Triggering Reactivity

We get triggered by people, situations, and events and find ourselves reacting in ways that, in the aftermath, we are ashamed of, know consciously to be ineffective or destructive, or that we thought we had outgrown. It can be disheartening, depressing, and cause us to feel hopeless, unmotivated, and angry at ourselves as well as others. At a very basic level, this is the basis of addiction. We want to ease the pain or stress that we are feeling! We revert, often without conscious thought, to old coping mechanisms. We just want to stop feeling the uncomfortable vibes or jitters that we experience when we come up against behavior, thoughts, or actions that trigger unconscious or subconscious reactions.

For example, why do some people overeat? Even when they know consciously that they are not hungry? Beyond the taste buds that give the message that whatever is being eaten is delicious, the unnecessary food is providing a balm to an uncomfortable feeling. Perhaps eating has become a way to stop feeling alone, worthless, and unloved for many of us. And it works, at least temporarily! For those few minutes while we are eating the comfort food, we feel soothed and less uncomfortable. The loneliness, the self-disparagement, and the feelings of being unlovable diminish in volume. 

This sets up a patterned way of dealing with uncomfortable emotions. Does the food have anything really to do with the feelings? No, it’s just a method of coping that seems to alleviate the pain of the emotions just long enough time for us to begin to feel some relief from the uncomfortable emotions. And that is one of the hallmarks of these coping mechanisms, they are temporary, and thus must be constantly repeated to regain a sense of emotional equilibrium.

Eating is not the only way to deal with uncomfortable feelings. Humans are inventive in their coping mechanisms! Alcohol, drugs, sex, abusive relationships, thrill seeking, self-abusive behaviors, angry outbursts, and inflicting physical, emotional, and verbal pain on others are other ways that people have found that relieve the stress of their emotional pain. But not all addictive behaviors are seen from the outside as negative!

Another example can be seen in people who seem to thrive and truly come alive only in times of crisis. They are there to help family, friends, and the greater community survive a threat or difficult time. These people become the saviors that others constantly call on for help. This rescue pattern can become so embedded in the rescuer’s psyche that they look for crisis situations to manage and, sometimes when it can’t be found, will create situations where their invaluable help is called on. This is not necessarily consciously recognized but when their assistance is not desperately needed, these individuals do not feel happy, fulfilled, or even alive. Again this is an addiction, albeit often seen in a positive way by the receivers of such assistance.

Being able to come to the rescue allows these people a way to feel valuable and worthy. Taken to a bizarre extreme, we witness the phenomena of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. Although this syndrome is fairly rare, less extreme examples are all around us. If an individual was praised as a child only for their ability to maintain calm and offer assistance in an emergency, this becomes a way for the child to continue to find value with others and self. This is the way the child feels fully loved.

What do habitual unconscious reactions, built-in automatic responses, and addictive patterns have in common? Often they are the learned consequences to events that happened in the past. When we find ourselves challenged in the present, our past memories can cause us to react without even knowing we are being triggered. We bypass the conscious thought process of what might be the best way to respond to the challenge in the present by triggering an automatic resolution that has worked for us in the past. Reactively responding to a present situation always means we are functioning from our memories and past experiences. By clouding the present with filters from the past, we lose objectivity and may not clearly see the present situation. New ways of approaching any situation, whether challenging or trouble-free, can be missed because we are entrenched in the old pattern of thinking and cannot see the new solutions or opportunities.

There are currently a number of methodologies to help us rid ourselves of no longer useful emotional and mental patterns. But before we can avail ourselves of any method, we must be able to bring these unconscious and subconscious patterns to the surface. It has been posited that conscious thought is only about 10% of all the thinking and remembering we do. The vast majority of memories and thoughts are below the conscious level. This can be a major stumbling block. How can we become aware of what is not recognizable?

Generally, how we feel about ourselves and others will reflect any biases we may have embedded in our memories that cause a habitual emotional response. If we are unhappy with ourselves, attention needs to be paid to ferret out what circumstances seem to trigger negative self-talk. If we seem to have a “go-to” emotion such as anger towards others, what is the true source of the anger? What are our thought habits? Do we tend to catastrophize events and outcomes or do we anticipate positive results? Do we seem to repeat actions that do not give us our desired conclusions? What do we really believe about ourselves in terms of our potential, capability, worthiness, and loveability? All of the answers will be reflected in our lives on a physical, emotional, mental and energetic level.

