Author Topic: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton  (Read 86 times)

truthaboutpois

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Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« on: April 15, 2015, 06:50:13 am »
PLEASE READ THIS FREE COPY OF THIS GREAT BOOK...written by Nick Totton.
It is all VERY relevant to Post Orgasmic Illness Syndrome. Once you start the therapeutic process to end your POIS, you will come to understand this. 
Apologies for the way the wording goes wrong every now and then- it should still be readable though.


Reichian Growth Work has been out of print for some years, and we have not yet managed tofind an English language publisher to reprint it, although editions have appeared in Spanish(Argentina) and in Dutch (Karnak Press). However, we frequently get asked where copies canbe found; and although our own work has moved on, along with our lives, we still feel thatthis book has a valuable contribution to make. Therefore we are making it freely available onthe Internet, in a version which almost exactly matches the most recent (Dutch) printed text:this offers some important updates to the original book, without attempting to incorporateeverything we have found out since 1988.We would be happy to hear from anyone interested in discussing the book with us, or infinding out more about our current work.(Click herefor Nick Totton's website,herefor EmEdmondson.)

CONTENTS
 Chapter 1: ContextsChapter 2: Energy and ArmourChapter 3: SurrenderChapter 4: The SegmentsChapter 5: Growing UpChapter 6: Character PositionsChapter 7: More on CharacterChapter 8: TherapyChapter 9: PowerChapter 10: Primal PatternsChapter 11: Cosmic StreamingChapter 12: Connections and Directions
Further Reading



1 CONTEXTS
 
In this book we describe a form of therapeutic work with groups and individuals whichderives originally from the work of Wilhelm Reich, but also from a number of otherdevelopments in therapy and healing, especially since Reich's death in 1957. It is the style inwhich we, the authors, were trained, but which we have also developed in new directions.Although Reichian therapy has always attracted great interest - and still does - there is verylittle written about it which is useful for the ordinary reader.Some of Reich's own books areinspiring and moving, but those on the therapy itself and the theory behind it are verytechnical and hard to follow, aimed at an audience of medically-trained psychoanalysts. Theyare also very dated in relation to the sort of work actually being done at the presentIn writing this book, we have tried to avoid jargon as far as possible. New words aresometimes needed to describe new ideas and experiences, but we have defined each of theseclearly when it first appears, and remind you of its meaning when we use it again. Moregenerally, we have tried never to use a long word when a short one will do. We have writtenfor the sort of people who, we find, are interested in the work we do, many of whom are by nostretch of the imagination intellectuals. The new interest in therapy and growth work is part of a very broadly based concern with
change, on an individual level and on a social one. Manypeople in our society are deeply dissatisfied with their conditions of life, and more and moreof them are no longer willing to be the sort of person that society expects and forces them tobe - mentally, emotionally, spiritually, even physically.This book is for people who want to change.

Who Reich was

 If you want to know about Reich's life and work, several books are listed under 'FurtherReading' at the end of the book. In brief, Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) trained as a young manwith Freud in Vienna, and worked as a psychoanalyst. Besides making some importantadvances in technique, he soon 'burst the bounds' of psychoanalysis, moving into a deeperconfrontation both with the clients themselves, and with the social conditions which he saw ascreating and maintaining their problems.An energetic, combative and 'difficult' man, Reich managed in a few short years to attract theenmity of the Nazis, the Communist Party (of which he was a member for several years), andthe psychoanalytic establishment. As he travelled around Scandinavia and eventually to theUSA as a refugee from the Nazis, he managed to achieve some fundamental breakthroughs intherapeutic methods; in particular, he created the whole new field of bodywork.Reich became increasingly focused on life energy itself, and on finding ways to unblock,condense, channel and strengthen that energy, both in the human body and in the atmosphere.Above all, Reich was a person with open eyes: he noticed a lot of things which most peopleprefer to ignore, and this led him into many exciting new areas of enquiry - and attracted a lotof hostility.As well as giving therapy to individuals, and becoming involved with the healthy upbringingof children, Reich created devices like the 'orgone accumulator' (to concentrate life energy)and the 'cloudbuster' (with which he believed he could affect pollution and weather). Hebecame acutely sensitive to oppressive conditions in the physical and social atmosphere, andstruggled to find ways of combating these 'plagues'
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 08:07:33 am by truthaboutpois »

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truthaboutpois

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2015, 06:53:21 am »
 At the same time, Reich continued to come up against anger and aggression; very largelybecause of his open and celebratory approach to sex, which got him in hot water throughouthis life. In the last few years of Reich and his circle, there was a steady 'darkening', adistortion of feelings and perceptions, which derived at least partly from a disastrous 'oranur'experiment using orgone accumulators to neutralise radiation, but also from the constantpressure of both outside enemies and internal disciples.Finally, Reich was prosecuted by the US federal authorities, accused - quite falsely - of peddling his accumulators as a fake cancer cure. Reich could almost certainly have won thecase if he had fought on legal grounds: instead he refused to recognise the court's jurisdictionover 'issues of scientific truth'. The legal system in turn saw Reich as an awkward, suspectforeign crackpot; he was jailed for contempt, and died in prison of a heart attack shortlybefore he was due for release. His accumulators were destroyed, and his books burned by theAmerican government.Using Reich's techniques and reading his books, it is sometimes hard not to fall intodiscipleship. He was a person of extraordinary perceptions, and of great compassion andcourage: a big-hearted man. He was also, clearly, an extremely awkward customer, andsomeone who expected to get his own way. He also had his own hangups - an anti-homosexual stance, for example, with which we very strongly disagree.

Who we are
 We live together in Leeds with our young baby daughter and with Em's son. We both work astherapists and group leaders, moving into this work through doing a training in Reichiantherapy led by William West. This training, which finished in 1982, was only the beginning.As we started to work with clients, we found much that we didn't know, and searched outways of learning it, through books, through further training, and through talking out ourexperiences together and with other people.A result of that first Reichian training led by William was the creation of 'Energy Stream: thePost Reichian Therapy Association'. Three training courses later - one led by William, two byourselves - Energy Stream includes some thirty practising therapists, all working in their ownpersonal style and with a range of techniques, but all sharing the same commitment toReichian work.We talk about 'Reichian work', but what is it? There are many approaches which could claima right to that label. During his career Reich worked differently at different times, and thereare several schools of therapy descended from people he trained in various ways. There arealso several schools developed after Reich's death which have consciously changed his ideasand methods; many of these call themselves 'neo-Reichian'.We see our own work as very close to the essence of Reich's, but not everyone would agreewith us. We certainly don't know whether Reich would agree with us! We sometimes like tothink that he might be working in this sort of way if he was still alive, but there are manythings we do of which he strongly disapproved. So this book is about
our work; and not,either, specifically about Energy Stream's methods. However. we are very grateful toeveryone in Energy Stream for their support, stimulation and encouragement, especiallyWilliam West who originally trained us and gave us therapy; Annie Morgan, Rika Petersen

 and Sean Doherty, who helped lead the last training course; Mary Swale; and HollyClutterbuck, Maxine Higham and Pam Wilkinson, with whom Nick sorted out many of theseideas in a supervision group.This book is not intended to be a manual for therapists - although we hope it will be useful fortherapists. It is aimed mainly at anyone trying to change, searching for ideas about how tochange, about how we are and why we are like that. We are writing about 'human nature',human beings as part of nature, as natural beings. It is for a vision of
naturalness
, above all,that we thank Reich; and it is in pursuit of naturalness (which ultimately cannot be pursued)that we have learnt from and adapted many other ways of perceiving and working withpeople. Thank you to everyone who has helped us learn.We want to make it very clear that in writing a book about therapy we are not claiming to be'super shrinks'. Still less are we claiming to be totally clear, enlightened individuals who havesorted out all our problems. Anyone who knows us would find such an idea laughable. Wefelt that the book needed writing, and we felt able to do it. Now we have to go on trying tolive up to these ideas.You may notice that there are no case histories included in this book. It's always good fun toread about a therapist's clients and their sessions - as good as a novel - and in some ways it isvery informative. But it is also very easy - in fact, inevitable - to over-simplify the wholenessof a person's life and struggle. We felt that any of our clients would be bound to recognisethemselves, and that this sort of thumbnail sketch would be disrespectful to their courage andcomplexity. However, all our clients do of course feature in these pages, and we want to thank them as well. together with those who have attended our workshops, and especially thosewhom we have trained. There could be no book without you.Our method of collaboration has been for Nick (the verbally oriented one) to write chunks of it and show them to Em (the feeling oriented one), who has read them and explained to Nick how no ordinary person could make head or tail of it. Nick then went away and re-wrote untilit passed the test. Of course. we don't always agree on every detail, and some of what followsreflects more the views of one or other of us. But to a remarkable extent we do agree aboutpeople and therapy (after all, it was through Reichian therapy that we met in the first place).Meanwhile our own work moves on. Like the rest of Energy Stream, we have other interests,other skills. We have recently formed a separate identity, 'Selfheal', as a vehicle for the wholeof our healing work, including but not restricted to the 'Reichian' element. This doesn't meanthat we have turned our backs on anything we describe in this book. simply that the streamgoes on flowing, broadening and deepening, meeting with other streams, merging into agreater river, on the way to the sea.We hope that what follows helps you to flow

truthaboutpois

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2015, 06:57:38 am »
2 ENERGY AND ARMOUR
 
Our feelings and our bodies are like water flowing into water. We learn to swim within theenergies of the senses.
 Tarthang Tulku, Kum Nye Relaxation

