The 18 Principles of Rubenfeld Synergy Method #2: The body, mind, emotions and spirit are dynamically interrelated

Originally posted at Kamela’s blog, Power In Your Hands.

As the years go on, scientific research continues to mount showing the truth of this simple principle: the body, mind, emotions and spirit are dynamically interrelated. What we feed our bodies, how well we sleep and how often we exercise all have profound affects on common mental disorders like depression and anxiety. Feelings of love and affection can make the difference between life and death in an infant. Prayer, meditation and other forms of spiritual exercise have been shown to increase grey matter in areas of the brain concerned with memory, learning and cognition.

Rubenfeld Synergy has been operating from this principle for about 50 years, and it’s exciting to see the research bearing out what Ilana Rubenfeld and her descendents have continuously found to be true.  What happens in the body affects the system all the way through.  The thoughts we continually ruminate on have effects in our bodies and emotions.  A trauma to the body is a trauma to the mind, emotions, and spirit.  And the more conscious we are of these connections, the more integrated a life we can lead.

My own experience with this principle came during the personal sessions I received during my training.  I was having a repetitive shoulder injury: every six months or so, the muscles running from my right shoulder blade up into my neck would lock up and spasm so painfully that I couldn’t raise my arm without crying out.  I would go to the chiropractor, who would snap my cervical vertebrae back into place, and then get massage to loosen up the spasmed muscles.  I would fully recover, only to have it happen again whenever I worked too hard at the gym, or spent too much time with my computer.  It was never clear what exactly would trigger it, and I could make no progress in improving my fitness and strength.  It was extremely frustrating.

On the table at one of the trainings, staring up at the ceiling of one of the little buildings at the Omega Institute, it came to me.  My Synergist, the marvelous Sarah Baker, had her hands beneath my shoulder.  I was in some pain that week, and my shoulders were tight and pulled in toward my spine.  I was also thinking about my writing, and why I hadn’t yet worked harder in my life to become published.  What was my problem, I wondered?  What was I afraid of?  Sarah had me tune in to my shoulders as I was talking about this.

I felt my shoulders pulled in, and I recalled myself as a teenage girl, walking the halls of my high school, waiting for the next lash of the various casual bullies who helped make my life there miserable.  I remembered curling inward, hugging my books to my chest, trying to be smaller, trying to be invisible.

“What might happen if you published a book?” Sarah asked me.

“I’ll be seen,” I said, tears starting.  “And being seen isn’t safe.”

My shoulders had been protecting me all of these years: making me small and invisible so that I wouldn’t get hurt.  With my tight, protected shoulders I was safe, but I couldn’t get stronger, I couldn’t get bigger, and I couldn’t put myself in any kind of spotlight.  Every time I tried, I got injured, and had to go back and start over.

Once I listened to the messages of my shoulders, I was able to see that their tightness had been integral to me at one point, but now it was time to do something different.  I didn’t need to be invisible anymore; I didn’t need that protection.  As I cried and released the emotion of the realization, my shoulders relaxed under Sarah’s hands.  I haven’t suffered that injury since.

The messages of our bodies are varied and complex, and tell stories that go far beyond tight muscles, old injuries, or sprains and strains.  They tell the story of our lives in all their prismatic beauty and pain – our emotional wounds and triumphs, our broken or soaring spirits, our troubled or clear minds.  This interrelation is key to understanding how Rubenfeld Synergy works, and how we can heal ourselves.

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The 18 Principles of Rubenfeld Synergy Method #1: Each Individual Is Unique

This is the first in a series of posts on the 18 Principles of Rubenfeld Synergy Method, as defined by Ilana Rubenfeld.  Her analysis of them can be found in her book, The Listening Hand.

Each individual is unique.

This first principle – each individual is unique – appears simple, almost simplistic, at first blush. It may even seem sentimental: a touchy-feely belief that we are all special snowflakes.  But in reality, approaching each individual as a unique being helps us to better participate in the healing journey that is specific to the client.  Rubenfeld Synergy isn’t about diagnosis: it is about discovery.

