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Many years ago I overheard my Chi Gung teacher speaking with a person in my class between sets. He explained that we can learn how to let go of all kinds of resistance in our energy field and consciousness by paying attention to the body. He said that many unconscious feelings are held in the body and that they can be held in different parts of it. He said that sometimes when we allow ourselves to become aware of this tension in the body it can tell us something about our own feelings. By going into and letting the resistance in a part of our body relax and unwind itself, we can also let go of emotions that get stored there. He said it might just be a little feeling in the back, the hips, the shoulders, or even a toe….all of this had something to tell us and teach us about letting go.

By letting things go like this, you can unwind all sorts of unconscious emotional material. It can be surprising how much that we hold onto. I have found that the more I do this work the more aware I become of still smaller elements in my body/mind landscape. It can lead to greater and greater clarity and a state of inner peace. I can also attest that if this process happens quickly, like it did with me during kundalini, the landscape is changed so quickly that it can even be bewildering sometimes. So, I suggest that you take this kind of work slowly and be easy on yourself.

When you can see that you are the source of all of your feelings, then you are one giant leap closer to taking responsibility for how you have thus far arranged your own inner emotional landscape.

 

Everything that we feel is not the result of what others have done to us but is instead how we have reacted to events in our lives. Buddha had something to say about this, and it is sage advice. No one makes you feel a certain way. No one. When you can see that you are the source of all of your feelings then you are one giant leap closer to taking responsibility for how you have thus far arranged your own inner emotional landscape. This is not always easy to do, especially in a time when people are increasingly wanting to have the world to conform to their own feelings instead of just being an adult and understanding how we each make choices ever day about how we feel and respond to the world. Being able to develop this honesty about how we feel (and that we feel) what is happening is the second big leap in work of this kind. Be easy on yourself, but be honest and be responsible.

When you feel resistance in your body, the first step is to observe it. It can sometimes manifest as physical pain. Instead of resisting it, try going into it. It wont hurt you. Explore it with your intuitive faculties. How does it feel? Why is it that you are holding tension there? Try breathing deeply and slowly and then imagining that your own breath is filling that tense hard space in you. Depending on how tense or how resistant the area is, you might need to do this a number of times. As you breath, imagine warmth going into that location. Imagine that your breath is being sent there, that it is opening up that area. Relax. Give yourself this moment to simply explore. What things that you do help to limit or soften the tension in your body, this pain or feeling of resistance? Often you will reach a place where you realize that the tension was in fact in your mind, being fed into a part of your body in a way that sent a message to tighten. Over time, this location can begin to hurt because of how recursive this feedback loop can become. A back can develop significant pain, hips might hurt, leg muscles might remain chronically painful or fatigued. In some cases, stretching gently can help, but in others, merely recognizing the feeling that is feeding the resistance is enough to short-circuit the feedback to that location in the body. Always, bringing awareness helps to limit the problems, but this is just a first step. If you can stop your mind after you reach the problem area and let your mind go blank, you will actually be in a much better position to intuit the problem.

Albert Einstein, who learned how to cultivate this form of intuition in his life described it precisely this way. He said that as long as his mind was busy with the problem, he would not find an answer, but once he let his mind go blank, the answer would just come to him. It turns out that this is what yogi’s and yogini’s do also. It is a cornerstone state for resolving all sorts of challenges in life.

By having a few encounters with how this method works, you can apply it to a broad range of other issues in your life, including things far-afield of our topic here.

There is a hazard in going about this in too much of a rational way because if you do, you will tend to draw on previous experience, whereas this approach I am describing to you now is the opposite. It requires your mind to go blank. Imagine that you mind needs this silence in order to pick up the deeper messages which will arise through your consciousness, for surely this is how they do. By having a few encounters with how this method works, you can apply it to a broad range of other issues in your life, including things far-afield of our topic here. As a Westerner, you probably have been taught to always have a busy mind. This is one big problem many of us have, which is that we tend not to cultivate more nuanced forms of awareness as our busy monkey-minds steal the show. There is a great benefit in allowing your mind to go quiet and to slowly learn how to cultivate this state of mind. In fact, all meditation practices have this as one of their chief goals. By quieting the mind you can more readily get to the substratum of awareness, to the Essential Self which tends to lie just below the surface. When you do this, it is much easier to delve into these problem areas and see them for what they are. It always requires some degree of discipline, courage, and self honesty.