He who remains passive when overwhelmed with grief loses his best chance of recoveringelasticity of mind.
 Charles Darwin, The Expression of the Emotions in Man and AnimalsLife has energy.Or rather, life
is
energy: moving, vibrating, seeking, pulsing. We may not be able to definelife energy, but we all experience it in our own beings, and perceive it in other people:watching a fine dancer or mime or Tai Chi exponent, making love, meditating, expressingstrong emotion, receiving or giving hand healing. Many people over the ages have givennames to the life energy and its different forms - 'prana'. 'magnetic fluid', 'vital essence', 'chi','od', 'archeus', 'kundalini', and many more. Reich's name for it was Orgone, which he made upfrom words like 'orgasm' and 'organism'.This life energy is the vitality of our being: when we are moved, this is what moves. Emotionsare e-motions, movements out; they are not just in our minds, but in our bodies, in the chargeof energy that builds up and. with luck, discharges; in the flooding of hormones, the surge of bodily fluids and electrical potential, expanding from deep within us towards the surface, orretreating into the caves of the abdomen, or flowing through and out via head and hands andlegs and pelvis, shifting form easily between muscular or electrical tension, fluid, sound,movement sensation, emotion.For example: I feel sorrow, but am inhibited about showing it. So as it 'rises' in me, maybe mythroat contracts - I'm 'all choked up', mucus forms and my throat aches; my chin tightens andtucks in as part of the effort to restrict flow in my neck; maybe my fists tense, and transmitthat 'holding' up my arms to my shoulders and throat - I'm 'keeping a grip on myself'.If my grief starts to break through the holding, probably I'll first sigh, cough or groan, releasewhat I'm 'swallowing down' in the form of sound or mucus. As a channel opens up, asensation of softening and melting flows up the sides of my throat and jaw. Another personcan actually watch my cheeks suffuse with fluid and colour, my face softening as the emotionex-presses (pushes out) through my eyes in the form of tears, with the piercing sweetness of release. At the same time my hands will open, my shoulders come forward in a vulnerable'giving' gesture as my chest heaves with sobs, my 'full heart melts'. As I surrender physicallyto my grief, my mind may fill with corresponding thoughts, memories and images.Thoughts, emotions, sensations, changes in electrolytic fluid, muscle tension and hormonebalance, flow of life energy: there is no point in saying that any one of these causes or comesbefore the others. They are different aspects of a single whole event in a single wholebodymind. We will focus on one or other of these aspects depending on what we are trying tofind out or do.Focusing on the play of life energy has the advantage of being fresh and uncompromised byour society's dubious assumptions about what feelings are. It gives the space to include manydifferent aspects of the bodymind. It's a good starting point, but we don't want to give theimpression that we think energy 'causes' thoughts. feelings or bodily changes. There is onlythe endless dance of transformation.



In fact we are all used to speaking about ourselves in energy-images. These metaphors areoften very literal, as when we say we feel full of energy, or drained and empty; our head iswhirling or stuffed up; we feel electric; someone else is magnetically attractive; we have itchyfeet; we melt with desire.If we look at the human being as an organism among other organisms, to see what it shareswith the rest of life, from amoebae to elephants, then we will almost certainly notice the role of pulsation.

Life is constantly expanding and shrinking, reaching out and pulling back inresponse to internal needs and to outside influences - the 'friendliness' or 'hostility' of theenvironment. These continuous wavelike vibrations are the organism's ongoing 'conversation'with the rest of the universe. In humans, one expression of this continuous pulsing is ourheartbeat, sending oxygenated blood out to the extremities of the organism and bringing wasteproducts back. Another, and particularly important for our purpose, is the breath.

Watch a small baby breathe, and you'll see how the whole of her body is involved, committed,swept up in the smooth wavelike expansion and contraction that reaches from top to toes. Forthe healthy baby there's no resistance, no avoidance of the involuntary breath-pulse; at the topof the out-breath the in-breath is born and the top of the in-breath turns out again, Yin fromYang and Yang from Yin, a constant exchange of polarities with the universe (Yin and Yangare ancient Chinese names for the two complementary poles of existence, the Active and the Receptive).As we grow up and confront this difficult world, however, a voluntary element soon creepsinto our breathing, a hesitation, a holding-back, which likewise affects our whole body fromtop to toes. In-breath and out-breath begin to separate from each other, to lose their seamlesscontinuity, to become more shallow and jerky, without the generous graceful flow. We maydevelop a tendency to constantly hold our breath, never fully emptying our lungs or,contrariwise, to keep our lungs permanently half empty. And so we lose our basic groundingin the universe, our identification with it. We become separate, lost, lonely, anxious beings.Why does this happen? If we
breathe freely and fully, then we feel freely and fully.

Openbreathing washes emotion through and out into expression; we are unable to hide it, eitherfrom ourselves or from each other. Yet from a very early age, most of us experience a need tosuppress some of our feelings.This is because our environment - initially mainly the adults who are caring for us - does notsupport us in our feelings. They reject our neediness or tears or anger. They threaten us withpunishment - including the withdrawal of love. Or they simply do not give the validation andcare which our baby-self needs in order to cope with powerful feelings. This process canbegin at birth or even sooner, as we shall see. It's no one's fault , generally speaking; all of uswho are parents know how our own anxiety and pain and practical problems interfere with thesincere wish to nurture our children. But the effect
is that children learn to hold back onfeeling - by holding back on its expression - by holding back on breathing.Don't worry if you are finding this difficult to follow: it is a theme to which we'll be comingback over and over again. But to make it a little more concrete, consider two examples.Imagine a baby who cries out as her natural way of expressing a need - hunger, cold, a desirefor company - and no one comes. It will take a long time for this to sink in: she will cry andcry again, but eventually she will stop. She suppresses her crying by holding her breath -which holds back her grief and anger, not identified consciously as feelings, but implicit in the whole state of her body.

Now imagine another baby who is picked up and manipulated by cold hands: not so much physically cold, but emotionally
cold, uncaring. Babies feel thesethings, and there will be a reaction of shock, a gasp, like the way we gasp if we step into coldwater. If this experience of cold touch is repeated often enough, then that gasp, that heldbreath, will become built in to that baby's body nature.These are only examples from among many ways in which an unfriendly environment caninterrupt the full, whole-body, involuntary pulsation of natural breathing. Muscles tenseagainst it, first in the diaphragm, which is our primary breathing muscle (see Chapter 4), andthen spreading into the chest, throat, back, belly, pelvis, arms and legs, face, head. The entirebody is drawn into a battle against itself, against its own natural impulse to breathe and feel.In effect the energy 'splits'. turns back on itself and blocks its own natural movement; likeIndian wrestling with ourselves.Sometimes the battle is conscious - whenever we deliberately tighten our jaw, tense our belly,swallow down emotion. But the infant's basic holding-back against breathing quite soonbecomes unconscious. If you think about it, this must happen: the purpose of the holding isprecisely to stop us feeling our feelings, and this can only work if it stops us knowing whatour feelings are. Emotions are bodily events; if they are blocked in the body, then they don'thappen in the mind either. The fundamental holding acts as a pattern
around which every laterdenial of feeling organises itself; we get very good at it indeed, artists and technicians of self-deception and self denial.
 Exercise 1 Take a moment now to check out how you are feeling and breathing. It's very likely that, whilereading the above, you've tightened yourself up to resist the inward stirring these ideascreate. So first put your attention in your belly and diaphragm - all around your navel. aboveand below. Is it gently rising and falling with your breath; or have you been holding it rigid? Are you able to deliberately relax it and let the tension flow out - perhaps with a sigh or agroan to help it along? Check out whether your chest, too, moves as you breathe - as part of acontinuous wavelike flow with your belly. If not, you are probably holding your shoulders,hands, and/or jaw stiff. Try to let them go, and experience the feeling they have been holdingon to. Allow yourself to breathe easily and fully; just watch where the holding is, if anywhere,and what thoughts cause an interruption to the flow. As you go on reading, try to come back  periodically to a conscious awareness of your own breath and body state.
 


 
Blocked breathing is the essence of armouring:
Reich's name for the state of chronic muscle tension and emotional holding-back by which almost all adults in our society are imprisoned.
Along with the suppression of breathing goes the suppression of specific impulses - to cry, to yell, to laugh, to hit to reach out for love, to run away. The muscles are tightened to stop us e-moting. moving out, and if this tightening happens regularly enough it becomes a chronic,unconscious habit, built into the structure of our bodies - part of our sense of ourselves, asfamiliar as an old scar.In fact, a lot of what we customarily identify as a person's 'self' is really their pattern of armouring: their high. tight shoulders, or stuck-out chest, or pulled-back jaw, or wide-open or narrowed-down eyes. 'Well, that's just the way I am,' they'll say. But in fact it's the way that person has
become, by cutting off certain forms of self-expression and emphasising others.Maybe one individual is constantly angry and aggressive, never letting herself feel soft, sad and small. Another is continuously polite and meek, censoring any assertiveness. As we shall see later, there are specific relationships between muscular armouring and emotional armouring: these cut-off emotions are locked into tense muscle patterns, locked in permanent,frozen battle with the suppressing impulses. They are imprisoned there like genies, bottled upin the rigid 'no' of our bodies. And, like genies, they can often be released by rubbing!Our held-in feelings have power.

