Dancing around/with pain

Yoweee! Have you seen Havi’s post today? It addresses a massive, massive thing, and in this most amazing, compassionate, non sicky sicky way that kinda blew me away. Indeed, I wanted to comment but… what to say? Except maybe, “whoooooph?” I don’t know – nothing really seems to do it justice.

But I digress. Reason I asked was that Havi brought up this concept, (which pretty much runs through everything she says and that’s why I love her) about being gentle with pain. Any pain. Skirting around the edges of it, healing gently from the outside in. No jumping into it and going for it. And yeah, I felt this big YES inside me as I read it. Here’s why:

In sports massage I was always taught to go to the edge of my client’s pain threshold (about 7-8 out of 10), to hold the pressure there and let the knot relax from the centre where the muscle fibres, being starved of oxygen through lack of blood, would release their spasm. And you know what – it’s effective, very effective and VERY painful. Not. Relaxing… At. All. And it doesn’t seem to work on me. Ok, let me provide some background – I have a very tense back (a case of “healer heal thyself” perhaps? Hmmm, digressing again) and shoulders and neck. Lots of knots. Therapist’s nightmare. Every time I went for a massage I’d ask for *attention* to be paid to these areas. (Umm, attention = deep pressure.) Still I always had the same spots when I left. However, recently I’ve been for a couple of massages where the therapist hasn’t been all that good (in my incredibly fussy opinion – which I’m entitled to being quite good myself; even if I do say it) and they’ve given me a gentle massage. You know what? I melted into the table. I didn’t want my muscles to be pummelled into submission. I wanted my pain to be stroked away…gently… It worked! My pain was gone and that was quite something and entirely unexpected.

Back to massaging my own clients – I always thought the “no pain no gain” philosophy was a little too harsh. I used to intuit that areas of tension needed to be softened up and gently brought to deep pressure. Slowly worked for me, gently working through the layers of tension as the body would let me. And realising that sometimes a body wouldn’t respond to “work” – it just needed to melt.

Indeed – an intense metaphor for life perhaps?

…Gently does it…

To the next time we decide we need to get to the core of something, jump right in there with two feet, apply pressure until something gives in within ourselves or just apply the word “should”* with great enthusiasm.

…Gently does it…

Let “it” melt away


*”should” sucks – officially.


6 Responses

  1. I have a crush on you! And you’re called Wormy! It’s too perfect.

    Also, no one has ever said “whoooooph” on my blog so if you ever feel like it, you’re more than welcome to. We could have an empty-ing of whoopie cushions thing in the comments or something. It would be awesome.

  2. Oh My Goodness – Havi Brooks AND Selma commented on my blog!!!

    Whoo hoooo.

    And someone’s reading….. BIG smiles.

    Sorry… far too chuffed about having comments to write anything sensible.

  3. Found through Havi.

    Definitely agree on the “gently does it” idea. I struggle with the balance between nothing and too much. The pull of lazy comfort in one direction and impatient urgency in the other seems to keep me bouncing around.

    I can see it when I’m dancing, I can see it in how I look after myself. I think “gently does it” may just be my new motto – the gentle implication of action being just enough to keep me moving without triggering anything too severe. Thanks.

  4. I love your blog name. And you’re right. Gentle, gentle.

  5. Thank you James and Isabel for your lovely comments.
    @ James – I’m delighted “gently does it” may be your new motto. There’s a LOT of space in this world for going more gently – Let’s fill it!
    @ Isabel – Cool – there are people that get it!!!

  6. Found you through Havi and James, and I agree with both of them – a wonderful post.

    I love it how you parallel muscle tension and physical tension. There’s so much that can be achieved by gentle warmth and a reassuring contact. 🙂

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