Fear. Anger. Sadness. Joy.
What do you want from emotions? To learn from them? To love them? To see the value in them? To avoid all but joy?
I want to find allowance of them. I want to access joy as much as possible. I want to be aware of the value and lessons in fear, anger and sadness, and I want to be able to let them go with ease.
Do you ruminate in one of these? Do you repress one, only to have it come out with a strong intensity under pressure? Do you repress one and feel as if your life is missing something? When I think of repressed emotions, I think of a child who eventually acts out after not being heard. At first the child may gently ask for what they need. If they aren't heard, they may cry. Then scream. Later on, if they're still not getting what they need, they may act out violently toward others, or "misbehave," in order to get attention in an attempt to get what they need. If emotions are held in and not allowed to move, they'll act up later on. The body holds on to them and reveals them as pain and discomfort.
How do you personally want to relate to emotions? If you want help dealing the more challenging ones, talk to me. If you want help accessing more joy, let's work together. Call me for a free consultation, or go ahead and schedule a session.
Have you noticed any correlations between your emotional state and your physical body? Do you have any tricks to help you release or move challenging emotions? I'm curious - please comment!
“Your quality of touch is different - I feel relaxed with it. I’m not reacting defensively like I sometimes do...
My body is open to it.”
I wonder how the world would be if we all knew how to touch and be touched with ease and grace?
This is what I strive for in every session - to contact the recipient in a way that has them relaxed and receptive. Why is this important? When the body reacts defensively by tensing or contracting against contact, or when anxiety builds up in response to it, the body is reacting more to the therapist instead of relaxing into it’s natural healing processes. I could create more tension for you, which could also get worked out during the session, but you’re probably coming to me to release tension you had before seeing me, not to create more tension to work through. Have you ever had a massage that left you feeling more tense? Let’s not do that, ok?
So what contributes to a quality of touch that instills trust and allows for the most easeful healing?
The first two skills that are taught in the Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy training - ones that are repeatedly emphasized throughout the program because of their importance, are the skill of being and the skill of relationship. The skill of being pertains to the state of the therapist. As I begin a session, do I feel grounded, centered and neutral? Am I relaxed, present and aware of my state, or am I nervous or biased in some way? This will affect how the recipient responds, whether they’re conscious of it or not - on some level, their body will be aware of my state, even if their mind is not.
The second skill is the one of relationship (the basic definition of “relationship” is “a connection” - I’m not referring to a romantic relationship in this instance). In this connection, what kind of contact would feel most easeful or welcome by the recipient? How much space would they like and what kind of pressure feels most easeful? Sometimes there’s a wide range of contact styles - light strokes, heavy compressions, etc. - that feel comfortable for the body. Sometimes the recipient will be very specific - they may want very light, still touch and a wide focus from the therapist.
To get a sense of different focus styles, imagine gazing out at the vast expanse of the ocean horizon. Notice how that feels in your body. Then imagine you’re examining something very specific through a microscope, and notice what you feel in your body with that image - two different modes of focus. Considering the body, I could have a wide focus by opening my awareness to the whole body, including the space around the body. Or I could have a narrow focus by zooming in to one little point, like a vertebra in the neck. Again, the recipient’s body feels the difference, whether or not the mind is aware of it. The book Open Focus Brain, by Les Fehmi and Jim Robbins, is a good resource for developing relaxed, open focus.
These “skills” can be applied to any experience in life where you’re interacting with another being. If you want to create the greatest ease in connections (relationships), and minimize reactive defenses, try working on the skills of being and the skills of relationship.
Skills of being:
Feeling grounded, centered, and neutral
This is a state of being present with self-awareness, mindfulness and allowance of what wants to happen - having a sense of equanimity. Perhaps we notice biases, judgements or habitual patterns come up. These are normal, so rather than judging the judgements, see if they’ll disappear if you ask them to, rather than hooking on to them. The level of neutrality you can hold may vary, depending on who you’re interacting with. Feeling some appreciation or loving kindness for yourself may help. Another way some people access neutrality is simply to look around the room and label (in their mind) what they see - i.e. I see a green wall, white lamp, brown wood door, etc.
In a grounded, centered, neutral state, the person you’re interacting with is least likely to react because there isn’t something to hook onto, positive or negative, and because you’re present with them. If you’re distracted, it’s more likely to create some interruption of the connection.
Skills of relationship, or connection:
Comfortable proximity and contact
This includes awareness of the energetic space (wide vs. narrow focus, for example), and awareness of the type of contact desired. In the context of a therapeutic bodywork session, I’m offering massage, craniosacral therapy or other touch therapy to someone laying on a table, so I’m trained and comfortable offering different types of touch. If you’re offering someone massage, considering the skill of relationship, notice what feels good to you and the person you’re touching. If you’re unsure or if you want to encourage verbal feedback, ask how the contact is. If you trust your intuition, they appear clearly at ease, you feel relaxed and connected to them, and you trust them to speak up if something is uncomfortable, then it may not be necessary to talk about the contact. And that may change tomorrow… each day is different.
What have you found to be helpful in establishing comfort and trust with touch? I’m curious to hear your stories - what has you feel relaxed and what hasn’t worked for you in bodywork sessions?
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished"
Intuitive massage therapist, energy healer and coach in Boulder, Colorado, bringing you news and insight on healing and conscious living.