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Find what you’re storing in your low back (#4).

March 23, 2013 in Inspiration

“Lose your mind and come to your senses.” – Fritz Perls

Dr. John Sarno’s book, Healing Back Pain, is an excellent account of and explanation for the instant dissipation of chronic pain through emotional release.  Dr. Sarno, a professor of clinical rehabilitation medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, describes Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) as medical “disorder” associated with pain in the neck, back, shoulders, buttocks and limbs.  (The term “disorder” is one I wholeheartedly disagree with, because when your body is showing signs of dis-ease, it’s conveying a perfectly healthy and clear message about an imbalance that needs attention.  Your body is not working against you!) His book describes clinical evidence and scientific studies that support the mind creating TMS– and any – physical process.

When I read this book on the advice of a brilliant New York-based acupuncturist, Lara Rosenthal, I thought I was reading about my own body. I also found it incredibly frustrating, because for a long time, nothing changed. I could read and re-read that book until I was blue in the face – my back still hurt.  Dr. Sarno provides numerous case studies, and indeed a whole treatment program, based on his observation that emotional release can and does yield a substantial reduction or even elimination of TMS symptoms.

The protocol seems to be: Realize you’re pissed off or hurt and didn’t know it, stop being in physical pain. 

Your low back is associated with your second chakra, the passion house of the body, home of creative energy, desire, pleasure, and anger.  In her legendary book, Eastern Body, Western Mind, renound energy healer Judith Anodea, PhD, describes how experiences from childhood as far-ranging as growing up in an alcoholic family, to sexual or emotional abuse, to denial of a child’s feeling states can manifest as physical symptoms in this region of the body.

What I love most about this work is that it supports my belief that personal expression is elemental to good health. We are physical and emotional beings, at the cellular level.  I witnessed and experienced this first-hand as a teenager (and ever since) at the Haven, studying with founders Ben Wong and Jock McKeen, and instructors David Raithby, Sandey McCartney, Maria Gomori and Linda Nichols (I name them all because they are each brilliant enough that you should look them up, take a course with them, and read what they write).  A psychiatrist and physician, respectively, Wong and McKeen work with the way the body holds unexpressed emotions, and the impact that holding has on mental and physical health.  I have seen more profound healing and growth on the grounds of their campus than anywhere I have ever been.

In our culture, this is the toughest of all prescriptions: genuine, authentic, unguarded, introspection.  It’s hard to believe in if you’ve never seen it or experienced it, and hard to create if you are a believer, because chances are high that the very thing causing you pain is in your blind spot (one reason why good doctors, therapists and coaches are invaluable to holistic healing).

It may seem easier to just take a pill, or have surgery, or get someone else – someone professional – to “cure” you.  But your body is so wise – and so it continues to carry what you won’t put down elsewhere, encouraging you to find it, and through finding it, to grow into the magnificent being that you always already are.

So….your back pain.  What might yours be about?  Be brave enough to explore, and release the ties that bind you.  It is never what we think, it’s always something better.

Healing, by D.H. Lawrence

I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.

And it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly,

that I am ill.

I am ill because of wounds to the soul,

to the deep emotional self and the wounds to the soul take a long, long time,

and only time can help

and patience, and a certain difficult repentance

long, difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake and the freeing oneself

from the endless repetition of the mistake

which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.

(found in The New Manual for Life)

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