More from the healing front…

Every time I’ve thought it was done there’s been another chapter.  After the main final “block” in my head let go last month (see post) the unwinding started moving along much more quickly.  But about a week before my next scheduled (monthly) appointment with Hanna, I noted that it seemed kind of stuck again.

Sure enough last Friday when she worked on me, she found a pattern still in the remaining muscles.  Another tangent related to the whole witch’s curse story still held on, this one holding muscles related to opening my third eye, which has been a central piece of this story from the beginning.

She spent almost the whole appointment working on my head.  The pattern was very resistant and I was interested to hear her sense that it was entirely ancestor-placed, nothing that I did.  Eventually it did let go and the muscles are back to a fast pace of unwinding.

The cool thing since she released that block in October is my head feels more free and the unwinding doesn’t have the constant feeling of something tugging back hard and trying to slow down or halt progress.  But the few remaining pieces are a core of strands from several different muscles that have intertwined and glued themselves to one another so tightly it’s still tough for them to loosen up.

A couple of nights after the new release, the opening in my head set off a bunch of opening all down my left side and a huge pop released a tight little pattern that’s been in my left knee forever it seems.  Gone.

It’s still unbelievable to me that my muscles could have been so badly twisted, pulled out of place, wrongly-intertwined and glued together to take SO INCREDIBLY LONG, but it sure has. I like to remind everybody because even though you may not have it as bad, if you have tight patterns there are more interconnections and ever-deepening issues than you probably imagine.

The longer muscles remain twisted, the more they pull other muscles into the twist and misalignment.  You can wind up with pain in your right knee that’s actually caused by knotted muscles in, say, your left shoulder.  They’re all interconnected and the longer a pattern goes untended the greater the portion of your body it will pull out of balance.  In my case where there were multiple accidents and origin sites, various patterns wound up locked up with one another.  Take care of your body sooner rather than later!

In the meantime, these last weeks have been amazing as I feel the lightness and feel some slow shifts happening on the energetic level beginning to peep out in daily life. Quite a ride I’m on!

When I grow up?

Twilight, Ashland walled garden

I’ve not meant to be so sporadic about posting.  Lots of yanking around the eyes and sleepless nights contribute to lack of brain power for writing.  But I’m also realizing I’ve been in a time of gestation about writing and what I am or am not meant to do with it.

It’s part of an ongoing inner shift and debate I’ve been exploring for some years (including in previous posts).  When I first started on this spiritual journey I was sure writing novels was my path.  A great deal of my early work centered on removing blocks, rediscovering childhood creativity and generally trying to awaken my inner writer.

One novel and several novel attempts later I began to question whether fiction is even my genre.  And when my guidance nudged me to blog, I wondered if this was my path.  Eventually I came to treasure the community of friends I’ve made through blogging but to question whether my writing here serves any purpose as a life path.

And of course there’s the general questioning as I’ve released and transformed and shifted my way from neurotic, negative Nancy (my real first name) to level and lighter Leigh (my more-beloved middle name).  I’ve let go of so much in the last 25 or so years, I’m sometimes not sure who I am and less sure of what I’m here to do.

Eventually, as the regular crowd here knows, I decided a big piece of my purpose is this long, convoluted journey of healing on every level.  The yanking lately is showing me clearly the muscles in my face have just about finished unwinding (as always with the caveat these last pieces are the very tightest so slow going…) and a new chapter is dawning.

I’m still very unclear as to what the new chapter is or looks like but lately more and more signs and portents have been pointing a way.  Next post I’ll explore this more, but let’s just say I’m sensing strongly that coming back to blogging about peace is the next direction.  Or I’m heading back to an old direction? 🙂

A little vision update

It’s been a long time since I mentioned much about the impact of the changes in my muscles on my eyesight.  Long ago I wrote a post about the late vision therapist Dr. Harry Sirota’s theories about emotions creating tight muscles that cause near-sightedness (and so much more).  At that time I was chronicling some improvements in my eyesight as the muscles unwound.