When we liberate a feeling we can liberate not only the energy of the feeling itself, but also the split-off energy which has been devoted to holding it down. In doing this, we allow our breathing to open up, drawing on the infinite energy of the universe around us.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 07:17:50 am by truthaboutpois »

truthaboutpois

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2015, 06:58:33 am »
The 'Spastic I'
 Unfortunately this empowering process has a frightening side to it. It also involves releasingthe fear of consequences which made us shut down our feeling in the first place: the fear of adult anger or coldness or withdrawal, the fear of a dangerous universe. Even more, it meanschanging the whole basis of our identity - the sense of 'I' upon which our life is founded.Opening up can sometimes seem like a threat to our very survival.As Freud pointed out, our sense of 'I' (he used the German
 Ich
, though it was translated intoEnglish with the Latin word
 Ego
) starts out in the
body
. As the infant grows, she begins toorganise bodily sensations and impulses into a whole, to 'take command' of them and developan image of 'me' - when she looks in the mirror she realises that this image is herself, that thisis how other people see her. In a healthy and supportive situation, she can grow into apowerful, realistic capacity for self-management, based on a strong but relaxed sense of identity and wholeness.Tragically, our culture doesn't generally let this process of self-management happen naturallyin its own time and rhythm. Most children are fed and put to bed and toilet-trained to fit inwith the needs and timetables of adults. They are often forced with threats to learn rigidcontrol of processes like excretion which should be developing spontaneously. Small childrenliterally
cannot
control their anal sphincters: the muscle-nerve connections aren't formed. Sothey must tense up the whole pelvic floor in a massive, straining effort to 'hold it in', a tensionwhich easily becomes chronic, extending to the whole body and tightening the breath, so thatthe person 'holds themselves in' on every level.
 
11Similarly, if our feeding is controlled by timetable, or if we are forced to eat food we don'tlike, then we 'swallow' an external regulation of our bodily processes. and have to swallowdown our rage if we want to get fed at all. These are all examples of the way in which thewhole business of attaining self- management in our own body, which can be a proud and joyful affirmation of autonomy, very easily gets entangled with patterns of denial andnegative, so that our very sense of 'I' is bound up with bodily tension. Like boys at an old-fashioned public school, we learn to 'get a grip on ourselves'. and to
identify
with that grip.Feeling tense becomes part of our continuous background experience, so that full relaxationseems like a threat to our existence, as if we are going to melt and drain away completely.Just as muscles are forced into chronic spasm in order to comply with external restrictionsrather than inner self-regulation, so our 'I' develops a 'spastic', uncontrollably rigid emotionaltone - a set of fixed attitudes towards the world and other people which we are unable to varyin response to changing circumstances. The 'I' becomes identical with the body armour.'Armouring' is a good name for this process of physical and emotional rigidification. Musclearmour, like its medieval counterpart, is hard, stiff, restrictive, suffocating; also like ironarmour, its original purpose was
defence
. We have no reason to feel guilty and inadequateabout being armoured; on the contrary, it represents our skill and courage to survive in verydifficult circumstances.We have always done the best we can. making a rational decision to protect our vulnerableinsides from an unsafe world - and. since we're still here. we have succeeded! But the pricehas been high in lost pleasure and potential. Now that we are bigger and stronger we have theoption of melting our armour, re-experiencing our feelings in a safer way - and letting our softpink insides out to play in the sunshine!Of course, even now there isn't always sunshine; it isn't always safe or appropriate to be soft.People often get the idea that Reichian-type therapy will leave them vulnerable to whatevercomes along. But the whole aim is to regain the power to choose, the power to be loving andopen, or to scorch with righteous rage' or to close off totally for a while. Very few of us haveaccess to the whole range of possible reactions.Another way in which muscular armouring resembles its iron counterpart is that it tends to bearranged in
segments
: bands of tension that wrap horizontally round the body. constrictingflow along the head-to-feet axis. If you imagine how a worm or snake moves, in wavy pulses,this gives a good image of the free unarmoured body. But if something pins the serpent downat one point in its length, the graceful undulation turns into jerking and thrashing.

 
12This is like a human body becoming armoured in one segment: it can no longer expand andpulse in a smooth, expressive. unified way - expression becomes distorted and ugly, bothphysically and emotionally.Most of us are armoured in more than one place. It's as if the snake is a child's wooden toy,split up into separate stiff lengths and able to bend only at the joints between the segments, ina parody of undulation. Having lost our sense of unity with the world through disjointedbreathing, we lose our sense of
internal
unity through the disjointing effects of the armouring.We'll look in much more detail later on at the segments and what they mean, but it's worthemphasising here that the specific details of armouring, as Reich described them or as we usethem doing therapy - so many segments in such and such places - are rules of thumb ratherthan gospel truth. The human organism is immensely rich and complex, full of subtlechannels, links, patterns and mirrorings, and each human individual is in many ways unique.But the more each of us is armoured, the less freedom of expression we have, the lessindividuality and richness; and the more we tend to operate in a groove to correspond to themechanical system of the segments. It's the armouring that has segments, not the person; andthe process of therapy is precisely one of rediscovering our individual uniqueness.
Armouring and Illness
 We've used the word 'healthy' once or twice to describe the state of natural, unarmouredopenness. It's also the case that being armoured is the precondition for being ill in the medicalsense. When energy can't flow freely through the body, we get areas that are over-charged,where energy 'sticks' and stagnates, and other areas that are under-charged, where energy can'tget to at all. Over time, this sets up a chronic imbalance in the tissues and organs, whichallows infection or functional disorder to take hold.

 
13The sort of ailment which results is by no means random: our illnesses express, in vividdumb-show, the issues around which we tense and close off. To pick some trivial examples,most people who have a cough are suppressing anger - if you pretend to cough, and thenexaggerate it, you will find yourself roaring. Similarly, most colds have to do withunexpressed grief - the tears have to find some way out.This is a tremendous over-simplification: every illness is the expression of a complex andlongstanding set of issues. But we do see physical symptoms as the bodymind's attempt toresolve conflict, to break free from the constraints of the armouring. In Chapter 4 we shalllook in more detail at the relationship between specific illnesses and specific forms of armouring.

truthaboutpois

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2015, 06:59:20 am »
3 SURRENDER
 
 Disappointment is a good sign of basic intelligence. It cannot be compared to anything else: it is so sharp, precise, obvious and direct ... Once we open ourselves, then we land on what is.
 Chogyam Trungpa, Cutting Through Spiritual MaterialismIn the last chapter we saw that what Freud (or his translators) called the Ego can beunderstood as 'the grip we get on ourselves', the self-image which knits together bodilyimpulses and sensations into a whole. In practice we do this by rejecting a whole crowd of impulses as 'not
really
me', thus making these feelings unconscious. This is what happensmentally; the bodily parallel is that we take on a pattern of chronic tension which is constantlypreventing certain movements and expressions - they 'just don't feel natural'. The 'spastic I',with its terror of letting go, is identical with the spastic musculature,
unable
to let go becausethe holding-on isn't even conscious.But the 'I' doesn't
have
to be like this - or we would be in a real mess. It is possible to have asense of self that is relaxed, flexible, open to change and spontaneity, able to surrender to ourown impulses and to the reality of the world around us.Any sort of self-awareness and intention is going to carry muscle
tone
- the differencebetween a limp, flaccid arm, and one which is relaxed but energised and ready for action.However, if we keep ourselves
 permanently
ready for action, we tend to lose the capacity torelax; this is what is called a chronic anxiety state, or stress. It produces a rigid, inflexiblebody, and an 'I' to match.So what makes possible a relaxed 'I', a subtle, flexible, pulsating bodymind? The keyword is'surrender': not to anyone or anything
else
, but to
ourselves
.For some people the idea of surrender to ourselves, to our own feelings, will make immediatesense. For others it needs more explanation: it involves one of the central ways in whichtherapy is different from everyday ways of being in our society - one of therapy's
radical
 aspects.If it's raining outside, we don't generally say - or not at least without conscious childishness -'But it
mustn't
rain any more, it's been raining all day and I don't
want
it to!' However, peopleconstantly take this sort of attitude towards their emotions: 'I can't go on crying like this'; 'I'veno right to feel so angry'; 'I must stop being frightened'.

 
14We suggest that your feelings are like the weather: there's no sense in arguing with them.If I am in a state of sorrow, for instance, then it makes no difference how 'good' or 'bad' thereasons are. The sorrow is
there
, a unitary bodymind state, woven of ideas, emotions,physiological changes, energy flows. I can't expunge it by an act of will. All I can do is stopmyself
expressing
it, and perhaps blank out my consciousness of it. What this ensures is that
my sorrow will continue
- forever, quite possibly; locked up in the muscles I've tensed to stopmyself sobbing and weeping; locked up in my unconscious mind. It won't simply go away.The paradox is that feelings change through and in their expression. It's by opening to mysorrow, or anger, or fear, or whatever, by truly accepting that this is, for now, my reality, thatI am able to move beyond it. To complete themselves, feelings generally have to pass throughconsciousness and out again: it seems to be the only exit.We experience this extraordinary miracle over and over again: just by surrendering to ourfeelings, we see them change. The trap that seemed inescapable, the wound that seemedunhealable, the dilemma that seemed insoluble - suddenly they are different - smaller, softerand more malleable; because our whole bodymind is softer and more flexible in its approachto the world.Surrendering to our feelings is not about giving in to difficulties, but about liberating ourenergies to confront them in whatever way is appropriate. To face the world we need to faceourselves, as we are rather than as we would like to be. Neither is this to say that we shouldswitch off our intelligence. We have to acknowledge sometimes that our emotional reaction isover the top, irrational, that we are responding to old memories and not to present facts. Butthis acknowledgement provides the context in which we can effectively let go to the feelingsand thus let go of them - knowing them for what they are.Emotions
always
have a rational basis. Fear is the bodymind's shrinking away from realthreat; anger is the mobilisation to blast away whatever blocks our creative expression -nature's Dynorod! Often, though, this rational basis is in the past not the present: we areresponding in ways that were appropriate for vulnerable children, but are no longerappropriate for adults with a potential for strong and independent action.So it is often helpful to have a safe space in which we can express our feelings away from thepeople who may have sparked them off: for instance, a therapy session where we can beat upa cushion rather than our lover. At other times, though, the appropriate form of discharge is inreal life action, by getting angry with whoever is oppressing us and making them stop.We can use our heads, and other people's, to work out which sort of situation is which, todisentangle the mixture of past and present which is usually involved. We can deal with theSocial Security much more effectively if we aren't seeing them as our mother, giving orwithholding vital nourishment! Often it's good to try hitting the cushion first and see whatrational here-and-now core of feeling is left afterwards.The key point is that emotions are e-motions, movements
out
, their natural function isprecisely to clear what stops us moving on. Feelings are value-neutral, neither good nor bad,simply
there
. It's not our feelings that cause us trouble, but our feelings
about
feelings, ourshame, embarrassment, denial - our resistance.
 
