"When we run from silence, we run from ourselves."- Michael Jeffreys
Last week, for our Community Connects online series, we interviewed massage therapist Shelby Woodall from Whole Wellness in Smyrna, Georgia. Shelby spoke of massage as meditation and her own self-care journey, beginning from childhood, where she struggled with anger management issues. As an adult, she found herself unhappy in her job as an insurance agent. I giggle even thinking about that picture because five minutes with Shelby will tell you that the calling on her life is especially NOT that of an insurance agent. (No offense to insurance agents. You are loved and needed, too!) Therapy for her struggles was tried plenty, but what really started working for her and transforming her as a person, was her commitment to what we call The Four Seeds of Self-Care. These include consistently eating well, sleeping well, meditating and exercising. When she began to put her self-care practices first in her life, the importance of aligning herself with proper activities and relationships in order to achieve success in whatever aspect of her life she was seeking became highly apparent. This alignment led to the discovery of her gift of "touch", when a friend told her that she gave the best hugs. Eventually, Shelby became a massage therapist and understands now that she is happiest and serving herself most when she is making others happy by serving them. Massage is a form of meditation to Shelby. The therapeutic care goes both ways between client and practitioner. As she massages out the physical kinks in her clients, she gets to massage the mental kinks out her own mind.
I was doing the dishes the other night after dinner. My partner is an amazing cook, and I am not, so it is just my pure joy and honor to get to eat the food and to clean up after him. It's that good! I usually start by surveying the dishes. What can I rinse and put in the dishwasher? What needs to be washed by hand? What has food so caked on that it just needs to be filled with a little soap and hot water and let sit a minute? On this night, it was the mac and cheese dish. As it was soaking, I thought about how meditation is kind of like soap and hot water for a casserole dish. Without soaking it, you can try to scrub all the crap off, but you are going to be scrubbing for a long time. Your arms are going to be sore from the amount of effort you have to put in, and your fingernails will no doubt be raw from trying to scrape off the food that the bristly back of the sponge won't even help. But if you let it sit a minute... If you just leave it to sit for JUST A FEW MINUTES, you know what happens? Most of the food that was so stuck on the dish miraculously wipes right off, and you, with the least amount of effort, have practically wiped clean all the junk that seemed impossible to get rid of. Likewise, consistent meditation makes dealing with all the daily demands of life easier!
"In an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still."- Pico Iyer
In these uncertain times, there is plenty of worry, anxiety, anger, sadness, fear, you name it, to go around. It isn't hard to find a reason to feel bad. These feelings and emotions are ready to move in and stay if we let it. That's why a consistent meditation practice is an imperative tool to overcome negative thought patterns that are constantly trying to compromise a healthy state of mind. Meditation does not have to be a formal aff