Eventually I realized the improvement was entirely in my right eye, which came as no surprise as the tight stuff is far worse on the left side and my left eye has been so cemented in tight and intertwined muscles I’ve had a notion it’s going to be the last piece to unwind.  The muscles on the left side have been holding a lot of stuff on the right side in tightness, etc. so I eventually hit a plateau where the right eye quit improving and nothing seemed to happen to my left eye.  Which is why I haven’t written about my vision in a while…

In the last couple of months a lot of the unwinding has been deep behind my eyes and suddenly today I realized my right eye has improved some more and … ta da ta da… the left eye is better too!!!  Not done… both sides have more to do, but I love these moments when the improvement is tangible.

The Sense-sational Challenge: sensing the physical

Linda over at litebeing chronicles issued a challenge for this month, to write about our senses and the joy they bring.  I actually put up a post a few days ago on scent and realized too late I could have saved it for this.  In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about the senses and segueing into thinking about my healing journey and how it has helped me to “sense” into my body more minutely than ever before.

And I started thinking about how numb most Americans are to their bodies and how interesting it is that it takes a kind of “sensing” to be aware of your body and what it needs and yet we don’t have a “sense” for that added to the usual list of five, nor a word for it.  It has me thinking we SHOULD figure out a name to call it and then promote using it.

In fact, in the long slog of healing my muscles, one of the blessings has been the growing great awareness of my physical being.  As I hung around thinking about the senses during a week when I’d thrown off my wrist, arm and shoulder by overdoing it with holding a mouse and scrolling on my phone, realized how important it is to be able to tune in to our bodies.  Long ago I’d have been in pain for days without realizing what caused it or doing anything about it.

I quickly realized what I was doing that had thrown the muscles and ligaments in my wrist so far out of whack, then started doing my triggers of release work to ease out the pattern in the muscles and started wearing a wrist brace when I’m dong a bunch of research on the laptop or phone.  But the sense of my body is so much more than just registering what’s wrong.

As my healing as progressed, I can feel a tingle in my body when I eat something good for it.  I’m hyper aware of how much all the sleep deprivation of recent years has impacted my ability to function and how much it helps to sleep when I can.  Years of practicing the triggers of release and yoga have loosened my spine and hips so when I walk I’m aware of an undulating, flowing movement when I’m relaxed.  If I walk more stiffly, without that flow, I’ll soon have pain in my lower back.

Awareness has brought such a heightened sense of my physical being and the importance of taking care of it.  I’m having trouble finding the words to describe how much difference it has made to keep growing my awareness of my body and how it feels and what helps it, etc.  Sensing into my body, noting anything that seems sore or out of balance, etc. has become a regular part of my life.

Healing my body has been so tied to healing my emotional issues and to opening my connection to my divine being, I wish I could convey to people how much it would change their lives to know their bodies, to “feel” their bodies and to keep them in good health.

So I think we should figure out a word for the “sense” of our own bodies.  Something conveying an ability to tune in and “know” what’s going on just as clearly as we “see”, “hear”, “feel”, “smell” or “taste” and identify  aspects of our world and our lives by using them.

Next challenge post will be here.

Some ins and outs of muscles

Collage of varius Gray's muscle pictures by Mi...

(User:Mikael Häggström) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I said a while back that I’d be posting about the long process of healing, and finally I’ve gotten to post #1.

Over the many years of struggling with issues in my muscles I’ve found far more help from alternative health practitioners than from western medicine.  In fact, my experience is that — with the possible exception of sports medicine specialists (no personal encounters there) — doctors trained in western medicine tend to know almost nothing about muscles.

If you’re in an accident of any type, from car accident to a fall in your living room to cracking your head on the corner of a cupboard, etc., your muscles are affected.  You tighten up in the area(s) of impact.  If the pain goes on for a few days you hold that tight pattern.  By the time the pain goes you’re automatically holding that pattern.

Once the pattern is in one area, it starts tugging at muscles nearby, pulling them into tight, off-kilter patterns,  which in turn pull at another.  Over the course of a few years you may have uncomfortably tight patterns all over your body and you may be feeling the most pain in some area(s) other than ground zero, where it all began.

The average doctor, after checking for broken bones and things that need to be stitched, does NOTHING about muscles.  They behave as if the muscles experience no impact and will have no ongoing affect on your health and comfort.

Even with things like sprains, where they at least take an x-ray or two, you should know they don’t routinely x-ray all angles so many things are overlooked.

