healing, meditation, transformational wellness, Uncategorized, wellness

Making friends with your heart and your brain

In my energy healing practice, I often hear people say that their heart is telling them one thing, and their brain another.

I imagine we have all been in this state: one in which we are living in a state of inner conflict. We feel an expectation from some unspoken agreement or the pressure of others or our job that we follow our brain and the direction of the environment external to us. Meanwhile, the cues of our inner guidance offer some alternative that just feels better, more alluring, more soothing, more healing and more life-giving.

But we squelch it. We dismiss it. We override it.

We live in a very–I’ll say it, OVERLY–mental society. We overthink, we stress out, we become anxious and we rely on and expect our brain in it’s overworked, incoherent and hazy state to make perfect decisions.

And when we are overworked and overwhelmed we tend to freeze in place, afraid to make any decision or take any action. When this happens we are living in survival mind, and like an animal in the wild facing a predator, unable to empower the fight or flight mechanisms, we attempt to become invisible and freeze in place, hoping to be unseen.

Leading with your heart

Want more peace?  The key is your heart. 

Want to calm the thoughts in your brain?  The key is your heart. 

Want to reduce sensations of stress and anxiety in your body?  The key is your heart.

Our heart is the most powerful energy center on our body and it’s the center of our energy anatomy.  We have all sorts of intuitive phrases that signal that it’s our heart, not our brain, that offers the best guidance.  We “think” with our heart.  We say: “heart-felt,” “follow your heart,” from the bottom of my heart,” “half-hearted,” “had a change of heart.”

When our heart is coherent, which is to say rhythmic in its fluctuation patterns and energetically harmonious, we feel at ease, calm, well and at peace.   

We can teach ourselves to voluntarily induce a state of heart coherence.  This state helps to regulate the heartbeat and autonomic nervous system, which in turn, entrains the brain to coherent order.  Order in the brain translates to sensations of ease and peace.

Changing your energy

Here’s a simple and easeful meditation to do anytime, anywhere:

1. Breathe into your heart center

2. Feel into the space that your heart and lungs occupy in your physical body

3. Use your imagination to generate feelings of gratitude, joy, love, care, appreciation, and other elevated emotion. Think about something that makes or will make you happy.  Feel it in this now moment as you breathe and feel into your heart.

In heart coherence we engage the unique wisdom, guidance and intelligence of our heart center, and experience sensations of connection, increased intuition, enhanced immunity, increased cognition, and the reduction of stress hormones. 

In meditation, this state fosters an elevated ability to make transcendent connection with universal life-force energy and can support energy flow within and around the body, as well as mystical experiences.

Do it for you!

Practically speaking, heart-brain coherence meditation is an act of emotional regulation.  We simply choose to “get into our heart,” and to generate an uplifted feeling. We make it happen!  In time, the choice to meditate in this way is an act of conditioning the body to a new level of mind.  Practiced consistently and intentionally, the body will memorize the state of heart coherence and we will notice immediately any person, place, condition or environment that “knocks us out” of coherence.

And because we have practiced, we will know exactly how to get back into heart-centered gratitude.  In time, there’s an obvious contrast that the things that used to bother us don’t have such an affect on us, because we love our inner peaceful sensations more than anything.

healing, meditation, wellness

To fight, feed, free or flow…that is the question: the power of knowing you can choose

There’s certainly no one-size fits all structure for assessing life, but when it comes to looking at the relationships, conditions, environments and situations of our life that create stress in our bodymind, sometimes a simple framework is useful to begin sorting things out.

It’s an art to become objective about our subjective human experience.

In becoming objective, we reach beyond the emotions that charge the body with feeling sensation–that emotional energy that challenges us and can limit our perspective. This shift can:

  • support us in processing and healing the unhelpful energies in our life
  • help us to use emotion for what it’s meant to do–guide us
  • discern which people, places, things and conditions are life-giving
  • assess which energies are life-depleting
  • give us some elevation over the limitation of stress and perceive possibility we didn’t know existed

Naming things is powerful medicine.

Energy medicine teaches us that we tend to have 4 responses to stress. Knowing these can help us to remove biases and conditioning as we evaluate the impact of stressors in our life. As we develop clarity and evolve beyond crisis, chaos, overwhelm, emotional traumas, anxiety and depression, we see that these 4 responses are also 4 choices, and that we can be the conscious creator of our life by selecting whichever best serves our life in the moment.

