sleep

Sleep we know it’s important, we probably feel guilty because we aren’t getting enough. We think we should be more disciplined or scheduled or committed to self-cacat asleep in backre or it must be our fault somehow. This week I did a session with someone who has trouble sleeping. I looked for the handout I thought I wrote on sleep basics, but found none. Now it is time, this was reinforced by two different email links to sleep articles in next three days. One is a good piece linking vitamin D levels for good sleep. I am making the link available to you, right here.   My favorite part is the view that; you can’t do it wrong nor can you do it perfect, sleep is an involuntary process. The nature of involuntary is we don’t consciously control it. Sleep is involuntary, you sleep, you wake it, happens to you.

What goes on during sleep? Most of our body becomes paralyzed, but our lungs, heart etc. keep awake to keep us alive. Put simply we shut most everything down for repair.  Repair, replenish, reorganize, re-balance, consolidating learning, memory and emotion. Sleep is actually a busy time for our autonomic processes. Some critters (dolphins) sleep with only half their brain at a time, one side of the brain stays awake to keep an eye (just one) on things. Then they switch sides to get a full brain sleep.

Sleep comes in stages. Light sleep is when we check out if it’s safe enough to check out. In this phase we wake up easily, just to make sure no predators are close at hand. A bit of movement might be going on, the full switch to mini hibernation hasn’t happened yet. Deep sleep, has both slow wave (more than one type) and the famous REM sleep. And finally light sleep again as we begin to anticipate waking up, and more parts are orienting to an alert state. All of these different phases come in rhythms though out the night and each have different specialties. REM consolidates emotional information, deep sleep consolidates motor tasks and a combination of both gives better retention of perceptual information. If that’s not enough for you there is the restoring of energy through glycogen increase, the beta amyloid (and other toxic proteins) clean up, turning off stress hormones and probably more that we haven’t discovered yet.

What helps nudge that involuntary process called sleep? The most off repeated advice is routine, routine, routine.

Routine could be:

  • Establish a set sleep time and wake time and stick with it even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Create a sleep ritual, something that tells your brain it’s time to go to sleep. We often do that for our children, brush teeth, read a story, hug a particular toy, finally a scripted goodnight conversation. “Goodnight snuggle buns I love you, I love you too papa bear, kiss, kiss kiss” or something like that. Seems silly but it works, we know what is coming and our body/mind submits.
  • Get proprioceptive input. Proprioception is the firm, deep, pressure that registers in our joints and muscles. It tells us to relax. A good massage can make you feel sleepy but so can bouncing on a trampoline for a child who needs lots of proprioception before they can let go.
  • At least 30 minutes before sleep turn off the computer. The light emitted from screens is especially stimulating. Remember our eyes take in a high percentage of overall sensory input.

Be patient and loving:

  • It can take up to two weeks to reestablish a disrupted sleep rhythm.
  • You haven’t done so well lately? Then be more gentle, loving and kind to yourself, pressure creates stress which reduces sleep, which creates stress…… Interrupt the cycle.
  • Create some sleep affirmations. Our brains really do believe what we say. If you find a negative response pops up after you have said “I am going to fall asleep easily and rest deeply until morning”. Come back with “thank you very much I hear you and I am still going to sleep really well.”
  • Warm beverages are soothing, again can you make it into a comforting ritual?
  • Hot bath can relax muscles and make you more receptive to sleep. What helps you flip the switch?

What else?

  • The worrying brain. Before sleep some people write down all their concerns and then say I will handle this in the morning but now I’m going to sleep. We really do believe what we tell ourselves.
  • Supplements: vitamin D, melatonin, tryptophan are all produced in our bodies to trip the sleep switch. Check with a naturopath about supplements and dosage.
  • Exercise, your body needs to feel (not just think) the reasons to sleep. Exercise alerts us and gets our blood flowing but later our body will need to replenish, the best reason to sleep

Sweet dreams……

 

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Pain in the brain

I have been working on what I feel is most important information to help people who live with chronic pain. In my search for information on pain processes I discovered a wonderful blog called Better Movement by physical therapist Todd Hargrove.  What Todd has done is synthesized current pain research and findings in a way that is clear and exciting. As I read his recommendations I see how my recommendations to people are supported by the same understanding of how the brain processes pain. About 8 years ago I was told by a neurosurgeon that I wouldn’t last 10 years without surgery because the pain in my back would be so excruciating; but my pain is quite low and I go through periods that are pain free.