If our existences are in harmony with what we want out of our lives, then chances are that we are not going to act from past experiences and will not respond reactively. On the other hand, if we are not happy with how we interact with family and friends; where we are in our careers; our health; our romantic partnerships then chances are that we are holding onto and acting from outmoded or false preconceptions.

Some scientists posit that we hold memories and, therefore, behavioral patterns in all of our cells not just in the brain. This is one reason why there is such interest in energy medicine healing methods such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Acupuncture, Energy Medicine, and The Healing Codes. By working with the body in ways that combine physical touch and activation, these methodologies can help to remove old ways of thinking and behaving by embedding new and more effective ways of functioning in the physical body as well as in the thinking mind.

Many individuals have found that unearthing old patterns through talk therapies alone have not done the job of removing the old habitual patterns. It certainly can help to bring awareness of old emotional templates but by going over old patterns repeatedly, sometimes individuals feel worse and can become even more stuck in the old ways of behaving and responding. Continually reliving past trauma can cause us to make the mental pathways in our brain that contain the trauma to become more entrenched.

We want to discontinue to think in those ways – to abandon the dendrite pathways that cause us to function in the old way. By taking the acquired awareness of what is below the surface (unconscious and subconscious thinking) and applying energy medicine techniques to clear the body of the old patterns, people can make remarkable changes in how they experience formerly troubling challenges. How and when they respond to a situation can become more considered and thoughtful and not a knee jerk reaction. By functioning without the filters of the past, an individual can operate from a more authentic place; from the standpoint of who they are in the present instead of who they were in the past. We stop limiting who we think we can be and begin to expand who we are capable of being. We begin to live in the present without the holdovers from the past.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

Summer Reflections

At some point each summer I start to feel a sense of melancholy. The summer scent of musty cut grass in the air makes me feel sad because I know that the long, warm, lazy days of ease will come to an end. Oh the summer is not over by a long shot! But I can hear and smell the passing of the season even as we are at the height of it.

Perhaps the melancholy is more acute as I grow older. I’ve had many cycles of seasons under my belt so perhaps I am more intensely aware of the passage of time. My beautiful and boisterous granddaughters bounce and jump around in the grass, ferreting out tiny pine cones in the trees, laughing at the bunnies who zigzag so as not to get caught, and plucking wild and domesticated flowers off willing branches to be presented as bouquets to their mom. They don’t notice the passage of time. They are in the thick of the moment. I watch their strong tanned limbs move with abandon and I remember how I felt when I was their age. I join my granddaughters in running across the field with arms out spread as if they are the soaring wings of angels.

I think of the plans I had for this season earlier in the year – what have I achieved and what still remains to be done? A sense of urgency emerges but it feels almost absurd. Why hurry, why worry, why fret? Summer is still here with its boundless possibilities and hopes! The sun is shining and there is still time, still opportunity, still serendipitous chance. And so I drink in the intoxicating nectar of the light, the animals and the birds, the smells, and the sounds. I feel the love emanating from people I care about and from the very earth itself.

The melancholy begins to lift.

It’s a bit like the ancient fable about the grasshopper and the ant. If we spend all our time worrying about the future, do we enjoy the present? If we spend all our time being in the moment, do we quickly become part of the past? Past, Present, Future. In a more modern context, if you are so busy taking that perfect snapshot with your cell phone, are you a participant or merely a record keeper? If you don’t take the photo, can you be sure that you will remember the moment?

Of course the key is balance – balance between work and play, enjoying the moment and planning for the future, between action and relaxation. But that balance can sometimes be elusive. If we get stuck believing that where we are is not where we are supposed to be, then we can’t be fully present. We may begin to feel frustrated or impatient or that we are losing out. We may even feel melancholy.

How do we balance it all while being fully present to each side of the equation?

I’ve learned that trusting in myself is a large part of the answer. Having faith that my inner voice will give me a sign or nudge when it’s time to transfer to the other side of the equation. I haven’t always believed that I would have that inner understanding available when I needed it. However, as I get older, I see that my intuition is usually reliable.

