I am in search of a good quality of life, some sense of purpose, contentment. I think the desire for these things is pretty universal, but they don’t just happen. People go about seeking these outcomes in many ways. Some are healthy and productive, and some, not so much. I believe that a really good quality of life is cultivated through self examination, and focus on self awareness. It’s a visceral (gut) thing, not just mental, or just spiritual. It requires focus on bringing peace to the body, as well as the mind.
I don’t believe it is possible to experience peace of mind in a body that is racked with stress. Only by unwinding our stress patterns can we truly relax and be at peace. This is not a passive endeavor. It takes a willingness to challenge the status quo, which is always unsettling. It is a reluctantly acquired skill to push into our comfort zones, despite the protests of our bodies/ minds to this kind of discomfort. The payoff for embracing some constructive discomfort is potentially very big. It means that we can feel better over time, rather than slowly feeling worse, or going numb as we age.
I am convinced that we all have the potential to live much better lives in terms of our physical health and longevity. It is a matter of using simple tools in various aspects of our lives to produce a dynamic which alters the “normal aging process”. This can potentially create momentum toward more vitality, which basically reverses what we think of as inevitable deterioration in our quality of life as we age. Focusing on our diet /nutrition,
engaging in vigorous exercise, and learning to relax deeply can create a powerful synergy in the body. These various tools reinforce each other and wind back your body’s clock, functionally speaking. This may sound too good to be true, it’s not. You will, however, pay a price. The work required to make change is hard, and it won’t make you feel all warm and fuzzy, which is what our instincts tell us is good. Going against our instincts /habits for comfort is no easy thing. It’s deep programming, and very hard to change.
The comfort we instinctively seek will eventually become a straight jacket. Without enough physical challenge, our muscles atrophy, our fascia binds us from the inside. It leads to less and less functionality, and therefore less vitality. We need to expand our body’s parameters, to push the envelope, despite all of our instincts to contract.
Discomfort is an inevitable part of this unwinding process. The trick is to subject yourself to small, and increasing amounts as you learn to embrace it. It becomes less uncomfortable and more palatable, then almost pleasurable. I say “almost pleasurable” because when you are in it, if you are doing work which is challenging to the status quo, it is generally not fun. Neither the body or the mind likes to be pushed beyond their comfort zones. The idea is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable.
The reward for this work is feeling better and better over time, and in changing the state you live in. Becoming addicted to feeling better becomes the motivation for pushing further into your limitations. This feeds a beneficial feedback loop causing an freeing up of your structure, engaging areas which may be dormant, bringing with it more vitality, and an ever more luxurious sense of comfort to your body.
I believe this slow unwinding, and reorganizing process can allow us to remain vital throughout our lives. I can help with the relaxation and structural organization aspect of this formula through my bodywork, and share ideas about the rest. I certainly try to practice what I preach, and I love to talk about these things, and how to live a fuller, more present life. Doing this work helps me understand more about human nature, about my own process, and how to help people affect profound change in their own lives.
KIP EVAN DUVALL, LMT
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