Empower, Enlighten, Equilibrate

Posts tagged ‘sato’

The Essence of Be-ing

 imagesThe Blame Game

The expression of our minds and thoughts will manifest in some form in our bodies. What I have discovered is how powerful our minds are, and yet the body is its true equal or possibly more powerful. The amazing organizing wisdom of our body and its ability to process so many different details and functions all instantaneously. For instance, we do not have to constantly think of making our heart beat and pump blood to the rest of our limbs and organs, nor do we have to consciously focus on our stomach and small/large intestines to break down and digest foods we have eaten to provide us with nutrients for our body’s sustenance. This is where our mental and emotional state can truly affect the overall functioning of our body.

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Have you ever experienced a physical pain that came from feeling emotional anguish or uncertainty? Have you ever experienced tightness or an uncomfortable gripping sensation at the pit of your stomach? Sometimes a perceived slight by a loved one can create a physical pain in some part of our body, or cause our minds to go into a frenzy, attempting to make sense of the situation.

One such charged emotional state that can affect our bodies is the act of blaming and shaming. When we blame, it creates a certain mindset and in blaming another for causing us anguish or pain, we in essence give our power away. The reason being is that we were co-creators in the interaction and shrugged off our responsibility in what took place. Work towards making it a habit to understand why you feel the need to blame another, or blame a situation, for why you felt a certain way, or the way your life is. Reflecting on how a challenging experience is just as much our responsibility as the other party’s, will help to shift one’s mindset leading to a more balanced mental and emotional state. Taking ownership and equal responsibility of the conflict, enables one to take control of the situation and see how our reactionary behavior patterns have influenced our lives and may have been the underlying reason why we have perpetuated certain experiences from past and present conflicts.

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Strive to see the conflict from different perspectives to gain a more global awareness and understanding. Oftentimes feeling helpless engenders one to inflict control on another, and assert oneself, all to avoid feeling helpless. However, this action will oftentimes lead to the building of resentment, that in the long term, erodes any trust or willingness to connect with the other person. It is through taking responsibility of one’s words and actions in our life experiences, which determines the growth and maturation of a solid relationship. So stop with the blaming, and take a look at how you participated in creating either a harmonious connection, or a highly charged and explosive situation, from which one has to back pedal in order to preserve this connection.

Allow your body and conscience to be your guide in helping you navigate through conflicts that arise, either by you being the instigator, or the recipient. By tuning into your body, connecting with your feelings, and paying attention to bodily symptoms that arise, will help to establish a greater confidence in how you handle and deal with current or future conflicts. Become pro-active and start observing how you behave when you are challenged by another person, or perceive to be hurt or shamed. Your friend, loved one, or peer will thank you, as well as you will thank yourself in the long run for taking responsibility and bringing balance to your life!

The Impacts of Food

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In this day and age, there is so much discussion about the foods we eat, making sure we have enough nutrition, or the ramifications of eating genetically modified organism (GMO) foods.  Nutrition is definitely important to ensure that we have the right amount of minerals, proteins, sugars, and fibers that our bodies can use.  We are told to have a balanced diet, get adequate amounts of sleep, get enough exercise, and maintain a positive mindset, which will help to ensure a healthy and wellness lifestyle.  If that was the case, why do we still find it difficult to be healthy?

I am not negating the importance of what we put into our bodies, but what also is vitally important is our mental and emotional state of being at the time we are preparing our nutritious foods or when we are eating.  Just think about this for a minute, what if you had healthy, organic, local grown produce but at the time you were preparing the food, you were angry with someone or some life circumstance?  Have you had comments from family members or friends criticizing how your food tastes bland or too salty, or even bitter perhaps?  Reflect and see what was going on at the time you were preparing the meal; were you uninspired or irritated?  Or has the opposite been true, parents or siblings even children expressing how amazing the dinner was and how good they felt after they ate?