Continue reading

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Where is Your Magnificence? by Joan Brooks

I recently had the experience in a Rubenfeld Synergy workshop, Embodied Spirit, with Noel Wight and Joe Weldon, of rediscovering my magnificence once again. We were asked what dislodged or buried spirit of being did we want to re-embody. I instantly saw myself as this magnificent, shining being that I know I am, but that has been buried under layers of crap, mine and others. At first my magnificence was a small, glowing light in my solar plexus, partially hidden behind gray smoke. Continue reading

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Common Ground by Joan Brooks

My mentor asked me what it was like to read my first blog to him. His asking helped me to discover what I was experiencing rather than being focused solely on his reaction. On the one hand (my left), I felt squeamish as I worried that he wouldn’t want to hear what I had written. On the other hand (my right) my chest expanded as I realized I liked what I had written. I took a deeper breath as I felt pride at my accomplishment.

Imagine my surprise when he asked me what common ground those two sides had. What? Common ground? Don’t I just want to get rid of the “bad” feelings and stick with the good? Continue reading

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I Listened to My Heart by Joan Brooks

Joan Brooks, Certified Rubenfeld Synergist and Teacher

This is my first ever blog and I confess to being nervous. My stomach is doing these funny little loop-d-loops as my hands shake a little bit at the nerve of me to think I can actually write a blog people would want to read. Continue reading

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Moving from Habit to Choice by Kamela Dolinova

Kamela Dolinova

Kamela Dolinova

Today I came across this very simple and straightforward blog post from psychotherapist Kristen Barton Cuthriell about behaviors and consequences.  The post is full of sound advice about what happens when you make particular choices, and how thinking through the consequences can help you make the right ones. A few examples: Continue reading

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Light, Love And Power: The Path That Guides Us Home by Lori Schlosser

—Image source: Flickr user AlicePopkorn

—Image source: Flickr user AlicePopkorn

I am sitting on a beach in Vieques, Puerto Rico. The sand is white and soft- the water- lapping onto the shore in the most beautiful shades of aqua blue- glistening with the reflections of the sunshine. I cannot imagine a more serene place. And yet, even here, there are times when the storms are so fierce that they batter the shore or an erupting volcano from the nearby island of Monserrat covers the island in grey ash. Continue reading

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It’s My Birthright to be Safe, Supported and Loved by Julie Connor

Julie Connor

Julie Connor

“It is my birthright to be safe, supported and loved!” These are the words that my client proclaimed during her Rubenfeld Synergy session last week. Her words had POWER, meaning and encouraged healing in the present moment.

As my hands were supporting and listening at her shoulders, I could see that some emotions were beginning to rise in her body. She was feeling afraid, sad and lonely. I asked her to locate these feelings in her body. She could feel sadness and restriction in her throat. Anger and fear gripped and filled her gut. Continue reading

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Straightening Up by Bonnie Muller

Bonnie Muller, LCSW, CRS

Bonnie Muller, LCSW, CRS

After a few sessions of the Rubenfeld Synergy Method “Tom” attended one of Ilana Rubenfeld’s workshops at Omega. He left the weekend committed to practicing the sensory and emotional freedom he experienced there and in our sessions. For several years, he has been doing variations of the Rubenfeld Bodymind Exercises® at home most mornings. He has also continued to have biweekly sessions with me. Continue reading

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Listen to Your Body and Live Fully and Authentically by Kelly Haber

Kelly Haber

Kelly Haber

The Rubenfeld Synergy Method ( RSM ) was founded by Ilana Rubenfeld over 40 years ago, before Mindfulness or the concept of the Mind-Body connection was in vogue. Science has now caught up with what she knew intuitively, that our emotions reside in our body, and that accessing them is an important part of self discovery and healing.This gentle but very powerful method of healing wounds from the past and gaining insight into the present, is focused on the Body’s wisdom. It is based on the concept that we hold within ourselves the answers to the questions that confuse us, and that every one of our habits and beliefs have a foundation and make sense. Continue reading

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