The other day I was pulling weeds near my apple tree when a thought came to me, “This is a great metaphor for our bodies and a lesson in the most essential element in any healing process. I must make a video [scroll down to watch it].”
No, it’s not the age old saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” The essential element in your healing process is time. You might not hearing this, but it is true. Time is the variable that most of my clients, and myself included, don’t like to acknowledge or allow in the healing process.
We have come to want and expect everything now. When you want something, anything, all you have to do is go online, click a button, and get same-day or next day delivery. Have you ever wanted the same thing for pain relief? Wouldn’t it be so simple to click a button and *poof* the pain magically disappears instantly and permanently? While pain relievers can offer this from time to time, when it comes to chronic pain, quick fixes and Band-Aid approaches don’t usually give my clients the results they are seeking, which is why they come to my practice.
Let’s put this in the context of the apple tree. Imagine that instead of seeking the “quick fix” of going to the grocery store to get the apple you’re craving in April, when apples are out of season, you decide to plant an apple tree in your yard so that you can have your own apples just steps from your door. You’re so excited to start enjoying your own apples that you plant the tree in the best organic soil, and go back inside for the night, dreaming of the delicious fruit coming your way.
The next morning you run out to the apple tree, stopping in front of it abruptly when your heart sinks: there are no apples on the tree. But you planted it in the best spot in the yard, in the best soil, so why aren’t there any apples on it yet? You did everything right. It must be the tree. The tree isn’t working. It’s a stupid, no-good tree, and you give up, storming back into your house in frustration and disappointment.
This is the attitude that so many people take toward their bodies, pain relief, and healing. Time and time again I hear stories of people trying a modality or treatment once or twice, and saying it “doesn’t work,” and moving onto the next thing for a time or two before giving up in frustration and disappointment. Let’s be honest: pain sucks. It affects every aspect of your life: work, social life, family, fun and stress relief, daily activities, your spiritual life, finances, sleep, and more. We all want to be pain-free so that we can do the things we love and need to do. But if you expect a quick fix, just as if you expected ripe apples on your tree the very next day after planting it, you’re likely going to end up disappointed because you didn’t allow time.
When you’re seeking relief from chronic pain, especially, you need to allow time for change, particularly when going through a Structural Integration series (my Total Transformation and Living in Alignment programs) or any course of therapy/treatment. The apple tree needs all the right elements to grow and flourish, time to grow, change and eventually produce fruit, year after year. Similarly, you need time and the right elements to help you grow and experience sustainable, lasting change and relief so that you can live your life the way you want to (your “fruit”).
One of my clients going through their Total Transformation Program (12-Series) said recently, “I really value not completing this process too quickly. I have enough time to get [the changes] into my consciousness and create more awareness around my personal accountability.” Honestly, my jaw just about dropped to the floor when I heard this. In my near 13 years in practice I cannot recall any other time when a client has verbally said they like the amount of time it requires to go through this process together. Most of the time clients comment (sometimes a little impatiently) on how they want change right now, and rightfully so. The reason why I allow the variable of time in this process is to, as my client said, integrate these changes into your body and your consciousness, and help you develop greater awareness for greater accountability of your thoughts, actions and movement.
Clients often do experience instant relief in our sessions, especially when supported with yoga/movement, nutrition and deep reflection/inner work. Yet I also do not expect your pain to be instantly gone in just one session, though this does happen from time to time. If that happened for every person that came to my practice every time, there would be no need for Structural Integration, which is so effective at relieving chronic pain. Instead, let’s provide you with the tools and resources (the soil, water and sunlight), and allow time for you to change (bloom) and integrate (bear fruit).
The next time you feel impatient with your pain, remember the apple tree. Nurture your Self well, seek support/help when you want it, and allow time to do the work that only it can do.
Until next time, be well, practice patience, and enjoy the journey.
Jennifer Soames, BCSI, Cert. Yoga Instructor, Nutritional Consultant, LMT, Author