For the past few days, I have had a toothache since I bit down on my back tooth and broke off a piece. I have become very aware of the muscles that are holding my jaw still for a sense of protection, and even those that radiate down my neck and into my shoulder. Nothing debilitating…just a keen awareness.
This morning, as I was mixing some cupcake batter for a mere three minutes, this same sort of awareness arose. I felt this tension in my jaw and neck again, moving down into my shoulder. As I was experiencing this, I started to see where else I was unintentionally holding. I realized I was gripping the mixer like I was holding onto someone’s hand for dear life, my elbow was way up in the air like a chicken wing, and my teeth were clinching together. I was doing all of this ‘extra work’ during a basic kitchen task?!?!
One of the lessons I have learned along the way is that true physical strength is having the ability to use it when you need it, and to let it go when you don’t. Applying this belief, I would consider this extra work or holding during my mixing task a waste of energy…a low grade draining of my strength.
As I remembered this lesson during these three minutes of mixing, I found myself playing with relaxing these areas just enough so that I could still hold the mixer and maintain postural form and function. Instantly I felt like I was floating in water or space. I felt flow and ease return to my body as I performed this task without effort, in fact, I returned to a state of mind I felt in a sun-filled room doing qi gong with a former teacher of mine. I felt this radiate all throughout my body, even up to my jaw, ah.
So this week’s blog is a simple reminder to pay attention to where you might be wasting physical energy by unconsciously holding or tightening where it’s not necessary. Yes, thankfully we can turn it on when we need to pick something up or exert some other sort of force, so save it for those moments…but probably not this one.