Intrinsic Body Balance

This was first posted in 2012 as a Newsletter Sidebar to ElementalsLinks here may have been disconnected. If you’d like more information about the courses, programs and audios, please email us and we’ll be happy to fill you in!

The Autonomic Nervous System

We begin here with a some basic anatomy: both spiritual and physiological, as well as few simple audios to boost your practice, assisting your stress reduction and management.

One of the keys to integrating body and spirit lies in our autonomic nervous system. This is part of our body-spirit communication. Here are some nuts and bolts of this very important biological communication system and its energetic counterparts.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is broken into two parts: the sympathetic branch which triggers the fight or flight impulse and mobilizes resources to act under stress; and the parasympathetic branch which activates our natural capacity for relaxation, digestion, regulation of internal organs and anything that happens while the body is at rest.

Since the human body is equipped with two facets of the ANS, we utilize both in concert with one another, and need both to survive. In energetic terms, the ANS mirrors our masculine and feminine lines of connection between the upper and lower dantiens (Taoist term for primary energy centers), the root and navel with the brow chakras. These two facets are also represented in Hermes’ staff of Aesclepion entwined by two serpents.

The image of the autonomic nervous system comes from Wikipedia.

In yogic terms, these lines are called nadis, which are energetic rivers or channels through which subtle body energies flow. There are three main channels: Sushumna is the central channel and is reflected physically in the central nervous system; Ida and Pingala relate to the ANS, masculine and feminine energies. Feminine energy is lunar, cool, blue, receptive, shadowy and is associated with Ida; while Pingala, the masculine energy, is hot, red or white, light, active, and solar.

In Taoism, these same two lines are commonly known as Yin and Yang, along with all minor meridian channels designated as rivers of Yin or Yang. The corresponding elements in western medical science and anatomical drawings identify anything blue (nerves,veins) as afferent or inward, leading into the center; anything red (arteries, nerves) is efferent or outward, moving away from center to create an effect.

This image of Ida & Pingala originates at the Power of Kundalini.

In our bodies, afference and efference happen simultaneously as an integral, possibly crucial, piece of our body’s rhythms. Blood moves toward the heart and away from the heart; nerve impulses run toward the central nervous system and into the extremities; we operate in a constant active and receptive dance throughout our day. Everything is set up for perfect cyclical rhythms.

Until, of course we become stressed and then it all shifts.What actually triggers the systemic changeover into stress is often unconscious, though we know that the imbalance creates even more stress across the board.

If we were in a constant state of efference, our heart would not receive blood; our extremities would swell up, eventually depleting our life blood and energy, creating secondary stress and a state of greatly diminished life force. This is seen physiologically through adrenal burnout as well; emotionally and mentally through misinterpretation, mental and emotional disorders, brain chemistry imbalance and depletion of our essential minerals and brain food reserves.

Again, it’s a cycle, and because the body always seeks stasis, any form of disruption in our natural rhythms leads to excessive cycling and more stress. We can change our chemistry, our natural rhythms and our endocrine balance just by over thinking and or emotional indulgence.

On the other hand, if we’re in a constant state of afference, we could become overwhelmed by foreign energies, the heart would flood with blood, our limbs would loose sensation becoming weak, we’d get sluggish, lethargic and spend much of our time wallowing. Similar changes would happen metaphysically or energetically when we open ourselves up to an extreme, allowing others to plug into our auric fields. Ironically, too much receptivity can also create stress.

The key is balance and integration, and what Carl Jung refers to as individuation: the integration of masculine and feminine principles. While Jung was probably referring to this psycho-spiritually, we can apply his concepts across the board because the head bone’s connected to heart bone, and all facets of beingness influence one another. Imbalance on any level is stressful for the human physiology, the emotional and mental constitution, as well as spiritually.

Stress can be addressed from any level and create results on all others. For example, we can find a way to slow our minds and this will be an effective remedy for emotional distress, physical tension and spiritual or energetic integration. Or, you could engage in a restorative yoga practice to effect change in the emotional, mental and spiritual realms as well. With any immersion, there are always varying depths of exploration and need for fairly constant attention, especially if the stress is chronic and environmental.

