Safety first! We hear this expression all the time. What does it mean? I personally feel like it means different things to different people depending on their perspective in life. Let me explain. On the surface it sounds like a “good” thing. That’s a judgement I know. To one who holds this perspective it may mean:
1. Being prepared
2. Avoiding harmful obstacles
3. Fear of what if
4. Having all that you need
I am all for being prepared in case of an emergency. Let me bring some focus to the portion of this perspective that is ‘fear-based’. I know of people who will not let their 14 year old son cross a two lane busy street for fear that he might get hit by a car. This embarrasses the young man so much. Now, don’t get me wrong, if a person is not developmentally or cognitively able to perform such a task, then I am all about assistance when needed. What message is this really sending?
F E A R
The “what if…something happens” mentality most certainly based in our fears becoming reality usually produce that VERY fear. Then the person says, “Uh HUH, see I told you!” But what if the very thought of it, is what allowed the possibility? BELIEF Producing messages such as these seemingly harmless ones, in lieu of “safety first” begs me to question my other programming. We are taught so much by everyone in our lives growing up, that we accept much of it as the gospel without ever questioning if WE believe it or not. Yet these very programs DRIVE our behaviors and produce triggers that we may not even be aware of their origination.
The other meaning of safety comes from the one of feeling safe. The thesaurus offers us some insight: intact, protected, secure, cherished, tended, and essentially, having one’s needs met. Basically, one meaning gives the illusion that I am free from danger, “I am safe”. The other meaning, I am free from the threat of danger, “I am safe”. Threats can be real, or perceived from our constant programming. Who among us, reading this blog post right now, is actually running from the saber toothed tiger, a bugler, or is under attack in full out flight or fight: sympathetic nervous system mode?
RUN HIDE FREEZE FIGHT
Yet so many of us in this moment feel threatened, by what, we can not always say. We don’t feel secure or safe, but that we must…..do… something. This uneasy existence of adrenaline exhaustion, and constant cortisol being released from the stress that is perceived as real, is staggering. What if there was a way to change what you feel and limit the amount of stress? There is. The answer is in examining your belief system.
Begin by asking yourself these questions when stress starts creeping in:
1. Is this “thing” I am perceiving as a must do, or must answer, actually that important?
2. Is it crucial to my existence and or survival in this moment?
3. Will harm come to me if I don’t do this or that, OR do I just believe that it will?
4. Is someone else pulling my strings, or trying to determine how I use my time, and will I allow it?
5. Is this something that can wait? Our society no longer regards less than instant gratification. Who needs the pacifier, is it me or them?
6. When was the last time I felt like this? Does this remind me of a teaching or programming I received as a child? What does the record player say? Do I actually believe that?
Realize that sometimes our thoughts, our beliefs are those of a deeply ingrained programming, conditioning, or a system of integrated training that interferes with us being our most authentic.
When we ask ourselves, the hard questions, in a genuine desire to find and resolve the issue, like: What about this does NOT feel safe? HOW do I not feel secure in this moment? Could this be a trigger coming from some old belief? The answer will indeed come.
I have been asking this question to myself in preparation to an upcoming series of events. I began to unwind on my treatment table, letting my mind-body guide me into areas of “stuck places” we call ‘still points’ in Myofascial Release. A physical pain ripped through my shoulder producing a real feeling of fear that my life was being threatened. It made me believe I was under attack in that moment. But looking around, I was not, I was safe in my room, but not feeling safe! I called a fellow MFR therapist who was able to dialogue with me and help me complete this unwinding experience. After completion of feeling deeply into the fear, and the perceived threat, the pain subsided, and the restriction and emotional holding pattern released. I completed my process of healing by having a sensation of being totally safe and cared for wash over me, just like a baby in a pappoose feels when she is warm and secure next to her Mother.
In the John F. Barnes Myofascial Release Appraoch, unwinding is a natural physiological response to our inner emotional, physical, and energetic environment. We easily seek out and are aware of positions in space where our proprioceptors can fire, satisfying our desire to explore this freedom to express ourselves through this graceful movement. We become lighter, and during the time we are unwinding, we give ourselves permission to be aware of the beliefs that drive our behavior, experience that which was lost in the programming, and reassemble the genuineness of our essence. We can be ourselves, free from fear while walking in love and luminescent light.