Sunday, April 6, 2014

slow time

and so here it is, spring again...

 i feel like a sluggish animal coming slowly out of my hibernation, forcing myself to do the work so that summer and fall will be full of harvest.   it's a complicated dance we are doing, push and pull, the come hither and the go away.  clearing the detritus of winter's left-overs is a huge amount of labor, and yet how necessary to go on.  blame it on the season, or the weather, the fecundity of spring, the mad orgy of growth, reproduction, fruiting.  relationships are changing.  spring is in the air, and in the earth.

Asparagus, the surest sign of spring

the garden calls, the cats twine around and get underfoot.  the trees bloom.  the sun colors the day bright, sometimes harsh, the moonlight silvery and still.  the birds dart and sweep, unconcerned with the world at large.  these rhythms draw me away from clocks and offices, away from highways, and far from hurried days crammed with everything i think i must accomplish.

everything in my life and my practice tells me to go slow.  my partner tells me to "do nothing" for a while every day.  once a week i go to restorative yoga, which by its very nature slips you into stillness.  the way i like to practice bodywork is meditative --  asking the body and allowing time and sacred space to listen for the response.


i have been working one day a week in a doctor's office, and the way that i am treated there gives me to feel that they have little understanding of what it is to do therapeutic bodywork, its value for the patient, or the energetic investment it takes to be a practitioner.  the doctors seem to think this is like car-repair work, to make the clients feel better, without recognizing skill set i have in palpation and assessment, or how by taking my time i can connect the dots in a different way than they do.  they think too that i am willing to work on someone without talking to them, to just fix what hurts.

because all of this work is run through health insurance (or workers comp or car insurance)  my focus is necessarily on measurable results, goniometers and postural analysis, cure this person from their car wreck in 6 sessions or less.  our medical culture values the quick fix, preferably painless, although for whatever reason we are more than willing to put up with detrimental side-effects in the pursuit of the fast overhaul.  despite the fact that sometimes the best medicine is to do nothing, nearly everyone wants to do something, anything... "just make me feel better fast".

 but chickens lay eggs on their own schedule, not on yours.  which is to say, nothing will happen until it is ready to do so.

what often remains, after the most pressing needs are addressed, are underlying issues that were shaken up during the injury for which the client is being seen.  people come in for back pain from a car accident and end up confiding in me about their marriage, or their children, or their job.  my gift to these people is not just the bodywork, the relaxation, or reduction of pain, but time.  i spend an hour really listening to my clients in a way that no one else does, hearing not only their words but bringing their attention to their own body and how it responds to what they are saying.  insurance does not find this valuable.

i see the value of time spent in the most tangible ways possible.  the slow time of gardening, the patience of the wait:  these are the ways that produce results for me and those around me.

i know my priorities are out of sync with most of the rest of the society that i live in, because to me it is more important to look at the moon than it is to sweep the house or respond to an email.  time spent being still lets me notice all the beauty around me.

many times my clients are not ready to see the beauty within themselves, nor how courageous they have been in living their lives.  sometimes when i bring this up for them, they may turn away from these truths.  my hope is that they will keep these words, even if they were not consciously ready to hear them, and one day, that they too will begin to be able to receive stillness and conscious awareness, and practice compassion for themselves and for the people all around them.