Drop Your Shoulders!

This past weekend, I had the good fortune to attend a two-day workshop on Qi Gong. A constant refrain during the two days was, “Drop your shoulders!!” Every time I heard this, I noticed how much tension I carry in my shoulders, unwittingly.

Not only does carrying this tension hurt, I don’t want to do it. One remedial formula suggested during this workshop  is to:

Drop the shoulders

Open hands and fingers

Smile

Often, we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders due to empathic response to world conditions, due to imbalance in the alignment of self and other, due to not being present in the moment, due to being in our heads, not our hearts, due to forgetting the pervasive base note of goodness and Love.

When I worked in nursing, clinical massage and craniosacral therapy, I would often open a person’s hands during a session. Hands and arms are a strait shoot to the heart. Closed fingers, making a fist as a standard part of one’s posture, blocks the heart from giving or receiving because the pathways are closed.

Our jaws carry tension because of real or perceived conditioning that inhibits the freedom to express truth.  The simple act of smiling relaxes the temporomandibular joint that connects upper jaw and lower jaw, offering a moment of inner peace. This experience of inner peace can bring us to the moment, where we can discern and choose options we might not have considered until we relaxed.

I have worked with Natural Time Cycles for 40 years and am still working on relaxing the body to feel the flow of time as an inner experience.  When our body is clenched and contracted, the energy does not flow and we are stuck in time that is not true to the moment. In clenching and contracting we resist, avoid and fear. There are other ways.

One way is to have a check-in, every hour or two, noticing if your shoulders are hunched and contracted or relaxed in the natural blueprint of their organic design.  If your shoulders are hunched, simply relax them. Repeatedly checking in like this will, eventually, override the old contracting pathway.

Another way is to notice, again every so often, if you are holding your fingers closed, in a fist posture, or if the palms of your hands are open and relaxed. If your hands are closed, simply take a slow deep breath and open them. Invite your system to be open to receiving what you need and giving what you have to give.

Another way, when stressed to the max and smiling seems antithetical to your emotional state, take a minute and smile. Reflect on your inner experience and explore how you might calm and comfort yourself. Smiling opens us to other perspectives, other choices.

Another, exceptionally effective body relaxing technique is to hold your right hand at the level of your heart, in the middle of your chest and your left hand two fingers below your naval. The pressure with this technique is light as a feather. Close your eyes, slow your breath, breathing in through the nose and out through a slightly opened mouth. Sit like this for a few minutes and allow your whole body to soften into presence and Love.

I have used this technique thousands of times with people and it works to calm anxiety, agitation, fear, stress. It is a very loving self-care gesture that only takes a few minutes and is portable; you can take it with you wherever you go.

Relaxing the body, allowing for unrestricted corporal flow of blood, lymph, cerebral spinal fluid and chi aligns our flow with nature. We sync with a constantly flowing cosmos. Allowing for this flow of life, we release the resistance and clenching that binds us. Instead, we are free, wise and wild with Life. We build the competence and confidence that activates aliveness. In doing so, we open to the experience of time as organic, and to the direct experience that we have enough time because we are in the moment and can take care of the moment.  With a relaxed and flowing body, we also open to the inherent wisdom of how to spend our time, of what matters most in each changing, fluid moment.

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