The body, as we probably all know by now, stores emotions and memory and that process doesn’t ever stop. In effect, our cells “are” the stories we embody; each one of them began life as a particular story that they took on as their guiding aspect in the womb and they have continued repeating that same story time and time again (our liver has a story that it is a liver, our eye that it is an eye), which is how we remain here in human form. As I recently explored in a post on my other blog, the countless stories we are the composite of are not “bad” and it is a nonsense to think we must fight them or drop them by the wayside to live a spiritual life beyond having a story (that would mean surrendering our human form entirely – and the word for that is death); yet we need to be selective about which ones we keep and which ones are calling for release so that we get to choose patterns that serve us and reflect who we truly are in this moment, not at some time in the past.
Even though I have undergone some monumental releases of old emotions and memories from my own body (I give you my most recent post Love Letter to Myself as point in case), I still keep on creating more emotions which take up residence in my human body…and we all do, that’s called being human. My mental visual is that the body’s cellular structures, its finest most cobwebby strings of enzymes and fluids, its fascia in particular and then the groups of cells that make up entire muscles (perhaps especially the psoas), organs and skin serve like washing lines on which we “peg” our most emotive memories, intending to deal with them “another day”; particularly when they hold a charge that we are not quite ready to deal with in the moment when they occur. Typically, something happens to generate an emotional response in our day and we are busy doing other things, or it touches upon an old nerve, or we haven’t quite got the tools yet with which to clean up the out-of-resonance feeling that it triggers, and so we peg it there for later…and it can remain there attached to that cellular washing line (and then remain there and remain there and remain there…) for a very long time, snowballing into something that gets bigger and, often, more distorted. In time, like attracts to like and so emotions around a particular theme form crystalline structures in the part of the body that we have selected to become “its” storage area. This instigate restrictions in flow, then hard nodules of pain, then wholesale breakdowns in function…and all because we allowed emotions to build up without checking back in to to see what was calling for our attention.
So, as far as I’m concerned, there is no breakthrough moment when this process ceases to happen…not while we are in a human body. We do get quicker and somewhat more skillful at not allowing the unattended emotions to require deep storage in the first place, true (I like to imagine that I now have a temporary holding space for stuff requiring my attention rather than a heavy vault where I try to hide things)…but we can only process so much “as it happens” and we are always likely to store at least some of our stuff “for later” as long as we are in physicality. So it pays to get shipshape and organised about this by instigating the mechanisms that mean you regularly check out and work through what you are holding in those cellular storage zones – whether that be meditation, some sort of talking process or physical/energetic therapy that gives you a regular springclean before anything has the time to become chronic. A rule of thumb for me (learned the hard way…) is that the better I feel, the more crucial it is to remember to book myself a regular appointment for the kind of treatment session that helps me to process emotions out of the body while they are still held subtle patterns and not yet the ingrained kind of distortions that lead to more lasting problems. It’s that old adage that prevention is better than cure!
For me, that audit is a trip to see my wonderful myofascial therapist, who offers so much more than just a mechanical approach to bringing about relief in my body. Whether I have a particular problem or not, I try to see her once every two to three months as I have (repeatedly) found that this pays dividends versus trying to leave this to an annual or six-monthly visit where it only becomes more messy to tackle all the things going on. This week, I scheduled a session for the day of the summer solstice which, as you will know if you have read that Love Letter post, presented a powerful conscious opportunity for me to release a great many emotional memories out of the cellular structures of my body once and for all and so I went in there charged up with the intention to play my part while she played hers (the most powerful scenario of all in any healing session). Without even needing to tell her what I was working on internally, we somehow met in the middle and this presented one of the most powerful healing opportunities I have every undergone. In fact, I scheduled that post to get published ten minutes into my session with her, by which time I knew I would be lying on her treatment table – now that is a powerfully conscious process of release!
True to form, her skillful manipulations of myofascia and energy releases being mirrored by all the inner work that I was already doing, the session turned out to be a particularly powerful yet incredibly serene one, from which I walked feeling so calm and brimful with wellbeing that I almost floated out of the door. It felt like a real milestone and a great deal was covered, functionally speaking, providing me with a startling amount of tangible relief in the physical body. In particular, a painful knee that I have been experiencing for quite some time felt markedly better and, that evening, I was to be found striding out with my husband and dog to watch the solstice sunset feeling more lithe and lissom that I had for quite some time.
