Slow Down!

woman standing near brown horse

Photo by Gabriela Pereira on Pexels.com

I’m alone, driving my husband’s brand new truck, pulling our horse trailer with my recently adopted Standardbred. I’m going to a special saddle fitting session two hours away. And I’m nervous, I haven’t driven a truck and trailer by myself for over a dozen years.

I’m getting close to the barn where the saddle fitting is taking place. Cars are getting backed up behind me but I know the road must be getting close. Oh no, there it is and even thought I’m going slow, I’m still driving too fast to make the turn with a horse in the trailer.

My heart starts racing as I look for a place to turn around. Nothing is obvious. I turn down a side road and look for a large driveway to turn into. The road turns to dirt. It’s a dead end road. And the houses I see do not have large driveways and there are large ditches in front of the houses.

I need to turn around and I’m running out of options. I turn into a driveway and try to get the truck and trailer straight so I can back out. I haven’t backed a horse trailer in a long time and I was never great at it. I’m fighting tears and I look up and some men come out of the house onto the porch and start staring at me. I’m trespassing. I’m way too obvious with the rig. I’m not succeeding at backing up. I don’t like being watched by others, especially when I’m making a fool out of myself, I really really just want to be invisible.

But here I am, inching forward, inching back, straightening up only to see it’s going the wrong way. Pulling forward again, correcting, backing. The trailer is out on the road, I’m almost there, then the trailer jack knifes … but it’s so close, only a couple of feet and I can pull away, I keep backing and nudge the trailer with the truck bumper … I try to push the trailer that extra couple of inches so I can escape this mess. I can’t, I pull forward, back again, and finally pull away. My face is red, my are muscles tight, my blood pressure is through the roof.

I get to the barn visibly shaking. I find a place to park, and step out of the truck. I look at the trailer, it’s fine, I look at the truck and the back bumper is dented in … a big dent … in my husband’s new truck. He loves this truck. He waxes it once a week. He won’t drive it on a muddy road. It was custom made for him. I feel like I want to disappear into a big hole. But I have a saddle fitting to do, so I put on my brave face, hide the stress in my heart, and carry on.


What a memory … that happened roughly 7 years ago and I can still feel the stress stored in my body. I was lucky, my husband was actually very understanding about the dent in his bumper but I still feel like I let him down.

I still wonder to this day why I didn’t slow down more. But I know why … I wasn’t comfortable with the cars behind me and I compromised on how slow I was willing to go. I also was under stress from driving the rig by myself. Stress affects vision, it affects the frontal lobe thinking/problem-solving brain, it affects muscles, it affects emotions. So even if I had been driving slower, I may not have actually “seen” the street sign in time or even processed what I was seeing in order to make the turn.

I needed to slow down even more, I needed to slow down my stress response … I needed to breathe and relax, I needed to accept that I had the right to be on the road going slow and looking for the turn, and I needed to stand in my power … that feeling where you own your part of the world, accept yourself fully, and feel confident asking for help when you need it.

Things would have been much different if I’d allowed myself the time to slow down like that. If I allowed myself to go slow, feel relaxed, feel my power, I probably wouldn’t have missed the turn and then … I wouldn’t have had to turn around, I wouldn’t have made a fool of myself trying to turn around, I wouldn’t have dented my husband’s new truck, I wouldn’t have flooded my nervous system with even more stress hormones and self-judgement.

And even if I had missed the turn, if I had been in that slow relaxed empowered state, things would have been different, I wouldn’t try to back up by going it alone, I would have asked someone for help.

Relaxing could have prevented all of that? I believe so and I’m looking at all the ways I can slow down in my life. I think slowing down will give me more time in the long run and I’ll be a lot happier. What do you think? Do you have any stories of bad things that happened when you didn’t slow down or good things that happened when you did? Could you benefit from more relaxation and slowing down too?