15'Resistance' is a word for all the ways in which people seek to avoid their own movement,their own living process. And one paradoxical form that resistance can take is to beatourselves up about our own resistance! 'Oh God, I'm so blocked. why can't I let go, why can'tI change?' It is important to see that resistance in therapy is like resistance in politics - itoriginates in
 fighting oppression
.If a child finds its feelings invalidated by the adult world in the ways we discussed in the lastchapter, this is oppression of a very powerful kind. It's a life-threatening experience, and thechild responds like a resistance movement in an occupied country - by going underground.We have all built up defences against outside threat and inside emotion for the best possiblereasons, and in the best possible way. So let's congratulate ourselves, and respect ourresistance as we might respect a guerrilla leader from some past war of liberation. The onlytrouble is that the guerrilla leader may have got stuck in a posture that actually obstructs theliberation for which she was fighting!Therapy is one way of investigating this sort of situation. Almost certainly our circumstanceswill have changed since childhood, and it would probably make sense to revise some of ourpast decisions, let go of some of our resistance, let go of some of the limitations we haveplaced on our self-expression.What we are really talking about is surrender to
reality
, the reality of our own feelings, and of the interactions which spark them off: the reality of the past, and of the present; the reality of our body's need for breath, for pleasure, for rest, for activity. Because the reality whichconfronts us is constantly changing, we need to be very flexible in order to deal with it: weneed to be secure enough to face the bad along with the good, rather than run away intofantasy. That security and flexibility are rooted in a sense of
belonging
, being part of theuniverse, being fed by it in a constant pulsating exchange of energies: a sense that is part of our natural birthright, and is inherent in full free breathing.

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2015, 07:01:40 am »
Sex and Surrender
 To stay soft and open, we need the capacity to discharge tension that builds up in us throughthe stresses of living. Free breathing helps to minimise this build-up - we let go of tensionwith each out-breath. But the 'I' needs periodically to let go completely, to 'melt' as thearmoured muscles melt, to relinquish control and allow the spontaneous rhythms of theorganism to emerge. A natural, innate, powerful way of doing this is through lovemaking andorgasm: insofar as we can surrender to our own body, its pleasure washes us free of thetensions and blockings that have built up. The movements of orgasmic release are wavelike,pulsating, an involuntary contraction and relaxation of the whole body that transcendsconsciousness.So can we all get healthy or stay healthy by making love? If only it was that simple. For a fewpeople it is, or nearly so. It's one of those Catch 22 situations: the more soft and open you arealready, the easier it is to stay so. The way our body seeks to move in orgasm is totallydifferent in nature from the controlled, circumspect movements of the armoured bodymind.The 'spastic I' perceives involuntary movement - in sense, quite rightly - as a dreadful threat toits survival. It panics, and clamps down even harder - perhaps tries to take control of theorgasmic movements, to 'let go on purpose'. For most of us, making love creates tension at thesame time as releasing it.

 
16Orgasmic surrender cannot really be separated from surrender to life and spontaneity ingeneral, surrender to our selves. The way we relate to sexual excitement matches the way werelate to other sorts of stimulus: the way we live our lives. So the work that we do is not 'sextherapy'; but neither do we seek to disguise the central role of sexuality in life, and of orgasmas a form of discharge. We are also well aware that much of people's unconscious anxiety andtension has a specifically sexual content.Orgasm in the sense of surrender to the involuntary is something rather different from simplemechanical spasm or heavy breathing. Many people influenced by Reich's ideas have madesomething of a fetish out of the 'Total Orgasm', treating it as a specific goal, something youeither 'get' or 'don't get'. This is unrealistic, and very much at odds with Reich's central pointabout letting go and saying yes to our pleasure wherever it takes us. (Reich himself was notable to follow through consistently with his own best insights.) Sexual release is a primaryform of discharge, a way to stay soft and sweet. But it can be directly worked for and learntonly in limited ways: it is above all a function of our overall openness and capacity to handlepleasure and excitement.So our therapy doesn't simply work on sexuality as such, or on tension in the pelvic areaalone. It seeks to encourage an overall loosening of the armour, a release of anxiety whichwill make it possible to give in to our own impulse for genital pleasure. Breathing is anaccessible yardstick of openness and spontanei- ty, and Reich noticed that when a person isrelaxed and breathing freely and fully, the movement of her body is similar, in a gentle andunchanged way, to the movement of orgasm. As we breathe out, lying on our backs, thepelvic rocks
 forward
and
up
, while at the same time our throat comes forward as if to meetour pelvis. Our head and shoulders fall back and open in a vulnerable gesture of surrender.This is identical for men and women

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2015, 07:02:55 am »
 
17'correctness'. Reich called this full, free breath the 'orgasm reflex'; by definition, a reflex issomething which bypasses conscious control.Full, free breathing is not a state, but a direction: we can always breathe more or less than weare doing at the moment. Exploring what happens as we try to alter or increase our breath - orrather, to stop holding it back and distorting it - is a direct route to the heart of therapy,involving us in a long term project of melting armour in all parts of our body, all aspects of our character. When we find ourselves, for a while, breathing very freely, we experience allsorts of strange and pleasurable sensations in our bodyminds, an opportunity to directlyperceive the flow of life energy in ourselves, which Reich called 'streaming'.The flow of Orgone is immediately experienced as pleasure; its blocking as unpleasure.But pleasure, for most people, is very often bound up with anxiety. It makes the 'Spastic I' feelthat it is losing its identity; it brings back bodymind memories of childhood situations whereour pleasure was frustrated, together with the associated feelings of grief, fear and rage. If ourfirst reaction to pleasure beyond 'a certain limit is
no
rather than
 yes
, then our wires needuncrossing. We need to unpeel, layer by layer, the different negative feelings that have cometo overlay our innately joyful, playful response to energy flow.But it's plain too that making love isn't
vital
to being in a good state (as Reich seems to say itis). There are many people, for example, who are celibate but who use meditation or otherbodymind disciplines to keep themselves soft and clear. It's also
very
plain - as Reich waswell aware - that sexual activity as such is no measure of health or pleasure - frantic fuckingcan be precisely an avoidance of surrender.So if you don't seek orgasmic surrender, perhaps the best question is 'Why not?' Some reasonsare better than others. A long term relationship may go through effectively 'asexual' phases -and yet both partners feel it would be destructive to look for sexual satisfaction elsewhere.Also. sex and sexuality in our culture carry a tremendous weight of
 political
meanings whichmake it hard to simply follow our feelings - our feelings may be contradictory. Above all,heterosexual love - and therefore, homosexual love in a hetero society - is intimately boundup with power and patriarchy. We'll come back to these matters in Chapters 6 and 9; for now,we just want to say that because of this political charge, sexual surrender becomes even morefrightening. Surrender to our own feelings is not easily separated from surrender to someoneelse, or to a particular sexual ideology. It can be difficult to disentangle saying 'yes' to ourbodies from saying 'yes' to patriarchy, because in a sense we may experience our bodies ascolonised and imperialised by society's models of sexuality, power and pleasure.The way forward through this jungle, hard though it is, is surely to stay with exactly whatcomes up for us when we try to let go, breathe, and feel ourselves. If we can accept and ownour sensations and emotions, without judgement or denial, then we can eventually find theway through to our truth, a truth based on far more solid foundations than any intellectualmodel. This means being able to face the pain and fear of our original childhood confrontationwith sexual roles and rules.In the next chapter, we shall look at the way we tighten up each area of our body, eachsegment of armouring, against surrender to feeling, to pleasure, and to reality

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2015, 07:03:59 am »
4 THE SEGMENTS
The segmental arrangement of the muscular armour represents the worm in man.
 Wilhelm Reich, Character AnalysisNow let us look at how armouring works in practice; where the different 'segments' arelocated, the sorts of emotions that tend to be stuck unexpressed and unexperienced in thetense muscles of each body area, and the sorts of physical symptoms that tend to accompanythese tensions. We need to remember that people usually don't know about their ownarmouring: the muscle tension exists to protect us from conscious realisation of our needs andfeelings, which may come as an extreme shock to us when the armouring gives way. It alsotends to make us unaware of the tension itself, which through long familiarity feels 'normal'.We must also bear in mind that as well as being choked up with intense held feeling, asegment can in effect be 'emptied' of charge by spastic muscles around the area keepingenergy and feelings
out
, in an alternative strategy for self-control. There is more than onelayer of musculature in any given area of our body; we may be relaxed at one level, tight atanother.What follows is necessarily simplified. Although the seven segments can be a tremendouslyuseful way of seeing patterns of holding, they are only a tool - only one way of seeing things.As we go through the segments, we will be constantly pointing out interlinkings betweenthem - other, equally valid, ways of understanding our bodies. The segments are to a largeextent artificial, reflecting the artificial bodymind pr~ of self-armouring.The seven segments, as shown in the illustration, can be identified by the main feature of eacharea: the eyes; the jaw; the neck; the heart; the waist; the belly; and the pelvis and legs. Weshall look at each in turn, working down the body in the direction that an embryo grows in thewomb, the direction that our bodywork tends to move, from crown to base.
 
