What Does Sustainable Change Take?
To truly shift the health of your myofascial system and the entirety of your being requires a long term view and development of lifetime practices toward sustainable change. This is much different from any sort of “fix-it and forget it” type of approaches you might have tried in the past.
There Is No “Once And Done” For Myofascial Health
The truth is, there is no “once and done” when it comes to health and well-being. It is a journey that moves in spirals, not a straight forward arrow that gets you to a destination. Adaptability and resiliency in the face of constantly shifting environments is essential, along with the ability to respond, rather than react.
You likely have some goals you are working toward in your time with us. We may have talked about those a bit, checking that they are realistic in the time frame you have in mind, and that the changes you are making are sustainable.
Here’s a more in depth exploration, adapted from some of our work with Chandler Stevens, founder of the Ecosomatics Institute. We invite you to spend some time considering what you most want and what it will take to get it.
How To Move Toward Sustainable Change
The first thing that must be to have a clear definition of the problem. This is absolutely essential to finding a sustainable solution.
Step 1 Define The Problem
Consider, once upon a time, everything in your world was going well. Now it’s not. What happened? What seems to be the problem?
Really spend some time with this if you can. Don’t just give it lip service. It is easy to think the problem is the trouble you are having that brought you to us in the first place. Perhaps it is. You can check that by asking, what changes in your situation when that trouble is no longer there? What change are you really hoping for? And what seems to be in the way?
Step 2 Make an inventory of attempted solutions that have NOT worked
Knowing what hasn’t worked and WHY can save you countless time and energy repeating things over and over in the same way and getting the same result. That is, after all, one version of insanity – doing the same things over and over in the same way and expecting a different result.
Why have those things not worked? We talk frequently with people who wonder if we can help them. A common theme is often that they have tried “all the things”, physical therapy, chiropractic, dry needling, stretching, acupuncture, weekly deep tissue massage. And that when they do their stretches every day, they actually feel a bit better. But, they have stopped doing them for one reason or another and need help “fixing the thing”.
I frequently wonder in return, if you were doing something that helped you feel better, why did you stop? And, are you hoping we can “fix” something so you never have to think about it again? Did physical therapy not work? Did the stretches not work? Or is there something about how you are approaching the care for your body that is more in the way.
This exploration is an extension of identifying the problem. As you examine past solutions that didn’t work and why, you may find there are problems not yet considered.
Step 3 Define Success
Once you have a clear understanding of the problem and what hasn’t worked in the past and why, it is important to have a clear understanding of what success will look and feel like for you.
Hint: This cannot be a utopia type goal!
Life inherently comes with challenges.
Adaptability and resiliency in body and mind are essential if you are to experience long term myofascial health and well-being. That is the change most needed for many. Rigidity in body and mind is a sure fire way to make challenges more difficult and damaging.
And, while it is not possible to have all of what you want all of the time, it is absolutely possible to have more of what you want more of the time.
It is possible to develop the skills and experiences to deal with challenges and difficulties that will arise by nature of being alive – returning to a state of more ease in your body as quickly as possible.
So, what difference will count for you?
What change matters? And what effect will it have on your lived experience?
Without a clear idea of where you want to end up, you will have very little chance of actually getting there.
What will count as success for you in your time with us?
Perhaps it can be as simple, in this moment, as identifying a more healthy, positive, way to think, believe, and act now. Or it could mean looking forward as far as you can see to the way you most want to be, to picture and see that happening.
Whatever your definition of success, it is important that it is clearly defined for you, in whatever time frame you are currently working.
Step 4 Formulate And Implement A Plan
This is where things start to get interesting in terms of exploration of your lived experience.
It is essential, here, to examine the beliefs and perceived limitations that inform any plan you might make.
It is essential to think outside the box of any perceived limitations and start to recognize where you squash your own needs.
Sometimes, the subconscious mind has one perception of environment and needs that is fundamentally at odds with the logical examination of environment and needs.
For example, you may make a plan that involves “moving forward” or “taking steps” in a different direction. Yet, the subconscious mind may perceive that you are “weighted down with burdens” or have a “ball and chain” around your foot.
It will be very difficult to move forward or take steps toward something you want if the subconscious perceives something in the way.
How do you explore these perceptions as you form a plan?
Often they show up in phrases, pictures, images, metaphors, or in the things you mention that feel like they make no sense.
They can show up in answer to the question, what’s it like?
It almost always requires quieting the mind and letting the logical, thinking brain take a break.
Be curious about what shows up as you question your perceptions and beliefs in this step.
If it seems there are roadblocks in the way, perhaps question if they are real. Or only perceived. Be creative in this step of the process toward sustainable change.
Step 5 Use your body’s signals as a guide
The signals your body gives you from moment to moment can be used to inform when you are acting out of alignment with yourself. This can simply be a matter of noticing and tuning into what you physically notice in your body as you speak your goals and plans aloud.
That might sound a bit silly, but it can be an incredibly powerful compass that gives immediate feedback.
As you sit somewhere comfortably, notice what happens as you speak your goal aloud.
What happens to your sense of support?
Do you “collapse” somehow inside? Or shrink?
Do you tighten and brace yourself with the thought of what lies ahead?
Do you somehow get smaller inside?
Or do you feel capable, supported, ready to move toward what you have said?
The signals your body gives in response to the things you say you want are invaluable if you are to move toward those goals with the most ease and alignment with self. Trying to move from a state of collapse will be incredibly difficult. By contrast, moving from a place of support can feel almost easy.
You can use the practice here to get a feel for your body’s signals
Notice the signals your body is giving you as you set goals and make plans. Let yourself physically hear what you are thinking, give power to your goals by saying them out loud, noticing what happens in your body, and re-examining what you say you want as needed.
It can take a bit of effort at first to approach goals in this way. It will also take some consistency and determination to ferret out the things most in your way, as well as an okay-ness with the constantly shifting nature of life.
If you stick with it, though, this sort of approach, thinking in terms of feedback loops, resiliency, adaptability, and responsiveness, will lead to long-term, sustainable change in your myofascial health and well being.
This is a process that can, and should, be revisited over and over throughout your life as you gain new experiences and perspectives to inform your choices and awareness.
Need some help getting started? Reach out here or give us a call.