Headache

drink girl glass hands

Photo by JESHOOTS.com on Pexels.com

I woke up with a headache. A pressure feeling that was about a 7 out of 10. The constant pain was nauseating and unrelenting. Out of habit, I went to the Advil bottle when it occurred to me I could try something different.

I’ve learned memories are stored as images in our mind … images with color, texture, and shape. I’ve also learned we are integrated beings with a mind, body, spirit, and soul. And I’ve learned in order to fully address pain, you have to address it in the entire mind-body connection, So I put my hand on the area of the pain and asked my imagination to give me a physical description, a picture of what the pain looked like. The picture in my mind showed a 3-dimensional star crystal with many sharp points, it had clear areas and areas of rainbow colors like a crystal but also dark areas. It was heavy and about the size of a tangerine but as I focused on the pain, it tried to get smaller as though hiding.

I kept focusing and felt into the pain to see if it was located only in my head or if it reached outside the boundary of my physical body. It was inside my body and it was so small, it was getting hard to keep track of, now I couldn’t feel much pain at all. The crystal changed to a speck size and moved more to the back of my head.

I continued with the process and asked how long this type of headache has been happening. I saw an image of the number 7 in my mind. What happened 7 years ago? I was diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia and recalled all the stress that led up to it. An important part of my business was collapsing, my dad was diagnosed with dementia, my own body was betraying me … I was losing hope and I felt resentful, lost, scared and angry.

I then queried about the first time I felt those emotions. I saw the number 3 on the movie screen of my mind. When I was 3 years old, we were moving from one house to another … I didn’t want to move, I felt comfortable with what I knew and I didn’t want things to change. And then I felt an inspiration that there was an even earlier time where those feelings came up … in the womb … I didn’t want to leave that comfortable place either, even when it became so uncomfortable that I had to be born or die.

OMG, flash of insight … that’s an old negative coping pattern running in my life just under the surface … resisting change to the point of compromising my health to keep things the same. Wow. That was deep.

It was then my mind allowed me to see the event that preceded the headache … a friend had posted a Facebook update that she wasn’t ready to let go of her mom (who had entered hospice). My first thought was, “why hold on like that, your mom has been failing in mind and body and is very old and has been that way for a while, it’s time,” then that triggered a heart wrenching “how can you think that way” and I tapped (EFT) on all the words that flooded my mind: how unkind, that’s not like you, why would that thought even come up, you’re a compassionate person and that’s not a very compassionate thought, what is up with that, and on and on as the words of self-judgement poured out.

After tapping, I then muscle tested to see if there were any trapped emotions around letting go of an aging loved one, and I got a ‘yes.’ I also got a ‘yes’ that this emotional energy was something that had been inherited and intuitively (in my mind’s eye) I saw an ancestor being in the position of making a life or death decision that had to be made for the survival of the tribe and my ancestor hated being in that position. I muscle tested and found that this ancestor was on my father’s side and the event happened 8 generations ago, roughly in the 1770’s.

I felt an emotion of grief rise up about my own aging parents, my dad’s failing health, my resistance to the change and wondering what decisions I might have to make in the near future. I then went to the Emotion Code and asked what trapped emotional energy I could release around the epigenetic emotional energy my ancestor passed down from his DNA to me and the following emotions came up and were released: hate (for being forced to make an impossible decision), loathing, anger, helplessness, shame, resigned, forlorn, regret, and depression.

It’s not uncommon for thoughts and feelings to create physical pain in the body. But who would have known all that was underneath this headache? I’m glad it was brought into the light instead of medicating it into the darkness. I didn’t need a pill, not only is my headache gone, the area feels amazing, like it’s filled with a soft expanded loving warmth.

I’ve never shared the intimate details that coaching can go into before. And doing this type of deep work for pain relief does require a willingness and vulnerability to allow whatever comes up to come up and not to judge it.  Do I believe all the “story” part that comes up in this work? I just don’t know, but what I do know is the pain is gone.