Picture: John Lund / Getty Images

The approaches I have taken are varied, as a dancer I believe that movement is primary to health. But at times I chose to restrict certain movements because I thought they were taxing my body. In retrospect I don’t think those restrictions (like no more roll downs) contributed to less pain or better health and they certainly restricted my ability to dance. It was an experiment, a good one because it taught me things about my body/mind.  And yes I didn’t feel pain from a roll down cause I wasn’t doing any but I began to explore what was really happening when I experienced pain. It turns out I could at times do roll downs without negative consequences. And so it turns out there was much more than mechanics causing pain.

One of the great myths of pain is that if it hurts you are re-injuring yourself. Wait, I can’t tell people to ignore their pain. Well I don’t and no one should but we can’t assume pain is caused by injury, injury can cause pain but doesn’t always. Pain can be caused by injury but it isn’t always.

Pain is in the brain. That just means that the brain decides whether to produce pain or not based on all the inputs is collects about the situation. Our central nervous system is there to decide how to best protect us and many factors are a part of the consideration. Does the brain think we are in danger? Will pain increase or decrease the danger to us? We have all heard of times when a severe injury is not accompanied by pain which allows the person to reach safety without being restricted by the pain. The physical pain will come later when the brain decides you’re safe enough and it’s time to restrict movement. Pain can be a response triggered by memory, emotions, beliefs, expectations, attention etc. Pain that is cognitive in origin is a different animal to soothe, and it needs to be soothed not ignored, just as pain from an injury must be treated not ignored. Sometimes the information that it is cognitive in origin is enough to make a difference but not always, sometimes our brain needs more information and a change in the pattern or response.

When I first began to have back pain in the 1980’s I noticed that when I was hurried I was in more pain which gave me the information that it was an opportunity to stop and relax and visualize ease and flow. But I had to really do that to ease the pain, I couldn’t just know it. My brain as the great protector wasn’t going to let up until I did something to change. I can’t just change my thoughts I have to take those thoughts into action.

If you have read this far I hope it is not because you are in a lot of pain, but if so you have my compassion and wishes for a journey of curiosity and hope to bring you more ease in your body/mind.

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the body emerges from mind

The energy of thought, both consimagescious and unconscious is at times incomprehensible.  They are many ways people have tried to define it:  mind over matter; the power of positive thinking; the secret, etc.  I have appreciated the Buddhist view: where attention goes, energy goes.  As I have become more interested and involved with understanding chronic pain I am more humbled by the energy and ability of the mind to change physicality.  Noticing were attention goes does give us some insight into what is so mysterious but it still isn’t the whole picture.
Our unconscious minds are out to protect us, to keep us safe from the wild world, they care not for deadlines, social niceties’, empathy for loved ones, career climbing or even doing good deeds for those who are in need.  Our unconscious minds are childlike in their desires, to feel good, to be safe, to be happy, to have enough for me, for me, for me.

When this clashes with our conscious needs all too often the body pays the price.  And then our conscious minds are boggled; what did I do wrong? How can I get better?  These questions torment us, sometimes we feel relief when a medical professional gives us a diagnosis, chronic fatigue, degenerative discs, carpal tunnel syndrome etc.  Some of these diagnosis have no medical cure, just coping skills and others may have medical interventions that impact the condition, positively or negatively.

This being human in a body is so complex, wonderful at times and devastating at other times. Simply knowing that the mind is fully and completely manifested through the body is the empowering first step.  Bummer is we often experience the second step as; it’s my fault!  I’m doing it wrong!  I invite you to come to step three, self-compassion.  With its no hurry approach, self-compassion allows you the mind space to begin curiosity, openness, acceptance, and love. (COAL is Dan Siegel’s acronym to keep this in mind).  Curiosity, openness, acceptance and love, all elements that can lead to action, from action to healing. When it comes to healing, surprisingly the action is often stillness.

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raising a toddler, caring for an elder

Caring for an elder is a lot like raising a toddler:
• Make sure you begin leaving the house a full hour before you have to get out the door.
• What’s on your plate is much more interesting even though yesterday they said they don’t like that food.
• They believe they are totally capable of making rational decisions, they’re not.
• You have to be creative in finding what they can choose for themselves that is safe and appropriate for their bodies.
• You have to be tolerant of spills, crumb trails, dropped things; they are doing the best they can with limited motor control.
• They want to do it for themselves even though they can’t.
• You marvel when your toddler accomplishes something she couldn’t do yesterday. You marvel when your elder has a lucid moment when you had no idea they had it in them.
• After an hour or two they wonder where you are and what you’re doing, and wish you would be with them.
• They like to have their own box of cookies and carefully watch how many are left. Sometimes choosing them before dinner so they will be sure to get some.
• They feel scared of the dark and hate when you aren’t home at night.
• Sometimes when you give someone else attention they get sullen but might not know why.
• They don’t have much prefrontal cortical activity to modulate their strong reactions. Their limbic brains are in charge. They feel belittled when you try to help, or try to give them accurate information.
• Out in the world they can hold it together and others find them delightful.
• When you kiss them goodnight you really see how vulnerable and dependent they are and you feel the love that is driving you to do this care.child and elder faces

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can you unlearn chronic pain?

