Has a massage ever brought you to tears?
Tears that spring out of nowhere at the release of tension you didn’t even know you had.
The line between physical and psychic stress often blurs.
We often operate at such a high level of continuous stress that it doesn’t even register unless we disturb the flow.
A few months ago, my father and I attended Tai Chi classes. It was something he had wanted to try for quite some time. I found a class offered at the community center in my town and we went. I was used to the gentle flow of yoga, which the instructor told me is a cousin to Tai Chi, but this required an even higher level of calm and restraint. With my high-strung, perpetually-on-a-treadmill ways, it was a stretch of a different kind. I told myself to slow down as my cloud hands swept across the room, but it was something long since foreign to my body.
At one of the sessions, our teacher led us through a meditation we’d never done before. I didn’t know how relaxed I could get without lying prostrate on the floor, but I dutifully took my breaths and moved my hands – and started to cry.
It was not a bad day. I did not feel overly stressed, anxious, or upset. And yet, once I allowed my body and mind to slow, the pressure slack, the excess overflowed.
I wanted to kiss this little old lady for releasing my five elements.
But I need to channel my own little old lady. I cannot look outside for inner contentment. I must make the time to stretch in the morning, to adjust my posture, to make a mental scan of my body and release the tension.
I need to be more self-aware and body-aware so that a small chink in the dam doesn’t lead to a crazy rush of water I didn’t even know was collecting. It shouldn’t take a breach to make me notice the physical, mental, and emotional stress I’m holding.
My mental and physical health should be about maintenance, not damage control.