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Friday, October 31, 2014

Todays Theme: Letting go of being right

Recently I worked on a woman who did massage back in the days when you were a masseuse, as opposed to a massage therapist, and when a masseuse was assumed to be a sex worker.
She took control of the session right from the start.  She started giving me information before I had a chance to ask any question.  Possibly before I opened my mouth, I can’t really remember.  That can throw a person off.
She started on her medical concerns and issues.  She asked where I trained and what the focus of my training was.  She went back to her medical stuff.  She started speaking of the tension she experiences at points on the occipital ridge, was I trained in the points?
She continued to rub her occipital ridge and mentioned a few other things.
Then she said, shall I get on the table?
I have some questions.
I asked the questions I needed answers to, went through my spiel about undressing as much as she is comfortable, how to get on the table, that I would be back in a minute and I left the room.
Thinking, oh, this is just going to be awesome.
In case you can’t see it, that thought was dripping with sarcasm.  This was my first service of the day, 9AM, it was not looking good.  I’ve been a massage therapist for 12 years, I have worked for a chiropractor, a spa and a large yoga retreat, as well as maintaining my own small private practice.  In addition to my original training I have studied thai massage, reflexology, orthopedic massage, Lee Albert’s Positional Therapy Protocol, Reiki, prenatal massage, energy balancing, EFT.  I’ve been exposed to shiatsu, trigger point therapy and Trager.  Where I trained and the focus of my training, at the beginning of a 50 minute massage that will end at 10 till the hour, is not dispositive.
When I walked back into that room prepared for her to hate the session, to complain, to make my life difficult.
Again my client immediately took up control of the session.  Unfortunately it was long enough ago, and I didn’t write it up soon enough, that I can’t remember what she said on the table.
What I do remember is that it was not correct or accurate.
I also remember that a part of me wanted to lay it out.  Let her know that she needs to let the practitioner, me in this case, ask the questions and do the work.
Which, of course, is massively inappropriate and I would never do.
I took a nice, deep breath.
I find a nice, deep breath helps in every situation.  A nice, deep breath quiets the body.  A nice, deep breath quiets the mind.  A nice, deep breath allows time for perspective.
A nice, deep breath.  Suddenly this was all her thing, and I realized it didn’t need to be my thing.
Sure, she had controlled the intake, completely ignoring the fact that she maybe didn’t address everything I needed to know.  Sure, she was still peppering me with questions about my knowledge once she was on the table.  Sure, it felt like she was questioning my capability.
None of that made me less good at what I do.  None of that subtracted from what I bring to the table.  None of that actually made me less than what I am.  None of that needed to be part of my process.
It was all her process.  It only had to do with her needs.  All I needed to do was respond honestly and do what I’m really good at - work the body and the energy.
I walked into that room needing to be right.  Needing to be in control.  Needing the service to go follow my flow, my comfort.
Until I took a nice, deep breath and realized I just needed to do what I do.  And let her do what she does.
Letting go of the need to be right, to be acknowledged in a particular way, allowed me to experience the client, and her body, in the way I usually do, instead of through a cloud of righteous whatever.
She loved the work, told me I was talented and had wonderful energy.
I enjoyed it too.
Because letting go of being right and allowing is a truly beautiful place to be.1

Friday, October 10, 2014

Todays Theme: Me and the Dalai Lama? We're the same. He said so.

“I consider myself to be just one among 7 billion human beings.  If I were to think of myself as different from others, or as something special, it would create a barrier between us.  What makes us the same is that we all want to lead happy lives and gather friends around us.  And friendship is based on trust, honesty and openness.” ~ The Dalai Lama.
The other day I worked on someone who is a best selling author and speaker.  At the end of her program a student offered up her scheduled massage in thanks for what she had gained during the weekend.  This woman was so grateful.  For the student’s generosity, for my work, for how good she felt, for being taken care of.
And she shared that gratitude.  With me.  Several times during the service.
I was struck by the honesty of her gratitude.  Some people who are best selling authors, speakers, rich or just of a particular mindset, take this kind of thing as their due.  I will put words to it, though I don’t know what is going on in their heads, but the words that pop up with those people are superior, entitled, swelled with their own significance.  Again, I have no idea what is really going on with those people, this is just what I see from the outside - in the media or in person.
When I saw the quote above on FB this morning it reminded me of my thoughts surrounding that service.
What I offer was valued during that service.  What the student offered was valued during that service.
My client’s reaction didn’t make me special or great or superior.
It made me grateful.  For so many things beyond this person who was saying thank you, this feels amazing.
So many things.  My parents, who are my friends.  My sister, who is my friend.  My nephew, who lights up my life.  My friends, who are my family.  My kitties, who curl up with me when they aren’t tearing around my apartment destroying things.  My new apartment.  My previous landlords.  My office, that I walked to twice yesterday, getting in four easy miles.  My body, that I love.
Among other things.
We are all the same.  We are all energy.  The better we are to each other, the better we all feel.  One person is not better or worse than another person.
Yes, some people do horrible things.  Equally some people do amazing things.  Some people are smarter, some not so much.  Some people are incredibly fit, others have a different shape and ability.  Some people live in the light, some people live in the dark.  Some people you will like almost no matter what they do, others you will dislike no matter what they do. 
In lifting someone up with your gratitude or your words or your actions, you lift everyone up.  One person can make a difference, with very little effort.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Todays Theme: Generalized feelings of anxiety

