The Network Center for Healing and Wellness
When we experience trauma, toxins, emotional or mental stress, and if it is more that we can handle or recover from in the moment, the energy of the event is stuffed to the back of our mind, the spine, to be dealt with at some later time, or not. Our body goes into a state of defense physiology, which usually includes shallow breathing, increased heart rate, sweating palms and a state of the spine known as Defense Posture.
Defense Posture is characterized by the posture being distorted forward, with shoulders pulled up and forward, the head thrust forward and the upper back curved more and lower back flattened. The flight or fight response that is part of our defense physiology is literally locked away in our body. When an unrelated event triggers that locked away energy, we will go back into fight or flight even if we don’t need to. An example of this is what would happen if we were driving on an on ramp to a high way and just as we were about to merge a red car came out of nowhere and slammed into us causing a severe car accident. The next time you drive down that on ramp your heart would beat a little faster and if a red car happened to pull up next to you, you would feel the whole fight or flight response. This same thing happens to all different types of stresses, whether they are physical, chemical emotional or mental. A stress from years ago is locked away and triggers an inappropriate reaction to a current situation that is not even really stressful.
Different types of stress characteristically go to certain areas of the spine and the spine is locked in that area to hold the offending energy from our awareness. This is supposed to be a short term strategy for dealing with overwhelming stress. If we do not take the opportunity to recover, or we are unable to recover, the spine stays locked out of position for years or even a lifetime. There are health consequences to the spine being in this state which we discussed under SUBLUXATION. But even more than the health consequences is the effect that this has on our life in general. The state of mind that got stuffed into the spine, is perpetuated by the spine being locked.
Try this exercise: Sit with your head down, shoulders forward and spine slumped down and picture an angry or stressful thought. Let it fester until you really feel it. Now bring your spine straight, bring your shoulders back and tilt your head back so you are looking up toward the ceiling. Can you create the same thoughts with the same intensity? It’s hard to do. That is because the shape and position of our spine influences our state of mind and the state of mind we are in influences the state of our spine and our body. The mind and the body are one in the same. Not two separate things.
We find events stressful because our interpretation of the event is in conflict with what is really going on. We interpret an event based on our story or how we think that things “should” be. We think that things should go a certain way, or that people should treat us a certain way. The truth is that things go the way they go, and people act and treat people the way they act and treat people. The conflict comes when we think that they should act differently, treat us differently or that events in the world should conspire the way that we think they should. This difference in the way that things are versus the way we think things should be is what makes them stressful. Truth is that things are the way they are. We are called to experience what is happening and ultimately grow from the challenge or experience.
I personally believe that the purpose of our lives and our existence in general is to have the experience of life and grow from it on all different levels. As we progress through our healing process, especially in stage 2 of the 12 stages of healing, we are continually challenged to experience the events of our life in this way. (you can find more information on the 12 stages of healing under the topic Somato Respiratory Integration-12 Stages of Healing.
The idea with Reorganizational healing is that through the spine we discover how the spine being tense or at ease influences our health and our state of mind. We discover how a shift in posture can change the way our day is going. As our awareness increases of the two different states that we exist in, defense or ease, we begin to understand that we have control over what we choose to pay attention to and the effect this has on our body and our lives. The idea is that whatever we pay attention to, that’s what we get more of. If we condition ourselves to focus on thoughts that bring us peace, we will have more peace in our spine, which creates more peace in our lives, more peace in our lives creates more peace in our spine and more peace in our mind and so on.
When we are unable to create the peace in our lives and our mind that we need to heal or live to our fullest potential, we can use NSA to create peace in our spine. This can “jumpstart” us and begin to create momentum towards peace, joy, health and our own personal success in life.
When our spine and body are defensive, it becomes really hard to have peace in our day. When our spine and body are at ease, it becomes really hard to have a stressful day.