19
The eye segment ('ocular')
 The first and uppermost segment includes the scalp, forehead, eyes, cheeks, ears, and the baseof the skull. It is an area of intense charge, containing as it does two crucial 'windows' on theworld, our organs of sight and hearing. Whether because of this, or because of the location of the brain, most people mentally place their '1' in this segment; this is where we watch the

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2015, 07:04:54 am »
Such notions and experiences are themselves a product of armouring. They show the extent of cut-offness from our heart, guts and sex. The mind is a bodymind - not a headmind - however'natural' it may seem to be 'in our heads'.One very common effect of working to melt the armour is that people's centre of awarenessshifts downwards, into the 'heartlands' of the body. We begin to experience our heads, weirdlyat first, as just another limb like our arms or legs. We start to realise how stiffly we have beenholding our head, so as to stay's' it; and how tension in and around our eyes represents theneed to 'hold ourselves up' through seeing, rather than through the support of our legs and feet- desperately gripping on to the world with our eyes, in the same sort of way that whenwewere learning to stand we kept ourselves erect by gripping onwith our hands.As well as being a vital channel for information and contact eyes and ears have also been asource of
threat
in our lives. Scary and existence-threatening energy has invaded us throughour sight and hearing - the coldness in the look of adults who should be caring for us, forexample, the anger or pain in their voices. Most of us came into the world in the agonisingglare of hospital lights, the cacophony of hospital noises, later, we may have tried to minimisedangerous excitement by 'not looking', 'not seeing' stirring images, 'not hearing' the confusingsounds of our parents making love.So very often the eyes and ears are in a permanent state of blocking which says 'I won't see -won't hear - won't understand'. Muscles inside and around the eye sockets, and at the base of the skull, are in constant tension, stopping us from really focusing on the world around us,from opening up to reality.
 Exercise 2
 Try an experiment yourself.. sit upright, and bum your head as far as it will comfortably go toone side. When it reaches a stopping point let your eyes carry on round until they too reach

 
21
their comfortable limit - no need to strain, then bring the eyes very slowly back round until, asthey face forward again in the head, they 'pick up' the head and both continue moving back round to the front of the body. The illustration should make this clear. The point is that theeyes should move continuously, without jumping, so they 'sweep' the field of vision, carryingthe head along with them. Keep breathing while you do it!

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2015, 07:05:29 am »
 
21
their comfortable limit - no need to strain, then bring the eyes very slowly back round until, asthey face forward again in the head, they 'pick up' the head and both continue moving back round to the front of the body. The illustration should make this clear. The point is that theeyes should move continuously, without jumping, so they 'sweep' the field of vision, carryingthe head along with them. Keep breathing while you do it!
 Most people find this exercise very difficult - to let their eyes move slowly and continuouslyrather than jumping forward in spurts, impatient to see 'what's next'. This impatience has aquality of fear in it, and repeating the experiment a few times to each side can make usconscious of a great deal of anxiety about seeing,
really seeing
, the world around us. We tendto filter reality through a screen of prior judgement so as to protect ourselves from dangerousexcitement or pain, and this anxiety is bound into tense muscles around the eyes.A similar process happens with the ears, and with our thinking processes. The words we useabout thinking embody these connections: 'I see what you mean', 'I don't like the sound of that'. In French, 'entendu' means both 'heard' and 'understood'.The core of the armouring is actually
inside
the head, in the small muscles that move our eyes,and in the muscles behind our ears and at the base of the skull, some of which are reflexly co-ordinated with subtle eye movements. Blocking in all these areas can give a hard, blank,superficial expression to the eyes, or a cloudy 'absent look - both masking deep fear.Shortsightedness, longsightedness, deafness, etc., are very much bound up with armouring of the eye segment, and the same goes for inability to smell - a very powerful and fundamentalsense linking us with our animal heritage.Repression of contact with the world through eyes, ears and thinking covers up a deeper
neediness
. Eye contact which is loving and supportive gives us a fundamental anchoring inthe world: it says 'you exist, I see you'. When the channels are open, the heart speaks throughthe eyes, and comforting sounds and smells can give an almost equally deep reassurance. If this sort of validation is missing in very early childhood, then someone's ability to make


 
22proper contact through the eye segment can be profoundly injured. They tend to 'go away inthe eyes' and in their thinking: closeness can be experienced as invasive, threatening - only inisolation are they safe.Similarly. they may develop ideas which are bizarrely isolated from how most people see theworld.With less extreme damage, the urge for contact may simply take a diversion, and expressitself in a way which is distorted and therefore less threatening: as with people whose life isorganised around a
need to see
- voyeurs, intellectuals, detectives, journalists - and therapists!Which is a good moment to stress that reaching out with eyes, ears and mind is a healthy,creative process - unless it coincides with a block to making deep emotional contact.As well as being windows, the eyes are doors: they are a channel for emotional expression.
 All
feelings, to be fully released, need to come out through the eyes. Besides the obviousexample of crying, the eyes must release fear, anger, joy, and so on in appropriate ways inorder to stay soft and open. Different people tend to be able to show different feelings throughtheir eyes, and to block other ones; and these tendencies can often be seen in the way we holdthe muscles of this segment
 Exercise 3
  Look in a mirror, and raise your eyebrows as far as you possibly can. What does this look like? What emotion does it convey? Now screw your eyes up tight, lower the brow: see what the apparent emotion is now. Keep breathing, and move as fast as you can between these two positions, several times; how does this make you feel? Is it easy for you to do? Is one positionharder than the other? Relax into your normal eye position for a moment, let yourself breathe,and see how you look in the mirror and how you feel inside.
 As we hope you will agree, the wide open eyes show an expression of
 fear
; and if you keptbreathing in this position, you may even have felt some of this fear. People who habituallykeep their eyes like this are generally unaware of it, getting them to exaggerate, or converselyto screw their eyes up tight can make them suddenly aware of the extreme tension there, andof the underlying fear and sadness. It's a position which helps one cope with being seen, andis common in politicians, but also in people who have had very frightening visual experiencesin childhood.Screwed-up eyes may convey several different emotions: anger. desperation to see, anxiety.Notice whether your cheek muscles also screw up tight, turning your face into a mask. Whenpeople habitually use their faces in this way. it's as if their eyes have retreated into their head -'I can see out, but you can't see in'. Flat, stiff, heavy cheeks, on the other hand, are oftenholding tremendous grief and unshed tears.Another emotion often held in the eye segment is
worry
: the wrinkled brow and fixed gaze of compulsive thinking. It doesn't matter what the person is thinking about
now
- it could beabsolutely anything; but originally they will have taken refuge in thinking as an escape routefrom intolerable childhood pressures - for example. trying to work out how to satisfycontradictory demands from mother and father.The 'ivory tower intellectual' is demonstrating a similar, perhaps more successful, form of escape: the skull is a literal ivory tower, high and dry above the scary and confusing world of
 
23the body. Intellectuals who try to ignore body and emotions have concentrated on the genuineerotic pleasure of thought to the exclusion of most other things.Thinking is a real, healthy pleasure, but surely only in harmony with other functions, not inisolation from them. Often there is considerable panic bound up in this stance - about sexualfeelings, and also about bodily assertiveness and rage. The opposite form of defence is foundin people who fog up their own thinking processes as a protection against painful realities,
making
themselves stupid and incompetent, and giving their eyes either a dull smug look, or apeering vagueness.These are some examples to stimulate your own observation of what people do with theireyes. The eye segment will be involved in suppressing any and all feelings; but thefundamental blockings here are of very
 young
emotions and experiences, our primalinteractions with the world, starting at birth or earlier. Through the crown of our heads and thespace between our eyes, we are linked to sky and cosmos, to webs of subtle energy, tosomething much bigger than our individual self. Pain and danger may make us close thesechannels down, or may make us retreat into a 'spirituality' which is ungrounded in the realityof our bodily life.Apart from defects of vision and hearing, the most obvious physical symptom connected witheye segment armouring is chronic headaches - stemming from tense muscles at the base of theskull and around the eyes. We believe as well that specific ailments like styes, conjunctivitis,sinusitis and so on can be linked with eye segment armouring; often they all occur when aspecific feeling is being held back about some life situation, and in particular when someoneis not allowing themselves to cry

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2015, 07:06:11 am »