Are your shoulders tight? Is your solar plexus hard as a rock? Do your knees hurt? In some cases, you might have some issues with your physiology because of an injury or something that comes to your through your genetic line. That can sometimes be separate from what you hold in a center, like say, your knees. And yet, the knees can go on to hold tension that is more than merely how you have been gifted in your physiology. There is a lot that we do with feelings of vulnerability to further impact a part of the body. It is worth noting what part is purely physiological and what part might be exacerbated effects of emotion or tension in that area. I once had a shoulder in jury that I made worse because of my protecting it too much. The shoulder joint literally froze in place, hard as a rock from inactivity. I had to learn to open up the injured shoulder and not be afraid to move it and allow it to work as it had before the injury. In time, I found that I was able to bring more flexibility to it than it had prior to the injury itself, which was an unexpected bonus.

It sounds cointer-intuitive, but many reflexologists and energy healers have found that certain parts of the body tend to be areas where quite specific feelings can get trapped. Have had self-esteem? Your root and your sacral region might need some attention. Is your willpower off or is it too strong? That could very well be an issue in the solar plexus. Feelings of being a victim? Goodness, your heart might need some work. If you take on too much of others’ stuff, you might find your shoulders literally tightening up with shoulder and upper back issues plaguing you.

The more you do this work the more you will find yourself letting go of age-old problems.

It is helpful to have a good body worker who can help to loosen those areas up, the open the energy channels so the old stuff can go and new growth and healing can take its place. The more you do this work the more you will find yourself letting go of age-old problems. If you find yourself going back to an issue in your past over and over, this itself is a stuck emotion and it will almost always have its compliment in the body somewhere. It is actually pretty amazing how much we can become aware of this stuck material if you take the time to slow down, get quiet, and then begin to listen and pay attention in a meditative way to what your body is telling you. In some cases, you might not be able to get to the source of the problem yourself. You might know that there is something likely stuck in a certain spot, but you have no idea how to let it go. Despite everything that you try, it just hangs on. This is where an energy worker can often help. Whether that person does acupuncture, acupressure, reiki, cranio-sacral, or similar types of energy work, someone who is practiced in energy work often will have the intuitive abilities to get to the problem in order to provide you with relief. It is my experience that truly great energy workers are rare, so you will want to look around and ask people about their experience.

It is really quite a revelatory experience when you can feel the emotional energy move out of the body. It normally never comes back, which is a great relief, too. 

With practice, you can use meditation as a way to take a quick inventory of your body state and see what is coming up for you. We are human, so we are prone to holding onto things, obsessing about something that upset us or not being able to let go of something as far back as childhood. We have lost the ability that most other mammals have for “shaking off” the tension or past emotion or trauma. This is why I recommend for really sticky issues a healing modality called TRE. If you use this term to search my blog you will find a number of posts on this method. It is actually quite simple to do on your own and has been shown to relieve symptoms of PTSD, and if done more intensively, it can eliminate the trauma stored in the body for good! It is really quite a revelatory experience when you can feel the emotional energy move out of the body. It normally never comes back, which is a great relief, too.

As you replace old negative self-talk with more positive thoughts, your whole outlook can begin to change.

While mulling this post, a quote came up on my social media feed in a group that I am part of. It was a person describing how one day they realized that they were free to feel anyway that they wanted about themselves. They described this feeling as being able to become like a butterfly, free from being tied down to old thoughts and feelings. One day this person suddenly felt free to feel fantastic about themselves, and so his life changed after that, forever. He now lives his life considering that he is this marvelous creature with so much good in himself that this now fills him with joy and wonder instead of being hemmed in and feeling bad about himself. This is a really great way to treat yourself, which is a form of self love. If you don’t love yourself, how can anyone hope to do similarly? Plus, you will feel really great as a result of shifting this way. For some of you, you might need some practice, but go easy on yourself. As you replace old negative self-talk with more positive thoughts, your whole outlook can begin to change. Aren’t you worth it? My best of luck to you…

The quarentine has been the best test for my progress and development. Before the meme (below) spread across the internet I was at home working in my studio and keeping to myself and keeping a pretty good level of peace. I had a good wrinkle emotionally after having a close family member in the hospital and out of touch for weeks during the quarantine. That has been the hardest difficulty in the last six weeks. This has pointed to more work to be done – how do you not let a child being sick not get to you? So my reactivity needs some attention.

