The Nerve System: A Gateway to the Extraordinary
Updated: Feb 8
Did you know that every human thought, feeling, emotion, and action in life is coordinated by the Nerve System (NS)? Eating, walking, laughing, writing, and the experiencing of any relationship in life are all impossible without our NS. We simply couldn’t exist without it. BUT… did you know that the NS is much more than a bunch of parts that bestow basic or “ordinary” existential function? Today, we are finding (both clinically and through research) that our relationship with the NS to a large degree influences and affects who we are, how we think/feel/emote, the way we respond, our attitudes, our creativity, the choices we make, the amount of available energy and resources within, and much more. Our personal journey -and evolution- is very much interwoven with the relationship we have with the NS, or lack thereof. If you are seeking greater clarity in the year of "2020 Vision" or a deeper glimpse into the age old question of "who am I?", then understanding the NS and one's relationship to it is a fundamental piece of the equation. So … what is the NS and what does a relationship with it look like?
Nerve System Basics:
Before exploring further, it may be helpful to first get a basic understanding of this inner world we often take for granted. The NS is composed of the brain, spinal cord, and the spinal nerves which travel to and from other areas of the body such as sensory organs, glands, cells, tissues, muscles, organs, etc. The NS allows us to perceive (through our senses) information regarding the environment, make sense of it, and coordinate appropriate responses (behaviors or actions) in regard to what is being perceived or interpreted. It is like the hardware of a computer, a biological infrastructure or highway comprised of specially designed cells (neurons) and tissues that carry information. Although we may like to think that we are seeing or perceiving reality as it is, we are actually seeing reality as WE are since the NS is prone to influence by pre-existing thoughts, attitudes, the meanings we give to things, and especially emotion.
Research has shown to a large degree just how much our perception and behavior is influenced by emotion or state of being. A simple example of this takes place when we get angry. How do we tend to look at the world or behave when we are angry or upset? Compare those perceptions and behaviors to how we experience the world when in a state of love. Simply put, the NS acts in accordance to its environment. The environment is what our mind-body is exposed to on a moment to moment basis. The kinds of food we eat, our job, our relationships, our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, emotions are all examples of environments or what our cells are exposed to on a moment to moment basis. The big question is... how are we/the NS responding to those environments?
Over the last couple of decades, science has started to recognize just how complex human behavior is and that it cannot be explained simply by looking at the sum of a person's parts. It is now widely recognize that who we are has not so much to do with inherited genes but more with the relationship or interaction between our genes (nature) and environment (nurture). The "middle man" is simply us and how we decide to navigate through the terrain of nature/nurture. Some of the choices we make can positively affect gene expression and health while others can negatively affect them (ie, the turning on of a cancer gene when the body gets overstressed). The first thing to acknowledge here is that the integrity of the NS plays a huge role in our ability to respond or make constructive choices. When integrity is at a high, it's typically easier to respond in life and with effectiveness. When the NS is stressed, integrity diminishes and it may be more difficult to respond effectively. Simply put, the NS is prone to weakness and it is also "upgradable". Which way it goes really depends upon our relationship with it.
This malleability-or tendency of the NS to be influenced by its environment- has deep implications for how we show up to each and every relationship in life, especially the one we have with ourself. When the NS is in a healthy state, it may be easier to respond to relationships and life challenges with a sense of grace, creativity, or confidence. If not so healthy, the chances are that we may have a more difficult time effectively responding to the inner and outer world and this can have negative consequences in multiple domains. So two important things to consider in every moment... environment(s) and the way in we respond to them. The difference between living a healthy life versus a stressful one lies in how we respond in each and every moment. When get a better sense of what we expose ourselves to on a daily basis AND how we respond to those things, we are in a better position to make new choices and therefore refine our current health trajectory.
Nerve flow (electrical action potentials that flow between nerve cells) is the basis of information exchange within the body. Without the exchange of information between the brain and rest of the body we wouldn’t be able to perform the most basic functions such as moving the arm. Nerve flow is involved with perception (sensing), movement (behaving), emotion, the processing of thought, and all of the automatic functions in the body we often take for granted (ie, breathing, the beating of the heart, maintaining homeostasis, healing, etc.). Although 400 billion bits of information are processed by the brain each second, we are only aware of a miniscule 2,000 bits. Not only does this tell you how powerful this system is but also alludes to the fact that with awareness there is much potential waiting to be tapped.