There are many different methods for stress relief, management and reduction, though not so many ways to truly abate stress and balance the ANS. Here are some ideas for different levels of commitment or engagement; you can choose how and where you’d like to begin focus your energies and take your next step. The audios build on each other in this order: Grounding to Anchoring to Vitality.

Getting to the Cause: Audio Files for Destressing

Stress Relief: taking a break, swimming on a hot day, going for a walk in the woods, listening to calming music, taking a sea salt bath, deep breathing, an easy restorative yoga class.

You may temporally access the following audios at Energetic Connection Podcast Page. A new link will be posted in the next 30 days.

Stress Reduction: the ongoing result of stress relieving exercises. Listen to this audio on Grounding.

Stress Management: regular long term practice of stress relief and integration of stress reduction experiences; a clearer place of integration and ability to find stress relief on the fly; conscious intention and attention. Listen to this audio on Anchoring.

Stress Abatement: rewiring the nervous system completely, creating a new neural network for calm and relaxation; use of stress relief, reduction and management methods with a deeper focus and spiritual intention. Listen to this audio on Vitality.

For more information about stress, please see our newsletter post: Elementals

Advertisements

Elementals

First posted in Summer 2012. The links here may be disconnected, so if you’d like more information about our courses, programs & audios, please feel free to email us.

Summer Cycles

On the Celtic Wheel of the Year, Summer actually begins on May 1st with Beltane. Solstice, or Mid-Summer, is the exact point of the Sun’s highest light in the annual cycle. It is from this pinnacle that Goddess Sulis holds the balance of fire and water, while the Sun blasts open the doors to our outer world, encouraging celebration, cleansing, transformation and play. This year Summer Solstice peaked on June 21st at 3:16 Mountain Time.

Further along the Wheel, Lughnasadh is traditionally about 6 weeks later on August 1. Long ago, and quite possibly in another dimension, Lugh honored his foster mother, Tailtiu, for her prolific planting of Ireland. At this point on the Wheel, we celebrate the first harvest of fruits, flowers and bountiful grain crops. Also known as Lammas, or loaf-mass, Lughnasadh calls in the time when the sun begins its path down into darkness once again.

The Wheel of the Year makes its way around the southern bend of Summer Solstice into a standoff with Winter. At the Sun’s highest point,its light is now still a warm and building Yang energy that encourages our attention outward.

Easing out the door slowly through the summer cycle we encounter our child-like sensuality. As the doorway slowly opens wider, the light bleeds even further through the crack. Taking in the smells and sounds of this new season, we celebrate the full opening as we embrace our bodies, singing and dancing as the heat finally bakes us from the inside out. Pulling on the creaks and the cold, the stagnancy deep in our bones finally dissipates.

Nature expresses effortlessly through us while we run and play in this time of great and rapid growth. In the Summer, we are driven by the element of Fire, and in balance, we call on the element of Water and other cool, Moon-like qualities to meet this most potent and natural form of masculine energy. Not yet edgy, the Sun God couples with the purest feminine, Cancerian energies and the the archetypal Goddesses of the season.

This image of Sulis was found through Google Images. Click on the word “Sulis” to go to The Mosaic Maker.

As Queen, Sulis leads the way, holding the polarities of Fire and Water in her making. Masculine and feminine, sun and moon, she is one with herself, a completely individuated female who expertly guides us further into the light. With her, we move beyond our known borders, searching until we reach equal darkness once the Fall cycle begins.

At Summer Solstice we look to the South where the fires of transformation burn; songs of life and its sweet melodies dance on the breeze. A chorus of frogs and birds, two and four-leggeds, everyone harmonizes, calling out in enthusiasm. The sounds of the rain falling, percussive-like in the background, entrance us like drumbeats to remind us that all is not lazy here and we continue to create shifts in our consciousness effortlessly while we play.

The fresh cleansing smells–combined with the pounding, snapping sounds of water falling on Earth beneath the Heavens–excavate the tunnel between our conscious and subconscious minds. At Solstice, we awaken more clearly to our mythical memories.

