Emotions are the programming language for our instincts.
They give texture to the stories we see and hear, tricking our bodies into storing them as though they are real experiences.
The reasons we make up to justify our behaviour are downstream products from our deep-seated assumptions.
Those beliefs decide how we react and how well we focus on the things we want.
Instincts save us, they also act like viruses that take over our operating systems. They can come from rich experiences such as in learning a skill. Or formed from our perceptions of something that happened. Perceptions are stories, and the emotional part tricks our nervous system into storing them as skills.
Emotions are electro-chemical events that change our biology, they increase our nutritional and sleep requirements as well our need for attention.
My expectations and the way I perceive what happens are shaped by my beliefs. When my perception does not match my expectation, I have inner turmoil. That conflict is the emotional charge being replayed. The tension and energy build up created is unbearable and leads to hasty and often addictive behavior.
There are positive emotions as well. Good feelings de-contract the stored tensions that cause us to act defensively.
Gratitude is powerful medicine that we make ourselves.
Gratitude is the deep accpetance of present circumstances. The idea that we owe something to someone outside of ourselves is often just a guilt trip. What is valuable is the energy saved, of course we should be mindful of those who enrich our lives.
To focus on our purpose, we have to debug our instincts. Beliefs are very difficult to remove once they exist at the automatic level. They are then part of our flight and fight responses and take precedence over rational actions.
To gracefully steer our nervous-system and blood chemistry is difficult. It pays to re-set our base-line tension using daily focused breathing and movement practices.
Focus is the Doorway
Both the Automatic and Conscious parts of our biology control our breathing. By slowing or pausing our breath we override the bodies fear and pain responses. We change our relationship to them when we allow these sensations to be.
With practice this becomes powerful, as Wim Hoff shows by near naked mountain climbing and ice submersion.
The main reason for regaining or retaining control is so we can spend more of our lives doing what we choose and saying what we mean the way we intended.
No point working 40+ hours a week for 40+ years to waste most of that money on things we did not need to buy
Focus is our birth right, stories that use emotion to trick us into forming instincts that create automatic inappropriate defensive reactions – don’t just rob us of our lives and turn us into reactive addicts – they keep us isolated and threatened.
Focus is the way out – breathing and conscious movement takes us through the doorway. But you can’t think through it, you have to step, its an action.
Hope this resonates? it is difficult to put into words – I will persist in breathing and moving and sharing what I find.
You will not find these ideas in books on neuroscience and psychology, rather than hard facts, my explanations better resemble metaphors. They are my attempt to rearrange fragments of knowledge and allow a fresh picture to emerge. One that better matches biology and the possibility of greater bio-diversity.
Relax to receive – Information as movement
Emotions lend power and texture to communications. As discussed in depth in my previous post, although emotions come in many flavours, perhaps it is useful to see them as being either: based in physical contraction or expansion. Notice, that I chose to write expansion rather relaxation.
When cells, tissues, organs and bodies are relaxed they are able to resonate or be moved more freely they are receptive to in-comming signals. They gather, transmit and move with more information, expanding their inter-relationship.
Do our Intentions determine our intelligence?
Intelligence can be defined either as pure information, for example, to gather intelligence. Or the ability to recognise and store repeating patterns. To sense and make sense of what is happening.
In nature, which encompasses everything, all is interrelated, even chaos or the dissolving of order happens predictably. We tend to hang onto or memorise the repeating elements or pieces of this larger pattern that we see advantage in.
Those broken of pieces of the greater pattern become our intentions. How we store or memorise these fragments determines both what we are able to feel and how we feel.
There are ways to make sense of the data that allow us to move gracefully and effectively in the flow of what is happening. When we cling to patterns that seem to bring personal advantage, but do not flow with what is happening we experience and perpetuate turbulence. Lets explore this.
Virtual Reality of the Synapses – The Mind Field
Neuroplasticity refers to the ability of the our nerve endings to make and break connections like trees waving together in the wind. As we have more rich and engaging experiences we make more connections, we come to understand what is happening and how to move with it. These types of connections are flexible and update readily. They begin to form an inner map that resonates with our environment and circumstances.
