Sunday, April 18, 2010

On Worry

There is a saying that comes to mind these days-

Worry is like paying interest on a debt that never comes due.

Worry seems to be in the air. My friends have worries. My family has worries. I have worries.

There are so many worries to have. Health worries. Health insurance worries. Job worries. Money worries. Relationship worries. Worries about the future.

Worries. Worries. Worries. Big Worries.

Mark Twain said, "There has been much tragedy in my life; at least half of it actually happened."

Worry causes such suffering. It can be easy to get swept up in it. After all, we have good reason. Bad things happen. Our worries so often, however, take on a life of their own. We make up stories which feed stories. A comment someone makes at work starts a trail of thoughts which end with us living alone and hungry on the street. A phone call that isn't returned starts a cascade of paranoia that has you obsessing about what terribly offensive thing you might have done. And how unlovable you are. There is always that.

When I look back at all the things on which I have spent emotional energy, I realize that so much of it was needless. Issues that seemed so pressing at one time, often blow over; the problems I anticipated, never coming to fruition or at least not being as traumatic as I expected. Other problems weren't even a slip of a thought and yet they blindsided me with full force. Bad things happen. Worry wouldn't have prevented them.

Not that worry is all bad. On the contrary, worry is an appropriate response to many situations. They say that anxiety actually makes you perform better. When I am worried about a lesson I am about to teach, I plan it a little more carefully, and the result is a stronger lesson and a more confident delivery. Worry informs us. It makes us take action. We fight. We flee. We see a problem and we seek a solution or at least a way to make things easier or a way to deal better what is happening.

The trick is to acknowledge the worry, allow it to have it's role, but to not let it run the whole show. Once again, it is all about balance.

And balance is what I wish for you, as always.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Rule Number One

When I was in massage school someone had posted a list called The Rules of the Game" on a bulletin board. A fellow LMT reminded me of it when she posted the rules on her facebook page.

Here is rule #1-

You will receive a body

(You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for the entire period this time around.)

In one of my classes, the students are required to write their own "Body Story," which is the story of how they have come to develop their attitude about their body. The students write about all sorts of things including early movement and sensory memories, stories of injuries, athletic training and triumph, posture, the joy of moving freely and the challenges of adolescence. Often the women will write about the pressure that they feel to look a certain way and to be a certain weight. Almost all of them mention how difficult it is to eat healthy and exercise as a college student.

For the most part the stories tell a tale of love and hate. We love our bodies because they allow us to run fast, dunk basketballs, juggle, dance freely; they feel great when we eat well and exercise; we hate our bodies because we are not the weight we want to be, because someone was critical of the way we looked, because we experience pain, and because our legs are thick, bowed, knock-kneed, pudgy or skinny.

Sondra Fraleigh, with whom I studied somatics, said that the potential outcome of a somatic relationship with the body was that it allowed you to chose your body. This does not mean choosing how you would like to change your body, and it is even more than a genuine acceptance of the body you have. What it means to me it is that the body that you have is the very one that you want.

And why shouldn't it be? It is the one you have. That doesn't mean that your body is perfect. It doesn't mean that it won't change. It will.

You received a body. This is the one you have. Might as well appreciate it for its gifts. Treat it well. Nourish it. Pay attention to it. Nurture it. Challenge it.

Enjoy it.

Wishing you balance,