Is it OK to not “let it go”? (part 1)

I’d like to share some of my thoughts today about one aspect of self-healing: non-attachment.

Ever since I started self-healing work about 20 years ago, I’ve noticed that many of the lessons and messages we get from our teachers and leaders and gurus overlap with each other.  For instance,

  • Be non-judgmental
  • Be patient, be kind, perform random acts of kindness
  • Love your neighbor as your self
  • Honor each other

But over the years there have been a handful of messages with which I’ve always struggled.  These include:

  • Let it go, let go
  • Release it
  • Be unattached to outcome, be detached
  • Let go, let God take the pain away

In general, I’ve struggled with the admonishments and encouragements to surrender.  Perhaps it’s that I am, admittedly, a person who wants to feel in control.  Of course, I’ve had enough training and life experience to know cognitively that we’re never in control.  Still, when I hear the words like “just let it go,” my defenses go up and I find I want to be even more attached to the situation, to the outcome, to the issue, to my ego’s way of wanting to do things.

So, or maybe But, our teachers also encourage us to acknowledge what’s here in the present.  So what’s worked better for me is, rather than creating more inner conflict and emotional pain of guilt or discontent or incompetence by resisting the notion to “let go,” I tend to prefer to say, “OK, this feeling or desire for control is what I feel I need right now, and I know that’s a part of who I am, and I can accept it and accept myself and I don’t need to be anyone other than who I am right now.”

Now of course this isn’t a new message, and I don’t intend to imply that it is.  But what’s different for me from what I think I hear the gurus saying, is that I give myself permission to accept my desire to hold on, and conversely, I don’t argue with myself if I don’t want to let go right now.  I know I won’t feel this way forever, but I do believe my truth in the moment deserves to be honored.

Much of this came up for me in reaction to an internet radio show based on a book entitled “Working on Yourself Doesn’t Work.”  Both the book and the show seem to summarize many of the teachings of our gurus and leaders – ie, basically, “just let it go.”  Not surprisingly, I had my same immediate defensive visceral “NO!” reaction about two minutes into the show (I haven’t read the book).

Now I know myself well enough to know that that strong of a reaction probably means there’s something in there for me to learn.   So after the show, I went into a guided meditation (ironically called “Patience”) which also expounded many of the same messages:  “Just notice what’s there, don’t resist it,” etc.

Why, you may ask, am I willing to let in the same message from the meditation but react so strongly to the radio show?  One thing I noticed was I felt like the familiar voice of the meditation leader was giving me permission to give myself permission to feel whatever is there – not to attach to it or identify myself by it, but, yes, it’s OK to feel it.

Conversely, I experienced the radio show hosts as saying, “Don’t feel it.  It’s only there to distract you from your pain or task at hand or life; you’ll do better if you just change your mind, stop thinking about it, and get back to whatever those intrusive thoughts are distracting you from.”

Ironically these probably aren’t two radically different messages.  But for me, I need to first let myself know it’s OK to be, feel, experience exactly what’s here now – to acknowledge it, to honor it (and thus honor myself), not to judge it as “something to be gotten away from,” but rather some part of me that’s asking for light and validation.  Once that happens, I can let it go with the best of them!

I’m open to hearing your thoughts.

Adele Cox, MA, CMT
Youniversoul Health & Wellness
2305 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA  94705

Ground Hog Day

February 2 is Ground Hog Day in the United States.  (If you’re unfamiliar with this day, there are many websites that can explain its history and meaning.)  “Ground Hog Day” is also the name of a movie, and it’s from that perspective that I’m writing this post.

In the movie (SPOILER ALERT!), the lead character Phil Connors relives the same day, Ground Hog Day, for an estimated 10 to 10,000 years.  For Phil, it feels like eternity.

At the start of the movie, Phil is described as arrogant, belligerent, and frustrated in his career (and presumably in his life).  He spends most of each (repeated) day struggling to change the external environment.  He (like most of us) believes that if he can change the life around him, his internal pain will be relieved.  Eventually he resorts to a comical litany of suicide attempts – all of which end with him waking up the next morning to another February 2.  Yet in the end (BIG SPOILER ALERT), he’s made peace with his environment, and has chosen to become an integral part of it.