Our instincts shuttle resources away from this part of the brain, away from healing, rejuvenation and protection of the DNA. Into our muscle memories for fast life saving actions. Our muscle memories are a collection of learned skills that provide moving experiences. But skill are not the only patterns stored in our bodies.
May the Force be without you for a while
We need to contract to transfer or generate force. Applying less force for less time not only saves energy, it allows us to return to greater sensitivity faster.
Grace, elegance and efficiency are measures of how effectively we apply force. All of these are determined by how well our cells move in relation to each other and how well our bodies move in relation to their surroundings.
Friction is a cost of moving things, (like Inertia) it is a force that must be overcome in order create movement. In our bodies, non useful stored tension wastes energy as it hinders our ability to move and be moved.
Sensitivity is the ability to resonate or be moved by incoming energy, be it, sound, light, heat, magnetism or another expression of force, (they are likely all one anyway).
So if Neuroplasticity is in fact, all wavy and tree-like, how dow we come to be so tense and why do we have the ability to not be moved?
How do we store these patterns that do not “resonate” or move nicely with the passing energy, like leaves in the wind and waves in the ocean?
So glad you asked 🙂
The Spring within – Fascia is the tissue of Connection or is it?
A cell, much like an amoeba, is an individual unit of life, as such it can move (contract/relax), produce energy from food, and sense its environment and reproduce. It senses its environment predominantly, through its membrane or surface.
To increase access to information from environment it can increase its surface area, if it gets too big it will become unstable and fragile. At some point it is just easier to “join forces” with adjacent cells to create a more complex organism.
Cells become tissues, different tissues join to become organs, organ systems, organisms and eventually organisations of organisms. Yet binding this all is the tissue of connection – the fascia. Yes even our societies are bound by fascia.
Fascia becomes the tissue that determines if there is an issue.
Fascia forms a moving, sliding, gliding three dimensional web that binds us to together. It is elastic and stretchy, combined with muscle and nerve fibres it both receives and transmits force. Fascia takes on the role of the membrane in that simple amoeba model, it is all about inter-action.
Due to the elastic nature of fascia, it can store and release tension like a rubber band. Imagine a cheetah running, as its foot absorbs the weight of its body returning to Earth, that force is stored, as it springs of the ground, that stored energy is released. Together with powerful muscle contractions the combined force is enormously effective.
For this to work, the fascia must release all non relevant tension, (friction) and get out of the way. The cheetah’s nervous system must coordinate muscle contractions and relaxations in perfect timing to the changing circumstances. Total and perfect sensitivity to environment though the senses is required.
Sensitivity is a function of softness, of suppleness of the membrane of the fascia of the organism to “allow” what is to be.
Threatened with extinction
When we perceive a threat, the emergency part of our brain selects a spontaneous instinctive response. Enormous resources are sent to move us out of danger. If there is in fact no real and present danger those resources remain unspent.
Precious bio-chemicals, electrolytes, endorphins, neurotransmitters, hormones, ATP remain in the system, we get a rush. The fascia gets wound up ready to spring.
We experience these minor and major tensions as the emotions of contraction. If not released, the spring remains wound up, that stored tension becomes a kind of body memory. The corresponding emotion is un-pleasent, unbearable in fact, as it keeps us blind un-easy, threatened and vulnerable. It makes us feel alone.
When we repeat this many times, fail to move and feed our bodies poorly, the fascia gets stuck in the prepared state and we loose both agility and sensitivity. We embody the fear response and as we become increasingly deadened, we get scared more easily. This turns us back to the tribe for comfort, re-assurance and validation. Attention seeking.
Swell times ahead – inflammation vs information
In the animal kingdom, animals that move poorly become lunch, their molecules are recycled early. In the world of Sapiens, we have learned how to re-direct the forces of nature, we can create swelling in the environment and harvest from it, saving our energy.
We no longer need to be graceful and sensitive, so long as we are up-stream of the swelling we can harvest easily. We are taught how to behave and what is valuable. We play the game of squeezing nature and competing for a place up-stream. Those downstream in the land of lack, are obviously un-educated or lazy.
