I am lying on the massage table as my friend Tracey draws a deep line on my calf from ankle to almost-knee. With the invisible ink of healing energy, she draws the line again and again, pausing at certain points so that ripples are released from the spot and travel up through my limb, torso, and then out the top of my head. So that ripples move up and then out into the room through my skin, my fingertips. It is joyful. “Can you feel that?” I ask her. The whole room is swimming in the energy that was once upon a time caught in a tiny contraction on my calf. This energy so obviously likes being free.
So, how and why does energy get caught like that? And what is the magic that allows it to flow again? When I walk the beach, climb the stairs, and don’t take time to stretch afterwards or smoothe Jann’s magical Arnica Salve over my muscles—it’s easy to see why there’d be tension there. But on another level, our habitual ideas about time itself can tense the body. The belief that there is NO time or never enough time, and the ubiquitous sense of urgency it spawns can keep muscles always just a little contracted . . . an urgency like a pattern in stone—only the stone is your brain and the pattern is modern life.
A few weeks ago, Mike gave me the best massage he’d ever given me in our fourteen years together. Our first day back from a fantastic week in Cuba, I spent sick in bed, and at one point, I asked him to rub my back. With what felt like pure love flowing through his hands, I relaxed completely and fell asleep. When I woke up later, I was fine.
In one way, to heal another is to offer her something that facilitates the flow of life-energy. When this life-energy is stuck, it can feel like tightness or fatigue, like anxiety, depression or pain. When it gets unstuck and moves freely again, it feels like peace or excitement, like love or joy. It’s been said that energy flowing through the body is pleasure, flowing through the heart is love, flowing through the spirit is joy. Imagine no obstructions in mind, body, or spirit—that experience is the bliss of embodiment. But everyone has known times when it was scary to be in a body. Healing is what allows the clearing of the scary memories, the old psychic imprints, and a return to feeling safe. Safe in your body to be fully here and fully open in this new, now moment.
There are as many modalities of healing as there are humans who need and desire freedom from the inner blocks. Healing can come through words, touch and breathing . . . through pills, needles and surgeries . . . through meditation, dreamwork, and herbs . . . and (of course and wondrously) through physical intimacy. In Native American traditions, the very word “medicine” refers to the spiritual power in a person or in an object that can restore someone to harmony and well-being. In the end, all medicine comes from God, and all healers have access to the spiritual power of the heart.
The gift of embodiment is one of the most beautiful reasons to be human, to inhabit a body. We will be “all spirit” soon enough but while we are also physical, what could be better than the pure, powerful, positive energy of love moving like tremors through the ground of our tender flesh, and like waves through the river of being itself? As more of us experience the inner places thawing, our small-self contractions releasing into spaciousness, and our time-bound worry-habit disappearing into the holy instant, there will be more peace and joy on Earth.
(Photo above sent to me by Tracey Dessert, massage therapist and loving healer).