Yesterday I got out of bed, putzed around the house trying to get things in order.  Right now I feel like it’s a losing battle.  I moved a week ago Monday and there is stuff everywhere.  Just now the thought went through my head that I took the sheets off my bed to do laundry and I was planning to make the bed right away, but got distracted by the cats knocking something over.  It was the TV which then broke a decorative bowl that I’ve had for a long time and can’t replace.  One that I love.  I cleaned it up, put the TV back up, noticed the two scratches.  Accepted that these things happen when you have two kittens who are 16 weeks old today and have only been in this house since Sunday.  These things will probably continue for some time.  I came into the kitchen to deal with the bowl, get the dustbuster, etc.  Came back in to do the dishes.  Remembered that I needed to send an e-mail to set up an appointment.  Took care of that then checked FB.  Sent a message or two there.
Which gives you a pretty good idea of why there is still stuff everywhere.
I will head in shortly to make the bed and then start dealing with other things, like taking my clothes out of boxes and putting them in drawers so I can actually find something.  But I had something to write from yesterday and I wanted to get that down when it was tickling my brain.
I got a few things taken care of yesterday around the house, but I had a lot of things on the other end of my trip to work that I needed to make sure I was ready for.  I had stuff to pick up at my old place so I had to make sure there was room in the car.  I was planning a swim so I needed my wetsuit, goggles, swim cap.  I was leaving early-ish so I needed to prepare food.  I was working at Cranwell so I needed my uniform, which I fortunately had all together on a hanger in the closet.  I was taking egg cartons to my friend who raises chickens.  Apparently they lay less during the winter so I can put the cartons in recycling.
I remembered everything.  And I think I still got a couple of things settled around the house.
As I was hit the road I noticed I was experiencing a generalized feeling of anxiety.  I thought about it, because that’s what I do, and I decided it was because I feel like I’m letting a lot of people down.  My old landlords, there was a lot of stuff still at the old place and I got a call saying they thought I would be out there this past weekend.  Which actually was my plan, but there was no time and my plan to stop after picking up kitties was a bad one, we were all traumatized and exhausted at 7:25 when I left their first home with them and all I wanted to do was get them home, eat dinner and go to bed.
Mister Cat
My new landlords.  There was a bunch of stuff on my porch, I had no idea where to put it and no place to put it and still be able to maneuver.  My plan being, bring it in as things became clearer.  I was off at work and my dear friend C came over to deliver pumpkins and apples to me, a lovely surprise when I got home with the kitties.  She saw my landlord who expressed some concern to her.  She let me know.  It was already at the top of my list, but who wants to bum their landlord out the first week they live in a new place?
A friend who gave me a piece of furniture that she didn’t want.  I think I said, leave it and if it doesn’t work I’ll take care of getting rid of it.  It didn’t work, I sold it and gave her the money.  I’m not entirely sure that was copacetic.
I have gotten pretty good at staying away from a good mind[expletive deleted], but when I experience generalized anxiety (which I don’t too often) I want to identify the cause and fix it.  And this kind of thinking can lead to a really big mind[expletive deleted].  Because really, I don’t know the truth on the other side of those equations, not even sort of.
I called my dad.  Dad is, generally speaking, my voice of reason.  Particularly in this kind of situation.  I said what was going on and that I was feeling that I was letting people down.  He said, that’s not a feeling.  Truth.  So I focussed on the actual feeling, which resided in my belly and my chest, sort of a heart fluttery thing.  Dad continued, telling me to be aware where the feeling was and not think about it and it would go away.  How can I be aware without thinking?  Notice the feeling without thinking about the cause or fixing it.  That just feeds the problem.  Awareness allows the feeling to resolve.
Moon over my new neighborhood
He also said, “you need to write and exercise.”
Which is so true.  I have gotten some exercise, I walked my neighborhood on Monday, met a friend for a walk/run on Tuesday and yesterday as I was talking to dad I was on the way to Queechy Lake for a swim.
Last (?) Queechy swim of 2014
But I haven’t written in a week.  Actually I have written, but it was done on random sheets of paper at work and I didn’t have the brain power to put it in the computer and clean it up when I got home.  Then I forgot about it.
I’ve had some stuff to say too.  And I will say it, when my house is a little more organized.
Meanwhile, I stopped at my old place and picked up a bunch of stuff.  Some stuff I didn’t know was there.  There’s still another two boxes.  After I loaded my car Anne and George came up from the yard and we had a nice chat.  I wasn’t letting them down, they were just making sure I hadn’t forgotten stuff.
My porch is mostly taken care of, just a couple of things that I’ll put in the basement today.  And I’ll make sure that things don’t stay on the porch long.  With the move it really was looking all, well, let’s call it cluttered.  I didn’t like it anymore than my landlords did.
My friend and the armoire?  I have no idea.  But she’ll let me know if it’s a problem - she’s a regular reader here.  Probably reading this thinking, seriously?  I’m going to stop making up stories about it though.
I did what dad said, I got aware of the feeling and went about my day.  I stopped trying to fix it and just did things that needed to be done.  I loaded my car, went for a swim (not as relaxing as I had hoped, Queechey was really choppy and I could have used my booties and gloves, it was cold), went to work.  I think the generalized feeling of anxiety went away while I was still driving to my old place.
I still tell myself stories.  My stories are frequently crap and they don’t serve me.  It’s not always easy to shut them down, but I keep working at it and it pays off.
And when I don’t shut them down there’s always my dad to remind me.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Todays Theme: I did it.

