I have to admit, I am not a fan of relaxation. There, I said it! Anytime I read an event description that is all about relaxation, I have zero interest in it. I view relaxation for relaxation’s sake as a form of escapism. I see it as a way to escape your troubles, your discomfort, your unease instead of dealing with it. As such, it just doesn’t hold a lot of value for me. I feel that we learn and grow when we are uncomfortable, when we can face our situation head on and acknowledge it, accept it, and change it if we need to. If you are just trying to avoid dealing with it by attending a variety of “feel-good” events, how will you change the course of your life?
Now, stillness, mindfulness, those I hold in high regard. In those rare moments of stillness, that’s when magic happens. That’s when invaluable insights have room to show up and be noticed. That, I can get behind on.
But guess what? We are so stressed and overwhelmed, we are so rushed along our lives, that we no longer know how to be still and mindful. It is no longer a natural part of our lives to slow down. And this is where relaxation does come in. If you are able to relax and let go, you will be able to be still and mindful. You can get out of being stuck in your sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and back into your parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). And did you know that we are supposed to live in “rest and digest” mode? With short bursts of activity in “fight or flight”? It feels as if though everything in today’s world is stack against that.
I can’t tell you how many clients I have seen that have trouble relaxing and letting go. I see it both in Reiki sessions and in Thai bodywork. With Reiki, they do eventually settle down and relax or doze off. It is also more of a mind that might stay agitated. The body lays still, so it’s easier to relax. But with Thai, and all the movement that comes with it, the person has to consciously relax the muscles so that I can move them without resistance. And I remind them to do so if I feel tension. One of the most common answers to that is, “But I feel like I am relaxed.” Nope, there is still tension, still effort. Slowly, they learn how to let go and relax and boy, what a difference it makes!