What's preventing us from tapping into this potential? What would happen if the floodgates of awareness suddenly started opening up? What does "open" even mean? Why are they not so open in the first place? Might this affect how we think, see, emote and behave in the world? If so, in what ways? Would we be the same person, some version of the old ... a hybrid? Would that even be healthy? As strange as these questions may sound to some, they point to the possibility that there is something beyond the ordinary or "normal" experience. As we will discover, information exchange (via nerve flow) is just as good as it is directed to be. In other words, if we are in fear or caught up in continual "bad" habits (in terms of the way we think, feel, emote, or behave), nerve flow will work to feed those fears and bad habits. If left unchecked long enough, we may start to feel as though we are powerless to those habits or we may start to feel that we are at the effect of life on some level. Fortunately, the opposite is also true: when we are in growth, nerve flow will nourish those thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors that are congruent with growth.
As we said, the NS is composed of parts (special cells and tissues) and also information exchange (nerve flow) within and along those parts. An even more significant aspect of the NS is that it has the ability to evolve. As we will later see, the NS is capable of "upgrading". It can become more adaptable, more aware, increasingly efficient, auto or self-correcting in nature and much more. As it does so, more energy can be put into the system and fashioned accordingly toward the kind of life we'd like to live. In that sense, we can begin to reclaim our strength and move passed the perception that we are at the effect of life. So, what is limiting us from upgrading or creating a life we wish to live?
Stress and the NS:
We are a living system and every living system is prone to varying degrees of limitation and freedom. It can be stressed or it can be "free" in a sense. It might be helpful to look at this in terms of being on a continuum:
Limitation/Survival/Bound Energy <-----------> Freedom/Growth/Unbound Energy
What drives a living system to go either way really depends upon a host of factors. When a system (or any part of a system) is stressed, it tends to move toward the "limitation" end of the continuum. It constricts, moving into protection or self-preservation. It conserves or holds onto energy in order to survive or keep the the system stable. Think of any situation in which you were threatened or didn't feel safe. What did you do (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.)? How did you behave? The energy used to keep any system in protection or in a state of survival is called "bound energy". When energy is bound, the living system becomes limited in its range of expression. As bound energy grows beyond the system's ability to adapt to it, the system may eventually shut down, become ill or even die.
To put this into context, when we are chronically stressed or stuck in survival mode, we are becoming increasingly bound. How does this manifest? Our muscles get tight, our structure distorts in different ways, our breathing becomes less productive (depriving the body tissues of oxygen), the hormonal system gets altered as stress chemicals flood the body and reshape tissues and "normal" physiology, the more primitive (reflexive) brain centers may become overactive making it difficult to pay attention, we may become emotionally reactive, judgmental, depressed, and much more. Basically, the system is overloaded or hijacked. It breaks down and loses its ability to respond effectively. We are stuck in a state of survival and the system is moving closer to shutting down, becoming ill or dying. At this point, two things are needed for the system to break free: additional energy (a new energy source) and a novel (new) response or series of novel responses. In other words, the system needs extra energy and a new way of responding. The NS can be stressed or interrupted by three types of stress:
1) Physical (or mechanical) stress
2) Chemical stress
3) Emotional stress
Physical stress involves any physical damage due to injury (i.e., blunt trauma, fall, accident, etc.) or structural misalignments/deformities/deviations in the body which cause abnormal mechanical pressures on surrounding tissues. Chemical stress involves anything we put into our body (or gets absorbed into the body from the environment) to which we have a negative reaction. This includes certain types of foods, drugs, pollutants, allergens, mold, smoke, viruses, heavy metals, etc. Emotional stress is linked to how we react to or interpret our internal and external environment and involves a mental component as well. Manifestations include overwhelm, worry, panic, anxiety, depression, the perception of a lack of time, energy, resources, one’s abilities, etc.
These types of stress are often interlinked, meaning one type can lead to another (ie, chemical stress can eventually lead to emotional stress and vice versa). All three negatively affect nerve flow. Dis-eases and illness can ensue over time when the body lacks proper nerve flow. Because the process of stress accumulation is relatively slow and the body is good at maladapting (it’s adapting but not always productively), it’s common to think that we’re feeling just fine on a day to day basis. That is, until the sudden experience of a cardiac arrest, stroke... or the onset of cancer, autoimmune disease, etc. Think of an example of that one person who was seemingly healthy their entire life and then “out of the blue” experienced a heart attack one day. What happened? If the body was designed to be so intelligent, why can't it take care of stress on its own? One simple answer is that we need to be more effective at picking up the signals or subtle cues in our body so that we can respond accordingly, whether in relationship to stress or to personal evolution.
