Techniques.

I’ve written a fair bit on this site trying to explain what i have learned while healing myself from a fairly bad illness/condition so that others may benefit. How I’ve now gone from being in a pretty bad way to where i am now (all well and good and getting stronger with every day). How those things that affected me (and so many others) are connected to many of the issues we see with health today – I’ve spent a great deal of time practising and playing with various methods and i’m now at a point where i understand that we will never truly understand the processes that are happening but if we truly learn to listen to the signals (and act upon them), we can trigger and continue to facilitate the bodies own healing mechanisms. We seem to have forgotten that as an adaptive mechanism (that has been adapting for a long time), the mindbody complex is very good at healing – if only we can lessen (or remove) those things that are preventing it from doing this and re-introduce those that assist.

One of the more powerful negative influences being our own mind – the “front brain” to be more precise (or less precise if we look at the whole left brain right brain idea in depth – see Tony Wright and Iain McGilchrist for more on this). If we can lessen the control/interference of this aspect of the brain we will have made a good start. Add to that some “play” with simple (anthropological) resting postures, a small dose of “focus meditation” (only necessary in the early stages) and utilising certain (very powerful) facial movements to our advantage and we’ve got something very special indeed.

I am aware that i have not exactly been efficient with words and it’s not beautiful prose – but, as they say, there is gold in them there hills. I’m going to try my best to explain the “techniques” i have learned/created (with assistance from a very good friend over in the good old US of A – you know who you are Mr. M.) and more importantly, try to convey the most important skill/practice, that of truly listening to your body – to listen to (and act upon) the subtle (and not so subtle) messages that will allow you to not only heal but to achieve a higher level of performance than previously thought in all aspects of life. I say this not to hype up the methods or techniques but we are going to be working with the system towards it’s optimal state of being.

“Play” is a hugely important aspect of all of the techniques below – the spirit of exploration of your own body in a playful manner – Simply moving and feeling, following the bodies urges to move in certain ways – it’s trying to tell you something – go with it and listen again. Don’t resist, go with it and do what it says. You can’t go wrong, just give in to it. It might tell you to do crazy things like stand still and do a huge smile. If it does, do it. It will then give you another signal.

I should make it clear that while the kisssmilebreatherepeat and kissing “techniques” are useful as short term management tools and long term adaptative tools (and feel great which is reason alone to try them), they are not necessary if you enter into the resting positions on a hard surface with persistence as that is the ultimate “reset” and will come with plenty of movement, both subtle and not so. Many of the movements will have you (your “front brain”) wondering what the system is doing, making you do that – but if you follow what is being asked of you, you will soon see why. Simply the suggestion of those other practices is enough. Try them once and see if you like them – if you do, the system will ask you to do them again. If not, it won’t – yet. Due to our overly stimulated modern lifestyles we do need intervention somewhere and these are one small tool to help. The resting is not optional.

Ok, we might as well get straight into it.

The Techniques.

KissSmileBreatheRepeat – Smile when you breath in and kiss when you breathe out – smile a bit deeper, push the kiss out further – stretch those facial muscles. Do some small ones, tiny little puckers, it’s all exploring what feels good, what you need. Only breathe through your nose and allow whatever happens to happen – yawning, vibrations in the tongue/mouth, breath holding itself, whatever. Let it happen. If the mouth wants to stay in a kiss as you breath back in, it’s because it needs to – let it and it will let you know when it’s ready to move. Do this for 3 cycles, 5 cycles or 10 cycles. It’s up to you but the frequency of doing it is what counts, not doing it for ages each time. Doing 5 breaths like this frequently is just as good as having loads of time to do it. Oh and as i’ve already said (and i’ll keep saying as it’s important), “play” with it – This is fun, not serious – don’t worry about doing it right – if you are smiling and kissing and breathing (ideally through your nose), you are good to go. A particularly beneficial time to do this is as you settle into one of the resting positions below although any time is good.

Kissing – Use the motion of the kiss as a “reset” for your facial muscles, in particular the middle of the forehead and the muscles and fascia around the maxilla. If you live a modern “western” lifestyle, you almost certainly have a fair bit of facial tension and this is the motion that releases that tension.  It’s like the valve at the top of the pressure cooker that is your body. Even as tension is released from other areas (unwinds/tremors/whatever name you wish to give them), the face is gathering more tension in response to these releases. It (particularly the corrugator supercilli with their relationship to “front brain” activity) will always have something to “say” about what’s happening – analysing, questioning – the kiss will release this – It helps get rid of any excess tension that the face is constantly gathering – Both from a muscluar point of view and brain activity as there is a connection between this expression and down regulating the “front brain”.

Much of this tension is (usually) passed further down the chain to the neck, shoulders, back and beyond (masseters and trapezius in particular) as part of a coping mechanism – like storage. So the kiss is like an escape valve. Often after doing this your face will want to pull back into a smile/yawn and as we now know, go with it, allow those crazy yawns and other movements to happen – your mindbody is doing what it needs to restore your optimal health/state.

