Awareness is key

The most fundamental tool I know for making shifts in our lives is to deepen our personal awareness.

Our unconscious is an efficient and vast network that is often times calling the shots on how we feel, react and think. This can also translate into symptoms in our physical bodies. Getting to know what is happening behind the scenes is profoundly empowering for making new choices.
No matter what name you call it or how you develop it, this will be your greatest ally. Many people think that doing this has to be a difficult undertaking but you truly can start small and simple. Certainly there are many paths for discovering what works but here is a simple technique I like to call ‘Interrupting the Ordinary’.

Try this:
The next time you are doing some everyday, ordinary task, take a few minutes to notice what you notice. Make it a treasure hunt of observations. If you are brushing your teeth then notice how much much tension is in your hand, the contact of your fingers, the motion of your wrist, the thoughts that come to mind or the weight in your feet or hips. You can do the same inquiry while eating, sitting at your desk, taking a walk or just about anything. Try to find new layers of observation and just make note of them.

I know it might be challenging to believe that something so simple might have long-term benefits but it really does.

Simply Interrupting the Ordinary allows you to invite something new in the midst of the habitual pathway.

This helps you develop a connection to the unconscious flow and gradually build your ability to interact with the process. Learning to develop this engagement during routine tasks or innocuous events will help you build your skills for more stressful or triggering situations in the future. Regular practice of this throughout the day helps it to develop, get stronger and more flexible.

This proactive mental hygiene assists in creating space between thought and action, guides you towards seeing the design of your unconscious and gives opportunity to interrupt, interact and engage.

Now imagine having that skill in more challenging encounters. It will support you in noticing:

  • the previously ‘invisible’ steps that lead up to your reaction
  • what habits are the current default and if they are helpful
  • and the ripple effect of these habits in your mind and body

Your ability to recognize or identify any of these empowers you to interact and make new choices. And it supports you in seeing possibilities for shifting patterns or habits you no longer need.

 

Thank you for reading and being curious about this amazing world that is YOU. Empowered, Vibrant and Learning to Live beyond limitation.

 

Soundbodywisdom.com

For companion video to this post click Here

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Posted in philosophy

We are the Source

I believe in this work…in this practice, because I know without question that each of us has vast resources within us. That we are more empowered and brilliant than perhaps we currently can sense.
Every day this compels me.

It is true that outside circumstances can obscure or disconnect us from it
but we can always reconnect.

 

And so this life is a dance of discovery. To find what draws you closer or pulls you away from your source of power and brilliance. Because there is so much moving in our unconscious that creates barriers or limitations that it really is a treasure hunt. It is up to each of us to catch glimpses, pursue wisdom and practice that which draws us closer. Closer to simply loving oneself without conditions.

The practice will look different for each and every one of us. (As much as we have a certain design in common we are all shaped by life so uniquely.) And so we must trust. Trust that we have this vast resource within us to manifest and direct the changes we seek. And when trust wavers we leap into the mystery. We leap simply with a desire to move beyond limitations or perhaps just begin to notice what limitations are even there.

Whatever you seek, there is a path for you to discover. Beyond spiritual, beyond scientific…it really is the map of you.
And each of us investing in knowing ourselves…loving ourselves….is a gift to everyone. Yes, it takes effort to unwind, relearn and create our tools to grow… but if you have continued reading this post…why not take the leap?

Whatever you want to change, develop or understand within yourself or your life…there are so many tools for doing it.  Sound Body Wisdom is about making those tools accessible and adapting them to what works most effectively for you.

 

SoundBodyWisdom.com

Check out my YouTube channel and companion video for this post

Posted in being human, evolving' truths', guidance, happiness, health, mind body tools, philosophy, stress | Tagged , , , ,

Where it gets sticky

Learning to love without conditions invites you to explore your connection to self, the world around you and the people in it.

For myself, the exploration began with a simple question:
‘What gets in my way’?

I had already discovered a path for loving myself without exceptions but I found that other people brought a whole slew of other dynamics that tapped into additional parts within the matrix of me.

So, being the philosopher scientist lover that I am…I explored.
And basically, the practice of unconditioned love got even juicier.

