Summer solstice is the longest day of the year and marks half of the year gone (or half of the year left…..depending on your mindset). Many businesses do a semi annual report where they evaluate their progress and put a plan together for year end. I like to do the same thing with life – what have my obstacles and triumphs the past six months been and what do I want to accomplish by year end?
The solstice is a cycle that the earth makes around the sun. To have a summer one, there needs to be a winter one. To have a sunrise there needs to be a sunset. Everything presents in an perpetual wave like motion that appears to be an extreme all or none depending on our perspective. We are primed to see opposites and contrasts – in between the extremes of sunrise and sunset are the many sun vantage points of different heights at different points in time. Motion moves in a cystolic wave – we just only pay attention to the peaks of amplitude hence creating an all or none perspective.
In our North American culture we are so concerned with movement – are things moving in our life, are we moving and accomplishing? Movement is the antidote to feeling stuck in life. As a treatment for depression we use physical movement as a specific goal to address the apathetic lack of joy or intrinsic motivation. When we are driving we are most frustrated by traffic because we aren’t moving. We are static sitting in the car and need the car to move to alleviate that frustration we feel being immobile by sitting in a metal box.
A wave is balanced with an equal magnitude acceleration and deceleration working in rhythm (where the amplitude peaks are the same values). The wave averages into a straight horizontal line signifying balance between extremes. If you were to add two waves together of opposing magnitudes they would cancel out – or balance. It’s the Newton’s law concept that for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction to create a balanced or harmonious force.
If the treatment for stickiness or apathy is movement, what is the treatment for too much movement or stimulation?
Norman Doidge presents an interesting concept in his book “The Brain’s Way of Healing”. He mentions that chronic pain is a learned signal – our bodies absorb the memory of pain into our brains and muscles which can be stimulated by any minute elicited signal. The best way to address the pain is not to suppress it, but to consciously address it and diffuse it through visualization techniques (the brain has intertwinded the pain signal into its psyche hence we need to use the brain to unlearn this pain signal). For example – if your pain feels like a million needles prickling you then imagine calmly removing each needle until that sensation subsides. You are diffusing hypersensitivity (i.e. High brain neuron firing or activity) with calm restoration techniques.
Recently when speaking to a patient with anxiety I was explaining the concept of surrendering to the chaos and embracing a sense of calm. When we are anxious or towards panic, our brains are over active or over active. Many times we use distraction as a way to cope or misdirect the stimulated signal. The best treatment is to breathe and be calm. Experience or target where the anxiety is, breathe through the discomfort, and support the self with positive and calming statements. If we are constantly moving moving moving without inserting moments of calm or rest, then we remain unbalanced and stuck on the “on” switch. If we are stuck on “on” then our bodies and brains are shunted towards a hypersensitive stimulated state primed to be anxious. The best preventive treatment for anxiety or overstimulation is to implement moments of calm, clarity, and reflection throughout the day to reduce overstimulation and angst at night. The common comment I get when explaining this concept – “But I sleep – isn’t that rest?” Sunrise – sunset. How you are during the day needs to be just as balanced as how you are during the night. When we sleep we go through cycles of wake, rest, REM, repeat. Sleep is sleep – it’s not a substitute for less rest through out the day (less rest in the day will create restless in the night).
We live in a world of duality between the opposites, the physical and metaphysical. To have movement in life we need to calmly survey what we have done and learned, then plan for future movement. Rest and run creates peristaltic purpultuations of movement for advancing in life.
Enjoy your movement and your rest, your sunrise and your sunset.