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Infinity to the Power of a Triangle

Infinity to the Power of a Triangle

How abstract words and affirmations can change our minds, big-time.

It is 4:30  on a clear morning in Whistler today.  It’s still dark.  I am looking out my window and through the spiralled branches of evergreens to the village trail, which is lit by lamp-posts with white globes on top.  The light glistens over a pillowy-thick quilt of snow.

Today I am thinking a lot about words, and in particular, the power of the ideas they hold.  Words in the form of “denials and affirmations” have the power to change the very nature of our being.  They can change the way we feel, and in some cases save one’s life.

The Biggest Number

I am awake a little earlier than usual because my son wandered into bed next to me.  It triggered a memory from about 5 years ago.  He was 3 and I said “I love you infinity.”  My wife said to him “I love you infinity to the power of infinity.” Normally we would give up at this stage, admitting that my wife loves everybody the most.

Then Alexander said something that was mind-blowing.  “I love you infinity to the power of a triangle.”  It was this abstract thought that made us laugh out loud.  Did he know what he was doing?  I think he did.  It made sense to him.  He knew what “to the power of” meant, although he couldn’t calculate it yet, we had explained the concept to him.

Did he realize that he was implying that he was multiplying into something that transcended both simple mathematics and algebra and transcended into geometry.  Not only that, he transcended into the most stable geometric structure we know.

Let the Flow Go

As I step out of this rabbit hole of description, I want to get back into the words that can empower us.   Stress affects all of us and in particular I want to talk about stressful emotions and thoughts.  This “transcending” is something useful that we can apply to our lives every day.

Our emotions and thoughts are like a flowing river.   They flow sometimes fast and sometimes slow.  They are powerful.  The trouble is that when we have stressful thoughts we often try to stop them.   So what we do is we jump in this river and end up being swept away, all the time fighting this thought.

Vicious Circle

The thing is when you think about a thought, it creates more thinking, and there is a vicious circle.  It becomes a habit and then it becomes harder to stop.  Through a valley, over a waterfall, and into the ocean.

If we don’t jump in the river though, the water just passes by.  Thoughts are the same way.  Our thoughts and feelings are present in our bodies but they are also just passing through.  If we take a chance and accept that we have the ability to transcend out of our bodies for a moment then we can say “Huh, look at that, I feel angry.”  This allows the feelings and thoughts to pass by and we set ourselves free of the white-water ride of emotion.

In a way we are elevating ourselves, looking at things from another vantage-point.

Thoughts and Pollution

Sometimes the thoughts are clear as glacier water.  Sometimes our thoughts are murky.  Our mind gets polluted with emotions and unhealthy thoughts.  Our chemistry has a lot to do with our thoughts too.  Have you ever had a nightmare after eating something questionable, or after drinking alcohol?  In the same way you have to wait for it to leave your system, so you also have to wait for emotions to clear your system.

There are things we can do to detoxify the waters.  First we can reduce or eliminate processed foods, and eat organic fruits and vegetables.  Then we can take high-quality supplements.  We can drink filtered water.  And don’t forget that we can get adjusted to improve the function of our nervous system.  All of this affects the “flow of the water” from upstream.

Bank on Serenity

When we think healthier thoughts using affirmations, it improves our ability to stay on the shore.  We can pick a part of the river that’s more friendly in the same way we pick which friends we hang out with, or plan what productive things we will do today.  It may even be part of the river where it’s ok to jump in from time to time.

We can keep a relatively small amount of thought in our minds at one time.  I think it is vital to keep some thoughts on the shore, and send other thoughts into the river to wash away.  Denials and Affirmations are a way to select those thoughts that are hanging out with you all the time.

Dynamic Thought

Denials and Affirmations are short sentences that you say aloud every day, or multiple times per day, which change your feelings and raise you into a focused, calm and loving state.

In the 1935 book Dynamic Thought by Henry Thomas Hamblin the author explains the usefulness and difference between denials and affirmations.   He suggests denials should take the form of “there is no evil.”   Affirmations take the form ” There is only good.”  For example.

  • Thoughts of procrastination do not exist, I am a person of immediate action.
  • Sadness would never control me, I am filled with love and hope and determination to create a better world.

False Affirmations

If you google “morning affirmations” many will actually be denials.   I think the denials alone are far less effective.  In fact before reading Dynamic Thought I thought they were quite negative and unproductive.  Let me explain how it seems incomplete by showing you some examples I found on the internet.

