My muscles have a way of pushing back. I mean, when you push down, they push back.
“What is happening there, exactly, when that happens,” I asked my chiropractor today. She was targeting my abductor up into my iliacus (aka my inner thigh up into — and I do mean into — my right hip).
“Well it’s like a little spasm,” her voice trails off. It is at this point in the session where I wonder if talking distracts her like it does me.
But no matter: “I imagine it like a mousetrap. Like it’s spring-loaded to go off when it’s activated.” Ohhh, there goes another one. This time in my obliques.
She holds the weight of my right leg as she curls her fingers into the tissue of my right hip. Ohh, there’s another one.
“I wonder if you could think of it another way. Like maybe like a tornado that you are trying to unwind.” That creates an image of darkness, of wind and terror. Of Camryn’s third birthday. Not quite what she’s going for, I imagine, so I only consider it only for a moment.
“Or maybe like a tangled ball of yarn or,” she lifts her left hand off my knee, “like when you have a knot in a necklace and you,” she rubs her thumb and forefinger together, “move the chain back and forth until there’s enough space to get at it.”
“Hmmm,” I consider these, too. “What would I be doing physically while I’m imagining this?” I ask, not sure that my mind is powerful enough to do the kinds of things she is doing.
“Nothing. Anything. You could be exercising or meditating. It’s just when you said it was like a mousetrap, that’s a lose-lose situation. That’s tension when it’s sprung and tension when it’s not. Give yourself an out, an image that makes space.”
And now — with those two little words, “making space” — she is speaking my language
I thought about it on the drive home. Maybe it’s like the lid of a jar, closed tight and able to round on the threads to open, popping to relieve the pressure. Maybe like a bolt, fastened too tight, requiring some muscle to get it to budge. These both imply a “righty tightness” so I keep searching.
Maybe more like a spring, not one loaded to set a trap, but one designed to fit comfortably under the body of my car or the body on my bed. Just just enough tension to keep from being clumsy, but not so much tension that it feels out of control. Between clumsy and out of control comes comfort.
Maybe I’ll try that.
Because she’s right: What our minds see and say about our bodies matters.