These stories that maintain the status quo and are not fluid and wavy at all, they are all about fear, contraction, swelling and control. Perhaps we can not store these kind of memories in our synapses, maybe they are stored in the fascia, in the skin within. They are transmitted and re-enforced via stories empowered by tone of voice and body language, via the emotions of contraction.
Movement as Medicine
Movement brings awareness to both tension and relaxation, to where we are stuck and swollen and to where we are fluid, alive and sensitive. All movement happens in relation to the energy or forces that are present in our environment.
To free ourselves from the stories that are anchored in our fascia with emotion we need to return our focus to sensitivity. This is the most difficult task their is and very few succeed totally.
Most of us have fleeting experiences of the alive connected, timelessness and selflessness of these “states”. We call them altered states, but I wonder if they are our birthright and it is our collective culture that alters us?
The purpose of these writings and illustrations is to explore letting go of non-relevant tension. Allow our synapses to build better models, to understand the flowing biology that coats this planet. To return to Information, accept our vulnerabilities and release inflammation.
Do certain types of emotion trick our biology into remembering concepts as though they were actual events?
Stories create emotion through empathy, this identification gives rise to emotion, creating memories that will effect future perception and action.
Lacking real experience,we use emotions to store abstract ideas. The type of emotions used are contractive rather than expansive and as they do not gel with reality they end up triggering the emotions we used to store them.
I also suspect that we store these ideas in our muscle memory. Specifically in our fascia, constantly triggering these programs, and releasing stress hormones without any real threat leads to calcification in the fascia, loss of posture and loss of focus. Making it harder to achieve flow states.
This may turn out to be inaccurate, but my reasoning is as follows:
Life is Movement
From single cell organisms to mammals with complex multi organ systems, timely information about environment is critical to function. When organisms can not sense accurately, they can not respond or allocate resources effectively to maintain internal order.
Relax or Contract
Limbs wings and fins are obvious examples of groups of cells working together to contact or relax, to provide motion.
To pump gasses and liquids, digest, hunt and harvest, to fight or flee, learn, signal and reproduce, cells must move.
The complexity and diversity of movement possible in the biosphere appears unlimited but it all arises from cells contracting and relaxing in unison.
Among the ways cells sense and signal is via proteins on their membrane surfaces, these proteins are like locks waiting for the right keys. When cells are in contraction most of these key holes are full and the cells are blind to fresh stimuli until they relax again. ( This is a massive over-simplification but as a metaphor it may be useful).
Emotion is language
Sensitive nervous systems managing trillions of cells provide highly nuanced details of these states of contraction and relaxation. Language and Complex social interactions further broaden cellular signal movements to include gestures sounds and smells.
Homo sapiens emerged about 70,000 years ago and our ability to use language to cooperate and share information vastly increased different possible emotions. Beneath all that, I see these emotions falling into two categories, contraction and relaxation.
Contract or Relax – Move or Feel
The language of contraction is dominated by instincts that correlate with defense, flight and fight, acquiring, consuming and mating. It’s all about survival, applying force and controlling risk. Contraction is action. Contraction without action can be seen as blocked energy or trauma.
The returning of relaxation defines the language of sensitivity. Allowing the possibilities of interaction, coordination, cooperation and even creativity. It’s all about using the incoming data for making fresh connections and expanding opportunities. About playfulness, coordination and learning. Relaxed tissues allow resonance.
Instincts and opinions
There are times when instincts save us and movement programs such as breathing, beating our hearts, digestion and even walking are essential. Patterns of movement become skills, when we add significant focus, those skills become extraordinary. When threatened, defence programs run automatically. They bypass my reason centers and take me straight into action.
Our biology can not distinguish between a real event and an imagined event. How I perceive or feel alters the chemical signals between my cells. My body responds to emotions, yet emotions that arise from thinking may be unrelated to the movement around me.
When I experience danger or a threat, my body releases the emergency hormones of flight and fight. These hormones free resources and narrow my focus in preparation for instant and massive action.
When I have a false alert this energy remains unused. Energy normally allocated to immune response, metabolism, accurate protein synthesis and higher level thinking, is now available for action. What happens to this unused potential?