I began to observe my connection to everything in the world around me and my experience of love. I would see varieties of flowers, trees, babies, animals and would reflect on how I felt. Never once did I place any conditions on my loving any of them. I might prefer some more than others but none were ‘lesser or greater’…they were all equal yet diverse. I could love and appreciate freely.

So if I could be present and without judgement for myself and non-adult humans, what was occasionally getting in my way with the grown ups?

Generally speaking, it was personality. Personality is such a beautiful tapestry of energies that can touch into so many places within us. And it can also light up challenges.
So my next question was:
“In order to truly love without exception, how can I do that when personality comes with the package?’

What I discovered for myself was a practice of learning to see or feel individuals at their essence. To imagine them when they were first born. (And yes, quite literally to sometimes see them as small babies in my mind’s eye.) When I connected to that, everything else could fall away. It became easy to love them unconditionally, even if I didn’t enjoy their company. Because this isn’t about eradicating personalities and opinions but instead learning to not be attached to them. And so I discovered how to stay present with my personality and their personality equally, all while having that connection beyond it.

Not only did this teach me how to love others more authentically, it showed me where to breathe more love within myself. It showed me places I didn’t even realize were there until I got curious, listened beyond the veil and ushered close the sticky bits inside of me.

And like anything you practice, it becomes easier and easier until it is no longer a separate practice. It is just you…liberated and open to infinite possibilities.

So, where do you get sticky? What challenges your ability to love without conditions even when you might not like someone? What compels you to judge others, creating imbalances through elevating or diminishing them? Where do you still invest in your attachment to ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in the many aspects of life where there are so many other options?

Every moment and exchange in life offers us insight and material for exploring within ourselves. This isn’t about fixing something broken in us, it’s really about seeing patterns that have been below the surface with new vision. It’s about actually choosing our habits and how we direct our thoughts as opposed to just going with what has been pre-programed. It’s about unveiling potential that frees us into new energy, ease and possibility.
Because ultimately, that exists within each one of us beyond limitation.

Posted in philosophy

The Practice

I have recently found myself simply saying ‘The Practice’ more often because practice is what underlies our life. It is interesting because in the realm of the Self there are so many influences and layers. We are influenced by where we put our attention and how we focus our energy and thoughts. But also by where we do not put our attention and let pre-conditioned habits keep running freely without question. The practice of the Self is both having awareness of the pre-conditioning and choosing what you would like to maintain or shift, AND, having awareness for moment to moment choices throughout your day.

Each of us can develop the tools that will uniquely serve the eccentricities of deepening our awareness. It takes some time and a bit of effort but you begin to recognize your own extraordinary habits, challenges and strengths. You can pioneer your own path for personal growth and uncover what that means for you right now. And no doubt, this will evolve as you move through your life. But no matter who you are or your life circumstances….developing and refining your personal practice of awareness will serve you in limitless ways.

Posted in being human, mind body tools, philosophy | Tagged , , ,

Power of the Placebo

Is it possible that our most potent ‘medicine’ dwells within?

We are learning exponentially the infinite potential of our own mind. In the past 20 years we have doubled our knowledge of the brain as well as doing a complete reversal in accepting as fact that our brains can change (plasticity)!!

Along with this, studies looking into what is known as the placebo effect (a treatment that has actually been around since the early 1800s) are demonstrating the capacity of the mind to create changes in the body. (‘Mind’ in this context includes all mechanisms such as thoughts, beliefs, emotions, perceptions etc).
Scientists have been able to document that the placebo effect triggers specific biochemical changes in the body. They have also seen that the placebo will have no physiological effect if the patient knows it is actually just a placebo (sugar pill etc). Basically, the brain/body seems to be able to transform hopeful thoughts/emotions/ beliefs into tangible and essential biochemical changes towards health.

For me, the placebo effect shows that there is no real separation between body and mind. They work in reciprocity and inseparably. And that essentially, the placebo (the physical pill) is not really ‘necessary’ since it is ultimately the mind guiding the healing/rebalancing through focused thoughts and beliefs.
The placebo is simply a tangible object that we have come to use as an assist. It has become a tool in a time where we tend to reach for things outside of us and not within us. Perhaps a product of our conditioning that believes we are less capable, empowered and interconnected than we truly are.