I’ve also learned that the more I listen and follow my inner voice, the more the rest of the world seems to echo that understanding. Opportunities arise that resonate with what my intuition is saying to me, making it easy to choose the path ahead. So while I can sense the passing of the summer even as I enjoy the delights of the season, I understand that this is the balance that occurs in all aspects of life.

 

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Clinical Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

 

© 2018 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Recalibration

Recalibration. It can be the act of resetting goals, changing a message or purpose, or altering the way one operates. While recalibration can often be challenging, even painful, it can produce an opportunity to find new possibilities. It can last short-term or it may affect the rest of our lives. Recalibration can also be a response to mistreatment directed at us or at what is going on around us.

On a personal level, recently I woke up to a small disaster in the form of water on the cellar floor leaking from a 4 year old water heater. Seeing the water pouring out onto the cement floor was hard enough but knowing that a lot of my children and grandchildren’s belongings and mementos were getting wet was heart wrenching. My son’s childhood drawings and his collection of baseball and football cards and helmets were soaked and ruined. My daughter and son-in-law’s stock of artistic and politically activist t-shirts for their part-time business were mostly recoverable but some of the stock was beyond redemption. Toys and clothing being held as hand-me-downs from my current granddaughters for any future little beings were drenched.

Replacing the water heater was a short term challenge for me – I only had to reschedule clients for one day and reallocate funds to pay for the repair. But my son lost objects of remembrance that he had treasured and stored in my cellar in the hopes of retrieving in the future. Toys, t-shirts, and hand-me-downs have been brought to the dump. My son’s recalibration period will take longer than a day to process.

Sometimes recalibration involves rethinking how much we are able to do physically. Especially as we “evolve,” as a dear friend prefers to call the process of aging. In my own life, I recognize that I don’t have the physical stamina that I had when I was younger. In my many years as a professional dancer, I was worn out after 8+ hours in the dance studio but I was ready and willing to get up and do it all again the next day. Now, I doubt that I could do a full 8 hours in the dance studio any day of the week. Currently I’m satisfied if I work out 2 hours a day. At some point, I had to rethink where I wanted to apply my physical energy during each day. I still wanted to maintain physical fitness but I preferred to spend the bulk of my day practicing energy medicine on my clients and colleagues. The physical energy that such a practice utilizes has a higher priority these days for me.

Many of us learn the hard way that we need to make changes in our career path, in our companions, or in our lifestyle. When mental/emotional stress causes us to have a cardio event; when a sudden jarring and unexpected accident occurs; when a loved one passes; when we lose our job – these are times to revisit and recalibrate what is most important to us.

Six years ago I had both a best friend and a long term boyfriend. Unfortunately they really disliked each other. When I went on vacation with my best friend, the boyfriend would go out of his way to text many times a day, call at inconvenient times, and disparage our vacation plans. When I was home with the boyfriend, my best friend would barrage me with negative comments about my boyfriend’s actions. The one time I brought them together, they sniped at each other constantly. I felt like I was a mediator at a battle field. A zinging comment from one side was matched and anted up in a nastier comment from the other side. Clearly, I needed to do something about these two important people in my life.

With time and attention, what became apparent is that they both treated me in similar ways and that this was the basis of the problem. Since I was an easygoing person, both were invested in controlling me. It suddenly was obvious – it was me who needed to change! I needed to create better boundaries! I eventually ended both relationships, paving the way for more beneficial relationships. This period of recalibration took some time and entailed some emotional pain but I learned a great lesson.

I remember a waitressing job I had in my very early 20’s. The restaurant was brand new, and the owner was trying to boost her clientele. I obliged and began to talk the place up, urging many of my dancer and theatre friends to come to the restaurant. It worked! Business picked up over the next two weeks until the owner pulled me aside and fired me. Her reason? My friends weren’t the “kind of clientele” she wanted – they were too lively and she wanted quieter customers. Wham! Time for rethinking where I wanted to work and the kind of places I wanted to be associated with. I wasn’t too surprised when the restaurant went out of business about a month later.

When we are compelled to recalibrate, it often comes in the form of an opportunity to ask ourselves some searching questions. Perhaps we discover that there are new priorities in our lives? We may find that we have new options that align more closely with our heart’s desires. Possibly we can let go of some of our “shoulds,” and open up to more of our “wants.” Can we tailor our future in more constructive and beneficial ways? Do we have the chance to be more creative, to retune our thoughts and emotions, and to get to know ourselves on a deeper level?

