Perceptions, Stories & Labels

Most of us humans have a pretty skewed relationship with bodily sensation. Depending on our experiences, labels, and stories, we categorise certain feelings in the body as negative and other feelings as positive. In most instances, this has very little to do with the reality of what that sensation is communicating, and everything to do with our perception of it.

Matters can be further complicated if we consider that the body moving into a sympathetic response and a parasympathetic response can create similar feeling state or sensation states in the body (side note: we don’t have a nerve that specifically translates a sense of feeling; what we feel is entirely subjected and based on past experiences and associations).

Sympathetic responses see our structure, organs, everything move towards the midline of the body. In Parasympathetic, things start to spread out, both along the horizontal and the vertical. In both instances, things physically shift, but the sensation that produces is simply an indication that something is changing; whether we label that experience positive or negative has nothing to do with the reality and everything to do with our perception.

Take pins and needles for instance. If I sit on my foot, after a while it gets sleepy. As I change position and move around, blood rushes back in. Structures that had been compressed, open. It feels awful, but I understand what’s happening and I have context for it. My body is changing, but the “pain” is a positive one. Without this understanding, it would be easy for panic to set in, but my feelings about the situation would not, in that instance, reflect the reality.

Our attachment and labeling of sensation affects our experience to a far greater extent than most of us realise. So much so that it can consume our lives.

Perceptions, stories, labels. They are powerful creatures. For the most part, 99 % construct, 1 % reality.

Onwards.

❤️ Jane

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