Bodies and Fear: Part II


Bodies & Fear: Part II

Using soft focus to shift energy and release tension

Now that you've gained more awareness of the formerly hidden places of fear, it's time to start playing with them and exploring what is possible.

When they're unconscious then it is impossible to release the tension or underlying fear for good. It will always creep back in, sometimes immediately, which can be frustrating (and adds a whole 'nother layer of tension!). So what do we do instead?

As humans we love to take the most direct, linear approach to solving problems. If we go straight at the issue, then it will be fixed quickly! That isn't always the best plan, and can sometimes create more problems than it solves (hello frustration brings more tension...). Working with a soft focus on the issue has brought the fastest, and often most surprising results for me time after time.

After you are aware of the problem, then you can begin to develop tools to work with the issue. Since this issue is two fold (frankly, what problems aren't multilayered?), it helps to have multiple ways of working towards a better way of being.

Firstly, addressing the fear for what it is, and seeking the real root of the cause helps. More often than not there is some kind of safety issue that feels threatened. It doesn't even have to be rational at all, and more often than not, it's NOT rational! Looking for that crazy story that your subconscious is telling you that might (likely) connect all the way back to your childhood will often turn up a gold mine of information. Journaling can be a big help here, to really pour out a lot of information in a one-thing-leads-to-another fashion. Digging around in there to find the source of what's causing the tension in the first place is important. Otherwise you'll still be stuck in the land of getting-perpetual-massages-but-never-letting-go-of-tension.

The second piece is to really work on the body, and how you inhabit it. This is where body work (or massages) are handy. Being able to find new ways of being comfortable in your own skin goes hand in hand with body tension.

Fear = Excess Body Tension

Body Tension = Fear

There's no way to separate the two. If our bodies are out of balance, then it will create a fear because we aren't comfortable. Body work techniques like Orthobionomy, Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais, and even some practices like yoga, tai chi and chi gong can be really helpful for finding new ways of being that will allow the body to finally find comfort within it's own framework and relax.

What I've discovered is when I don't over focus on my fear, but approach it tangentially, it will often resolve and release gently. When I have put all my effort and energy into trying to get rid of it, that's when I stay stuck, and often add tension to my body instead.

By now I'm sure by now you're wondering how the heck all this relates to your pet!

Everyone knows that animals can sense our fear. When we have these deep rooted fears that manifest as tension in our bodies our animals clearly know that there's something going on, even if we don't want (or know how) to admit it. It's confusing to them if we're always happy on our face, but yet there's always an under current of excess tension.

If you observe your pet (especially cats), they use no more, and no less, energy than is required in any given situation. They're supple and flexible, and most often if you're petting them you can feel their muscles wiggle and ripple in their body. There's no hard knots or lumpy spots.

Our dogs are the same way- when they're happy and free of fear they're all wiggles and wags and movement. You can rub them back and forth across their shoulders and everything moves. You can pat their rumps and it's like a bowl of jello.

But if you pet an animal that's nervous or concerned (not something I really recommend, but we've all done it for one reason or another), their body is hard, and their hair is stiff. Nothing moves, and everything is bunched up. It doesn't feel nearly as good to pet them when they're like that. I’d much rather pet an animal that is soft and supple than hard and braced.

That's how we feel to them all the time if we're carrying excess tension and aren't aware of it. They're always aware of it. This can affect some animals more than others, but all of them notice it. Our animals often take on that energy because they don’t understand that it comes from the worry about our boss who we will never see in our house. If you’ve ever watched a herd of horses or flock of birds get startled they all seem to move at once. This is because they’re all energetically connected, and the reaction to the stimulus that causes fear starts in one animal and ripples through all of them instantaneously. Our pets feel our fear and tension and will often begin to carry some of that themselves.

When we’re unaware of it, it’s a constant thing and our pets begin to think there must be a good reason to be worried, even though they can’t figure out what it is. That’s when the cat starts being shy and startling at every little noise. The dog barks at every errant sound or movement out the window. The horse would rather run away in the pasture than allow itself to be caught. They’re reacting to our energy presence.

If you notice your pet’s behavior showing up this way, and maybe you’ve noticed that it doesn’t happen when your pet interacts with someone else, then it’s time to really dig deep and explore what unconscious tension and fear you might be carrying. If you’d like support with this, shoot me a message and let’s talk! I’d love to help you and your pets live a more relaxed and comfortable life!

Mary Branden