By Kathy Ginn L.M.T., NCTMB
Stillness is usually taken to imply an absence. “Be still” means stop being active. I would like to suggest being still is a positive experiential quality with its own vitality and aliveness. A most valuable gift we can offer our clients.
Relatively speaking, most of us reside in a yang landscape of excess and activity. We become restless when not constantly engaged in some activity. We seek diversion – distraction from solitude and quietude. Our minds, our mouths and our bodies are busy. We are driven by doing, consuming and becoming. Can we simply sit still? Do we allow ourselves to be quiet, to listen and to simply notice? My point is not to place judgment, but to point to the fast paced environment we take as normal. If we cannot sit still with ourselves; can we truly be present to our clients?
As many of you know I often weave together the study of ethics with the study of self. Who is the “me” that enters the session room? Traditional healers and shamans often undergo a period of purification and concentration – sometimes hours, sometimes days before they are sufficiently ready to see their patient. The Christian mystics have taught us how to live a contemplative life. Much of our most profound work with clients is guided not by external assessment methods or our technique, but by intuitive knowing. To be capable of entering the heart of stillness with a client, we must first enter it within ourselves.
We often do not allow time to step outside of ourselves so that we may be an open vessel, capable of deeply receiving another human being in the stillness of our soul. We are already full when we step into our session room. There is usually another client scheduled soon after, our mind is already racing, our breath may be shallow and there is no time to waste. All too often we feel we are being paid to do something, and so we keep our hands moving & busy, stroke following stroke. Perhaps “less is more” is an alternative approach. Our body/mind can only take in so much information before it turns off – sensory over-load.
Stillness is an opportunity, it is not an emptiness. Stillness is enough. I use stillness quite regularly with my clients. I offer education along with informed consent. I gently invite them into stillness through my voice, my touch, my presence. I listen and watch for the individual rhythm of their breath, listen to my intuition and slowly and gently enter their space. My touch is often subtle and my pace is slow. I remember my own humanity; I remember my own wounding.
Allow me to share with you a piece from Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.
“In this culture the soul and heart too often go homeless. Listening creates holy silence.
When you listen generously to people, they can hear truth in themselves, often for the first time. And in the silence & stillness of listening, you can know yourself in everyone.
Eventually you may be able to hear, in everyone and beyond everyone, the unseen singing softly to itself and to you.”
There is so much more than muscle, bone, activity, energy flow, the physical aches & pains of our clients. Their spirit sings and if we hear their song we can sing along. There is incredible relief when one is seen and heard rather than being “done to.” Slow down. Be Still and you will know.
Perhaps this is truly the Heart of Ethics Education!
Kathy is currently in private practice in both Madison and Oconomowoc, WI. She has been active in the field of massage therapy & bodywork since 1991. Kathy is a Right Use of Power facilitator and Hakomi trained bodyworker. She served with the NCBTMB ethics committee for 8 years, and currently serves on the Board of the Right Use of Power Institute – located in Boulder, CO. She is currently on faculty at East-West Healing Arts Institute. Kathy is an NCBTMB approved provider. She offers continuing education in Ethics and Business. Kathy also offers mentoring for those who seek her service.
Please visit her web-site: Ethical Dimensions