Last article we talked about how the spine relates to our sense of self. This article we go deeper into why it matters
Vocational coach Craig Nathanson says, “Who needs an authentic life? If you are satisfied with the status quo life that no longer challenges you or gives you inspiration and passion, then you don’t need an authentic life.”
I love this quote because it’s pretty direct—if you’re comfortable with the life you’re living, even if it’s not your authentic life, then the work, challenges, and rigorous honesty involved with expressing your authentic nature really aren’t for you. You still might talk about it, plan it, think and dream about it, but nothing really happens until the fire starts burning.
Knowing this, what lights that fire to break out of the armor and show up raw, real, and beautiful? We hunger to break out of what’s not authentic and make fundamental changes in two situations (and usually it’s a combination of the two):
1) Living the way we’re living hurts so much – in a way that matters to us – that it’s no longer an option to stay in our uncomfortable comfort zone. We’re ready to discover the truth and make changes, whatever it takes. An example is someone with cancer who suddenly turns their life around and sticks with it even when things look dark.
2) The alternative is so amazing, so appealing, so juicy that it makes our attachment to our previous life irrelevant. In fact, it makes the way we’ve been living downright painful. An example is building and mastering a business based on your passion – whatever it takes – despite all the roadblocks along the way.
Either way, it takes discomfort – either from knowing that where we are hurts too much, or from knowing that where we are NOT hurts so much.
Remember, even painful experiences are empowering when we are honest with ourselves and follow through with constructive action.
Knowing this, here are some questions to help yourself assess if you currently need an authentic life. Please, be real with your self when answering these. “I think so…” is not a Yes. It is a No… that is inviting you to deeper self-exploration and discovery.
- Why would I want to change anything?
- Do I really want to make changes – whatever it takes – or am I currently satisfied in my comfort zone? (Be honest.)
- How bad will it have to get – for myself or for others – before I’m ready to make whatever changes must to be made?
- What am I currently willing to do and follow through on (even when it’s hard)?
If you want to take it deeper…
- Is the life I’m living and the actions I’m taking really serving the authentic me at my best? (If not, what will it take from ME to make it so?)
- Am I fully sharing the gift I am here to give in the life I’m living? (If not, what will it take from ME to make it so?)
Whew… did answering those cause anyone ELSE to break a sweat? Looking at the gap between where we currently are and where we must be IS challenging, so if this is a little confrontational, you’re welcome.
I mean that. Daring to confront our stories and be honest separates a patient (“long suffering”) from a practice member (“empowered collaborator”), and practice members get better results across the board. So if this pushed you from one camp into the other, you’re welcome.
Why does this matter? Watching people stay stuck ain’t my job. Helping you through it IS.
As a practice member, you and I collaborate on this adventure of deeper health, improved function, and greater well-being. Helping you improve the way your spine drives your brain, and thus your life, is my part in this process. Your part is to use your brain to take this farther and make choices that support being real.
When we’re not fully “us”, it shows up in our posture. It shows up in our spinal and muscular tension. It shows up in our thoughts and emotions. There is a defended “self” – a neurospinal suit of armor – that presents on my table. As Dr. Donny Epstein, developer of Network (NSA) and Somatic Respiratory Integration (SRI) says:
“The shape, position, tension and tone of your spine is in relation to the shape, position, tension and tone of your life.”
Chronic problems become a part of who we think we are, part of that neurospinal suit of armor that protects us against certain experiences and responsibilities while also locking us in to a life that is not our own.
That’s why I seem unconcerned when you come in and say, “Doc, I was fine and now it hurts here!” when your spine is objectively healthier than before. As the spine shifts towards greater stages of health, it may use discomfort as a cue that something in our life must also shift – either because it no longer works, or there’s even greater possibilities for us now required.
Comfort and contentment are often irrelevant to the authentic person’s journey. It’s a great first step, or an occasional rest period between steps, but comfort can soon become a soft prison that takes a lot of energy to maintain and prevents further evolution. Depending on the level of change required, our comfort zone may have to get pretty uncomfortable!
To use another quote from Donny Epstein:
“If you’re living someone else’s life, it’s supposed to hurt.”
The way that I look at things, none of us are redundant. We’re all here to share something with this world. That’s why we were made. Each piece has a part to play… and when we’re not playing OUR part, we are invited to pain and disease to get our attention that something has to change. If we’re playing SOMEONE ELSE’S part, we are also invited to pain and disease… again, to get our attention that something has to change.
Basically, as my wife Carrie would say to me, “Stay in your lane.” AKA do what only you can do, and let others contribute their part.
When I try to do her job, I receive pain (AKA a look, a word, a smack) – she is the best person to do what’s hers, NOT ME! When I don’t do my job, the same thing. When I’m doing what only I can do, when I’m living my life and sharing the gifts available to me, MAGIC HAPPENS. Not pain, but JOY…
Life gives us POSITIVE FEEDBACK when we’re on track!
How does this relate to your spine and nervous system? To the care in our office?
In 12 years of clinical practice I’ve seen how authentic, empowered choices are supported by a few things that fit into my jurisdiction:
- A well-functioning, world-class brain
- A well-functioning, world-class stress response
- A well-functioning, world-class spine that drives the brain and nerves towards what’s real and true
The body must be powerful to know that it will thrive. The emotions must be free to move powerfully to adapt to change. The brain must be used as a powerful force for good – as an old teacher of mine, Reggie Gold, used to say, “THINK, DAMMIT, THINK!” Powerful is the key – they can effect change AND handle change. From that level of health, an authentic life is ripe and ready.
We 90% of the stimulation and nutrition to your brain comes from movements patterns of the spine. Research shows that Network Spinal Analysis care “upgrades” the function, health, and movement patterns of the spine in ways that improve our ability to physically function, emotionally express, handle stress, and enjoy the quality of our unique lives. As your neurospinal system develops the “Waves” that occur in Level 2 NSA chiropractic care, it is correlated with greater knowing of who we are, why we’re here, and how to follow through on it. This is where, looking at the model of the 12 Stages of Healing, Stage 3 (“Stuck in a Perspective”), Stage 4 (“Reclaiming Our Power”), and Stage 5 (“Merging Through the Illusions”) are your best friends.
This is a huge benefit to people’s health, and to the world…
Because the world needs US now—that raw, real, authentic us – now more than ever.
We, as individuals and also as a species, are at a bigger crossroads than we’ve ever known, where we make important decisions every day that affect our future, and our children’s future on this planet. These changes can only be made from a place of healthy and radical authenticity by empowered people who are courageously coming together for something far bigger than themselves.
That is the fruit of health. That is why I do what I do. I never said it was easy, but as big as this sounds, it’s really simple. One spine at a time, we change the world and help people unleash their best selves to make a better world for us all. It’s a good gig. I’m glad you’re a part of it.