 
25
 Exercise 4
 You can experiment in front of the mirror, pushing your chin forward and pulling it back as far as possible - while still breathing. How do these positions make you feel? What effect dothey have on the rest of your face, if any? Does one feel easier or more natural than theother? Move between them a few times, then let your jaw relax and see how it looks and feels . And while you're at it, do what a child does when trying to hold back tears: tighten your chinmuscles up, clamping your lips together.
This 'stiff lower lip' is an expression we can all recognise in children, and in very many adultswho keep these muscles permanently stiff, holding back a deep and by now unconscioussadness. This may be combined with a tension
under
the jaw, an area linked with the tonguemuscles, which should be soft and supple but in adults seldom is. The sound held in thisregion is the angry yell of a baby whose needs are not being recognised.
 Exercise 5
 The simplest way to check out the armouring of your jaw segment is to look in the mirror,raise your chin slightly, and let your mouth drop open. Don't force it, but just see how far it  fails under its own weight. If your jaw is free, then the 'hinge' muscles in front of the ears willlet it drop wide open - enough, say, to insert three fingers sideways on between your upper and lower teeth; but more likely, there will be one or another sort of holding that keeps your mouth half closed. Breathing freely with your jaw dropped like this could put you in touchwith the specific emotions and tensions around your jaw.
 As with the eyes, under the hard blocking in the jaw are soft feelings of need. Naturallyenough, these are very much bound up with feeding, and the baby's pleasure in sucking: any

 
26disturbance in this phase of life will be reflected later in jaw armouring - especially anger anddisappointment about not being fed when hungry, harsh or premature weaning, or a generallack of warm contact in the feeding relationship.It is widely accepted that we pick up many of our mother's emotions through her milk - thehormone balance varies with her state of being. And more generally, both breast and bottlefed babies are highly sensitive to the feeling-connection with their mother or any nurturingadult: her involvement or preoccupation, her happiness or sadness. Our reactions to this, ourfeelings of not getting what we need from her, will lodge among other places in the jawsegmentThe muscles which move our jaw link in to the base of the skull, which is thus a point of connection between eye and jaw segments: a crucial body area which often collects a gooddeal of tension, and sometimes has to deal with real contradictions between the two segments:a person's face may be split in two. so that the eyes and mouth express quite differentemotions - happiness in the mouth and fear in the eyes, for example.Migraine headaches have recently been linked with tension in the jaw, causing a displacedbite which transmits up into the head. Tooth and gum problems of all kinds are related tosuppressed emotions and the resulting tension; in particular we have noticed a relationshipbetween tooth abscesses and the need to express hidden anger. Coughs and colds can be partof a suppressive or releasing process in this area.
Neck and throat segment ('cervical')
 In each segment it is possible and often helpful to distinguish a soft, inside, 'Yin' aspect (oftenin the front) and a hard, outside, 'Yang' aspect. For the jaw this is represented in the differencebetween the sucking, melting impulses of the tongue and palate, and the assertive biting andgrowling of the teeth and chin. With the next segment the difference is particularly clearbetween the softness of the throat and the hardness of the neck.

 
27Much of the expressive energy which develops in our torso has to work its way up through thenarrow channel of the throat in order to emerge through the mouth and eyes. It's not surprisingthat this passage easily becomes jammed up, and the word anxiety itself comes from the Latin
angustus
, which means narrow'. The choking, strangling, 'can't get through' feeling of jammedup energy can set up tremendous anxiety in the throat area, sensations which we probablyassociate unconsciously with birth - with being stuck, half-suffocated, in another narrowpassage, perhaps even with the cord around our neck, certainly with our throat full of mucus.In bodywork therapy a huge amount of coughing is sometimes necessary to 'clear the throat',both energetically and emotionally. Mucus has a strange capacity to create itself. as it seems,out of nowhere, as a representation or embodiment of held feelings.In fact, one of the most powerful and therapeutic tools can be to induce someone to retch andgag, while breathing and letting the sound come. All the swallowing down' of feelings thatwe've been doing for a lifetime is turned round; the energy starts to move up and out, and weexperience it directly as a melting and softening of throat, jaw and eyes all at once. There isalso a fat of fear released - many people hate gagging. and are scarcely ever sick, mainlybecause they unconsciously feel they must keep their feelings down at all costs. Whensomeone becomes secure and strong enough to let themselves retch, the effect can beastonishingly liberating. On the other hand. there are people who retch and gag very easily,and often, as a way of avoiding having to take in and digest feelings.The fear held in the throat seems to have a different quality from that of the eye segment Theeyes are afraid of invasion and dissolution on what we can call an 'existential' level, while thethroat often seems to hold a fear of real bodily death rather than ego-annihilation. It's as if ourbirth process is also our introduction to the reality of death - and the throat is a place wherethis death-fear roosts in us. Then, later on, it attracts to itself our fear of our own murderousimpulses. We strangle ourselves on our own hatred as the urge to hit and hurt and tear, whichdevelops in our hands if our love and pleasure are frustrated, gets pulled back up our arms and jammed into the muscles round the base of our throat We turn our anger on ourselves, andstrangle ourselves rather than someone else.This is a complicated and important sequence, an excellent example of how armouring forms,and it's worth going over it again to help make the process clear. Notice, to begin with, thatfrom our viewpoint the anger and aggression are not
 primary
(as they would be for someother therapies): human nature does not involve wanting to hurt people, but wanting to loveand be loved, to make warm contact. It is when this warmth is rejected that anger - quiteappropriately - comes, but children's fear of adult violence then intervenes to block any direct'hot' expression of anger. The
outward
movement, first of love and pleasure then of rage,becomes an
inward
retreat, which tends to stick at the base of the throat. Warmth turns tocold, and freezes our muscles.Thus because we can't vent frustration, we block off our search for love as well. Hands can'treach out for contact, throats can't open in a giving, surrendering way as they want to do.Often, before they can have soft feelings in their throat, people need to act out a state very likethe stereotype fairytale witch with her strangled cackle, claw-like hands and spiteful hate,which very accurately portrays a throat block!

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2015, 07:21:50 am »
Although hands and arms connect mainly with the heart segment, we have just seen that theyalso relate strongly to the throat. You can see too how the throat links in strongly with themouth and jaw: sucking and voice both involve both segments. One could say that the neck
in contrast, links via the base of the neck to the eyes. The neck has the job of supporting thehead, and the attitude which the eye segment takes towards the world will very much affectand be affected by how the neck operates.If the eyes are holding on desperately, then the neck will tend to be correspondingly rigid andinflexible - a proud, 'stiff-necked' attitude may manifest, covering up deeper fear. The morethat someone is stuck in their head as opposed to inhabiting the whole body, the more tensionwill be found in their neck - it has to stop the head from failing off, or from being floodedwith body-feelings. The neck may be stretched out nervously into the world, or protectivelyscrunched up into the shoulders like a turtle.So the combination of eye-linked neck and jaw-linked throat can produce all sorts of differentpostures in this segment Two very important muscles are the big sternocleidomastoids, whichrun on either side from the base of the skull just behind the ears, round the side of the neck,down to the front of the breastbone holding the entire segment together. You may notice thatwhen you are tired and tense these muscles become painful; many headaches originate hereand slowly work their way up into our heads as we try to force ourselves to feel all right bystiffening the posture of our head and neck-Often there is a tendency in people to pull the head back, scrunching up the base of the skullas if to say 'I'm undefeated, 1 won't bow down', but at the same time retreating from facing theworld in front of us. In fact this posture is often associated with short-sightedness, and long-sightedness with pushing the head forward.Many of us are afraid to let our necks go fully, and (as the Alexander Technique emphasises) holding on here can be the central cause of tension and contraction patterns throughout the body.


Exercise 6
You can explore the state of your neck by lying on your back with your head on somethingsoft, and turning it from side to side as rapidly as possible. Don't hold your breath; if you can,let your head flop completely from side to side - and leave your shoulders flat on the floor, just move head and neck. Does this make you sick and dizzy? If so, it's an indication of tension. Also, try lifting your head and bringing it down strongly onto a pillow. Repeat several times; keep breathing, and again, don't use your shoulders. What does this feel like? If  possible, get a friend to help by putting their hands round and under your head, and lifting it gently, moving it from side to side and up and down. Can you let them control the movement,or do you involuntarily help them with your own muscles? Do you have a similar need to stayin charge in your life?
Heart segment ('thoracic')
 The chest, shoulders and upper back, arms and hands, between them make up the heartsegment which must be open for us to express 'big' feelings, strong, expansive emotions,coming out in full resonant voice and powerful gestures. For most of us the heart is to agreater or lesser extent closed off, injuring our capacity for deep feeling and deep contact;because, consciously or unconsciously, it feels bruised, or broken, or frozen, or imprisoned, orhiding.Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, a Tibetan teacher, tells us that true contact means taking on andowning a certain painfulness that goes with being open: 'The genuine heart of sadness comes

truthaboutpois

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2015, 07:24:10 am »
rom feeling that your nonexistent heart is full ... Real fearlessness is the product of tenderness. It comes from letting the world tickle your heart, your raw and beautiful heart.You are willing to open up, without resistance or shyness, and face the world. You are willingto share your heart with others.'What accompanies this opening up on a bodily level is a melting of the muscular armour inchest and shoulders, so that we are able to breathe fully into our chest - and out again. There isvery often some interruption to this full cycle of inbreath and outhbreath. As we have seen,one person may hold her chest permanently half-full of air, never breathing out, while anotherperson may never really breathe
in
. Often there is a prolonged pause between breathing in andbreathing out, or vice versa.


