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Relax, Nothing is Under Control!






I was catching up on social media this morning and saw in my

feed an ad with a tee shirt with the title of this blog on it. It caught

my eye and if I didn’t already have an embarrassingly,

voluminous number of tee shirts that say “super cool things on

them, I would have bought one.


Still it's a good thing to consider as it flies in the face of the more

recognizable catch phrase, “Relax, Everything is Under Control” .

So WHO is it exactly that has “Everything” all under control and

WHAT after all is the “Everything” they’re talking about?


I work in the field of health care, using my skills as it turns out

ultimately for stress management. How? By working through the

body to unleash the tethered soul from its confines. To do this,

what tools are in my bag? Bodywork, yoga, yoga therapy ,

mindfulness, breath work, awareness, and awareness of the present

moment.


The body holds every memory and every experience we’ve ever

had. The good, bad, neutral, indifferent, profound, mundane, fill in

the blank. Some of us hold on with everything we’ve got

just to get through another day, another week, another

relationship, another job interview for a position we’re totally

uninspired to take, but hey, the money is really good right?


I have found over the years that the folks with the most body

trauma are the “Type A” personality, i.e. control freaks and those that

think they’ve got it all together. My standing to my

colleagues in the field of wellness is, is that if I can get them from type

“A” to type “A-“, and my work has been successful! If that small shift

takes years to come to fruition, I still consider it a success; and to

my closest colleagues I will jokingly confide that for the control

freaks who just can’t let go. As a result, doing body work on them often feels

akin to massaging a Michelin steel belted radial tire.

For folks like this, how can I advise them and teach them ways to cope and

thrive in this absolutely crazy world we’ve all found ourselves

in?


As a practitioner in the world of manipulating the human form,

whether with words, touch, alignment, breathing practices, and amp

cadaver dissection ( Yep! You read that last one right). I cut into bodies as a way to

understand our anatomic complexities but also to see what

decades of accumulated stress might do beneath the skin.

I think I’ve seen it all until I see the next form and the next, only to

realize there is yet another thing I’ve never seen, tissue I’ve never

encountered in this particular way, or manipulated quite like this.


I first heard the forthcoming phrase first from Tom Myers, author

of Anatomy Trains, that our “issues are in our tissues”, and

whether he invented this memorable line or heard it from

someone else, the essence and catchiness

rings true.


As a lover of studying the human form, I’ll often find

myself out and about, in a big city, an airport, and much more

rarely, but occasionally, in a shopping mall. By the way, I don’t like

airports, shopping malls, and some big cities. That said, I do like some

airports, shopping malls, and big cities, because I have so much

more opportunity to study the human form. I will look at the

sites, the architecture, the merchandise, but mostly I’ll be looking

at people.


I see it in fascial density mostly, the holding, clinging,

armoring, reluctance, soft voices who’d rather scream, and can’t

remember how to, or never felt safe to, because of the

consequences, especially with women, whom by the way

comprise 95% of the clients, and students I see. If I had to

label the most common place in the body where that armor is

thickest, it’s most often right between the shoulder blades mid-

way between the spine of the scapula, and the winged tips, or to

put it in layperson’s terms, right behind the heart. Why is that? I

have theories.


The space directly behind the heart is a place shared by the

scapulae, ribs, vertebrae, the cord inside those vertebrae, and the

matrix of dense connective tissue, with a few muscle fibers here

and there, all in close proximity bowing to the whims of the

somatic nervous system; one could say the will. The place so

close to the lungs but yet the place where “breath originated-

movement” is least likely to occur; the place perhaps where it needs

occur the most. So what does this all have to do with control, if anything, or loss

thereof?


Nothing shuts down movement of normal tissue function like fear.

Nothing shuts down breath more than fear and should real

danger arise, it’s for good reason as blood is shunted to the

muscles and the adrenals for fight or flight potential, and to help us

escape from predators, whether that be a grizzly bear, collapsing

buildings, automobiles headed onto a pedestrian pathway at high

speeds, or a 40 foot ocean wave out of nowhere.


While the above examples are less common occurences, the “predator”

is now unexpected hospital bills, an unhappy partner or boss, the

anticipated bad news about the stock market and interest rates, etc. All of these things become our fearful reality. Where we can get into trouble is when we think control is

synonymous with conquering, rather than managing, manipulating

to only our own advantage, and damn the consequences for

others rather than having oversight to see the big picture, and

how our awareness could help everyone around us.


The organ of control turns out to be the brain, the CNS. The CNS

makes us often feel that we need at all times to understand everything all at once as a

way to command everything, all at once. So if we were for a moment to imagine that just for awhile we could consider allowing ourselves to lose control, or better yet, abandon any

need to control, does that mean we are giving up,

resigning, being a loser? Or could that be viewed through a different

lens where we can take on a different view into reality by understanding that anything

can happen at any time and there’s nothing anyone can do about

it.


This doesn’t preclude that we have no preferences, intentions,

desires for any thing, any outcome, or goals. It just means we

learn to utilized that Sanskrit concept of “Spanda” which is going with the

flow of the universe, realizing there will be joy, happiness, bliss,

wonder, along with times of pain both physical and emotional,

sorrow, struggle, and the surfacing of animal energies of greed,

lust, fear, guilt, anger, fear, and iterations of all in different

quantities, qualities, and doses. It also means “Tapas”, which can

translate as friction, heat, and intentional agitation as we choose to

challenge ourselves with gravitating in directions other than

aversion or attraction, but hovering, as the Buddha did, in the

middle path.


So can we agree that this might mean working to

reduce reactionary behavior? If we could give it up, let go,

and allow breath, prana, life force to once again flow uninhibited,

healing would be a certain and a welcomed outcome.

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