On this balance point, we stir our desires. With courage to look into the original mirror, the ocean’s depths, seeing our own reflections. In absence of the sea, we find it in the sky, pouring watery energy down from the heavens. The Summer expands time and space, so we listen to sounds of the sea in the sky, and the ringing call of the Goddess who holds all things in equanimity.

Hail to the blue heron who carries us through the gateway; hail to the blue green sea reflected in the sky; hail to the Queen of emotion, the mistress of compassion, for witnessing our dive. May they reveal our innermost feelings, our deepest emotions and bring them to the surface for expression and healing. Hail to the Sun whose fiery light calls in the soul of the Water at Summer Solstice.

Invocation of Sulis

Sulis with your eye wide open, help us see our individual flame, shining light on the entrance so clearly. Open the gate so we can dive with you into the healing spring waters, and the sea inside. Guide us; show us the way as we plumb and explore our depths on this journey toward the light, health and wholeness.

You carry both the flame and the spring of life, Sulis; we call on you to choreograph this Water dance of sensitivity, we call on you to give us strength as we walk through the Fire. Flowing, yet deliberate in our actions, we glide, our heads above water, moving over the rapids with grace and agility.

So multi-faceted and unbridled, our path seems incredibly perilous. Yet as water, we move effortlessly fast around the rocks, buoyant and spontaneous. At times we feel aimless in our search and we drift along waiting and wanting to fill something up. At times our Fire is so overwhelming, we find ourselves standing in dried-up riverbeds, breathing in the dust of our intensity and our destructive natures.

When we stay our course though, powerful in the stillness, the vessel appears and we are complete. Sun to Moon, Heaven to Earth, masculine to feminine, Yin to Yang, we are full and yet we are empty simultaneously.

Ease is our state of mind. As we move with you, our trust grows and our own eye expands. We can now see how you take us over the hidden boulders, through whirlpools that spin us around and frequently take our breath away; sometimes we are even at edge of death. As our own eye opens, we see that going with the flow takes us places we’ve never dreamed of before, out of our safe little streams into the rushing, pulsing rivers of the deep.

Journey Inward: Divine Flow and Rhythms of Life

Take a moment to relax, lying down on your back. Use props under your head and knees if you like. Breath naturally for several inhalations and exhalations, letting your bones be heavy, sinking into the floor; allow your eyes to drop to the back of your head. If you desire, breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth–even somewhat forcefully for a bit–to release stagnant energies. Then, breathe naturally and quietly through your nose.

As you breathe into your nose, feel the air moving from the nasal passages, down past your throat, down through your spine. Repeat this several times. As you breathe out, listen to the air passing through, brushing all sides of your throat like a wind; it’s a little like snoring. Breathe in and out through this place in the back of your throat; it’s like listening to the ocean in a huge conch shell.

Now imagine you are floating on a lake. Keep breathing, continuing to listen to the sea inside. Allow your breath to expand into the depth, the width and length of this lake; watch as your breath moves in all directions, like little waves lapping onto the shores.

Feel the mist on your skin, penetrating and entering your pores. Feel the water under your skin; see the clear crystal blue quality of its energy moving through you. This water flows through your veins and nerve pathways, through your subtle energy channels, your meridians and through your fascia. It occupies the space between the layers of your aura.

Your breath becomes the rivers, the tides and currents moving through all of your energy channels. Feel the water surrounding your bones and vital organs, moving into your cells, cleansing and purifying, flowing, open and receptive. You are the ocean.

Feel the water moving up your spine, pooling in each chakra along the way, expanding your intuition as it reaches your head, opening your eye.

Feel it cooling your brain as the water moves up from your kidneys, calming the Fire in your head.

Let this watery breath fountain out through your crown and into your aura. Feel it moving down into your arms and legs, it also fountains out your soles and palms. Feel this loving water element healing your emotional body. Feel your own vitality and life force quicken as you merge with the water on the planet.

Be still here as long as you like.

When you’re ready, bring your knees to your chest, roll over to the right and lie still for a bit longer. When you are ready, sit up. Sit still, breathe and feel the sea inside; when you are ready, stand up.

Water is always here, inside your body; its constant state of motility healing and purifying everywhere it goes.

