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Easing the Journey Through Shadow & Light

  • Dawn

Small Seeds of Hope: It's Amazing How Much How Little Will Do

Anti-Anxiety Tool of the Week

Humming. Just relax and hum...any note, any set of notes. Let the hum expand into your body, gently. You can hum a tune, but it might be easier to relax into the hum if you are not focusing on producing a song. Hum some and rest. Hum a little more and rest some more. If you are sitting still or lying down and humming, you may eventually feel the peaceful vibrations move through your whole body. I find this zapchen tool to be very portable, and very calming.

This tool is from the first Toolkit in case you want to look at it. And here's a link to the Index of all toolkits.

It's Amazing How Much How Little Will Do

Some of you may have heard about the long drawn out process I went through when I bought a new (to-me) car a few months ago. How the former owner (a wonderful man who was our neighbor for a few months) bought the car from a local dealer in March, the day before Virginia shut down due to the pandemic, but was not able to get the title for the car from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) until September!

It's a long, long story which includes major differences in financial culture between the US and Croatia (where our neighbor and his family were from), huge shutdown-related backlogs at our local DMV, possible post office delays, and either incompetence, indifference and/or deceit on the part of the dealer.

I bought the car at the end of July, just before our neighbors moved back to Croatia. But as we waited to hear that he had gotten his title, so it could then be transferred to me, Lawrence and I gnawed our fingernails. As July became August--and then September--we gnawed them down to our elbows. Once he actually got the title and signed it over to me, we didn't dare try mailing it--we envisioned it getting lost forever in a huge pile in some dusty old corner of the DMV.

We ended up driving over the Blue Ridge mountains to the DMV in Staunton, VA, close to 40 miles away, because we could get an appointment there to transfer the title, register the car and get license plates for the last week in September instead of having to wait until the end of November for an appointment in Charlottesville. To our delight, everything went very smoothly in Staunton.

It's a great car, even if it is 15 years old. But there were a few little problems: The steering wheel hid the speedometer. And the steering wheel was situated so that, unless I was extremely careful, it dragged across my leg as I was getting in, putting a strain on the exact location of an old injury. And that was a bit painful.

I still don't know why I didn't simply shift the steering wheel up--a pretty standard feature in cars these days. It's not like it would have been a permanent change. It can always be re-adjusted, quite easily. But for some reason I didn't do it, in fact, never really quite thought about it, consciously. Perhaps it was just the whole experience of feeling like it wasn't really my car.

Then one day, about a week after getting the title, I got into the car to go visit a friend, and said, "That's right! I can adjust the steering wheel with that little lever." So I did. It was a tiny change, a very simple shift. And I drove off to see my friend.

Among other things, during our visit we touched on my intense propensity for self-criticism which, alas, still plagues me. Just before our visit ended she asked me if there was anything I thought might help calm or quiet that inner critic. I didn't have an answer right then but told her I would think about it.

When I got back to my car I opened the door and slid right into the driver's seat. My first time getting into the vehicle since I had adjusted the steering wheel. No pain! No having to be extremely careful. And then I noticed that having moved the steering wheel, I could now see the speedometer as well. Wow. It was also the answer to my friend's question. I just needed a little more--a tiny bit more--space.

Meditate on that just for a moment. Sometimes a tiny shift can solve a big problem. Moving that little lever about an inch, maybe a little more, meant no more pain, no more having to be extremely careful getting in, as well as better visibility.

All three of the modalities that I use and teach in my healing arts practice (cranial-sacral therapy, vagal system support, and zapchen) rely, in part, on the principle of "less is more." In fact, I have adopted a statement from Hugh Milne, a wonderful cranial-sacral teacher and author, as a leading principle for my practice: "It's amazing how much how little will do." Just a light touch on a certain area of the head. Just a simple action like humming. Just a little shift away from self-blame.

Can we ease up on ourselves? Give ourselves a little room to breathe? Allow some space? Stop being so hard on ourselves? Just a tiny little shift could do it. And it might even offer a clearer vision of what's in front of you, helping you adjust your forward motion as conditions suggest or require.

It's amazing how much how little will do.

Until next time,


Photo credits:

Girl driving, Arno Senoner, unSplash

Stacks of envelopes, Christa Dodoo, unSplash

Lion, Jean Wimmerlin, unSplash

Woman driving, IStock

Hand & water, Yoann Boyer, unSplash


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