The Shape of your Cup

Winter is on its way, the season of snugly, warm jerseys, thick socks and layers of loose clothes which allow me to let my tummy hang out without anyone being able to see it. It is a time to curl up on the sofa with a book, to be languid and lazy and self-indulgent. The importance of building our energy for the distant seasons of spring and summer cannot be denied, but there is a price to be paid if we are not careful. The curling up, the sitting, the bending of our elbows and knees to conserve heat, inevitably results in feelings of tightness which gets worse with age. So what exactly causes these rusted feelings?

In a word… fascia, also known as connective tissue. My favourite analogy is that of an orange. The orange has its skin on the outside and segments on the inside. Each segment is divided into tiny cells filled with the delicious nectar we call orange juice. In a way, we are not too different from an orange. We too have skin on the outside. Inside we have our fascia or connective tissue. Instead of thinking of your muscles and bones being connected by fascia, think of fascia as the pockets which contain every muscle, nerve, bone and organ, much like the cells of an orange. Fascia quite literally gives the cup that is us, shape. Over years we all take on a distinctive shape, depending on our perception of our environment, our habits and our lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle, involving long periods of sitting in front of a computer or behind the steering wheel of a car, will result in tightening and thickening of the fascia. This feels like you are wearing clothes which are a size or two too small. The clothing restricts your movement so that you can’t quite reach those shoe laces and your clothes cut into you and block you from reaching the top shelf. The more frequently you adopt a particular position, the more permanent that shape will become. Your muscles are encased in fascia so if the fascia is tight, the muscle cannot stretch to its full potential. The sensations you feel when stretching, the rusted feelings, come not from muscle, but from the fascia.

Unlike an inanimate cup, your fascia is very much alive and constantly remodels itself. It has far more proprioceptors than muscle and it can react to a threat five times faster than the nervous system. It is the fascia which causes us to pull away from the pain of a needle prick or to brace when we trip. We literally pull ourselves together under stress, tightening the fascia as we go into the fight or flight response to danger, real or perceived. Fascia is a continuous web, much like a spider web, which distorts when one part is pulled. Like a spider web, restriction in one part of the fascia affects the whole web and may result in pain or discomfort somewhere else in the body.

As you know, it is impossible to separate the mental, emotional and physical aspects of our being. Fascia is no different. I find Rebalancing Deep Tissue massage to help tremendously with physical discomfort. My clients all report feeling better, looser, more comfortable after a massage.  But the fascia also carries and stores emotion and it’s not unusual for the massage to trigger an emotional release which may or may not be the cause of physical discomfort in the body. The combined effect of pressure and touch, together with a safe, warm atmosphere, allows the neurology to relax into a parasympathetic state. Blood pressure will drop, heart rate and respiration slow down and cortisol levels may also drop. You feel relaxed and calm, anxiety levels lower and tension seems to melt away.

When it comes to lowering stress levels this winter, Rebalancing Deep Tissue Massage is a wonderful option, no matter what the shape of your cup or the weather outside.

Until next time, and for the sake of your fascia… Keep Moving.

Understanding Surrogation

One of the advantages of my work is that I can work remotely on someone far away. It is a wonderful gift to be able to do this but most people find the very idea weird, woo-woo or just plain creepy. It isn’t really, it’s just unfamiliar. We embrace remote connection all the time in other familiar ways in our daily lives.

The three main senses we use for interacting with the world are hearing (auditory), sight (visual) and touch (kinaesthetic). How do we communicate over a long distance using sound? We use a telephone. I remember when I was little; we had a party line phone system. Each house had a different ring and the exchange was reached by giving one long ring, turning the handle a few times. Then we had land lines. You could see the line from the house to the telephone pole outside with both of these old systems. Storms could blow down the lines and we were left without a telephone. Later came cell phones which don’t have any lines attached at all, and yet I am able to speak to someone in London or Toronto or Australia. I speak, they answer and it is all in real time, as though that person was in the same room as me. What I am hearing is not their voice but an energetic representation of their voice, enabled by my cell phone which is not connected to anything except energetically. Cell phones would surely have seemed very woo-woo in the 1970’s but are now easily accepted because we have been trained to find telephones familiar, and let’s face it, the tangled wire was a pain!

Long ago we could communicate “visually” by telegram. Not quite in real time, by close enough. Then came fax machines and computers with email and the cell phones with sms and now WhatsApp. I can type a message and it is received and read within seconds on the other side of the world. I can send a photo or a video or do a video call. What I am seeing is an energetic representation of my daughter’s home overseas, on my cell phone in real time with a video call. She in turn, can see me sitting in my garden in sunny South Africa. I have not captured her or possessed her and trapped her in my phone. My phone is showing me an energetic representation of life on the other side of the world. Creepy, weird and woo-woo? No, not at all. This has become part of life, familiar and for many, indispensable.