Exercise 7
  If you return to the mirror, you may be able to see what these two opposite forms of holdingmean. Breathe in as deeply as you can, and hold it: what does this look like? Now push all theair out of your lungs, and hold this position: what attitude to life are you portraying?
 You may well find that with your chest held full, you look
afraid
. Gasping air is a reflexaccompaniment to a frightening shock. A permanent gasp goes along with high tightshoulders, and often with clenched hands. These are all part of the same fear pattern, inscribed

on the body by repeated frightening experiences in early life. The fear is often covered upwith
defiance
- sticking out your chest to make yourself look big, clenching your fists to look aggressive - but there is a tension, and often a look of powerlessness, in the arms whichreveals the underlying meaning. It's a common result of having an authoritarian father, andcan often be seen in skinheads and other teenage gang members.When you breathe out as far as possible, your chest now caves in and your shoulders slumpdown and forward: an image of
defeat
. People who are stuck in this sort of posture havegenerally given up. Through constant frustration, especially in early life, they have formed theidea that it is safest and least upsetting to have as little energy as possible in their bodies so, asfar as is compatible with staying alive, they've given up breathing in,Which of these postures felt more natural and easy to you?There are many styles of protecting our heart from the world. Some people's chests scarcelymove at all as they breathe: if you press down gently on the breastbone, it feels like a solidplate of armour, or a thick layer of rubber. With others, the chest gives completely to the leastpressure - there is no assertiveness at all, no sense of 'here I am'. Sometimes one feels afraid topress at all, there is such a sense of brittleness and fragility. Some people are 'pigeon-chested'or 'barrel-chested' - two different ways of sticking yourself out rigidly and ungivingly into theworld; not allowing the easy natural exchange of energies represented by the in-and-out of thebreath. Everyone has their personal style of armouring.Whatever else may be going on in a person, their shoulders are usually a reservoir of unexpressed rage. This rage, again, can be held in many different styles: high and tight, orpulled back to scrunch between the shoulderblades, or screwed up in the armpits. Generally itneeds release via the arms, smashing your fists down on to a cushion, beating a mattress withyour elbows (often necessary before energy can come down into the forearms and hands),scratching, tearing, pinching.
 Exercise 8
 You can find out how free your shoulders and arms are by moving them around: 'shrug' your shoulders in a circular movement from back to front, and then from front to back, working your elbows like a clucking chicken. Raise your arms slowly in front of you until they point right up in the air, then open them out at the sides to shoulder height Remember to breathewhile you do it! Are any of these movements difficult, physically or emotionally?
 As the armouring of our chest and shoulders starts to dissolve, we come into our power. Wesense ourselves as strong, real and formidable, without being aggressive or having anything toprove: a
soft
power, which asserts our need for contact yet is able to deal with hostility orcoldness.Crying is done with the chest as well as with the eyes and mouth. Sometimes people think they are crying when a few tears leak out, but without any deep sobbing that moves the heartand the whole being. The pain here may be much more profound and shaking, and along withthis comes a much deeper release, a sense of inner cleansing and lightness on a different levelfrom the effect of simple weeping.The heart segment is the seat of much of our passion, our intensity and vibrancy. Only whenwe are willing and able to let our chest and shoulders move -
be
moved - with our breath, can
we deeply and seriously engage with reality. We say 'seriously', but this doesn't implyanything solemn: among the emotions of the heart segment is robust, hearty laughter, oftenheld back in 'ticklish' irritable muscles in the sides and under the arms. Tickling can be aremarkably effective bodywork technique; it helps to 'unstick' the ribs from each other,opening up the independent movement of the intercostal muscles.Armouring in this segment has a negative effect on the functioning of the heart and lungs,predisposing these organs to disease. In particular we see a relationship between suppressedanger and bronchitis and chronic coughs; between deep fear and asthma; and betweenphysical heart failure and 'heartbreak'.
Waist segment ('diaphragmatic')
 As the illustration shows, the diaphragm is a big, dome-shaped muscle that runs right throughthe body at waist level, separating our upper and lower halves(with holes for the oesophagus,veins and arteries, etc.). Above it are the heart and lungs; below, the stomach, intestines, liver,pancreas, kidneys, and so on

truthaboutpois

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2015, 07:25:38 am »
It is primarily with the diaphragm that we breathe - or that at least is how our body isdesigned! If our diaphragm is mobile, then each in-breath starts with its contraction, so thatthe upward, domelike bulge flattens out. This increases the space in the chest cavity, and thelungs automatically expand into the semi-vacuum, sucking in air. As the diaphragm relaxes, itbells out upward again, firmly pushing the air out of our lungs. Muscles in the ribcage,shoulders, etc., can
stop
us breathing by being too tight, but their role in
causing
us to breatheis secondary to that of this great, powerful sheet of muscle. Really, our chest muscles justhave to get out of the way.

It is the diaphragm, therefore, which first tightens and freezes in unhappy babies, interruptingthe spontaneous natural flow of breath. Thus this segment stores the intolerable primal terrorwhich first made us cut off from our own energy; the sensation which, in a much diluted form,is familiar to most of us as 'butterflies in the tummy'.A more intense version is often referred to as a 'sinking' feeling, a 'lurch' around the stomach,as if 'the bottom is dropping out'. This is a very accurate description of sudden movement inthis boundary between our upper and lower internal world. The sinking feeling corresponds toa sense of failing
down into ourselves
- into the realm of 'gut feelings', emotions andsensations which are far less easily translatable into rational language than are those of ourhead and upper body.The more frozen the diaphragm, the more of an absolute division there will be between headand belly, between reason and instinct, between conscious and unconscious, 'heaven' and'hell'. The diaphragm is turned into a 'floor'; and if the floor starts giving way as bodywork enables the diaphragm to move again, the experience can be deeply disturbing. People withtight diaphragms very often breathe with
either
chest
or
belly, or if both move, they can bequite unsynchronised, so that the belly may even be sinking as the chest rises and vice versa(though this is nothing to do with the yoga technique of 'paradoxical breathing').
 Exercise 9
 To get a sense of what is happening in your diaphragm, you can try rapidly panting from thisarea of your body. You need to breathe firmly in and equally firmly out again, rather than putting the emphasis on either one. Be aware that your sides and back around waist levelshould expand and contract as well - imagine a wide sash around your waist, stretching allround as you breathe in. Make the breathing continuous, breathing in again as soon as the

outbreath is complete, and vice versa. You may find that a very few such breaths make you feel distinctly strange, with your head becoming dizzy and highly-charged, and perhaps aslight nausea. This will pass off as soon as you stop - which you should obviously do when you start getting uncomfortable. This is a very early stage of panic, as you not only pass morebreath-energy through your body, but also start to join up areas that you may habitually keep firmly separate.
 The diaphragm often holds murderous rage as well as fear: a blind, total anger against theearly repression that makes our breathing armour up. This anger can often be located in thesides and back of the waist segment, where the diaphragm anchors itself to bone - WilliamWest calls the side muscles here the 'spite muscles'. Lower back tension, that classic twentiethcentury problem, can often be related to a frozen diaphragm, and to conflicts between 'higher'and 'lower' needs and feelings - especially those involving the pelvis.Thus a fundamental issue with the diaphragm is one of control. Problems in this area usuallyarise out of a struggle to 'control oneself' - that central, impossible instruction which ourculture gives its children. Our nature as an organism demands spontaneity: only death ispredictable, and predictability is death. The attempt to 'get a grip on ourselves' very muchinvolves the diaphragm, one of the body's great core muscles, and seat of theinvoluntary/voluntary crossover at the centre of the breathing process. Only a few people cancontrol their heartbeat, but all of us can control our breathing. In doing so habitually, we doourselves great damage, yet the ability to be
aware
of our breath, to gently 'ride' its waves, is adeeply healing one. When the diaphragm is free and mobile, we are open to spontaneouslyarising material from 'the depths' - open to our bellythink.There is a powerful reflex relationship between diaphragm and throat, such that armouring inone will be reflected in the other, and melting in one will likewise encourage melting in theother. If you listen to a 'catch' in a person's breath, you may be able to hear how it happens inboth these places. Gagging and retching can be initiated in either the throat or the diaphragm,but they involve both. This is only one example of the elaborate system of reflex mirrorings inour body.Tension in the waist will lay us open to
all
the stress-related ailments, since it disturbs ourentire breathing pattern, with destructive effects on our metabolic processes. Morespecifically, it will tend to influence ailments like chronic nausea, ulcers (held-back frustration and rage), gall and kidney stones and, as we have mentioned, lower back pain.
Belly segment ('abdominal')
 The belly is a storehouse of unexpressed, unacknowledged feelings, images, ideas, desires andintentions - in effect a bodymind unconscious. The very word 'belly' is unspeakable to somepeople! Here are the 'gut feelings', the instinctive self, and the more we are armoured higherup the body, the more these feelings are repressed. New material is being added all the time aswe swallow down what we cannot say or do or feel.The gurgling, bubbling belly is a place of water - the waters of life. Water needs to flow, or itbecomes sour and stagnant and then this great subterranean sea turns into nothing but a hugeseptic tank. There is often much bitterness and stagnation down here in the body'sunderworld, expressed in toxicity, 'acid stomach', colitis and constipation - all of which reflectan inability to let go of waste and poison

