When the Funk is Just Not Cool
After indulging in a small but intense rant yesterday (and receiving a few affirming comments), I got to thinking things like: Okay, so now what?
And: If one can't figure out whether one's funk is due to physical or emotional conditions, where does one start in order to make some positive changes?
And: Does one really have to know which came first, the mind or the body, in order to get out of one's funk? (Because, usually what happens is that a deeper funk.. not to mention crazy-making.. can be created just from the mental masturbation of it all... at least for me.)
I think these are questions coming out of a more Western scientific mindset ... in which one should investigate possibilities, narrow down and identify root causes, then apply a 'proven' solution. Get a handle on that whole 'chicken or egg' dilemma. For such specificity, it's interesting that what often follows is a one-size-fits-all prescription for that particular condition, regardless of context.
Barring some hugely as-of-yet undetected health issue, do I really have that kind of time and patience to do such thorough and potentially unnecessary research? Do you? Or, as it hit me last night, can I just use my shiatsu-mindset (more of the Zen approach) to look at the overall picture and notice where the opening is?
In other words, what would be the easiest area to create change in right now? Where can I introduce movement in either body or mind, with as little effort as possible, that will shake loose other areas of stuckness?
Because, really, that's what a lot of this feels like... stuckness. And as one place gets stuck (a thought or feeling I can't let go of, a sore hip, a conflict with a loved one, lethargy) it's like a domino effect. Then, there's just no energy for anything.
In Asian thought, the physical, emotional and mental all arise together. Working on one will generally affect the others... not usually a necessary need to determine where the imbalance appeared first.
And, what appears as an opening may or may not have anything to do with a 'root cause'. Zen shiatsu is about meeting the whole body as it presents itself in the moment. Seeing the area of greatest distortion and making balance there. Shin tai, as well, is about awareness of how to access deeper energy levels starting with whichever one appears as 'priority'. Maybe that's not the 'problem' area, but it's a way of getting to the deeper and more resistant layers.
Back to my laundry list of potential causes of funkiness... (or yours... bring 'em if you got 'em!) here's what I try to do, once I finally stop whining for a moment:
First, a brief mental shutting up. Rein that brain back in and get present. My method: bring awareness to sensations in my body at that moment.
Then, bring awareness to what's actually happening in the room around me... no interpretation. Just noticing.
It is usually with this exercise that I notice 9 times out of 10 there is nothing happening in that moment that is actually 'wrong'. This makes it easier to separate out the uncomfortable physical sensations or thoughts from the reality. As well as breathe.
Now. Is there something I can do in this moment to bring relief, or motion? Big thoughts like, I should eat better, or start exercising, or fix my marriage, are generally too huge to deal with that minute, and will often create a physical sensation of resistance or stress. What about a cup of tea? Or an apple? Or a gripe session call or email to a friend? A nap? A walk? A good cry? A glass of wine? (Yes, I know, not the ideal holistic solution. However, alcohol = yin. Stuckness and contraction = yang. Yin is expansive, and I think, used consciously and judiciously, it can have a place in helping to relieve a pressurized situation. Unless you have an issue with alcohol dependence. In which case, that would be really irresponsible advice on my part.)
Sure, there's a point at which short-term methods become a means of avoiding deeper, harder issues. Funkiness can actually be an unconscious way of avoiding more dynamic and scary forward motion toward real change. Development of self-listening skills are crucial in determining whether we are in denial that something larger is at work. But we need to be able to at least relieve the immediate funky overwhelm.
At least, I do.