I’m flying high!
Literally: I’m 34,987ft in the air as I write this.
Energetically: A dream of mine came true last weekend when I got to see Stevie Wonder live in concert in NYC! And it reminded me of all the benefits of massage and bodywork. Let me explain…
Witnessing Stevie (yea, we’re on a first name basis now ; ) in action, surrounded by thousands of other fans, was a BIG experience.
I wanted to soak in every moment, to open as much as possible to the sound, the excitement and joy felt by the audience, and to the experience of sharing the same (albeit extremely large) room with one of my artistic idols and fulfilling a long-held dream.
Interestingly, somewhere towards the beginning, I noticed that I was holding my breath. In my excitement and the hubbub of my commute and getting through security to my seat, I had forgotten to really breathe, and I felt surprisingly tense and stressed. Not the most conducive internal environment to really receiving the moment!
That’s when I became super grateful for all I’ve learned through years of having a regular massage and bodywork practice.
A) I was able to notice, rather quickly, how I was feeling so that I could make a choice about changing it;
B) I had the tools to change my internal habitat, even in not-the-most calm and relaxing setting;
C) I have created numerous reference points (e.g. past experiences that my brain and body remember and can reference) for how it feels to be deeply relaxed and open, which I could then summon up and return to;
D) I’ve practiced how to fully receive feel-good input countless times through hands-on therapeutic work, and was able to transfer that to more fully receiving the joy of the concert;
E) I have learned, on a physical level, that it can be SAFE and GOOD to feel good. (This is a bit of a bigger topic, but it’s an important one and I’m just gonna throw it out there for now : )
So what did I do: I slowly looked all around the stadium, felt my feet on the ground and my back against the chair, took a few full breaths, closed my eyes for a second, and thought back to a time when my body felt really good (which happened to have been a few days prior after a session with one of my bodywork mentors). And just like that, my muscles started to relax and soften, I didn’t have to focus so much on my breathing, and my heart opened a bit more. Did every ounce of stress and physical discomfort instantly vanish? No! But, I was much more ready and able to enjoy myself and receive the experience.
The benefits of having a regular massage and bodywork practice go beyond the time spent on the table. Not only can it be a time to put down our devices and to-do lists and simply relax and feel good (a pretty darn important reason to do it, ifIdosaysomyself), but it can also be your time to practice; practice relaxing, practice receiving, practice your self-awareness, and practice feeling better and better in your body, with professional support and guidance.
If experiencing greater ease, relaxation, self-awareness, vitality, physical contentment, and overall health and wellness is a goal and priority for you (if you’re reading this, I’m pretty sure the answer’s ‘yes’), then my Gentle Nudge for you is to take a minute or two to jot down all the practices (meaning things you do regularly and consistently) you currently have in place that provide opportunities to deepen these experiences and skills. Then inquire: How are they working for you? Anything you’d like to shift, add, subtract, or play with? Believe it or not, we’re almost a third of the way through 2015, and I think it’s always a good idea to take stock of these kinds of things from time to time to make sure things are moving in a way that feels right and good.
And of course, I invite you to check in with yourself specifically about where massage and bodywork fits in your life. How’s your body feeling? How long has it been since your last session? If it’s been more than 4-6 weeks, might it be time to schedule an appointment? If yes, seize the day and set aside some time for yourself right now: https://hummingbirdbodyworks.acuityscheduling.com/
Like this post? Know someone who could benefit from some self-care inspiration (or a fellow Stevie Wonder fan)? Then go ahead and share on social and forward to your loved ones!