I have decided to work with Howard Schubiner’s unlearn your pain program.  I’ve wanted to recommend this work to clients and what better way than to have experienced it.    I have known for years that my lower back/leg pain was exacerbated when I began to rush and feel that I couldn’t do enough.  I practice noticing it and slowing down and/or acknowledging the emotions that are flowing.   Schubiner explains how nerve pathways that were established when we had tissue damage in an area become sensitized and fire up as pain with very little stimulus.  Or maybe no physical stimulus,   emotions alone can trigger the very real pain sequence.  Most of us don’t like feeling negative things but our bodies have a need to, as self-balancing organisms we try to feel express and transform the energies as they arrive.  An area of pain with heightened sensitivity is a convenient route for the pain to find expression.

On day one I did some inventories of current and old stress and personality traits.  Next I made some idea web clusters and free association writing. My surprise for day one? As I was writing I noticed my left hand began to scratch and pick at my navel; not a habit I have.  Notice something unusual?  Pay more attention.  Then I remembered sitting in the bathtub as a child and picking at the dirt that found its way into the little curved crevice scars of my belly button, my once life line.  I remember trying to make it look clean and perfect.   Yet it was, I was, so clearly imperfect.  Tuning into this feeling gave me a touch of compassion for the child who sat with that experience.  Stopping and noticing awakens the simple messages that our bodies are sometimes screaming at us.  More on this journey to come.

Check out www.unlearnyourpain.com

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No scratched paint, some internal bruising

dried-flowers-pink-rose-budsYesterday I had a short interaction with someone in which they got out of their car and asked me to please not bump my shopping cart against their paint job.  We were on a slight hill; I needed to stabilize my cart while I dug around for my bags and empty jars to take into the food co-op.  I was conscious of using their car as a stop and I remember putting my cart there without bumping or scraping.  “Oh I said I was trying to be cautious” and they replied” well you bumped it twice”.  I was so uncomfortable I don’t even remember if I said sorry or what I said next if anything.  Puzzling on what happened I figured I unawares bumped my car door against theirs as I was wrestling stuff out of my back seat.  They were nice enough, calmly giving me the information without being rude.  Yet I felt stung, blamed for being oblivious to others concerns.  This was even a person I have met at some community events,  did they not want to recognize me or just didn’t?  I was too ashamed to recover, connect and use their name to apologize.  I just walked away feeling icky.

In the store began to notice I felt I had to work hard to do everything right, not bumble or spill or misplace anything.  I’m a caring person; I don’t want anyone else to think I am irresponsible.  This background anxiety made me feel small and ineffective and misunderstood.  Not wanting to berate myself, I tried to just get over it,” let it go, no big deal, quit acting like a scolded kid”.  Yet this is a kind of berating, in other words, “what’s wrong with me?”

I wondered “now, what are my options?”  The feelings were bigger than the encounter, shame and self-deprecation; clearly these are old feelings informing my thoughts.  Thoughts in response to body sensations, flushed and prickly; tense shoulders, breath holding, narrowing visual field, difficulty focusing on the task at hand.  “So what can I do?” I often turn to big movement or vibrating and shaking to self-regulate.  I didn’t want to do this in the store, “can’t I just be a grown up and get over it?”  I could find a bathroom stall to shake in.  I thought; “really is it that bad?” (more self-criticism).

Instead I invite my breath to fill me to the edges of my body boundary.  Noticing my safe and whole me, protected from the larger world by my body surfaces.  Now what pleasant smells can I find?  Unlike other sensory input our sense of smell is directly routed to the hippocampus where memory is processed.  I find the herb and spice section and discover a jar of rose petals, I take three long slow inhales through my left nostril.  As our most primitive sense smell in the left nostril simply connects to left brain and vise a versa.     (See smell this)  Oh that is nice.  I experience some muscle release.

