There is something unique about you, a signature at the core of your being. This ‘something’ shapes the quality of your presence, and the feelings your presence invokes in others. It’s represented in the rhythm of your actions as well as the cadence of your being. It influences the content of your thoughts and emotions, as well as how you perceive the world around you.
This thing is your ‘Tone of Life’, and it is the sum total expression of who you are. And yet, it’s also a simple thing, a tangible thing. It governs your health and quality of life as well as your everyday experience. Furthermore, this ‘tone’ is something you already know about, intuitively.
Let’s first talk about the ways in which you’re probably familiar with tone, an then we’ll get into what it has to do with your health and why you should care.
For instance, what is it that we mean when we refer to one’s tone of voice, or the tone of a conversation? Invariably, we’re referring to the general mood or attitude of the ones who are speaking, as we see it, hear it, or feel it within ourselves.
If I asked you to think about the process you go through in determining the tone of a conversation, what would you say? My guess is that you’d find you don’t think about it at all, but that it's something you simply know. It’s almost as if it’s built into your brain function!
And that’s no joke, the ability to sense the tone, mood or atmosphere around us is not only programmed into our nervous systems, it’s an inherent ability, an instinct, shared amongst every cell in our bodies. This is not simply a social phenomenon, but a survival strategy, as well.
If you HAVE taken the time and attention to study how people express themselves through tone of voice, then you’ve already developed a deep appreciation for the level of subtly and influence this has on how you interact with and interpret others. You’ve probably also noticed that changes in tone are not limited to voice, but are present in the written word, as well as sound and music, color and light.
Think for a moment about how certain colors or sounds, particularly in the form of art, music or in nature, have had profound effects on you. Have you ever experienced joy after hearing a particular song, felt sadness after reading a passage from a book, had a sense of peace wash over you while appreciating beautiful scenery, or been struck with curiosity and intrigue while listening to someone speak? Consider the event even more closely. Can you notice how it impacted your body and the way you felt at the time? Perhaps even reliving the memory, or imagining the event happening in the future, is enough to replicate the experience in the present moment.
This is not your imagination, nor is it an accident. Our experience of ‘tone’ as we perceive it in the world around us is inextricably linked to the reality of ‘tone’ within our own bodies. When referring to the functioning of your physical body, your physiology, the word has just as many meanings. It means your muscles and other body tissues have a healthy and normal amount of tension, that your nervous system is experiencing proper and well-adjusted responsiveness to internal and external stimuli, and that your mind and body are resilient and well-integrated. Or, as Merriam-Webster puts it, ‘tone’ is ‘the state of a living body or of any of its organs or parts in which the functions are healthy and performed with due vigor.’
If we pursued the concept one step deeper, we would start to see that these two main concepts of tone, including both our external senses as well as our internal function, are actually one and the same, affecting our lives on every level, all the way down to our DNA. For sanity’s sake, however, let’s save that discussion for another time.
What’s important for now is to realize that our ‘tone’, or the quality of vibration being expressed within our own bodies and our ability to interact with the world around us, has everything to do with the level of health we are able to express and the meaning we are able to give to the world.
The bad news here is that our abilities to experience proper, healthy tone can be interfered with and becomes hampered as we accumulate stresses, insults and injuries throughout life. This leads to a degradation of health and wellbeing, resulting in things like pain, sickness and disease.
The good news is that, through proper care and attention, we can not only overcome that which has hampered us in the past but can grow from our struggles to express better and better levels of health, no matter our age, condition or circumstance.
The BEST news is that each one of us has our own perfect ‘tone’ born within us, untainted and waiting to be expressed. To help you express this unique health signature, your 'Tone of Life,’ is our mission.
Within each of us, there exists a healing wisdom, an infinite potential, which was born from the same intelligence that created the whole universe. This inner wisdom is with us from the moment of conception until the end of our lives, and every stage in between. It is responsible for growing us from a single cell into the multitrillion cells which make us up as humans. It is responsible for organizing these trillions of cells into perfect coordination and harmony, so that we can experience life as fully functioning human beings.
And, just as surely as the beating of our hearts and the breath in our lungs, this inner wisdom is responsible for ensuring the ongoing health of our bodies and minds. Unfortunately, while we are alive, we are prone to insult and injury, which can interfere with the communication of this healing wisdom within our bodies.
As we go through life, we are exposed to a nearly infinite variety of stressors, which can be physical, mental or emotional. These stressors can be large (macro-traumas), or they can be small (micro-traumas). It’s easy to imagine how things such as car accidents, the death of a loved one, or the loss of one’s home or job can be traumatic. However, there many other things that can cause negative stress to accumulate in the body, leading to interference of the innate healing potential.
Common insults to the physical body include things as simple as having poor posture for days, months or years on end or being routinely exposed to chemicals and toxins, such as those found in household cleaning products, plastic water bottles, pharmaceutical drugs, and even those present in our air, food and water. We can carry these physical traumas with us throughout life as well, from the bumps and bruises we accumulated since we were children to the difficulties associated with our own births, and everything in between.
