One of the goals of your visits at the Happy Spine is to help you develop new awareness of your body, mind and spirit. New awareness means novelty for your brain which means that your brain can be upgraded. Your brain can become more flexible, as Dr. Norman Doidge wrote about in his book ‘The Brain That Changes Itself’.
Awareness (or lack thereof) rules our lives. And it’s the only thing we have control over. Where we put our attention and how long we hold that attention is like a muscle. The more we exercise it, the stronger it gets. If we habitually allow our attention and awareness to wander, we give over this control to someone or something else.
Pain that we feel is often the body’s attempt to gain our attention and to create more awareness of what’s happening in the body and in our lives. Rather than silencing it, we can learn from pain and other signals that the body sends. If we can learn to listen close enough, we will start to ‘hear’ many other sounds and signals that have always been there but were not paid close enough attention to.
The other day Emily was in for her regular visit. During the visit, I had her focus on a spot on the left side of her neck and I asked her to breath there, focus and then lift. She found it challenging and had to make an effort to focus, breath and move and hold her body in order to raise that one spot.
Afterwards she remarked how as she had been lifting her head and neck, she noticed tension in her right hip and thigh.
We talked about this a bit more as I told her that it’s one thing to be aware of a spot or area of your body. It’s a whole other thing to be aware of several places at the same time. Having a more global awareness, rather than just local, is an important step in healing and brain learning.
You can become aware of how one area of your body is compensating or helping another area of your body to keep going. It’s also indicative of being able to hold more than one perspective or piece of information at the same time. If you can feel only one area of your body, your awareness is at a basic level. If you can be aware of two areas, it means that you can hold both places in your conscious awareness and as you do this, the information that they both hold can be shared between them and also your brain.
You begin to be more adept at relating and relationships; More open to other points of view, a greater capacity for empathy and less attachment to being right.
So practice exercising that muscle: focus, breath, energy and movement. You can grow your brain’s neurological complexity and heal at the same time!