Thursday, December 1, 2011
Give peace a chance
"Soldiers march, warriors dance." - great teacher Kila Choudbury
Warriors and healers are made of the same stuff. As a person who is pathologically afraid of any type of physical violence, it's hard to accept, but I know it's true.
My great teachers of shi'atsu told us that the same points we use to heal are used by martial artists to render the opponent incapable of fighting. Holding, pressing or needling a point is healing, but if you give it a serious jab, it can be extremely harmful. Isn't this the way of so many things? Everything is poison and medicine, depending on the situation and dosage.
It's up to the practitioner to decide how much is enough but not too much. Both healers and warriors must regularly decide how far to go. During a massage, sometimes we therapists find a particularly congested area of muscle. (Some people would call this a "knot" but in truth your muscles do not tie themselves in knots - when they're engaged and congested, they are stiffer to the touch than relaxed muscles, but they are NOT in knots. It doesn't help to think about it that way.) When we come across a place that is engaged, it's hard to resist the urge to release it fully. We push, squeeze, apply friction. Sometimes all of the above does little good. Sometimes we want to grab a meat tenderizer and just start beating on our clients. Well. I never do - but the image is appealing.
One of my great teachers said, "You don't have to fix everything in one session." Thank goodness for my great teachers. And anyway, due to the interconnectnedness of fascia, sometimes working on someone's knee will release a hip flexor, for instance. Beating a dead horse (as it were) serves only to bring more energy to an already spasmed muscle. Just like a warrior, it's my responsibility as a healer to know when to move on.
Many aspects of healing mimic warfare. The immune system is all about warding off invaders, it is a powerful army perfectly suited to protect our bodies. What I'm thinking about this morning is how, in allopathic medicine, we're so fixated on killing invading organisms that we systematically destroy the natural immune systems of those who are ill. We kill our own armies, with chemotherapy and antibiotics and in so many other ways. It's a scorched earth policy. These drugs are one-eyed soldiers. Allegedly they're marching against a particular enemy, but there's no wisdom, no discerning warriorship in chemo or antibiotics. They exist outside the ecosystem of the individual. They lay waste to the landscape of the body, they pillage and plunder, killing everything, both harmful and beneficial. It takes a long time to recover afterwards.
Societally we are developing many more auto-immune disorders than we used to. Even aside from allopathic drugs, we're systematically (it sometimes seems) trying to defeat the human immune system. I wonder about that, I really do. Some guy recently was completely cured of leukemia when his immune system came to the rescue (because of some stem cell experiment) and killed the cancer - forever. He is completely cured. The immune system can save us! Seems clear as a bell to me.
There are many days when I wish sincerely my society would focus more on the healing edge of the spectrum than continually sending tougher and tougher one-eyed soldiers in to do the work. I really do!
May your day be peaceful. Shalom.