Doing the kiss while looking upwards is especially powerful (one reason being the “shortening”/relaxing of the superficial back chain which assists this process) and will eventually start a cascade of release throughout the body, not least because of the effect on other “circular” or “sphincter” type muscles and various nerves in the face/neck. Add a slow turning of the head from side to side while looking up and you can achieve some major release throughout the whole body. As well as looking up and rotating the head, moving body parts around when doing this has already proven highly effective with a number of people. Even something as simple as walking and activating the kiss release can reap major rewards. It’s all in moving (mindfully) and listening.

I find it also helps to think of the smile as acceptance and the kiss as the letting go. If you find a block/tension, try smiling at it (ideally a soft, Tao inner smile but not to worry, any smile will do) and then kiss to let it go. You can repeat this as often as you like. It can take time with major blocks but it will help. Not all blocks need acceptance but it won’t harm to smile at them. Eventually your face will adopt the necessary expression that is best for each block you come across and the expression will change when it feels appropriate but as a general guide, i find the aforementioned approach to be very useful at first.

Push that kiss right out, do short little ones – explore the chemistry and energy changes that happen in different positions – see what works for you, what feels good. Follow the urges and all will be good. Check in with the top lip too – see if it is forming a full kiss – it may not at first and you may want to work with little ones to get there as that feels best. It’s the feeling good we are looking for – it feels good for a reason – i know i’ve said that before but i’ll keep saying it until it sticks. Do it frequently and whenever you feel stressed – and when you don’t  – do it for fun or just to look weird. This one is really powerful given time. The kiss/mouth has a direct link to our freeze response via the perineum/kundalini/base chakra. You only need to do a few at a time – and don’t be surprised if you get tremors or weird noises coming from your mouth after doing it for a while – and it might take a while but they will almost certainly start to happen. If you have chronic anxiety/OCD, do this when it gets triggered – as you are about to do whatever it is that you do – Going to wash your hands again – stop and kiss as you do – going to check the lights and kettle again – stop and kiss (if you remember, no worries if not) – still do the thing you have to do, be curious about what you are doing – do what the system asks – wash you hands until you stop – check the door 50 times if you have to – don’t think you are daft for doing it – just keep going until it stops – even talk to it while you are doing it – ask it to let you know why you are doing it, you are genuinely interested. However long it takes – it/you will get tired eventually. Try the kiss too though, you will be nicely surprised. Smile and kiss – accept the anxiety and then  release it. It has no defence to that.

Resting positions with ” focus meditation”.

There are two main starting positions and they exist for specific reasons – One is protective and one is open and confident – one can be used as a stressor/kickstart and one is used to protect and allow healing through absolute protection and rest. As with everything , we need balance and between these two, we have it. Again, the element of play and exploration is key as you will be making adjustments to your position fairly soon – as directed by those urges. You will be amazed at how a subtle shift of hand position or wrist angle can set off a chain of release simply because you have found an opening into a “line” of tension, sometimes going from one end of the body to the other and whether emotional trauma, postural compensation or otherwise, it doesn’t matter – it just is and is doing what it needs to.

The first position is lying in (something close to) the fetal position (the ultimate reset) and the other is on your back with your hands by your side, palms up or down (depending on how you feel) just like the “corpse” pose (Savasana) in yoga. There are other positions we can use (and if you are tuning in and being told to start in something different, do it) but these are a great starting point for the reasons explained above. Lying on your back is also very effective with your hands behind your head, fingers interlinked like a pillow/cradle for your head. I won’t go into the postural adaptations that take place in both positions but they are hugely important, especially with regards to the trapezius/scapular region and shoulder rotation (and the rear deltoids which we will discuss another time – you’ll feel them soon enough). The effects of change here are felt far and wide.

Once in one of these positions, we do what feels good/right – Your body will tell you what to do – you just have to follow the urges – “Oh, the arm is not comfy there – how about this slight change in position – ah that feels comfy – Oh, you want me to put that arm there – Ok” – Take the curious, playful approach and magic will happen. Those urges are there for a reason. Want to pull the knees up higher? -do it and see what happens -move them back down a bit, Ok, you’ll find it soon enough. We are not trying to find perfect alignment here – the body will do that (according to it’s plan, not someone elses) if you follow it’s instructions. One tip i will give though is that the ideal starting point (in my experience) for the fetal position is with the lower arm/hand underneath tucked under the head on a firm/hard surface – and straight out when on a much softer surface (such as a bed) as the curve allowed by a soft surface will (usually, especially with a sprung mattress) negate the need for a hand or arm to support the head (optimal angles etc). This will probably change very quickly (all be it subtly) but i believe it to be the optimal starting point. Lying your head on the underarm/hand  can be tough at first so try it and when it says move, move. (This adaptation will almost certainly accompany major release in the rear shoulder).

We need to remember that we are looking to “become one” with the surface we are on and that doesn’t come straight away with surfaces that we are not adapted to. We are becoming yin to the floors yang. But instead of “forcing” a position (as with when we correct our alignment in yoga for example) and trying to learn to be good in that position, we are allowing the body to find that optimal position itself. Which it will do. It may have some curves and shapes on the way but it will get there – and when it does, it will be effortless. Call it reverse engineered yoga if you like.

