While a student at UCLA in the early 70’s, I got introduced to Russ who changed my life. I’d broken my back in a car accident and had chronic back pain and he offered to get rid of my pain with a training program, If I was willing to do it. I agreed to give it a try and for four months I did daily Tai Chi, and some pretty extreme weightlifting. The weightlifting was mainly two exercises, as I remember: hyper-extending to pick up a barbell a step below me, and bench pressing 60 pounds and 10-20 repetitions. Russ was a Native American Sioux from South Dakota, and had spent 10 years in prison, where he learned Tai Chi, Yoga, and weight lifting. I call Russ a Shaman because he was a healer, and he transformed my body, but I know he was not magic. He wasn’t able to heal his own step-son who was disabled from a hospital accident in infancy, though he and the mother both worked on him daily. This child was nine years old but couldn’t talk, walk, or even hold up his head on his own. His younger half-sister was five years old, a blond fairy princess, who amused us all with her smart conversation and lithe acrobatics. The thing that impressed me was how patient they all were, and how kind to the little boy, as well as the little girl. And Russ was very patient with me.
So I learned something about pain and healing, which got reinforced a couple of years ago when I was in another accident with whiplash to my neck. After 6 months of chiropractic, I got referred for outpatient surgery, a cortisone shot, and almost immediately the pain was gone. I was so grateful to the surgeon for changing my life. The surgeon then told me that the pain would return in about 9 months, and I’d be back unless I did the neck exercises he showed me. So he showed me how to push my head just to the point it hurt, and hold it to the count of 10, in six directions, keeping straight posture the whole time. And 2 ½ years later, it’s worked: I’m still pain free! Gratefully.
Of course when something is inflamed you can’t be stretching and pushing it, so there’s a rest and heal portion of time before You’re ready for this program of strengthening. But the lesson is that chronic pain can be healed by pushing yourself gently beyond a pain threshold, just into a bit of pain, for the count of 10. Gentle pushing into the pain works wonders.
This also works for emotional pain and anxiety, even PTSD. There are physical meridian points on the body which hold the emotions, and these can be gently but firmly tapped with the hands, as per the Emotional Freedom Technique illustrated online here: thetappingsolution.com/blog/releasing-anxiety/
Think where you are from 1 to 10 with your anxiety before you start tapping, and then notice where you are afterwards. Repeat the process on following days to bring your numbers down to 1 or 2, a healthy spot.
In this time of the coronavirus-19 pandemic, perhaps it’s natural to feel anxiety with so much change in our lives, so much unknown about the future. The Dalai Lama says “If there is something to be done—do it, without any need to worry; if there’s nothing to be done, worrying about it further will not help.” So actually worry is not needed. It’s helpful to remind ourselves of that.
Sometimes it’s good to just soothe our little scared child within with reassuring words. My mother would always sing to me, “Que Sera Sera, Whatever will be will be. The future’s not ours to see. Que Sera Sera.” Singing is a great release for pent up emotions and it’s great to do as often as you can. Remember: when women were birds, it was thought that singing in the morning and singing in the evening would heal the earth… (not sure who said that!)
It also really helps me when I align and inspire my spirit by moving the Empath Stretches that I’ve spoken about in previous blogs:
All of us, everywhere, can triumph in communicating, compassion and peace,
with enthused and dignified energy,
seeking heart connections s
to our innate joy
and universal wisdom.
Dance it! Sing it! Be it!
I will be putting small instructive videos online in the next few weeks, to show the Empath Stretch Techniques. Also there will be an Empatharian Movement for Peace Group on Facebook, for Zoom sessions with people from all over the globe.
I hope you’ll join us- What kind of music do you like? I like moving to music!