Fight

The fight response is in place to save our life. We fight to defend our being. The problem is, in chronic stress or with cultural conditioning, our filters and perspectives about what’s truly life-threatening become clouded.

Are you feeling resistance in your physical body? Do you feel yourself tense up around certain people or in certain environments? Are you frustrated or angry a lot of the time and you’re not even sure why? These sensations may be a sign that your mindbody complex is in a chronic state of fight-or-flight.

In this state, we are forced into survival mind and we tend to think our problems can only be solved with sheer power–body-to-body or matter-to-matter. We have to push, shove, manipulate, work harder, endure more grief, and grow more and more fatigued while getting worse results.

If we never elevate ourselves out of the emotions that compel us to fight with the people and conditions around us, our choices and perspectives are limited.

Fight state is not a creative state of mind, and if we are conditioned to fight, our brain might not even recognize an obvious alternative immediately before us. In this state-of being–operating from this level of mind–we are vigilant, waiting for the other shoe to drop even when there’s no real and imminent danger.

If we stay in fight-or-flight state-of-mind long enough, we can lose our sensitivity to the body’s subtle signals that are always directing us to more comfort and less overwhelm.

As director of the body, we can heal our fight mind by taking time away from people and conditions that stress us, to give ourselves a new perspective, a new opportunity to become objective without the repetitious negative stimulation of unhelpful energies. Ideally, this time allows us to take steps, to assume self-responsibility and affords us time and space to identify choices and options we couldn’t see in chronic stress.

Feed

We can feed energies that are ultimately unhelpful for us through our unconsciousness, through our not knowing. Becoming conscious–becoming aware–of knowing what we don’t know is for most of us a very, very difficult task.

It’s very challenging in stress, or in the midst of a family, work or cultural difficulty to know what you don’t know, to be aware of something we’ve never experienced or embodied. This sounds obvious, but many of us blame ourselves for not knowing something once we do find it out.

“Feeding a problem” is contributing to increasing the energy of something that is not helpful to our well-being. I’m not going to name specific behaviors here, because life is complex and we stay in difficult situations for all sorts of reasons, but we can use this concept to evaluate our personal tolerance of and willingness to embody a continued involvement in “feeding” the things in life that cause stress.

Withdrawing your thoughts, di-vesting your emotions and even removing your presence from the people, conditions and environments that are unhelpful to your health are all powerful ways to recall your creative energy to you. Think of this as energetically feeding yourself–and self-loving act of self-preservation which may enable you to recall your valuable life-force energy back to you so you have energy to create the life you want.

Free

Freedom in this sense can be either a mental act, an emotional act or a physical one–or it can be all three. To free ourselves from stress is to change our relationship to it.

Can you change the way you think about certain aspects of your life? Can you adopt new beliefs around it that don’t produce the same level of stress?

Can you change the way you feel about things? You can condition your body to better-feeling emotions by noticing the groups of sensations in your body which are a response to the conditions of your life.

What would it be like if you became more cognizant of and more effectively responsive to this guidance and used your energy to creatively rearrange your expectations, your resistance to and your acceptance of them?

I understand just how challenging or even impossible this work might seem, but just ask the questions and maybe a new possibility will reveal itself. Just know that everything is energy.

Your thoughts are energy.

Your emotions are energy.

What we are thinking and what we are feeling is creating our state-of-being.

We can bring more life force energy into your life by stopping thinking and stopping feeling about those things in our life that are out of our control, that don’t bring us peace, that don’t create harmony and which disrupt our heart.

We liberate energy by redirecting our thoughts and generating good feelings by spending time and energy on the things that bring us life.

Flow

To flow through life, to me is to embody mastery. I would define mastery as maintaining an inner state of peace and harmony throughout the ease AND amidst the difficulties of life, and remembering moment-to-moment that I have a choice.

Easier said than done, I know. That’s why meditation and medicine are called a practice.

To flow means to be aware, to live as awareness itself, recognizing the inner urge to fight, to feed, to free or to flow in the moment, and to be conscious about the choice to take whichever action preserves my life, my spirit, my integrity and my bliss in the moment.

If you’d like to learn more about how these and other energy medicine concepts can help your life, you can learn about my services here, and peek in on upcoming retreat offerings. The modalities of energy healing are forms of drugless wellness–no matter what you’re currently experiencing or what treatments you are receiving, they can do no harm. You can visit my upcoming classes and retreats page here.

