I could go straight to the super-obvious: my shoulders neck jaw.
But with space to sort this out, I'll zoom in on where I've been mentally and emotionally tight. That's the root of shoulders neck jaw, right?
Some of the mental tightness is super-obvious, because it was 100 degrees today. I don't function in high temperatures unless I'm in a highly controlled environment, like the sauna, or a hot yoga class. Heat wipes my brain. Like, all day: where did I park the car? where can we get more water? how can this child be hungry again? please don't make me stand here waiting for you in this heat while you change the clean socks I gave you into mismatched pairs of varying sizes and thickness.
So I'll dive into what's been emotionally tight. The biggest tension in my emotional life is Keith. He's the father of my two youngest kids, and a super-obviously good human being.
We've been in love with each other for seven years, this lifetime. In each of those seven years, I experienced chronic and acute emotional pain around things he did or said. I wanted to pull away many times, but I'd always seem to recover.
Over a year ago, however, something shifted. I stopped wanting Keith to touch me. I felt anxious and gnarled in my stomach whenever he did. It was like suddenly, this strapping young man who I used to really enjoy cozying up with is a clumsy, clumpy, cramp in my side. Like, all day: are you kidding me? where are my boundaries? what am I doing here? dear god let him latch elsewhere so we can "just be friends."
In the interest of protecting the deeper health of our connection, and after exploring, at great length, the potential and actual triggers for shut down in my chakras, the over-expenditures of oxytocin, the nature of projection, and the trauma of my younger selves, I broke off the monogamous committed romantic aspect of our relationship.
It feels liberating to explore and occupy space as a single adult female. I started dating again, and met someone. I'm loving the experience of an untangled intimate exchange, even if she and I don't spend a lot of physical time together. It's all good on paper: each party privy because transparency is a pillar of real-relationship-building. And it's all good in conversation: Keith says exactly what I'd need to hear in order to feel like I can still root down, drop in, open up and be my un-tethered self around him. He's compelling, and he's daddy, so we co-habitate as we co-parent. We aren't sexual, he offers support, schedules are shifting, things might/should get better.
But things don’t always feel right and I HAVE BEEN TIGHT IN MY OWN HOME. That's the issue. My nerves. And that's on top of everything else that full-time mothering of two children no older than four delivers, in heaping doses. No wonder I've been feeling so self-protective, even self-destructive at times (though gently, and in moderation, because mindfulness). It's like trying to take the knot out of a very delicate chain. Seems to soften, then harden. Can see it, but can't quite get in there. Using a needle--my inner compass pointing me to my true north--to weedle between the lines.
Awareness makes the change. It also breeds gratitude. How am I continuing to be awesome? How am I maintaining consciousness? What's working, and filling me up? Soular Power, or Fossil Fuels? What can I do/say/think/feel to explore and express my truth? How does my current tension point me to deeper freedom? I'm growing forward!
This open mental, physical, and emotional posture promotes muscle tension release, increased immune function, enhanced cognitive capacity, and a healthy appetite for food, sex, rest, etc. With the heart forward, shoulders release down and back, and the mouth, more prone to smiling, heals the jaw.
So my job is to keep speaking out for myself, and to take action as it arises. To honor my truth and take my time. Not to drive with the emergency brake on, metaphorically speaking. To stop bracing against the flow. Listen in, open up, get loose. My body knows the way through this.