I spend a lot of time transforming the physical shock absorption of my clients. It never ceases to amaze me that when someone comes to me with diagnosed low back pathology, or pain syndrome, they do not move properly at their big toe, between the two bones of their lower leg (tibia and fibula), at their knee, AND at their hip. The back is just taking a beating for what isn’t going well below it. Additionally, they are usually locked up in their rib cage and at the base of the skull as well, meaning there is also no shock absorption above the site of pain. I guarantee I can tell you who will not get relief from an epidural injection based on the amount of uncompensated hip extension that they have. They were all functionally stuck in about 25-45 degrees of hip flexion, meaning they lacked 55-75 degrees of normal motion. The full arc of the hip is from 30 degrees of extension to 120 degrees of hip flexion. Missing 1/3-1/2 of your motion is a HUGE problem. Stretching hip flexor muscles is inefficient, at best. The problem is always elsewhere. Psoas is not a primary source of any problem – it is a secondary reactor. They only time my approach doesn’t work miraculously in restoring hip range of motion is in extreme joint degeneration. And I still believe I can change it, even in that case. I just haven’t had anyone in my office with that situation recently, to test it out.
Just as in physical shock absorption when you must have adequate flexibility and strength in the foot, ankle, knee, and hip, you must also have shock absorption on your path, on your direction, on yourself, on your relationships, on your moods, in your words, and in the way you synthesize information through your senses.
For example, just as someone with limited ankle motion might have secondary back pain, someone walking a narrow path, without giving room for shifting or being guided in a variation of the existing path or a different path might also have foot pain or secondary back pain. Someone who is dragging their feet or going to fast might have knee pain. Someone who isn’t fully aligned with who they are, not standing in who they are, might have hip issues. Someone with very tight rules about relationships with others as well as themselves can end up with back, digestive, and abdominal issues. People who don’t give themselves room to have their emotions, that see emotions as good/bad, right/wrong, lack spiritual shock absorption and can end up with heart issues. (Heart issues are really the result of a judging issue, and I will write more on that later). People who process things only through one sense or one filter have difficulty with spiritual shock absorption as well because things seem more absolute, when there are more truths to the situation.
Many people have all of these issues, and lack spiritual shock absorption. I believe that in many cases it eventually catches up with the body and manifests as a lack of physical shock absorption.
Here are steps and three healing prayers to create more spiritual shock absorption
- Heart and soul retrieval: Soul retrieval is a traditional shamanic skill, but I am going to give you the DIY version that I use and that I have clients do for homework. I have many variations of this, but I always start with this one. Say this phrase, perhaps as few as 3-5 times, and perhaps as many as 100-200 times.
“I call back my heart and soul, across all dimensions.”
Out loud works as well as saying it to yourself, though I do enjoy listening to the shift in people’s voices as they say it out loud.
- Symbolic movement: First off, if you have a pain issue or other limitation that keeps you from doing these literally, just imagine doing them. Your brain sees imagining and doing things as the same thing. This can be as effective as guided imagery as it is in movement. If you feel like you need to shake it off, put on some drum circle music and shake your arms, your legs, your organs, your chakras, your arteries, your aura – whatever suits you. If you are feeling stuck in the mud, high step out of it. If you are feeling covered in pond scum after meeting with your boss, wipe it off. You may even decide to take a shower. If you are feeling like a sponge that absorbed everyone else’s emotions, symbolically wring yourself out. If you feel like you are a filter, stand in front of a fan and let all of the debris blow off of you, or vacuum yourself off. You first have to find a metaphor for how you feel, but then it is fun (I think) to come up with a symbolic movement to resolve it.
- Dialogue with yourself. I like to do this in writing, but you could certainly do it verbally, and record it on your phone. This is like writing a letter, a movie script or a dialogue between characters in a book. I prefer the letter question and answer format. Sit and meditate, or just breathe for a minute before you start, just to get centered. Write and just let things flow – don’t stop yourself or talk yourself out of feelings or thoughts. Write things as they come. You might write half a page, or you might write ten pages. Here are some real excerpts of this exercise:
Me: Dear Heart, How do I give you a voice?
Heart: I used my voice often and you squashed it, walled me up.
Me: I am sorry. I love you and I love it when you are passionate. I don’t want that feeling to go away.
Heart: I have been stuck in the mud. I need you to be in love with me.
Me: Dear Hip pain, What are you trying to tell me?
Hip pain: You are letting other people determine your self-worth, and not standing fully in it yourself.
These exercises often end up with results beyond expectations. I love all of these, and use them in different ways on a regular basis. For me, the dialogue exercise never ends up where I think it is going to go, and always gives me valuable insight.
I will share more spiritual exercises as this blog continues. Let me know how these work for you!