Our belly is vulnerable: the 'soft underbelly' of our stance towards the world, insofar as we areinsecure in the world, we tend to tense up our belly muscles, creating the macho, 'go on, hitme as hard as you like', image: or the flat, sucked-in little-girl tummy which women areencouraged to strive for. This impossibly flat, anorexic tummy is quite a recent invention.Renaissance and mediaeval paintings show a much more realistic womanly mound. Similarlyin the East a relaxed rounded belly is (or was) highly valued as a sign of spiritual achievementthe ability to operate in a grounded and centred way. Many people, both men and women, findit very hard to deliberately relax their bellies.
 Exercise 10
 Take a deep in-breath, letting it fill your tummy area, so that it visibly and tangibly expandswith the breath (you may need to do a few pants with the diaphragm to loosen up first). Thenbreathe out, without pulling in your tummy. Try a few breaths like this, and see what sensations and feelings emerge. Focus on relaxing as many muscles in your lower torso as you can - including the sides and back.
You will probably discover from this how closely your belly links with the diaphragm aboveand the pelvis below: muscles will stretch, and hopefully release, in both these areas as yourbelly expands. You can expect a few gurgles as well! Particularly important are the abdominirecti, two long muscles that run down the belly from ribs to pelvis on either side of your navel- these seem to be linked by reflex with the sternocleidomastoids in the neck

truthaboutpois

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Re: Reichian Growth Work by Nick Totton
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2015, 07:26:46 am »
Belly segment: showing the rectus abdomini muscle (left) and internal oblique muscle (right).There are several more muscle layers running at different angles.
 Gently massaging the belly area while breathing freely and easily can bring up all sorts of pains and emotions. Often there are specific sore spots carrying particular ideas andmemories. The overall tone of the belly armour is frequently
tiredness
: old, tired grief; oldtired anger; old tired fear. The emotions may have been curdling away down there for a verylong time indeed.But the belly, when it is alive and functioning, is an agent of release and elimination - it helpssort out the nourishing from the threatening, and channel each appropriately. As the belly'wakes up' in bodywork, we hear all sorts of gurglings and rumblings - usually a sign of healthy activity as it resumes its functions of absorption and discharge. Gerda Boyesen hasworked for many years with the belly's wisdom; she has found - and we can confirm - thatwhenever the belly emits a particularly energetic gurgle, it signals some important thought,feeling or memory which may be below the threshold of awareness unless we take up thebelly's cue and look within.One particular set of feeling-memories in this segment is going to be about the cutting of theumbilical cord; there are usually very tender spots all around the navel which can restimulatethis experience. It is also very closely linked with the waist segment - the shock of cutting thecord makes the diaphragm contract with a great gasp which is the first breath, so differentfrom what that breath would have been had it been allowed to come naturally in its own time,with the umbilicus left to stop pulsing before it was severed.For many people - perhaps more obviously for women in our culture - there is a particularissue around the relationship between mouth and belly. Appetite in one does not necessarilyreflect hunger in the other: and often there is a good deal of confusion here, as we eat tosatisfy all sorts of needs apart from bodily nourishmentAmong these needs can be the need to push feelings down out of awareness. Familymealtimes can be excruciating, and can set up a permanent association between eating,suppression and pain. A lot of us are so busy nibbling all day for the comfort of our mouthsthat we wouldn't recognise belly hunger if we encountered it The poor, unloved, devaluedbelly has to bear the brunt of everything we shove down it. It needs restoring to its rightfuland central role in the bodymind.Pelvic segmentAnd so we arrive at the final section of the body armour - and an exceedingly important one.From the pelvis comes a whole other fundamental mode of relating to the world: oursexual@, which expresses itself in ways that cannot be readily turned into words. As Reichsays, it is not really possible to attach a rational label to the expressive movements of thepelvis. Sexuality expresses itself rather than anything else, and its involuntary, mysteriousquality is very frightening to the 'spastic I'.Before the pelvis can surrender to spontaneous sexual movement its armouring needs to besoftened; this will release feelings which, although they often colour our lovemaking, are notessentially sexual in nature. Our pelvis often holds a good deal of fear and rage. this meansthat in lovemaking the easy soft swing takes on a frantic tone - either shoving and grinding, ormoving very gingerly, like a person getting into a cold bath

In Chapter 6 we shall be looking in more detail at this pelvic fear and rage, and consideringhow and why such emotions develop. For now, let's just notice that pelvic armouring has adeep effect on how we stand and walk, the legs and feet are so closely linked with the pelvisthat we can treat them as part of the same segment If the pelvis is too stiff to sway freely aswe move, there will be a corresponding stiffness and a brittle or numb feeling lower down. AsAlexander Lowen says, sexual feeling to a great extent comes out of the ground, and our feetand legs need to be soft enough to let it rise.Exercise 1To help you understand what this means, stand with feet firmly planted and knees slightlybent and breathe down into the pit of your belly for a minute until everything has loosened upa little. Now explore the contact between the soles of your feet and the ground (this exercise isbest done barefoot): shift you weight gently around your feel so the ground is massaging yoursoles. Now let your weight press down on the ball of one foot, as if taking a step forward - butdon't take the step. What will happen is that your knee will start to straighten - but don'tdeliberately straighten the knee. Now your pelvis vvill want to rock forward and up: theimpetus is transmitted from your energy exchange with the ground. Play with this movementfor a while, and notice how important it is in graceful, dancing - and how sexual dancing canbe.If our legs, feet and pelvis are relaxed, then there is a constant sense of exchange betweenourselves and the ground: Mother Earth is really there under us, supporting and conversingwith our bodymind. But not many of us feel this conversation much of the time. The processof learning to stand and walk, coinciding as it does with intense emotional events, has led usto cut off some sensation, from our lower limbs - tensing knees, ankles, and hips in particular,and often twisting our legs out of alignment. We've learnt to 'stand up for ourselves', 'on ourown two feet' - but at what price in missing flexibility and sensitivity.Many of us have great unconscious terror of the ground, developed as we learnt to stand. Thiscan show up in all the many phobias of snakes, mice, spiders, and so on - all fast-movingticklish, unstoppable creatures which we fear will run up our @ and into our bodies - like theearth energy itself and the uncontrollable feelings associated with it Other associated fantasiesare those of the ground giving way, of quicksand, water and so on. There is often a fear of falling involved too - the ground seems a very long way down when we first pull ourselveserectIn particular, our 'groundedness' or lack of it is connected with eye armouring. We mayunconsciously try to hold on to the world with our eyes, rather than resting securely on ourfeet.Exercise 12Try closing your eyes, and really 'letting yourself down' into your feet: the sensation can berather like entering water. Your knees will need to be loose and bent. Take a few steps, veryslowly, with eyes still closed, and explore the sensation. Perhaps you feel as though you aregoing to fall over, or be hit What do your arms want to do?We have so far only looked at the front of the pelvis, the energy in and around our genitalarea. Also very important is the energy at the back, in our buttocks and anus, which may beextremely tight and tense. As we said in Chapter 2, children are very often pressured to

control their bowels before they are naturally ready, before they are physically capable of closing the sphincters. So they learn to tense up the whole pelvic floor and buttocks in adesperate attempt to 'hold themselves in', 'pull themselves together'.Such holding frequently becomes chronic and unconscious, leading to 'tight-arsed' attitudes inlife, as we shall see in Chapter 6. A great deal of resentful hate is held here, which can takevery brutal forms - both sadistic and masochistic - and involve a lot of stubbornness. This is aform of armouring which slows down our life energy and binds it in, and this sort of holdingvery much affects the energy in the back of our whole body.The back of the body is our reservoir of strength: it's where we push from, where we hold on,support and endure. We can only be soft and open in the front if we feel, strong and secure inthe back. But this all depends on being able to 'dig our heels in' and transmit this solidstrength through and up. A tight bum generally means that this flow gets stuck, and the backsof the legs will usually be tight too.Exercise 13Stand with feet forwards, a shoulderwidth apart, and with your knees slightly bent Rigidlystraight knees are a basic way of blocking off from the ground. Join your hands looselybehind your back in an 'at ease' posture; now bend from the hips - not from the waist - and letgravity carry you as far forward as possible. Breathe easily, and let the out-breaths help yourelax and lean further forward. The idea is that head, neck and back stay in the same straightline as when you were upright,- you simply fold at the hinge of your hips.You will no doubt immediately feel a stretch on the backs of your legs, which can be quitepainful. Don't strain yourself, just bend as far as you comfortably can, and if necessary holdthe position for just a few seconds. It's important to breathe down into your belly as far aspossible. With luck, if you maintain this position, your legs will start to tremble. This issplendid, it means that your muscle tension is letting go and your legs are lengthening,becoming literally more 'vibrant'. When you straighten up, still breathing into your belly andwith knees loose, you may well feel a much deeper contact with the ground - almost as if yourfeet are sinking into the floor.An important muscle in joining up the whole pelvis, front and back, is the psoas, which runson either side from the lower spine, right through the pelvis, and into the thighbone. This isthe muscle which lets our pelvis rock back and forth in the orgasm reflex we described in thelast chapter; often it is extremely tense and tight.As we suggested, there is a strong relationship between looseness or tightness in the pelvisand in the jaw: this is one of the body's strongest reflexes, and an armoured jaw will stop thepelvis being free. It can be a bit of a bootstrap situation. Any release at either end creates afeedback of release at the other, and so on. We can even imagine a head superimposed on thepelvis, facing forwards but upside down: so that the chin coincides with the pelvic bone.Many other interesting relationships emerge - for instance, between nose and anus, soimportant for our learnt sense of disgust - often encouraging a tense pull-back of the face,away from 'down there'.Exercise 14The simplest possible exercise for checking out your pelvic segment is to stand with yourknees loose, and rotate your hips as widely as you can - as if you were doing a hula dance.