I’ve been on another wild ride lately with the muscle unwinding thing. And it’s been one of those phases where something opens in my jaw and a couple of minutes later there’s a huge release in my shoulders. The other night, a few things opened on the left side of my face and for the next several hours various points opened down the left side: shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, foot.
It reminds me how incredibly interconnected our bodies are. How one muscled clenched in pain can pull the whole body out of whack if it’s not addressed. The place that hurts is often not the point of origin of the problem. That interconnectedness is ignored a lot in the U.S. (chime in rest of world if it’s true where you are too); western medicine largely ignores muscles and seems to have lost track of the impact an injury can have on muscles throughout the system.
Muscles are not individual, isolated parts of us with no interaction with anything else. One muscle attaches to another which attaches to another. Just one key system involves muscles connected to the sphenoid bone (at about the level of the bridge of your nose) which connect to the jaw, and then the neck, creating an unending pattern that goes all the way down each side of your body to your feet. When the sphenoid is tilted (and it can be influenced to tilt by muscles) it can pull one whole side of the body upward while the other side tenses as it tries to compensate.
When I teach movement classes a big goal is helping people realize how each part connects to all the rest. I learn every time how detached people are from their bodies and how very unaware of those connections. It’s always fun to do the triggers of release for ankles and have someone exclaim because their jaw opened up. Or to do the triggers for hips and then as they walk around during the after check-in*, to observe that every set of shoulders in the room is lower. To see the awe on people’s faces as they realize how one part affects another.
These days I’ve been reflecting a lot about the way the world mirrors us. I’ve believed for a long time that the state of Earth’s health is directly related to the state of our health on all three levels (body, mind, spirit). We’re such a key part of the interconnectedness of all life and the Earth. The more each of us understands and heals our own body, the healthier the web of all life — and therefore the world — becomes.
As I reflect I see the importance of understanding the web of the body. Just as the tilted sphenoid can impact the whole body, the dis-ease of so many people throws off the balance of nature. I’m gonna keep saying it: heal your body, heal the world.
And yes, I can see it’s time to use ho’oponopono to heal in myself the disconnect I see in others…
*Part of gaining consciousness in this work is to check in before each movement and then again after so conscious mind can note what changed and become aware of a new possible state of being.