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Tag Archives: attention

Hey there, SassyPants, I’ve got a question for you.  When you have an injury, or a painful spot on your body, how do you talk to it?  When you sprain your knee, does the conversation go a little something like this?  “Stupid freakin’ knee.  Always gotta be hurting and twisting all funny-like.  Why can’t you just work right like other people’s knees?  Why can’t you just do what you’re supposed to?  Man, how long are you going to take to heal?  Does this mean I can’t play basketball on Wednesday?  Great.  Thanks a lot, you stupid knee, you.”

Or does the conversation go more like this?  “Oh, hey knee.  Well, you certainly got my attention.  Is there something you need?  Something you’ve been trying to tell me lately, that I haven’t been listening to?  Do you just want some time off?  Take a little break?  That’s cool.  You got it.  I love you, knee.  Let me know if you want some ice or gentle stretching or anything, okay?  You’re awesome.  Thanks for everything you do for me.  I know we’ll get through this just fine.”

I know my first instinct is to go the first route and be angry when I get hurt, or when something hurts.  But I think it makes a difference when we go the second route and send love towards the pain instead.  I can’t prove that it speeds the healing up.  But I know that whatever you think about all day trains your brain to keep thinking about that same thing.  It’s like when hundreds of people take the same shortcut across the grass in the park and pretty soon there’s a path worn through it.  From then on, it’s easier to take that path than to cut a new one through the grass, so you probably walk the path.  Your brain works like that.

If you spend your day thinking “my knee is so stupid and weak,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is stupid and weak.  So your knee behaves as if it’s stupid and weak.  But if you spend your day thinking “my knee is so healthy and strong,” then your brain starts to believe your knee is healthy and strong.  So your knee behaves as if it’s healthy and strong.  I don’t know about you, but “healthy and strong” sounds better than “stupid and weak” to me.

Now, I try to send my injuries love instead of hate.  Compassion and patience instead of frustration and anger.  So, SassyPants, what’s ailing you these days?  Wanna try sending it some love?

So, a few months ago, I wrote about how common and normal and not-at-all-a-problem it is for people to fall asleep during sessions with me.  And that’s still true.  But what about if you don’t fall asleep when you get Rolfed?  What about the times when the healing trance isn’t forcing your eyes to close and your breathing to slow?  Should you just think about your grocery list and that email you still have to send and what time yoga class starts tomorrow?  Well, obviously, you can think about whatever you’d like during a session.  But if I had my druthers, you would leave all those thoughts outside the office, to be picked up again on your way out, if you so choose.  And instead of thinking about what happened before your session, or what will happen after your session, maybe you could choose to focus on what is happening, right now, during your session.

I like to think of it as meeting me from the inside.  Wherever I’m working, bring your awareness there.  For some people, that means bringing your breath to that place.  Trying to breathe air and space into the tissues I’m working on.  For others, imagining light coming into those muscles or tendons is a better image.  I know some of my clients like to picture everything getting super juicy and extra-hydrated, like the tissues are water balloons, slowly being filled up.  For me, I literally imagine a piece of my brain breaking off (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt) and traveling down to my leg or my abdomen or wherever to bring its wisdom to that area.  I’m sure there are a gazillion different ways to meet me from the inside, but whatever image works best for you, go with that one.

The thing is Sassypants, you and me, we work better as a team.  There’s only so much I can do on my own.  And while I don’t mind if you think about your grocery list, your session will be more effective if you’re working toward the same goals I am during your sessions.  If I’m pressing on your quads, asking for length, and you’re also asking on the inside for your quads to lengthen, chances are, your quads are going to lengthen; and it’s not going to take as long, or hurt as much, as it would have if I’d done it all myself.  So if for no other reason than to avoid pain, next time you’re in, try to meet me from the inside.  See how it goes!