Because we (most of us) have become so front brain dominated, receiving signals (and acting upon them) can be tough at first and that is why i will suggest the following to help you get started. Direct your awareness (attention if you prefer, not a strong focus though) to the area just below the nose – you can think of the breath going in and out of the nostrils, check how the upper lip feels or even take your focus to the inside of your mouth, just above the front two teeth and below the nose – all will do. Just be aware of how this area feels. Through the effect this has on the facial muscles/nerves, this affects brain activity in a way that is optimal for our purposes – equanimity. Then you follow the signals – which will come through much stronger when adopting this “technique”. Usually you will (first) be directed to tension in the eyes/forehead – go there and be with it. Do as “instructed” (move your face in a “funny” way, allow your leg to start shaking etc) and continue following, knowing that the better you get at watching whatever is going on, the better job the system will do at healing itself (you). If you get lost or the process seems to stop, return to the start and it will rapidly find it’s way back to where it was (usually via the forehead briefly in the early stages) and continue the process. One thing that can help is to imagine that you have a team of mini you’s inside you and they are running around fixing things – they come across something and yell at you “hey, shine that torch here would you buddy, we just need to sort this out and it’s awful dark down here”. You can even try this if you like – when you feel tension or pain, just say to them “hey, come and have a look at this area would you?” – “see if anything needs doing here” – then leave them to it and they will let you know when they are done.

This process is not pain free – you may well experience moments of depression, anxiety, anger, euphoria and so on – This is the “release” of emotional “trauma”/memories and should you need someone to talk to during these periods (and you have no one else) i am here to talk. This is an important part of the process and is why it is wonderful if you happen to have someone else willing to journey with you. There will almost certainly be “muscular” discomfort/”soreness” as “releases” happen to but continue to listen and it will work out. Being “with” pain is a wonderful way to release pain. Acknowledge it, sit with it and even be curious about it without judging or trying to change it and you (the system) will work wonders.

In the early stages, modern life/habits/external stimulation will try to pull you off course but the more you “practice”, the more they will have no pull on you as you will have changed. They will no longer be a distraction.

Obviously any significant postural change will be assisted by “nutritious” movement patterns to help re-integrate those adaptations. Years of (musculoskeletal) adaptation may cause a certain a mount of “pull back” when shifts happen – but with some simple mindful movement (applying the same techniques of following the messages as above), you can imprint these changes for good. A simple regimen of crawling (leopard crawl) with squatting as a resting position alone will do wonders, as will lots of walking and eventually sprinting (not straight away though, a little too intense while shifts are happening).

I think that just about does it for now, It will need re-writing no doubt but all the basic tools are there. Good luck and please let me know how you get on.

Good luck

Andy

Deep Rest.

See what i did there? – type two words and you hear one – check out the literary alchemist. Seriously though, it’s not surprising that most people will have “heard” the word depressed when reading the title – depression seems to be everywhere right now.

Note – I may be a literary alchemist but i should apologise for the slightly disjointed style of this, i’ve tried re-writing it a few times only to find i couldn’t really do much more right now. It says what it needs to say.

Right, back to the matter at hand.

Depression is the mindbody system doing what it has to in order to return to it’s optimal state. In the presence of almost constant stress and negative/harmful stimulation, it is simply being completely honest about how it feels and then taking action to remedy that.

For example – Someone with “chronic anxiety” will become “depressed” (have moments of deep “depression”) but the two cannot exist at the same moment as one is a “defence mechanism” against the other.

Too many things to think about. Too much to “worry” about. Too much to “care” about. Too much choice. Too much to do today – every day. In a society that is “designed” to make us unwell, the mindbody decides it has to “not care” about any of this nonsense. It “realises” how unimportant these things that we are “worrying”/”stressing” about really are now that it’s (your) health that is at risk. Instead of “doing the right thing” and appearing (at face value) to appreciate everyone’s point of view and lifestyle, it becomes contemptuous of (much of) the society it sees and seeks to distance itself from it – Because to continue to go along with all of this and make like everything is OK is really hard work – highly “stressful” – becoming so harmful that a “deep rest” is the only answer.

I like to think of it as “de-pressed” or, as suggested above, “deep rest”. It has (rightly in my opinion) been argued by some that depression is actually a pretty natural state for the mindbody to “adopt”/adapt to in our modern world as the information being piped into your “mind” via the various media channels is pretty awful – From worldwide water and food shortages to constant wars and massive inequality – the world possibly being “run” by a group of individuals/families/groups who, if you believe that “evil” does exist, could certainly qualify for that label. The oceans being poisoned, species becoming extinct at a rapid rate, peak oil, knife attacks – Not to mention the conditioning that takes place from a young age and the pressures of being a child in today’s society! It would be easy to feel less than optimistic the way the world seems/is right now. This is why we see younger and younger children affected by this “condition”.

It’s easy to see how – with all of the above – day after day, week after week, month after month, that the mindbody says “enough, i can’t take this shit any more – i don’t care – i just don’t care” – And it’s response is to make you feel that way through changing the message you are sending to your nervous system and beyond.

