Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Things that Feel Good

I used to have a friend, a highly ambitious super smart go-getter film friend, who bought a new lipstick every single day on her lunch hour. Some women (though not really in my peer group) compulsively buy shoes. Others, housewares and candles. Around here, a lot of people drink, a lot. In the last 10 years, I've become a devotee of bodywork. Massage, shiatsu, chiropractic, acupuncture, yoga and pilates - I'm into it. Today, I had my first ever reflexology experience. It was the greatest!

I've had problems with my feet all my life. From my youngest days it was complicated. I couldn't find shoes that fit. Blisters, no arch support. My father forced me into saddles shoes in those important 4th/5th grade years when everyone else was wearing loafers, or the luckiest, sneakers. Forget about flipflops - that was torture. It's been a real albatross - stopping me from things that would otherwise be great for me. Hiking. Walking. Now dancing. I'd been in a pretty good place for awhile, living here in the car country of Texas, and confining my shoe choices to Danskos and cowboy boots. But age and the dancing, precipated a new crisis. Mentioning the burning to Adrianna the other day she chipped, "Oh you have to try my reflexologist. And he's right in the neighborhood."

I wasn't sure what to expect. I'm familiar with the concept, that there are reflex areas in the feet and hands which correspond to all of the glands. organs and parts of the body. I understood that somehow in manipulating the feet, you'd be treating the rest of the body. What I wasn't prepared for was just how awesomely great it would feel, and deeply relaxing.

Maybe because for so long I lived in my head. For decades people hassled me, "You think too much!" So in this later phase, I've been embracing the modalities that get me out of my head. The mind/body connection is powerful and real. And once you come to understand and start to work with it, the changes are palpable.

I remember the year my father was dying. He lived in California. I was in NY. I'd speak to him nightly, going through details and listening to his frank talk about dying. "I'm a doctor. I can face these things," while the next minute he was buying chandeliers for his new condo. As the year progressed, I'd roll out of bed and stutter down the stairs. One foot at a time. Literally hunched over. After he died, my sister treated me to my first ever shiatsu in L.A. The masseuse was a blind Japanese named Mr. Hamm. "You really need this!" he said. Walking out of his office I realized I could straighten up. I could breathe. The wellbeing, which lasted a full three days was profound.

The next reinforcement came in 1995. I was typing John's book, writing the PTA newsletter, and into email into a big way. 12 hours daily typing, easily. I woke up one morning and couldn't use my left hand at all. It was locked into a kind of gimp spasm. It was a crisis; the book was near done but not finished, and my computer input and editing was crucial. I started seeing two different masseuses each week for six weeks. It was lifechanging. It didn't just feel good, it was essential.

So I've continued when I can, limited only by financial and time constraints. I'm amazed by the exploration of the different ways energy moves (or doesn't) in the body. I find the work miraculous, and the excellent practitioners who practice, fascinating. I know it's indulgent. But amazing. Powerful.

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