In this session I used a specifically guided visualization, tapping/EFT, and the Emotion Code. I could have administered only one of those techniques or I could have added hands on work and essential oils too. Pain and Stress Relief for Women … that’s what I do … bodywork, confidential coaching, aromatherapy, mind-body horse lessons.

You may think “What if it doesn’t work for me” and I would counter, “What if it does! How would your life be different?” I know it works! I’ve had success and my clients have personally experienced the benefits that come from using this alternative holistic process for transformational wellness.

Yes, you can still take a pill, it’s quick and easy, but there are side-effects and a pill is just treating the symptoms. If you’re like me you’ve used pills in the past but now you want to go deeper and get to the root of the problem. You’re tired of the lack of results from traditional methods, the chronic pain, the auto-immune issues. You want to resolve the current pain AND remove the underlying triggers to future pain. You want to age into the future with greater health, unburdening your body, and gaining resilience to stress and change.

Am I right? Tell me what you think!

Unraveling Sensory Challenges

adult alone anxious black and white

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

 

We bring in information from the world through our senses. This includes taking in info from the external world (vision, hearing, etc), from the internal world of our own body (proprioception, vestibular, etc), and from the physics and quantum physics energetic field around us (sunshine, electronics, intuition, etc). And we use that sensory information to understand, engage with and adapt to the world around us.

But what if someone has sensory challenges? What if something interferes with normal sensory perception and sensation is blocked, dampened, scrambled or exaggerated? Do you think they would be experiencing the world as it truly is? Do you think this misalignment of personal experience versus what others experience might be a cause of stress?

An activated stress response to the challenges of coping with a sensory laden world is the common denominator with sensory challenges:

  1. Sensory disability: One or more of the senses is not working correctly because there is a problem with the sensory organ i.e. eyes/blindness, ear/deafness, body tissue/neuropathy, etc. Fitting in and coping with the pain and/or disability creates a stress response.
  2. Sensory pathway problems: Sensory information is  blocked or distorted because the neural pathway has been damaged or severed i.e. spinal cord injury, brain injury, amputation, traumatic injuries. Adjusting and adapting is stressful.
  3. Sensory processing disorder: The sense organs are normal but the nerves from those sensory organs that lead into the cortical levels have some sort of scrambling at lower processing areas of the brain (brain stem, cerebellum, thalamus). An accurate “picture” of understanding the world is distorted and creates a stress response to normal life.
  4. Sensory sensitivity or the Highly Sensitive Personality: Taking in sensory information is neurologically normal but there is something different in the higher frontal lobe cortical level processing where many details and connections are noted. The pure amount of information can become overwhelming and elicit a stress response.
  5. Autism sensitivity: The sensory organs are normal but the part of the brain that creates the “volume” of the sensation has a problem and sensation is magnified in one or more areas and dampened in other areas. This can give the ability to hear a faucet dripping in a neighbors house and sounds can be so overwhelming (giving the same effect as someone screaming in your ear) that the result is extreme stress and severe flight/fight behavior.
  6. Energetic or Intuitive Sensitive: This is not about the physical organs but about the awareness of the energetic world that surrounds us. Because increased awareness of others energy and electromagnetic fields can be overwhelming, it can initiate the stress response.
  7. Post-trauma sensitive: This is where a sensory stimulus happened at the same time as an emotional trauma or abuse and encoded with the traumatic memory. That sensory stimulus thus becomes a cue initiating a traumatic stress response.

You may never have heard of some of those terms before and that’s because I had to create names to help identify the reality of what I’ve observed in the clients I’ve treated in Occupational Therapy over the past 30 years. This is the first time I’m publicly sharing this list of seven identifiable sensory challenges and I hope it will spur further reflection and conversation.

The connection between sensory challenges and the stress response must be acknowledged by traditional medicine so we can implement a whole-person, mind-body approach to healing, coping, adapting, and understanding that will make a meaningful impact on a person’s life.