It’s first line of defence is to adopt a “stoic” expression. An expression of “i don’t care” – “i’m not bothered” – and this, as we know, causes you to feel that way through the relationship between what your face says/does and how you feel – your mindbody is making your face adopt that expression to change your chemistry – to affect how you perceive the world. It is protecting you, helping you. Obviously this is a feedback loop and thoughts affect chemistry too – but changing your chemistry through physical/body language is more powerful as it changes your perception and therefore your thinking every minute of every day.

As we’ve seen above, this change causes you to feel differently – to become “closed off” – almost emotionless. Not wanting to socialise for example – why would you when it’s hard work communicating with those who only talk about bullshit things that you don’t find interesting in the slightest? Time to be honest – either find new friends or become a recluse. Family that can’t talk about your situation? Who find it impossible to be vulnerable? – Your defence mechanism will tell you to communicate as little as possible and when you do, keep that face on and you’ll seem fine to them – no point trying to talk to them about it, they won’t be able to, they are too closed off to their own feelings, let alone yours.

This is why so many people are surprised when they hear that a family member of friend has committed suicide. The person concerned seemed relaxed; un-phased, if a little distant at times – but nothing that “stood out”. It wouldn’t would it, especially to those who often can’t even communicate with themselves openly.

I read recently that suicide is the number 1 killer of men between 20-49 in the UK and i think the statistics are pretty close in Ireland too. More men between 20-49 are killing themselves than dying of anything else?! – Seriously, it’s time to wake up to the fact that our “lifestyles” are killing us. We have probably all heard the expression “your health is your wealth” but so few of us actually live that way – thinking that a hour of physical exercise and a half decent diet are the keys to staying well – they are not.

So, the defence mechanism is in place, trying to help you return to an optimal state of body and mind. Problem is, the world carries on hassling you – In oh so many ways – have to keep going to work to pay the bills, dealing with all that the job entails, days often filled with bullshit and stress. TV doesn’t get turned off, more messages of negativity, doom and gloom etc – people relying on you for things, more stress when your mindbody just wants you to stop and look after yourself. Time to go to stage 2, Physical pain.

Physical pain is a complicated thing. It is known that pain can be “created” by the mindbody complex as a “distraction” from processing that which is hard to process. It’s pretty hard to process everything that is “wrong” in the world right now so this would be an ideal time for pain to do it’s thing. Pain can be “created” by the mindbody to get you to do what it has told you to do already but you haven’t listened. Obviously pain can also be from actual tissue damage as well as from other sources but for the purpose of this subject, we are looking at it as a creation to make you change your behaviour. And that’s what is happening here – there is no structural damage, you’ve done nothing to cause any – That pain is the mind body trying to get you to do what it wants. Stop and rest, change your lifestyle.

So to finish i suppose that what i’m saying is this – Depression is natural – even helpful – If that person listens to the signals and acts accordingly. If they are able to do what needs to be done – Which is basically listen to the bodies signals and not ignore them and carry on. If they are able to truly accept that their health is their wealth and everything else at this point is moot.

This means change and sometimes change can seem hard – bad habits are hard to break – but not so hard if you allow your chemistry to be changed by this defence mechanism. This change will make your behaviour change, your habits change. If you can truly allow the healing to take place, it will work it’s magic. Your mindbody wants you to be “well”. And remember, this is the big one, without your health everything else is pointless. So learn to listen to the signals – accept that they are right, do what they ask. Don’t push on through, they are you trying to help you. Even something as simple as folding your arms a lot. Don’t listen to the naysayers telling you it’s “negative” body language – it’s your body language doing what it needs to do to help you in that moment. If you just let it do what it needs to, it will get you back to where you need to be.

 

I’m not saying for one minute that the above is easy to do – but it can be done – we just need to create the space to allow it to happen.

cheers

andy

Flow state

 

flow handstand

If you’ve read much of what is being written and taught right now, you would think that “flow” is a complex, elusive state that requires a number of things to be in place – and ideally, an expert or two to show you the way – for a fee of course. But the reality is much more simple.

Flow state is a facial expression.

We can try to dissect it all we like but the above is true.

The mechanics of how we feel in any given moment are the translation of what we perceive through the muscles of the face/eyes/ears etc into chemistry and energy.

Take the tongue for example. When the tongue is in the “correct” place, supporting the maxilla, it helps the maxilla to “relax” – to rest on this super strong muscle (which is really a sensory organ), the way nature intended. This helps to relax the musculature of the eyes and nose  – relax the muscles around the nose and we breath better – the diaphragm relaxes. It should come as no surprise that when we relax the place where we breath in, our breathing apparatus also “relaxes”/returns to a natural rhythm. Relax the muscles of the eyes and guess what, you see the world with a more “relaxed” (yet alert) view. This is chemistry and energy “circuits” in action – the muscles of your face tell your nervous system how things are out there and it tells other systems (limbic, endocrine) the same – chemicals are released and you feel a certain way. Forgive me if i am repeating myself from previous pieces, i think this is important. Your face is controlling your chemistry (and energy).

When the tip of the tongue is sitting where nature intended, it also completes an energy circuit that travels around our body, a “circuit” often referred to as the micro-cosmic orbit. This is something that is hugely important in Yoga, Qi Gong, Tai Chi etc etc – whether you call it Prana or Qi or Chi, this is our “life force” and when we disconnect that circuit, we can not operate at an optimal level.