  1. “I won’t let people walk all over me”
  2. “Today I won’t cave in and eat junk food”
  3. “I will stop being lazy”

The Affirmation Spectrum

When I first started composing and helping people with affirmations a few years ago, I found these to sound more like back-handed insults than affirmations.  But here is the thing.  For some people, this is the right tone they need.  There is a spectrum of positivity that affirmations can have.

If we raise the vibration of these same ideas a bit we will get something like this:

  1. “I respect myself, and so do others”
  2. “Today I will calmly welcome the most beautiful nutrients into my body”
  3. “I am a person of action and I always love exercise”

Sometimes Less is More

What I found was that for some people, the more positive words didn’t resonate.  It really depends on what state we are in to begin with.  In fact, a higher state does not always work.  There was something called the “BS” alarm that would go off when I said certain affirmations.   (BS means “baloney sandwich” for you kids out there).  In other words, you need to believe it.

If you don’t believe an affirmation that is positive, you can use a denial, or you can choose to tweak the affirmation by adding “choose” or “strive” like this:

  1. “I choose to respect myself, and for others to respect me”
  2. “It’s my choice to calmly welcome the most beautiful nutrients into my body”
  3. “I strive to be a person of action and someone who always loves exercise”

The Super-Affirmation

Sometimes affirmations can go too far.  In the same way I jumped from a denial into an affirmation, we can jump into a super-affirmation.  This is a visualization of the person you want to become.  By repeating it over and over, you become this person in your mind over time, and then you will gradually begin to accept that identity and choose different actions.

  1. “I am overwhelmed with the oceans of love and respect given to me by my peers and the public”
  2. “My physique and my mind are perfect and eat only premium, perfect food to sustain me”
  3. “I am an unstoppable force of action and productivity, a perfectly powerful physical specimen”

What I hope you are seeing is that all these affirmations are in the same thread, but in a different part of the spectrum of positivity.  The denial is in the far left, but as you go to the right, the negativity ceases to exist.  If you go farther to the right, you obliterate all negativity with an unstoppable ocean of positivity.

Denials and Affirmations

What I discovered in Dynamic Thought was that the combination of Denials and Affirmations allows you to jump up into the next level of affirmation. The combination is extremely powerful.

  1. “I reject disrespectful behaviour, I respect myself and others respect me”
  2. “Junk food does not exist in my world, I choose the most beautiful fruits and vegetables for my body”
  3. “Laziness is not in my heart, I am a person of action and choose to have a perfect physique”

As you get the idea of what I am doing, I want you to know that for some, these affirmations may work but I want you to use them as examples and tweak them for yourself.  They are like a poetry for your soul.  They should make you buzz with a calm feeling of love and confidence.

Think of them as a wall between you and that river of thought: you don’t need to swim in the river if you have your own hot-tub.

Spoiler Alert

But is there another level?  Of course there is.  The author refers to it as “Advanced” and it most certainly is.  As your consciousness gets raised the next step is tapping into an unlimited source of energy.  That energy requires faith.

According to the Author, by tapping into faith of what he calls the “Universal Mind” or God, an unlimited source of energy is helping us.  He is a powerful guide and creator of belief that anything is possible.

Prayer Works

The idea of “Denials and affirmations” was given to the author by none-other than Jesus in his telling of The Lord’s Prayer, for example:

  • “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”
  • “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”

The Prayer provides a source of energy.  It connects us with a higher state of mind. It is almost like we are relinquishing some of the responsibility and allowing the Universal Mind, or whatever you feel your source of energy is to take over.

  1. “The wisdom of the Infinite Universal Mind” passes through me and I live according to His will”
  2. “I am blessed and grateful for the nourishment the God has provided.”
  3. “The power of The Infinite Universal Mind gives me guidance and strength every moment.”

Not everybody believes in God, however, almost everybody is aligned with a belief that there is some spiritual connection that we have with something somewhere that connects us all.  Science just hasn’t caught up with it yet.

If you are Catholic like me, or any type of Christian, you would know a triangle symbolizes the Holy Trinity.

That’s funny,  another triangle. Looks like we went full-circle.


Dr. Gary Barone is the owner of Una Vita Chiropractic. He has been a practicing Chiropractor in Port Moody since 2000. Dr Barone is an Internationally Certified Chiropractic Sport Physician and became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in 2011. He is Certified by the Academy of the College of Chiropractic Pediatrics. You can find him playing soccer, playing hockey or running in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra. He also loves skiing and bike riding with his children Alexander (8) and Estella (5) at his second home in Whistler BC. He frequently visits Perth, Australia from where his wife Catherine hails.
Be One With The Guitar

Be One With The Guitar

Your Body is Part of The Instrument

A couple of months ago I was in my basement and found a stack of sheet music from when I was a teenager.  It was around 1986 then, when I was first studying classical guitar.  I blew the dust off a piece called the Bach Bouree.  It is a famous piece in classical circles.  I had played it quite well on a few different occasions, but it has been at least 15 years since I really nailed that piece.  I decided I would try it again.

