I am open to the possibility…..
I have been walking around the last few days, knowing I want to write another post, and struggling with what to say. Every action I make is a half finished sentence that goes nowhere. Then my old friends worry, fear, and judgment show up.
When I feel myself barraged by those critical voices in my head, I know it is a sign to take a step back and regroup. I take a moment to feel my feet on the earth, the ground supporting me from below, my breath moving in and out of my lungs, the rise and fall of my ribcage. I begin to relax. Tuning into the details of where I am in my body right in this moment in time. And as I settle back into myself, I begin to hear my true voice. It reminds me that I don’t have to work so hard. Instead of reaching and grasping for what I want to say, I can just listen, open myself up to the possibilities, and the inspiration will come and the words will move through me.
An exercise I did in one of my earlier classes illustrates this beautifully. There are two people, one person is sitting, the other is helping, they are holding hands, and the goal is to get from one chair to another across the room. The first time, the helper is to lead, but it ends up with the helper pulling the sitter across the room to the other chair. Just reading about it, I remember the feeling as the helper, so much work with so little gain, and the feeling as the sitter, the more I got pulled, the less I wanted to move. The second part of the exercise was for the sitter to initiate the travel, which ended up with the helper waiting and waiting for something to happen, and then when it finally did, the helper was so startled that they might or might not have been able to catch up to the sitter. That didn’t feel great either. The last part of the exercise was for the helper to ask the sitter when they were ready to move, the sitter lets the helper know, and then they move together across the room to the chair. This is a much softer way of traveling, for both the helper and the sitter. The same is true for me and inspiration, and also between a therapist and a client.
A client comes to my treatment table, and I ask questions, of the client and of the tissue. Then I listen to the answer. I remain open to allowing whatever needs to happen in that moment in time, happen. Whether it’s a particular technique, a verbal dialogue to process an emotional holding, or to just hold a space for a few moments of rest, it’s all ok. I give the tissue what it is asking for in that moment in time and allow my treatments to move through me. The treatment flows from one moment to the next like water, with very little effort on my part, as long as I keep listening and keep open.
Then when I look back on a session, I can see how the water was flowing, how all the dots connect. Sometimes it’s like a river, with a clear direction, swirls and eddies. Sometimes it’s like the surf, big crashing waves, and dramatic releases. Sometimes it’s like a calm lake, dynamic in the stillness. And sometimes, it’s like jumping from one puddle to the next, it doesn’t always make sense why you go from one place to the next and eventually, you as the therapist might figure out how it’s all connected, but sometimes not, but you get to the other side of the street, so it’s all good.
And most amazing of all is that it happens within the allotted treatment time. Part of communicating with a client’s tissue is to let it know how much time it has to do what it needs to do. And being open to the possibility that it will do what it needs to do, in the time you have available. I have met many therapists who consistently struggle with holding that time boundary. And I always wonder what they are asking the body at the beginning of the session. Are they asking, “What do you need from me today?” Or are they asking, “What do you need from me today in this hour (or whatever time frame your session is) that we have to work?” I also wonder if they are listening to the ending point, that gentle pushing away and cooling off of the tissue, or are they lost in their own worries, fears and judgments. Either way, can they take a step back, and open to the possibility that the client can get everything they need from the treatment in the given time frame? It is amazing how being clear with your questions and intentions can change the way a session plays out.
Actually, it is amazing how being clear with your intentions can change the way a lot of things go outside of the treatment room as well. Coming back to my struggle with this blog post, it is amazing that when I asked them to come before the week had passed, the words gathered around me, as if they were lining themselves up to flow out of my typing fingers, I just had to open to the possibility that they were there, and listen to hear what I was supposed to say. And the blog just wrote itself.
I am open to the possibility……
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