Flow state is focus + muscular relaxation. Perfect chemistry, perfect energy.

Flow is achieved frequently when doing an “extreme” sport as your focus is so strong (to keep you alive) that the mindbody complex chooses to down-regulate (restrict blood flow to) the prefrontal cortex as it needs the rest of the brain performing optimally to keep you alive – Hence that state known as transient hypofrontality. What we seem to forget is that it’s the same state of “mind” (and body) that you get with practice at a focus “meditation”. Long term practitioners of this spend most of their time in (or on the edge of) flow – You only have to observe them talk to see this – They live in a state that can best be described as teetering on the edge of flow, ready to slip into it automatically the moment that a shift is required. And that shift happens without effort.

This state is harder to remain in for many (without the life risking situation) as they haven’t practised it enough (been in that place enough – muscle memory – mastery), have huge amounts of tension/trauma (causing blockages in the system) and are surrounded by distractions which, without the practice and musculoskeletal adaptation (release, memory/mastery), will easily distract you. You hear talk of moments from extreme sports as if those insights/eureka moments can only happen when doing that kind of thing but the truth is, with practice you have these all the time. Now don’t get me wrong, i love some “extreme” sports but they don’t have the monopoly on flow – Just because it doesn’t currently happen as often in “normal sports” or daily life, doesn’t mean it can’t.

There is (obviously) a certain amount of preparatory work necessary in terms of physical tension “release” and adaptation, especially in the face/neck/mouth tongue etc for us to be in (or on the edge of) this state more often/most of the time (The early Yogis knew this). We know that the corrugator supercilli are one of the main perpetrators involved (trained from an early age through education in it’s current form, the never ending quest for more information, sitting in chairs at desks, using computers etc – even footwear with a large amount of drop from heel to forefoot – all perfectly designed to turn us into “front brain” addicts) but we also know that (obviously) the whole system is important – The maxilla region, The masseter muscles, the scalenes, trapezius etc etc – To talk about one muscle group or certain chemicals is folly as this whole thing is so complicated – and yet so easy to achieve when you remember/learn how to FEEL.

To do this, we will need to let go – To let go we will require physical relaxation/release to the point that (almost) all energy “blockages” are cleared – Whether you see these as tension, blockages, dense forms of matter causing disruptions in energy flow or whatever does not matter – It’s effectively a clearing of the pathways that allow the system to communicate efficiently and do what needs to be done without any roadblocks on the map. This is the precursor to transient (and not so transient) hypofrontality. Yes, there are particular muscles that can get us to this state very quickly (and we will be using those to effect an all over body effect) but what we want is to be on the edge of “flow” at all times so we need to clean the whole system – from a “physical release” perspective. So let’s start at the place where it all begins, the face.

The kiss/mouth has particular power due to it’s affect on many of the nerves/muscles around the eyes/face/neck – and it’s connection to the sphincter/perineum, two areas that are often the last to relax, holding a huge amount of tension for various reasons – too many for us to start discussing here.

Rather than go into the techniques again here, if you read my “techniques” piece, you will find them. If you “play” with and practice these techniques, you will be able to achieve flow state whenever you wish with a very subtle shift. Almost unnoticeable, this will eventually become automatic and won’t require life or death situations. You will (if you wish to take it to that level) be in flow most of the time. Being on the verge of flow is, after all, our default state.

The main thing to remember is the overarching principle in all of this preparatory work is to do what feels comfortable – the path of least resistance. We are constantly being told to get out of our comfort zones – How about we shift our comfort zone effortlessly? Once you have some “competency” in the “skill” of following what needs to be done, you are on the way. Take the curious, playful approach and magic will happen. Those urges are there for a reason. Feeling comfortable is a message that you are doing something right. You just have to listen to find out when comfort becomes discomfort.

Once you start to get the hang of this it’s not only great fun but i (and many others) believe that you can cure dis-ease as well as improve performance in ways previously thought outlandish. The mindbody is a wonderful guide as it can see what we can’t, no matter how well read/clever we believe ourselves to be. Practice, follow the urges – and you will eventually achieve flow. It’s a simple case of resetting your body to an almost childlike state of freedom along with facilitating/allowing your face/tongue etc to sit in a certain way most of the time – through “release” and adaptation. The way it would have been in our evolutionary past. In the early stages, modern life/habits will try to pull you off course with it’s over stimulation but to the person in flow, these things are no longer a distraction.

Flow – It’s not as elusive as you think.

cheers

Andy

From here, where do we go – Well, this is where i’d like to go next – Mothers and fathers lifting cars off children etc. When everything fires the right way, what are we truly capable of? Were monks able to move (nearly) the way they do in crouching tiger etc?

Sounds impossible, like fantasy i know. But i’m starting to think that much of what is thought of as myth (because it seems impossible to us) is not myth at all. We don’t know that writings were meant in this way and yet we make this assumption that they are mythology because we don’t see anyone doing it today – why is it so implausible that they are simply true stories about what happened back then. Obviously i’m not saying it’s all literal (i’m sure that “artistic license” has always existed) but i am starting to think it may be a lot closer to truth than fantasy.

