Hello Beautiful Souls- I thought about writing a friend a letter the other day to explain how to use what I’ve learned over the course of the last several years to help her heal a physical ailment she is experiencing. Regular testing from her physicians have not determined anything to explain her symptoms and she has exhausted several holistic avenues of treatment with little to no resolve. I sensed her frustration and understood how it feels when you haven’t felt right for a long time and no one has an answer for you. As I listened, and because she is my friend and she has shared some of her life experiences, I couldn’t help but ask, “How long have you been feeling this way?” and I followed that with, “How long ago did you lose your mom?” From an outside perspective, this may seem a little crass but at the same time, I know how the impact of traumatic events can settle into the body and result in distress, illness and disease. It sounds complex but it is profoundly simple. In essence, I feel the loss of her mother ignited older unresolved emotional blockages and brought these feelings to the surface resulting in her physical imbalance.
Parts of our brain acts as a library, cataloguing every experience in our life. Every moment and every event whether good, bad or indifferent, have an emotion attached to it. These are known as our memories. Emotions carry energy. Every memory has an emotion and an energy associated with them. Different parts of the brain are responsible for different processes involving memory and emotion. The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is responsible for motivation and function execution. The anterior cingulate cortex is responsible for the anticipation of reward, empathy, emotion and decision making. The amygdala processes emotion and the hippocampus is responsible for learning and memory. Neuroscience research has proven that our thoughts and emotions are energy. Thoughts are the language of the brain and emotions and feelings are the language of the body, so how you think and how you feel make up your state of being. Thoughts are electric and feelings are magnetic and it is the intentional awareness between the two that offers balance and harmony into our mind, body and spirit for optimal health and well-being.
Often times, when a traumatic event occurs, we struggle and try to emotionally reconcile our pain. Like most of you, I lacked the tools and the skills to work through my life changing experiences. With countless hours of research, I learned how to recognize and process through my life altering events, I now understand that this process is a skill and one that needs time and focus and determination. It is a persistent pursuit to achieve health and wellness, balance and bliss from an internal state of being.
I have blogged previously about how impactful our thoughts are and how we must begin to pay attention to our thoughts to change our life physically, emotionally and spiritually. The beginning practice is to become familiar with our egos, our emotions and our stories. Simply stated, our thoughts are energy, if we change our thoughts, we change our energy; if we change our energy, we change our lives. How does this begin to help my friend and her physical imbalance? Once you intentionally put your awareness and your attention on your thoughts and introduce the practice of addressing each one, you are changing your energy.
From the time we are born until we reach 7 years of age, we are merely sponges, observing the behaviors of the people, places and things in our daily lives. We learn to adopt the behaviors we’ve observed because we lack the life experience to make our own decisions. This works well for us for the beginning stages of our lives. We observe how the important people in our lives resolve conflict and we borrow that behavior. We observe how people love and hate and judge and we borrow that behavior. We observe how to treat our animals and nature and our environment and we borrow that behavior. We observe how to respect property and we borrow that behavior. We observe everything around us and borrow the behaviors and we learn to function accordingly. A large percentage of us did not learn the skills of resolving conflict in a healthy way. Why? Because the teachers in our lives, the people we observed didn’t have the skills to resolve conflict or process emotions in a healthy way. This is not a platform to blame, I know from my research that this is a simple fact, a large percentage of the generations before us felt guilt or shame in vulnerability.
Fast forward to adulthood, (and with the blessing of my friend to use her story as an example in this blog), she is a wife and mother of three. She works full-time, takes care of her home, she has bills to pay, she supports and attends her kid’s extra circular activities and guides them in their day to day decision-making. She has a healthy grasp on her choices of nutrition and exercise and she is struggling with not feeling well. How many of you can relate? I certainly can, this is the life I wanted and dreamt about. To have a loving partner, find a job or career to support my financial choices, to have children and raise them in a loving environment and provide a home for all to gather and feel safe. Through it all, as parents, as caregivers, as adults, we put the importance of self-care on the back burner. We make sure everyone else’s needs are met ahead of our own. As an adult this becomes instinctual. We provide and ensure that the important people in our lives are cared for, fed, clothed and kept safe. Slowly, our own desires, our own needs slip toward the bottom of the priority list. Many of us will experience a traumatic event or a life changing experience that shifts everything we knew to be true and with this shift comes a plethora of questions, many of which, we have no answers for because we simply don’t possess the skills. We are sent on a mission looking for answers with no navigational tools. It is often through deep self-introspection, we find that the answers are not outside of us, but rather inside of us.
As I listened to my friend, she explained that she hasn’t felt right for the past two years. Her symptoms include muscle tension, strain and tightness. She went on to tell me that her skin feels tight all over. We had a conversation following a massage appointment she had hoped would bring some relief. Unfortunately, her massage therapist told her that she couldn’t help her and although my friend was appreciative of her therapist’s honesty, it left her with more questions and uncertainty while trying to understand and resolve her current condition. Like almost all of our physical ailments, stress plays a major role. Stress is significant in all of our lives. There is not one individual I personally know, who is not effected by stress. Through no fault of our own, we simply don’t know how to successfully recognize our stressors, thereby unsuccessfully healing from them.
