I just love it when I come upon a wealth of wise sayings and quotations. In the last seven days I have received a rush of wise words. They have come from many disparate places: a car bumper sticker, a friend’s home, a special workshop given by a dynamic speaker – Fr. Larry Richards from Pennsylvania, and, because of a piece of research work that I did, from the internet. I have collected so many of them that I will spread them over a few postings. Here is the first batch.
“God does not love us if we change; God loves us so that we can change.” (Fr. Richard Rohr)
“It is easy in the world to live after the world’s opinion; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)
“No man is rich enough that he can buy back his past.” (Oscar Wilde)
“When the spiritual, mental, and emotional bodies are healthy, the physical body manifests health and becomes more vibrant, too. Our smiles, our eyes, our posture, and even our skin, which is the largest organ in the body and most sensitive to energy, send off a positive, attractive energy. This is part of the realignment process and will naturally affect your relationships, too.” (Sierra Bender)
“Your love for God is only as great as the love you have for the person you love the least.” (Dorothy Day)
“Clouds come into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” (Rabindranath Tagore)
“They came to sit and dangle their feet off the edge of the world and after a while they forgot everything but the good and true things they would do some day.”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)
“The fact that I can plant a seed and it becomes a flower, share a bit of knowledge and it becomes another’s, smile at someone and receive a smile in return, are to me continual spiritual exercises.” (Leo Buscaglia)
“It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.” (Seneca)
And the last one for today is, in my opinion, superb:
“Show up. Tell the truth. Be very alert. Expect nothing.” (A car bumper sticker)
And just think, there are more to follow.
In my opening blog post back in April this year (Taking Care of Spirit, Body, and Mind), I talked about the importance of taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Something that I do with as much frequency as my wallet allows is to receive a massage. Although massage is a very physical mode of therapy, if you find the right massage therapist and if you approach massage with an open heart and mind, then you will also be taking care of yourself on the mental, emotional and spiritual levels.
So let’s take a look at the different benefits of massage. Apart from the most obvious physical relief from having aching muscles and joints massaged and gently moved, there are several other physical benefits to be received. Massage stimulates the circulatory system, helping to bring blood out to the extremities of even the tiniest of the veins in our bodies. This helps us to deal better with any form of pain as well as improving the circulation of the blood in general.
Another bodily system that is stimulated by massage is the lymphatic system. Without getting too scientific or technical the best way I can describe this is as a series of vessels that runs parallel to the veins. They carry a liquid called lymph and the whole system is extremely important to the good functioning of the spleen, thymus, bone marrow, and digestive system. The lymphatic system helps the veins do their job better.
Having mentioned the digestive system I will also point out that massage stimulates this system too. It is not abnormal (and should not therefore be cause for embarrassment!) for the stomach to start grumbling once the massage starts. All toxins in the body are helped to exit the body more readily by the action of a massage.
So to recap, it’s not just a question of “feel good” or a good way to relax, massage is also a vital way to help maintain our bodies healthy. Improved blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and digestive systems help us to live longer and with a better quality of life. But let’s not downplay the “feel good”; that’s important too!!
However, the physical body is not the only part of us to benefit from massage. The simple act of laying down on the massage table should induce a certain level of relaxation. Today’s frenetic pace of life brings heavy doses of stress and tension into our bodies, our hearts, and our minds. The more we choose to reduce stress the better our health will be in all those areas.
Most massage therapists today, with perhaps the exception of those working in the sports arena, provide calm and peaceful environments in their studios. Music, soft lighting, and the use of aroma therapy via oils or candles all help to set an environment where the client can let go of worries and anxieties at least for the hour or so of their appointment.
The massage table is also a good place to let go of any toxic emotions that we may be clinging on to. Most therapists and psychologists who are helping people deal with hurtful and damaging issues will also recommend that their clients try massage to help them release trapped emotions. This is important because negative emotions that are not dealt with properly will take up physical residence in our bodies, eventually causing illness and disease.