I am going to be delving into TRE to see if I can shake some things loose. If you don’t know about TRE, do a search on my blog and you will find a very good video that I linked to that shows how to fine tune your body in order to release stored or repressed emotion. Do I need to remind you that it is this type of emotion that is giving you the most trouble? I can say with great confidence that your biggest challenges come from these submerged emotions, what you call “triggers.” It is a fact that when you do this release work, you will release not just the emotion but also the trigger effect. I will add that some triggers are also clusters of very similar traumas over time because individual trauma events are all recorded perfectly and individually. As a result, be patient. That said, clearing consciousness has been THE way to return to peace. Peace is our native state because our souls know that we are immortal and without limit and born from bliss.

Enjoy the meme-do you feel me?

UPDATE: 5/18/2020

I settled in last week and performed TRE. In fact, I watched a video I had posted a couple of years ago in order to get the finer points of one part of the method, which is a posture that stretches more of the base of the psoas, the muscle group that gets effected and where so much trauma is stored.

I got into the position in order to fatigue the muscles. I was in that position for five, ten, then fifteen minutes and those muscles just weren’t fatiguing! I thought how it would be great if I could have someone sit on my stomach in order to get those muscles fatigued and beginning to tremble!

I kept at it, and you know, it wasn’t happening. Instead, I began a psoas stretch instead. I took a low long stretch, alternating between each leg.

After the stretch and into the being before going to bed, I found myself feeling increasingly grouchy, emotional. This wasn’t a full release, but I went to bed knowing I was going to work on this again. Maybe find a weight to get my psoas muscles trembling!

*To learn more about the psoas and its role in stored trauma or emotion, search on this blog and you will be able to see images of the psoas and exercises that can be used to stretch that important muscle.  In India, they call it the seat of the soul, and based on how much early emotion that can be locked up into it, your destiny emotionally certainly appears to hinge on the health of the psoas. Want to feel more at peace? Working out the wrinkles in the psoas can have a role in some of it.

 

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Wakulla County, Florida, Copyright Parker Stafford 2018

I have been doing a lot of travel recently ( I plan to do more now that I am officially an “empty nester”).  Some of it has been traveling to  places I grew up in, others to places I haven’t been before.  What is interesting to me is how when I travel, how it impacts the way I dream. This summer my daughter and I spent some time along some islands in the Gulf of Mexico.  As we traveled further south, every night for me was like digging deep into some deep barrel to lift out something long forgotten.  I have found over the course of ten years that the things that have led to releases energetically have been extremely broad.  I have used movement, Qi Gong, meditation, breath work, shaking and TRE (Trauma Release Exercises), dream work, and I even released a block on the advice of my guidance by drinking alcohol one evening just enough to get tipsy (and the next morning the release came-magic!).  No matter what the yogis or masters tell you, if you have a voice of guidance, follow it.  If that guidance says “find the nearest body of water” or something odd-ball like that (which happened to me) trust it.  Follow it.  And even if you don’t have a clearly defined thought-voice in your head, follow your gut, follow your urgings, and even try doing something you are afraid to do or that you have resisted. So much of our buried emotional material has to do with what we resist or bury, or try to ignore.  The bodhisattva in me wishes very much to assist you in realizing even more the bodhisattva that is within you…

In the case of this Summer, being in places where I grew up but have not been in for a very long time seemed to have an  effect on my state of mind and a kind of reverie I felt that extended into dreaming. In my case, the place I was in I hadn’t been to in close to 20 years, and before that, another 20 years which takes me all the way back to my early childhood. I find it interesting how traveling to familiar places that you haven’t seen in a long while can help spark or catalyze transformation, a kind of reclamation of the soul and its lost parts through buried hurt or trauma from the past.  This is actually what yoga seeks to do for the individual, which is to help clear the energy body of this stuck energy so that the primordial self might know itself in presence. I know that when you think of yoga you think of all of these postures, but true yoga is actually about realizing the divine within you.  This is its ultimate goal. Now as to whether yoga teachers are teaching yoga with this emphasis/awareness or not is another question altogether…

