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POETRY AND SHORTS

Are emotions particles?

People seem to think so.

They exercise an emotion like love, lifting the chest, warmth and swell in the heart and viscera, exercising the body to create a felt inner state, and then they imagine they're creating particles of love.

They imagine these love particles leaving the body. They imagine them collectively gathering in the atmosphere creating a positively charged gradient, which have the power to neutralize "negative" particles of emotion.

"I've found the answer!" they think. "All I have to do is exercise love, all the time, and I will make the world better!"

They retreat among like-minded people exercising love as much as possible, imagining themselves to be creators of love particles. It's their main form of activism, retreating from society and exercising one emotion that makes them feel good.

What happens when everyone does this?

It creates a society where people don't exercise a diverse range of emotions. They can't solve problems. They become escapists. They avoid conflict because any exercise of a "negative" emotion interrupts their spiritual practice. They continuously tell themselves how necessary they are! How special! They can't be bothered by negativity. They are the creators of a positive gradient. Negativity pollutes the gradient.

And they live, believing that they were chosen (it's the only way to justify their lifestyle). Their collective retreat creates a power vacuum eagerly filled by exploitative people. And so it creates two groups in society: one who heartily exercises uncompassionate power over people, and another who will not say "no," because they don't want to feel negative emotions. It's a poor society, based on an inaccurate conceptualization of emotion.

Emotions are not particles. They are body exercises. Visceral movements. Our bodies exercise emotions to maintain and sustain ourselves as bodies. We should train emotions, cultivate emotional agility for interacting with the world, for solving problems, rigorously, exuberantly, with grit, sculpting a sustainable human ecosystem that cares for people as bodies.

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People believe that the body is a machine, like a car. If the car breaks, you open it up and replace the parts.

You don't give the car a massage.

I give massages to people.

In my years of giving massage, I've witnessed how muscle tension is responsible for a tremendous amount of pain. Aching pains, shooting pains, sharp pains. It's responsible for numbness, stiffness, and immobility, problems so extreme, they can be mistaken for broken bones, nerve issues, or torn muscle, to say nothing about tension in the core which can cause emotional pain.

Chronically constricted muscle won't release on its own. Without being addressed, it builds over time. Sometimes the knot is inches long and thick, actively generating extreme sensations of pain. It needs to be worked out, pressed on, released. Circulation needs to be worked back in. Toxins need to be cleaned out. The muscle needs to be massaged.

But because people think they are machines--and you can't fix a machine by massaging it--people don't take massage seriously as a healing treatment for chronic pain. So they go to the surgeon and get worked on like a car.

But what do I know? I just give great massages.

My advice? Consider muscle tension when you feel pain. And get touched.

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Why would I be muscle?

I don't want to be muscle.

Muscles ache and pain and tire and need exercise.

So many needs.

Besides, society tells me they're not important, that I should sit at a desk and not move.

I shouldn't indulge spontaneous bursts of energy and I shouldn't cultivate a mastery of movement in life.

That's why the claim that I'm not muscle must be true, because this society only functions when I believe it. If it weren't true, then what am I doing sitting at a desk?

No, I am not muscle. I am better than muscle. I am something more. I can transcend the ache and pain and fatigue and restlessness. I can transcend body. I am infinite.

I sit here to prove this is so.

Society sees me. Society affirms me.

God affirms me too, so when I die, I will leave this body and these stupid aching muscles that want to move and play and dance.

Yes, I will sit here and think about the day I leave muscles behind.

I am happy because I am not muscle.

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When we laugh, the core muscles shake. The activity loosens the core muscles, bringing circulation and warmth to the core muscles. Sometimes the core muscles are chronically contracted: in the throat, in the diaphragm, in the abdomen, in the pelvis. (I give massage to people. Muscle tension can be a knot inches long and thick, in the arms, legs, back, and in the core muscles. It is possible to massage some of the core muscles when they get tense, but laughing can work better.) Laughing releases core muscle tension. It is an evolved mechanism to bring movement, warmth, circulation and release to the core muscles. It is an activity shaped by the needs of the core muscles.

When we cry, the core muscles shake, sometimes more violently than a laugh. The activity also releases muscle tension. Sometimes people say they cry for no reason. But there is a reason. The core muscles need release, head to pelvis. The core muscles that move for us to breathe are active every moment of our lives. They move in breath, in emotion, in speech. They get tense. Crying releases the core muscles. We don't cry "for no reason." We cry to release tension from core muscles so that they can continue moving to keep the body alive.

When we yawn, the core muscles stretch in coordinated movement. Reflexes coordinate the muscles to move together head to pelvis. Lifted soft palate, lowered larynx, expanded ribs, abdominals and back, expanded pelvic floor. This activity also brings circulation and rejuvenation to the core muscles. It is an activity shaped by core muscle needs.

When we ask someone a question, we end in an upward tone and suspend breath movement, waiting for an answer. The other person sees and hears that the person has suspended their breath. If they suspend breath for too long, the core muscles experience pain. We respond to the question so the other begins to breathe freely again. We are responding in part to the inner needs of their core muscles.

When we first experience "yes" it is a core muscle experience. Think of a smiling child expressing "AAAAHHH." The movement is a pleasured, tickled yawn pose bringing stretch to the core muscles. It is an inner felt experience that benefits the core muscles. As we get older, we learn to punctuate our thoughts with subtle core postures of "yes" creating processes of consciousness. The inner movement of "yes" is different than the inner movement of "no" When we first experience "no" it is a core muscle experience. The breath stops. It is the easiest way to come close to experiencing death--stopping the breath. We exercise "no" to punctuate our thoughts. We exercise the core posture of "no" as a tool to make decisions that avoid hurt and pain. "Should I date this person?" (suspend breath) "No" (stop the breath and feel inner pain) The felt experience of "no" creates a new habit of associating the person we are thinking of dating with inner pain, so we choose to not be with them, long before they are able to really hurt us.

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© 2018 by MADELINE MCNEILL