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Email dianamariachapin@gmail.com, or Call Diana at 207-249-2261Subscribe to my blog at the bottom of this page.  Healing, learning and sharing is my passion…please share this blog with those you think it can help.  We are changing the world, one heart at a time. Thank you!

healing, meditation, wellness

Difficult People: Surviving Challenging Relationships with Energy Medicine

It started out as an ordinary family holiday, everyone gathered in the kitchen, the happy din of chatter and laughter, people cooking, people playing games at the kitchen table.  We eagerly anticipated the feast. 

I was sitting at the table having a delightful conversation with a family member who was in her first year of college, and I remember I’d just asked the question, “So tell me, what are you learning at college that has nothing to do with what you’re learning in your classes?”

I love asking people her age this question, and really what I was seeking was to remember the mind of a 19-year-old, and to see how the world looked and felt like socially and culturally through their perception. My body was in relaxed, aware anticipation, at rest and ease while I awaited her response, expecting something that would satisfy and amuse me.

Abandon expectation

But on a dime, everything suddenly changed.

Another family member who I’d been close to all my life but with whom I’d had some serious struggles and conflict over the years, swung around from the counter where she was slicing onions and waved her huge chef’s knife back and forth in the air in front of my chest, finishing her gesture with target precision, pointing it at my heart. 

She was standing a couple of feet away from me, and I didn’t consciously THINK she was going to stab me, but my body felt differently as she said with a kind of hostility and hatred that didn’t match the occasion, “You know, that’s the problem with you, you always have to…”

Alarmed, I stood up, trying to grasp how the energy of the moment had switched from peace to aggression in mere moments.

In a blur of utter confusion, unable to make rational sense of the difference between what my brain expected to receive and what it was receiving, I blocked out her words as she finished her sentence about whatever was wrong with me, and turned around nonchalantly, returning to her onions. 

The Hormones of Survival

My nervous system had switched from peaceful ease to survival mode in an instant.  My heart was pounding and felt outside my chest, adrenaline was rushing through my veins.  My body said “run or you’re gonna die!” but my brain resisted:  it presumed I was safe in a house full of people who were trustworthy. 

Talk about conflicting messages!

My stomach clenched with nausea and my body was shaking all over.  My legs felt simultaneously rooted to the floor and as if they had been knocked out from under me.  I held onto the back of my chair and felt a little out of my body. I could feel myself shaking my head as if that would clear the webs of confusion out of my overwhelmed brain. 

I could feel my blood pressure escalate and it felt like a portal opened in the crown of my head, that my life-force energy drained out there, leaving me light-headed.  Weirdly my tongue felt like it spontaneously had swollen.  I realized I was holding my breath and then gasped for air.

I managed to mobilize myself, moved into the next room and tried to regain my bearings.

In a semi-unconscious act of self-preservation for which I will always be grateful, I took out my phone and took a video of my own hand shaking and trembling wildly, and I recorded my voice saying, “Don’t you ever forget this.  This is what she does to you.  Don’t you ever, EVER forget this.”

The Problem of Vigilance

It’s taken a long and painful road to understand, unwind and heal within me the conflict in that relationship, but it has been one of my greatest lessons in life and I’m grateful for that.  

The situation has helped me to see that chronic stress and dishonesty in a relationship can place us in a state of vigilance. This vigilance simultaneously keeps us alert to spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical danger AND unable to discern clearly and navigate skillfully within it.

The act of recording the physical evidence of duress in that single event allowed me to start the process of being honest about the true nature of the relationship beyond my biases and my conditioning. 

With the knife event, the violence of our relationship reached an undeniable crescendo.  In the past, this person had slapped me, yelled at me, resented me, threatened me, and ignored and withdrawn from me out of spite.  They had been habitually both aggressive and passive aggressive toward me.  But there were plenty of good times and laughs, too, and that created within me a kind of blindness, or a blind loyalty. 

In truth and in hindsight, it created within me an unconscious but ultimately self-destructive tolerance that only I could heal, and which had less to do with her and more to do with me, my beliefs, my expectations, and my interpretation of her behavior.  

I began to understand that she was a stimulus to which I had a habituated response. 

Over the lifetime of the relationship, I had been neurologically primed and programmed to a cycle of vigilance, avoidance, tolerance and/or submission.  Our shared history, her erratic, at times manic or depressed, volatile and aggressive tendencies, coupled with my inability to express myself, assert myself or set reasonable boundaries, left me on guard for anything—in good times and in bad.