So what is surrogation? It is the kinaesthetic equivalent of your cell phone. If a cell phone had arms and legs then I could use it to do balances and it would probably be more easily accepted. But I need to be able to feel the energetic response of muscle testing, so I need a person to be the surrogate. Whether I use myself or someone else to test on, the muscle response I get is the energetic representation of the person I am balancing. That is all. The corrections I make are received by the person on the other side, just as they can see a video or hear a voice on the telephone.

Just as with a telephone, I need the person on the other side to answer the call. I do this by asking permission and if permission is denied for any reason, then I cannot work. The number you are calling is not available, please try again later. If it is both safe and appropriate to work, then permission will be given, the connection is made and I can begin the balance.

Surrogation can help people who are too sore to be muscle tested or too far away. It is a way to help the frail and the sick, the too young or the too old, whether they are in the same room or on the other side of the world, as long as they “pick up” and the connection is made. Nothing weird, nothing woo-woo, just the magic of energy.

A Piece of the Puzzle

I made sure my children played with jigsaw puzzles as they grew up, for brain development and hand eye co-ordination. They started with very basic 6 or 8 piece puzzles and built their way to hundreds of pieces as they grew older. There is an addictive excitement to watching the picture grow as more and more pieces are added. Each piece is a surprise. Some pieces make no sense when you look at them individually, but placed in the right place, in context with the other pieces around it, its purpose becomes clear. With all our travels, we always seemed to lose one piece from a puzzle. One feels such disappointment when the last piece is missing, the picture can never be completed. Each piece of the puzzle bears a responsibility to complete the picture. There is a sensation of closure, a task completed when you insert that last shape. The picture gels, it is whole and it is as it should be.

I have done a lot of work on myself in the past few years, training, new ideas, delving into quantum physics, self-help books and courses, on and on. I found myself feeling quite confused with the paradox of oneness and separation. In our human form we are undeniably separate but how do you bend your head around the idea that we are all connected. How can I be both at once? How can I be me without hurting, upsetting or neglecting those closest to me?

Think about a puzzle made of millions of pieces. Each piece is unique. It has its own particular colouring, shape and place. You cannot put a piece in the wrong place. We humans are the same. When we own our “place” we are content and comfortable but if we try to be in the wrong place, if we try to force what we are not, life feels wrong. We battle, nothing wants to work and we feel anxious and unhappy.

Each puzzle piece is surrounded by others but the colours and details that it bears are unique. Each separate piece of the puzzle has a purpose, to be a piece of the picture. We, too, each have a special place and purpose in this world. Who and what we are, impacts on those closest to us. So when we put our needs to one side, in favour of others, we make life difficult for ourselves and for those around us. When we neglect our own human needs, we become “needy”. We compromise our values and get lost in a wilderness of limiting beliefs. Like a poison, this negativity spreads to those around us. As they pull away from the negativity, we feel more separate and alone which makes us more “needy”. In short, we get bent out of shape when we try to please everybody around us.

I realised that I need to own the picture on the piece of the puzzle that is me. I can’t change the picture or the pieces around me. I am in this particular space for a reason, so I need to be my glorious, unique and separate self. Without me, the Puzzle of Life is incomplete. As long as I honour my human needs, my values and my beliefs, I will be the right shape to fit into my world. Trying to be what I am not, means I don’t fit, and this just leads to misery. When I embrace my unique shape, I support those around me, giving them what they need to connect. That certainty of how we fit together brings us all peace and security. It is when I am not separate, when I try to be the same and to fit in, that I have no place in the whole that is the Puzzle of Life.

I wish I had understood this when my children were small. I would have taught them the importance of being a unique piece of the Puzzle, knowing they are good enough, just by being alive. That each of us has a very precious purpose which can only be fulfilled when we accept who we are. Our duty is not to conform to ever changing whims of society, but rather to own our uniqueness. Being who we are makes us separate from everybody else, but it also enables us to fit into, and be a part of, the puzzle that is life.

Until next time, keep learning to keep moving…

Heal Thy Self

It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog. Life surprised me, threw me off balance mentally and physically, in the form of vertigo. It is the strangest feeling to feel your world tip uncontrollably to one side. Your brain tells you there is no reason for this tipping sensation, but the body rebels and gravity seems to suck you violently off kilter, an invisible pressure which forces you to the ground.

There are various “treatments” for vertigo. Some people say you need to be physically rotated by a doctor, others that you need to go to a chiropractor. As a kinesiologist, I knew that my crazy tilting sensations were a physical manifestation of my emotional turmoil. I needed to work through my darkness and I truly believed I would emerge on the other side of the emotional storm, sailing straight and strong.  Sure enough, after about a month of my loopy roller-coaster, my world resettled and the vertigo vanished as quickly as it came.