 

 

Eating food.

 

eating

What else would i be eating i hear you say? – I don’t know, that’s your business and quite frankly, i don’t want to know.

Anyway, on to the “science”.

It has recently been proven that eating food gives you cancer – and hives..and depression..and toothache..and.. well everything.

Maybe we should stop eating all together – become breatharians or whatever people that only eat air are calling themselves now. Oh hang on, oxygen also gives you cancer – damn, thought we had it sussed there.

Oh hang on, there’s a saviour at the door. What?, it has recently been proven that eating food can also cure you of the above listed diseases/conditions – Hooray, we are saved.

This is the state of the “diet” “industry” right now. Well to be more precise, it’s the state of science right now – Pitching for tender, basically trying to keep their jobs – “scientists” are having to come up with headline making claims to keep receiving funding. Often it’s not even the scientist making the claim, the organisation funding the study does so that they get their slice of pie from whoever is funding them – meat industry, wine lobbyists, egg farmers (got you there – they are called chickens and they don’t lobby anyone).

Now i could write a piece that attempted to be all informative but i can’t be bothered and to be quite frank, there is no reliable information out there any more, just hype and nonsense everywhere. so we might as well have some fun with it – cause that is good for us.

In fact, i can’t be arsed to write any more at all, i’m bored of this already. But the moral of the story is this – eat food and have fun – oh and air will kill you eventually.

boing

mr hutch

 

Changing.

Human – business evolution

Good morning.

This is a tad disjointed but what the hell, i think it’s worth a few minutes, even if you’ve heard it all before – there’s even a new character made of vegetable.

I changed again this morning – No, not my clothes, i’m still a smelly old soap dodger.

With the release of tension in your head and face comes a significant shift in who you are and how you behave. All of those tiny maladjustments being undone, chemistry shifting day after day, minute after minute. The physical changes across your entire body as muscles relax – some that have been tense since childhood – some really “deep”. You can watch the physical “signatures” of your body change – things that you know have been there for 35 years plus (and maybe longer) but just accepted as being part of you. Changes across your entire body as tremors release trauma and tension, returning you to a state of wonder, of childlike openness. Hearing every twitter the birds make, everything becoming still -that stillness that we find with meditation and other forms of “relaxation” – only here to stay. It actually took me a while to bring myself back to a place where i could write this. And i’m still not really “back” – It’s a major shift this time. I felt it as a tremor from my throat went down through my neck to a lump have had for years on my cervical spine. The lump has almost disappeared now, over the past few months having gone from something the size of half a gherkin to what is now maybe a tenth of a grape – now it’s maybe half a pea – keep up, this is advanced fruit and veg mathematics here!

Call it an insight, call it whatever. I call it a release – a release of something that was holding me back in some way. Something stopping that inner child from coming back into my life. All those years of don’t do this, don’t do that, getting the slipper for minor mishaps – nonsense and conditioning by a society that is messed up beyond belief – A society that increasingly needs drugs just to escape every now and again – and yes i am including alcohol – It always thinks it can get away without being called a drug doesn’t it? – “i’m not a drug, i’m just a little drinky-poos” – well alcohol, me and Mr. Carrot (my sons carrot toy, he’s a detective and is friends with Billy the Kid – they are both cowboys – and gymnasts) got your number and we ain’t lettin’ you go (that’s cowboy lingo). I’ve been waiting for my inner child to come back for a while – and i think he’s finally arrived. Well he’s actually crawling through the catflap and he’s got a little stuck – but with a bit of butter we’ll get him through.

And, moving on.

The thing that needed to be “released” – At least it felt like this was the one.

Having been to the dark places, you want others to come back from there. But trying to help becomes a drain – It’s hard work getting most people to pay attention and listen. This is not surprising as we have done too much of this almost every day of our lives and continue to do so day after day. We want a break from it all – hence the rise of meditation – much of which is taking the wrong approach (IMO – but i’m right on this one), taking the intellectual (and controlling) approach to something that is anti-intellectual – “controlling your mind”, “controlling your thoughts” – couldn’t be further from what we really need – which is to properly “switch off”. It’s trying to get people to slow down, to stop – that’s the challenge – it’s seen as a badge of honour to be busy. This is a real shame as it’s in that slowing down, stopping – for reasonably long periods of time – that healing occurs. Mental, physical, it’s all one. And before the running crowd get on to me saying “you can’t just rest your way out of all injuries” – well actually you can – but agreed, you need to keep a certain amount of mobility – that wasn’t my point and you know it 🙂

To be fair, i have met some wonderful people who are very diligent when it comes to this and they all see great results – but they are few and far between. And i’m not judging anyone, it’s no-ones fault as such – our brains are tired and confused from too much going on – all the time. We live in a “world” that is almost perfectly designed to make us sick in one way or another. Too much choice disguised as freedom of choice, too much information pretending to be wisdom. We say “your health is your wealth” but we don’t live that way, we live the absolute opposite. And we allow this because we’ve lost that inner child – He or she won’t stand for this s**t, they see it for the ridiculous state of affairs that it is. They’ve been suppressed, pushed down for to long. It’s time to let them back out of the cage, come on kids! – and you Mr. Carrot!