I have been thinking for several weeks that adding some carbs back into my diet.  I have a 5k coming up at the beginning of December and a half marathon in March and I need to get training for them.  I have gone out a few times to get running again, and I just don’t have the energy for it.  I can walk no problem, but any extended running is just too much to ask of my body.
Part of that is conditioning.  Ie, I don’t have any.  But in the past, even without training I have energy to run.  The only thing I can think of is the change of diet.  Mostly protein.  Vegetables also, but mostly protein.  No carbs.  Beside the vegetables, which are complex carbs so they are not as accessible as the foods we think of as carbs.
So I decided that I would take the step that Julie Ann Kibe suggests when you feel you are at your goal, add food back into your diet.  She suggests starting with a potato.
So I’ve been planning how I would make the potato for quite a long time.  I decided that I would make some roasted potato chips.  Potato sliced about an 8th of an inch, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper on a rack in the oven.  I looked up a recipe and they recommended a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes.  I ended up cooking them for longer, I wanted the slice crispier than they were after 20 minutes.
While I waited for them I had broccoli slaw with cucumber, chicken, ham and vinaigrette.
I kept checking the potato slices.  Eventually they looked brown, slightly chewy and super tasty.  I put them on a plate and tried one.
I ate the broccoli slaw with ham and chicken, helping myself to a piece of potato every now and again, until I had enough.  The rest I wrapped in tin foil and put in the fridge.
I ate about half the potato.  It took attention to make sure I didn’t just inhale all the slices in my enthusiasm.  I’m glad I paid attention though, I was pretty full when I finished dinner.  Full in a way that I haven’t been in the last 80 days.  Not unpleasantly full, just slightly more than I have been.
So tomorrow I will go for a walk and see how much running can happen.  Not sure how direct the correlation will be, but I’m hopeful.
Meanwhile, I will keep eating what I’ve been eating with some potato until my shorts get a bit tight.  Then I’ll back off as instructed. And I’ll keep that up until I’ve added the few foods I want back in my diet.
Fingers crossed my body doesn’t go all haywire on me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Todays Theme: Be Kind

For a few days I’ve had a running theme on FB: Be kind.
There is a plaque at work with the quote: Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.  I won’t attribute it to anyone in particular, there seems to be some question as to who originally said it.
It is possibly one of the truest things I’ve ever heard.
When I leave my house and run into other people - they have no idea what my story is for that morning, that day, that week, that month, or my entire life.  The same is equally true for me - I have no idea what their story is.
Even after people tell their story, we only know what they’ve told us.  Truth is a pretty ephemeral concept.
Today I was at TJ Maxx wandering around looking for something to hold papers, a desk thing.  I found no such object that would work for me, but I found a few other things.  Like a hard case carry-on size rolly bag in red, on clearance for $29.  So I rolled it around while I was shopping to see if it would be alright.  As I walked along, looking at kitchen stuff a woman to my left said, “beautiful hair!”  Oh my, thank you!  I hadn’t looked at my hair this morning, I wasn’t taking particular care of it, I had no idea what it looked like and I was feeling kind of grubby despite my shower this morning - trying to get my new home set up is taking it out of me.  Her comment brightened my day so much.
Then I was walking down the frames and knick knacks aisle and a woman said, “you look like you’re skating, rolling that along, so very graceful.”
I can tell you that no one, ever to my recollection, has used the word graceful when speaking of me.  I’m kind of a klutz actually.  But many years ago I complimented someone and got the, “oh, no . . .” whatever.  My compliment was sincere and I was annoyed that it wasn’t accepted graciously.  I realized that I had best graciously accept the compliments I received, in order to avoid being a hypocrite.
So, though I am kind of klutzy, I thought, wow, I look graceful.  Enough for someone to comment on it in TJ Maxx!
Two compliments in about two minutes - IN TJ MAXX!
It was unusual and sweet and totally made my day.
The day in which I couldn’t get my printer to work, couldn’t find documents I needed for a meeting that would be instrumental in determining my financial stability, I was visited by the Jehovah’s Witnesses (I have nothing against these people, their timing today just sucked, I was polite, they were polite, it just took time I didn’t want to give).
And then I got compliments from two strangers at TJ Maxx.
Be kind.  You never know the impact you will have on the recipient of your kindness.  And I guarantee it will come back to you, probably exactly when it will help you most.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Todays Theme: The starving children in China. Or India. Your choice.