As an Energy Medicine Practitioner, I see clients every day who are doing just this type of introspection. Recalibrating their thoughts and emotions toward the people around them, their occupations, their marriages or partnerships, or themselves. If we are not aware of or are avoiding what is troubling us, then we cannot take steps to alter what is bothering us. Despite being sometimes heavy-going, sometimes agonizing, or more rarely pain-free, recalibration is a necessary part of growth. As my clients see more clearly what their actions and emotions are evoking in their lives, they are inspired to make new decisions about how they wish to live in the future.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Body Awareness, Energy Body Tune-up, and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

 

© 2018 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

 

 

Networking at the Physical Level

We all understand what a social network is–an  interlacing of the people and groups we personally know. Through active or passive outreach to other people and groups, we can extend our network. Eventually through this web of interlacing, we can be in touch with someone from another culture or country that we’ve never even dreamed of visiting. And yet, somehow, we have created a connection with this new person, and they have become part of our larger worldwide network.

In the same way, our bodies network. One part of our physical body doesn’t need to reside directly next to another part to have a relationship. Although the lungs don’t sit next to the brain, through breath they obviously relate. The brain needs oxygen which the lungs supply and conversely the lungs won’t work if the brain doesn’t function. Therefore the functions of the lungs and the brain are interlaced, and they are networking.

We have a better understanding of the web that the flow of blood creates as it moves through the body. If we cut ourselves anywhere, blood will begin to seep through the cut. So it seems clear that the circulation of blood is system wide, and we understand that blood communicates with all parts of the body.

But do we fully comprehend that the rest of the body is constantly interacting, constantly networking, constantly communicating at every level: organs, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, fluids, nerves, other connective tissues, and the outer covering that binds it all together – the skin?

Most of the time, we are not conscious of the communications that are taking place within our physical vehicle. Perhaps in a yoga or stretch class we suddenly are aware of blood flow or that a muscle has released some stiffness or blockage. Or we stub a toe and the nerves send us a clear and conscious message that pain is present. That message reverberates up the leg. However, the millions of messages that occur within our bodies are not consciously felt nor recognized. In fact, the body is in a constant state of riotous networking, picking up minute and sometimes lifesaving information, as our conscious life goes blithely on.

Our conscious thoughts and emotions also have an effect on the physical functioning of our bodies. We have all experienced pain in our hearts when someone we love has passed. Or the pounding of the blood in our heads when we are outraged or angered. Or the need to curve over and hold our stomachs when something shocking and sad has occurred. Our emotions and thoughts are networking directly with the rest of our bodies. Whether we are conscious of it or not, each part of our body, down to the cells, hears the message of pain, shock, sorrow, or anger.

Of course, messages of joy, love, happiness, and excitement also communicate throughout the body as well. At those times we feel expansive, glowing, energized, a sense of vitality.

Dr. Bruce Lipton, a renowned cell biologist, has discovered through his extensive research that our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions can have a profound effect on the functioning of each of our individual cells. Over the years, Dr. Lipton’s research has enhanced the field of Epigenetics. How we think about ourselves influences the environment in which cells evolve, grow, die, or thrive. According to Dr. Lipton’s theories, we are constantly networking with our bodies through conscious or subconscious thoughts and feelings.

If we are feeling badly about ourselves, for example, we are creating a different milieu for our bodies than if we are feeling positively about ourselves. Self talk, whether critical or encouraging, has a direct impact on how we function throughout our bodies. If we tell ourselves that we are stupid, that same message passes through the physical network and changes the environment that the cells are operating in. If the communication that we are stupid becomes chronic, then the habitual growth pattern of the cells will be effected by this message. Our self talk directly networks through the cells with every part of the body: organs, bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons, fluids, nerves, other connective tissues, and the skin.

We can affect specific parts of our bodies, in the same way, when we talk critically about that area. For example, many women are displeased with the size of their hips and verbally chastise themselves. Each time they look in the mirror, they send negative thoughts, emotions, and words to that part of the body. When I have asked these same women to do a body outline scan in classes, they are unable to feel the area around their hips in the same way that they can feel other areas. They have become numb through constant self-criticism. It is almost as if the cells that make up the hip area have become deadened through this barrage of self-hate. Because the body is a mesh of interlacing networks, the numbness in the hips is going to affect other parts of the web.