Stress interferes with the NS (its parts and nerve flow). Since a healthy body needs adaptable parts and proper nerve flow, stress can negatively impact our health. We said earlier that perception is involved with -or affected by- nerve flow or lack thereof. Perception can be negatively affected by lack of proper nerve flow. If perception is negatively affected, then it would make sense that we don't always "catch", perceive, or pick up on the signals in our bodies. In some cases, this could mean the difference between life and death. In other cases, it's the difference between surviving and thriving. Stress literally affects the way in which we perceive... or don't perceive. When we are stressed, we may even have an inaccurate version of what is going on or regarding the signals we DO perceive. Remember, we experience things as WE are. If we are "off", then it's difficult to perceive or perceive accurately because the thing that is supposed to be perceiving (the NS) is stressed. If we cannot properly perceive, we cannot properly respond or adapt. This can lead to a vicious cycle of stress and ill health:
Stress --> Lack of Proper Nerve Flow --> Poor Perception & Signaling --> Poor or Limited Adaptive Responses --> Limited Ability to Respond to New Stresses --> More Stress --> Perception that we are at the effect of life --> Stress --> Illness
Stress negatively affects our health when we don't respond effectively. If we are spending all or most of our energy adapting to or trying to cope with stress, there is little left over to explore untapped potential. It will be difficult to acquire extra energy for change or to create any new adaptive response(s), both which are critical if we are to get out of the vicious cycle. Remember, extra energy and a new response(s) are the two ingredients required for any system to shift toward freedom and growth. You may have heard the modern day definition of insanity…. “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”. This also applies to the NS. In this case, the thing playing over and over is the unresolved stress and us not changing our response(s) to it. When we don’t address it, the changes we seek in life may be difficult or efforting at best. How we respond to stress and challenges in life is the difference between ordinary living (everything staying the same physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually) and extraordinary living (personal evolution, a state of continual growth and course correcting to the ever changing demands of life). The idea is that we need to have enough energy to be able to respond AND in new ways.
There are many disciplines and hundreds of therapies out there that assist in helping people recover from stress. Chiropractors are trained to help patients restore proper nerve flow through the removal of physical interferences (spinal misalignments called subluxations) via the Chiropractic adjustment. This in turn may help the body better address or heal the other two types of stress (emotional and chemical). Many people who are new to Chiropractic are often surprised to find out that Chiropractic can be beneficial for headaches, gut dysfunction, heartburn, emotional distress and other symptoms that don’t seem to be part of the spine. But, since nerves exit along the entire length of the spine before finding their target tissue or organ to nourish, the spine is the perfect place to address for nerve flow issues. The areas where nerves exit the spine are prone to mechanical pressures (such as compression and stretching). Since nerves are very vulnerable and affected by mechanical pressure, the relieving of pressure off those areas allows proper nerve flow to be regained and can greatly restore one’s health.
Stress is not always the "bad guy". Many times, it can be reflective in nature, a source of inspiration or a reminder to live life differently. It can teach us how to course correct and refine our current state of being. For instance, many people who recover from cancer tell us how their life completely changed by going through the process and that they have the cancer to thank for helping them "wake up" to living a more healthy and joyous life. Sometimes stress and/or limitation can be a great teacher and fuel for inspiration or creativity. It may force us to seek those new responses or gain a new source of energy or inspiration. In light of all this, it is possible to live an extraordinary life without stress as a teacher. As we said earlier, new responses (whether we are in a state of stress or not) help retrain the NS and allow us to transition from a state of limitation toward the freedom end of the continuum.
Moving Beyond Stress
So far, we’ve looked at the relationship between nerve flow interference (created by three forms of stress) and health. If left unchecked, stress can -over time- lead to illness. The next logical question one may ask is “how do I address stress?” A good place to start would be to take an inventory of all the current stresses in your life. What types of physical/mechanical, chemical, or emotional stresses are you exposing yourself to on a daily, weekly, monthly basis? What are your typical responses to them (physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.)? Make a list. It might be helpful to categorize them by the three types. Then, circle the ones that feel like the “lowest hanging fruit”. In other words, which stressors are the easiest to reduce or completely eliminate from your life right now? Which ones do not require you to completely change your life all at once? For some, that might mean reducing processed sugar (chemical stress) from their diet. For others, it may mean removing themselves from an abusive relationship (physical/emotional stress).