That left knee, I feel I want to point out, had all the traits of a functional issue and yet (when I first presented with it some months ago) she strongly suspected it related to an emotional issue about my daughter. I immediately felt the affirmative of that and knew it had taken form many years ago when I was consumed with so many fears, doubts and, yes, guilt, about how well I was parenting during the years of marriage breakdown and single-parenthood (“could I support her” = knee; you get the picture). The problem I have with my knee has been emerging for a couple of years and, every time I had an emotion release around issues of self-doubt, the knee itself felt spongy and over-extended…which has felt like a functional “problem” though, really, it was signifying a release of defunct old emotions, making the knee feel lighter, less rigid. That is because, for literally years, I had been creating all the cells around the knee bone and ligaments to a pattern of self-doubt and a need to try harder at being rigid, supportive…so, take that away and, suddenly the knee felt like it was a knee no longer (literally, it didn’t know how to exist anymore without those old-defunct structures that it had been modelling itself to, making it feel artificially strong). In other words, what was a very necessary emotional release, as I learned to accept that I had not let anyone down, presented as a further “problem” that felt like the strength had suddenly gone out of it (though it had actually relaxed). Then, as the knee panicked at the void of all the familiar emotions it had been using to structure itself and grasped for any kind of replacement it could from the kind of emotional debris that it was most familiar with, it had managed to rebuild itself upon some of the somewhat different yet equally potent ideas around parenthood and self-doubt from my current circumstances (as my daughter becomes an adult and flies the nest)…which had led to the knee feeling less spongy lately yet, suddenly, being in all-out pain which now affected my leg all the way to the hip (in other words, “the problem” now seemed bigger than ever, came back “stronger” or “escalated”). All of this understanding came to me because I was able to relate the therapist’s intuition to what I had been experiencing at the subtlest levels of my awareness and thus let go of the idea that the softening knee was a problem (so, I now know to allow it as a necessary passing phase) as well as shining a light on all the self-doubts I have been putting myself through and working on them, rather than storing them in the body.
By the next day, after my myofascial session (in which the knee issue was only one of many that she worked upon), I was sore yet was still able to manage some gentle yoga. By the afternoon, I was tearing-up at almost anything that rocked my emotions for so-much of a nano second and began to feel a little unhinged, not to mention restricted to the sofa. By this morning, I felt like I had been in some sort of road traffic accident (more accurately, like I had gone through one of those car crushers at the landfill) as every inch of me was in pain and restriction; which is where I am now…except…I’m not.
Now to the most important bit I want to share with you, which is how I have already turned around how I felt on waking this morning. When this happens (whatever the release modality is that brought you some respite but may then have made you feel worse straight afterwards), the body’s dominant impulse is to take you back into more pain or restriction and this is so important to know. And it’s not because your body hates you or is working against you; it is really out of learned behaviour patterns and fear and the sooner we understand this and work with it, the sooner recovery comes; in fact, we can look at this kind of “low point” as the most powerful kind of opportunity, a darkest before the dawn moment.
This is because the cellular structure of the body is a “yang” impulse and is all about creating and maintaining structures and routine, predictability, order, staying well within the boundaries of “what it knows” from prior experience and repetition and making sure that form is maintained on the basis that form is equated with life. “Void” is a state that it fears like death itself….it must have substance to feel like it is thriving and so it races to fill up the space…any space that it detects…with more of what it knows. Even if all it knows (from prior experience) is pain and restriction, those are regarded as preferable to emptiness, a void; and so it races to fill that space with more more more, which is the yang impulse to a tee. To this aspect, void is nothingness and this triggers all its fears; it would rather have distortion than nothing at all. If you’ve ever created for yourself a day when you have absolutely nothing to do and thought you would really enjoy that and yet, when it arrives, you find you can’t sit still, you get horrendously fidgety as though some part of you feels it must fill the space with something, anything, even if that “thing” is to worry or create artificial problems to solve…that is what goes on when we first introduce the idea of spaciousness to some part of the body that has been constricted for a very long time. It is not a destructive impulse but, rather, a creative impulse…one that allowed us to become form in the first place; yet it can run amok when not in balance with an opposite impulse to allow spaciousness to coexist with it. You could say, one keeps the other in check and, together, they form the ideal state.
