Pamela Church, M.A.
1732 SE Ash
Portland, OR 97214
503-239-8737



 


Reconfiguring

The way to do this is by going to the body when we feel distress and interacting with the body in a way that doesn’t line up with the upset.  There are various tools available both in the therapeutic community and in the larger community.
 
I wanted to develop tools that could be used in a clinical hour and could just as easily be used by someone who has never gone to therapy.  Hence, Body Wisdom Tools, my contribution to the tool chest where I call on the science of neurobiology and somatic gestures to change the core and move on through.  This is about increasing neural connectivity with new patterns while discovering the intelligence of sensation and intuition.  It is about returning to the body for renewal.

The reason Body Wisdom Tools is about training the brain is simple in that where we put our attention shapes and sculpts the neural networks. So, if there is upset and a peaceful, calming physical response at the same time, they will be linked together. The famous phrase of Hebb’s “what fires together, wires together” is applicable.
 
It is a remarkable time of global unrest both physically and culturally. I believe the phase shift here now is about bringing forward well being and a bright belief in our innate goodness. This is the light through the storm.  This is our star compass.

Coherence Makes Everything Easier

It is all about being an interconnected whole, having the right side talk to the left side, the front to the back, the head talking to the body.  We do that and we are on.  We are very likely to have a felt sense of harmony.  This quiet humming is what it is all about.
 
We are in a time of coming together.  We come together with a loving heart, a bright brain and trust that the world is good.  From how I see it, this is about the intersection of  Buddhism, neurobiology, and quantum physics.  Lofty concepts and yet perhaps they work with simple practices.  From Buddhism, we have the practice of dedicating merit. 
Every day dedicating whatever merit we may have accumulated from our actions, dedicating it to all beings, so all beings may be held in kindness.  We are full and we are empty.  Trusting the process of give away.  Trusting generosity of heart and giving our compassion and good deeds to the world.
 
I have read a fair number of books on quantum physics and yet I couldn’t talk with you in a sustained way over a few minutes about the topic.  At the same time, my body implicitly responds to that description of living in a unified field of consciousness.  Yes.  The heart when congruent with the body and spirit is a unified field of consciousness.  My heart is right here, close by.  I can touch it.  I can touch your heart.  You can touch my heart.  Here we are playing in a spacious field that knows no bounds.
 
This is to use a term from science: coherence. Coherence means we are all here.  Coherence means we touch the world and the world touches us.  May we all be free and connected and happy.

Cracking the Code

Habitual beliefs rule the nervous system. This is where so much of our suffering comes from. These patterns are more often than not unseen. If we lessen physical and emotional distress, we often have availability to core beliefs. Speed of access to our interior process is engendered by mindfulness of our physical state, the ability to soothe, and to regenerate well-being. This is a way to crack the codes of harmful, habitual patterns by opening the field of perception. It is all here now, we just have to find a way in. I am suggesting Body Wisdom Tools as a way in.

 

We do this by going to the body and training the brain. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) soothes agitation, aggression and defuses the stress reaction. It turns off the alarm bell of the amygdala and says “It is okay.”

 

“It is okay.” Resetting the body to a steady state where relaxation is part of the response. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is “rest and digest.” The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is “fight or flight.” The SNS is essential for survival. The difficulty is that it can get stuck in the “on” position. Stress hormones course through the body. We all know how ragged that can feel. Residual fear in the body is not pleasant.

 

Strengthening ease in the body with somatic gestures is about supplying the brain area we are touching with more blood flow. When there is more nourishment because of increased blood flow, there is the possibility of neurogenesis in particularly parts of the brain like the hippocampus. This means we are making a new narrative with new associations. This is what going to the body and training the mind is about. If we do this process a number of times, a deep confidence in ours resilience and wisdom emerges. It is truly okay and then some.

 

The Time of My Life

When we have had trauma or periods of difficulty, the brain can get stuck in that gear, that time frame.  These protocols nudge the gears forward so all can move in sync with time, with the present.  This can give a new confidence and resource.  Another way to say it is that it is about temporal integration where the past is previous experience and the present is here and now with the potential of being happy and successful.