As you begin to reduce or eliminate the lowest hanging fruit, make a commitment to upholding these changes. Ask yourself what kinds of new behaviors, thought processes, feelings or relationships are congruent with the new changes because this can greatly enhance the transition. Write them down and slowly begin to implement them. It may be challenging initially or you may fall off the path once in a while but your commitment to change will carry you through. Just remember that you are shifting the structure (the ritual) around what used to be “normal” and that normal may have been negatively affecting your health and wellbeing on some level. That normal may have been part of the insanity wheel and you may not have even known it... until those stressors are gone. You are now transitioning to a new normal but calibrated to positive change. In other words, the new changes are now adding to your health and wellbeing each and every day. Research shows that breaking old habits or behaviors generally requires at least three to four months of consistent change.
The bottom line to eliminating the lowest hanging fruit is that small, “doable”, consistent changes add to the momentum of your transition and can start to slowly shift the way you experience yourself and the world around you in very positive ways (ie, physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually). You are starting to free up energy that used to be bound up in the body’s self-protective mechanisms. The body has been adapting to -or protecting itself against- those negative stressors for a long time. That extra or “free” energy is now available for growth-promoting behaviors, new thoughts or insights, new or refined feelings, creativity, or anything one desires. You may even be surprised that this free energy can keep growing and nourishing you on a daily basis. As this sets in, you are taking the driver’s seat, transitioning from being at the effect of life (being hijacked by stress) to making constructive choices that add to your health and wellbeing (growth). You are starting to knock on the door of your personal potential and evolution.
Remember to be patient, do your best in staying committed, and acknowledge each step you’ve taken along the way. You are carving out a new path and that can take some time initially. Given the amount of time the body has been in defense from stress (for some people this means decades), the few months it takes to jumpstart your life is not much time at all. In a sense, this is what makes the body so intelligent. When we treat it right, it responds intelligently. As you start to reduce or eliminate each stressor, you may be pleasantly surprised to feel more energy or available resources within. This can help out greatly with the seemingly more difficult or chronic stresses if present. With more energy in the body, it is possible to face the challenges in life with a greater sense of ease and confidence. You are more likely as well to feel increased joy, peace, inspiration, creativity, motivation, passion and many other positive emotions.
We’ve looked at the NS in terms of removing stressors… the idea of eliminating the “lowest hanging fruit” to get a head start in reclaiming your health. To some this may sound or feel stressful. Fortunately, there’s a silver lining here because the NS is a highly plastic (malleable) system, meaning that it can learn to adapt and reorganize in positive ways. Put differently, the body can learn to remove its own interferences and deal with stress without the perceived weight of having to remove or fix something. It just needs a little "kick" so to speak. How might one do this?
As we had previously mentioned, living systems are prone to varying degrees of limitation and freedom in any one moment. When a living system becomes more free (or unbound), there is the opportunity to move toward growth. In growth, a system will be more adaptable, flexible in nature, expressive, creative, and full of potential. Energy exchange and efficiency within the system can rise to a new baseline. With enough unbound energy in the system, the body can handle stress on its own through natural healing processes. Not only is there enough free energy in the system available to do that but there is even more for the system to update or reorganize to a higher baseline (or level of organization) where the system starts to do more with less. So getting access to free energy in the system is key. The moment we begin to access unbound energy on a moment to moment basis, we are moving toward growth and toward experiencing all of the positive effects that come from that state.
It's worthy of noting that having an abundance of energy doesn't necessarily equate to a healthy life or healthy living. It's what we do (or the body does) with the energy that makes the difference. Are we applying that energy toward growth or are we using it to defend ourselves, constrict, hide, avoid or run away from the challenges of life? Is the body using that energy to become more efficient, adaptable, healthy, more aware... or is that energy being put toward defensiveness, negative thoughts, feelings, habits, emotions or behaviors which tend to bind energy and limit the system? "Where is the focus right now" is always a good question to ask every day? By doing so, you can start to get a sense of any negative habitual patterns and therefore an opportunity to course correct or shift those patterns that tend to limit or bind energy. In fact, this is a great daily exercise to employ as it helps us to remember to keep paying attention. This is very healthy for the NS.