All of us occasionally speak disparagingly of ourselves. Often we may recognize a phrase that we hear others regularly repeat about themselves. For some of us, this negative self-talk can become an entrenched habit of speech. Consciously or subconsciously, this repetition creates the environment in which our bodies perform their functions. The interlacing becomes polluted with self-denigration. The atmosphere becomes tainted and the cellular network takes on a dourness that imbues all of its cellular participants.

This is why I urge students and clients to tackle the habit of negative self-talk. Our bodies, our very cells, are listening to what we are saying, thinking, and feeling about ourselves. Of course, we can and should observe things we might wish to change or improve (e.g., behavior or habits), but we do not have to constantly berate ourselves and put ourselves down. It is abundantly clear that a child hearing relentless disapproval and condemnation eventually internalizes the message and begins to act accordingly. The same action-reaction happens to us as adults if we unremittingly reprimand ourselves.

It may help to visualize a large red stop sign whenever you catch yourself beginning to insult or harangue yourself. Or perhaps the thought of a warm hug can restore your composure. Or remembering the latest accomplishment or time you felt positively about yourself. No part of your body benefits from constant negative self-talk. The point is to restore peace in the network thereby allowing a return to harmonious communication and healthful interaction.

 

 

 

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Energy Body Tune-up and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

 

© 2017 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

Inspiration

In breath… out breath.

Our breath informs us. It can teach us much about ourselves if we tune in to it. If we pay attention.

So many aspects of our lives can be found in how we are inhaling and exhaling. Taking in and giving out. Receiving and yielding. Are we breathing shallowly or deeply or somewhere in between? Are our in breaths short and our out breaths long? Or the reverse?

How much of our lungs are we truly engaging when we breathe? Do we allow our lungs to fully inflate – front to back and side to side? Our lungs are like bellows and bellows work best if they are inflated according to the purpose of the moment. Are we generous with our breaths and therefore with ourselves and others? Are we stingy in our breathing, and what does that say about our emotional health?

Do we habitually hold our breath – stop the process – at certain moments in our lives? If so, when does that happen – when we are shocked? Surprised? Sad? Excited? Learning a new skill? Does holding the breath serve a function that assists us in those moments or does it make the tension of those times harder?

We focus on our breath when we are meditating. The rhythm of a bodily function that is automatic can have a calming, centering effect. Coming back from the brain’s busy thoughts to the breath can bring us back into the present moment. Be here now! The rhythm is comforting – we can sense ourselves as living beings when we focus on the breath, not the machinations of an overactive computer-like brain. We are alive and more than the grey matter in our skulls!

In breath… out breath.

When we breathe we are also engaging one of our main sensory systems – the sense of smell. A small whiff of an aroma can trigger strong memories – of past events, of places, of a special individual. Who has not been transported by the scent of newly mown grass, the waft of a newborn’s crown, the whiff of ocean waves, or the perfume of a fragrant flower? Our emotions become involved as we breathe in the odors around us. We associate feelings with each of these smells and can imagine the contexts in which we may experience the same emotions again.

Breathing can remind us that we have a future and a past. The oxygen and nutrients that we inhale into our lungs pass into our bloodstream and thereby into all of our muscles, organs, and cells. We nourish all of our body with our inhalations. The completion of this process is exhalation – where the body expels what is no longer useful or needed – the detritus of the oxygenation process – carbon dioxide. We nourish and then cleanse the body with each breath.

As we inhale, we are bringing in the future health of our body and then, as we exhale, we release what no longer serves us – the past. The amount of time that each inhalation of breath takes to come into our lungs, circulate throughout the body, and then finally be exhaled takes 21.6 minutes on average.

We carry an inhalation for a significant period of time as it travels through our physical mass. Understanding this may cause us to change the way we take our inhalations because it will affect how we feel in 20 or so minutes. If the in breath is shallow then perhaps we will not be able to cleanse our bodies as deeply as we may need. If the in breath is very full, will we let go of more than we think is best for us in the subsequent full exhale? How do we want to feel in the future and what of our past do we want to let go of?