For instance:

  1. when I was in a car accident some years ago I smashed my ankle.  The ER took pictures from two angles and my doctor saw no need to follow up with anything more.  Ongoing troubles with balance and falling over the years led to discovering one of the ligaments was torn away in that accident, not noted in the two x-rays they took at the time, and short of a surgery that would be elective, there was nothing that could be done to fix it.  Some research revealed that it’s routine to x-ray only one or two angles at the ER or general practitioner level; if you have a problem that can’t be seen from those angles, too bad for you…
  2. When I fell on the ice while racing to the el in Chicago and landed on my hand/wrist, I wound up at the ER to make sure nothing was broken.  They took x-rays from one angle, said it was fine and sent me on my way.  I had ongoing issues for years and found out later a specialist would have taken shots from more angles, probably finding out what really had been injured..  Using the hand portion of my exercises (see below) has largely ended the problem.
  3. Some years later I twisted my other ankle.  I went to the HMO and was told I just had a sprain.  One x-ray.  Six weeks later my ankle was more swollen and black and blue than it had been to begin with.  When I went back the doctor yelled at me for bothering him with something trivial, saying it looked fine.  My acupuncturist/naprapath was upset because she could see by looking something was wrong. She sent me to a podiatrist (which insurance didn’t cover) who took x-rays from several angles and found the torn ligament the HMO doc missed.  Because I’d walked around on it for so long, it took three months in a cast to heal it.

I’ve heard similar stories from others — even when western medicine bothers to take a look, they don’t bother to look at enough angles to know what’s actually going on.  If you can insist on getting sent to a specialist, you may be given a more thorough examination.  They won’t, however, help you deal with the ongoing muscle issues that arise because of the injury. Any time you sprain or twist something, you might want to consider pushing for a specialist and find out if your insurance will cover some therapeutic massage to help keep patterns from settling in.

When I first started struggling with all this, western medicine thought fibromyalgia didn’t exist.  If you had fatigue or muscle issues they directed you to a shrink.  Now that they acknowledge fibromyalgia, they give drugs that mask symptoms but do nothing to deal with the underlying problem.

The long slow process of getting my muscles to the most-of-the-way good condition they’re in has evolved through myofascial massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, St. John’s neuromuscular therapy, Craniosacral, Bodypatterning and more.  I practiced yoga and sporadically used Robert Masters’ Psychophysical method (off-shoot of Feldenkrais) until I developed sets of exercises combining movements from the Psychophysical series with yoga that have helped immensely (and have cleared years-long patterns for some of my students).

Not one iota of getting better has had anything to do with a single western doctor.  Some of the intertwining patterns would not have been there had it not been for the ignorance of doctors about not only how to heal muscles but even the fact that they need to be healed.  If you’ve hurt your muscles or have ongoing tight patterns, you have to advocate for yourself or you’ll not find help.

Trust me when I tell you I KNOW it’s expensive to get alternative therapies but for your long-term health — which is so much more affected by muscles than you probably realize — I highly recommend that you figure out a way.  I’ve often been able to trade for appointments and I know lots of practitioners who will trade for massage or classes or home cooked meals or art work….  The Universe will help you find a way if you truly want to be healed.

Unwinding Head Update

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Facial_muscles.jpg

Superficial muscles & structures of human face, Patrick J. Lynch

Recently my mother looked over at me, watching my face contort as unwinding muscles yanked my jaw around and dragged at my eyes, and said, “I don’t know how you’ve stood that for so long.  I think a couple of weeks of that and I’d shoot myself.”  I didn’t know how much I’d needed someone to say that until she did.  This has been quite a ride.  If you’ve followed me a long time you know I’ve posted about this unwinding head off and on, sometimes providing info and sometimes whining

The unwinding has become a touchstone for me.  When I do a practice that builds energy I can feel the energy press through the nadis and assist a little more unwinding. When I do something like the ceremonies I’ve done to break the ancestor’s spell I pay a lot of attention to what happens in those muscles.  Both times I’ve done the ceremony the unwinding has been wild — and has gone to a deeper level in the muscles.  Still not done but I’m certain that the ancestor’s spell and the unyielding muscles in my face and head are related and that I’ve either ended the spell or seriously loosened its grip.

When I started the muscles were wound up so tightly, so tangled with each other, so glued together that as this has gone along I’ve periodically stared at various photos of the muscles of the face, trying to relate what I can feel to a sense of the muscles and until recently I couldn’t sort out one from another because they were too entangled.  I’d already spent many years of bodywork and yoga getting the muscles from the neck down sorted out from the same state: every muscle wound up like steel, all muscles groups entangled and glued together and glued to bones.  My first main massage therapist took over a year to get the muscles in my back unglued from my ribs.