Getting Ready

I set up the music stand in front of my couch.  When you play classical guitar, you need to be in the right position.  The couch is about the right height and would suit me for now.  In lieu of a foot stool, I would normally just point my toe during those casual moments of play, but this time I was incrementally more serious, so I improvised with a meditation pillow that was on the floor and placed it under my foot.  Zen indeed.

I started the all too familiar first two measures of the Bouree.  You know, the part some people like to repeat over and over again to impress people who never heard the piece before.  I stumbled my notes and laughed.  There is this part of me that gets excited and laughs when I know I can do something but have to work to do.  I know that in just an hour or two hours, or (or in some cases a month or two) I will probably play it well enough to actually enjoy listening to myself.

The Strains of Practice

As I got deeper into the piece, the measures got harder.  It’s not because it is actually harder, but it is the nature of practice that I will start at the beginning.  It is a very good place to start, after all.  (Yes, I went there).  That means that I have played the beginning more times and so it is easier, and the middle of the piece is harder.  My fingers got harder to move.

I had to double-check the notes, and study them to decide if my fingering was correct.   I asked myself “Is there an easier way?”   I am fortunate enough to have my teacher’s notes from 1986 scribbled on the page.  It doesn’t take much.  “1/2 barre on 2” scribbled in the margin could save me hours of trial and error.

Through The Cobwebs

Years of not practicing a piece makes it difficult to remember the transitions and positions.  It is as though over time, there is a veil that comes between me and the music, or it’s like a cell phone with a decreased signal.

As the movements get more difficult, my muscles strained more, and my wrist and forearm would start to stiffen up.  I focus mentally on relaxing my hand and easing my movements.   It is worse in the left wrist, usually, I find.  It’s that hand that does all the barre cords and has to grip and stretch.  All this while the right hand, seemingly motionless, allows its fingertips to lightly perform their relaxed dance over the strings.

Even as I type this, my wrist aches with the memory.

Asking for Advice

During a lesson I told my guitar teacher that my shoulder was hurting while I played.  He said to watch my posture.  “Make sure your shoulder doesn’t slouch down.”  He was right, but it was still not the best advice.  I suffered through hours of practice every week.

Normally I would practice 10-40 minutes per day, but I would practice up to 12 hours per day the week before a recital.  I was motivated first by the fear of embarrassment, then by the rush of endorphins that only rigorous applause from strangers could bring, and the praise from parents and kids after the recital.

A Priceless Guitar Experience

I still remember at my first recital, a small girl approaching while clung to her mom’s walking leg.  “Go on.” the mom said, pointing in my direction.

“I really love the way you played… ” She went on and on describing it.  I was so touched I don’t even remember any of what she said.

Music is funny that way.  Most of us don’t get paid, but we will practice and practice, just in case we get the chance to play for somebody and get praise, or we just play for ourselves, for fun or for the challenge.  People talk about professional athletes overcoming pain.  They get paid millions and tough it out.  They have trainers and experts fixing them up.  I think little is mentioned about what musicians go through physically while practicing.

In Dire Straits?

I know music isn’t usually a contact sport.  The “maybe get a blister on your little finger, maybe get a blister on your thumb” line from “Money for Nothing” may ring true (It beats lifting appliances) but little is said about the repetitive strain that occurs to so many of us.

I know first hand that most injuries aren’t dramatically traumatic, they are repetitive and postural.  Repetitive damage builds up over time and makes us more vulnerable to injury in the future.


I was 16 when I got that advice from my guitar teacher.  It was years later at age 19 when I went to a chiropractor for the first time.  I remember the chiropractor asking if I had upper back pain.  My reply was “Yes but that is normal” while he lightly smiled at me, like the Mona Lisa.

That first adjustment was incredible.  I remember when he pressed gently on my back and it released like a dozen mouse traps, and the feeling of a rush of ice water going into my arms.  He adjusted my neck and it made a ridiculous noise, and felt like a waterfall of fresh water was entering from my head down into my body.  WOW!  It was the best thing ever.

