Love yourself … quirks and all

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By Martha O’Regan

Isn’t it amazing how we are all created the same, yet we each come with unique gifts, talents, and quirks. Yes, quirks and we all have them. What are yours?  Working with clients over the years, assisting and educating them in ways to break up old patterns that keep them stuck in pain, illness, frustration, etc., the one thing I teach every person is to become aware of what is going on inside and outside their mind and body.  Awareness is the first step to everything in our lives — if we aren’t aware of things we are doing that are contributing to imbalances, how will we ever change them?

I will share a couple of common examples like hip/low back pain and headaches/neck pain. I will ask questions like, “Are you a pivoter when you get in a hurry and have to turn suddenly?” or “Do you clench your jaw?”

The majority of the time, the response is “no, I don’t think so.” Then I will ask them to tune into any quirk that could be a contributing factor to their specific situation.

On their next visit, invariably I hear: “I do clench” or “I do pivot.” They are amazed at how something so everyday could actually be a factor in the way they feel.  I then explain the mechanics and why these quirks contribute.

For example, when we clench, the muscle on the front of the neck gets tight, pulling the head forward of the spine, forcing the muscles in the upper back/neck to work overtime to prevent our head from falling on our chest. If you have rock hard upper back muscles or feel pain or fatigue in this area, I bet you are a clencher. Most people clench their jaw in some way. It isn’t always teeth on teeth; it could be pushing the tongue into the roof of the mouth or into the teeth, or just holding tension in the face.  My personal quirk is frowning when I am on the computer — no idea why, I just do. But by becoming aware of it, I can shake it out and move on, reducing the tension in my whole body.  So, what do you do to add tension in your jaw?

Now, the pivoter: Do you move so quickly in the world that when you have to turn suddenly, you plant one foot to turn?  Check in.  If you do, try learning to do the “slide and turn” or the “step, step, turn.” They both take the same amount of time, and your hips, knees and lower back will be happier that you did.

No matter what you discover, love yourself, quirks and all. Once folks begin to tune into their specific quirks and how they are affecting their lives, I will hear things like, “How could I be so stupid to do this, that, or the other thing,” or “if I had only known sooner, I wouldn’t have done such and such.” The fact is, if we didn’t know, we didn’t know and therefore can’t change a thing about any of it. So be grateful that you know now and begin to make changes moving forward that will avoid further pain or frustration.

It seems I am on a continuous quest to learn ways to slow down in my life, sometimes it is by choice but mostly it’s because my body has made me aware of yet another quirk. Either way, I am in great gratitude, for as I learn, I am able to share my quirks with others in my journey to discover more ways to Live Well … Have Fun.