The information here has been compiled from various personal experiences as well as teachings and information from Kathy Jones’ book “Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess,” Mara Freeman’s book, “Kindling the Celtic Spirit,” and Frank MacEowen’s book, “The Celtic Way of Seeing.”

Lughnasadh is the celebration of the Mother as she offers up the abundance of  her feminine nature for humankind. In the feast of the fruits and flowers, we call on the elements of water and earth to honor the wells and the mountains; the first harvest, and the transition of Summer into Fall. Here we honor both gods and goddesses in celebration of the shadow and the light, the mysteries, the warmth of the Sun and the cool breath of the Moon at night.

I have searched for the artist who created this image of Tailtiu and have come up empty handed. If anyone knows the artist, please let me know and I will give credit here.

As the Wheel of the Year turns upward from the South into the West, we meet Lugh (lookgh) a highly skilled immortal who having traveled far and wide experiencing many trials, comes back to live at Tara, the hill of kings. Born of the Tuatha De Danann (tuaay die danan), a tribe known as the gods of humanity, he makes his way home after years of fosterage and helps his people wrestle Ireland from the rule of the Fomoraig (Fomorians), the gods of chaos and wild nature.

Lugh is a god of light, and nasadh is the binding promise he made to his foster mother, Tailtiu, Queen of the Fir Bolg tribe that preceded even the Tuatha De Danann. As the Queen lay dying of exhaustion from clearing the whole of Ireland for agriculture, Lughnasadh, was born as her funereal festival.

More than just an acknowledgment of a mother passing into the otherworld, Lughnasadh is symbolic of the agreement between all living beings and our planet, an honoring of the last sheath of grain, woven through corn husks in the image of woman. These corn dollies were the effigies and receptacles for all woes and shadow states of the tribe that were absorbed and held throughout the year by women. These energies were finally purged at Lughnasadh into the corn dolls during their making, then burned to transmute the energy, using the dross to fertilize new ground for Spring planting.

Feasting on the harvest; singing and dancing to celebrate hand-fasting; competitive games for the men to prove their physical prowess was equal to that of Lugh; the long arms of heat from bonfires that lit up the night sky, symbolizing the powerful light of the Sun in Lugh; and the distinctive yet humble torches carried only by goddesses who’d been into the underworld and back again. This is the festival of victory–the brilliant light against the powers of darkness–as the Wheel turns once more into the West. Now begins the first cycle of Fall.

Mythology & History of Lughnasadh:

Lughnasadh is the celebration of the Mother as she readies to birth her nature for humankind. It is the feast of the fruits and flowers, calling on the elements of water and earth to honor the wells and the mountains; the first harvest and the transition of Summer into Fall. Here we honor both gods and goddesses in celebration of the shadow and the light, the mysteries, the warmth of the Sun and the cool cycles of the Moon.

As the Wheel of the Year turns upward from the South into the West, we meet Lugh (lookgh) a highly skilled immortal who eventually, after many trials, comes back to live at Tara, hill of kings. Born of the Tuatha De Danann (tuaoa die danan), a tribe known as the gods of humanity, he makes his way home after years of fosterage and helps his people wrestle Ireland from the rule of the Fomoraig (Fomorians), the gods of chaos and wild nature.

Lugh is a god of light, and nasadh is the binding promise he made to his foster mother, Tailtiu, Queen of the Fir Bolg tribe that preceded even the Tuatha De Danann. As the Queen lay dying of exhaustion from clearing the whole of Ireland for agriculture, Lughnasadh, was born as her funereal festival.

More than just an acknowledgment of a mother passing into the otherworld, Lughnasadh is symbolic of the agreement between all living beings and our planet, an honoring of the last sheath of grain, woven through corn husks in the image of woman. These corn dollies were the effigies and receptacles for all woes and shadow states of the tribe that were absorbed and held throughout the year by women. These energies were finally purged at Lughnasadh into the corn dolls during their making, then burned to transmute the energy, using the dross to fertilize new ground for Spring planting.

Feasting on the harvest; singing and dancing to celebrate hand-fasting; competitive games for the men to prove their physical prowess was equal to that of Lugh; the long arms of heat from bonfires that lit up the night sky, symbolizing the powerful light of the Sun in Lugh, and the torches carried only by goddesses who’d been into the underworld and back again. This is the festival of victory–the brilliant light against the powers of darkness–as the Wheel turns once more into the West.