Where our focus goes... so too does the energy.
As we said earlier, nerve flow can be directed toward any process, whether it's positive (harmonizing) or negative (disruptive) in nature. If we are focusing on what's wrong or "off" in life, that's where the energy and nerve flow goes. We may obsess about what's off or constantly ruminate about all the possible consequences of it. Because many of us have a limited "bandwidth" for how much we can perceive in any one moment, putting most of one's energy towards "what's off" doesn't leave much room for focusing on alternative perspectives. The focus/energy is bound up or hijacked by "something is off" or "If I don't get this fixed, then ____". This may eventually lead to a sense of anxiety or worry. Eventually the worry or anxiety may become the new baseline or the background for experiencing the world. It becomes environment to which our cells are exposed. This can have negative consequences when left unchecked over time.
A more extreme example of focus hijack is seen with addiction. Addiction is very complex, coming in many different forms and layers - both subtle and obvious. What can make addiction difficult is the fact that the body has learned to wire itself in a way that continually feeds or keeps the addiction going. The circuitry is firing in specific ways over and over influencing one's physiology, thoughts, feelings, behaviors and other aspects of life. Focus and nerve flow are being hijacked. Thoughts, feelings, or actions associated with the addiction are amplified or given high priority. This is what can make addiction difficult. It may feel impossible to simply refocus one's energy when the system is off kilter. Many times the stakes are higher with addiction, requiring even more energy and a broader range of new responses to make a break through. This is why outside support can be a critical step toward recovery. Support can act as that source of extra energy. Additionally, new perspectives being offered by the support team can inspire the person suffering from addiction to form new responses.
It's not always necessary to first fix something in order to move forward. It IS important to address what is not working so to be able to remedy or bring more wholeness to the system and thus to our lives. However, it's the HOW we do this that matters. For instance, do we address the current state of our life from the background of fear (or some negative pattern playing out) or do we address it from a state of curiosity or openness. In other words, as we address our life concerns, is the energy bound up in (or being directed toward) fear or is there a sense of lightness, freedom and available energy to experiencing life? If there is a sense of lightness to it, we are more likely accessing unbound energy in real time and this can bring harmony to ANY experience regardless of it being "negative" or "positive".
Remember, environment includes both the external and internal environment. The internal environment may sometimes be a negative emotional state or temperament and our cells may be responding to that state accordingly, often through a sense of constriction or defensiveness. It's important to first acknowledge our internal environment (the reality of where we REALLY are in any one moment) and then decide how to make contact with it as the NS is very influenced by approach. Will we make contact (approach ourselves) with a sense of lightness, curiosity, love ... or will we approach ourselves in a state of fear, control, aggression, etc. You may actually test this out on your own by sensing what happens inwardly when you approach the different aspects of your being in different ways. You can start to get a more nuanced sense of how you do you and what may be going on underneath the surface. As you get better at it, you may begin to appreciate just how much approach matters and how your personal approach can impact every relationship and every aspect of life.
As we've alluded to previously, when we only direct our energy or focus toward fixing or avoiding a certain emotion, we may miss out on a big opportunity to discover what may lie underneath (the things sourcing or associating with) the negative emotion, condition or dis-ease. This is part of "finding the root cause" of dis-ease. When we address concerns superficially (ie, by only getting rid of a symptom or avoiding an emotion), the root cause continues to wreak havoc on the body over time. When we have enough unbound energy in the system, we are more able to connect to (or perceive) what lies beneath the surface (getting to the root) so that new and more informed (or refined) solutions may rise to the surface of our awareness. However, we still need to direct and sustain that focus long enough to properly address the full extent of the concern(s) - be it any crisis, a block in creativity or refinement in life.
Just because there's enough energy in the system doesn't mean the system will automatically use it for the highest good or for behaviors congruent with growth. We are in a sense tending to the garden of our own being and so it's important not only to feed it with attention and a kind loving approach but to also stay with it for as long as it takes to really know what is needed on the most fundamental level. We must be willing to direct and sustain our focus toward toward our blindspots- be it on the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual level. Otherwise, we run the risk of superficial "fixes" or bandaid solutions which only keep the system at status quo or at best "manageable". The level of depth in our approach and tending to ourselves can be the difference between living an extraordinary life or one based upon "just getting by".