There is a 12 Step saying “If it is bigger than stuff, it is old stuff.”  That is exactly what the protocol Time Stamp Now addresses.  Who doesn’t know the place of over reacting to something and we can’t seem to get out of the loop of reactivity.  What is going on at that point is the body perceives something that has caused us trouble before.  The problem is it can’t tell what is past and what is going on right now.  Of course, we can cognitively say “Oh yeh, this is about this situation” and name the current date and place.  The body may not be there.
Try Time Stamp Now and see if there is immediate relief.  The present situation may be uncomfortable, but compound it with old misery and it becomes really awful.  We are “caught” in the suffering of the past without resource in the present.
I developed Body Wisdom Tools as a way to have a wise relationship with self and particularly these two protocols, Time Stamp Now and Brain Update, to have a wise relationship to time.  In this first protocol, it is distinguishing residue from the the past and helping it move to long term storage, whereas in Brain Update, it is about doing well in the present, but feeling a bit flat because it is not fully noted.
We see how it is about time, but actually more about how heart, brain, body need to be unified, on the same page so to speak, in order for there to be power in our life.
Congruence is power.  Lining up our experience so the past is long term memory, the present is the sound of a crow in our neighbor’s yard, and the future is open-ended.

Time Stamp Now™

1.Time Gate: place one hand directly above the ear and one hand on the heart.  Hold for two minutes.  ID the present moment while you are doing this and tell the charged material from the past to move to long term storage.

2.Time Gate: place one hand directly above the other ear and one hand on the heart.  
Hold for two minutes.  ID the present moment while you are doing this and tell the charged material from the past to move to long term storage.  

3.Place one hand on the forehead and four fingers (Four Fingers) on the brainstem. Hold for two minutes.

4.Place four fingers (Four Fingers) on the brainstem and a thumb and index finger lightly on the middle of the eyebrows (Middle of the Road).  Hold for two minutes.


We do good work, but does it count?  In an odd way it doesn’t “count” if it doesn’t register in an integrated way in the brain.  So essential.  You might think “Yes, I know I did well on that creative project.  Yes, I brought my dream forward.”  and everything needs to be cross linked for it to be understood by heart, brain, body as a whole piece.
As ever, the benchmark here is so simple: if after doing a protocol is there an increase in well-being?  If so, then by doing the protocol there probably has not only been a general increase in neural connectivity, but also a very particular hook up that for instance in Middle of the Road  targets the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC).  
This can be interesting information or not, what is important is about noticing if there is spontaneously more appreciation and kinder regard for self.  If so, its a bull’s eye.


Brain Update

1.Hold one hand on the heart and with the other hand place a thumb and index finger on the center of each eyebrow-this mudra I am calling Middle of the Road.  It connects the thinking part of our brain with the feeling part of the brain.  Hold for two minutes.

2.A thumb and an index finger on the center of each eyebrow, Middle of the Road, while four fingers(Four Fingers) are on the brainstem.  Hold for two minutes.

3.Four Fingers on the brainstem and a hand on the heart, for two minutes.  This can activate the vagus nerve and increase physical well being.

4 Brain Update gesture is the right hand on the forehead and the left hand above the ear with the fingers at an angle pointing to the center of the forehead.  Hold for two minutes.  The left prefrontal area is about deep well being; this area is the happy spot of the brain.  

 

These four gestures-Time Gate, Middle of the Road, Four Fingers and Brain Update-I developed as a way to get up to speed with the here and now.  For instance, there are many soothing, integrative functions of having a flat hand against the back of the head.  However fingertips on the cerebellum, what I am calling Four Fingers, is a different energetic signature.  It seems to be about tuning into the speed and safety of the body.  This can directly access the survival brain.  To say to the body with fingertips on the brainstem “I am safe and sound; it is okay” can go to the source of physiological arousal.  The body fully in the present moment is a body breathing and aware.