A few year back I made a New Year’s Resolution:
“To bike to work unless I had a reason not to.” Could there exist a more spineless resolution?
But it worked. I bike most days and have noticed, as I ride past the city’s speedometers, that my speed is a little faster than it used to be.
Sometimes the little things are enough.
Few of us live our lives at the optimal pace for our minds and bodies, or take the time to replenish our reserves as we should. If we are going to keep pushing, I wonder what respite, how much downtime, is enough to be worthwhile.
Kit is the CEO of a mid-sized corporation. She is responsible for a large staff and budget. She comes into my office once a month on her way to work and for an hour she lets the world slip away. While she is relaxing her body is resourcing, recharging her batteries. Then she gets up off the table and returns to her life of fast-paced meetings and far-reaching decisions. Sometimes, as we are about to start the session I wonder if would she be better off without the pause. Since she continues to come in it must be worthwhile for her, yet I can’t help but question — Is that brief respite enough?
After last session I had some insights…
Starting in the head and reverberating throughout the body, the cranial rhythm moves vertically through the body, 8-14 waves per minute. The downward phase is called inhalation and the upward phase is exhalation. Between them is a brief pause. This wave pattern is similar to the ocean tides. The back and forth motion of the tides also has a pause, its called slacktide.
Slack water, which used to be known as ‘the stand of the tide’, is a short period in a body of tidal water when the water is completely unstressed, and therefore no movement either way in the tidal stream, and which occurs before the direction of the tidal stream reverses. Wikipedia
The ocean takes a pause from the tides, and our bodies’ internal cranial rhythm takes a pause. Deemed by our own bodies and by nature, I believe the answer is yes, even short breaks are worthwhile.
Since I am a Craniosacral Therapist you may make assumptions about how deep I swim in the pool of “woo-woo.” I need to say that, while this isn’t my first dive I am, generally, in other ways, a perfectly normal person. I did go to Evergreen and to naturopathic school but I also spent two years at a very conservative Quaker college in Indiana. I live in a regular house, am married to a technogeek and we have raised three children, now reasonably functioning adults. When my kids were kids I volunteered at school, drove to soccer and, occasionally to McDonald’s for chicken mcnuggets. Now I work, garden, walk the dogs, and do normal stuff like watch TV. And I study and practice Craniosacral Therapy.
Admittedly, life would be easier if we could put everyone in simple boxes like ‘I agree with this person’ or ‘that person is a nut job.’ And, of course, we can. But life has more depth if we don’t.
A couple of years ago I took a class from Suzanne Scurlock-Durana. Suzanne developed Healing From The Core, a craniosacrally-based approach. I’ve gained much wisdom from her over the years. I chose the class because of Suzanne but it turns out you should also pay attention to the topic as well as the teacher. The class was focused on helping us practitioners as people, and not so much helping us as practitioners. In the class we had to design a “Blessing” which seems to me to be a lot like a mantra or a chant. Furthermore, my Blessing had to be short since I had to memorize it and I don’t have a very good memory.
The last day of class I had to read it out loud in front of my classmates, I was nervous and found myself repeating the Blessing each time I thought about sharing it. Was it reassuring me already? I wrote it in my phone calendar and now I repeat it throughout the day, most every day. I say it while swimming laps, preparing dinner or as I start cranial sessions. Sometimes I say it differently to keep it fresh. I sing it, say it in a funny voice, Pig Latin or v e r y s l o w l y.
- I went through a phase where I found myself thinking about the Blessing when I was berating myself for something I did or didn’t do or say. It was a way to catch myself being down on myself. I found it happened more often than I would have thought.
- Sometimes I change a word or two without even realizing it. That may last a few days then I notice it and change back to the original.
- Repeating the Blessing is comforting to me. It gives me confidence and helps to keep me grounded. I recommend you write a Blessing for yourself.
- I have mixed feelings about sharing my Blessing in writing. Anyone interested?