Fascia, the skin within and its role in memory
Our fascia or connective tissue is the white skin that coats our bones, it surrounds individual and groups of muscle fibers, nerves and blood vessels. Fascia forms an interconnected three dimensional web throughout our bodies, storing and releasing energy like a system of springs. I think of fascia as an extension of our nervous system, but like many of these ideas, that may not be strictly accurate.
The programmability of fascia plays a role in how we create and store muscle memories. Fascia/neurone memories are “chunks” of information, which we combine instinctively to perform simple and complex tasks from walking to windsurfing.
In its dormant or relaxed state, the fascia is flexible and its fibres glide easily across each other. When threatened, parts of the body contract to defend itself. With trauma, we create patterns of tension inappropriately, and it can become permanent restriction that interferes with our posture.
When a wild animal escapes a near death experience it will shake uncontrollably to reset all its signals back to the open and receptive state again. Similarly, we see dogs run in crazy circles to burn of the hormones of excess excitement. Crying also helps to shed excess hormones.
As we age, “toughen up” and stop being silly, we don’t disperse these action potentials, and things that continually upset us build patterns of tension that become locked into our fascia.
This stored contraction holds both the shape and the feeling that triggered it. Besides inviting disease, it becomes a body memory that will inhibit both skilled movement and how we sense our environment. It keeps us partially blind and more reliant on memories and programs.
Healers call this blocked or stuck energy. Releasing it physically may help, but usually we must also release the perception or story that carries the emotional charge.
Pure experience provided by our senses, can never provide the evidence to support stories of a seperate anything. As all is in relation and effects everything else, valuations and comparisons are human assumptions.
When we latch onto ideas or stories for the purpose of increasing our feeling of power, control, worthiness or advantage, or when we latch onto knowledge to defend, enhance or protect our “selves”, we must use emotion to anchor these “facts”. Emotion provides a texture of tension that tricks our biology into feeling it is having a real world experience.
This accumulated tension creates an identity of self as seperate and keeps us moving in reactive semi-blind circles. The “seperate self” is in constant need of validation from other tribe members, to feel worthy, safe and connected. Much of our energy is spent in attention seeking, acquiring, improving or distracting the vague feeling of un-easiness created by this illusory seperate self.
Over thinking over
Our biology is not stupid, it says ” hey big fella, check out this feeling thats interrupting our cells – POW”. When that emotion arises we may accept it, suppress it, distract ourselves from it or react to it.
Reacting to it usually involves our minds inventing a version of events where we get to hang onto our belief and blame the bad feelings on something external. This replaying saps our focus, suppression saps our ability to feel that part of ourselves and both, keep us insensitive.
Loosing Sensation, feels like Separation
Being insensitive, reactive and walled off, destroys our ability to have healthy relationships. Leaving us unable to feel, even when people do accept and validate us. We mistake losing accurate sensation as the loss of connection and ironically may try even harder to seek attention, respect and validation.
Addictive behaviour traces back to the pain of feeling seperate. We are never seperate until the decay process removes the order in our biology. We need to feel connection directly, the same way we need to learn things directly. Both are hindered by remaining in contraction.
To grow with the Flow, I have to let go
I try not to get attached to concepts that I will not able to experience and test directly. Holding onto ideas that do not match the evidence of my senses creates conflict and emotional reactivity.
This stored emotional tension ruins my posture making sensitivity, graceful interaction, and fresh skill acquisition difficult.
Flow states and focused movement help us to release stuck signals, and more fully inhabit our bodies and relationships. Each of us is tuned to feel our world uniquely, by placing our attention into rich activities that fully engage our senses rebuilds our ability to focus and is another on-ramp into flow, into health and into freedom.
As usual this is deep and difficult to grasp, I hope you find it helpful. I suspect we live about 70 years because the journey of self understanding takes time to un-wind.
It is the nature of words to divide for the purpose of comparison and valuation. Can these implied meanings ever match the nature from which we arise? Does this create conflict and emotional turbulence, interfering with our cells ability to sense and adjust to the real situation at hand?
Force vs Resonance
How does the way we receive and process both energy and information determine the quality of our lives, relationships and actions?