As for the jobs most of us do, explain your job to a child and see their reaction. I’m actually laughing just thinking about it. Some of you are lucky enough that this would be an enjoyable and fun thing to do, for most others it would be painful as you recite your day, every word bringing back the realisation that what you do could stop tomorrow and the world would actually probably be better off, not worse. Obviously this will depend on your perception, i’m working with the one of a child – and i remember doing this very thing a while back and stopped fairly quickly as the glaze of sadness and disinterest moved across my little boys eyes.

And i know most people think they can’t just change that tomorrow – and you may be right – but you know what you can do – make it more fun each day – bring a bit of play to work tomorrow – This next idea originated with someone who i’ve followed for some time now, the lovely Mr. Charlie Hoehn – Don’t go for a coffee break, take a baseball and glove and throw it around at break time – play catch, play rounders in the car park – In the absence of being able to change the work you do, at least bring some fun, some play back – It’s a big part of what makes us function both as people sand as a society

Time to go – don’t know what the next post will be, probably something about crisps. We’ll see. Until then, a bientot (sorry, no accents).

boing.

Lie down.

Nice quick one this morning – oo err missus i hear some of you say – now now, it’s Sunday, there will be none of that around here.

Anyway, back to business. next time you are on the computer, watching TV, colouring (yes, grown ups do colouring too – i blame the parents) or reading a book – Lie down while you do. Lie on your front, resting on your forearms. Like this.

calvin and hobbes lying downLying like this will help to undo some of the harm done by sitting in chairs/sofas. If you do it enough, it will improve your posture quite profoundly. I won’t go into the whys and wherefores here but if you really want to know, get in touch.

Don’t overdo it though – if it starts to feel uncomfortable, sit up – stay on the floor for a while if you can though. Kneeling and sitting (cross legged or otherwise) for a while will also be hugely beneficial. And we are talking serious benefits here – this is actually improving the health of your nervous system, gut and circulatory system – and so much more.

That’s it for today – Thanks to Chris Mac for the writing “tips” – I’ve avoided writing about much of this stuff for a long time due to wanting to explain it all in so much more detail and he helped me see the light.

 

Cheers

Andrew

 

Getting results.

If you do the kisssmilebreatherepeat technique consistently, it will yield amazing results. Your posture will improve. Your breathing will improve. Your chemistry – and therefore your mood and behaviour – will change. You will have less inflammation. You will feel less stressed more of the time and eventually (“bad”) stress will seem like a thing of the past. Muscular tension will be relieved. If you have anxiety/OCD or depression it will help to manage and eventually cure your condition. We can eventually “reset” our systems with this. I am confident in this  – certain that given time, all of the above and more can happen. After all, we are influencing the place where life becomes chemistry, becomes energy – And if we are influencing how life “feels”, how we see “life” – then we can change that life – in whatever way we choose.

That’s it – Nothing new, nothing fancy – just a reminder that it’s worth sticking with it – being persistent and consistent at having fun and feeling better. You never know, do it enough and it might just become permanent.

cheers

andy

Read more Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin-and-Hobbes-hugging-calvin-and-hobbes-1395524-1024-768

There’s not much more to say. I honestly believe that if everyone read 10 minutes of Calvin and Hobbes every day, the world would change immeasurably in a fairly short space of time. The only challenge i had was which image to use – Every one invoking a smile – sometimes a “laughter” smile, other times that smile that comes with something that is so moving, so heart warming that it (almost) brings a tear to your eye.

So – Read more Calvin and Hobbes – It’s great for your health and it’s fun.

cheers

andy

The basic principles.

Stress, Trauma and over stimulation create tension. Many things in our modern lives create tension. We carry tension in our bodies – In our muscles, fascia, even bone.

We have lifestyles that immerse us in this tension/stress day in day out – We adapt to that environment – we become more efficient at becoming “stressed”.

This tension has a detrimental affect on the performance of our bodies and minds. Tense muscles – especially the psoas and the muscles of the face/eyes/tongue/jaw – affect the messages sent by the nervous system to the limbic system and endocrine system. This affects our mood, behaviour and performance of other systems due to, amongst other things, chronic inflammation and chemical imbalance. Breathing is also negatively affected and the importance of this is hard to over state – When you don’t breathe “well”, you are not “well”.

The body has an innate healing mechanism to rid us of this tension – The challenge for us today is that it evolved to cope with massive traumatic events and is not activated by small amounts of cumulative “stress”, especially when our response is most often “freeze” as we don’t fight or “flight” (run away) in many of these situations as it would be an inappropriate response in the society we live in – You don’t physically fight with someone that you are annoyed with at work (usually!), you “hold it in”.

The mechanism by which we can release the cortisol, adrenaline etc in these “freeze” situations is called neurogenic tremors. A prime example is shaking with fear. You were unable to fight or flight so you “froze” – The event was traumatic enough that your body was triggered to release the excess adrenaline, cortisol etc – the chemicals involved in this “process” – through shaking. Another challenge for us in more recent times is that we have become so conditioned not to show weakness or stand out from the crowd that we suppress these emotions, making the situation even worse as the chemicals get no outlet – The “outlet” is chemical imbalance, causing inflammation and mood/behavioural changes – Anxiety, depression, dis-ease.

