My massage therapist, Charles, is a master of Better Living through Torture. When he works on my leg, he finds the most dastardly place he can identify and proceeds to attack it with glee. I am directed to breathe through the pain… to let it go… to stop making that face… to breathe… release… breathe…
While I am in the moment, the last thing I want to do is breathe and release. I want to scrunch up my face and hold my breath, because it hurts and I am afraid of the pain. I don’t want to go through the pain; I want to dodge it and run screaming away. Most of all, I want that mean pain-making man to stop making me hurt. He is nothing if not tenacious, though, and since I know he has no intention of stopping, I try to breathe and release.
He’s right, darn it. The breathing works. The releasing works. I manage to allow him to loosen that particularly stubborn place and find the next one, and the cycle repeats. When Charles is finished with me, my leg feels lighter and more flexible. (My psyche, on the other hand, wants a do-over massage with essential oils and a fluffy robe and soft music.)
It occurred to me on the table this week that I am trying to dodge pain in more than just this one area of my life. I have decided to make it my mission to breathe and release everything that has been holding me down: Clutter. Stress. Perfectionism. Worry about my health. Excess body fat. Unrealistic expectations. It’s time to let it all go.
Breathe. Release. Repeat.