As I continue shopping I’m thinking about it all, perception, processing, how we can be hijacked by old emotional realities.  I am thinking about it, not thinking about what was said and how bad I feel.   Later on my way home I notice that the shameful feelings had gone and remembering them was just interesting; not a triggering of the old uncomfortable me that I hate to be with. I stimulated a physiological shift creating ability to connect to my heart, compassion and empathy.  This I know, if we can take care of the body’s need to process, integration will follow.

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Gratitude vs the negitivity bias

My young adult daughter and I just had our coffee date, we were talking about her Dad being pushed into college by his mother when he was her age.  I was feeling what I call “that good mama feeling”; connected, proud of her, content with my values and choices.  Then she said “oh is that why you never pushed me?” “humm, that may have  influenced me some” I said.  Upon my further questioning she gently said “yeah, you could have done more by me”.  It’s true; there were times in her teen years that more advocacy or more motivation from me could have been beneficial and she believes it as well.

Now one week later my mind keeps returning again to how I didn’t perform so well.  Ever notice how your thoughts can go rushing past what was good and right to look at the big glaring mistake throbbing for attention.  I’m sure you’ve had a few of these experiences.  An evaluation at work which is full of compliments and good marks will be marred with one criticism that gobbles up all your attention and drowns out everything else.  Psychologists give this phenomenon a name “the negativity bias”, the way we alert to and fix on what is wrong.  We have evolution to thank for this; paying attention to danger, to potential problems is the survival smart thing to do.  Pollyanna will be mauled and eaten by that predator she doesn’t notice a blissfully beautiful natural scene.  If we go back and look at survival necessity it makes good biological sense to pay extra attention to the negative, we are better safe than sorry.  Neuro scientists are saying negative input carries ten times the weight of positive.  That’s a big physiological load to counter.

But in today’s world, is running fast or mobilizing to fight, the strategy that will keep me safe?  Do I really need an off handed remark to keep me on my toes?  I didn’t have a full fight or flee response, the modulation of my cortex told my lower brain to back off cause there is no real danger here in this moment.  The rumination, coming back again and again to examine if I should change my behavior in some way; is repetition that increases the stress hormones, and makes me less effective in the present moment.

Okay so now what can I do?  My brain will alert as it should, but paying attention to the alert can give me a momentary pause, to clear a little space in my brainbody.  A space to ask “Am I really feeling distressed and terrible about what a loser I am or is there some negative information that just captured my mind?”  Name it and let yourself know that if that negative comment had been a wild hungry beast you would have taken action and saved yourself.  Yes, there’s no wild hungry beast and now you may have some stress hormones in your bloodstream.  Remember it’s going to take ten times the number of positives to counterbalance this negative one.  While you’ve got your attention, try naming some of those positives. Even some of the obvious ones can help get you started; I’m not mangled or dead, I can think and notice things, I’m warm enough or well fed or…… Gratitude practices, taking a few moments, every day to name that which is good and feeling the gratitude, have been shown to lower blood pressure and restore equilibrium.

My daughter is talking to me in an intimate meaningful way.  We have the resources to go out together and have a cup of coffee.  I have a car that gets us places safely.  I’m going home to a comfortable/safe place.  My whole family is pretty healthy.  I have a beautiful natural environment around my house.  I have meaningful work.  I have people I like to dance with.  There are still some trillum on my street. It’s spring andtrillum the new hens are being to lay beautiful rich yolked eggs.  I am thinking of a particular friend who has loved and supported me for 40 years.  Well that’s one more than ten, having some gratitude in the bank is a good thing.

 

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Lateral Line

I had a wonderful experience today on a Thai massage platform under the hands of my favorite massage therapist.  As I lay on my side she worked on my upside at the hip and waist.  I had the experience of my laterality having so much more dimension.  The sides of me filled into front and back adding depth to the up down focus of my lateral line.

If you’ve attended any of my workshops you probably experienced your lateral line.  Often standing in a circle we will move the fish swish, an exploration I learned from BodyStories author Andrea Olsen in 2002.  We focus on moving the torso in a side side motion and stimulating lateral awareness through touch from armpit to hip on each side.  This lateral line is important in fish communication, the force and direction of water flow is perceived along a fish’s lateral line, telling the members of their school which way to turn.  In my community we are extending our awareness though our sides to each other and tuning into how we communicate and move together in our circle.fish

I like opening a group with this fish swish. It gets the spine warmed up with more awareness and the schooling fish images get us tuned into how much we affect each other in space and movement.  Our forgotten sidedness, it’s not the movement most of us think of when we want to get our spines moving.  It may be obvious without saying it but as a people we are very oriented to our front space. Our expressive faces, seeing eyes, articulate range of the arms moving, our speaking mouths; there are good reasons our communication privileges our front space.  It’s even most of what we can see of ourselves.