Another case in point, have you ever been to your favorite restaurant and on one occasion felt the food was flat or didn’t have the usual “wow” factor?  Often we attribute the mishap to the chef having an “off” night, or that the substitute chef was responsible for the disappointing entree.  Could it possibly be a combination of the chef not being in a happy mood or possibly some form of unrest among the staff and servers as well?  I am asking these questions to spark awareness about how important our state of mind and emotions dictate our appetite and tastes.

This concept is known as the mind-body connection and has been researched for over forty years, linking the mind with physical expressions in the body.  Right now if I mention sucking on a lemon, how many of your lips started to pucker and mouth begin to water?  It’s truly amazing how a picture, a smell, and even a thought can create a physical response of the body. We can either choose to work with our minds and control our mental thoughts and emotions, or we can learn to connect with our bodies and gain another way to be more present in our lives.  The time is now to start connecting with your body if you haven’t done so.  The more in tune you are with your body and its subtle signals, the more you don’t have to be surprised by some health crisis or major health ailment to make you mindful of how the stressors in your life are impacting your physical body and overall well-being.

I want to share a few easy-to-do things that you can do to start connecting your mind with the body, utilizing food consumption as the method.  The next time you sit down for a meal, take this opportunity to observe how you eat.  Do you take little or big bites?  Do you wolf down your food, or do you allow yourself time to savor the flavor and enjoy the food in your mouth?  If you eat fast, do you find yourself rushing through life and many times feel overwhelmed by all the things that you need to get done?  If you are a slow eater, do you find that you tend to take time before coming to decisions, and taking action?  Neither way is right or wrong, but it is a simple expression of how you operate in the world.  Observing your eating habits will slowly illustrate how you experience and deal with life.

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Another example is to look at your cravings for comfort foods.  Have you ever noticed that when you are stressed or worried about something, you tend to reach for chocolate, sweets, or salty chips?  How many times have you started to eat a bag of chips, telling yourself I will just eat a few chips and then 10 minutes later the whole bag is empty?  Then how often do you proceed to mentally flog yourself for eating all the chips and now have to exercise for two hours to offset what you put into your body?

My suggestion is to enjoy your comfort foods when you crave them.  Eventually, the more you give yourself permission to eat these foods, the more you will find that after you start eating your comfort food, you’ll stop sooner.  The only reason you crave comfort foods is an attempt to fill a void or an emotion that can be linked to anxiety, fear, sadness, or lack of love.  When you address this void or charged emotion, is when you will be free of the cravings for comfort foods.

Learning to listen to your body and establishing a clearer communication with your mind-body takes time.  This strategy does not happen over night, but if you stay mindful and work towards this goal, it will serve you and help you navigate through life’s experiences in the long run.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

Sleeping Peacefully

images There has been a lot of research done on the sleep problems that have been plaguing many people in this country.   Chronic sleep deprivation has been shown to significantly affect one’s health, performance, safety, and financial well-being. A lack of sleep, especially the quality of sleep, can lead to many things such as increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cancer. It also affects one’s immune system, leading to increased incidences of colds and illnesses. Obesity has been linked to a lack of sleep, and when one diets while physically tired, it’s been shown that your body is burning off muscle, not the fat you want to lose.

Lack of sleep alters hormone levels associated with appetite, and affects one’s mental and emotional health. Learning and memory consolidation research shows that a good night’s sleep after learning something will help you better retain the information. Research also showed that driving while exhausted is nearly as dangerous as driving drunk.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.

Why is it so hard for us to get restful sleep? Have you noticed that as the years go by, even though you may get seven or eight hours of sleep, you still wake up exhausted? There are a variety of factors that affect our ability to get a restful night’s sleep, from light emitted from our electrical hand-held devices, to worries about work projects or deadlines. The underlying cause is stress.   Stress impacts us more than we realize and whenever there is anything unresolved mentally or emotionally, it prevents our parasympathetic nervous system from activating, which is responsible for cellular and body repair. Worries about a family member or disagreements among siblings, a parent, or a significant other impact us negatively as well.

