Friday, September 30, 2011

Open Up and Get Moving

I woke up today feeling stronger, younger and more alert. This may not seem like news to you, but anyone who has seen me in the morning (prior to my infusion of coffee) would find this a minor miracle. The difference is I had a rolfing session yesterday and the invigorating effects spilled over and hopefully will help launch me into a more energized weekend.

For those of you who are not familiar with rolfing, it is a technique of deep muscular manipulation and massage for the relief of bodily and emotional tension. Rolfing is like electricity. I don’t understand it but I enjoy its rewards.

I heard about rolfing when I was attending Arizona State University in the 1980s. The young man I sat next to in my Jazz in America class had great posture and we had a conversation about it. He was learning how to be a rolfing practitioner and he was undergoing rofling sessions as well. Two decades later I learned my sister-in-law went through the rolfing treatments and had yearly tune-ups. I suspected one day I would give the modality a try, but it wasn’t number one on my list of things to do.

One day I was waiting for a client at her office and I started leafing through some magazines. I saw an ad for Rihab Yaqub, a certified East Valley Rolfer. She looked like a kind, compassionate soul, so I decided to shoot her an email and make an appointment.

I am glad I did.

I am no stranger to body work. I’ve experienced (and enjoyed) massage, acupuncture, gua sha and reiki. I have a rudimentary understanding of stagnant qui and lymph and I strive to keep things open and moving. I don’t even know if these terms apply to rolfing, but I think the idea is basically the same. Anyway, after my appointment (my fourth of 10) I discovered that I wasn’t as “open” as I felt I should be. Rihab offered me a few tips on how to “open up” but also encouraged me to not be too hard on myself.

Which brings me to my point (I always have one, sometimes I just take a while to get there.)

While I pride myself on some areas of openness and vulnerability, there are other parts of myself that I prefer to keep tightly shut. Of course I wasn’t even aware of this. I suspect it’s that way for a lot of folks. Whether it’s energetic vulnerability or an open mind, shutting the door is often the safest and more automatic response. Of course it is not the best way to live your life if you want to grow, improve and become happier. But it is easier.

When Jackie and I wrote Erase Negativity and Embrace the Magic Within, we wanted to help folks sponge away negativity from their lives. Both of us offer tips on the topic, write articles, give workshops and conduct seminars. We have found that most people acknowledge there is a lot of negativity in the world, but not everyone sees that they are often unknowingly contributing to the problem. Negativity is safely ensconced in our collective bodies and souls. Releasing the garbage and opening up to a happier life may not seem practical, or even possible.

In our book we write:

It is impossible to go through life without encountering difficulties. From a baby’s first cry to the last dying breath, the human experience involves a series of struggles. While encountering challenges is an inherent part of life, it is not so much the problems, but the attitude you take while facing these difficulties that shapes how you view the world.

If it were simply a matter of flipping a switch to receive a positive or negative attitude, most folks would opt for former. Unfortunately, many of us grew up in a negative environment, or suffered physical or emotional trauma that tainted our outlook. Bit by bit, negativity became a way of coping with life. Many pessimistic individuals claim that while a negative outlook may provide fewer positive results, it also protects them from disappointment. Unfortunately, negativity is more like a cancer than a protective shield. It starts small, and may seem innocent enough at first, but if not kept in check the negative mindset can spread and wreck havoc in all aspects of life.

I would like to invite anyone who is reading this article to consider practicing a few minutes of optimism every day. Of course I hope folks will buy our book or attend one of our seminars, but we are not so arrogant as to think we are the only ones with a guideline to happiness. There are many paths that will lead you toward a joyful life. However, we do believe your happiness is important and we will provide discounts and even free workshops to those who want our services but are experiencing financial hardship. If you want to make a positive change, contact us through our website and let us know how we can help.

The important thing is to do something, anything. The biggest obstacle to happiness is taking that first action. But as Confucius said so long ago: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

So open up and get moving.

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