Knowing that we may have some awareness of not paying enough heed to our backs.  Our backs that ache are stiff or tense, where we carry our burdens literally and metaphorically.  If I simply invite participants to warm up their spines some will try to do a very good job with big range of motion and try for the extremes.  Missing the subtle small muscles close to the spine that the fish swish tickles awake; and risking injury.   Move your sides? That is the gift of an exploration like fish swish.

Today I had a perceptual shift; I experienced my sidedness in a new way.  The tactile and  proprioceptive stimulus came through a different sequence, via the skilled and perceptive touch of another.  The information through the lateral line came in a novel way and my brain ever hungry for new information seized that input combined it with related association networks and gave birth to a new perception, more three dimensional than what I’m used to.

We do get stuck in our same old perceptions of ourselves whether they are emotional, cognitive or physical.  And if you know me even a little you know what’s next.  All our perceptions are based in our physicality; our self-concepts originate in our physical experience.  I know that having a new physical perception can shake up my self-concept.  My body has experienced a more three dimensional perception of sidedness.  As I sit writing this I stop for a moment and feel into it, both visually and sensorial, reinforcing the new brain map I am establishing of my lateral line.

 

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Exercise Boosts Brain Power

boost brain power

Exercise boosts brain power is rule number one in John Medina’s Brain RulesExercise that dreaded word.  Really, when you read the sentence “Exercise boosts brain power” does all of you get to the last word or has a part of you exited your body?  Not wanting to feel the “I should…” or “I’m not…”or “I’ll never be…” we drift away losing the bad feeling by losing all feeling.   I can notice a disconnection, the part of me that feels responsibility and guilt for not taking care of my physicality every day was more than I wanted to experience.  So with a little acknowledgement, “yes, there is a part of me that feels guilt/shame”, and “hello, I notice that part”,  the unwanted part of me doesn’t need to be eradicated, just acknowledged.  Here is a deep breath, now I can go on exploring the idea of using movement to keep my brain humming.

The value of exercise has been highly documented.  Many a rat has run many a wheel and then had their neurons mapped.  And many a person has given a positive subjective report from their experience of exercise. On a physiological level exercise increases oxygen intake. The oxygen rich blood sponges up free radicals and transports them via carbon dioxide out of the body through breath, nice system.  That increased blood flow stimulates blood vessel growth transporting blood and its gifts further into more tissue, helping each cell do what it is meant to do more efficiently.  And as I noted in the blog about play, voluntary exercise stimulates Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor (BDNF).  BDNF is a protein which supports neuronal health and new neuronal growth.  This new growth or neurogenesis is most noticeable in the hippocampus the brain area associated with formation of memory. Memory, learning, cognitive function we’re on a roll.

Our bodies just weren’t designed to sit for eight plus hours a day (I’m not differentiating  brain from body.)  Scientists say long ago our early people walked about 12 miles a day.  We needed to move to forage, to hunt, to connect with our people in dance, song and play.  We evolved a brain/body perfectly suited to those needs.  All that moving makes every part of us function better.

I teach people to take movement breaks when they need more brain power and that helps me remember to do it for myself.   One of the easiest brain boosters to remember is cross crawl, right elbow to left knee and left elbow to right knee, you can even do it in your chair.  Sure I encourage you to get out of your chair but I’ve done this on cramped airplane seats, you do what you can manage. A little can be a lot, it’s not the equivalent of a trip to the gym but 3 minutes can make a difference in your ability to concentrate.

Set your phone alarm for three minutes and move continually in any way your body likes until that timer chimes.  Then notice; how is your attention? Do you feel more with it?  I also teach a sequence called BrainDance, it will take 7-8 minutes and stimulates multiple brain areas. The possibilities are innumerable.  I know a lot of movement educators, fitness professionals who can offer a lot, and if you can work with any of them it will be worth every bit of your time and money.  But in our culture of consult the experts we forget we can just move, listening to and following our bodies impulses to feel energized and satisfied.

Some of you, like me, have body parts that have been injured or are prone to injury; and we must learn to work with our limitations.  Maybe you can’t do yoga or Zumba or distance running but you can do something.  Discover how you can exercise, and if it’s not really fun at least notice how great you feel as a result.  Are your joints, lungs, heart or brain working better?  If so revel in that and remember it is in your power to move, to dance, to exercise, to walk, to run and support your brain to function at the high level it is meant to.

