Most of you don’t know me, or if you do, it’s vicariously through Elisha’s stories about her man, Stefan. That’s me 😉
As many of you know Elisha just hosted a live event in Colorado teaching a group of students her work, Kinetix. I helped her put the event together, but I was also a student.
Although I was more familiar with Kinetix than most, having experienced it through Elisha, I never really stepped on anyone until the event. It definitely changed my orientation to the work and my orientation to nervous system patterns. My journey with nervous system patterns has been all over the spectrum, ranging from total naïvete to acute awareness with successes at re-patterning. As it turned out, this Kinetix event was the perfect place to experience that same spectrum across a diverse group of people.
As the event progressed I started noticing a recurring theme that I believe is a fundamental rule of our existence:
Nervous system patterns either dictate or are dictated by everything we do.
Both of these functions of human behavior (dictating and being dictated) are always at play determining our realities. On one end of the spectrum we are completely naïve of the existence of these patterns, and they control our behavior in negative and destructive ways. On the other end of the spectrum we become acutely aware of what our patterns are, why our patterns are, and which patterns actually serve us best. This dichotomy exemplifies the extremes of our relationships to patterns… servant or master.
Maybe you’re wondering what the hell stepping on someone has to do with patterns and the nervous system. I was. Now having experienced it, I don’t believe there are many things that will make you more aware of the patterns influencing your life than Kinetix. To simplify: stepping on people in specific locations on the body while having them move through a range of motion separates fascial adhesions, and activates the nervous system in an extremely novel way. More novel than I could have ever imagined. The nervous system stores the visceral memories of our past events and the patterns associated with them. When this system gets activated in a novel way (through Kinetix) those memories and patterns are brought to the surface so we can address them, reorient to them, and change them. At the event most of us were experiencing both sides (practitioner and client) of this process together for the the first time.
The most surprising part of the event for me was realizing that every person has a story, and that story is written all over the body, but if you’ve never stepped on someone it’s like reading an entirely new language.
Throughout the event I started to realize that everyone there had a unique story… that was similar to everyone else’s. Everyone has some kind of pain, and the pain we have is really just the part of our story that hasn’t been told or read. In less metaphorical terms, we have physical or emotional injuries throughout life. We either get to heal those injuries and address the physical and psychological aspects of that pain, or we hold on to parts (or all) of it via the nervous system. Some of the clearest concrete evidence of this phenomenon is through the phantom limb pain example Elisha talked about a few weeks ago. No arm should mean no pain right? But the nervous system doesn’t communicate that message to the brain, because the neurological (not physical) aspect of the pain never got addressed. Kinetix addresses the unaddressed whether it’s new pain or lingering old shit that you thought you’d never get rid of. And… it’s a process.
We are all at different points on our journeys. Practicing Kinetix on a group of people made me intensely aware of this. When I stepped on some of my fellow students, their fascia felt generally loose with large knots or adhesions. Some felt extremely tight. Others felt stringy. And still others felt like they had a protective wall of fascia that wouldn’t ‘let me in’. The more I stepped on everyone, the more I recognized patterns within every person’s unique story, and the more aware I became of my own. How I was resisting. How I was showing up in life. How I was holding some of my past in my nervous system, and how I had let go of other parts.
As difficult as it was to see that in me, I believe the first step to re-patterning our nervous systems is identifying those old patterns.
Sometimes Kinetix is extremely cathartic for me and makes me feel high. Sometimes I start to dissociate. Other times, it’s an extremely intense experience that makes me cry and process old painful memories I suppressed. Although not everyone experiences the work the same way as me, I believe we all exist somewhere on the same continuum. Some of us have addressed the emotional elements of our pain and only the physical remains, while others haven’t addressed either, and aren’t even aware those elements exist. However, the biggest takeaway I had as an apprentice of this work, is that the work can meet anyone where they are at if the practitioner is willing to fully see and feel the client without judgment or attachment to outcome. Of course, whomever you (the practitioner) are working on has to be willing show up and stay present during the experience, but if they stay present through the experience and you stay present for them, the level of change someone can experience is stunning. We begin to realize that we aren’t our old patterns or our old decisions. We can identify our patterns, discover what doesn’t serve us, and replace those old patterns with new patterns that do serve us.
I think the hardest thing for us to do in modern society is actually stay present for one another. We’re over-stimulated and we’ve bastardized connection. We live in the past and future which often leads to dissociating from the present moment. I know I struggle with this immensely, and I tend to get caught up in my own shit (my past) and get lost in my head instead of staying with a difficult situation that could lead to real benefits in my relationships.
Often this lack of presence leads to frustration with and judgment of others for not understanding me. I somehow expect people to be present for me when I’m not present for anyone. This destructive pattern of mine was rearing its head during the event, and I couldn’t help but notice my judgments of others and my inability to fully see them and meet them where they were at because of those judgments. My struggle connecting with others and not feeling safe to be myself around others is one of my most deeply entrenched patterns. Ironically, working on letting go of those judgments and expectations is the one thing that helped me see and feel the people I was working with. In moments, I was actually present for them. When I let go of judgments and saw others where they were at, it suddenly became safe to just be me.
To all the students at the event with me, I am extremely grateful to you for giving me that opportunity.
Even though this pattern is a deeply engrained one, which I know I’m not finished with yet… I’m much closer to replacing it with a healthy pattern than I have ever been. We are all at different points on our journey and different places on the spectrum of nervous system development. Some are servants, some are masters, and most of us are somewhere in-between.
What we all have in common is wanting our stories (our lives) to be seen, heard, and felt.
What’s important to me, is doing my part to meet others wherever they are at and see them as human beings on this journey just the same as me. Kinetix gave me a tool to practice and experience that process, and has helped me identify what my patterns are, why my patterns are, and how to change for the better. That same process is what drives real connection, healing, and change for all of us. My wish for myself and for you is to find more and more opportunities to engage in that beautiful process we share.