One of the responses many people have to a complaint about a life situation is to point out how other people have it worse than you do.  At least you aren’t in Africa dealing with ebola.  At least you’re not in Syria dealing with civil war.  At least you aren’t in California dealing with drought.
These statements are made to help you feel better about your challenges.  Because clearly they are so much worse than whatever you (or I) are dealing with.
But as a general rule, that doesn’t help.  As awful as those situations may be (and they are awful) - they aren’t the challenge I’m dealing with in that moment.  My challenge may seem small or insignificant, but it’s mine.
Then there are those moments when someone elses challenge, someone across the world, reaches in and squeezes your heart.
On the way to work this morning I heard a report on NPR about one of the Yazidi women kidnapped by the islamic state.  She realized that her life, and the lives of her sisters, were in serious danger.  She vowed to die before she allowed harm to come to any of them.  They were being “married” off - so a man could pick a “woman” (her youngest sister is 10), register the “marriage”, take her home as his wife, rape her and beat the crap out of her then bring her back.
This young woman told the men that one of her sisters was pregnant, another blind, one couldn’t walk and that she herself was married - “Do you really want used goods?”  The sisters weren’t taken.
Then the guy in charge said, you will marry me and I’ll give your sister to one of the islamic state leaders and we will live in a nice house.  He told her that if she didn’t accept she and her sisters would be separated.  So she agreed.  And he took them to a house as ostentatious as promised.  She told him it wasn’t right.  She kept telling him this one is too small, that one is too big.  Until he picked a house she could escape from.
And she did.  With all her sisters.  A local person sheltered them, got them passports and helped them leave the area.
This story reached into my heart and squeezed.  And I cried.
After I got to work I was thinking about my challenges: 
Work is slow and I have no money.
I’m leaving a place I love.  A lot.
I’ve been preparing to move for months and I’m stressed out and exhausted.
My private practice exists, but it isn’t growing and I need it to grow.
Then I thought, meh, all stuff I can deal with.  And I thought about my blessings:
My family, they are awesome.
My friends.
My health.
My old apartment.
My new apartment.
A car that works.
My sugar free life.
My work.
The beautiful setting of my office.
I could go on and on and on.  But I won’t, that’s pretty boring.  Plus, I assume you get the idea.
Like I said, as a general rule, those comparisons don’t make me feel better.
Today the comparison, which wasn’t offered up, just came across my path, today the comparison reached into my heart and squeezed.
The result was gratitude.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Todays Theme: You won't freakin believe what I found in my freezer!!!!!!

Cleaning out the freezer, who doesn’t love that?
Well, anyone who has read this blog knows I hate cleaning, so if there are people who love cleaning out the freezer, they aren’t me.
Honestly though it’s not much of a job today, just taking out stuff I put in a long, long time ago that I will never eat, putting it in a garbage bag and putting it in the trash can.
Yes, horrifically wasteful, but not the point.
I was taking some bags of frozen stuff out of the freezer and I noticed a piece of chicken on the shelf in the door.  So I grabbed it and threw it in the bag.  Then I noticed this

And I opened it and I saw this

And I stared in wonder.  There have been four Magnum Mini Almond bars in my freezer all these last 72 days and I never noticed.
And I’ve been in the freezer more than a few times.
Magnum Mini Almond bars!
In MY freezer.
With me in the house!!
Didn’t even notice.
Me!  Didn’t even notice.
The only thing I can think of is to repeat all of those words - Magnum!  Mini!  Almond bars!  Didn’t!  Even!  Notice!  In!  My!  Freezer!
That’s all I got.
It’s astonishing and I’m . . .
Astonished.  Seriously, I’m completely at a loss for words.
Now they are in the trash.  Well, actually they are on the floor where I took a picture of them, but when I finish they’ll be in the trash and I won’t feel at all bad when I do.