Sometimes the highest good means getting in contact with a deep fear that may be limiting a certain creativity in life. The highest good may lie in sensing what's underneath. The fear may be linked to a physical symptom or a certain rigidity regarding the way we look at or approach life. However, we wouldn't know this if we were avoiding it or only focusing on clearing the symptom or concern without penetrating deeper. We may be missing out on the bigger picture of what's involved. Fear keeps the system bound or constricted in overt and subtle ways. Although there are myriad ways of approaching something like fear, it may be helpful to experience it (or any concern) through having access to unbound energy. If one is already bound (hijacked or stuck in a state of fear), it may be difficult to face or move through that fear because there is a limited amount of available energy to actually experience it... and little energy to be put toward new perspectives around that fear or concern. Remember, breaking any pattern requires additional energy and new ways of responding to or perceiving those patterns. This brings us to a very important question: what kinds of practices might we employ each day that will bring in more available energy and new perspectives? As we've pointed out, this can have a significant impact on the NS and our lives.
Growth is a state of being or rhythm with no ceiling or point to reach. When we are in growth, the NS is in a state of heightened adaptability. efficiency, coordination, processing, and an overall ability to handle more things in life with a sense of ease. In growth, we learn from our experiences. That learning is being added to our being and can inform us on a day to day basis. In contrast to growth, the state of protection, defense, or fear, is one in which we are most likely escaping from the experience of ourself and thus missing out on the opportunity to learn about ourselves and grow in relationship to others and life. In a sense we may be getting caught up in our own live version of Groundhog's Day, waking up to the "same ole" and incessantly trying to figure out how to get out!
Growth involves becoming more whole and excavating the inner world for areas of constriction (bound energy) as well as exploring areas that inspire or open the doorways toward more refinement, joy, love, abundance and more. It entails expanding the range of our human bandwidth of what we can perceive (or sense) and how we can refine our current behaviors or actions to ones that are more congruent with who we really are. Growth inspires us to move beyond conditioning. When we are in growth, our health and wellbeing are reflected by the kinds of choices we make, the thoughts we think, the feelings we express, the actions we take, and what or who we expose ourselves to. We often attract people or situations that bring even more growth. Synchronicities may arise and start to become an integral part of daily living. We may perceive ourselves and others in new ways which may often lead to a new found sense of compassion for ourselves, our personal journey and those around us.
To some, growth may sound like an overwhelming process or something that needs to be accomplished... and perhaps right away. The simple truth is that growth exists in every moment and in every breath we take. In a sense it waits for each of us to find it. As the mystic poet Rumi so eloquently put it, "what you are seeking is seeking you". Growth is not something to conquer but something to open up to and feel. It just takes a willingness to engage, a vulnerability or readiness to discover a world beyond the known, and a desire and sustained focus to keep opening up. The more we open, the more it becomes an integral part of our life. Growth can occur with any simple act regardless of what we're doing or state of being. It can be a part of any thing, anywhere, any time, any place. There are multiple ways of engaging growth. You might even try the following sequence or some variation of it. Start with asking:
Where is my focus right now?
Is what I'm focusing on adding to my overall growth or diminishing it?
If diminishing --> stop thinking, feeling, or acting in accordance to that focus & shift gears.
Feel into what may be a better use of your time/energy/focus in terms of growth.
If nothing comes to mind or feeling --> take a few deep breaths and listen inwardly.
Be patient and keep listening... it can be a very valuable skill set.
Is it possible to amplify my awareness or open the senses to a new level right now?
If nothing still comes to mind or feeling --> move the body, preferably in new ways.
As the the body is moving, is there a way of accessing more energy or more movement?
Is there a way of perceiving those movements in different ways?
If you're not sure --> take a few more breaths, perception can shift in time.
Start to notice the breath and how it's involved with movement & perception.
Which parts of the body are benefitting from breath, tensing up, or remaining neutral?
Which movements bring a sense of ease? Which bring a sense of discomfort?
Keep moving until you can no longer sustain the experience.
Rest for at least 5-10 minutes, tuning deeper into your experience.
The idea of this exercise is to engage the NS in new ways because as we've said earlier the NS is very malleable and responsive to how we relate with it. First off, we want to make sure that our focus is on something growth-promoting. If not, we re-engage with a more growth-promoting experience. Experiences that are growth-promoting involve the conscious use or enhancing of any vitalistic quality (awareness, breath, movement, touch, feeling/sensation/emotion). Pick one or more of those qualities and explore the different aspects to them by using them in ways that are different than how you normally use them. It doesn't matter how you explore them... just that you engage them repetitively enough so to recondition the NS to a new or refined baseline, one calibrated to growth. The repetition part (or consistency) is important because as we've said earlier it takes some time initially to break out of old habits.
