The Threat of Healing

Healing is something we are all destined to do. Whether it’s recovering from an acute, unexpected injury, rehabbing a long term pain or unraveling trauma within ourselves or generation.  

Healing is talked about constantly- but what we don’t often hear about is the risks associated with healing, the challenges.

When it comes to healing, especially in the case of longer held pains or traumas, we first need to become aware of the root cause(s) behind the present issue. Back pain is rarely ever just back pain, just as emotional trauma is rarely just related to one event. Pain itself, emotional or physical, is always deeply rooted in a message from our nervous system. The nervous system effectively is like a giant antenna- sensing into our environments and always questioning and confirming our safety. The nervous system also is rooted in patterns. It likes to know what to expect and how to keep us safe- which means it develops unconscious patterning to operate emotionally and physically in the world based on what was imprinted or learned in our childhoods (usually from birth to the age of seven). This is why many physical issues in health are blamed on genetics, but new evidence is emerging to support arguments against genetics being to blame for health problems.. rather suggesting that we learn patterning from those who raise us and therefore that patterning itself is what leads us into the same health as our elders. There is also much support now for the field of epigenetics- which is showing us how unresolved traumas from generations passed are embedded in us and surfacing to be resolved in our lifetimes.

Our emotions and subconscious beliefs deeply effect how we present ourselves in our physical bodies. When we think of our conscious being and unconscious/subconscious parts – most of us immediately picture stuff going on in our heads. The fascinating thing is that it’s often the opposite. Many of us are unconscious to the patterns, emotions, memories, and traumas we hold in tissues and patterns below our jawline. Your tendency towards anxiety may be as a result of an unspoken event that happened to your great grandmother, causing a deep rooted emotional pattern to emerge through bloodlines. Have the same knee osteoarthritis your dad has? Likely stems from growing up and learning to walk by watching him first- mirroring his movement patterns and setting the baseline for biomechanical issues related to joint degeneration down the road.

My work with clients is to help them work through the layers of what’s actually causing their issue, which inherently opens the door for other previously unconscious patterns to emerge. Herein lies the first risk (I prefer the word challenge) of healing. Asking the question why is this happening, instead of putting a quick fix modality to take the pain away, implies that we are willing to hear the answers.

The bigger risk (challenge)? Rewriting the story.

Healing presents a threat to our existing patterning- and this will initially signal chaos in our nervous system. You see, even though we’ve likely become very uncomfortable and sick (literally sometimes) of our existing patterning.. leading us to seek guidance in the first place.. that patterning is where our nervous system has learned to survive. It’s been deemed “normal” at some point, and the compensations that have come with that normal have been keeping up alive and well from our hardware’s perspective.

Our system will fight to maintain this “safe zone” as status quo. If you’ve ever tried to break an addiction, you know this fight is real. If you’ve experienced chronic pain, you will have also experienced this. This often get worse before they get better, because we for all intensive purposes have to reparent and coach our nervous system, our subconscious, into a new reality.. a new story-line.

The tough part surrounding true healing and evolution lies in building a conscious awareness towards recognizing a old pattern, experiencing the discomfort associated with stepping away from it, and then stepping onwards anyway- into a zone of uncertainty at first. A willingness to write our new story, our new version of survival is paramount.

One of my driving passions in my career has been around convincing people that their diagnosis, their pain, their injuries are not something they are chained to. We all have the capacity to recover and write new patterns- but it means stepping away from comfort zones. In many ways the optimistic view on injury, pain, and trauma is that it is a chance to evolve, to renew and to rewrite. Our nervous systems will give us that chance, over and over, until resolution is reached. This is largely the reason that long term medication, temporary pain relief, does not work.

Unfortunately the system we work within is often not in our (or the patient’s) favor. It’s rushed, based on economy over the people it’s supposed to serve, and overworked purely due to the need in today’s society for healing. Most of us have been raised in environments that neglected to teach us how to hear ourselves amidst the noise of the world we exist in. The wounds of our past generations were never given the chance to heal and those scars have been passed down to us, with new context for the modern age. Only now we are beginning to understand from a Western science perspective how interconnected our inner workings are, and how interconnected we all are.

Healing and reworking ourselves and our environments is tough work. It is available to everyone who is willing, and the path is unchartered- waiting for your discovery.

 

Originally posted on my new practice’s website and blog.. check it out at http://www.evokebodymind.ca

For You

I skied in the mountains for the first time in my life this past week.

While I’ve skied once before as a teenager on some lowly prairie hills, skiing is a fairly new skill for me.

Luckily, I had a professional ski coach in my party of travelers (this was an after retreat week to a series of national level board of director meetings) to get us novices set up. The first instructions he gave me on technique were essentially the same goals you would set for good hunter riding technique. A sport I was competitive in for a large section of my life. It got suddenly easier to coordinate after that skill transfer took place!

As I was going down the slopes I noticed fear.

It crept in with every new feeling under my skies.

The more it crept in the faster I seemed to go and the more I lost control. The faster it all came at me and the more unbalanced I felt. Which made it even more of a “shit shit shit” moment.

Until I listened to the little voice saying “chill the f out” (my intuition only continues to get blunter).

The last few years have brought me so many moments where the “simple” act of letting go of something (emotion, fear, people, history, expectation) has brought the pace back into control, clarity to my path, and coordination into actions.

Connecting the dots this week made me think of all the people I meet so stuck in fear.

Pain, depression, health problems, regrets, negative stress… all can be related back to fear (scientifically, for real).

