Are You Projecting or Connecting?
Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornados, avalanches, hurricanes, war…
So much devastation threatening our safety, our peace of mind. We seem to be living in a constant state of fight or flight not knowing when the next disaster will strike. Adrenaline levels soar, stressing our bodies and minds as past programming is easily triggered in these trying times.
How do we get out of this programming? How can we get our minds to stop spinning round and round the same internal stories, the same old scary thoughts and feelings that keep us in such a stressful state? How can we connect in a new way with our source of peace and well being so we can be a shining light in the face of so much darkness? How can we choose differently?
Many of our projections have to do with our inability to consciously connect to the here and now. In the present moment we are aware of our connection to the energetic component that is at the root of all life. This root has many names. Some call this Source, All That Is, God, the Web of Life, Zero Point, the Divine Matrix, or the Unified Field to name just a few. One of the names I often use to describe the active aspect of this source energy is the Life Force. Whichever term we use, what counts is the feelings of softness, of lightness, of peace and empowerment that arise naturally from this connection. With this conscious connection we can keep a clearer perspective on what is actually happening in our area of the world right now and therefore be of greater use if and when needed.
Few of us have a practical approach for staying connected to the present moment, in our body, in the current situation that’s happening right now, with the person or situation that’s right in front of us, without all of those past stories skewing our interpretations and reactions.
Part of the difficulty of trying to stay present is that all our old programs are not only in our mind; they are in our body as well. Our body and mind are intimately connected. If we are not happy with our current situation, we can try to change our mind, but, if we don’t get the body on board we often fail to get the results we long for.
If we can’t be present we can’t connect. If we can’t connect, we diminish our influence in the world as well our internal peace and empowerment.
It’s that simple. It’s that important.
Connect through the Trager Approach
As the author of Trager for Self-Healing, as well as a certified Trager® practitioner, tutor and teacher (and Reiki Master), I’ve spent 26 years developing easy to use tools, derived from the principles of the Trager Approach. These tools assist the mind and body to consciously experience the present moment.
The Trager Approach was first developed by Doctor Milton Trager. He created a body-centered modality that uses both table sessions and self-care movement explorations called Mentastics®, a term coined from the words “mental” and “gymnastics.” Both table sessions and Mentastics teach us what it feels like to connect to the present moment.
A Table Session
A client lies passively on a well padded table in a safe environment while a Trager practitioner, who has been trained to connect to the present moment, softly and gently transfers their experience of this connection into the clients body/mind through touch and movement. This touch generally includes rocking, elongating, fluffing and sculpting of tissue, muscles, and joints.
As a result, a client feels differently because the experience of being “connected” has been transferred through the quality of the practitioner’s touch. Dr. Trager, a master at this, changed the condition of a client’s body through his touch because he gave his clients the experience of what it would feel like to be free of their past programming.
The results were profound and long-lasting.
Over the past four decades the International Trager organization has trained scores of professionals to impart these same results.
Mentastics are the self care portion of the Trager Approach. They are innocent body/mind explorations that have the power to help us live consistently in the present moment. The more Mentastics are practiced, the deeper the present moment experience and thus the deeper and clearer our connection to other people and situations in our lives.
For me, Mentastics are the most powerful part of the Trager Approach. Why? Because they can be used by anyone, anywhere, at anytime. They are a practical and simple way into the present moment.
Although going into a detailed chronicling of Mentastics in this short article is not possible, I will touch upon three of the most basic (which, by the way, are also the most profound).
Simple. Profound. Powerful.
There are many Mentastics, but the three most basic are: pausing, mindful umbrella breathing, and feeling weight. These three simple Mentastics give you a practical way to cope with our everyday stresses we encounter in our home, in our community, our country, and the world around us.
When we project we are invested in the story in our head, in the re- creation of our old melodrama. This melodrama has corresponding feelings in the body. These feelings manifest as headaches, anxiety, low back problems, stiff shoulders, or high blood pressure to name just a few. If you no longer want these feelings, the first thing to do is… Pause… Just for a few seconds allow a little space to enter your mind, allow a little distance between you and your melodrama.
It doesn’t have to be long. Just for this moment… Pause… Let go of the story. Let go of the drama. For now, step off the spinning wheel. Pause…
That’s the first of the Mentastics. It’s profoundly simply. Paradoxically, it is also the hardest to do. Our programming has momentum. It tells us to keep going, keep spinning. But the best action we can take is to stop our physical and mental activity and… pause.
In the midst of this pause, notice your breath.
Now, breathe three dimensionally into your front, sides, and back, like an umbrella opening and closing. Inhale. Open. Exhale. Close.
This is the second of the Mentastics, Umbrella Breathing. It is also extremely simple. But in it’s simplicity is it’s power. You can practice umbrella breathing anytime, anywhere.