This past Ground Hog Day, I was talking with a friend about the movie.  I paused and wondered aloud, “What changed?  What made him stop trying to change the world around him, and start accepting and even enjoying his world and caring for the people in it?”

Then I remembered:  The old man died.  I believe the moment that Phil realized that he couldn’t stop the old man from dying, Phil began living.  A shift happened inside of him that affected his entire worldview.  In that moment, I believe, Phil reconnected with his heart and soul, which in turn reconnected him with his world.

I’ve always loved that movie for its sweetness and humor, but now I also see it as a gentle metaphor for anyone on a path to pain relief, health and wellness, or personal growth.  One way to respond to pain is to try (repeatedly) to run away from it.  Another is to insist (repeatedly) that the world outside change so we can feel relief.

But as many wise people have said, the path through the pain leads to our truth and salvation.  Phil Connors’ path can be useful for us, too:  acknowledge your pain; feel your heart; find your passion and your purpose; live happily “ever after.”

I am open to hearing your thoughts.

Adele Cox, MA, CMT
Youniversoul Health & Wellness
2305 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA  94705

“Tight” versus “Weak”

I once heard a radio interview with an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports injuries.  In responding to a caller’s question, he commented that “muscles become tight when they are weak, so it’s important to strengthen weak muscles to prevent injury.”

Now, with all due respect to the good doctor, I believe he has the situation reversed. A muscle does not become tight because it is weak.  Muscles become weak because they are tight.

This is a distinction between the muscle tissue and the muscle’s functionality. When the tissue is contracted and rigid (or “tight”), the muscle system cannot perform at efficient capacity, limiting  functionality.  Conversely, muscle tissue that is flexible, limber, and supple performs at a higher level of efficiency and ease, increasing functionality.

For example,  make a claw with your hand, as if you were gripping a stuck jar lid.  Now try to wiggle your fingers.  Notice that you’re probably expending a lot of energy and effort, and still you probably can’t move your fingers very far or very easily.

Now, relax your hand and wiggle your fingers again. Notice the difference?  Your fingers most likely move farther with less effort than the first time.

This isn’t because your hand muscles were “weak” and then suddenly became “stronger”; it’s because your hand muscles were at first “tight” and then became “not tight” — and therefore better able to perform the function of moving your fingers easily and efficiently.

So, while I agree with the doctor that strength training is important for overall good health, trying to force tight muscle tissue to work harder is counter-productive, and can lead to pain and/or injury.  It’s important that muscle tissue be flexible, relaxed, and fluid (which is also not the same as weak) in order for strengthening and other exercise to be most effective.

I am open to hearing your thoughts.

Adele Cox, MA, CMT

Youniversoul Health & Wellness

2305 Ashby Avenue

Berkeley, CA  94705

No Pain, More Gain

Have you heard the old adage, “No pain, no gain?”

I disagree with that sentiment.  When I’m in pain, I see no “gain” in pain.  When I’m in pain, I want pain relief so I can get back to my life.

Let’s say you’re out jogging and you trip, twisting your knee.  You know to ice and rest your knee, but alas the pain is not getting better.  You try anti-inflammatory pills for a couple of days, but you also don’t want a lot of drugs to mask the pain and leave you with side effects.  So you decide to seek out a practitioner to help relieve your pain.

Again, most of us have been trained to think that effective pain relief only comes through enduring more pain.  So we find (and pay!) practitioners to  push, pull, jerk, force, and otherwise man-handle our hurting bodies with deep-tissue massage, physical therapy, vigorous stretching, and/or surgery — and we hope that eventually we’ll feel back to normal.

But, I’ve always wondered:  If you’re already in pain, why would you pay a practitioner to inflict more pain?

When you’re in pain, wouldn’t you want pain relief without having to suffer through more pain?

If you’re like me, and your answer is YES, I invite you to call me today to experience Youniversoul Healing.

I’ve found that success in healing is attained not by enduring more pain, but by creating more comfort – the greater the comfort, the faster and longer lasting the pain-relief.

Your body is Sacred — trust your body only to someone who treats it as Sacred.

I am open to hearing your thoughts.

Adele Cox, MA, CMT
Youniversoul Health & Wellness
2305 Ashby Avenue
Berkeley, CA  94705