Thursday, October 7, 2010

How my left pinky taught me a lesson in humility

So, hi. I know it's been awhile but I'm busy with school and stuff and haven't really taken the time to write. Sorry. Hopefully I'll be back soon with more regular posts. But I learned something today that I felt like sharing.

Yesterday was my first day of Sports Massage technique class. Which is a lot more physically demanding than I thought it would be. I've had two weeks off school and I'm a little out of practice with some techniques. Not surprisingly, I overdid it a bit during class and when I woke up this morning the knuckle of my left pinky was sore. (I have no idea why that was the only sore knuckle I had. It's a bit odd but it is what it is.) I immediately figured that what it need was a good massage. And some movement. Movement is good for joints, right? So I spent a bunch of time this morning massaging my hand and really working that joint. Instead of helping it feel better, the massage and movement made it worse. I was in so much pain by the afternoon that I could barely sit through my Physiology lecture. And I love physiology! (I mean, what's not to love? Cell metabolism? The inner workings of the lymphatic system? Totally cool stuff).

When I got home and finally got an ice pack on it, I thought about how, despite my good intentions, I made a mess of things. And then it hit me - just because I'm a massage therapist (in training), doesn't mean that every ailment that crosses my path can be helped by massage. There are some things, like a sore pinky, that just need to be left alone for awhile. To rest. In my desire to "help," I lost sight of my limits. I'm just thanking my lucky stars that I learned this lesson without hurting anyone but myself.

Our bodies have an incredible ability to heal themselves - if we will just get out of their way and stop expecting too much of them. Sometimes when we have a minor injury or we're feeling not quite right, we don't necessarily need a doctor or a medication. We need to stop doing what injured us in the first place. We need to slow down and let our bodies rest. We need to stop interfering by trying to "make" ourselves feel better - no matter how good our intentions may be. Sometimes what we really need is to "do" nothing and let things be.

This is an especially important lesson for "healers" (I put that in quotes because I don't think I heal anyone, I just facilitate their own healing but "healing facilitator" just sounds silly and clinical. So anyway . , ,). We want to help our clients (and families and friends and random people around the world) to feel better. That's why we became healers, because we're helpers at heart. Which is why it can be hard for us to acknowledge that there may be times when we can't (or shouldn't) try to help. There are times when our clients just have to get themselves through a certain phase on their own. Their current problems may be above our pay grade. We may not be the right healer for them. (My friend, clairvoyant healer Debra Taitel, wrote a great post on this issue.)

The bottom line for me is that I have to learn to let things just be without meddling all the time. I have to learn that sometimes nothing is better than something. And even little pinky fingers have something to teach us.