Vulnerability is an interesting thing…

I’ve done a pretty good job at maintaining control in my life. Even in the chaos I have been able to see what is possible, how I can rescue myself, how I can maintain some semblance of ‘control’.

“Relax. Everything is out of control”

A co-worker put this post it on my computer the other day and I thought “yep. that’s about it”. I’ve recently stepped into two new spaces that are really new to me work wise. Every angle I check from, the work is exciting, it’s scary, and I have no idea what it’s going to develop into. One area – being the Student Support Advisor in a tertiary creative college is really independent. There is the ability to make the role quite involved across different elements of the ‘student experience’ if you’re highly self motivated and can fit other things into your schedule. I describe this role as being the bridge “between life and academia”.

One of my favourite parts is assisting students through their state of overwhelm and collaborating on a plan that will support them moving forward. Seeing their faces shift from anxiety to calm is quite rewarding. I get a positive feedback kick from working with them and they feel heard and contained, with a plan to through the next couple of hurdles as the assessments and life rolls on. We tend to be drawn to what we are good at, right?

The scary space between beginning and success

A new location calls for an update in my approach to working with people. I’ve long been the type of clinical therapist (AEP) who works with both the body and the mind, recognising their integration. It has long baffled me how much these two elements are separated in some approaches to rehabilitation and therapy from either end. So, I created my own approach – Integrated Body Therapy.

This is where vulnerability kicks in. Each passing hour I don’t have a client booked in I question if I can do this. Do I need another qualification? Another degree?

The reality is I know I can. I’ve spent time in people’s spaces physically and virtually doing versions of “Integrated Body Therapy” before I gave it a name. Though as I sit in my rented space in Byron Bay, each week I feel so exposed if my calendar is empty. As if it’s an electronic example of me failing. I want to shut it all down, call someone I know will value my opinions and thoughts and pretend like it’s the same thing as having actual clients. (As it happens, I had a call from a friend who wanted my thoughts and opinions just as I wrote that sentence… Killing it! Ha!).

This is my own version of “daring greatly“, of putting myself into an uncomfortable position with the willingness to see it through. Each time the scary space seems overwhelming, I pick a tool that I’d use with a client and practice what I preach. Come back to a space of who I am, what I have to offer to my clients, and who I am choosing to be every day.

Kindness is an interesting thing…

It was as simple as moving a yoga block.

Last night I was in a yoga class. It was a full space, Autumn drawing people towards the cozy ‘inside’ version of life in the Southern Hemisphere. Though yoga is a personal pursuit, trying to maintain your focus within the boundaries of your own mat, close proximity can prelude interaction. With bodies resting about 5 inches apart from one another, the yogi next to me noted my block obstructing my intended movement. He paused and simply moved it out of my way. It was such a simple thing, I had such a strong reaction to it. Then I remembered: “kindness”.

The kindness of strangers

Kindness is not an abstract or foreign concept in my world. The people I surround myself with are wonderful. I think the thing that threw me was the act of kindness was performed by a stranger. It was not expected, not an action in response to anything I had initiated, it was just kindness.

As I left class and thought about the profound response I’d had to something quite simple, I realised it was an example of me “letting kindness in”. In the roles I embody in both a professional and personal capacity I am often the soft landing, the nurturer, where the ‘feel good’ emotions live. Kindness and caring is something I consciously cultivate to offer to others and more recently, myself. In participating in my own kindness and self-care, I have a much greater capacity to be of service to others.

Letting it in

Being the type of person who works well independently, can generally get shit done, letting someone be kind can be a foreign concept. I generally give off an air of “I’m all good.” It’s almost a selfish approach to only ever be the person who gives. Giving allows you to get all the feel good feedback chemical responses, whilst also creating a platform to be seen in an independent, self-sufficient, and ‘together’ human.

Recently, I’ve been working with my idea of being vulnerable and how that allows for others to be kind to me. The final part is letting them. Letting that simple kindness to be met with a grace of gratitude. These new ‘yoga block’ moments provide an emotional feedback loop for me (I get how this sounds like a significant response to something so minor – but you’ve come this far, stay with me). I can see that I’m softening the “I’m okay” vibe and people are stepping into that space with the good stuff. That’s a shift. What a win!

Today’s result

It continues. I woke up to a message of kindness from an unexpected place. It was received with gratitude and love. I spent some time in self care activities before embarking into my role in Integrated Body Therapy and feel really good for it. As much as “I’ve got this” (what ever ‘this’ is), the last 24 hours have shown that kindness is a feeling I’d like welcome into my life on a frequent basis.

This life thing is a team game. If you are keen to have me on your side lemme know here (we can hangout in person/online/on the phone – though a visit to Byron Bay is always good for the soul 😉

Until next time, let a little kindness in.

Alignment is an interesting thing…

Anatomically speaking, there is nothing that pleases me more than seeing someone with well aligned posture and an easy movement. When I was lecturing students in their quest to be AEP clinicians, watching people walk is a nice segue into a whole body assessment. We would have our faces pressed up against the glass watching passers-by and clinically questioning their walking style. The best kind of people watching. “What components are tight?” “What areas require strength work?” “If they were to walk into your clinic, what initial testing would you like to do?” My goal was to ignite the fire of curiosity around movement patterns, whilst also continuing to reinforce the presence of the person held within the physical form. What factors have led them to move like that?

When the body meets emotions

The second layer to this process that sparks my curiosity is what emotion is behind the way they walk? Are the person’s shoulders rounded due to computer work or a protective sense of ‘self’? Are that person’s hip bound up and tight due to overtraining or emotional suppression?

When I’m working with a client, whether it is a physical or emotional starting point it just makes sense to address both areas. The two are so intrinsically connected, the combination addressing the body and emotions in a therapeutic session is like rewiring the brain and the body simultaneously. A renewed sense of freedom through ‘getting something off your chest’ through discussion and then layered with aligning opening can impact the shoulder joints, neck and spine. A shift in emotional perspective leading to shift in physical alignment.

The beginning of something magical

The benefits of these simple and effective approaches are immediate and can be improved upon over time. Clinically, an improvement in range of motion and function will allow your body to move with increased ease. As the flow of the physical improves, talking about the emotional blocks can allow the sense of being more emotionally robust and grounded in who you are. The present self is aligned body and mind.

Being the support to someone regaining their strength across the platforms of their life is a truly satisfying occupation. Witnessing the individual unfurl and grow in emotional and physical understanding and wellbeing, kitted out with their very own tools for success. If you’d like to start or continue to build your own tool kit, let me know here.