Body-Mind-Spirit - Inspiration for Writers, Dreamers, and Seekers of Health & Happiness
Life Is Easier When You’re Calm
Yesterday I had an appointment with an acupuncturist. I’ve been afflicted with chronic UTIs since April, and my physical challenges appear to be stress-related. In the past, while healing from other minor injuries, I’ve found acupuncture both healing and relaxing. The only downside was that I had to travel to the other side of town for treatment. So I was happily surprised to discover a practitioner, Susan, just down the street from my home. We spoke briefly on the phone, then scheduled an appointment.
I showed up feeling apprehensive. I’d had a couple of anxious days and the first thing I noticed when I entered Susan’s treatment room was that it was cold.
“Oh, no problem,” she said. “I have a heater.” She turned it on.
Five minutes later the room felt warm. “Maybe you could turn that off now,” I said.
After speaking for thirty minutes, Susan suggested that instead of acupuncture we try Frequency Specific Mircocurrent Therapy (FSMT).
I’d never heard of this treatment before.
She pointed to a medium-sized metal box with wires attached, and explained, “We apply mild electrical currents to soft tissue, to enhance the body’s natural healing process. It’s an alternative way to move energy (chi) in the body.” She told me a little more about it and I thought, Why not?
“Okay,” I said. “I’m open to it.”
Susan applied wet towels (to conduct energy) to my back and feet, hooked me up, dimmed the lights, showed me a bell I could sound if I needed her, and then left me alone.
What do you want? I asked myself. Healing. I envisioned myself healthy on every level: body, mind, and spirit, and tried to imagine and feel into the sensation of perfect health. What would that feel like? I saw myself enjoying my life. When my attention wandered, I brought my thoughts back to healing and allowed happy thoughts to return and fill my mind. Gradually, I began to let go and relax.
After fifty minutes I felt completely calm and connected, like I’d had an energetic tune-up. When I opened my eyes I realized that my body was cold, but this time I felt at peace. In my relaxed state I experienced it only as sensation—a neutral observation—as opposed to something I needed to fix or control.
And then these thoughts surfaced:
When I walked outside, everything seemed brighter, as if a grey filter had been removed. Writing this, I’m reminded of Canadian author Richard Wagamese, who wrote in his book, Embers, that (I’m paraphrasing) the secret to being fully present is to learn to see things as if for the first (or the last) time. That’s how I felt walking down Ventura Boulevard to my car, as if I was seeing it for the first time.
Last night in one of my writing classes, a student wrote, “I haven’t done what I’ve come here to do.” I said the exact same words years ago, before writing my memoir. The Indian poet, Tagore, expressed it this way: “For years I have been stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I have come to sing remains unsung.”
Some people might think that given the state of the world right now this isn’t the time to think about singing your song, or discovering what you’ve come here to do, or attempting to see the word as if for the first time, but I disagree. The world needs imagination, freshness, and healing. And so do we. Self-expression plays an important role in this process. As does self-compassion and love.
I remind myself that I can live from love and not fear. Even when fear hijacks me and reduces me to a heap on the floor, weeping for what feels like incalculable and unfathomable losses, I try to remember that fear is a habit. It’s not who I am. Frank Herbert, author of Dune, says, “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
My fear storm passes. I pick myself up, dust myself off, and ask, What’s next? How can I help? What can I do right this second to be of service? Often the answer is a small action. I practice kindness. I support others. I open my heart. I count my blessings and appreciate simple pleasures, like a hot shower, a warm meal, or an evening walk.
If only I could remember that my peace resides within. When I forget, I look for it in others, or worse, on social media. It’s too easy there to find myself sliding down fear’s slippery slope. Fear is contagious, and sometimes it’s helpful to fake it till you make it when it comes to courage, to imagine calm, even when it eludes you. Because it’s always there, buried underneath our busy minds.
If you’re looking for a little peace, a warm, caring, creative community, if you’re feeling the call to sing your song through the act of writing, if you’d like to tap into your inner calm, I invite you to check out my upcoming writing circles.
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