If this all sounds strange or weird, just remember that many of today's popular healing techniques were founded upon the principle of vitalistic discovery... experimenting with these qualities for purposes of growth. The only difference is that those original technique founders kept persevering to the point of recognizing certain predictable and beneficial outcomes. They sustained their focus long enough to discover the benefits that arose. Those outcomes then became the hallmark of that specific technique. In a sense, you are doing the same. You are discovering what happens (the unique benefits that arise) as you explore these qualities in different ways. You are also practicing the art of sustained focus. As you sustain your focus through whatever practice you choose, the NS may begin to shift in different ways allowing you access to more unbound energy and new perspectives, the ingredients for pattern breaking and increased growth. The bottom line is that you're taking vitalistic qualities that normally operate in predictable ways (calibrated to your "normal" baseline) and enhancing them and their relationship to each other. This can lead to increased efficiency, adaptability, and responsiveness in the NS and can ultimately pave the way for a life you choose to live.
In addition to self-discovery, there are many healing techniques, therapies, and practices which can help aid in enhancing the rhythm of growth. If you’re seeking additional assistance, it’s important to find a modality that will address your desired goals as different techniques come with different outcomes. Network Care (Network Spinal Analysis + Somato Respiratory Integration) is a very unique type of care whose aim is specifically set on upgrading the NS to new levels. Network Spinal Analysis (NSA) is a very gentle form of Chiropractic (no “cracking” “popping” or sudden twisting of the spine) that allows the brain to connect with chronic tension patterns that have been “checked out” from awareness due to stress. As this reconnection takes place over time, the NS becomes more self-correcting, self-organizing, efficient, responsive, and adaptable. Two unique healing waves develop through NSA; the first (called the "Respiratory Wave") helps to promote a sense of overall ease and aids in helping the NS to become more self aware and responsive; the second wave (called the Somato Respiratory Wave") helps to break up bound energy within various tension patterns the body has created as a result of stress. NSA has been subject to ongoing research by several universities.
Somato Respiratory Integration (SRI) is a set of breathing exercises that help us to connect to the natural rhythms within the body through breath, touch, movement and awareness. Together with NSA, clients report major improvements in physical and emotional wellbeing, quality of life and lifestyle, better adaptability to stress, and overall increase in life enjoyment.
Health and wellness goes beyond the idea of becoming symptom or pain free. Not only are our bodies designed to handle the effects of stress and recover from it but we have the ability to upgrade to new levels where accessing joy, love, ease, peace, creativity and more can be a simple and everyday occurrence. It may seem that the only way to deal with stress is to “just do your best”, cope or manage... but these words are only applicable to the state of surviving. As we’ve discussed, developing a relationship with the NS and the vitalistic qualities of the body offers a host of new possibilities for daily living and for experiencing ourselves and the world around us in new and exciting ways. This is the world of thriving. The NS is ever alive and it can be positively conditioned to work for us. Its function doesn't have to be relegated solely to the existential, protective or defensive domains. It simply takes a desire to engage with it. When we engage it on a consistent basis, the state of growth becomes available to us regardless of where we are or state of being.
We all use the NS in every moment but how and for what purposes? It's important to explore these questions but even more so to apply ourselves in the process of self-discovery so to embody the wisdom gained. With increasing wisdom, the question now becomes "do we prefer surviving or thriving?" Up to that point, it may have seemed as if there was no choice.... that we were at the effect of life and so we opted for survival and the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors associated with that state. With new perspectives and additional energy, we may begin the journey toward growth and make thriving a common everyday occurrence. This is the transition from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
With extraordinary living, we are better able to meet our daily challenges with a sense of ease while feeling an increasing range of energy, joy, passion, creativity and much more. We may also be able to give to the world in new ways, extending our reach and our gifts to a larger sphere. As our thoughts, feelings, emotions, and actions in life refine through the process of growth, so too does our clarity in moving forward and this ultimately impacts every aspect of our life.
If you would like more information about our center, Network Care, or other services, workshops or events offered, please contact our office at (248) 266-8035 or explore our website at www.AttuneUpWellbeing.com.