Thus breathing is not just about the rhythm, it is also about what will happen and what has already passed – the present, the future, and the past. It encompasses all time, at least until we stop breathing altogether which means we are no longer alive in this life.

Out breath… in breath.

We use the metaphor of inspiration in other ways as well. A new idea, dream, formula, or cause appears fully formed in our mind’s eye and we say that we have been inspired. Breath has been blown into a new awareness or concept and the vision has been given life.

When we are inspired we often feel as if we have been guided by something other than ourselves. By Nature? By the Divine? Where did that idea come from? It seems to flow into our consciousness just as oxygen flows into and out of our lungs without great thought on our part. To be inspired is to be connected with something outside of ourselves, to be part of a grander scheme, a bigger whole. We can see a bigger part of the picture.

Artists, writers, dancers, composers, scientists, inventors, children, parents – all of us feel the occasional moment of inspiration when a sudden discovery or idea makes us feel more alive, more present, more capable of bringing joy, peace, and understanding to the world. We are fueling our hearts through inspiration just as our lungs are fueling our cells through inhalation.

Breathing has much to teach us if we are mindful and pay attention to the in breath and the out breath. Breathing has the capacity to connect us to all that is – our bodies; our emotions; new ideas; past, present, and future – with all that is outside our bodies: Nature, other individuals, and the Divine.

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches classes and workshops in Stretch/Energy Body Tune-up and Jazz Dance. For more information, email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

 

© 2017 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

Stay Balanced During Turbulent Times

We are currently living through very turbulent times. That may sound like an understatement to some. There is constant breaking news about the latest horrifying event that has come to the attention of the media both right and left leaning. Then there are the untruths, the fake news, the commentary, and comedic takes on what has just happened. We are being barraged with information. Day after day, we are relentlessly pounded with sound wave after sound wave of words, emotions, panic, and rebuttals.

It’s hard to stay balanced and centered when you are in the middle of a storm. It’s very easy to become reactive and ungrounded in any crisis. By reacting without thinking we may feel completely out of control, lash out at others, engage in self-destructive behavior, and spend countless hours worrying that we are powerless. When we feel powerless (read “victimized”), we can often lose motivation and energy to move forward. We are like rudderless ships being tossed in the stormy waves not knowing where to go, floundering endlessly.

How can we regain balance in such emotional upheaval? The first thing to do is to turn off the flood of words. Disengage, at least temporarily or for some part of the day, from the media: TV, Facebook, twitter, social media, and email. Walk outside and take some deep breaths and connect up with the earth. The earth is real – you can smell, touch, walk on, or dig into the earth. Listen to the birds, the breeze in the trees, hear the buzzing of myriad insects. Are there clouds floating by? Is the sun shining? Is it dawn or sunset, day or night?

Just by connecting with the earth, you begin to ground and center into a calmer sense of self. You can increase the grounding effect by taking your shoes off and feeling the grass under your bare feet and toes. Or you can sit with your spine against a tree and close your eyes and sense the energy of the tree’s roots running deep under the surface.

The earth is the source of yin energy. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine yin energy is reflective, internal, deep, solid, and inward directed. Yin energy can counterbalance yang energy which is active, assertive, superficial, hollow, and outward directed. Yang energies are what we receive when we listen to all the words that threaten to engulf us found in the daily barrage of news. By interacting with the earth, you gain perspective and are able to come back to yourself.

Even if you are not able to go outside due to weather conditions or you are stuck in your office, you can look out the window or view a photo of a favorite nature spot. Perhaps you have a plant that needs watering. You can picture in your mind’s eye a lovely picnic spot or favorite beach that you have enjoyed. Spend a few minutes looking at or imagining the view and allow yourself to feel the relaxation that surges through your body.

When you relax by grounding outdoors or in your mind’s eye envisioning a natural landscape, inevitably you will find yourself changing your breathing pattern. Are your breaths becoming longer and deeper? Consciously create even deeper inhalations and longer exhalations, perhaps with a hold at the top of the in-breath and a short hold after the out-breath. We often take shallow quick breaths when we are stressed, thereby robbing our blood and body of the nourishment of oxygen. We know that when the brain gets starved of oxygen, it panics, believing that death or destruction is possible. By giving the brain the oxygen it needs, panic can dissipate, and clear thinking can return.

