I talk a lot with my patients during their shiatsu treatment sessions. This is contrary to typical expectations of quiet and relaxation during a treatment; however, there is method to my madness. All this chit-chat allows me to:
During our treatments, we typically chat about everything under the sun (yes—the sun does exist in Seattle). Oftentimes, we hit on a topic that strikes a universal and mutually agreed upon irritating chord: Seattle traffic, teenagers, politics, the Mariners, global climate change, when the toilet paper roll is replaced under instead of over, etc.,).
It’s at this exact point that I switch gears and ask them if they have a lemon. Perplexed by my out of left field question, I clarify that I don’t literally mean if they have a lemon in their possession, but if they have one at home. Most do and then I ask them if I can guide them on a short mental journey as follows:
For most patients, their mouths have already started to salivate—all from this phantom lemon that is, of course, not to be found anywhere except in the confines of their mind. Isn't it interesting that I was able to trigger a physiological response in their body just by getting them to focus their thoughts on an imaginary lemon. My next question is often a bit more jarring: “So what do you think happens inside your body when your focus your thoughts on worry, anger, hatred, fear, or sadness?”
That’s when the chatter stops and the room is quiet.
Mind Your Mind
The purpose of this exercise is to allow my patients to experience the connection between their mind and their body. They can then understand why we should be more careful with the thoughts we choose to hold onto. This is not to say that one shouldn’t get angry or sad as these are very natural human emotions. What I am saying is that one always has a choice in these matters. Therefore, if you know better, then wouldn’t you want to do better?
So, the question you might be thinking about now is, “What kinds of negative thoughts are taking up residence in my mind?” However, the more important question I’m asking you to ponder is, “What am I creating in my body because of what I’m choosing to think?”
I hope the next time you have less than happy emotions—you’ll remember that lemon.