Friday, November 20, 2009

Startled By The Startle Reflex

As part of the last couple of workshops I’ve attended, I am beginning to understand just how powerful the startle reflex can be in releasing stored energy (trauma, stress or whatever word you want to call it). So today, I wanted to work with that more in myself and understand it a little further. Working on it within yourself gives you firsthand knowledge.

Laying out by my pool in the morning sun, the heat of the sun’s rays felt very comforting. For some time, I had been reading a book and just relaxing and meditating. I began thinking about the startle reflex but also doing something where I was holding some control over myself in doing this. I checked the water temperature of the pool and it was 66 degrees. That is rather cold water and not anything you would want to swim in for very long.

As I began to formulate in my mind as to dipping myself in the water to create the startle reflex, the fears started to come up big time. Fears of what if I freeze up and can’t get back out or the water is too cold and it is going to feel bad, etc. So I decided to just go gently into it and only submerge half of myself in a section of the pool where I could get back out of it easily. That way, it helped alleviate some of the fears.

With all of this in mind, I proceeded to put myself in to the pool. I felt the cold water rush in around my legs and upper thighs along with all the sensations that were part of that. It was not as scary as I thought it would be and while the water didn’t exactly feel as soothing as a warm bath would feel, it had a refreshing quality all to itself. I stayed in there for a very short time (maybe only a couple of minutes) but enough to feel the full effects of the coldness and the water.

Going back to the nice poolside lounging chair we have, I laid down and let the sun’s rays of warmth cover me. As I did this, I could begin to feel my legs go through the trembling. This was not a trembling as if I was cold like one would experience if you were in a cold environment and began shaking. This was a different trembling from the inside out where the muscles and the body were releasing. The intensity of the trembling would come and go as my breathing began to feel that of apprehension and fear. I then, decided to just allow my legs to move in an ever so slightly and simple way connecting with the trembling and all that I was experiencing. As I did this, the trembling would increase then let up slightly. The entire time, I was staying connected to my body with my mind.

After a few moments, I let my legs back down to a resting position and my body took a deep breath than exhaled into a moment where I felt very relaxed and more at peace. I allowed the sun to warm my body as the air helped to dry my skin from the pool water. For several minutes, I just allowed my body to rest and be with all that had gone on. Even after getting up and going back inside, the body temperature in my legs had come back to normal but yet, I could still feel the tiny trembling within me. As I know from experience, these trembling are just the release of stored energy and so I am completely ok with them.

There was a sense of peace and calmness in my body that stayed with me throughout the day. I am once again reminded of just how innate and simple of a process this is for humans, yet we tend to make it difficult or impossible. Our bodies have a built in healing mechanism that knows what we need. If we allow this to happen, we can transform our own bodies from the current state they are in.

Note: Photo by NASA/courtesy of

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