In my opinion, there is no better place to pray than on the massage table. Whatever belief system you may have can only get better by indulging in some form of spiritual connection while receiving a massage. Allow your soul to be massaged by your Creator as the therapist massages your body.
The actual origins of therapeutic massage are in the instinctual response to hold and rub a hurt or pain. Therapeutic massage is found in all cultures and in all historical ages as an integral part of health care and maintenance. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, considered massage of prime importance in any health regime.
So next time your body, your mind, your heart, or your soul seem to be in need of attention and pampering, book a massage and come home to yourself. If you don’t know of any massage therapists and you are concerned about finding a good one, ask around among your friends. I bet at least one person that you know receives massage on a regular basis and can give you a good referral.
I’m not quite sure how this posting is going to come out, so I haven’t even given it a title yet. I’m not even sure what I want to say. Just know that I have to say it. So I guess I’ll start by recounting what sparked my need to write something, and then I’ll see what unfolds.
A few days ago my husband and I had a minor quarrel. It was more like a very tiny spat in the bigger scheme of things. I was going from one thing to another, my usual meandering self, and he was playing a game on his X-Box. All was well, or so it seemed. But as I meandered from one activity to another I became aware that I was getting irritable. As I stood at the kitchen looking over the counter at him playing, the irritation burst out in words: “You’re getting a bit obsessed with that thing lately!”
As soon as they flew out of my mouth, like poisonous arrows in the air, I regretted them. But the dice was cast, and as he replied a little testily to my accusation I knew I was going to hold ground – come what may. That awful need to be right sat right in my throat. It didn’t last very long, thank God. I am very grateful for the great love that Richard has for me. He gently reminded me of the time I spent (obsessively?) reading books and he never complains, and I backed down. But the whole thing left a bitter taste in my mouth and a yucky feeling in my heart.
The next morning during my quiet time, I had to take a look at that little scene and examine where it had come from. And I realized that it was the second “exploding irritation” that I had initiated in the course of a couple of days. The other one was less of an explosion and more of a “passive-aggressive” attempt to bring Richard’s attention to something – a fault of his. Even in that instance I was aware of that wretched need to be right. And today in the remembering of these incidences, I am reminded of a very short poem by Ruth Harms Calkin titled Confession.
It suddenly occurs to me
That the most severe conflicts
In our marriage
Seem to come when I insist
On exposing my husband’s faults
Instead of confessing my own.
So what was going on here? It hadn’t been a “severe conflict” but I had been taking my husband’s inventory instead of keeping my own. I prayed and I prayed, and out of the blue, floating across my consciousness, came the phrase “I’m out of kilter”. And I immediately remembered a dream that I had had just over a week ago.
Here I need to explain that I very rarely remember my dreams these days. In my “old life” I would wake up in the morning and remember every detail of all my dreams. And most of them were quite dramatic and very colorful. But since making huge changes in my life, my nights seem quite dreamless. At least I do not remember them. And if I do I’ve discovered that it usually means that something is off balance in my life, that I’m a little off center, “out of kilter”.
So what I was remembering was in fact just a fragment of a dream. The fragment went something like this. Richard and I were “somewhere” (didn’t recognize the place), and he was sitting at a table. A phone rang and he answered it and within a few moments he had put his head in the hand that wasn’t holding the phone, and his body sagged. After he hung up I asked what was wrong and he said, “Our daughter is in jail.” I had snapped awake instantly.
And there I had it. Fear – the underlying cause of all my irritation that had quietly been building. I hadn’t shared my dream, or fragment of dream, with anyone. I guess it had seemed such a trifling thing at the time that I thought it didn’t need attention. I should know better. Nothing connected with my daughter is trifling for me.
I have done a lot of work, spiritual, mental, and emotional, around my daughter. I guess the lesson learned here is that there is always more work. So before I go to bed tonight I will share my dream fragment with my husband and tell him that I love him very much, and also reaffirm the apology that I have already made to him for my barbed tongue. Life is too short to allow fear and irritation rob me of my joy. Oh, and I need to find a title for this writing.