In my Energy Medicine practice, most of my current clients are exhibiting increased signs of stress due to the turbulence we are living in. Western Medicine general practitioners are also speaking out about the amount of anxiety they are observing in their patients. The simple steps outlined above can have a positive effect on curbing stress levels. In addition, there are many other simple exercises that can help to increase balance and well-being.

One exercise that is easy to do no matter where you are is the Triple Warmer/Spleen Hug. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBnkg5uLr20. In this video, Prune Harris demonstrates, in a calming and bucolic setting, how to do this simple but effective exercise. Donna Eden, popular Energy Medicine pioneer, has taught this method of stress relief to thousands of people across the globe. Essentially this hug helps to re-balance the fight, flight, or freeze reaction of the Triple Warmer meridian to overwhelming stress with the nurturing rest and relaxation response of the Spleen meridian.

In another video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KycV6jXo3k0, Prune Harris shows how to hold the Main Neurovascular Points. We often automatically respond to shocking news by slapping a hand on our forehead as if to say “Oh my God!” This video explains how this instinctive action can help relieve stress and reprogram neurological pathways, providing multiple variations on how to accomplish this.

In this final video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZiVtQ3QGWA, Prune Harris shows how to do another Donna Eden exercise called Bringing Down the Flame. Engaging the Chakras and aspects of the Five Rhythms of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this exercise helps to release anxiety and angst and return the body and emotions to peace and calm.

We can help ourselves regain equilibrium during these challenging times. By doing so, we are able to provide a counterbalance to the overwrought and overwhelming general sense of chaos that surrounds us. By taking the time to feel grounded and centered, we are able to think more clearly and build the reserves of energy that will help propel us forward into more positive action. By giving ourselves simple tools and methods to disconnect from the tumult, we are giving ourselves a chance to refresh and reboot our perspectives, thereby finding more effective ways to ultimately change the world.

© 2017 by Sheila Peters. All rights reserved.

 

Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches Stretch/Energy Body Tune-up and Jazz Dance classes and workshops. For more information email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com, call 781-354-0725, or visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.

 

What is Energy Medicine?

Energy Medicine can seem mysterious but it actually is quite simple, while being extremely sophisticated at the same time. Our bodies are made up of flows and energies – the blood and lymph circulatory systems are example of flows. Donna Eden, a pioneer in Energy Medicine, states that she works with nine primary energies in the body. Meridians, chakras, and the aura are three of the nine and are probably the most widely known among the general public. Donna also teaches and works with the Radiant Circuits, Triple Warmer, Celtic Weave, Five Rhythms, the Grid, and the Electrics. The basic goal of Energy Medicine practitioners is to maintain balance of and optimal connection between these body energies and flows to prevent disease.

Energy Medicine is rooted in indigenous and Eastern health practices and disciplines such as acupuncture, acupressure, yoga, and qigong which also correlate with much of Western medicine’s understanding of the body’s systems. For example, recent research by a team led by Kwang-Sup Soh PhD, director of the Nano Primo Research Center at Seoul National University, South Korea, has supported and expanded upon the original 1962 discovery by Bong-Han Kim (North Korea) that the “Primo Vascular System” is, in fact, the meridian system. The research findings are based on the researchers’ insertion of a blue dye into the meridians of live animals to distinguish the tiny meridians from the larger blood and lymph vessels nearby. The dye also enabled the researchers to document the nodes (often referred to as acupuncture “points”) or intersections of meridians, as well as irregular electric pulses coursing through the meridians themselves.

This exciting research will “shift the level of the oriental medicine from the traditional wisdom and art with a long history to the biomedical sciences in [a] true sense. Furthermore, it will also bring a paradigm change in the regenerative medicine, cancer, immune deficiency or hyperactivity, pain control, stem cell therapy, and other important issues in the human health care in general.” (Soh, Kang, Ryu, 2013)

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Slide from the August, 2014 presentation by Dr. Kwang-Sup Soh (South Korea)

Albert Szent-Györgi, Hungarian-born winner of the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1937, wrote: “In every culture and in every medical tradition before ours, healing was accomplished by moving energy.” As Mehmet Oz, MD, has proclaimed on national television, “Energy Medicine is the next big frontier in medicine.”