Aside from purely physical occurrences, mental and emotional stressors also have a profound effect on the physical body. Did you grow up in a perfect family, have flawless relationships with everyone you’ve known, effortlessly excel in every area of your academic career, love every job you’ve had, and have you generally never been overwhelmed by anything in your life? If so, then you’ve probably been able to avoid most of the mental and emotional stressors that one might experience.
As for the rest of us, life can sometimes be overwhelming, even getting the better of us on occasion. The accumulation of mental and emotional stress in some areas of our lives is inevitable, and oftentimes, will have a negative impact on the ability of our bodies to heal and function properly.
However, despite the interference caused by the accumulation of these physical, mental and emotional stressors, and the deleterious effects they can have on our health, we always have the ability to reconnect with our inner wisdom and to absolutely thrive in life. This ability is called ‘healing,’ and the key to unlocking this potential starts with a healthy, properly functioning nervous system.
This statement, by Greg Bradden, perfectly sums up our innate healing potential. He said, “We are born healing… every cell in our body is constantly healing and repairing itself. If we step out of the way and allow our bodies do to what they’re designed to do, that’s what opens the door to healthy, vital, loving, productive lives.”
Tone of Life operates under a new and revolutionary healthcare paradigm in which every aspect of your experience, including pain and disease, represents a vital piece in the puzzle of optimal health. Said differently, your body is capable of learning new, health-building strategies from every single occurrence in your life, whether physical, emotional or psychological, no matter how great or small. In this way, each experience acts as potential fuel for growth and adaptation. However, if such an experience exceeds your ability to adapt at any given moment, it results in a build-up of tension within your body, leading to nervous system interference and a decrease in function.
The role of the practitioners at Tone of Life is to guide you toward ever greater states of health by gently prompting your body to self-regulate and self-heal in these areas. The process is a type of neurological re-education in which your body is reminded how to access its own internal resources for healing. You are then able to integrate and ‘learn’ from an experience that was previously affecting your body in a negative way, allowing you to heal from the old trauma, gain new adaptive healing strategies for dealing with similar circumstances in the future, take on new, more challenging experiences, and move through life’s stages with ease, grace and vitality.
Health is the most natural expression of life, and yet, it can elude someone for a lifetime. It is as much a state of being as it is a process of unfolding. It is something for us to strive for and achieve, while at the same time, it is always and forever within us. It is the greatest of all gifts in life, and the undeniable right of all beings.
Health is simultaneously a collective phenomenon and an individual experience. It is something that is both measurable and highly unique to everyone. And so, I encourage you to make the question a personal one. What does health mean to YOU? How healthy do you want to be? How do you want to feel, now and as you age? What do you want to be able to do with your life and with those in your life? And finally, do you believe that it's possible for you to experience the health you desire?
Have you ever taken the time to define health for yourself and to decide what it means in the context of your life? If we at least know our target, our aim can more easily become true, so give it a shot.
I'll give you a head start and share my working definition with you. Here it is - Health is a complete and harmonious state of physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual wellbeing, characterized by a highly adaptable system capable of thriving under stressful circumstances.
Let's break it down, piece by piece. By 'complete,' I mean totally and entirely functional, online and up to date. By 'harmonious,' I mean well balanced, well integrated, and with minimal resistance.
Did I say "physical, mental, emotional, social AND spiritual?" Yes, I did, because your body is not just a meat machine on autopilot, operating independently of everything else in your life. Every single thing about you is connected and related to EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT YOU!
If you're not immediately convinced, just notice what happens to that tension in your neck and shoulders next time you become angry or enraged, how your indigestion flares up when you get anxious and stressed out, how your mental clarity drops and the brain fog rolls in when you've been sleeping or eating poorly, or how your relationships suffer when you're experiencing states of existential doubt or personal despair. If it's not sinking in yet, simply pay attention and observe yourself over time. For now, let's move on and break down the rest of the definition.
By this point, some of the people reading this might have begun wishful thinking about achieving a level of health where nothing stressful every happens anymore, and they never again have to deal with painful, icky or otherwise unpleasant situations. But certainly not YOU, dear reader. You understand that life happens, and it's not always pretty, but that even though shit happens, we are meant to adapt, overcome and grow. That's exactly what I mean by highly adaptable, that even when life throws you off center, physically emotionally or otherwise, you're able to overcome the obstacle and move on, better in some way than you were before.
Finally, the ability to thrive under stressful circumstances is a perfect measure of whether your actually experiencing this thing called health. Think of the word 'thrive' as a contrast to 'survive.' When you're merely surviving through life, your circumstances haven't yet killed you, but life in general seems to be getting less manageable and less tolerable by the day, month, year, or however often you check in with yourself. On the other hand, to thrive under stress suggests that, despite the inevitable unpleasantries of life, you're able to flourish and prosper in the face of your challenges, moving forward with what I consider to be one of the most important attributes of health: presence.
Health is the presence of mind, body and spirit that allows you to be aware, to acknowledge, to accept and to rise above the circumstances of your life, knowing deep within that you are more than your circumstances, and that to be alive is the greatest gift you have ever received.