In Module 13 you learned about your “triad of change”, how in healing and in life it’s a combination of your structure, your behavior, and your perceptions that makes any change easy to sustain. It becomes an intrinsic part of you at a higher level of health!

In this module, you’ll be learning about the impact of your spine on your mind. Hopefully, through discovering this you’ll be empowered to use your mind in a way that helps your spine! It’s a little bit of the “behind the scenes” magic.

Dr. Donny Epstein first developed Network Chiropractic in the late 70’s and 80’s by discovering that, as the spine distorted in different ways, there were different patterns, or “Phases”, of neural tension. These Phases affect your experience of the world in characteristic ways, Structure, Behavior, and Perception. By now you may be understanding that you literally live your life through your nerve system. The shape, position, tension, and tone of your spine affect the shape, position, tension, and tone of your life.

There are five classical Phases, each one affecting your postural structure, neural behavior, and perception in different ways. How each Phase affects you depends on how healthy you are and what Season you’re in. FYI this is what’s being checked when the tension in your Achilles tendon and leg length are being assessed, and you’re asked to “turn your head to the right…”.

You’ve probably known someone who’s stuck in the past, and perhaps you’ve been stuck there, too. That’s Phase 1. There’s nerve tension related to your sacrum and your skull bone, to keep protecting you against something from the past, or recreating the past when it no longer helps. You may have had an injury or event years ago that still affects you today. How does this show up in Perception? At a low level of health, when it’s time to Discover, you feel like the past is the reason you’re hurt, and you’re not happy about this! You literally see the world through glasses that show you all the reasons your past has hurt you and will keep hurting you!

Now the fact of the matter is that this just ain’t so. What happened in the past does not dictate your future. 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced yearly. Every 2-9 days you have a new stomach. Every 10-30 days you have a new suit of skin. Every 4 months you receive a whole new tank of blood. The slowest cell turnover occurs in the heart, brain, and fat (yeah, we all knew that last one), and even those cells grow, change, and heal.

So, why do you rebuild old stuff? You literally live your life through your nerve system. If your nerve system is distorted in this particular function, when you’re stuck in Phase 1, you rebuild the past even when it provides no benefit, because it’s all you have the energy to do. As you get healthier and it’s time to Transform, you realize that what you thought was an old wound is just a present habit of thought or belief, and you can choose to make the best of that experience in the present! As you get healthy and your spine has strategies for the Season of Awaken, you realize that the wounds have been repeating because you’ve forgotten the gifts of those experiences and to gratefully share those gifts with others!

You probably know someone who always seems to be afraid or angry. In Phase 2 you experience nerve tension related to your upper or lower neck, your first vertebra or around the 5th. Both flight and fight relate to trust. The upper neck version of this, the “flight” side, seems more related to fear of the future. When your health is in Discover, time feels like your enemy. You might freeze up at approaching deadlines, or feel anxious, fearing that there isn’t enough time! When your health is in Transform, you recognize that time is actually currency, and you choose how to spend it wisely. You even get better at accomplishing more in less time! When your health calls for Awaken, you realize that you have been afraid that you wouldn’t have time to give your gift and to experience love, so you make that time gladly.

The “fight” side of this equation, C-5, is more related to anger or mistrust of people. In Discover, you feel like you can’t trust your instincts, that you will be hurt if you trust people. You especially don’t trust emotional or angry people, and you’re angry about that! You’ve seen fights on social media that illustrate this perfectly! Just consider the posture most people are in while texting. It encourages this Perception! In Transform, you start questioning your stories about who can and cannot be trusted, and you stop beating yourself and others up. You make healthier choices about how you show up to make relationships great! In Awaken, there’s enough health available to realize that the mistrust occurred because you forgot to trust in life. You forgot to see yourself and others as souls. You forgot the heart!

You’ve seen people get stuck in all of the “shoulds”, in the rules, and in their roles and they have no idea who they are. Enter Phase 3. In this Phase, you experience nerve stress involving your pelvis. When it’s time for the Season of Discover, you’re like a chameleon. You instinctively become whomever you’re around and change yourself based on what others are feeling. It’s not a choice, it just happens. You emotionally react strongly to “shoulds”, to rules, and to obligations, without really thinking them through. This is a cultural survival strategy to stay safe and stay alive. When your nerve system is getting healthier, stronger, and more adaptable, in Transform, you realize how much you’ve changed yourself in order to fit in, to be culturally accepted. You start personally choosing your identity and your culture, as you update your sense of self. You can choose! When it’s time for the Season of Awaken you realize that you have forgotten that who you truly are is bigger than any rules, roles, culture, subculture, or choices. Knowing who you are as a soul will always lead you to the best possible choices!

Other people with whom you’re probably familiar think emotions are weaknesses that happen to other people. Who, depending on their generation, seem like Spock or Sheldon, total headcases, with no real emotions. Phase 4 involves nerve stress affecting your middle neck. In Discover, you’re like a control freak because you physically and neurologically cannot handle change. You go rational to avoid emotions, and you tend to shut down others’ emotions. In Transform, there’s enough health available to recognize that emotion is fuel for change, that taking action and making progress requires a new range of emotions. You redefine your stories about emotion and make room for emotion in your identity. When it’s time for Awaken, you realize that you have shut down because you have forgotten your passionate nature. You recognize that passion is the life force that inspires all creation, and that this thoroughly illogical energy makes life amazing.

You’ve heard someone say, “OK folks, we’re at the bottom of the barrel!” If you always feels like that, like you’ve been screwed over, taken advantage of, and that there’s just never enough, welcome to Phase 5! This is the most intense nerve stress, when your neck and tailbone are contracting into each other. In Discover, it feels like you’re living in survival. You feel like there’s not enough energy, healing, or possibility. It feels like a personal attack or that it’s all your fault, and you are not happy about this. Things are breaking down. When it’s time for Transform, you break through the reasons why you have less choices and resources and make the very best of the resources available. Now that there’s “health” available, you start using your experience of “less than” as fuel on the fire to generate MORE than ever before! In Awaken, there’s enough health available to realize that you only felt less than because you forgot that what seemed to be taken from you becomes the thing that you can give abundantly. Like the wounded healer, you are tuned-in to the needs of others who have felt that way and can do something about it. If you remember that giving love is never a burden and that love is always available to give, then even a wound becomes a gift!

Whew… quite an adventure, yes? That’s just the Perception side of things – rest assured I’m working with the other parts! Your spine is a BIG picture. Indeed, you literally live your life through your nerve system. What Phase sounded the most like “you”, and in what Season? Where’s your center of gravity? What Phase sounds like the one where you’ve made the most progress? What Phase sounds like the one that comes up when you get stressed or have symptoms? As you partner with Intrinsic in Network Spinal care, there is no ceiling to how far your health can go! You really can live the life you choose, the life you’re called to live, rather than being stuck with health defining your life!