Maker of the seasons and birth mother of the Wheel, Demeter is a Greek triple goddess; mother to Persephone, daughter of Hecate. As the goddess of grain she offers the food of life to humans. She is the goddess of all seasons, giving us birth in the Spring, life in the Summer and death in the Fall; then she gives us an opportunity for rebirth again after meeting our shadows in the lonely months of Winter.

Invoking the Gods and the Goddesses of Lughnasadh:

Three faces of the goddess, three phases of the moon, Demeter, as creatrix of the seasons, you personify the birth, the love and the death. You are the mother who rescues herself as the daughter Persephone when she drinks the inter-dimensional brew. Meeting grandmother Hecate in the shadowy darkness of her own underworld, you become sage and expansive in a place where until now, only Hades has flourished.
While stumbling about in the dark, your angry stick stirs the cauldron of remembering. Drop by drop– because mother courage effortlessly drags the lost maiden from her cowering place under the blight of the crone–the essential brew of life dribbles onto stone. It transforms youth into maturity and love to a Queen’s reign.

Steamy and sizzling, the ground cracks wide open under your feet. As rock disintegrates into dust, you fall and your fearful, thunderous rage ignites chaotic static in the air. It fills the sky with bolts of light, surprisingly and safely guiding you through the expanding crevasse into a gateway.

Though you tumble and bounce, still trying to fly, your eyes are flashing and keen. You scan, searching for the edges of a veil that exists for you no more. Now living in the world of humans, you acquiesce and merge. You are the perfect blend of ingredients for the life residing within you as you carry the eternal torch of those who’ve travelled inward and downward, emerging alive and integrated. In your essence, you remain a Queen.

You are the triple goddess; all things come from you, you are all things. Demeter you turn the wheel; you created and now you control the seasons. You are the midwife for sister Ceres, to whom Ker is born, the babe and the first stalk of grain. From this comes the first loaf, the first bread and the first taste of the body, enlightened.

We call on you Demeter, to guide us to see the abundance of your cycles, and to touch the gratitude in our souls. We ask for your blessings on our inner food at harvest time, on the bubbling elixirs for transformation and growth. Mother, may we perfect the tilling of our soil, plant our seeds on fertile ground; may we please you and may you always be here to remove in us what does not belong to you.

Journey through Lughnasadh in Gratitude:

Find a comfortable seat, close your eyes, put your feet on the floor and breathe into the bottom of your feet, gently calling it into your legs and pelvis. Let the breath pool in the pelvic floor, filling it up with air and then releasing it on the exhale.

Now feel the Earth energy moving up from its core into your feet chakras as you inhale, into the bubbling springs of life, moving through your legs into your Root Chakra and back down into the Earth.

Witness the Earth energy carving and defining its channels, streaming from the bottom of your feet, through your legs, passing the ankle, knee and hip joints; through the Root Chakra and into the Earth again.

Observe and notice how the Earth energy clears stagnant energy from your lower body, taking all things foreign or past-time as it moves out and back into the center of the Earth.

As you exhale, send the unwanted energy down deep into the Mother with great gratitude. She will transmute your dross to gold, giving birth to new and blessed forms, the fruits of your essence. Continue to offer her your dried and dead stalks, slashing and burning, fertilizing and making room for new seedlings of growth.

Breathe in and breathe out, sending gratitude for each cycle of nourishing inspiration and the die-off with expiration.

The information here has been compiled from various personal experiences as well as teachings and information from Kathy Jones’ book “Priestess of Avalon, Priestess of the Goddess,” Mara Freeman’s book, “Kindling the Celtic Spirit,” and Frank MacEowen’s book, “The Celtic Way of Seeing.”

ELEMENTS OF STRESS

What is stress?

More so most recently, our planet works overtime, flinging elemental energies around wildly as she expresses her stress and power. Stern and loud, her voice speaks to us about our own rouge expressions, reflecting back the chaos within our human beingness. She not only asks us to handle more and more external change as our cells re-call the ancient ways and how then, we acknowledged our lack of control over the elements. She also begs us to transform our inner terrain, and when we don’t have ears to hear, we feel the roar of her soul vibrating through our bones.

