I was working with someone today who had a lot of back tension and she was remarking on how tight it has been lately. Exercise was her favorite way to release tension, and she hadn’t been able to exercise for medical reasons. She was feeling anxious about the election results, and having a hard time relaxing even though the massage was feeling wonderful.
I asked her if she would be willing to turn towards her sensations first, before we massaged them away. She agreed to try it. This is what I guided her to do (and you can try it now, if you are feeling tense):
- First, get in touch with the part of you that is deeply calm, no matter what is happening in your life. If you can’t find something in your body or in your being, try visualizing something in nature like a mountain or a rock, or sense Source/God/Creator. Notice if just by tuning into this deeply calm presence, if the sensation changes.
- Then, turn towards the sensation in your body and:
- Notice where there is a feeling or sensation in the body,
- Sense if it has a shape to it.
- Notice if there is a color,
- Explore if there is a texture to it.
- Let it become about 10-20% more tense / colorful / sensational. Hold your breath at the top of your inhale, exhale, and let your tension and your breath release.
- Staying connected with that calm place, see if there is something that this tense place would like to share with you. Imagine that the tension or sensation is actually an old friend who just showed up on your front porch, and you are very curious to know how they are doing.
After doing this practice for just a few minutes, the woman on my table exclaimed “I feel so much better! Why didn’t somebody tell me this?”
It seems like our fast-paced culture has such a tendency to try to conquer the discomfort, make it disappear or go away, or get away from it by staying busy. But in my experience, if we can slow down and just be with our sensation, it often releases after it feels like it has been heard or tended-to.
So maybe, on a day like today with the political tensions being high, you can try this exercise, release some tension, and go and express yourself by voting!
It can be hard to do this listening on your own, and I find it is much easier to do in the presence of another compassionate person. So, make an appointment for some active listening and bodywork to help clear out your tension.