That’s energetically unsustainable if the goal is wellness and wholeness.

Objective Witnessing

Removing the personality and objectively looking at the behavior liberated me. 

I understood that this person just embodied certain words and actions that produced within me an emotional reaction.  Independent of whether or not they intended harm, my emotional reaction to their behavior was embodied within me, and it harmed me, no one else

This was a wildly uncomfortable conclusion that didn’t happen overnight.  It took a grueling number of years and more provoking events.  I had to endure within me tremendous sadness and numerous cycles of painful grief as I mourned the loss of close family connection. 

Overcoming decades of conditioning, I had to learn—to teach myself—to be dedicated to loving and caring for myself more than I was dedicated to upholding some belief agreement that didn’t support my life.

Tuning in to bodymind wisdom

My video helped me to begin the process of honoring my body’s interpretation of the experience without my brain’s conditioned analysis which caused an over-write of my spirit’s desire to thrive, not just survive.  

My brain was firmly rooted in the illusion of and attachment to a false-and-limited belief of what I needed to tolerate as “normal family stuff,” at the expense of my own well-being.  Formed long ago in my past, I unconsciously agreed to a definition of family without question.  To my own spiritual, mental, emotional, and now, it would seem, potentially physical peril.

Our body is always offering guidance on what we should move away from or closer to, and we condition ourselves to override that guidance by over-analyzing the experience in our brain.  Our culture is very mental-oriented. Often what we don’t realize is that over-thinking and over-analyzing is siphoning our attention and therefore our energy away from actually feeling the emotional energy, and therefore the body’s language, reducing our ability to effectively solve our problems.

A body of many brains

Energy medicine has taught me that we can view our nervous system as a series of “mini brains,” or intelligent centers of energy-information.  Specifically, the nerve plexuses that emerge from our spinal column in our pelvis, sacrum, solar plexus, heart and neck are always responding to the energy and information of our life.  They are always decoding and assessing the relevant benefits or threats of the people, places, conditions, and environments of our life.  If we just attune our awareness to them and use our brain for what it’s meant for (decision-making) we’d feel less stressed.

The “mini brains” of our lower body are centers of consciousness and they are always assessing:

  • Am I safe and do I have permission to take up space?
  • Am I able to assimilate and do I have the permission to express myself?
  • Am I able to act and can I direct my life?

If these aren’t met, the body can respond with fight, flight, freeze or withdraw response—feeling pain or heaviness in the legs, lethargy, feeling antsy or numb.  People might have symptoms of digestive disruption, chronic stomach aches or difficulty deeply breathing in this state-of-being.

Our heart is the center of our energy process and it’s always working to guide us to intuitive, inner truth and wisdom in love.  It would be wise for us to feel and “think” with our heart, which is inherently guiding us toward what’s most loving to us.  We know this when we feel soothing, harmonic peaceful sensations in our chest.

The “mini brain” of the neck and throat and the big brain in our head are about the enlightened consciousness of verbal expression, creating with love, connecting to the mystical, multidimensional meta-reality we are a part of, and connecting to cosmic, divine, life-giving energy.

Tuning in to the wisdom and guidance of the whole body helps us to become aware of the habituated responses we have developed over the course of our life.  More conscious, objective awareness of the body’s assessment helps us question the dissonant or incoherent (unbeneficial) energy of the conditions, relationships, and environments we have unconsciously normalized.  

Why energy medicine?

The exquisite beauty of energy healing is that it can heal and inform the head-brain in an instant what can take years to consciously work out through excessive and redundant thought.  In energy healing, the flow of highly coherent universal life-force is increased, and as it moves through the body, it supports the body in processing the emotional energy stored in our cellular environment. 

All energy carries information, and highly coherent energy is intelligent, organizing energy.  When we rest and get our thinking head-brain out of the way, it can restore, reorganize, re-order and regulate us back into centered wholeness.

Healing begins when we give ourselves opportunities to get out of survival, and when we give ourselves permission—we love ourselves enough—to withdraw from relationships that keep us in a disordered vigilance and which diminish our wholeness.

It takes time to learn how to trust our body and the information it is providing about our life.  This is where the naturally easy meditation practice of Yoga Nidra can be helpful.  To learn more about energy healing or Yoga Nidra meditation, book a private session or join an upcoming class or retreat.  Text or call Diana at 207-249-2261 or email dianamariachapin@gmail.com with questions.

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