In any one moment an organism can contract or relax. To simplify, let’s think of this as a YES of acceptance, permeability or even leakiness. Or a NO of contraction, tension, defence or even inflammation. We need both, for without movement and interaction, there is no life, and that’s a drag.
All of our sensory organs receive information by resonating with the frequency of the incoming data. Energy moves in waves, our senses receive These “waveforms”as either resonance, force or a combination of both.
When you push on a blade of grass, It moves away, little force is transferred to the roots or other blades of grass.
When you push on a twig, force is transferred to the branch, which will be moved by the twig.
Force is transferred to the degree that movement is not possible, to the degree that there is tension in the receiving tissues.
Movement contains information about the energy source, do we embody that information to the degree that we resonate with it?
Force appears to me as the energy of the source without the full information of its qualities.
If we squash a waves pitch, amplitude and frequency does it become a flatline?
Do we pass on (“passion”) information or force to the degree that we resonate, to the degree that our tissues resist or allow?
When we are tense, rather than ebb and flow, the force crashes into us and we loose balance. We receive the energy but not the information. This is like saying “No” to the possibility of life. We are constantly moving through the equilibrium of balance, swaying across the centreline, the closer to the centre we rest, the less energy we need. The easier it is for us to change direction as required.
When we match our base tension to the waveform we are receiving, accepting. We sway with the force, returning to center without losing balance. We feel the amplitude, pitch and frequency, we retain the information, allowing most of the force to pass. Is this a “Yes” to life?
When we apply constriction or opening to the capillaries, tubes and pumps of our tissues and organs, we begin to see how emotion effects health.
What if we imagine emotions as the feeling of our tissues responding and holding a “No”. What If we imagine our senses in the absence of opinions, assumptions, comparisons as a “Yes”.
We may start to see non-useful inflammation as the inability to resonate, in rejection of information do we absorb even more force. It may be that emotions are the feeling of turbulence created by applying memories rather than understanding to current events?
Ratios in the balance
*Omega 3 to Omega 6. Vitimin K2 to Vitiamin D3. Magnesium to Calcium. Potassium to Nitrogen, Insulin to Glucose, Acids to Alkalinity, amino acids to fats. The organisms that we are: must receive and balance ratios against the backdrop of what is actually happening. In thinking we send additional signalling, such as threat and support, pride and shame, confusion and assurance, allowing and resistance. We come to embody a shape that is formed by both our nutritional inputs and our base assumptions of who we are. Both food and thought shape our tissues, organs, bodies, societies and the biosphere.
* The author is being playful here, not exact or even accurate by any stretch of the imagination. The idea here is not to create fresh meanings, rather to explore the possibility of trusting action to arise from sensing life directly.
The author uses SUP coaching sessions to bring real life experience to the possibility of balance, to feeling gravity and the graceful application of force.
Key Take-Away – Flow states allow us to resonate with complex patterns of information in real time. Fear has a physical tension component that inhibits our ability to access our senses, pulling us out of the moment and back into the world of meanings and the desire to control.
Business is about trying to control the flow of goods and information, of things and motivation. We need to do this to pay for our lives, but controlling is very different from flowing.
Looking out on the mirror-like ocean this morning, I recall that, feeling alive (feeling life), happens from a place of receptivity, rather than control.
The reason the wise keep returning our attention to the possibility of “Acceptance” is that it allows our tissues to return to optimal tension. From this place we can avoid much conflict simply by conforming to our shared reality.
Today, I will hold back less, I will respect and trust you to “resonate or re-designate” how you spend the next few minutes.
Drunk people may fall a lot, but get hurt surprisingly little. That is because it is the sudden stop that hurts. Absorbing impact is expensive, allowing force to be expended elsewhere is usually preferable. Ocean swell is bounced against land and cancelled against itself, in so doing it turns rock into sand. If water is unable to transfer the energy, it would changes to a gas. Our bodies do not have that luxury, if we tense inappropriately, if we resist too much, we swell and become toxic.
Energy moves in waveforms. The properties of the waveform, pitch, frequency, magnitude, shape and trajectory, don’t just contain information, they are information. Since the measurable beginning, the matter of the universe is moving towards dis-order, scientists call this entropy. Life, however, moves in the opposite direction. Biodiversity, keeps energy in formation, in ever more complex patterns of inter-relation.