I’ve found animals, particularly horses, to be great teachers for sensory and stress issues. Calming the stress response at the nervous system level is the first thing that needs to happen before the body will allocate the adaptive resources needed to lead to problem solving and healing. Horses are flight animals that can react instantly with fear to sudden noise or a bag flapping in the wind. But they can also learn to respond calmly to those same situations. If a thousand pound animal can learn to control its natural urges, so can you. It’s intriguing for people to learn about the stress response and building stress resilience through the eyes of a horse. But that’s a topic for another blog post.

I’d love to hear your thoughts or a’ha’s on sensory challenges and sensory sensitivities!

 

The Energy Around a Hay Hook

Screen Shot 2020-02-04 at 9.50.59 AM

Bales of hay can stick together, they have rough ends poking out everywhere, and the twine can slip off which creates a mess. Using a hay hook makes the job of handling hay bales so much easier.

When I first got into horses 30+ years ago, I went shopping at a barn sale. I found an antique hay hook that was sturdy and usable and priced at $5. I immediately had a hit of “feel good” brain chemicals … dopamine from the anticipation and success of the find, oxytocin thinking how much easier this would make unloading bales for my then boyfriend, now husband, and serotonin from feeling successful and content. All of that “happiness” energy became entangled with that hay hook.

And that hay hook was a literal work horse, helping us handle thousands of bales of hay, over several years. My husband is notorious for misplacing tools so I always made sure the antique hay hook was placed back on the two by four at the front of the barn.

When we moved to a new farm, the hay hook was one of the prized possessions that came with us. Now to be forthright, hay hooks are readily purchasable still today and they don’t cost much money, but for some reason, THAT hay hook was beloved and special … it contained decades of memories, served us well, and had that energy of happiness and helping within it.

After about 5 years at the new farm, the hay hook came up missing. My practical husband groaned because he had to handle the bales without the hook but he just went out and bought another. It was a tool, it was replaceable. But my reaction was totally different. I was distraught. I searched high and low. I just had to find the antique hay hook.

I was angry at those who helped with hay that day, how could they be so careless. I was suspicious someone stole it. I was grieving the loss of an old trusted friend. I even felt betrayed by the hay hook for not being found. That’s how much energy was around that hay hook. The energy of all that happy brain chemistry when I first saw that hay hook, the energy of the nostalgia of everything this antique tool had experienced, the energy of the memories around putting up hay using the helpful tool, and the energy of the emotions when it was lost.

Some people pack a lot of energy into “things” and some people just don’t. It’s why the same experience affects two people so differently. My husband had only a moment of discomfort because something that was useful wasn’t around and then he replaced it and moved on. Whereas me, being a deep feeler, had a major ongoing stress response to the loss.

It took time to sort out, not just for the hay hook but for all the “things” that have an energy story around them. I’m able to honor my past feelings, bless things, let them go, and trust the future will provide. I had to learn about brain chemistry, look back honestly at memories to piece the story together, tap (emotional freedom technique) on first chakra safety and trust issues, and tap on second chakra emotion and flow of life issues. The past is in the past instead of being a raincloud over the present.

Do you have any tragic stories of deep emotional angst and loss over some beloved “thing” from your past? Did it cause more stress for you than it did for others? Does the emotional charge still give you a hit when you think about it?

Things CAN hold an energy in our bodies. One way to ease that energetic load is a quick imagery exercise … begin by visualizing you are removing everything that is causing you stress and then place it in a pile outside of you. Notice how big the pile is compared to the size of you (my pile was the size of a mountain). Then place the people and places and objects that are a part of that pile into the picture in your mind. Allow the parts of that pile that belong to those people, places and objects to leave with them … bless that energy so it is for the highest good of all. Then look back at the pile that remains. How big is it now? Mine was amazingly small, the size of a pebble. Now add a color into the picture, a color that will help you handle that remaining stress. Allow that color to swirl around you, come in through your head, and enter through your feet so that it totally fills you.

How do you feel now? I’d love to hear your experience!