I know it’s not always interesting to read somebody’s health issues but somehow this ordeal has felt like something I need to keep sharing.  Though most people don’t have issues as severe as this, I’ve taught yoga and movement and watched people’s bodies for long enough that I know the majority of people have issues with tight muscles.  I also know that nearsightedness, TMJ, and under-developed jaws are rampant (and many have more than one of those), doctors do little with muscles, and most body workers work from the neck down.  Only a few modalities address the head; the two I use are cranio-sacral and bodypatterning.

All those tight muscles sap energy and block the flow of prana.  Don’t let it go until it’s so bad it takes 20+ years to get it all sorted out as it has for me.

Learning Your Body

Microsoft Office Clipart MH900382999.jpg

Western medical thinking seems to mostly by-pass muscles unless they’re prescribing a muscle relaxant or repairing a serious injury. I’m not sure if that’s why most people have so little understanding about their muscles or if it’s just the general lack of holistic health education. I didn’t understand so much either until I embarked on this long healing journey. Two main pieces I’ve been paying attention to lately are the way patterns set in and spread if there’s an injury and nothing is done to restore and re-balance the muscles and the way those patterns start interconnecting with other unaddressed patterns to create complex patterns of tightness and pain.

I’ve noticed that when a student comes to me because of pain in a hip I often have trouble convincing that student that we need to address the whole body and that there will be other areas that impact the part that hurts. All the massage therapists I know tell me they have the same trouble with clients who don’t want them to work anywhere but on the exact place where they feel pain.

The whole muscular system is interconnected so if you injure a muscle in one area and don’t do anything about it the twist or knots in that area will slowly start pulling on the other muscles around it and when those twist they start pulling on other muscles and so on. Then if you injure a muscle in another area another pattern moves out. Sometimes several patterns wind up intersecting in one place and it’s likely that that’s where you’ll feel pain but a practitioner has to work on all the patterns and they often have to work more at the source of each pattern.

I find when I work with people on my triggers of release stuff they’ll often have results in their shoulders, for instance, not only from working on the shoulders but also from the hands, wrists, elbows, hips, low back, neck, knees, ankles and feet. Which other areas have the most impact will vary depending on each person’s patterns.. Once people work with the movements and check in to before and after results they start seeing how much one area can impact another.

Dr. Janet Travell expanded on the earlier work of Dr. Dudley Morton to develop a body of work on myofascial pain and trigger points that was later used to create Myofascial Therapy and since then a number of therapies have developed that work with these theories. John Upledger in writing about his Craniosacral Therapy discussed how one fall, if no treatment to restore the muscles was done, could lead to pain and problems in many other areas years later. The best advice is that any time you fall or have a painful injury you should visit a skilled massage therapist (I highly recommend Cremeans’ Bodypatterning but it’s available only in limited places at the moment) or craniosacral therapist and also practice some movements like the triggers of release developed by Feldenkrais and Robert Masters (my Kindle book, Restoring Fluidity and Freedom of Movement, combines these movements with yoga).

If you’ve rarely or never had bodywork to get your muscles back to health and, especially, if you’ve had falls and accidents where treatment ignored your muscles, then it may take a long time to restore your muscles to good health. This is not a go to the doctor and get a shot or pill to end the symptoms kind of thing. You can take pills to get rid of the pain but they won’t address the actual problem. Getting your muscles back to health is a commitment of time and energy. If you do something like my movement work in between appointments it will go much faster but you need to start down the path to restoring your body with a willingness to be patient and count success in small increments.

In relation to a spiritual journey, all those knots and twists in your muscles are blocking the nadis, which are the channels through which prana and kundalini flow. Besides balancing the chakras, the main point of yoga is keeping those channels open on the theory that it isn’t possible to reach enlightenment if the energy can’t flow freely through your body.

Please, if you’re in a car accident or fall on the ice or get knocked down by a falling shelf (etc.) take care of your muscles! If you haven’t ever done much to get your muscles unwound and aligned properly, start!

Submitted for Jenny Matlock’s AlphabeThursday, which is “L” this week.