Our mind, expectations of how life ought to be, and our need to make sure that everything will be alright creates a low grade disturbance that keeps us in sympathetic mode, which is the fight or flight response. Our bodies stay activated and remain on yellow alert even though our eyes are closed. Can you relate to times in your life, where it was hard to get relaxed and drift off to sleep, because your mind was so active? Have you ever found yourself unsettled and restless, tossing and turning in bed because of having to make a decision or deal with an uncomfortable issue? Many times we will either put all of our energies into work, or exercise excessively, to the point of exhaustion, in order for us to crash and go to sleep.

Being able to sleep peacefully starts from dealing with our daily stresses and addressing any past or current issues that bother us. Learn to acknowledge this stress and accept that by dealing with these stresses we can establish a new way to experience our lives. Make it a point to resolve any matter that creates a mental or emotional disturbance inside. The more harmonious our minds and feelings are, the more peace and ease we experience in our bodies. A settled mind will lead to a settled body.

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One simple exercise that can help prepare you for sleep is to place your hands on a part of your body that feels comfortable. Take eight to ten breaths into your hands staying focused on how your breath feels coming into your body and exiting your body.   Be really present in the moment and with your body, and slowly but surely you will find yourself starting to be more at ease and drifting off to sleep. The power of being present with your body and in the moment insures that your mind does not get trapped in the past or projecting into the future. Hence, by staying in the “Now”, present moment is one of the secrets that help you to achieve peaceful and restful sleep.

An Inconvenient Cough

2065679About eight years ago, Jeff came in with two typed pages of all the traumas he experienced.  He was a physical therapist, and once when a patient was falling down, they grabbed and yanked his shoulder while his back was turned.  It totally tweaked his body and he’s been in pain ever since.

Jeff has been going to a chiropractor every other day for a long time, and was using magnets all over his body for the pain.  When he started seeing me, he said, “I know you don’t crack the spine, but if I tell you I need it, you have to do it for me.”

I told him, “No, I won’t.”

He was upset about it, but knew I was still helping him out.  Months later, Jeff asked to crack his spine again, and I turned him down again.  He was an intense person, but had a very big heart, and went through so much transformation.  Since he started getting adjusted, I never had to crack his spine, and he let go of a lot, causing him to cough all the time during adjustments.

People hated being adjusted at the same time as Jeff because they were afraid of catching a cold.  Every time Jeff would come to get adjusted, he would cough a lot.  There was another woman who was scheduled at the same time, and she asked the office manager when Jeff would be coming again because she wanted to be scheduled after he was done.

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The office manager scheduled this woman later, but it just happened that Jeff called the next time to say he was running late because of work.  The other woman comes in, and ends up getting adjusted with Jeff and his coughing again.

After the adjustment the woman complains to the office manager that she specifically asked for a later time than Jeff.  The office manager apologizes and explains why they were put together again.

The woman then schedules her next appointment earlier than Jeff.  When that day comes around, he gets off from work early and asks if he can come in since he’s already in the area.  There was space in the schedule, and Jeff came in, just to be placed right next to the other woman who was trying so hard to avoid him.

It was crazy and hilarious.  I finally had to explain to the other woman that when Jeff coughs, it’s not because he has a cold, it’s just the body’s way of clearing out all the “old stuff”.  Jeff had so much old stuff to clear out, with so many different traumas throughout his life.

Jeff was a trooper and worked through a lot.  He ended up being a good teacher for me because he taught me how not to cave in and crack someone’s spine just because they insist.

Spinning Out of Control

Renovations, Retirement, Relationship

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Something that is more prevalent today is vertigo and dizziness. Many times, doctors will say it’s related to the inner ear and one’s equilibrium being off. In the last five years, I’ve noticed more and more people either with vertigo or know friends and family suffering from it. It seems to affect a lot of women in their mid-40s to mid-50s.

I have come to associate vertigo as a way for one to get out of an old pattern through the sense of spinning out of control. Vertigo is very disorienting and forces one to get out of their stuff, and see what they really want to do with their life. Sometimes it can last for a short period of time, just to get the person spooked and alert, while other times, it can last a long time. When vertigo persists and lasts for extended periods, it’s because the person’s body wisdom is literally shaking the person to create change in their life.