Your brain/body complex is infinite in potential even when it comes to the influence of the simplest thoughts or emotions throughout your day. I find this incredibly inspiring and at times, beyond comprehension. But every day I experiment with the cascade of neural firings that are my current design. Through awareness, guidance, care and inquiry I see how to shift the role of tangible/intangible….and broaden all possibilities.
How do you engage or guide your own thoughts and feelings? How can you more actively connect to this intangible potential within?

http://www.soundbodywisdom.com

Posted in guidance, happiness, health, mind body tools, stress | Tagged

Mapping Stress

Stress can mean different things to different people as each of us may have a different response to any given stimulus based on many factors. We know stress is personal and subjective and yet inarguably one of the greatest influences over our health and well being. We also know that there are tools that help us change our perception and reaction to stressful stimuli therefore offering us more potential to shift the detrimental impact.

A stressful situation — whether something environmental, such as difficulties at work, or psychological, such as persistent worry about a loved one — can trigger a cascade of stress hormones that produce physiological changes.

This combination of reactions to stress is also known as the “fight-or-flight” response because it evolved as a survival mechanism, enabling people and other mammals to react quickly to life-threatening situations. The sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses helps someone to fight the threat or flee to safety. Unfortunately, the body can also overreact to stressors that are not life threatening (such as traffic jams, work pressure, and family difficulties).

Stress stimulus=Brain=Nervous System=Physiological changes

Over the years, researchers have learned not only how and why these reactions occur, but have also gained insight into the long-term effects stress has on physical and psychological health. Over time, repeated activation of the stress response takes a toll on the body. Research suggests that prolonged stress contributes to high blood pressure, chronic illness, inflammation, heart disease, obesity, early onset aging, dementia and also contributes to anxiety, depression, and addiction. And these are just naming a few. We are continually realizing the ramifications of ongoing stress responses to our health.

To understand stress we need to realize our brain/body complex has evolved through time to meet our ever-changing environments and what ‘survival’ has meant.

Our neural circuitry in the brain is designed to create ‘habits’ to make it easier for each of us to perform tasks without thinking. Each time you repeat a habit, whether a task, a perception, a thought, behavior or emotion, it becomes more engrained and unconscious. The same is true of the habit of stress.

Our stress and threat reactivity is partially shaped by our personal genetics and experiences but also by evolutionary biology. Believe it or not, our propensity to look for the ‘negative’ is a human trait we carry over from our early ancestors. The brain keeps us closely tuned in to what is ‘bad’ or potentially wrong in our lives to ensure our survival.

The brain is a critical hub on every level in our quest to survive. Without you realizing it, in the course of just one breath cycle, a quadrillion-plus messages/signals will cross your brain in roughly a tenth of a second. All our thinking, emotions, desires, bodily functions are courtesy of close to 1/1 trillion brain cells as they fire in our brains sending messages to other neurons. Basically the brain is a connection machine constantly moving information around.

Research is beginning to show us that much of this brain activity is dedicated in service to negative thoughts rather than positive. The reason for this can be found in our ancestry and need to survive. We needed our brains to constantly scan our surroundings for possible threats and if you weren’t diligent, you might not survive.

Technology has allowed us to actually see the functions of different parts of the brain and the roles they play. The amygdala (our alarm center) has two thirds of its cells dedicated to processing negative or potentially negative information. This part of the brain dates back to our reptilian predecessors and is often called the ‘lizard brain’. It differs from the pre frontal cortex that helps us stop, think and evaluate situations. The pre frontal cortex takes its time to evaluate data and make decisions. The amygdala scans moment to moment and makes fast snap judgments based on what is perceived as a threat. It is ‘hardwired’ to focus on the negative and quickly react.

Basically our brains categorize memories we have experienced as bad, threatening or unsafe and the amygdala stores them to be retrieved the next time a similar situation arises. This is a mechanism for keeping us safe.

Every day we are faced with trying to balance our brains deeply engrained evolutionary tendency to survive and see ‘threats’. This primal reaction is then intensified by our own unique life experiences (where ‘threats’ look different than tigers or finding food).

