Massage & Yoga

Improving overall health, vitality, and lifestyle through the integration of Massage Therapy and the practice of Yoga

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Monday, November 14, 2011

What About Unity?


I hesitate to post on this subject since it does not directly pertain to the work I do through Prana Healthworks but with the Holiday season approaching, I thought I might share some of my thoughts on how we as individuals can use the spirit of giving to help our country and its citizens through this difficult financial time.  Before I put forth my idea, I want to first draw attention to what I see as a major disconnect between all the inhabitants of this great nation of ours.  It seems everywhere I look these days there are signs and symbols of patriotism and nationalism.  “Support Our Troops”, “God Bless America”, and other similar themes echo from the bumpers and tailgates of our cars from coast to coast.  “Old Glory”, the stars and stripes is proudly displayed on buildings and houses nationwide as well as being tattooed to nearly every Harley Davidson I see, both man and machine.  Nationalism is everywhere but something equally important is missing from message.  Unity! What about unity?

My father was a veteran of World War II.  He fought in the Philippine Islands and in Korea.  The freedoms he fought for are a great source of pride in my family.  Like many of his fellow soldiers, he came home with a desire to apply those freedoms to his country thus they created a great sense of national pride.  Along with that pride was a common bond that was forged on the battlefields of Europe and Asia as well as in towns large and small back here in America.  That bond was their unity in a common cause and everyone from my parent’s generation fought the same war for that cause.  To them, rationing the staples we take for granted was a way of life and each family supported the next in order to ensure that the men fighting abroad had what they needed to succeed in defeating their enemies.  After the war, our country flourished like no other time in history because every man, woman, and child was unified behind that cause.  The goal was to make every product the best and provide impeccable service to all patrons because that what America stood for.  UNITED States of America!

On September 11, 2001, our country was attacked in a horrific way.  Many of us watched mesmerized as thousands of our countrymen perished in the collapsing buildings and plane wreckage.  That day was a turning point.  Our national hearts were stirred once again.  Unfortunately, soon after, the 9/11 spectacle was replaced on our televisions and computer screens with more current affairs.  We all detached ourselves from the most devastating event in our countries’ history in the last 50 years because it didn’t directly impact our complacent lives.  There was no rationing needed.  Prices remained relatively stable.  No one except the families of the victims had to sacrifice their day to day lives, thus what should have unified our country actually further segregated us.  Our economy took a nose dive, greed and corruption were exposed in our financial institutions and apathy for the war Iraq and Afghanistan divided our nation politically.  Today, the rich continue to get richer, the poor remain poor, and what was once a stable middle class family, now has to rely on savings and frugality in order to maintain a modest living.  Despite the fact that we all witnessed how quickly the world can change in a matter of minutes, none of us seem willing to commit ourselves to solving the problems exposed by that cataclysmic event. 

What we need is to believe in each other again and support each other as Americans from the greatest nation on the Earth.  The nation our fathers and mother, grandfathers and grandmothers sacrificed so much to protect and rebuild.  We need to be diligent about choosing locally made goods and services and stop relying on foreign imports of oil, goods, and services.  Our nation is being sold lock, stock and barrel to the highest bidder and we are all standing by watching, mesmerized.  This attack is not coming from hijacked planes though, but from corporate greed and foreign outsourcing.  We have the resources, the ingenuity, and the man power to regain our strength as a nation but to do so, we have to put aside our selfish, capitalistic, corporate dictated mentality and become a nation who is not only proud of its heritage but one that is willing to sacrifice the allure cheaper goods and labor in favor of domestically made products and services produced by small businesses.

What I am proposing this holiday season is simple.  Instead of purchasing mountains of Chinese made electronics and plastics, or boxes full of sweatshop produced clothing that support corporate excess; buy into local small businesses and domestic entrepreneurs.  Purchase your friends and family members gifts made by hand in this country.  Give gift certificates that support service industries like hair stylists, personal trainers, and massage therapists!  With near double-digit unemployment in this country, it is time for Americans to unite behind one another and make a stand in favor of quality not quantity.  Share the wealth at home this holiday season and keep it out of the pockets of foreign millionaires.  You’ll be putting food in the mouths of your neighbors.  You’ll be buying clothes for the children in “your” child’s classes.  You’ll be making a difference in the lives of people in your home town who really need it most.  Your hard earned dollars become their hard earned dollars.  It our turn to be the heroes and protect the freedoms that our ancestors fought and died for.  Keep your dollars in America this year! 
God Bless You and God Bless America!

