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On Connection

As a chiropractor, I often find myself reflecting on healing for individuals and for the world. I have come to recognize that all difficulties arise out of a sense of disconnection in one form or another. In fact, our very ability to express life seems directly related to our ability to experience connection: socially, ecologically, spiritually, and particularly in our physical bodies as it relates to nerve communication.

In my upbringing, my parents drew deeply from Native American and also Buddhist and yoga traditions and ways of thinking about spirit. Through this, and my own resulting path of spirit, I have come to believe that we are all deeply connected to one another and to what one might call Great Spirit or Great Mystery or God. There is a Lakota phrase Mitakuye oyasin— “all my relations”—that captures the very essence of that to which I refer: that our entire universe is interconnected, and every part is impacted by the actions of every other, as we are by all who have gone before us.

Nothing exists in isolation. All our surroundings can be understood as a reflection of internal condition. I am not merely connected to Great Mystery; rather, I am to Great Mystery like a cup of water is to the ocean. Indian tradition carries a similar message in a greeting: Namaste—I honor the divine in you and in me and in everything.

I see the same message offered through science. For instance, in the natural phenomenon of fractals: a pattern that repeats at multiple scales as you zoom in or out. Scientists have observed this type of self-similar scaled patterns in river networks and trees, in heartbeats and earthquakes, in snowflakes and in crystals, and even in DNA. Consider this: Our individual spirits may be resonant fractals of the infinite spirit that animates the entire universe!

In recognizing that we are all of the same mystical source, it becomes easier to feel compassion. I recognize that we are more similar than different, that we are all walking the path of spirit growth, that we all experience great grief and great love. In opening my heart to others, I give my own heart permission to fully express; I give myself permission to more fully show up in my life.

We experience the power of connection in our nervous system, which controls and coordinates every function of our physical body, from perception to integration to expression. Communication between the brain and body is facilitated by means of an extremely sensitive interface between the spinal cord and the rest of the body—namely, the pairs of spinal nerves that exit the spinal column between every pair of adjacent vertebrae. When these spinal nerves are impinged, stretched, irritated or otherwise interfered with, communication is impaired. When there is a disconnection between brain and body because of interference to nerve transmission, our physiology experiences a reduced capacity for full, vibrant expression of who we are.

Consider what a communication breakdown does to the relationship between two or more people. Although it may not be obvious in the early stages, dysfunction can bubble under the surface for a long time before a blowout occurs. Just as, per our self-healing nature, the body strives for harmony, balance and connection, we have tremendous compensation mechanisms allowing the body to function as best it can. Various bodily systems can withstand a significant (30 to 60 percent) loss of function before we experience pain or other symptoms—this is not thriving, but surviving. All strained relationships will eventually lead to a blowout, whether on the cellular or interpersonal scale.

Consider these disconnections:

When there is a disconnection between our sense of ethics and our actions, our spirit experiences a reduced capacity for vibrant expression; physical health suffers and we experience mental and emotional distress. When we experience a disconnection between our relationships, we experience a reduced capacity for vibrant social expression, and our community suffers.

When we experience a disconnection from our food, our environment and our ecology, we experience— as do animals and the environment—a reduced capacity for vibrant life expression. Our world suffers the consequences of our failure to act with reverence for our brothers and sisters in Plant Nation, Animal Nation, Stone Nation.

Wars and pollution and bullying and eating chemical garbage and social inequity and dying species all stem from a sense of severe disconnect. The way of healing—the way to the center—is through honoring our interrelatedness. In honoring the interrelatedness of everything, in recognizing a bit of ourselves in all that surrounds us (and a bit of all that surrounds us in ourselves), compassion comes easier.

When I am strong in my sense of connection to my spirit, I walk in the world more peacefully. I have more forgiveness and patience in my heart, for myself and those around me. When I am neurologically well-connected, with no interference in my nervous system, my physical body is best able to express that innate wisdom to coordinate optimum function for excellent health.

When I feel connected to my community, I take compassionate action to support all my relations. When I feel connected with my environment and my food, I make wiser choices about what to eat and how it’s prepared. I experience a reverence for nature and take steps to support conservation ecology. When I choose to experience the inherent cosmic connection of everything around me, I live life inspired.

This is the only way for healing our physical and spiritual selves, our communities, and our ecology. Living in this space—this is where the magic happens. This is where life works on purpose.

We are a community. We rely on each other to survive. We each have unique talents and abilities and passions. In full expression, our community thrives.

Our bodies are a community of trillions of cells, all with specialized roles to play. When everything can function at 100 percent—which requires communication— the organism thrives.

This is the crux of chiropractic. Your brain and spinal cord receive and process information about your internal and external environment, integrate this information with all past experiences, and coordinate and direct the rest of the cells in the body. Any interference to this master processing and communication system necessarily results in a decreased expression of life force. Neurologically focused chiropractic care is an essential part of the foundation of good health because it works to identify and remove interference to the nervous system, restoring connection.

I encourage you to embrace your magnificence, to get regular chiropractic care for a clear nervous system, and to cultivate connection: with your community, with your food, and with your innate sense of the Great Mystery. Cultivate connection, dear friends, and live life inspired!