Simply put, we as human beings are SAID Principles: Specific Adaptation(s) to Imposed Demand. We are living, breathing examples of this day in and day out from the mental to physical realms. In fact, it has become hardwired through the many moons in our Nervous Systems and DNA.
“With the onset of predation via tooth, claw and sting 500+ million years ago, recoil from hurt has had a long time to deeply embed itself in the way vertebrates wire their nervous and muscular systems together. There is a pattern to this recoil…” –Muscles and Meridians: The Manipulation of Shape by Phillip Beach
Humans have adapted: to pain, to planetary environment, and to our current societal way of living and doing. We do; we adapt or die. Yet, so it seems, this principle is not well understood, and I hope to shed some light upon the situation.
For me, it explains, reveals, and enlightens aspects of our lives and human bodies in an elementary and fundamental fashion. If I am to rub my hands or feet on a hard surface day in and day out, I will develop calluses. This is a pretty simple, almost common sense, understanding that we tend to grasp easily. Our bodies “just” do it.
I lift heavy things; I get good at lifting heavy things. My body will repair bigger and better and stronger to adapt to these imposed demands. I sit on the couch and slouch potato out; my body will adapt to fit the confines of my slouch and my couch eventually forming what I like to call a “Homer Simpson Ass-Groove.”
Everything we do, our unconscious brain seeks to make us better at it. It adapts; we hardwire. We pave neural pathways like highways in our brains. After about 300 – 500 attempts, we have a habit. This has wonderful evolutionary implications to help us thrive and survive, and improve at what we do. Conversely, it potentially has devastating connotations.
What if we get stuck? What if we continually put garbage into our system? GIGO? (Garbage In = Garbage Out) What if the brain disconnects from part, or parts, of ourselves?
This became excruciatingly obvious recently at an Anatomy in Motion seminar. The Instructors lead the attendees through articulations of every joint in the body through all three planes of movement. It seems so simple! However, in both feeling, and watching others, it was clear, we do forget and disconnect from our bodies.
Typically, there are warning signs first. In fact, it has been my experience that rarely anyone truly gets blind sided by life. There are always warning signs, but whether or not we are able to see them is another issue and topic all together.
So, a simple callus is a great example. A callus on the palm of the hand from hard labor, or heavy lifting, seems to be a good thing. It is a wonderful, natural adaptation of the body to an imposed demand. A callus on the side of a big toe begins to develop; no worries. It translates into a bunion, still no worries because, “My parents had bunions, too.” Eventually though, as we adapt, discomfort and pain seem to manifest. They manifest to teach us something (or not).
A lovely adaptation of what I grew up with, “Skate or Die,” but great for making a point.
Pain is such a wonderful communicator to the conscious brain. It is a signal that alters the way we move, and feel, both physically and mentally. It is a strange dichotomy of our all-connected, one body and mind to feel so separate and disconnected when we are uncomfortable and in pain. And yet, back to my topic, what have we adapted to? What have we forgotten? What do we need to re-member in our bodies? Minds?
Things are never “just the way they are,” as evidenced by the universe around us, or last weeks post “Are You a `Just’ Guy or Gal.” The only consistency is inconsistency. We can adapt, we can change and impose new demands, and we can re-member our minds and bodies. I often find the Physics definition of Work (W) to be highly applicable: W = Force x Distance. “Gotta go the distance.”
I believe it takes a special someone to do this on their own, and even then, we all need to ask for help from time to time. We know what we know, know what we don’t know, and don’t know what we don’t know. Fortunately, there is an ever growing arsenal of practitioners out there who can support growth and impose new demands to help people adapt to a more whole and happier human being.
If you are looking for support, I suppose here is where I plug: Anatomy in Motion, NeuroKinetic Therapy, Proprioceptive-Deep Tendon Reflex (P-DTR) are all great detective practitioners, and many other wonderful touch therapies out there from simple massage to Active Release Technique. Find a practitioner, ask for help. 🙂