Sunday, June 14, 2009

The energy of emotions

Last Thursday through Sunday I was in BodyTalk training for two of the advanced modules. The more I learn about this system, the more I love it. It is such an amazing system in its simplicity and effectiveness. This is truly energy medicine and I’m thrilled to be learning more about it. There were 14 of us in the class and I was the only male. This seems to be pretty common for any energy healing classes I’ve gone to for any modality. The females always outnumber the males. I’m always curious as to why that is but my belief is that it’s because energy healing is still kinda wu-wu stuff for most people and women are more open to that.


As with most classes we began by introducing ourselves and talking about our background. While I waited for my turn I tried to figure out what I would say that I do. How open, honest and authentic would I be? Was it safe? Was I ready? When it was my turn to speak, I just left it at “I do bodywork” without going into too much detail on that. I recall at the first BodyTalk class I went to I said that I was a Sacred Intimate and since it is such an obscure job title I decided to keep it simple this time. I wanted to be authentic and honest but I also noticed my need to feel safe and accepted first.

At lunch the first day however I let that genie out of the bottle. The beautiful thing about the women I ate lunch with is that it didn’t really seem to faze them. They were a little thrown by it at first which is to be expected but they were also interested in hearing more and asking me questions. I didn’t feel judged by them at all and that allowed me to open up to them even further and share more with them. It was a beautiful exercise in living more authentically in every area of my life.


One of the main focuses of the class was how the body processes emotions and how BodyTalk addresses them to be released. One thing our instructor said was “Emotions are simply energy in motion thus e-motion.” I hadn’t ever seen that word broken down that way before but I quite like it. It’s a very accurate and a helpful way to remember it. Most of us don’t think of emotions as energy but that is exactly what they are. If you begin to view them as energy-in-motion, a deeper understanding of how our bodies process emotions can emerge.

Our bodies are pure energy; dense, slow moving energy imbued with consciousness. The brain releases specific chemicals (called neuropeptides) that trigger specific reactions in the body. When these chemicals hit our blood stream the body responds by moving them into the muscles and organs where they can be most effectively utilized for the response needed. For example when we are frightened our bodies move the chemicals to the heart, legs and arms (and other specific organs and muscles) so that more blood will pump and we will have the power needed to fight or flee. When the event is over and the body has expressed the emotion, the neuropeptides are neutralized by the body and released. When emotions are experienced they have to be expressed to be released. If they are repressed then they are stored in the body. Contrary to popular belief, they do not simply go away. That energy has to go somewhere.


When our bodies are comprised in some way that storage process doesn’t go quite so smoothly. If organs aren’t functioning as they should the neuropeptides can get stored in areas of the body which were not meant to process that emotion and dis-ease results from that. (Dis-ease is any energy which moves our bodies from a place of free flowing ease into a compromised condition.) Stress is a major cause of this type of malfunction in the body system. The body is amazingly resourceful and when one organ or muscle is compromised, other organs and muscles help take up the slack to keep the body functioning. Survival is the instinct which drives the body.

Referring back to my Yoga training meltdown, I was hunched over putting strain on the muscles in my shoulder blades, I was stressed out by the intensity of the training and the self-examination that we had been doing and then an old painful memory got activated. My body responded and the pain I felt from the original event, shame (a combination of sadness and anger), got stored in my shoulder. Remember, the brain doesn’t know the difference between an actual experience and a mentally recalled event. When I experienced the emotional pain I recalled, that shoulder muscle was being strained and the energy went there for storage. The crying released the sadness from the rest of my body that typically handles the emotion of sadness but since that shoulder muscle isn’t typically used to store that emotion, it wasn’t fully released thus my lingering pain.