Fortunately, this is only one side of the story as there is a yin aspect to the cellular structure of the body too; an aspect that is more about space than structure. If this sounds like the yin doesn’t play a very significant part in the body, being all about an absence of structure, think again. More of our physical body consists of space than it does of matter…the 7,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (7 octillion) atoms that make up our body consist mostly of space (the nucleus part comparable to “a fly in a cathedral”) and if all that space was to be compressed out of us, our body would fit into a cube less than 1/500th of a centimetre on each side (from one of many articles quoting these details). You could say, space its our defining feature (if we allow it to be…) so why are we so afraid of this? Rather, when we work with it, we get to have our say about the kind of patterns we store as the arrangement of cells in our body, which can only lead to feeling better than ever before; you could say, more aligned with our true self, our highest Self beyond the limitations of the physical body, and not all the distortions triggered by emotions we have found too challenging to deal with in the past along with all their incumbent belief systems relating to fear, lack and survival.
This space is where consciousness resides, flowing in like water through a newly cleared channel, levelling the many stories of the cellular body by finding things in common and bringing them into alignment with your highest aspect. There are no distortions here; this is so important to know and we have access to this levelling aspect any time we invite it in consciously; this is also big news when we are healing our body.
When we allow ourselves to notice how we are already conscious in all of our cells, we tap into this aspect. This is what gives us the sensation of having a physical bdy in the first place. Just lie there and allow yourself to notice two different parts of your physical body simultaneously and you will realise how this aspect can be in more than one place at a time; how awareness of relativity between those different parts and how differently they feel offers the sense of “body” that we take largely for granted. That aspect, you could say the third point in the triangle, is your awareness. Try doing this with multiple parts of your body, holding awarenss in all of them at once. Now expand this outwards to acknowledge how this awareness is who you are…and that it is not contained by the physical body but that the body resides within it. In other words, you are really a vast sea of awareness and the body is but an aspect of that…the slowest moving, lower vibrational aspect of it (which is why we are able to exist as form, to touch and to see ourselves) but, by no means, the whole picture of what is going on.
Our body arises out of that sea of awareness; just more of the same fabric, only slowed down to where it manifests into the physical dimension. I like to think of my physical self as a patch of sparkling ripples or intersecting currents on the surface of an otherwise glass-like expanse of water; mere undulations in an otherwise seamless energy field. Regarding myself like this for the last few years has enabled me to drop the “hard outer shell” perspective that tends to keep our human experience feeling so non-negotiable. Holding the perspective that my body has a far stronger relationship with that broader field of energy than it does with the learned patterns of behaviour perpetuated by my cells has been one of my most powerful healing modalities.
That vast sea of awareness is available to us in every moment, for creating and repairing our bodies (in fact, we owe our existence to it), yet we modulate the access we give ourselves to it though the learned mechanisms, the repeat patterns, of the yang impulse that is our cellular body; like a tap that we seldom turn on more than just a fraction in case we get flooded. In other words, the one aspect has been rationing our access to the other thus far. We have been so guarded about it and allowed what we think we know about the body to direct our experiences much more so than taking that deep-dive or even a gentle swim into the considerably broader waters of all potential. So, what would happen if we started to trust that sea of awareness and allow it to come flooding in? Is this the largely unexplored territory of our next great leap in evolution?
When we allow that awareness into our cells, the physical body starts to register itself as an energetic field exactly like those other energy bodies some of us now talk about having, rather than as a solid mass of cells (if somewhat more slowly vibrating). As such, we start to allow that we can influence this field of experience in exactly the same ways; through intention, thought, belief and what we assume based on past experience. As such, we can start to choose our intentions, give them form through our thoughts and leave beliefs that no longer serve us plus assumptions based on the past by the wayside. After all, where we are headed, there can be no assumptions made since we are forging all-new territory. At the energetic level, our instructions are very quickly read and carried out, so understanding where those instructions derive from (are they arising out of the vast field of awareness, or some tight little nodule of emotional pain we are holding onto) makes such a lot of difference to our experiences. Emotions and thoughts are wonderful things; we’re not trying to turn them off here. But allowing them to be more flux, to be like passing colours that come in, morph into a kaleidoscope of experience that leaves an impression on our consciousness, then pass though to be replaced by something else, allows the energy body that we know as our physical state to remain what it is designed to be – an energetic and vibrant extension of the universe – not stagnant and anchored into a non-thriving state with no room to grow.