The role of vertigo is to insure that a person’s acorn and tree of life are on track with a person’s life path. Vertigo attacks seem to always be when people want to make a change deep down inside, but don’t want to let go either. The more often it hits, the more their inner self wants them to make a change in their life, but they’re not making it. We tend to get conditioned and feel safe in our routines because routines are comfortable for people.

My first experience with someone having vertigo was with Elise. It was about eight years ago when I wasn’t too familiar with vertigo yet. Elise’s house was under renovation, she had some challenges with her husband, and vocationally she felt no support at work with her co-workers and her boss giving her grief all the time; she was deliberating between retiring or not.

Elise didn’t know what do to and felt her life was in flux. Each time the vertigo would hit, it would force her to surrender to what was going on. Every time she resisted what was changing, the vertigo attack got worse. She went to the ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor, but all her tests came back negative with no conclusive evidence (hearing, inner ear – balance, cerebellum).

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As Elise’s body learned strategies to release tension, she found herself not as reactive to situations at home or at work, that in the past would drive her into a tizzy. Although her vertigo episodes still would come up from time to time, it wasn’t happening on a daily basis or not as intensely as before.

After eight weeks of care, Elise was feeling better and learned that breathing and being present with her body helped to ameliorate the spinning episodes. Some side benefits that she didn’t expect were decrease in blood pressure and less swelling in her hands and feet.

Elise continued on with care until one day she abruptly stopped coming in. I tried to get in touch with her for a couple of months in vain, and when I finally did, she informed me that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I inquired about how her vertigo episodes were and Elise shared that the moment she found out about the cancer, the episodes stopped! The doctors were recommending Elise to undergo chemotherapy and surgery. I informed her that there were other ways to deal with her diagnosis, but after our conversation that was the last I heard of her.

Elise taught me that sometimes when a bigger health crisis appears, it forces one to make a decision on what is truly important and may bring clarity in the most unexpected way. From time to time I think about Elise and wonder how she is faring, but recognize that every person has to make their own choices. When one takes the time to choose what is right for them, they won’t necessarily have to create a health crisis to get back on track with their own inner truth and knowing.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below. Have you experienced hand pain? What did you find it related to? There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories. Let’s hear it!

Disabling Head Pains

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Nathan was a 13 year old boy that came in with bad pressure headaches. His mom decided to contact me because the headaches have been causing him to miss a lot of school.

Nathan was adjusted by another chiropractor in the past, and the headaches decreased quite a bit, but still come and go. Upon meeting them, it turned out that his mom really loves him, but is extremely controlling, to the point of being militant on some issues.

All of Nathan’s friends have freedom to hang out and play video games, but Nathan isn’t given the same freedom. Because of this, he can’t connect with his friends in the same way they relate to each other even if he tries, and ends up feeling left out.

He’s really quiet, doesn’t say much, and holds it all in. When I asked him if there was anything going on with his mom, he started tearing up, but wouldn’t say anything. His mom was also in the room with us, so I asked her if she would get upset if he expressed himself. She reassured him that she wouldn’t and that she wants him to express his feelings.

I was able to slowly pull things out of Nathan. One issue was that his mom is a health nut. She has him eating all these nutritious foods that appear weird to his friends, and we found out, he hates being teased by all the weird foods he has to eat! He dreads lunchtime and his mom has been forcing him to eat this way for the past three years.

Nathan is here to break his mom’s fantasy about things. He doesn’t want to disappoint his mom, which is something I completely understand because I did the same thing for my mom. I now understood why he was getting his migraines. He doesn’t want to disappoint his mom, yet feels disconnected from his friends, and it’s all making him miserable. He’s in distress.

In Nathan’s mind, he’s thinking of how he can please his mom, but still live his life. He feels stuck, so he gets headaches because he doesn’t know how to deal with it. He’s in a lot of pain because he’s in his head, thinking about it. It’s basically mental congestion.