Think about what happens in your body when you cry. If it’s just a sad little thought, a tear or two might be shed but when it’s a bigger sadness, your body shakes from the muscle contractions. These contractions move the muscles and stimulate the organs so that the emotion can be processed and released by the body. Unfortunately most of us, men especially, are taught to not show our emotions and so that process gets overridden and the clearing can’t occur naturally in the body. This unexpressed sadness or grief is then held in the muscles and organs until it can be released. Exercise is how much of these emotions are released when the body utilizes the fuel (the stored emotions) from the muscles. That’s why all sorts of memories from past events can surface in our minds when we exercise.


Much of the BodyTalk class was dealing with Chinese 5 Element theory and how it is balanced by the BodyTalk system. The Chinese believe that we have 5 primary energies which enliven our bodies. They are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water. These are not literal definitions but rather labels for the energies. They also believe that we have 5 emotions connected with these elements. They are Anger, Joy/Sadness, Worry, Grief and Fear (in order by element). Sadness and Joy are considered to be the same emotion but just different extremes of the emotion. Additionally muscles and organs within the body are controlled by each of these Elements. Under normal conditions the emotions (emotional energy) are stored and processed by the organs and muscles associated with their Element.

When the system is stressed, these emotions can get stored in muscles or organs from a different Element. This is where problems start. The muscles for example are now holding on to a foreign energy that they weren’t meant to process. These emotions are then held by the muscle and never get processed and released because the body doesn’t look for this energetic fuel in that location. It’s sort of like if you were filing medical patient information and you put some of Tom’s information sheets in Bob’s folder. When you went to treat Tom, if you needed those sheets you’d just assume they were missing and you would have to get the information recreated. Now of course Bob’s folder is holding information that doesn’t pertain to him and if it weren’t labeled correctly it may be assumed to be his and he could be misdiagnosed and treated improperly. Unutilized information is left behind, taking up space and potentially causing problems in Bob’s file. Tom would be fine but Bob might suffer.


That’s what happens when a muscle group holds a foreign energy. The body never looks for that particular type of fuel there so it just stays in the muscles. Now that muscle isn’t operating at peak efficiency because it never gets to release that stored fuel. That’s basically what had happened with that spot in my back that I talked about in the “Body Memory” post. I was hunched over stressing the muscles of my shoulder blade, recalling and re-experiencing my sadness and so the energy of that emotion got stored improperly in the shoulder muscle. I never really got that emotional energy cleared from that muscle and when some experience I had recently reactivated that “body memory”, I became aware of the soreness and tried to get it worked out (to no avail). I wasn’t able to release it until I was able to make the mental connection between the original childhood “shame”, the physical injury and its emotional component. That allowed the emotion to be expressed with a focus on the soreness that had resulted.

Without the BodyTalk session getting things set to release the emotion and bodywork being done on the muscle I might never have gotten to the root cause of the soreness and released it. There was certainly nothing there that any x-ray could have detected nor pill could have fixed. It would have just been one of those phantom pains that remained unexplainable and untreatable. This is why “energy medicine” is important. We are energy beings inside energy bodies being nourished and enlivened by energy (food, water, air). By deepening our understanding and awareness of how the body functions on an energetic level, as well as our understanding and acceptance of the power of energy, dis-ease could become a thing of that past very rapidly.


It should come as no surprise that as we see the major systems on our planet breaking down (environment, finance, health-care, energy, etc) that new technologies and health care systems will begin to emerge. I believe that BodyTalk is one of the emergent healing systems that holds great potential for us all. As all those systems which have served their useful life begin to reach the end of their life cycle, new technologies and systems will emerge which can help us grow and evolve as a species and as a planet as a whole. Healing systems which take the whole person into account, rather than focusing on just one organ or muscle is the way we must go. Our bodies are not just a collection of parts rather they are whole systems which much be treated as a whole.

Until that shift can occur it’s important that we learn to fully express our emotions, find ways to reduce the stress in our lives (bodywork and pleasure are great stress relievers) and begin to see life from a more evolved energetic view. Everything comes down to the energy level. We are all waves of energy moving through fields of energy (people, objects and experiences) and existing in the dense realm of the physical. At the level of energy, we are all connected and we are all one.

What prevents you from expressing the emotions which arise in your energy field?


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