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My experience with Dr. Lou, my chiropractor, led to another interesting insight. After having experienced a great deal of relief, I noticed that my shoulders were getting tense again. I was concerned because despite my efforts to correct my posture and the way I was holding my shoulders, I felt as if I were backtracking.

I spoke to Dr. Lou about it on my next visit.

After he examined me, he informed me that, in fact, my alignment had improved dramatically and the tightness in my shoulder muscles was gone as well. What I was experiencing was not a return to the earlier tension but a better capacity to pay attention to signals from my body. I was able to feel the physical sensation of tension way earlier than I had allowed myself to do in the past.

I realized that hand-in-hand with this enhanced capacity to be mindful of physical sensations, my capacity to recognize and identify my emotional sensations had improved as well. I found myself paying better attention to my own needs and feelings. In the past I was often oblivious to feelings of overload and exhaustion to the point that I would only become aware of them when I was completely exhausted or ill. Similarly, if in interactions with others, I felt hurt or angry, my feelings would often remain invisible and buried until they reached the point of bursting out (sometimes inappropriately). I realized how important it is for me to pay attention to my feelings and physical sensations to enable me to be wholly present in mind and body. And, of course, I came to understand the value of being present and mindful rather than constantly interrupting my thoughts and feelings by checking email or talking on my cell phone. In short, my experience led me to an important understanding of my need to slow down my life so I could be more present and centered.

What started out as an experience of feeling stuck and inert was actually part of a process of growing and development that left me with new insights about how to be in the world as well as a new sense of being centered and focused.

What made the positive transformation possible was:

  • reframing my experience so as to see it as an opportunity rather than a threat;
  • sitting in the ambiguity of being in transition without having to know or try to control the outcome;
  • allowing myself to be without constantly busying myself with activities;
  • paying attention to my body’s physical sensations and the messages they were giving me;
  • being present physically, mentally and emotionally so I could better experience life;
  • understanding the physical, mental, emotion, and spiritual connections;
  • letting go and allowing time for the process to run its course so I would be ready for whatever was coming next;
  • finding balance and support by seeking help from professionals and friends; and
  • reflecting on the process so I could:
    1. recognize the connections between my mind (how I viewed what was happening),
    2. body (being attune to physical sensations),
    3. emotions (being in touch with my feelings), and
    4. spirit (being present and open) and understand the importance of having them be in alignment.