After he got adjusted on a Saturday, his mom asked him about his true feelings on Sunday, and he started tearing up again, so she asked me to talk to him on Monday at his next adjustment to see if I could find out what was going on with him.

When we talked, Nathan said that he had a headache that morning. It resolved an hour before his appointment, but he missed school again. I can’t imagine how upset his mom was with me, because she brought him so that he would stop missing school, yet he comes for an adjustment, and ends up with a bad headache, and misses school again.

This poor kid is always on the verge of crying because he can’t tell his mom that he feels she’s being unreasonable. Adding to this fact, Nathan perceives he has no friends because of her rigid mindset and her unwillingness to let him connect with them.

I can’t tell her what to do; I just asked her if she sees that her son is trying to connect with his friends but is not able to. He feels like a pariah because he doesn’t know about all the latest things his friends are into. I almost cried with him because I knew exactly what he was going through and could feel his pain.

I can understand his mom’s point of view. Her intent is good and she is just trying to look out for him, but she also needs to understand that she raised her son with good values and morals, and now has to start trusting him. If she makes him repress anything else, his head is going to explode, or he’s going to do something crazy.

 

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below. Have you experienced hand pain? What did you find it related to? There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories. Let’s hear it!

Oh My Hands!

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It’s interesting to note how much we take our hands for granted until we injure one of our fingers or have tightness building up in our hands that lead to pain. In the past 15 years, I have seen practice members who come in with different hand complaints ranging from the most infamous, “carpal tunnel syndrome,” to hands feeling numb or weak, to burning sensations in the finger tips. The common theme that seems to underlie all of the pains, numbness, and weakness in one’s hands, was the perception of having no control over what was happening in one’s life.

What truly differentiates us from the animal kingdom besides monkeys and orangutans, is our opposable thumb. Our thumb helps us to hitch hike when we need a lift (just kidding), but more importantly allows us to grab and build things. This unique ability of ours oftentimes give us the sense that we have control over our environment.

The story of Ben helps to illustrate this point. Ben first came into my office with complaints of constant left and right hand pain. For the past month, both his hands would go numb in the middle of the night and wake him up. As I asked him questions, Ben kept rubbing his hands constantly and shaking them. I asked, “When did you first begin to experience your hands being sore and numb?”

Ben replied, “Around two months ago, but it would come and go. It has been this past month where the pain and numbness have persisted. I went to my doctor and tests were run, but no clear diagnosis was determined. He thought I had a pinch nerve in my neck that was causing the pain and numbness, so that is why I came to see you.”

I responded, “Has there been anything causing you stress for the past two months – family stress, work stress, financial stress?” Ben thought for a moment and then shared, “At first I was going to say no, since I tend to handle stress rather well, but the past two months has been challenging for me. My wife has been depressed and blaming me for not supporting her enough. No matter what I do, she gets angry with me and I am at my wits end to find a solution. Even the medications that she is on, don’t seem to have any affect on her. Adding to this stress, I have two business transactions that have stalled, which has created some financial pressures that I am unaccustomed to.” After the last comment, Ben sighed and rubbed his hands again.

I mentioned, “By the way you are rubbing your hands, it appears as if you are trying to take shackles/handcuffs off your wrists. Would you agree that the amount of pain and numbness you are experiencing in your hands match to the same degree that you are experiencing stress in your life?”

Ben raised his right eyebrow, thought for a moment and shared, “I never thought of looking at it that way before, but I do feel helpless in not being able to do anything to help my wife. I tend to fix things and make things right, but I am stumped. I also feel stuck in my two business transactions and can’t do anything about it either. So I do feel powerless and handcuffed.” The moment Ben became aware of his current situation and acknowledged what he was feeling, he exclaimed, “Can it be that simple? My hands feel less painful and not as numb. Hmmmmm.”

I proceeded with the physical examination and adjusted him. As Ben learned to release tension from his spine and brought balance to his perceptions, eventually things started to shift for the better in his life and his hands ceased to be painful or numb.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below. Have you experienced hand pain? What did you find it related to? There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories. Let’s hear it!