Our bodies are made of organs, made of tissues, formed by cells. Each cell, (apart from red blood cells) contains DNA containing a range of possible expressions. Each cell has the ability to sense and react, but it operates as part of the larger community of the organism. The integrity of the organism depends on its ability to organize effectively. For this it requires fuel, spare parts and most of all, accurate information about where and how to acquire, synthesize and distribute that energy and those components.
You see – It’s always been the Information Age, but it’s moving fast, it’s flowing and it can only be accessed in real time. What we call knowledge is a snap-shot, a fragment, a tiny piece of a much larger pattern.
Social creatures, such as dogs and humans have access to something called “flow state”. It allows us to synchronize with a much larger bandwidth of changing data. To access flow state, we synch with our environment through our senses. To stay there, we cease to resist, we judge risk but do not over-react with pre-programmed fear responses. Our internal commands, move in synch with external patterns, we use energy with grace, our co-ordination and our communication move towards optimal.
This is what I was speaking of as “aliveness”, it’s the experience of being the flow of life, and yes, of death also. Energy can not be destroyed, but it can loose form, it can loose information, loose it’s place in the formation, move back towards separation.
Our highest calling is to resonate with the flow of life, to add the data contained in our unique perspective to the total. Flow is the “co” in communication. The senses of each individual add depth and complexity to our shared reality. If we pull back in fear, if we pollute the data of our senses with our opinions, the thread we add to the tapestry is tangled, the formation is mangled.
Sand dunes, like water are moved by the wind, as their bonds are supple, they embody the waveform, are shaped by the waveform, store the information of the waveform. We could say that the pattern of the dunes, contains sand particles that are “in formation”.
Tense or Allow, Flow or Resist, Move or be moved. When we tense we absorb energy but we alter the information, we impact the flow. We need not do this like a billiard ball that goes on to disrupt. Posture allows us to behave more like bamboo, more like a sea anemone.
If we can maintain our relative position but allow ourselves to be swayed like a sea anemone, we may filter what we require, energy, parts and information, without being cast adrift or breaking formation.
Of course I speak in metaphors. The idea of freemocean is to share understanding through experience, rather than control with ridged opinion. I aim to inspire you to experience your posture in real motion, rather than manipulate your position through stories and emotion.
Stand rigid on a board, or walk with stiff legs, notice how much your head moves and what that does to your focus. Now allow all below your eyes to sway, maintaining just enough tension to keep your head over your base of support. Experience the difference, notice how much energy each requires, how much impact your body must withstand.
Notice how tension effects your focus, and how your focus effects your tension. Your Focus determines the quality of your posture. Your posture determines how well you use energy and how well you respond to data. Your ability to choose and maintain your direction is determined by your ability to hold your focus.
We are able to maintain our focus to the degree that we can release excessive tension. That is why our Attention is so precious, it determines the quality of our posture. Our posture determines how we are moved, how we receive energy, how we receive and transmit information. Fear pulls us out of flow, because it resists what might happen next. When we fear we try to control, when we flow, we receive more information about what is really unfolding.
Now consider the cost of excessive and inappropriate fear. You see now why stories are so powerful, they determine formation, by altering how we receive information. We live in a world where we rarely interact with nature directly, everything is controlled. The more we control, the less we are free to flow.
Freedom is appropriate tension, it arises from returning focus to our senses, allowing our posture to move with gracefully with the forces at play.
Loss of focus, loss of posture, ignorance of connection, reinforces the embodiment of fear, this is when information becomes inflammation.
Freedom is proportional to situational awareness. The toys we rent, sell and buy are bio-feedback devices, that can be used to bring greater awareness to focus and posture in the forgiving and dynamic environment of ocean and wetlands. Water is a great teacher of flow.
Key Take-away: We spend much of our lives earning money that we will spend trying to change the way we feel. Many of the feelings we have are not fully relevant to the situation at hand, yet often we find we have responded to them anyway. These negative feedback loops are stored in our body tissues as tension. Thinking in terms of energy and nature may be helpful for understanding why focused movement allows us to access and release these patterns. The more of our body we bring awareness to, the more alive we feel. When we are less reactive, we are more creative and playful, nicer to ourselves and each other.
