Ahhhh, stress! Stress feels awful. And yet it has become the 'normal' way of being for so many people today. What can be done? How do we deal? I'm thinking about this tonight as I sit here, snug and cozy after a hot shower, with some buttered toast and a cup of Earl Grey. I'm thinking about this because I feel really relaxed, and feeling relaxed, I realized that I was pretty damned stressed out today. Having this point of reference allows me to see boths sides of the coin. We know that we were in darkness because of the return of the light.
I never really gave the enormity of the subject of stress and what it does to us much thought (I know, coming from a health/healing professional that sounds crazy!) until I had a very powerful healing experience a few years ago. I went to see an acupuncturist for migraines and depression and he gave me a doozy of a session! After reading my pulse, looking at my tongue, my eyes, and taking my (exteremly thorough) history, he said, "Melinda, you are a little stressball! You've been in a pretty much constant state of 'fight or flight' for probably 10-13 years, and you don't even know it. I'm going to give you a very intense treatment, because you need to experience a true calm to fully understand how much you've been holding. You need a Point of Reference." Afterwards, I floated out of that office and across the street to meet a friend for tea. She said I looked different. I told her I felt so relaxed. I couldn't remember ever feeling so relaxed. Truly 'chilled out'. My chest felt so open, my breath came in deep and full, easy and smooth. I felt like all the frayed nerves in my body had been combed out, soothed, cooled, softened. Wow. Physically, and in my whole being I felt so different. I had no idea!
This got me thinking, wow, that stress, it's pretty serious stuff! As serious as abuse of drugs and alcohol, really unhealthy food habits, lack of excersize, and diseases. I know, I know...everybody knows that already. But do you Really know it? I thought I knew it too, but i didn't....until I knew it. Until I had an experience where I could see the difference. As stressors began to seep back in, I was able to see them as they came, and do something about it. That could mean doing something about the problem itself, or something for myself so that my relationship to the 'stress-thang' didn't have to be so 'stressful'. For me, getting a deeply relaxing and nurturing kind of bodywork session is what does it. A couple months later, I went to an Ayurvedic Bodywork Practitioner for an hour & a half treatment. She used specially blended warm oils in large quantities, warm stones placed here and there, she gave me the most luxuriously oily scalp massage with aromatherapy, massaged my hands and feet until I didn't even know where I was anymore. My body just dissolved. Wow. Again, I felt that stress flow out of me like rain. Replaced with a golden flowing warmth, a comfort of being in my body and loving it, feeling an easy smile of just being.
Hmmmmm, feeling a revelation? I love a good deep tissue massage. It feels so good, the way it works my muscles, and joints, kneading out the tension and knots. I love giving a good, solid, deep massage, feeling tissue melt and move under my hands, fingers, knuckles, and elbows. Feeling that kind of unwinding is awesome. I had thought that I would always want deep tissue massages, and that relaxation massages weren't really effective for anything. That's just becuase I had never relaxed! Sometimes I go for the deeper massage, sometimes I go for the Super-Melt Massage, sometimes I want Reiki, Shiatsu, or Polarity Therapy. My favorite work to do, and what I've been finding myself doing a lot of these days, is combining massage, deep or otherwise, with the clearing and balanacing energetics of Polarity Therapy. It's been described to me like this, "It's as if your whole being gets a fresh rain shower, with a warm breeze, and sun coming out giving you a full body rainbow". All the while your body is getting smooshed and kneaded with warm oils. Wow. I want someone to do that to me! Yes please. Someone do that to me! I love this practice so much because I feel like it touches on all the important things. Calming and soothing the nervous system, releasing tension in the body, releasing and clearing blocked energy along the meridians and energy centers, harmonizing and aligning the body's systems so they are in rythm with each other. Ahhhhhhhh, yeah.
I am looking forward to bringing Ayurvedic Bodywork into my practice this spring or fall! It's such beautiful work, practiced for thousands of years, steeped with knowledge and wisdom of the centuries. So deeply nourishing and nurturing for the body and soul.