When I first signed up for the Sensie workshop with Mike I didn’t have many expectations. I knew he created an app (Sensie) that could detect muscle tension and that this could help identify sources of stress, but I didn’t see how this information would actually be able to improve the way I felt in this moment, or in my life generally.
Now, being halfway through the Sensie program, I cannot believe that I lived my 32 years of life thus far being so disconnected and disinterested in the signals my body has been sending me on a daily basis.
I had always conceptualized mental well-being as completely dependent on the state of your thoughts and thus any work to improve your emotional and mental state would start and end in your head. As I am learning now, this could not be further from the truth.
The physiology makes sense, even if it is not what I was taught during my schooling. The basic idea is that your brain is not just confined to your skull, it also includes all the neurons and sensors that extend from the base of your head, down your spinal column, and out like branches through every inch of your body. The brain as we normally think of it (in your cranium) is just the central processing unit aggregating the information sent to it from the body to process, consolidate, and organize it into thoughts. Without the rest of the body, it would have nothing to work with.
Becoming more aware of your body and its messages is the central purpose of Sensie. Your body is constantly sending signals to your awareness to provide status updates and requests for certain actions to be taken (drink water, eat food, get some sleep), but if you do not have practice in listening to your body, it is almost impossible to hear this information.
The simple act of shaking your phone through the app has a much deeper significance than it may appear at first. Yes, the app gives you feedback to alert you if stress is present in your muscles, but it is the felt experience, rather than the intellectual understanding of this stress, that is most impactful change in awareness to come as a result of the program.
Through the Sensie program I now have a starting place to practice listening to my body and the exercises and activities that Sensie taught me have allowed me for the first time to cultivate a relationship with my body and the feelings and emotions stored within it.
To be completely honest, for me the process has been a bit jarring and has often left me in amazement of my own state of being. Growing up I adhered to the lessons most boys were taught which was to suppress my emotions and to display strength in all situations. Feelings were seen as meaningless inconveniences that were there to be avoided, ignored, and moved on from once they passed.
The Sensie program was the first time I heard the advice to listen closely to my emotions and truly feel them in a fully-present awareness in order to learn from them. The surprising result for me was seeing just how much was “beneath the surface” of my consciousness and how feelings that had built up over a lifetime were able to express themselves just by me giving them the space to be recognized and observed. These emotions, of course, range across the spectrum of pleasant to unpleasant. The idea is not to avoid the pain or joy but to allow your body and mind to truly feel these emotions, let them run their course, and them into your life.
I have felt my emotions more powerfully now than I ever have before. I am able to recognize when my body is in a state of stress and when I am in a state of relaxation. I know now that emotions are not meaningless, in fact they are probably more meaningful than any other information your mind receives. Feelings are information about the true state of your existence, the message of the status of your being.
It has only been 4 weeks of practicing the Sensie techniques and I know this is a journey of a thousand miles, but I have already seen benefits to living with this new perspective and approach to listening to my body.
When I feel anxious or tense in certain situations, I am able to use Sensie techniques to identify the source of the stress and seek to address it. I am also more aware of states of joy that I am able to experience and truly appreciate the moments of happiness that arise in my life.
The exercises for clearing negative emotional energy, such as HeartSpeak in the program, has allowed me to move past limiting beliefs about the past and my identify. Recognizing and letting go of negative emotions can feel like a weight has been lifted from your consciousness and you are able to move forward in your life with a more positive disposition.
Like everything worthwhile in life, this approach takes dedication and consistent practice but the benefits for me could be seen almost immediately. I look forward to the rest of the program and the chance to share more about my experience.