Life is very much about energy, using it effectively means getting more, using it efficiently means needing less. In nature, energy is stored in fats and starches,(sugars are more of a low value lure), in societies, we store energy as money and assets. We meet our food, shelter, entertainment, social, education and medication needs with money. This keeps us removed from thinking of energy in terms of nature, (where else could it originate?). In this post I will look at energy in terms of movement. Words won’t make you move better, but I hope they will bring a greater depth and quality to your movement training, or just getting around.
Drive to Survive or Allow to Thrive
The world of organisms is composed of a diverse multitude of creatures, living, reproducing and yes, eating each other in a complex network of relationships. They have common drives, yet many ways of achieving them.
Organisms must get enough food to live, grow and reproduce. In the search for resources and breeding partners, both cooperation and competition dominate their existence. Success is measured in the acquisition, storage and expression of energy. In so called higher life forms, we begin to recognize qualities beyond survival and reproduction. Such as creative expression and understanding, the ultimate being compassion, which is seeing the self in all things. This recognition of connection, arises naturally in the absence of fear.
Graceful or lunch
Predators such as lions and wolves will test a herd to select the prey which is least able to utilize energy, that being, the very young, the old and the sick. This selection process both saves the predators own energy and ensures that only the prey that are best adapted to their environment survive for breeding. It also keeps herds moving, preventing over-grazing and feeding the bacteria in the soil.
The best use of energy is the perfect application of tension to a body’s tissues, (or just cells for the little guys) at the ideal moment. The appropriate application of force for optimal outcomes is what we recognize as physical gracefulness. An engineer may think of this in terms of increased mechanical efficiency through optimal mechanical advantage together with minimal friction.
To move gracefully, we must release excess tension, to stand on a narrow SUP on moving water, we must allow the board to move beneath us. To maintain balance, we must surrender some of our desire to control. To keep our heads over our base of support, we simply allow our bodies to be supple, this requires releasing non-useful tension, also known as stress, also known as fear.
Squeeze and repeat
Organisms are composed of single or multiple cells, and in larger instances, tissues and organs arranged in a way that gathers food, processes it and expels the waste. This is done by contraction and relaxation to harvest and move gasses, solids and liquids from process to process, (in larger organisms these wave like contractions are known as peristalsis). Energy moves in waves, in water you can see them and play with them. You can attune to them.
Each contraction uses energy to the degree that force is required. Residual tension in the organism is wasteful and interferes with the process of movement. So the ability for the organism to relax is as important as its ability to contract. That goes for propelling substances, limbs or entire “bodies”.
Tension transfers force, softness absorbs it. There is information in waveforms also, when we are soft we may feel it, when we are tense we alter it, like a rock in a stream creating turbulence, we destroy the signal. When we resonate with a waveform or signal we gain its information. In this way movement makes us smarter, while tension keeps us in the dark and fearful.
Energy, the currency of life
Residual tension also wastes energy by keeping substances trapped where they are more likely to be oxidized and cause damage to their surroundings. In the case of capillaries, insulin and PUFA 6 acids are more likely to cause damage. In the case of joints, over-compression reduces circulation and leads to inflammation of tendon sheaths and damage to the articular cartilage, (the shiny end of your bones).
Contraction and relaxation are necessary for respiration, food acquisition, digestion and expulsion. Also for changing location and reproduction. In the animal kingdom, movement is life, the currency of life is energy, only the most effective at acquiring and using it will survive and pass on their genes. In higher life forms, it’s all about the quality of consciousness, fear and dellusion, create tension and turbulence. Understanding flows out of acceptance, abundance flows out of recognizing synergies. Freedom arises out of reliquinshing control.
Our nervous system is the electrical wiring with the brain computer sitting on top, our heart is pumping our blood, loaded with hormones oxygen and spare parts. These systems are our communications and supply lines, when they are inflamed, restricted or out of alignment we are not just using energy very poorly, we are waiting to be eaten.