When we find the place where the energetic field of the body seamlessly meets the vaster field, we can notice the similarities and allow the boundary to soften significantly. This welcomes the vast sea of awareness that you truly are into the physical body and begins an uninterupted tidal flow of feedback and receiving that dissolves any further blockages, like unhindered breathing clears any blockage on the lungs. Indeed, it is like receiving the breath of life fully into yourself for the first time when you start to make this your normality; renewing and creating cells from this place of non-distortion and broadest perspective. Passing through the layers of energy bodies of which we are made in varying frequencies of vibration (all the unseen layers such as emotional, mental and so forth), this energy flow starts to, as it were, cleanse the processing of these aspects before they have a need to be stored as unresolved cellular debris in the body and we become, quite literally, lighter.
This marks another homecoming, a reunion of sorts, as we reclaim the lighter aspects we have been estranged from for quite some time. The body celebrates its new status as an energetic phenomenon rather than this idea of a fixed structure we have tended to hang around its neck for so very long; and you can feel that celebration in the way that you feel, which can register as such profound relief and a lifting of immense burden without having to leave the body behind. The body no-longer has to suffer the wound that it is, at some level, regarded as a hindrance to wellbeing or achieving a spiritual state; a label you can’t blame it for trying to live-up to sometimes, given how often it is unfairly bestowed. It can shed the injustice of that stigma once and for all and bask in all the gratitude we experience for the beautiful experience of physicality that it makes so abundantly possible (again, I explore this in Love Letter to Myself).
We realise also that the body is in perpetual flux, not this fixed state we tend to assume it has locked itself into. Every thought, every moment of attention, influences its energetic field. We can notice how the sensations we are having very subtly change even as we watch them with our consciousness; try applying this to some area you would really notice, say a migraine you are having, and prepare to be in awe. Notice how the energy in that area of your body seems to expand, become more spacious, releases pressure and relaxes the very hard boundaries that were creating resistance and pain just moments before. The energetic component of our physical experience becomes more acknowledged and integrated and this utterly transforms the experience we are having of the body. Fear seems to dissipate, relaxation can be summoned at a moment’s notice, learned postures soften all the way down to the least seen aspects of our organs and all the intricate processes they carry out day by day. It’s as though your body is under new management and everyone is happier, more relaxed and diligent, laughing a little as they get their tasks done. I remember the part in the book “Eat, Pray, Love” where Elizabeth Gilbert is told by the Balinese healer to smile with her face, with her mind, even with her liver and I know now what that means. This is not some trite one-liner straight from a bumper sticker; it is how we tune our cells to the frequency of the universe (all the better to receive what it never ceases offering to us).
As these higher frequencies are allowed to flood into our body via the pathway we have just created through our conscious perception of them, and the physical body reintegrates with the vast sea of awareness that it is really “just” an expression of, absolute healing is allowed to happen, is made possible…no further hindrances. Just allow it time; no stop-watches, no marks out of ten, no impatience, no expectations, no applying logic to how we assess its performance, no self-judgement…none of that since these will flip you back over onto your back with your legs kicking in the air like an upturned beetle until you get back to that simple state of allowing without all that blasted mental interference!
Some of us are holding the patterns of multiple lifetimes, more experiences and stories and repeat traumas than we can even imagine, in our bodies this time around…for a very good reason since we are playing a key part in clearing these old patterns out of humanity at large. For those of us that this applies to, we may feel just so stuck to these old patterns at the cellular level, in spite of all our best efforts to let them go, that we feel somehow like failures or victims of circumstance, unsupported by the universe or just too weary to keep believing that a state of healing really awaits us up ahead. The degree to which we feel this is fair indication of the super-powerful healing potential that we are modelling for the world at large; the intensity of our pain serving like a run-up or a turbo-boost to what lies up ahead. We took this enormous task on so that, when we finally get out of our own way, on all the multi-layers of numerous held wounds and beliefs and traumas and learned behaviours and fears…etc, at just the right moment for them all to line up (similar to how a powerful planetary alignment might arrange itself in the skies), which could happen at any time, the release of this will reverberate across the sea of awareness and be made available to countless other beings all at once. In fact we may have experienced powerful releases like these many times and hardly known what to make of them, having tried to understand them by applying the logic of the mind; and we will have integrated those breakthrough moments yet, in some cases, flipped ourselves back to some of the learned behaviours that were ready to be released. All the more important for us to continue believing that what we seek lies in spaciousness, not in the hard definition of what we think might be going on with our bodies; and never underestimate the enormity of what we have taken on and are really doing so spectacularly here (however it might look at ground level; not loosing faith in spite of this, as it is all part of the challenge we have taken on so courageously). Doing this is the true essence of what we mean when we say we are “holding space” for something to happen and we are becoming world experts at that.