We carry within us an innate wisdom and the god given ability to heal. Modern life has tricked us into forgetting that we are the expert for all things “us”. It helps to have a sound board, someone who can stand as the Isumataq, the keeper of the sacred space in which wisdom is revealed. A facilitator can guide you to discover your own inner wisdom and thus initiate your own healing. There is calmness in knowing that sometimes symptoms, though physical in nature, may have an emotional or energetic root cause. There is a great deal of fear triggered by illness or dis-ease. We have become so focused on life threatening conditions and so dependent on pharmaceuticals, we seem to have forgotten that sometimes we have a cold because we need to get rest, or that constipation may be a function of holding on for dear life, to all we no longer need. Tummy aches are often connected to fear or anxiety rather than a bug. Considering what your symptom prevents you from doing can give you clues as to the cause of your dis-ease. We have been programmed to believe that it takes a long time to heal. Sometimes, when the message your body is sending is understood, healing can be instantaneous.

Take back your power, listen to the ancient wisdom within and be your healthy self, Heal – thy self.

Until next time, keep living, keep learning, keep moving…

 

Energy – Everyday Magic

When I am asked what I do, I say I work as a kinesiologist. The blank look on the face before me is always a giveaway; I may as well be speaking Russian. So I explain that I work with energy….. and I’ve lost them!  New Age, woo-woo, weird? Not really.

Everything on this planet, and beyond, is made up of energy. We know from our school days that everything is made of molecules, which are made of atoms, which are protons and electrons, positive and negative, energy. If you replace a plug, you will know the importance of connecting the wires correctly. If you don’t the electricity, unseen energy, is likely to cause all sorts of loud bangs, sparks, shocks, melting of plastic and who knows what else. We all have a very healthy respect for electric energy, not because we can see the energy, but because we can see the results of what it can do. Sound waves can shatter glass or show you an image of your unborn child (ultrasound) and an MRI uses magnetic energy to produce images of your physical anatomy. We are very good at believing what we can see but what about what we can feel? Hot water bottles allow us to feel heat energy and static electricity can zap us with sparks. People talk about having a gut feeling, good or bad vibes, or being in a creepy place. We can feel energy if we are aware enough. All of this falls into the “Normal” range.

Let’s see if we can go a little more into our un-comfort zone. People are more aware of acupuncture these days. Many have had dry needling done by a physio but why does it work? The human body is a bundle of energy. Energy meridians run like rivers between the organs and muscles, wrapping around you like ribbons. Chakras, very woo-woo, are energy vortexes, the 7 main, most well-known ones are each over a vital gland in the body. The needles used in acupuncture are interacting with your energy flow, restoring flow where it is blocked much like clearing the debris out of your gutters. Pain is an over energy. Something causes a blockage in the flow so it dams up and overflows, like a storm drain filled with litter.

You don’t have to use needles to clear energy flow. There are many ways to work with energy; sound, touch, visualisation, massage, colour, metaphors, polarity.  Rubbing on a neurolymphatic point for the Large Intestine meridian can result in an instantaneous release of back muscles by restoring meridian flow. A headache may be caused by tension in the gut. Looking at a problem from a different perspective can bring about release in the physical body or re-energise a muscle.

Still not convinced? Why not host a workshop where I introduce you to Energy – Everyday Magic. It’s fun and enlightening and great for a get together with the girls.

Keep learning, keep growing, keep moving…

Birdsong and Cloudscapes

Birdsong, it’s the start to every day. Even before the light of morning has eased through the darkness, the crow of the roosters and the sweet warble of thrushes, trickles into my consciousness. It is a new day, a new beginning, a chance to start over and do better than yesterday.

I am a morning person. I love the early hours when the village sleeps. I love to be outside, exploring today’s world. It is my way of practicing being in the moment, conscious. The sun catches clouds and they blush with its first rays, cerise, pink, apricot or gold. Sometimes great sheets of colour fill the sky and other times there are just wisps. The sky is never the same. Once that gift of the new day has gone, it’s gone forever. It is never the same again. Did you see it, or did it pass unnoticed?

We miss so much in our world because we are busy, rushing around DOING instead of taking time to just BE. Our stress levels rise and our worlds shrink. We get into the habit of Doing. When last did you hear the song of a robin or watch the rain fall?  We allow the gifts of the day to pass us by without a second thought.

Night and day, heat and cold, winter and summer: all things have their shadow side, their opposite. So too, Doing and Being. There is balance to our world and when ignored, our lives become off kilter. This is when dis-ease creeps in. First it may be anxiety and later depression. The blood pressure rises and so does the weight. We start with medication and as we get older, the amount of pills we drink gets more. We tell ourselves it’s because of our age. We fill our lives with the noise of TV and news, Facebook and Internet. We are numb to nature and the world around us.

If this resonates with you, start to make small changes. If you are not a morning person, make a point of noticing the evening sky. Take time to be really conscious whether you are stroking the cat or raking up leaves. Be aware of what you smell, hear and see.  Connect with something and you will connect with yourself, you will feel an energy stir within you, a swelling in your heart. Notice beauty in whatever form, feel grateful for what you have and for what you see. Gratitude is the best medicine there is and the more you practice being present, in the moment, the more gratitude you will feel. Every time the sun rises, you have a new day to practice with. Don’t wait for tomorrow, start today, start now, and keep moving…