It has been a great Summer for me because I was able to spend time with a child whom my ex has worked diligently for years to lessen my exposure to.  Anyone who knows me knows how much I love my children and how engaged I am with them.  It has been a hard seven years but my child turned 18 and she was able to assert her rights as a person and that has meant that we finally were able to have a real summer together traveling and enjoying each others’ company.  We have been out boating, kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, taking walks,  and laying in the hot sun. We have been able to visit old family friends, and for my daughter, meet people from my past who are like family who my daughter had only heard in story.  All the while, in a way I can’t quite explain, my insides are being effected as I sleep at night and have these dreams that seem to access long forgotten parts of myself.  Some of it feels so peripheral I am not completely sure what is happening (sound familiar?) and some of it feels more familiar or known.  There is a lot in dream that has felt like accessing points or places within me that were concurrent with a certain place and time….

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Sunset over St Marks Nature Preserve, Wakulla County Florida. Copyright Parker Stafford 2018

I’m writing this urging you to consider breaking up your regimen by going to places you haven’t been to in a long time.  If you are  like me, and moved from your childhood home a long time ago and haven’t been back, try going back.  But relax, enjoy your time, see the sights and soak in what it was like to be there. Even if you didn’t like growing up there, there is really something to be said for returning to those old brambles….sometimes only to find that the brambles are all gone, or are ready to be rooted out of you. Sometimes just being there can be enough to connect you by way of geography, the smell of the place, the change in altitude or weather, or even the slight disorientation that comes from being in a new place.  We generally think of these things as disquieting, but in release work, it really can be the very trigger that lets an energetic loop slip out of your energy body and fall away.  I think that it could hold some surprises for you as it relates to release work. Sometimes dropping a pebble into long undisturbed waters can make for change….

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Key Largo, Florida. Copyright, Parker Stafford 2018.

A large part of what I write about on this blog has been about how to release stored emotional energy that is in the body. I do this because of its connection to our ability to know the deeper self. It also is work that can make an awakening experience far less chaotic or difficult. Some people who either awaken without preparation or do so spontaneously can wind up in a state of psychosis. While I speak and write glowingly of awakening, it is our own backlog of stored trauma that causes great difficulty with so much prana (which is kundalini) now animating the good and the not-so-good within.

There are numerous ways to assist in releasing stored emotional trauma. One of the ways that I have been exploring this has been a direct result of earlier releases which have made an awareness of how fundamental the hips are in aiding in clearing trauma that is stored there. This is where the root chakra rests and it is also home to a set of muscles yogis have dubbed “the seat of the soul.” These muscles make up what is called the psoas (pronounced “so-as”). These muscles are where the most basic and earliest traumas in life are stored. Without proper care, this muscle group can not only store trauma, but can also lead to a number of lower back problems that include a weak, unnatural, or shuffling gate,  and body pain that radiates down to the knees and up though the hips into the lower lumbar regions. Knowing how to stretch and tone the psoas will leave you feeling as though you have a new lease on life. While Voltaire claimed the pineal the “seat of the soul,” the psoas is in my experience the real honest to goodness seat of the soul. This region will impact your self worth, feelings of abundance, and creative fire, to name a few.

The psoas is so basic and foundational a muscle group that it governs our most basic of emotions and feelings in our bodies. When this muscle group is stressed our whole being feels out of place. When this muscle group is cleared stretched and toned you can go from feeling trapped and oppressed and full of pain to feeling light and like a child again.

I’m going to describe one of the most effective ways to begin to release stress from the psoas. There are also some stretches that are used in yoga that have been used for centuries for stretching and toning the psoas.

To understand how foundational this muscle group is,  you need only look at the illustration below to see that the psoas is the bridge between the legs and torso. Like back muscles, if this muscle group doesn’t get  enough stretching and toning, it can develop soreness and rigidity that telegraph’s that pain and rigidity throughout the body making you feel “yuck.”

Trauma Release Exercise (TRE) is one of the most effective ways to release stored trauma in this muscle group. A quick look on youtube will reveal countless videos that reveal how this method works, and I also have a detailed post that delves into this extremely simple yet effective method (search on my blog “TRE”).  It works by causing the body to go into tremors which help release stored emotional energy that is in the body (who knew, right?).  Humans are the ONLY mammal that does not have the instinct to shake after a traumatic event has occurred. In fact, more often than not humans will freeze when trauma is experienced. This is how trauma is stored in the body, and it will remain there as an energetic and physiological imprint until it is removed or released. By inducing shaking in this important muscle, everyone can utilize the therapeutic effect of shaking as an effective means for releasing trauma from earliest life.

