I sat in the chair that I am always in on a Monday at 5pm; the grey one next to the window in my Psychotherapists room, with my shoes off, cushions moved off onto the floor and feet tucked under me, and Sally was repeating a question:
“What would happen if you just sat still?”
I think she had to repeat it a couple of times as I certainly wasn’t ready to hear it the first time over. “I sit still all the time” was my reply. And it’s true, every morning I sit with Mr Finchley, my cat, a cup of tea and stare out of the window for 45 minutes. See I do nothing then.
But it turned out that wasn’t what she was actually asking me to look at. The point of the question was to sit with a still mind, and not try to conquer the world, fix problems, plan lists or let my untamed mind wonder off in all directions on any path it chooses. Now that was quite frankly terrifying.
That moment was a while ago, and after a few false starts I learned that mindfulness is best done in the morning, not just before bedtime, that it is absolutely non-religious, and that even I can achieve ten minutes of meditation as long as it’s guided so that my thoughts don’t spin off like a hurricane. I still can’t do more than about a minute on my own, but I practice daily.
One way that I have seen this change my everyday life is in the studio at Cornerstone Therapies.
I was trained in massage by many amazing people, but I don’t think anyone really taught me how to just sit and connect in with a client. I was marked on my movement techniques, anatomy knowledge, the oils I use, pain pathways, the way I folded the sheets … you name it, I got scored on it.
As I was reading through my reflective journals this week I saw that there has been a change in the way I am integrating my bodywork and the thought journey that I have started for the past couple of months.
I have started to be a little braver in a few of the sessions and instead of just carrying on with the tried and tested “moves”, I have sat and allowed my hands to connect in for around five minutes on the main points of issues that my clients have. My intention has been to just listen to their bodies and try to hear what their stuck points have been trying to say. That’s it. I just wanted to hang out and be still so that I could hear better through my hands.
On training courses I was told that my intention should always be to ask the soft tissues where they were stuck, ask what trauma had been there before, ask what it wanted to become. In this sense it can feel like a one way chat; me asking all the questions and then running out of time to actually hear the answers. (Much like my prayer time I guess.)
With my intention over the past couple of months the point is not to ask as sometimes there are no answers to the rudimentary intentions that I can come up with.
The result? Well, according to my journal I can see a trend to people asking what I had changed in the massage as they felt their bodies really changing when my hands were still. Tension released deeper and quicker. They felt a different sense of the normal peace that they have after a massage.
Stillness can seem like a cop out, but I am beginning to see a crack of light that says that it’s only a cop out if the intention is fake. The still point of healing is something I am beginning to really look forward to and I hope that I can be brave enough to implement it into even the most chaotic of treatments.