Matthew Corrigan, CMT, RYT
Prana Healthworks 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Be The Captain of Your Own Ship


Last week I was inspired to touch on this subject by two fellow bloggers, Marion and Nasrine whose posts were directed at personal development and energy vampires respectively.  Each got me thinking about how important it is in life to be the “captain of your own ship”.  In other words, no one else is able to guide your decisions or the possible outcomes of your life better than you.  If you know yourself and what your personal needs are then you will have a better chance of achieving your goals.  But that’s the trick then isn’t it.  Knowing yourself enough to trust your own instincts and to listen to the internal voice of your own body. 

Marion mentions in her post that one needs discipline to practice “fierce self care”.  I truly love this concept and the use of the word fierce in this context.  Self-care is so often over looked in today’s fast paced lifestyle.  We just go, go, go and give, give, give until we drop or become ill.  What this says about humanity is that we would rather be recognized as someone who has compassion for the hearts of others and who selflessly devotes their time and energies to others than to be accused of being selfish or narcissistic.  Our fear of rebuttal forces us into sacrificing our own needs and well-being.  Nasrine also makes a valid point in her post that one must distance themselves from toxic relationships that eat up our time with gossip and rhetoric.  Even worse are the “energy vampires” who constantly seek our affirmation when placing blame on someone else for their own mistakes.  I applaud her discipline in practicing “fierce self care!”  At some point we must learn to walk away from these toxic “friends” and stand alone in the storm, unafraid of reprisal or ridicule. 

So how does one go about being the “captain”?  First and most important one must develop a questioning mind.  Do you take what people say as fact just because they are friends of yours?  What if they are wrong?  Don’t be afraid to do your own research and discover your own truth.  So much of what is passed around as fact on television or in the media stream is hearsay and conjecture.  Yet often with enough repeatability, what is fiction becomes the accepted “fact” and we are left with a skewed version of reality.  Our friends are very often our filter for what we decide to believe or not believe.  How easy it is to go along with the crowd without really knowing the reason behind our actions.  Don’t be a sheep, rather, be the shepherd! 

Next, be open to new possibilities and uncertain outcomes.  So often I meet people who fear to try new things because of uncertain outcomes.  They prefer the safe, the tried and true, the status quo.  How boring life must be behind the barriers, never playing the game but only watching from the sidelines.  Where would we all be if not for the explorers, the hunters, and the daredevils?  I am not saying you have to try skydiving or travel into space, but facing ones fears is how we learn.  We must overcome more than just the fear itself, but everything associated with that fear including hatred, prejudice, jealousy and apathy.  Overcoming fear requires a selfless act of trust during which the body surrenders muscular control to the experience rather than the outcome.  Once the mind realizes that no harm has been inflicted on the body, it relaxes and a new reality is established.  Taking small steps toward an uncertain outcome will lead to the precipice of decision.  Consider what you know and take a “leap of faith”.

Lastly, listen to your own voice.  Instincts involve the whole body, not just the head.  What does your heart say to you, what does your gut say to you, what do your feet tell you?  A good captain assesses the situation at hand, takes in the counsel of their officers, but in the end, they make decisions from past experience (knowledge) and “gut feelings” (instinct).  Your body is your most precious gift.  Don’t leave it to chance or let someone else dictate its needs.  Be fierce about your personal need for time alone (spend time walking, meditating, or praying), be fierce about doing something nice for yourself (buy yourself a gift), and most importantly, be fierce about your individuality and stand up for what you believe (disagree with the crowd).  Let go of toxic relationships no matter how long you have been cultivating them.  If you’re afraid of losing a friend then how good a friend were they to begin with?  Let them know you care by being a witness with out becoming involved in their outcome.  Encourage them to be their own captain and let you be yours.

A captain is by no means perfect.  On the contrary, a good captain understands that mistakes happen but also that with a certain risk comes the possibility of a greater reward.  Lead from the heart, not from the head, for the heart is capable of forgiveness.  Know that there are always going to be rough seas ahead, but those are the opportunities to learn and grow.  Navigate them with a questioning mind, an open heart, and a certain voice.

Matthew Corrigan, CMT, RYT
Prana Healthworks 2011