 

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What’s your favorite sense?

girls hugWhat’s your favorite sense?  That is a question I often ask workshop participants.  All of the work I teach is grounded in sensory awareness and what better place to start than taking stock of sensory preferences in the room.  I don’t expect you to limit it to the five you learned in grade school.   Many years ago I read that up to 32 senses had been documented.  And since Diane Ackerman didn’t list them in A Natural History of the Senses; I’ve had to puzzle on what they could possibly be.  So I ask people about their sensing of the world and I  try to notice different ways I get information. My active imagination is a great place to start; and this will be messy if you believe in nothing without scientific documentation.

Most of us learned the five senses, sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste; and that was enough; well not enough to really tell about our experiences.  Maybe you have gone on to learn about the vestibular sense, the one that keeps us balanced, by letting us know where we are going in relation to gravity.  This vestibular sense, which is controlled by the first cranial nerve to myelinate in utero, is a kind of great grandmother to all the other senses.  Then there is my favorite, proprioception, the ability to know where we are in space and where our bodies’ parts are.  It not that we have forgotten where we put them last; we are forgetting that we have parts when we ignore our sensory messages because of tension, dissociation or injury. And so we experience a kind of self forgetting, living only in thought.  Proprioceptive information travels to the lower brain to combine with input from the vestibular and tactile senses.  These three are foundational and so named “the tripod of the nervous system” by Stephen Cool. I think I might call them the sacred trinity of being.

Why do I love proprioception so much?  For starters proprioceptors get stimulated when you get a good hug and squeeze. They are the nerve receptors that gather information about muscle stretch, tendon pull, joint compression and where our heads are in relation to gravity.  Their name means “self-receivers”, I like that.  I like more than the name; I like the nervous systems response to firm even pressure to my joints, which is to let out a deep sigh, settle and calm.  It is organizing for a discombobulated nervous system.  We get proprioceptive input from a good hug, piles of heavy blankets, tight stretchy clothing, pushing heavy objects, working out, or jumping on a trampoline.

We all have different needs for different amounts of proprioceptive input. Everybody needs some and you can’t go wrong with firm pressure especially if you’re in control of how much, some of us crave more.  If you have read anything about Temple Grandin she built herself a squeeze machine for this very need.  Some children with sensory integration disorder wear tight lycra body suits, it help keep them calm and organized. I like to lie beneath heavy blankets.  I have some sand stuffed lycra lizards in my studio to drape across your shoulders or lap and weighted balls, nice to roll in your hands or against your legs when sitting and talking. I invite people to notice if that weight makes them feel more settled.

What about the other senses?  If you think about all the subtle changes you notice, all the information you have about your environment that doesn’t quite fit into the basic five (or seven), you know we’re missing some data on sensing .  Have you noticed how some people always know what direction is north while others have no clue?  We are sensitive to electromagnetic fields and the poles do have a magnetic pull.  And the changes in barometric pressure,  most of us have some sense of weather change, maybe you feel moisture changes in the air. It seems there is a density as it increases and some times a heavy cloud cover feels oppressive. We also feel changes in the moods of others, is it pheromones changes we smell? Or electromagnetic field shifts?  Our hearts and brains do put out electromagnetic energy and the heart actually puts out the most.  Hearing is not just sound but vibration and some sounds we feel more than we hear.   Have you heard of synesthesia?  The crossing or combining of senses, that some say is rare and other say it’s more common that you would think. People with synesthesia might see color when they are hearing sound or perceive forms for tastes or other combinations of sensation to perception.When I’m driving I’m intrigued that I can pick up the intent of another driver to change lanes before they indicate in any visible way.   There must be someway this information in conveyed and some way my amazing body interprets it.  What senses do you experience or imagine?

Right now, without moving, notice how you are sitting (or standing). Can you know what your body shape looks like?  Where are your limbs placed in relation to each other? And when you move them can you feel where they are going?  Try it with your eyes closed, shutting off that very dominant sense and listening more closely to the proprioceptors. This kind of exploration is a work out for your cerebellum, where you plan and anticipate movement.  I bet you have experienced the times your cerebellum is anticipating another step down and when it’s not there you have a strange jarring surprise.  Your thinking was busy somewhere and your cerebellum was planning how to adjust to the next step anticipating different information than it received from your proprioceptors.  I invite you to play with your “self-receivers” and notice how much you can know yourself and where you are.

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