Ok, I know what you’re thinking:
“Not another ‘just stay positive’ yuppie blog post.”
And I’m 90% inclined to say that this is NOT that blog post (I maintain that for a certain aspect of an online audience, that risk is a legitimate 10%.)
I’m here to humbly share a leak-through I recently had. Up late doing my best thinking, I heard an echo of words as I’d heard them repeated daily over the past week by one of my Rolf Institute teachers:
“Focus on what you CAN do.”
In Rolfing and in Rolf Movement Sessions, clients, the amazing human beings that they are, tend to focus on what they cannot do. What hurts. What doesn’t please them.
It’s an attitude which moved early Homo Sapiens across continents from Mother Africa, through landscapes and languages, religions and cultures, eras and errors. What they COULDN’T have was often a matter of life-or-death, so keep moving on, keep the focus on what cannot be done or attained here and now, and go attain it (or die trying) at some point and place in the future.
It seems that greater primate instinct is still alive and well in the modern Metropole.
What is fascinating is that, over the course of a Rolfing Ten Series, the client's list of goals and needs may change. May evolve. They may come into session one complaining of unilateral low back pain ("right HERE!”) and by session 6 they are talking about something quite different, like a desire to feel their head on top of their thorax or better connection from their spine to their fingertips (yeah, Rolfing may give you funny ideas.)
So the conversation can go something like this:
Practitioner: “Hey Client X, how’s your right lower back pain?”
Client X: “What low back pain?”
People very often forget what was wrong. Another way to possibly frame that, is to say that people seldom register what’s going right - they’re busy focusing on the next lush land ahead - er, um, their newest perception of what can be brought to the next highest level of somatic integration.
When my Rolfing practitioner asked me how I was feeling, I took a moment to quiet the cacophony of little ephemeral aches and tensions and started off by listing all the things that felt AWESOME in my body. And there was a lot more awesome than not.
While Rolfing is a somatic practice, it is impossible to contact a living body without contacting the living person inhabiting it. It may be shoulder tension, but is it just that? What happens when long-term pain and compensation patterns begins to unwind? What thoughts, memories and emotions are stored there? What aspirations and inspirations (from the Latin spirare - to breathe) are hiding in the tissues, waiting to be released once we’ve optimized the breathing pattern and gotten the person moving from as many fibers of her/his being that will right now?
This was my leak-through moment (in contrast to a break-through moment.)
I heard my teacher’s words in my head, but it was not “just about my body".
I realized that I (and I would venture to say this is so for many of us) tend to focus on what I do not, cannot have. Which aspects of abundance are not flowing. And in that process I do myself the awful disservice of not paying very much attention to all the areas of my life where there is SO much to be grateful for. For bodies and for the people who live in them, setting up an internal monitoring system which notices and values what is right, good and happy, creates a blossoming positive feedback loop. Our capacity to note the good is strengthened just like a muscle or a nervous system under mild stress. Perhaps it could be viewed like a practice, not in donning rose-colored glasses, but in broadening our conversation of what is going on in our mind-body-spirits. This might start to take us beyond our primitive survival instincts to need more, better, other, and into a zone of thriving in our current time and place.