Whether planetary or not, stress is elemental; it’s built into our human design, residing deep within the bones of our DNA. We’re programmed with both the ability to respond to, and create, stress as an integral part of our nervous system as it runs through and connects our physical and subtle bodies. Stress is the hot, red, reactive, efferent impulse of control and desire for power over our environment. Yes, and in the moments when it’s a bit quieter and more productive, it’s also the active, masculine side of our genetic make-up; even women have this energetic and physiological construct.

I’m sure you know it well.

Admit it or not, we’ve all experienced stress and or masculine energy in different moments throughout life and have a lot of memories about how it feels or felt to be stressed and or empowered. I bet you can pull up a mental image picture or a feeling of both pretty easily.  Which of provides the kind of physical sensation, emotion or thought patterns that you’d like to repeat, over and over in your life?

How do you want to embrace your masculinity (whether male or female)? How do you want to be in relationship with this phenomenon and what side of the line do you choose? Will you continue to re-create and experience the edgy sides of stress, or will you call up memories of rest and relaxation, perpetuating ease and gentler sensations instead? Would you rather feel the cool, blue, responsive afference and calming imagery? Maybe someplace inside of us, there’s a balance point we can register in our wiring.

This image of the Redwood grove is my own.

Why do we stress?

Let’s start with some habits. Does any of this sound familiar?

1. Striving (struggling) to make things happen.

2. Completing everything so there’s nothing to do before going to bed or on a trip. Or, doing one last thing before leaving the house.

3. Rushing from one appointment to the next.

4. Hurrying up so you can relax.

5. Driving fast everywhere you go.

6. Always about 5 minutes late because you leave right when you need to be where you’re going

8. Using power over people in your life.

9. PROCRASTINATION and CONTROL!!

These are all very basic and fairly normal stress states, though they’re really only symptoms of what lies much deeper within us. Will you be one to discover what’s underneath the sprawling superficial layers that cover the root system? If we know we’re creating more stress by acting in these ways,  WHY do we perpetuate it? Or do we even notice?

Many of us actually like stress because it’s in our nature to push the envelope. Just how far, and in what ways can we push it for purposes of learning and growing before it truly becomes a stress monster or even an addiction?

The energy of our human composite is something akin to creation and destruction, expansion and boundaries, masculine and feminine principles. These are the foundations from which we use stress to evolve naturally, though in this era we sometimes push our minds and bodies so far with the constant pressure of the media and the introduction of newer and grander technologies, we fry our brains and injure our constitutions.

We can break Yin and Yang into individual parts and see how extreme masculine energy quickly grows into that monster. It’s symptoms are over-powering, over-acting, pushiness & bulldozing, willfulness, over-achievement, control, and are often a result of our resistance to flowing with our natural rhythms and soul forces. This monster feeds on the distance or space we create between Yin and Yang, each other, and the amount of time and energy we expend jumping from one construct to the other searching for an experience of balance and integration. Then destroy it all over, again and again.

If we were more emergent and a bit more curious, as opposed to distracted and compulsive, would we be so stressed? Or would we be bored from a lack of polarized definitions?

Stress is elemental in geological, philosophical, sociological, anthroposophical, physiological and metaphysical ways. Because at best, we humans are ever the alchemists, striving to harness, transform and control the elements of earth, wind, water, fire, space, our minds and emotion; we create lots of chaos in everything we do. And with that we leave a lot of entropy.

Some of this chaos and entropy are immediately noticeable, and when we are awake and present, we use the entropy for our evolution. Yet, much of it remains un-recycled, and has long standing repercussions, even covert reactions and effects that bubble up intermittently and often appear centuries down the historical pathway in places we’d never think to look.

On a purely physical level, think about nuclear energy; it epitomizes stress from within its creation, to the use of its power, to the day it becomes destabilized like in Japan or Three Mile Island, and of course into the earthly elements for decades and centuries to follow.