The overview

The stress response begins in the brain. When we experience a perceived threat, like a potential car accident, we send the information to the amygdala that then instantly sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus.

The hypothalamus is a bit like a command center. This area of the brain communicates with the rest of the body through the autonomic nervous system, which controls such involuntary body functions as breathing, blood pressure, heartbeat, and the dilation of blood vessels and small airways in the lungs .The autonomic nervous system has two components, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system functions like a gas pedal in a car. It triggers the fight-or-flight response, providing the body with a burst of energy so that it can respond to perceived dangers. The parasympathetic nervous system acts like a brake. It promotes the “rest and digest” response that calms the body down after the danger has passed.

After the amygdala sends a distress signal, the hypothalamus activates the sympathetic nervous system by sending signals through the autonomic nerves causing a chain of physical reactions.

All of these changes happen so quickly that people aren’t aware of them. In fact, the wiring is so efficient that the amygdala and hypothalamus start this cascade even before the brain’s visual centers have had a chance to fully process what is happening. That’s why people are able to jump out of the path of an oncoming car even before they think about what they are doing.

As the initial surge of chemicals subsides, the hypothalamus activates the second component of the stress response system — known as the HPA axis.

The HPA axis relies on a series of hormonal signals to keep the sympathetic nervous system — the “gas pedal” — pressed down. If the brain continues to perceive something as dangerous, the body continues to stay revved up and on high alert.  Stress response can become a habit based on many factors and we end up day to day with the gas pedal pushed to the floor and we don’t even realize the impact it is having across the board on our health. Because every part of the body (and mind) are interconnected this constant stress reaction sets in motion so many of the health concerns listed above and so much more.

Sound Body Wisdom practices can help you to relieve stress and improve overall health by understanding the patterns of your brain and nervous system and give you personalized tools to unwind detrimental habits. You will discover the power of your thoughts and emotions on the brain/body and how ‘stress’ can be any stimulus that directs the body towards fight or flight or imbalance.

Visit Soundbodywisdom.com for more information and tools.

 

 

Posted in guidance, health, mind body tools, stress | Tagged , , ,

It all comes back to the core of what I believe: Cultivating Self Love

I was out the other evening with some lovely humans and a conversation began about how certain populations of people become ‘invisible’ or irrelevant in our society. As we discussed the layers, frustrations and roots of these issues it brought me back (as usual) to the core of my beliefs and all that feeds my teachings/offerings in this world.
Everything follows a thread back to how we feel in our own body, mind & spirit. If we feel small, disempowered or irrelevant in our lives in any way it becomes seamless to perpetuate this in the ways it plays out in society.

But imagine a world where each of us feels powerful (empowered), seen and filled with unconditioned love and respect for oneself. I believe that this ‘evolution’ is on the table for us as a species. It is absolutely possible. I have witnessed & experienced this. We have the potential to evolve away from feeling disempowered, self deprecating or small. And when we are able to dwell in our own being with a balance of love and empowerment, the world around us (our lives) transforms. The ripple effect is profound. When we no longer feel small and insignificant it truly becomes impossible to treat others in this way.

It takes practice to unwind and dismantle these ways we have learned and shift the patterns that are in place. With awareness and intention we can change/shift factors we assumed were mandatory for being human. Ways we have simply accepted. We don’t have to pay forward the imbalanced elements we have learned about our ‘significance’, ‘worth’, judgement and love .

I have no question how revolutionary and evolutionary these changes and choices are/can be. And whether or not we choose individually to shift this conditioning within us is not to be judged. I don’t believe in attachment to an idea of ”better’ when it comes to how we each choose to live.
So I speak this truth. My truth. I offer what I have learned, seen and felt. I am humbled to be in ally-ship with others to follow their curiosity and make changes if they choose.

Everything for me comes back to……’can you truly fall in love with yourself without conditions?’…..And then be loving & curious with the response you hear/feel.
Never doubt the significance of each breath and every thought in the magnificent being that is YOU (and me).

Truly, love releases us from our attachment to control life…..elevate or minimize self or others. Unconditioned love balances the inner fields and supports how we can meet the external world.
This being human is complicated and yet so simple. Each of us has our own unique journey in discovering what this means for ourselves.

Whew!!

Posted in philosophy