24 HOURS

24 hours. One day.

What if you only got one? What would you do with it? Who would you see? How would you act? Where would you go?

Fortunately most of us get more than one day to live out our lives. But for too many of us there seems to be something wrong with every single day we are given. It’s too long. It’s too short. It’s cold. It’s rainy. It’s boring. It’s too busy. 

If it were your last day, do you think you would give things like the weather a second thought? If you had just one day to live, your focus would undoubtedly shift from complaining and complacency to productivity, love, and thankfulness.

Well, the truth of the matter is that every day is of equal value. Today is no less important than your last day. Each day is a brand new start and we are all given the same 24 hours to make of them what we will.

All of this may sound a little too cliché, but consider that billionaire powerhouses like Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett are given the same 24 hours every day that you are. They are afforded no more time and no less time. The difference comes in how they choose to utilize their hours. And if you think they just somehow happened to arrive at their success by chance or privilege, read up on their life histories and you’ll find that this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Now your goal might not be to become a billionaire, but most people are longing for something more out of life, but are either waiting around for it to come to them, or just don’t know how to go about getting it.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a genius to create an extraordinary life; just persistent focused action on a daily basis.

Maybe you would love to write a best-seller, but are intimidated by the whole process. If you got to work and wrote just one page a day, in a year’s time you will have completed a 365 page book! Even if it took you 2 days per page, you would still have a substantial 180 pages.

Advancing your life simply requires that you prioritize and change your focus. Evaluate your typical day and find those “lost moments” or “voids” in which nothing meaningful seems to take place, and then plan the night before how you are going to better utilize that time. Listen to educational programs during your commute. Instead of surfing the web, study your field of business. Turn the TV off in favor of some quality family time. 

You may not be destined to change the world, but by focusing 24 hours at a time it is easily within your power to change your life!

Darkness into Light

This is my favorite time of year.  Not only does fall bring amazing colors in the landscape, but apple cider, squash pies, crisp air, and fall festivals.  My favorite festival of the year is the lesser known one of Samhain, which occurs on November 1st.

This is a Celtic born holiday.  Samhain is a Gaelic word which translates as “summer’s end.”   The Celts viewed the year as divided into two seasons: the light season and the dark season.  Literally the days are getting darker and shorter.  May 1st, Beltaine, is the beginning of the light season.fall-leaves-tree

The Celts felt it was very important to honor the opposing forces of light and dark.  They saw all of life in opposing pairs, the same way that the Chinese view life in their concept of yin and yang.  Light and dark, cold and hot, far and near, all of life can be divided into two categories: the dark or yin forces and the light or yang forces.

It is interesting to note where the Celts viewed this continual process starting from.  Their day began and ended at dusk; their year began and ended on November 1st.  Both of these cycles start with darkness.  They understood the world as springing from darkness, the way they saw their seeds needed time underground before they became  fertile plants.  Darkness was sacred because the old needed to die before the new could be born; there was a certain amount of incubation needed to produce life.

The Chinese have a similar view.  They too believe that the yin, or darkness, is what the yang must spring from.  There is always some aspect of both yin and yang in all things and in varying degrees and ratios.  However, if there is not enough yin available, life will not appear.  

Many times in our culture we do not appreciate the yin enough.  We see times of incubation as a nuisance; we see the darkness as something that needs to be cured or cut out.  What we fail to see is that the cycle starts in the darkness and without it the full beautiful life that we want to live would not be possible.  We want to believe that we can be in the womb for nine months and then go, go, go for the rest of our lives.  But this does not honor the interchange of yin and yang, the very cyclical nature that we are.  We will invariable have times of lower energy; the problem occurs when we do not honor the yin and instead push through.  This is what creates a culture addicted to caffeine and suffering from chronic fatigue.  The more we honor the yin and replenish, the yang will then have a base to spring forth.  

I always feel a lot of energy in the fall; I believe my body feels the yin time of year approaching and knows that soon it will fall into quieter energy patterns as the darkness envelopes us.  Understanding and listening to these cycles has also allowed me to appreciate winter.  I allow myself these quieter energies because I know that the darkness will eventually turn back into the light.

So, Why Are You Working On My Feet When It Is My Neck That Hurts?

 

rolfingNine years ago I was diagnosed with a herniation at C5/6 in my neck. I was told I would need surgery after the physical therapists could not help. I had done my research and surgery was not going to be an option. I found a well known yoga instructor who did work with back issues and the first thing he said was “I can’t help you. You need to go get Rolfed (R)!” Even though I never had heard of Rolfing, I managed to find someone who did and my journey began.

During the second session, the Rolfer was working on my feet in a way that was not very soothing! I finally had to ask her what she was doing down there when the problem was in my neck. She responded by telling me that the problem was in my feet, that I had no foundation and it was showing itself up through my spine, all the way to my head!

I have related this story to many of the people who have come to see me for various issues since I became a Rolfer. Dr. Ida Rolf, the originator of Structural Integration, best known as Rolfing, developed a way of working through the body in a systematic way. We refer to this system as the Ten Series. What can happen in other modalities is that you feel pain in some area and you have a therapist work on that area and it feels better…. for a while. Then the pain comes back and off you go for another adjustment. With the Ten Series, we don’t chase pain. We work with principles that guide us. First we start with better breath, then we work on grounding, and so on; constantly keeping in mind why you came to our office in the first place.

What really sets what I do apart from other area therapists is once things are opened up and balanced, I work with you to change your movement patterns so you don’t continue to do the things that started the pain in the first place. You don’t come to get Rolfed so that I can give that “Magic Pill”. You come so that you can change patterns that were at one time helpful, but now are tearing you down. To find BALANCE!

I have come to understand why my body revolted years ago. Every step I took caused my spine to move ever so slightly in an unnatural way. Eventually, the result was pain and then nerve damage. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been very rewarding to find balance and help others to do the same.  

Jeff Castle, Rolfer 

Jeff’s website is www.castlerolfing.com