This method, which I have detailed before (search “trauma release” in the search section) involves lying with your back on the floor and your behind lifted up about six inches off the floor, doing so until the leg muscles become fatigued so they begin to shake. This shaking begins to help release stored emotion. You might find that a lot of hard emotions come up, and it’s important to not hold these emotions back. You need to let them flow without “grabbing” for them. If you adopt this approach, you will find success with this method.These emotions are in the past and there is nothing to fear.

In the illustration above, a large pillow can be used to rest as needed. The lifted position of the pelvis is very helpful in getting the stress to move deep into the hips.

Next, stretching the psoas is very helpful. In fact, if you do it regularly you will feel as though you have a new lease on life. Believe it or not, this very simple act can lead to releasing karma. The one way we release karma is by forgiving ourselves (not others, although this is indeed helpful and an important prelude to self forgiveness when it comes). Feeling the weight of past “debts” bearing on you is not how karma is ever released. Once you shift how you feel deep down, it is easier to reach into the light that is the new life that comes through this work. It might sound unlikely that such a simple thing as stretching can shift and evaporate karma, but it is in fact an important run-up to getting into the right space where these debts can go forever.  It always involves a deep recognition of forgiveness.  No God or outside agency can do this for you; it is an inside job.  Winks.

auraspa.net

This stretch, shown above, is very helpful. Start off slow and don’t stretch beyond your comfort zone. Over time, you will loosen the psoas more and more.
If this stretch is uncomfortable  at first, you can lie flat on the edge of a table or bed and let each leg dangle over the edge, allowing you leg to flex at the hip. This is a little lower impact than a full stretch. You can detect imbalances in your energy field by way of tightness, muscle pain, pressure, as well as issues with balance while performing this stretch.  As I have gotten into using this stretch I have found that I am increasingly more off balance, which might not seem correct at first.  The nature of releasing blocks is that as the block begins to let go (this can be of short duration while stretching or it could occupy weeks or months of time as you work this block out), unsteadiness can often be a symptom of your becoming increasingly aware and present with the block.  This is not a bad thing!  It is a wonderful sign that your body is beginning to “speak” to you to let you now that something big is up. It is also possible to feel a range of sensations from a liquid-like feeling of motion in the body surrounding the block, heat, cold, electrical shocks, and waves of emotion.  Don’t let a strong wave of emotion stop you; this is where the best work is actually being done!

Next, lying flat on your back, bring each leg in turn up to your chest, which will also stretch the “glute” muscle group in the behind. This will also stretch the psoas where it ties into the lower back, an important place for releasing stored stress. Take it slow. Hold this for many minutes. Begin holding one minute and slowly extend it into the three to four minute range. In time, you will be able to naturally stretch into these deep positions naturally. Go slow; this is not a race and your muscles groups, if they have blocks in them, may also be very tight, so you will need to move slowly but persistently over time to help loosen things up.  This will help release body armoring (also called emotional armoring) when you bring thought, feeling, and body together as one in these movements. In fact, as I do these exercises, I will often begin getting intense sensations related to the psoas that in the past might have made me wonder if I should continue, but don’t let feeling emotionally rough stop you; this is a sign that the healing is happening.  Continue with it until it is stretched, massaged, and released. Wait for it; it will come, simple as sunshine.

One final note: stored energy isn’t just in muscle. It is also in the interface between tendon and muscle. By holding a stretch long enough, you give the time needed for the stress to release in the tendons. During a therapy session recently, I had a body worker releasing stress in my elbow, something that had developed as a result of over stressing it in my work. By pressing down and stretching the tendon in a hold, I was able to feel the tension/stress release which felt like water pressure leaving a tube. Once this happened, the tension bound in the tendon was gone for good.

I found that the tension went deeper into the tendon where it connects to the bone. Having learned the technique for release, I pressed deeper and closer to the bone. Once clear, the memory of the trauma was released. While the stress in my elbow and forearm wasn’t emotional stress, the body responds to it the same way. When stretching, let yourself stretch deeper as you go, gently but persistently. You do not want to create tears. Slow and gentle is better than being overly aggressive.

So there you have it: practice this and you will find immediate relief from stored emotion in the hips.

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