Directional cue: Don’t waste too much time on superficial mundane meanderings here; think back to the basic studies of geology, physiology, philosophy, anthroposophy, sociology and metaphysics. How does stress, chaos and entropy create more stress on the related and subterranean levels inside of you?

It’s in us to be stressed, and if we aren’t already naturally and actively engaged in the practice of stress, we make it so, everywhere we go. We wear stress like a trophy in every season by resisting what we’ve already chosen–human form, earth life, our families, jobs and more. And yet, it’s also in us to be free and relaxed, if only we could trust and allow the Sun to shine, the winds to blow, the earth to quake and the rains to pour without our help and interference. If we did allow it, if we did use our will coupled with clear thought and inspiration, what would be able to manifest? If we used our God-given gifts, we might just be more balanced!

If.

This resistance runs deep, though. On the outside it may look a lot like certainty, knowingness, intelligence and actualization, especially when we look at ourselves in the mirror. Our minds see what they want to see. Sometimes it holds all those wonderful qualities, that’s true. Yet when it doesn’t, or even when we’re brave enough to slow down to experience a different rhythm–an internal rhythm, one that’s linked to the rhythms and tides of our planet and beyond–then we know there’s something off beat inside of us. Until we change our pace for a mere moment, until we live without extreme stress and breathe a bit more consciously, we’ll never know this other option exists.

How does the Cycle Work?

It’s also in us to be stressed in the right circumstances; that’s the true rhythmic and elemental piece. Like food, if we’re addicted to stress, how do we find balance without becoming overweight, diabetic or anorexic; and in this instance, complacent and apathetic or dead in the face of a kumodo dragon on some movie screen?

In simple terms, here’s the way our system expresses stress: the fore brain perceives a potentially dangerous situation and transmits this information to the hypothalamus deep in the midbrain. The hypothalamus sends a message via the sympathetic (masculine, Yang, Sun) branch of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) to the endocrine system (pituitary, adrenals) which then pumps up the appropriate chemicals and limbs to deal with this danger. In the end, it’s usually adrenalin that overtakes our systems making us feel fast, strong and powerful, able to overcome anything. So we run away, or we stand and take on the challenge. This is better known as fight or flight and it takes us right back to our mammalian and sometimes reptilian patterns.

But you already know that.

 

This image of the autonomic nervous system originates here.

How wonderful to feel so formidable!  Our ego-minds get engaged encouraging us saying, “let’s do that again!” And so the cycle perpetuates.

Read more about the cycle of stress.

Get free visualization audio downloads and read more about theAutonomic Nervous System here.

SELF REFLECTION

I’ve learned a little lately by watching myself create stress out of thin air. Because of that self observation, now, instead of making haste when I’m at home feeding the cats or making dinner, I move thoughtfully and slowly; I breathe while I work; I drive the speed limit more and more, and I’ve begun to give myself time in between engagements. These are the simple things I do to shift my programming.

This image of the Crescent City, CA lighthouse is my own.

One of the sources for my stress, I’ve fairly recently discovered, is driven by a need to please. Now this isn’t profound, yet it’s something we all do at some level. It can be incredibly insidious. We often ignore and or we continue to find deeper levels of it. It’s not hard to spot this trait in others, though our own blind spots get bigger as we get stiffer. Take a moment to honestly inquire within about how you try to please other people.

Do you see it? Why do you do this?

How does it appear, in what situations, and where does it come from? Its origins are probably linked to a deep desire for relationship, fear of losing those relationships or some other deeply rooted survival concern which honestly could be just as stressful as the obsessive compulsive act of pleasing. Even the relationship you have with your personal image, your work and other definitions in the world are at stake here. Read more about Stress & Self Reflection.

EMERGENCE

De-stress and balance yourself. Check out our new meditation and visualization CD, “Emergence.” It’s an experiential series exploring the energies of Sun, Moon and Synergy. You can purchase and download it immediately by clicking here.

OPEN YOUR BODY TO SPIRIT

Online educational opportunities in:

Self-Mastery

Opening to Spirit 1:Exploring Ceremony, Healing and Intuition

 

Opening to Spirit II:

Balancing Sun & Moon, Fire & Water

We offer self-study in 6, 12 and 14-week courses as well as single sessions in all courses if all you want is a little bite.