The insight I can offer my friend is this…Our emotions settle physically into our bodies. For the most part, as a culture, we believe we work through our emotions, however, a large percentage of our emotions go unresolved. The reason they go unresolved is that we are unsure of how to deal with them because we lack the skills. My friend lost her mother three years ago and although I am sure she dealt with the enormity of the waterfall of emotions that followed that impactful loss, it would be completely understandable that some of those emotions went unresolved. When we give ourselves time to sort through emotions and grant ourselves permission to feel the emotion as it is happening we also offer ourselves the peace and clarity we deserve. Many times, these feeling are too big and we simply don’t allow ourselves the time needed to process them and the unresolved emotions have nowhere to go but into our bodies. We are busy people and we are not in the business of putting ourselves first and from the time we are children to the time we are adults, we have many unresolved emotions hanging out in different parts of our bodies. This beautiful, energetic, bubbly, strong, outgoing friend was a teen mom, she had to make decisions early in her life to protect her daughter and to ensure that she could provide a loving and safe environment for her. This is a colossal burden for a teen-ager, respectfully lacking the life experiences to navigate her role as a mother and provider, I would venture to guess there is a surmountable degree of unresolved emotion sitting in her body from this early life event as well. As I explained earlier, our emotions are energy, we are energy, and our bodies have energy centers identified in some realms as chakras. Each energy center is associated with specific emotions and are connected to specific organs, tissues, cells and systems of the body. Unresolved emotions will land in the associated environment in the body with the lowest energy. Our body perceives stress as a threat and activates the sympathetic nervous system releasing hormones that tell our body to fight or flee. Our bodies are equipped with plenty of energy to fight off illness and disease, however, if your body has been living in the hormones of stress, you have depleted the energy that is needed to fight off illness and disease leaving your systems exposed with low energy and over time it is unable to fight off any imbalance. The imbalance begins to develop physically and the body eventually sends signals of discomfort so that you pay attention to it. At first the signals are small and often times we ignore them or discount their existence with excuses for our busy-ness. (See blog titled, “Mind Your Busy-ness” for further explanation) Often times we feel tired or exhausted and soon our energy has lowered and allowed the common cold to settle in more often and more quickly than it used to. We may experience aches and pains and infections and one ailment after another. Soon this becomes our new normal and it happens so slowly that we hardly notice it. Over time, our symptoms and ailments grow to the extent that we can no longer ignore or make convenient excuses for their existence. This typically leads to an appointment with a doctor to hopefully get a diagnosis. Most likely a prescription is offered that will numb the symptoms and offer temporary relief but does not address the root cause of the problem.
With no diagnosis, more frustration builds, leading to yet more stress, exacerbating your issues. You see the domino effect here. So how do we resolve this and start to build our energy back to fight off our physical imbalance? The first exercise that I teach is to start to become aware of your thoughts. By putting your attention on the constant chatter in your head, you are starting to be aware of how you speak to yourself. This is a discipline that takes constant attention. It is an effort that starts the steps to recognize the continual subconscious thoughts that go unnoticed and settle into our subconscious mind and eventually settle into our bodies. The negative subconscious thoughts sit on top of the unresolved emotions making energy blocks more prevalent. When you set an intention to actively notice how you talk to yourself in your head, you invite a realization of your internal battles. Once you become familiar with your internal dialogue and internal battles you are positioned appropriately to move into the next mindful exercise. Once you set the intention to pay attention to your thoughts, you are primed to begin to change. Your next strategy is to talk to yourself as you would your best friend. You wouldn’t allow your friend to talk to herself the way you talk to yourself, so why do you allow the self-limiting, self-sabotaging, ego-filled, fear-based conversation to take place in your quiet moments? Once you become familiar with your self-talk and set an intention to change your thoughts from fear to love, it is time to venture into the places in your body that are effected by unresolved emotion. Your unresolved emotions are easily identified once you are aware of your self-talk. Our ego is full of judgement, and our judgment is based on everything outside of us involving people, places and things in your external world. It is imperative to recognize your attachments to your outside world and how that is effecting your body to recognize the physical reaction to emotional stress. There are methods to recognize unresolved emotions that have settled into your body physically. One way is to talk through them, this can be done on your own or with a certified practitioner with experience who can support you as you ask for your emotional truth to come up and be recognized. Another method is practicing meditation. Meditation means, to become familiar with, what better way to become familiar with your unresolved emotion than through the practice of meditation. The best results are often achieved using both modalities. Often times, the folks who have a difficult time even thinking of being still for 15 minutes are the same folks who would benefit the most by inviting stillness into their lives. This is a hurdle for most of us, however, being still and working through stuck energy in our bodies is one of the most successful ways to bring balance back into our bodies.
In short, when your body is sending signals to pay attention to it, it is time to go inward and ask. Ask what your body needs and become an active listener. Become aware of your self-talk. Change how you talk to yourself from negative to positive. Do not let one thought drift by your awareness that is not loving to you or anybody else. Change your thoughts, change your energy. Change your energy, change your state of being. Change your state of being and change your life. Become physically aware of your stuck energy. What parts of your body are effected? Focus on resolving the emotions that are related to your stuck energy and your physical ailments. In my friend’s case, as I listened to her symptoms, I couldn’t help but think of how the skin is our shield, it covers our entire body and it defends and protects us from our external world. I began to think of it as her armor, a protective shield from her environment. I believe her skin is her wall, her emotional protector. Our walls come in all different forms and we determine early in our childhood what is allowed and what is not. What feels good and what does not. As children with limited experience, we have an inner knowing that deciphers these emotions and decides what will and won’t be allowed and we rarely feel a need to look at these emotions ever again. Why? Often we don’t take the time to examine the whys, we just know we are how we are. Often, it isn’t until we experience something in our bodies or in our lives that shifts our perspective and begs a healthy answer and pushes us towards a greater understanding of self.
If you are experiencing a physical imbalance and the root cause has not been addressed, I invite you to explore your unresolved emotions. To invite balance and allow energy to flow freely through your body by gaining a better perspective of your truth and understand your thoughts and behaviors. If you would like help clearing out your trapped emotional energy, I would like to assist you on your journey.
Wishing you peace and clarity, health and continued healing.