Once you’ve paused and put your attention on your breath, the third step is to Feel the Weight of something as it moves through space. This brings the feeling of the present moment into your physicality. It could be a can of beans you’re putting away. It could be the weight of your arms or hands swinging at your sides. It could be the weight of your purse or briefcase. It could be the weight of your tail bone. It could be anything.
When life gets to be too much, bring your spinning mind and body into the present moment. “Pause”… then, be attentive of your “Umbrella Breath.” Lastly, “Feel the Weight” of something as it moves through space. You will find that rather than spending your day unconsciously projecting, you have spent your day consciously connecting to Spirit.
If you consistently practice these three things in concert you will perceive a definite shift in your awareness toward ease, happiness, better health, and empowerment.
Try it now. It’s simple. In its simplicity is its applicability.
Are you Projecting or Connecting?
Love and Light,
Audrey Mairi (author of Trager for Self-Healing, and Pathway to Presence)
PS. Leave a comment below and tell me what you think. What was your reaction? Let me know and I’ll respond personally.
Praise for Audrey’s Work
"Audrey Mairi is inspired. She has breathed in the light, and she breathes out her learning so that others may catch it and keep it going. The beautiful work of Milton Trager is the light of her inspiration."
Jack Liskin, assistant professor of clinical family medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, and author of Moving Medicine: The Life and Work of Milton Trager, MD
Praise for Trager for Self-Healing
“This is the most thorough and accurate description of the Trager Approach that I have read.”
Deane Juhan, Senior Trager instructor, author of Job’s Body: A Handbook for Bodywork, and Touched by the Goddess: The Physical, Psychological, and Spiritual Powers of Bodywork.
Praise for Pathway to Presence Combo
“Audrey Mairi’s work helped me transcend my old beliefs and habitual way of being. By consistently using the exercises in her E-Book and audio CD, I’ve discovered an inexhaustible well of inner peace that I can tap into no matter what is happening in my outer life.”
Paul Latour , Founder of the Hero Work Society.
Praise for Pathway to Presence E-Book
“Pathway to Presence is absolutely fabulous. A gem of a handbook to happiness. The shifts from narrative to scenarios to exercises are perfect.”
Susan Healey , Policy Communications Professional.
Praise for Pathway to Presence CD
“Audrey, I love your CD. Almost always the voice carrying a guided meditation is "off" in some way that leaves me feeling irritated. Not yours. I love the clean authenticity of your delivery, congruence of content and form. What a relief to be able to wholeheartedly recommend it with no caveat or qualm!“
Susan Holper , Senior Trager Practitioner, Tutor.
Praise for Audrey’s Workshops
“My two day experience in Audrey Mairi’s workshop resulted in a definite shift in my sense of alignment within my body and in relationship with the earth. Not only do I feel more grounded but also noticed that most of my aches and pains have disappeared. Her teachings are clear, the exercises and concepts profoundly simple and mightily effective. I had fun learning and therefore can remember each segment easily and with joy. I highly recommend her workshops, her book, her CD and deeply value her private sessions.“
Elfi Dillon Shaw RMT, Bodywork Co- ordinator at the Haven Institute Gabriola Island BC Canada.
So What is Trager Anyway?
The Trager Approach uses touch and physical movement to invite the body/mind to experience feelings of lightness, of softness, of bliss through something called Hook-Up. “Hook-Up is a state of being,” Dr. Milton Trager said on many occasions. “It is a Hook-Up of this power that you are surrounded by. It is a life-giving, life-regulating power that has always been there and will always be there. And you can’t try to get it. You can’t try to Hook-Up because to try is to fail. You don’t try. To try is effort and effort is tension. We don’t try. We just allow it to happen. You are going to feel. It is not the moves I do or the technique. Drop the word ‘technique.’ [Trager] is not a technique. It is something different.”
This quotation captures the core of the Trager Approach. Yes, there are many “moves” and “techniques” a Trager practitioner learns – the training is intensive – but they are merely the craft of our trade. Just as a writer knows grammar and a guitarist knows chords, a Trager practitioner knows the body – its muscles, bones, and tissue. Such knowledge, however, is not enough, just as knowing grammar or chords is not enough to make great literature or toe-tapping music. To turn craft into something different, something more, something that transcends our limited understanding, a Trager practitioner needs to be able to Hook-Up to the life-giving, life-regulating power that is everywhere at all times. It is for this reason that Dr. Trager suggested we “drop the word ‘technique.’ ” Dr. Trager knew that at a certain point his students had to let go of their training, stay out of their own way, and get into Hook-Up by arriving in the present moment. In a state of presence, feelings of lightness, softness, and bliss infuse the body/mind, turning technique into an effortless vehicle to transfer these feelings into the client’s body and therefore mind.
This is why the Trager Approach (also known as Trager Psychophysical Integration) operates through pleasurable, effortless, easy movement, which softly and safely introduces the body/mind to what it would be like if it were free to function without restriction.