Chandra came rushing in a few minutes late, spilling her tea as she set it down, very apologetic about the small puddle on the waterproof table. She was a young mom with an 8-month-old baby, her life hectic and sleep deprived. She was overwhelmed and felt inadequate, convinced that all other new moms were managing better. We reviewed her health history, talked for a few more minutes, and then she got on the massage table. As I arranged pillows and blankets making sure she was comfortable she burst into tears. “No one has taken care of me in so long” she cried. I handed her some tissue and encouraged her to let it out.
As she settled I took a moment to focus, then gently rested my hands on the bottoms of her feet. Immediately I could “feel” her exhaustion and hypervigilance in taking care of the baby. The sensation spilled out of her feet, and I stayed with it till her body was done sharing. Slowly she felt more grounded, sinking into deeper and deeper levels of rest. After about 40 minutes I felt her energy disconnect from me, so I took my hands off her. We were done for today. A moment later she sat up, stretched and returned to the chair where she had begun. She was groggy but smiling. She said that, strangely, she felt both calmer and more energetic. When she came in for her next session the following week she told me she had begun looking for a moms’ group— hoping to find other moms with whom she could share her concerns and triumphs.
After a total of three sessions she was on her way. She had found a support group and, along with the weekly meetings, they were beginning to trade brief periods of childcare. She was calmer, and she and her baby were sleeping much better. There were still moments of fatigue and worry, but they were moments instead of all the time. She scheduled another session a month later, a “tune up” to nurture herself and help maintain her clarity and energy.
WHAT’S MY LINE?
The longest running game show ever (according to Wikipedia) was the original “What’s My Line?” where experts guess the contestant’s profession. Of course, the contestant was chosen for his or her “distinctive” (read: obscure) profession. If the experts didn’t guess correctly within the allotted time the contestant won. I want to be a contestant on that (extinct) show. I would win. I would sooo win.
I am a Craniosacral Therapist.
Here are some basics about Craniosacral Therapy:
- The essence of Craniosacral Therapy is that internally, within each of us, is the wisdom to heal ourselves.
- Craniosacral Therapy is fluid-based. Human beings are about 60 – 70% fluid.
- The name, Craniosacral Therapy, comes from the two biggest pools of cerebrospinal fluid (surrounds the brain and spinal cord) in the body. One inside the head, the cranium, and one in front of the butt bone; the sacrum.
- Craniosacral Therapy evolved from osteopathic (bone-centered) medicine. Interesting that a fluid-based therapy was born from a practice focused on the hardest tissue in the body.
- Sessions are generally sixty or ninety minutes.
- Adults lie on a massage table and relax, or focus on slow, deep breathing. Children may be on the table, in their mother’s arms, or playing on the floor.
- Clients stay fully clothed.
- I rest my hands very gently on them, as gently as if greeting the surface of a still pond. Through my hands and fingers I “listen” as people’s bodies move through their healing.
- Some sensations are felt by the client, some by me, and some by both of us.
- Common sensations clients have during a session: floating, sinking, lopsidedness (as if one hand is big and one is small), tingling, heat or pulsing, sadness, anger, fantastical dreams or old memories. They may see colors, even with eyes closed. Often people relax into a light sleep.
- While all our life stresses are similar (relationship, work, identity issues, grief, etc.) the diversity of ways bodies process are infinite and fascinating.
- People seek cranial for a wide range of issues: acute injury, car accidents, depression, migraines, concussions, chronic pain, anxiety, sleep issues, digestive issues, life or career path, preventative care, etc.
- My primary job as the therapist is to listen, provide a safe container, and support.
- My ability to guide people through these diverse experiences is based on my naturopathic and Craniosacral education, and my life experiences, my skills, and my intuition. I unapologetically use everything I got.
- Craniosacral Therapy has many benefits—from pain relief and calming, to deeply relaxing and profoundly healing.
- Because it’s gentle, inexpensive, safe and effective, Craniosacral Therapy is growing rapidly.