The predators waiting for us are disease, politicians and salespeople. The things that make us tense, inflamed and mal-aligned are what I call – “swelling mistakes” and the biggest one is fear. Our egos have worked out clever ways of making sure we never face the real source of our fears directly, that is why we use names like “stress” instead. Everyone is under pressure, everyone has stress, but nobody has fear, only the weak or victimized are scared, right? Puh! I am shitting myself 🙂
Research Notes: Most of this comes to me, while working with students on the water. Looking at the way they move, where there eyes go, how their body follows their head and their head follows their focus. The moment they loose concentration, (opinions are triggered) their eyes wander and they fall. Conversely, when they un-tense, hold focus and allow their bodies to move with the rhythm in the water, they take off. They begin to un-wind. It’s a joy to facilitate and I am sure I learn much more than they do.
The key take-away here is: The main drive of a human is to feel safe, the way we feel safe is to feel valuable, attention from others alleviates the fear of not being safe by making us feel valuable, but it is short lived. When we do feel safe, then we may notice the startling beauty of the world in the unique way that only you can experience. Expressing your unique perspective fearlessly is what you are here for, doing so allows others to relax. You see where this goes?
The greater part of our happiness revolves around feeling valuable and worthy of connection to our tribes, (families, social groups, co-workers etc.)
The quest for worthiness, lead’s us to try and, do more, have more, be more, produce and sell more. This may leave us feeling ashamed when we fail, smug when we succeed, but rarely contented.
While watching our daughter when, she was a toddler, I wondered what our natural state was, before we tried to improve it. She could dance, skip, jump and twirl, but had way too much energy, to simply walk. She was not always happy, but she was fully alive.
As we go through life, we experience rude shocks and gather strong opinions about all sorts of things. Both of which give rise to uncomfortable emotions. In suppressing or avoiding these inner sensations, we loose our aliveness. I will explore this briefly over the next posts.
We seek connection to our families, friends and co-workers, to be appreciated for who we are and what we do. Being able to offer value helps us to find acceptance mirrored back to us, in the words, faces and body language of those we respect. We may experience this sense of worthiness; to the degree we believe we deserve it.
I have caught myself, and I have seen others seeking attention, so many times, but what is it we are looking for? Impressive deeds, tireless work, service to others or simple obedience, may win the respect of the tribe. Even then, we still may not allow ourselves to relax and feel worthy of receiving validation and the connection that seams to go with it.
Perhaps the experience of connection is the feeling of aliveness? (Notice I said feeling? “thinkings” can never be validated experientially) Maybe it has less to do with our achievements, of what other people think, and everything to do with the way we allow ourselves to feel and accept what is happening in and around us. The way we receive, perceive and respond to the signals from our environment determines how free we are to feel alive. It is hard to feel anything when we are tense. Could it be, that we experience aliveness to the degree that we allow connection, to feel the good, the great the not so hot.
To avoid inflammation, accept information
We are organisms comprised of trillions of interacting cells, all operating in a richly bio-diverse environment. Our nervous systems require accurate and timely information from our environment to keep us functioning effectively. That information comes to us through our 5 senses; our stories about what that information may give rise to emotions. These emotions send signals outwards to those around us and inwards to the automatic parts of our nervous systems. This communication determines how both other people and our own bodies respond. Not only to what is happening, but also to the meanings we make about what is happening.
I used to think that diet and environmental toxins were the dominant factors causing inflammation. Now I am starting to wonder it if it is in fact the stories we carry, that create and maintain habitual levels of restriction in our bodies.
The internal communication, (between our cells, organs and organs systems) and our external communication, between individuals, families, cultures and economies, determines our health. When looked at through the lens of nature, processing information healthily, may bridge the gaps between ecology and economy. Exploring the way we perceive and how that makes us feel, is a journey, not so much to improve ourselves, but rather in coming to know ourselves as we are.
Freemocean is not so much about acquiring, but more about letting go of that which is stopping flow, creating inflammation and blocking our aliveness.
Focusing on movements that challenge our balance and test our posture allows us to revisit and release some of this sub-optimal base-line tension. Thankfully it is a subtractive process, it is an allowing. For in accepting what is, we begin releasing our stories and our tensions. The less there is to defend, the more aliveness returns.