Today is All about Balance

balance-150x150So the fall equinox came to town this morning at 4:04am (CDT). That means that autumn is officially here. Those that know me know how excited I get by a decrease in the Texas heat, and this summer has been one beyond any stretch of my imagination. Austin has now had 85 days over 100 degrees, and the last measurable rainfall in my yard was in May. It has created a whole new way for me to look at hot and dry. It has also created a whole bunch of imbalances in nature, as well as in peoples’ bodies.

I like that today represents the balance of light and dark; some yang with your yin, some good with your evil. The closer you live to the equator, the closer you will be to 12 hours of day and 12 hours of night. One of the biggest myths about this day is that it is possible to balance an egg on its end due to the position of the earth’s axis in relation to the sun. Of course I tried it. Did it work at your house?

So my bodywork aficionados, what in the world does this have to do with you? Well this is the perfect time to set an intention toward balance. Balance is defined as a state of equilibrium. I like thinking about it in the concept of equanimity. How can we bring about a state of calmness or steadiness? This can be looked at broadly, as in our life, work or relationships, or more specifically as in our body, breath or movements.

The bodyworker in me is always trying to find a way to bring harmony to the body. And what I know is that it starts and finishes with you, the client. My job is to get your nervous system to quiet down long enough for you to listen. We may not perfectly understand what our body is trying to tell us, but it will definitely give some insight on areas that need attention. Even on a day closer to pure black and white, your body may still speak in shades of gray. When you are calm, all you have to do is listen to the whispers.

“If your mind isn’t clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.” ~ Wu-men

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What You Say Matters

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freefoto.com Camellia: symbol of gratitude

 

Just the other day, an old friend gave me a very insightful compliment. It turned out to be more valuable than I could have anticipated, as with one single phone call, my carefree Saturday went from playful and free to concerned and helpless. I found myself drawing from his earlier words, as they helped me to remember that ultimately I am patient and I am strong.

Being miles away from the situation, there was nothing I could personally do to assist except to be present when the phone rang again. As hard as it is for me to feel helpless, I know that if I was a witness to pain or anguish in someone that I love, I would want someone to talk to. So I pulled strength from my friend’s earlier comment, and just sat patiently with the fact that things were out of my hands. What I could control was being there when I was needed. I could push my own fears aside and be completely present for someone else.

So in gratitude for my friend’s kind words, I want to remind us all that our words matter. I think it is important to use them wisely and with care, as they can be more powerful than you know. So if you’re thinking about giving someone a compliment, like Nike says “Just Do It!” I found truth in the saying that a sincere compliment boosts one’s morale. You never know, what you say may change someone elses’ day too!

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.” ~Mark Twain

A Double-Edged Sword

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Double Edged Sword by musogato

 

One of the more delicate parts of my job is discussing radiological findings with my clients. These tests have become the gold standard to rule out serious medical conditions. They are also used to figure out why someone has pain. This can bring great comfort to people as they now have a clear cause, and yet great distress to others because their tests are normal and they still hurt.

So in truth, how much weight should a scan hold in the overall picture of your pain? Here is the case that really challenged my own outlook. On his first visit, this client came into my office with his written MRI report in hand. Luckily the medical terminology wasn’t written in layman’s terms, so he wasn’t able to judge the severity. He was comfortable with his doctors’ assurance that it was arthritis, and at 60 years of age he personally felt like that was to be expected. At that time, I had fifteen years experience under my belt and was pretty sure I had never read a scan so daunting. It could have taken the prize for ‘the worst stiff neck imaginable’, if awards for this were actually given out. I remember thinking can a neck like this ever move normally again.

What began with so many doubts, turned into an incredible journey. It broke down barriers in my belief system that needed to be challenged. I had a big aha moment when I came to realize that an image is one thing and the body’s own ability to heal is quite another. Had I relied solely on what the scan said, with major arthritic changes at each and every level of his neck, I would have feared moving forward. The beauty was that his body was ready for relief from a year of headaches and an inability to look over either shoulder. It became clear very quickly, that his neck just needed a little guidance.

If I was a betting woman, I would have lost, as I didn’t hold faith in his full recovery. Thankfully he proved me wrong and this one man’s success has completely changed my outlook. I no longer judge a client by their imaging; instead it is just one small piece of the amazing puzzle called the human body. With this said, I recommend that you don’t judge yourself by your scans, and see if a brighter outlook doesn’t appear.

Is Your Story Keeping you from Your Best Health?

purple_flowers-150x150Is your ‘story’ keeping you from your best health?

Recently I received a call from a potential client who didn’t even offer me his name. He opened the conversation with who had referred him to me, and that he preferred to get in ASAP because of his pain. Since it seemed very important to him, I proceeded by inquiring about the nature of his pain. His response was that he has persistent pain in his shoulders, which he feels comes from a guarding pattern he can’t seem to change following a cervical spine fusion surgery.

Since his issue seemed really straight forward and I didn’t have space to fit him in that day, I recommended some other bodywork practices that may have immediate availability. But now the real story came out. “Would they know what to do with a fusion?” he asked. I find I am taken a little aback, as rarely do I get a referral for someone still on restrictions without getting a phone call from their practitioner or doctor. To clarify my questions, he stated that his surgery was over a year ago and he has been given the all clear by his surgeon to resume all his normal activities.

Here is the catch, and ultimately what may be creating an underlying holding pattern in the muscles of his shoulders. On his last visit, the doctor explained that on one view of his x-rays the bone looked as if it hadn’t completely filled in, but even with this information he was released from all his previous restrictions. So despite the wonderful hall pass he received, he leaves the doctors office in conflict. As he has heard that he is not whole, in fact still quite broken and fragile, with the fusion not being completely perfect. He also heard the words he is free to get back to his life as before. But now, he just may write his story that he is getting back to his life, but despite giving a year of his life to surgery, rehab and recovery, he still isn’t well.

He needs to believe that it is okay to not have a perfect x-ray at the one-year mark, and that the doctor feels very good with the outcome of his surgery even with these findings. And most importantly, it is okay to move on with your healing by editing this part of your story to mean that imperfect doesn’t mean broken. I hope he realizes this sooner rather than later, and gets back to being himself, and not his injury. I will know this is true if he calls again, and begins by giving me his name.

“Not everything that can be counted counts, And not everything that counts can be counted.” ~ Einstein

Turning Points

road-to-success11-150x150As a bodyworker, I come into people’s lives when something is amiss in their body. Over the years, I have been blessed with assisting a lot of incredible people on their path toward wellness.

Recently, I was reminded how important this can be when I received an enormous hug and the gracious words, “You were my turning point. After our session, I knew I had the tools to get well.” These rewarding moments are why I am so committed and passionate about my work.

But it also stirred up even more questions for me. How many people recognize when they are at a turning point? How many people stop there and are fooled into believing this is the end point, and ultimately get re-injured? How many people never find their turning point, and continue to stay in a vicious cycle that ultimately doesn’t bring wellness.

Ah, always more too ponder! It’s a great reminder to pay closer attention to your body, so that you can feel this change. I sure appreciate my clients’ for the lessons they share with me every day.