To do this all the more effectively, I am dropping (but not disowning) the stories of how I got to here and this has been my big gear shift since the summer solstice. There is a subtle but important difference between these two approaches. I am not throwing away my story and nothing (no tired-old belief system!) could induce me to do so; it is far too valuable and to seek to erase it as though it never happened would be to dishonour and fragment from the aspect of self that has so bravely processed through that whole set of experiences (for very good reason; again, I refer you to my post Don’t Feel You Have To Ditch Your Story (Unless You Really Want To)). Rather, I will allow my story to come up of its own accord, carried on the flow, whenever it deems this to be useful as a point of reference; this is so important and is like leaving the door open with a welcome mat at the threshold. However, I choose to lay-off the habit of seeking it out or the frequent repetition of what I have been through in my own mind since it might not always be relevant and, when led by the mind, these habits can become hard structures that pin us down. Instead, I am allowing a sense of void to step in through the doorway of me in equal part with the “story” aspect; like yin and yang in equal partnership. Again, my task is simply to hold space. Having honoured my story so thoroughly in my Love Letter to Myself, I am better positioned to do this than ever and this “write it all down” method might be one that you could use to consciously clear your own way to allow more spaciousness to arise in your experience, going forwards. In essence, I have pumped every experience I have ever had full of love and then dropped it into the creative void where I will leave it all to cook without my interference, neither disowned nor beaten onwards like a marching drumbeat. This approach is a yin-yang balancing act and can serve as the very vortex out of which you manifest your next great experience of being in a human body; which is, after all, what healing is all about.
Back to my day; recognizing the patterns reinstating in my body, I took myself into meditation and I focussed on the profound and seamless relationship between my body and the sea of awareness, as above, whist holding feelings of love (light), kindness (expansion) and compassion (harmony) towards my body. Just noticing how these particulars that we know so well from our human experience match up with the energetic expressions that relate to the out-of-body experience helps ease the seamless flow between the physical and non-physical aspects of awareness, bridging the seeming gap, and I felt at once how the edges of physicality softened and my pain levels dropped down to the bare minimum. The cells readily take on the energetic interpretation of these experiences once a match is made…and, literally, I felt more expansion where, before, there had been constriction whilst light and harmonious experience seemed to flood me where, before, there had been discord and lack of flow. I have remained in that state all morning and what felt like extreme pain is like a subtle sub-plot that I can leave to its own devices whilst I have concentrated on other, more uplifting, things. All we need do is turn that flow on; our bodies will always default to the higher state, as do all things given the choice and, once those barriers to experiencing them dissolve away, we are allowed to float out into the calm waters of an experience that, at once, supports us without defining us in any way. Defunct patterns have no place here; they do not gain the repetition or the physical traction to make themselves solid enough to be sustained. The longer I remain here, in this void of conscious creation (directed by intention and thought), the more supported my new patterns – my chosen patterns – become and it only gets easier from here…
I see my cells flooded with love, kindness and compassion…and this is my only task. Not such a bad one to place my focus on, really; knowing that all the most joyful pursuits I allow myself further support this, along with all the kindnesses, the slowing down, the relaxing, the letting go, the careful focus upon what is most uplifting, the positive thoughts. Listening to my body’s signaled responses to whatever I choose and responding in that moment, without added drama. Meeting the body in its relative slowness whilst allowing it to taste the higher frequencies passing through without alarm. Why should it be alarmed to welcome in what is here to support it? Both physical and non-physical have their place in our humanness; its time to allow this and we get to experience so much, across such a broad spectrum, when we do. Fast and slow moving streams of energy, met as form; it is all…just…so…beautiful so why not make it our default. I suspect this is the opportunity we have always been waiting for.
The term “sea of awareness” that I use here was coined by Jeddah Mali, whose wonderful three-part series of meditations Seeds of Enlightenment, Embracing Freedom and Infinite Grace I completed about six years ago and served as one of the foundation stones of my conscious expansion. I’ve lost count of how many times I have now listened to these invaluable audios, so much so that their vernacular is inseparable from my own. They are still my go-to when I want to be led through a guided meditation and I have never found a term more fitting to describe that which lies beyond the physical experience than “sea of awareness”. I very highly recommend her work as a way of encouraging the process of integrating the higher aspects of experience with those associated with living in a human body.