After that visit, I went down to my car and sat there and thought for a minute.  I remember thinking “Is this the way I am supposed to feel?  Are people supposed to not feel in pain?”  It was really a re-birth for me.   I had seen chiropractic save my mother’s life, and make my brother-in law walk again.  Despite this, I was still skeptical, and after this adjustment I realized something.  It not only helped those in trouble, it also helped people who didn’t know they had a problem to begin with.

The Sources of Stress Realized

I thought back to every time I got hit in the head and even knocked out momentarily while playing football, or playing hockey.  Every body check that I delivered and received.  I didn’t even think of the toll mental and emotional stress had on me.  I didn’t even think of my diet.

Think about what a difference it would have made if my guitar teacher had said “See a chiropractor, get adjusted, you probably have problems in your spine that have build up over time from poor posture, sports, and hours of practice.  Go see a chiropractor, get adjusted regularly.  It may change your life.  Just do it.  I love my chiropractor. Just go.  It’s your nervous system that controls everything and if your spine is in alignment then your body will work better and  you will play better.  Just go. Think of how much better you will play if you are not in pain.”

Forgotten Ones

When a teenager comes in our office, it is because they want to.  I don’t have actual statistics, but I would say that more than half the teenagers who visit us do so because they asked (or  begged) their parents to come in.  Maybe they were convinced by a friend or other person influential to them.

I look back at video of myself as a child (ok, it’s 8mm film converted to video) running, and I see a lowered shoulder, a flared foot, tilted head.  I wonder sometimes how much better my life would be had I been adjusted throughout my life, not just the second half.    Those problems all started at a very early age.

My guitar teacher was not just a guitar teacher, he was like a cool uncle.  He was older but not too old, gave me advice about a lot of things in life.  He cared.   If you are a teacher,  or had one, you may know what I mean.

Instrument Number 1: Your Body

Teachers teach us to tune our instruments.  Tuning your body is a lot like tuning a guitar.   I have started practicing many times, hating it, only to realize that I sounded terrible just because my guitar was only slightly out of tune.  Just a little tightening of the G string and suddenly things were better.  I sounded better, the room smelled better, food tasted better.  I had more energy.  I went from being lame to being a rock star.  This was just from tuning the string of my guitar.

Surely, the “strings” of your body are at least equally important.  What if the nerves going to your hand are compressed at the spine, at the neck, because you are slouching, or sitting at school all day, or play football.  They could be compressed in the shoulder muscles or neck muscles too.  The muscles in your arm can have scar tissue and knots that can be released with a little care.  What if your wrist needs to be adjusted, stiff from years of over-use.

Your Brain is the Ultimate Conductor

Do you think you would play better if your neck was moving normally, and there was no nerve interference going into your arms?  Do you think that your nerve function will affect the way you play a piece on your guitar?  If an adjustment improves your coordination and nerve function and reflexes and hand strength, do you think you will play better?

Do you think you would play better if you were not in pain?

A former assistant texted me an article last year that more people than ever are quitting music programs because they have injuries.  This really breaks my heart.   I know as a doctor and a musician that these are absolutely avoidable in almost every case.  These injuries are almost always treatable.  Not only can you keep playing, but there are ways to help you play better than ever because your body is working better than ever.

The adjustment is the best way to address nerve interference.  At Una Vita the adjustment to addresses nerve interference, the alignment, tone and movement.  We address the muscles and the joints, and can prescribe the exact stretches that will help you get the relief you need.

Will Stretching Only Work?

Let me ask you a question.  Suppose that you are stretching your flexor carpi radialis muscle in your arm. While you do this, misalignments in your spine are causing nerve irritation, and this is causing the muscle to contract.   How well do you think the stretches will work if the irritated nerve is continually making a muscle contract?  Will the stretches fix the nerve?  Will the muscle ever stop contracting?  Do you think it will be painful to stretch a muscle that is fighting you all the while?

At Una Vita, we use a special process to release the nerve interference in order to allow the muscle to relax so your alignment normalizes.  We address the tone to keep it that way longer, and then we use Active Release Techniques to release the muscles.  When we are confident your spine is healing, we prescribe specific stretches for you.

Can I release my own nerves?

If you are wondering if it is possible to adjust your own spine.  The answer is a hard NO.  You can crack your own bones at your own risk, but that is not the same as an adjustment.  Even a chiropractor has to see another chiropractor to provide adjustments to remove nerve interference.   It is actually a very technical procedure.  It is very hard, and takes 7 years of training to be able to do it effectively.  Even with 7 years of training, it is not possible to locate and adjust your OWN spine for nerve interference.

But Everybody Does It!

