For a more peaceful holiday (or any day).
When I was first out of massage school and beginning to see clients, I loved my work, but my body quickly began to suffer.
I would end a session with my client relaxed + beaming, but I would realize I had a headache, my jaw felt glued together, my forearms were burning, or that I hadn’t really breathed for the past 90 minutes.
I REALLY wanted them to feel better, and I subconsciously held WAY more effort and tension than necessary in my own body.
All that effort wasn't helping. It was detrimental to me, and probably on some level wasn’t serving them either.
The irony of a super tense massage therapist was not lost on me.
I was hurting. I was embarrassed. I wondered if I was on the wrong path.
So I got help. I learned new techniques. I received support. I sought advice.
As I learned and changed, one of the most concrete experiments I tried was this:
I began to work with the mantra “50% less”.
And so I did my work, connecting, kneading, holding, soothing – everything I usually did – but with 50% less effort in my body and mind.
The feedback from my clients, and the results were the same, if not better.
I'm pretty certain that my more relaxed state had an even more positive effect, both physically and energetically, on my clients.
Since then I’ve cut my effort in half many times over, and from what my clients and my body tell me, it’s more than a good thing.
So here’s what I want to share with you, the secret to doing less is not putting it on your self-help to-do list, or adding it as a “should” on your shoulders.
To actually have less FEEL LIKE LESS, try moving from the inside out.
Choose one task, one problem or one issue and try cutting your effort, time, energy, money or ______ in half.
For extra fun, do it in secret. (You might be amazed at how the people in your life don’t notice any concrete difference. The thing they might actually notice over time is that you are more settled + grounded + content. Sweet, right?)
Know why this is extra important to keep in mind right now? As we come upon the winter solstice, we will have about half as much daylight as we do in the height of summer (under 9 hours as opposed to more than 15).
I notice the effect on me in a big way--on both my mental and physical energy, do you? (Take it as an extra deep invitation from the Universe, a blessing from Mama Earth, to extend to yourself some space and kindness in this experiment of less.)
Give these a try...
Driving. Similar to what I described above, when you drive, see if you can put half as much tension in your hands, half as much holding in your shoulders. Try turning the radio or music down or off. Try spending half as much mental energy (thinking, problem-solving, worrying) while you’re on your way. For the win: Try this with talking on the phone, eating, or writing an email.
You want to get a super special gift for someone. Try cutting in half how much money you spend, how much time you spend shopping, or how much mental and emotional energy you spend thinking about it. Trust they will feel your love (they will!) without your late night worrying or hurried shopping.
You want to spend special time with friends and family members this holiday season. Try cutting the number of events in half, the number of hours in half, the number of people in half, the number of dishes in half. (You can say, “I care about you so much, and this is what I’d rather do this year.”)
(Even when it’s something “good” – such as people you love to be with – doing less doesn’t mean you value it less or that you will be missing out. In fact, cutting back on effort often brings more richness to the time you do have. NOTE to INTROVERTS: This is especially relevant + doubly important for you.)
Remember the secret – it’s not so much about “I should do less” as it is “how can let this take half as much energy?”
Keep it simple lovely.
Also remember that we live in a sea of culturally-sanctioned more-and-more, and sanctified busyness. (This means you will undoubtedly feel the resistance of going against the flow.)
So seek some extra support. Make your own rules. Do it in secret. Give yourself permission. Dare to do it for your own wellbeing.
And let me know how it goes, I’d love to hear. (And stay cozy!)