When I began chiropractic school, I had two main goals: I wanted to heal people, to really help them. I wanted to learn and get really good at soft tissue techniques, including various massage modalities.
Sound familiar? Many of us have or had the same agenda.
I pursued both goals passionately, immersing myself in chiropractic studies and exploring a variety of modalities for health and healing.
But as I continued my studies, I found something was missing for me. As I looked deeper, I knew I wasn't looking for technique. I was looking for a way to validate what I was studying, for something with truly holistic depth, for something that would simultaneously further the health, well-being, and growth of both the recipient and the practitioner.
Then, seven months into my first year of chiropractic school, something happened that altered the course of my whole life, and changed the meaning of my two goals by bringing them into much sharper focus. I found Breema, a traditional bodywork previously unknown in the West, with a profound philosophy of life and health. Its philosophy impacted me so strongly that I began applying it in any situation I could, and found that I could prove its verity and efficacy to myself.
I'll always be grateful for the shift it caused in what I think it means to become really good at something and what it means to really help people. To fully explain all of it would take volumes, but here's a synopsis of some of the most important paradigm shifts it brought about for me.
To become really good at bodywork:
- The techniques need to be practiced so much and with 100% willingness, in order to be fully assimilated and become second nature.
- Once this is done, the emphasis must shift to one’s presence — in other words, you know what to do and when to do it only to the extent you're present moment by moment.
To really help people:
- What everyone really needs are forgiveness, acceptance and love. We can have those in our atmosphere, and express them in our behavior, words, and actions only to the extent we are present. Why is this so? Because they're qualities of our being, not our personality.
- You need to relate to clients without judgment or criticism. All of us come to the “school” of the Earth needing to learn and grow.
Here are some insights that grew out of those fundamental principles:
- The most fundamental cause of our difficulties in life is not truly knowing ourselves.
- The best support I can offer my clients is to actively do something towards being present myself while I am with them. If I do that, whatever support I provide through the professional work I do (whether chiropractic, bodywork, or other methods) is likely to affect the client in the right way.
- I don’t reduce the client to the problems or symptoms they present with.
- The basis of your relationship with your clients has to be gratitude for the opportunities they provide you to grow in the direction of understanding yourself.
- The basis of all real help is the principle of mutual support. When you’re actually helping your client, you experience being supported.
These simple truths continue to grow in meaning and significance for me after 33 years of clinical practice.
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