this knot out, 98% of the time a memory or emotion is coming to the surface for them. Somatic bodywork has been proven to be hugely beneficial when talk therapy or drug therapy is no longer effective or cooperated. That aside, isn’t that response rather curious? That I would press on a knot in your calf and you would have a memory in your mind.
There is a phenomenal book called “The body keeps the score” by Bessel Van Der Kolk, that outlines this phenomenon regarding trauma victims. Trauma, “is specifically an event that overwhelms the central nervous system, altering the way we process and recall memories. Trauma is not the story of something that happened back then, It’s the current imprint of that pain, horror, and fear living inside people.” With that explanation, it becomes clear that most of us have trauma patterns living inside of us, because most of us have had an event or experience that has ‘shocked us to our core’, or made us feel like our ‘life was turned upside down.’ Every time this happens, our central nervous system creates a memory and stores it somewhere in our body. Usually the organ or muscle most effected. If it was heart break, the heart will carry it. If you fell off a horse, maybe your back or glutes are holding the memory of falling. If what happened to you was sexual abuse, then your sexual organs are holding this memory and making intimacy, difficult if not completely off limits. The point is trauma is a real thing that affects your physical being for as long as it takes to reveal and heal it.
And we can easily apply the emotional holding it demands as well. Don’t we feel sad when our heart is broken? Don’t we feel frustrated and depressed when our back hurts and we can’t do the things we want to do? Isn’t someone who can’t satisfy sexual desire frustrated and feeling like somethings ‘wrong’ with them? These are emotional pains causing physical attention and its where you can learn to start decoding what your body needs, right now.
So, let’s talk about the 2% I left open above, regarding physical pain having its roots in emotional memory or emotion. Some people have no idea where their pain comes from, and they don’t feel emotions when I, or another therapist, brings awareness to their area of pain. In my experience, these people either 1. Do not know how to articulate they are feeling or remembering something and 2. Those that intentionally repress the process. The reasons someone may intentionally repress the process, are many and not all that important to mention. Just the fact that we have that choice, is the point in mentioning it. Speaking about the first group of people, here in lies the issue of language that I refer to when I say that pain is a language you’ve heard all your life, but never understood. Your body is telling you something and showing your mind, whether it’s an image, color, tingling, warmth, coldness, anger, annoyance, etc. If you start to learn to focus when an area of your body is touched, you will start to pick up on this subtle information and be able to identify what your body is saying. People that are very visual and rely on their eyes and what they see to navigate life, will usually see colors or images in their minds. Usually the brain will create as detailed an image as you need in order to communicate with you. If you are more reliant on listening to your surroundings and navigating life auditorily, you will usually hear ringing in the ear’s, voices inside your head, like your mom or dad, or whoever was tied to that event of experience. If you are a feeler and kinesthetic learner, your body will most likely tingle, or provide hot or cold sensation, vibrate, make your heartbeat loud in your eardrums, etc. Most of us experience a variety of all of these and its why your attention is necessary to understanding it. If your body is doing this song and dance for you, and you are using your attention to obsess about a meeting later, or gossip on social media, you will indeed miss much of the message.
Rest and digest are the need and function of your bodies central autonomic nervous system. The other half of your nervous system being the fight or flight response; this system regulates those body functions you don’t concern yourself with, like breathing or digesting your food. This system doesn’t need anything from you other than to let it do its job. That’s it! it just needs you to give it the space it needs to do what it does. Its sort of like that office coworker that needs his door shut in order to get work done. Your autonomic nervous system, along with your brain, needs rest so it can digest and keep your hormone levels balanced. This is also the system that will kick out those old nervous system triggers that alert your trauma and reflex the physical pain pattern. Your physical pain is a nervous system reflex, and more of a glitch than a reflex. Your central nervous system got traumatized, created a memory, recorded that memory in the closest organ or muscle tissue, then stopped operating fully. So how do we fix this? We fix the glitch. We fix the glitch by resetting the nervous system and allowing it to remap and reinstate healthy nerve function. Fixing your nervous system glitch can happen a couple of ways, Neuromuscular massage therapy, kinesiology muscle testing, some somatic bodywork. That’s it.
No amount of talk therapy will reset your nervous system glitch. What talk therapy does do and is an excellent precursor to body therapy; is help your mind come to terms with the fact that there’s a glitch! Your mind is very important in this process, since we already learned how it can single-handedly make or break the body. Harnessing the mind and getting it on board with the healing journey is step 1 in any actual healing.
We can’t heal while being drug into the therapist’s office kicking and screaming.
So, how do we get quiet enough inside so that all of this can function at optimal level? Glad you asked. Our desires. Our desires are more than just what we feel like doing right now, its what your body needs. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have come as a desire. Make sense? When you are getting ready for work, and you start thinking about how nice it would be to go for a bike ride instead; that’s your body telling you what would be best for it. There’s really no arguing that most of us would probably enjoy a nice bike ride, instead of going into work on most days. And I’m not suggesting that you stop working and become a bum on a bike, by any means, but I will say that those little desires will only get louder and more demanding, the longer you don’t go and get your bike out for a ride. Its all about balance; most days you go to work, and occasionally maybe you skip work to ride your bike. THAT’S properly listening and addressing your bodies needs. Never taking a day off and always forcing things to the weekend, no matter what, means your bodies needs aren’t getting met, ever.
When the bodies needs are never met, it starts doing the only thing it can do to get your attention; get louder, get slower, and sometimes start attacking itself. The levels of this manifestation all depend on just how restrictive you’ve been to your body’s desires. Some people will say things like ‘I do not eat sweets. I used to be heavy and now I just do not eat sugar ever. I crave it ALL THE TIME, but I refuse to be heavy again.’ While I totally sympathize and understand the desire to be fit and healthy and mentally stable, especially if you battled childhood obesity, but sugar is a necessary dietary requirement. Your body needs sugars, fats, and carbs to function at all. Our American diet blew the required quantities out the door and started inundating us with too much of all our nutrients, but if you body is always craving something, it’s because its deficient in that thing.
Now, as Americans that literally have the world at our fingertips, our desires are sometimes not reliable. If we’ve fed our body every time our monkey mind saw a commercial for McDonald’s, our desires would be strictly for big macs and fries. I don’t think we need to spend much time on the fact that McDonald’s big mac and fries are not a deficit your body is calling to fill. It means you do not have access to the true desire part of you and are instead living through the program of whatever you are exposing your mind to. Mind see, mind do. So, we must get past this programming, which brings us back to mindfulness and mediation. It’s the answer out of the programing and into body and ultimately your truth. Your body holds your truth; the truth of who you are, what you are, where you’re from, what this is all for, and why we are all here on this spinning planet, in the middle of our universe.
“People are unaware of how our ego takes over our true selves, such is the case on mindless technology. People are not ignorant. We are simply misinformed; misguided by societal programming forcing us to believe that we are following the path to success.”