Fear is engrained in our dna. We depended on it for survival, but now fear has taken on whole new meaning. No longer do we use it to spur the fight or flight response- we LIVE in a constant fight or flight state which creates paralysis.

Human nature is linked with shared fears.

Fear of being left behind.

Fear of not being loved.

Fear of the unknown.

Fear of what haunts us.

Fear of losing control.

Fear of FEELING, of discomfort, of pain.

That statement encompasses physical, mental, and emotional progress for so many people.

At this point in health we KNOW that emotional and mental states directly impact our physical states.

I used to be ultra competitive. When I was riding competitively my life revolves around pushing to be better physically and mentally. This went along with being a university student too. Life was constant motion. Intense exercise was therapy, riding was grounding, and school was terrifying in a good way. Working during this period was survival and sacrifices to my time and energy were the ingredients.

I had a chronic back injury that became so engrained in my competitive state it was anxiety inducing to not have it around when I was competing for a while.

After I graduated and had sold my competition horse (weird correlation in these couple years) I entered a awkward in between phase. My motivation behind intense exercise had disappeared and my mental drive turned towards finding new ways to survive in a way that didn’t drain me.

I found it. I started a business around it, and began building.

A different kind of stress.

Now survival wasn’t about structured sacrifice (work this schedule, complete these courses, intern at this location for x amount of hours), rather- it was a new level of pouring everything into my ideas with the complete understanding that I may receive nothing in return.

I understand now why many small businesses fail in the early stages.

Skills are one thing but having the resilience and blind faith to keep going with absolutely no guarantees of success is a whole new level of looking fear in the eyes.

Mid way through Uni I had a concussion that taught me depression and anxiety in a whole new way.

That experience showed me that giving name to our worst nightmares makes having a conversation with them easier.

Then you add in messy relationships, sacrificed social life, and an already rocky phase of life..

I broke my leg, I got so sick I was bedridden for a month and unable to handle any stress for a year after. I had to learn to be still.

I went through the pain of heartbreak on so many different levels with one person again and again.. and in that continued to go deeper into my fear of not being good enough, my deep desire to see others live their truths, and the realization that no matter what you do within yourself or for others it will not matter to anyone else until they’ve done the same for themselves.

In the end it’s all a mirror, and sometimes that reflection won’t change no matter how hard you look at it.

And that realization and act of release does not under any circumstances devalue the significant feelings you once had, and have for the history.

If anything, it honors all of it.

Remember with gratitude and send love to the pain inside yourself and in others.

(Absolutely no coincidence here that my broken leg and nerve damage healed at the same pace my emotional scars healed).

My motivation got stronger but in an entirely different way. I learned to let go of so many things and in those acts of letting go I had to let go of a specific way of pushing myself.

It wasn’t enough or functionally anymore to push harder and harder. I would get sick. Burn out. And my mom got sick of me calling her in hysterics bi-weekly.

I look at how I used to be obliging. To myself and with other’s expectations of me. Whatever was asked I would do it and do it competitively. It worked for that phase of my life.

Now… now I am motivated by potential but not by others and often not even by my own intrinsic words- not in the same way, anyway.

I’m more rebellious now. More apt to set impossibly high standards of others just to see if they will make the effort to reach for them. More likely to do the opposite of what someone says I “should” do. I did a complete sideways leap and had to learn how to get myself motivated differently.

I’m still competitive but my strategy has changed drastically.

I still work harder mentally and physically but I’ve gotten efficient with my energy.

I outsource to others to assist with pushing, healing, organizing, and brainstorming.

I am secure within my value, but in that realization I know that I can’t do it alone.

You can ask for help and not have to rely on others.

Where I used to pull from physically discomfort to ground me- I draw on all spectrums of uncomfortable now to learn from.

Fear doesn’t scare me anymore.

But I am grateful for experiencing paralysis due to fear, when it has.

I look at others telling themselves and everyone who will listen how they can’t do something they’ve always dreamed of doing and wonder if they ever think “what if..”.

That’s how it starts, isn’t it. A questioning of something terrifying.

Looking a little longer into that dark shadowed staircase of a “can’t” or “its always been this way” or “the doctor told me..” or “nothing has ever worked to change xyz problem, so I just have to live with it”.

It’s the examination of all those times your gut says.. is this right?

It’s the test that comes when you love yourself enough to walk away from something or someone that you love just as much.

It’s the realization that things happen for you, not to you.. (Ed Mylett quote that should become everyone’s mantra).

That everything in this world wants you to succeed and whatever you want to succeed at- but requires you to open up and run head first into finding that out for yourself. (Read: The Alchemist, no it’s not just fiction- it is truth).

As a movement specialist- I understand how valuable it is to be aware. There are times to push harder, times to let go, and times to remember how to breathe.

As a human just as much a wandering soul as we all are- I see now how it’s less about expectations and reactions, and much more about stepping back, sideways, and forwards to get a clearer perspective and taking what you need from any given situation and finding value to move onto the next.

The rest will sort itself out if your intentions TO YOURSELF are authentic.

If you don’t know where to start, start by reading books of any sort, spending time outside of your routine (go to the woods if you sit in an office all day, walk around the city if you spend all day in the woods), and spending time with people who challenge you to be better. Those you admire so much you almost want to run away from them. That TERRIFIED feeling is telling you something. Do not ever be afraid of yourself.

Intuition is only developed by listening without judgement, and inquiring honestly internally about everything.

I am far from fearless (nor do I ever want to be), but I am willing. The answer to how I do it?

I just do.