Energy Medicine, as I practice it, is based on Traditional ChinSomatic Energy Medicineese Medicine (TCM) acupressure points, meridians, and chakras in conjunction with Eden Energy Medicine, Reiki, and other somatic techniques. Non-invasive methods such as tapping, holding, buzzing, and connecting various physical points on the body help to re-balance and center a person’s energy systems, releasing blockages, so that the body begins to heal itself. A typical 90-minute session will involve assessment of various basic energy systems and then a general energy balancing before tackling more detailed and specific work. Clients remain fully clothed and relax on a massage table once the assessment has been completed.

Self-healing is also a major tenet of Energy Medicine. In fact, no changes can occur without the permission and active agreement of the client. Unlike Allopathic Medicine (or Western medicine), which often relies on antibiotics, surgery, and other invasive interventions, Energy Medicine is non-invasive and seeks to empower the client to help heal him/herself, often through simple exercises, modifying emotional and thought patterns, and by becoming more conscious of the body’s functions. Because Energy Medicine requires the active participation of the client, the client feels more in control of how his/her health improves. Proponents of Energy Medicine view its effectiveness as a strong complement to Allopathic Medicine which has proven successful in emergency situations where surgery or antibiotics can provide immediate relief. Energy Medicine takes the broader perspective that the emerging global wellness movement embraces: awareness and early treatment of imbalances in the physical and energetic bodies can help to prevent illness as well as transform precursors to disease or somatic weaknesses in order to prevent them from developing further.

stressOne of the major causes of illness in our society is stress. We are continually stressed by emotional situations in our personal lives, at work, and in the world at large. The recent presidential election is a case in point. Many people found that their assumptions about the political climate were inaccurate, resulting in post-election feelings of shock and fear, and not knowing how to proceed. In Western medical parlance, the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) of these individuals was highly activated producing a sense of “fight, flight, or freeze.” However, in this case, there was nowhere to run, no one to fight, and freezing was really the only viable option. Activating the other half of the Autonomic Nervous System, the Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS), which activates the “rest and digest” reflex was proving to be difficult for these individuals. In my practice, I found that balancing my clients’ Triple Warmer and Spleen meridians helped to relieve the state of “freeze” and allow clearer thinking, enabling the client to move forward and begin to process the election results in a more helpful way.

Although this recent event was a trigger of stress for many, smaller less dramatic events can trigger stress as well. An example might be a tight deadline at work where the information needed to complete the deadline is dependent on co-workers who are procrastinating in producing the information. Another example is being on vacation but still having continuous access to the myriad work emails and texts that bombard the vacationer’s cell phone. Perhaps a young person is overwhelmed with the choices, requirements, and necessary application documents associated with applying to college. Or a much loved elder parent/grandparent is undergoing changes in their ability to care for themselves, placing a new burden on their now adult children. These events can cause the SNS to rally and cause the body to exhibit the increased hormone levels associated with the fight, flight, or freeze response. When stress is unrelenting or becomes a habitual response, the body and its organs suffer. Interestingly, the Japanese language contains a word for death caused by excessive stress.

Energy Medicine is a wonderful antidote to stress without resorting to medication or more invasive techniques that may lead to long-term complications. Along with the benefit of immediate stress relief, a client is also provided with simple exercises as homework to help continue the energy balancing and centering gained in a session. Practicing these exercises on a daily basis can help the body to form new habits in terms of dealing with everyday stressors.

In addition to calming the nervous system, Energy Medicine can also help reduce anxiety, alleviate pain, improve concentration and comprehension, increase vitality, strengthen the immune system, and help boost focus. Sessions help support clients as they traverse major life passages – births, deaths, marriages, divorces, changing jobs, or major life transitions. Energy Medicine is at the cutting edge of new beliefs and theories about how best to support health and healing. Energy Medicine leads to increased energetic health which then translates into physical, mental, and emotional health.

 

 

IMG_0195Sheila Peters is a certified Eden Energy Medicine Practitioner, Reiki Practitioner, and wingWave©Coach. She also teaches Stretch/Energy Body Tune-up and Jazz Dance classes and workshops. For more information email Sheila at: sheilapetersdance@gmail.com.  For more information, visit Sheila’s website at: www.energymedicineanddance.com.