In the same way that we adapt to become more efficient at sitting from sitting for long periods of time, the more we suppress these “outlets”, the better we becoming at suppressing them. Being good – more efficient – at something that is harmful to you is not a good thing. Our body/mind has forgotten how to use this mechanism as we never use them – Use it or lose it.

The good news is that we can re-activate this healing  mechanism. And once we have, it doesn’t need a daily reminder – Just now and again – and that’s really easy to do once you’ve reminded your body/mind that it is there. I would love to help you do this as once you have the tools to do it, it is yours to keep and use whenever you want/need. Which shouldn’t be very often once you’ve released that build up of tension that is stored within you right now.

And just in case you are thinking that you don’t want to suddenly start shaking the next time you have a run in at the office – Don’t worry, that’s not how it works. You will gain total control over this through simple “focus” and relaxation that can be done in seconds once you have practiced a little.

You will be able to release what has built up over time and ensure that these challenges don’t come up again through simply sleeping well (we’ll cover that in another piece) and short periods of “meditation”. Even this may be unnecessary (the meditation, not sleeping 😉 ) once you have released the existing tension but it’s fun to do so why not.

If you want to arrange a 30 (ish) minute call with me to see if this has merit for you, get in touch and we can take it from there.

cheers

Andy

 

 

Talking to anxiety.

I should be upfront and say that i removed this post for a day as i was conflicted as to whether or not to leave it up – The reason being that you won’t need to work on the language you use when working with your anxiety if you do the Kisssmilebreatherepeat and “going reptile” as your language will change automatically as your perceptions change due to feeling different/better. However, i had a message from a friend who really liked it so it’s back up – And even though i know you don’t need this, here it is anyway.

“Hey, how you doing there buddy – say what? – OK, i’ll check that out, thanks for the warning. You know what, i checked it out and it’s actually ok but thanks for the tip off, you are a legend”.

I don’t know where that little scene came from but i wanted to write some thoughts about the subject of language and how we communicate with anxiety – and the massive impact that language (and “approach”) can have.

When anxiety rears it’s ugly head – and i’m talking the unhelpful, debilitating type, not the type of anxiety that keeps you alive in the jungle or some other truly “wild” place or situation. The kind that says “better wash your hands for longer -actually, do them again, there may still be germs or something on there and you have to get them off” – The worse thing that you can do is tell yourself you are being stupid or to “stop worrying” – or the anxiety to shut up or go away. No one likes being told to shut up or go away, especially not a part of you – by you. One of the things that helped me recover just started happening naturally as “triggers” were “released” by the release of “tension”/trauma via musculoskeletal relaxation/release – And if you are working with me already you will almost certainly have this experience too – But if you’ve not yet reached that stage, let’s try and get a head start.

As said above, how you communicate with your anxiety is important and above is an ideal (if a tad hollywood) example of how to do it. Don’t try to stop it, berate it or tell it to go away and stop ruining your life – It’s part of you and it sincerely believes that it is helping you – It  doesn’t realise it’s ruining your life. We need to talk to it the way we would talk to a friend – to our own child.

A little education can help in these situations. Let’s say we are talking about germs/germophobia – a mixture of “contamination” and “checking” and a common “form”/symptom of anxiety/OCD. Knowing a little about how germs actually spread, how bad they actually are etc gives you the “soft ammunition” to talk to your anxiety with. So, the next time it pops up – triggered by your approach to the sink – or the running water – and does “it’s thing” – say “hi buddy – yeah, just washing the hands – oh and guess what i read the other day – washing too much actually reduces the protective oils and can cause the skin to crack, making it easier for viruses to get in – You know what, we should actually just use a normal soap and do 15-20 seconds and that’s ideal – that cool with you?”. And the next time they don’t even (really) need a rinse, the same approach but take it to the next stage – “You know what buddy, we’ve only been out and about and i don’t feel anything on my hands – we’ve not been exposed to anything harmful – we are not about to eat – Let’s let those oils and good bacteria get a chance to recover and give us even more protection – after all, from the day we’ve had and the protection our immune system gives us, even if we did have something on our hands, it’s not going to be any worse than a slight stomach upset – and that’s absolutely worse case scenario – remember that article we read about poison and the dose being important?”.

I know my description above isn’t perfect and i’ve avoided getting “technical” as in my experience, that can often make things worse, “analysis paralysis” as you go through the minutiae of the science.

The language/approach above applies particularly to 3 of the most common forms of OCD, whether checking, contamination or hoarding. Rumination/intrusive thoughts are different and my experience with them very limited – however, by being curious, asking questions of your anxiety in a friendly way, you interrupt the process (and “befriend” your anxiety) which is powerful in itself. Add to this the work being done by the other methods and powerful change is possible. These conditions are “caused” by a type of fear – and that’s a perception – and when you “feel” differently (chemistry, energy) you perceive differently – Trust that as you “feel” better, the triggers will just disappear  -i know it sounds simple but it really is – the best things always are.

 

Thanks and don’t forget – read more Calvin and Hobbes.

 

Andy.