The guest who says “I usually crack it myself but can’t get it this time” or “my wife usually walks on my back but she is out of town” is going to be subject to either polite micro-re-education, or silence with a raised eyebrow, or a sarcastically delivered comment like “oh, that’s interesting.”  It could also be any combination of the three.

If you are in pain and trying to crack your own spine, there is a good chance you will create further damage and irritation if you do any self “cracking” in lieu of a correct adjustment.

What Else Can I Do at Home?

There are many things you can do on your own to improve the function of your nervous system.  Mostly, it involves reducing mental stress and chemical stress and physical stress.

Performing meditation is the best way to reduce the effects of mental stress.  You can use an app like Headspace or the Muse device to help you meditate.  Activities like Yoga help release physical and emotional stress, and will teach you breathing exercises.

For physical stress, yoga, breathing exercises and addressing posture and ergonomics are the best way to reduce interference.

For chemical stress, eliminate processed foods and processed sugar.   Stick with organic fruits and vegetables, and avoid all alcohol, caffeine and drugs, as well as all pollution and chemicals.

I know you probably know al lot of that stuff, but are you doing it?  Most of us are doing some of it, but not all.  If you are a touring rock band reading this, I am particularly sorry.

Next Steps

I am the author of a stretching manual called TIME to Stretch.  It contains over 40 techniques to stretch, relax and improve the flexibility of hundreds of muscles in your body.   I developed these techniques over the last 18 years of my practice, and in addition to making it for my beloved practice members, I am also publishing it so I can share it with the beloved public, especially if you play the guitar.

There is nothing out there like this.  These are completely new moves that are a valuable addition to every person’s stretching vocabulary.

Register Below.  When the list reaches 50 emails you will all receive an excerpt from the book which will contain the 5 best stretches for guitar players, with a special guide written just for you.  You will get it absolutely for free.  I just want you to do one thing.  After you read it, let me know what you think.   I would really love to hear from you.

Care Personalized Just for You

If you are in the BC Lower Mainland, you can also schedule a consultation with me.   As a part of your care, I would prescribe the stretches that are best for you, and also release any nerve interference, of course.

When YOU are in tune, you play better.  Your will sound better and feel better and so will your guitar.  The more you can do to keep yourself in tune, the more benefits you will get in the future.

If you want more tips about reducing stress with meditation, ergonomics, exercises and diet, subscribe to my mailing list at my blog, the Gentle Press, here.

There are a million blogs and information out there, my goal is to be your concierge.  I want to help you weed out the fads, the highs and lows.  I would like to keep you on track with the things that really matter to you.  People visit me every day asking for advice on these very topics, and so I say why not share it with everyone, including you?

About The Author

Dr. Gary Barone is the owner of Una Vita Chiropractic. He has been a practicing Chiropractor in Port Moody since 2000. Dr Barone is an Internationally Certified Chiropractic Sport Physician and became a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in 2011. He is Certified by the Academy of the College of Chiropractic Pediatrics.  You can find him playing soccer, playing hockey or running in Burnaby, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Anmore and Belcarra. He also loves skiing and bike riding with his children Alexander (8) and Estella (5) at his second home in Whistler BC.  He frequently visits Perth, Australia from where his wife Catherine hails.  


Love: Simple.

Love: Simple.

Sometimes we make things too complicated. Consider it a bug in the programming of our DNA.
We complicate our health care, our relationships, parenting, our diet, even love.
Deep down we know the rules, and what is right, yet somehow, that simplicity all too often gets poisoned by peer pressure, ulterior motives, confusion, even greed of others, and even fear.

I was relatively fresh out of school in 2002. I was in Las Vegas at a seminar (more like a festival) with 5000 Chiropractors. There was a buzz because one by the name of Dr. James Sigafoose was speaking that day.

Like I typically do in situations where I anticipate getting my mind blown, I sat in the front row. Up on the stage came this man with grey hair, white beard, not particularly fit, extremely soft spoken. He spoke to the audience softly, as if he was holding them in his hands like a small bird… gentle enough not to hurt them, but tight enough for them to not fly away.

I didn’t really get it.

It wasn’t until many years later that I started to understand his clarity, simplicity, and at the core of it all was just his love.  I didn’t see it at the time, because I was used to making things complicated (university does that to a guy).  To me, complicated was probably better!  I now believe the opposite is true.  Focus and clarity are much more important, especially on days like today, where we focus even more on the people we love.

I want to share this special Valentine’s day message with you all. I want you all to remember where all your emotions, every memory, and every experience in your life comes from.

Is that not amazing that love can change the world.  It all starts with loving one person at a time, and before you know it, the whole world has changed.

Happy Valentine’s Day