Patients, Patience, and Impatience | When Things are Urgent . . .


In a hurry? Patience is more than a virtue. It gets things to change, quicker! (Sorry.) Here's how.

Hello, again, Folks,

Today, I speak of a peculiar quality of somatic education — something expressed in a Tibetan saying I heard, recently:  “When things are urgent, go slower.”

People in pain have a certain urgency.  No surprise.

In their urgency, they go for the “quick fix” — the pain med, the quick adjustment, the quick stretch, the hour of bodywork -- the drink, the pill, the hug.  These quick fixes rarely produce either a complete or a lasting result.

The reason:  they don’t address the problem as it is, but only the surface appearance.


Somatic education is peculiar in this regard:  the processes we use during clinical sessions are mostly slow-motion action patterns — we go slower — but the changes that result come very quickly.

The reason:  the changes sought through somatic education (generally, pain relief) come by means of an internal learning process that involves new physiological  adaptation (bodily changes).  Learning and change require, always, at least two things:  attention and intention.

Attention and intention go together.  To exercise an intention, we must direct our attention to what we are doing.

The thing about attention is that it is not instantaneous; it fades in.  Test for yourself.  Look away from the screen toward anything and notice that it takes a good part of a second even to focus on it.  The same is true of music.  Turn on the radio into the middle of a piece of music and notice that it takes some seconds to recognize even one with which you are familiar.

When taking in new information, going slower helps you “catch” it and take it in.

Then, and only then, you can apply your intention to it.

Most forms of therapy require little or no attention on the part of a patient; result:  little or no exercise of intention and little or no lasting change!


So, as a somatic educator, I find that one of the most common bits of coaching I have to give with my clients (/patients, although I don’t use the word) is to slow down.  Doing things too fast, too hard, and with too little attention (“mindfulness”) is a common American fault (and a popular editing technique of advertising and the entertainment media which perpetuates and reinforces this fault– sequences of “split-second video clips”).  Too many people are “A-D-D” ! ! !  That makes them accident-prone (and generally, careless and error prone).  They must slow down — not because it’s easier (generally, it’s not), not because they need a rest (which is generally true), but because they need to pay more attention to exercise their intention more carefully.  They need to work smarter, not harder.  The road to Hell isn't paved with good intentions; it's paved with intentions badly carried out, generally in the same state of mind that created problems, to begin with.

[ VIDEO AT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvsHhM90Efk ]

In relationships, in general, everybody deepens at a different rate. Some people take a long time to deepen; others take the plunge quickly. If you want to make a deep connection with someone, you've got to match their speed. If you don't, you get the experience of resistance, which may not really be resistance, at all, just an unnecessary mismatch of speed.


When it comes to somatic education exercises (a way you can relieve your own pain without office visits), people must exercise patience. 

In this case, the patience they must exercise is two-fold:  (1) they must slow down in what they’re doing (somatic education exercises) enough to feel clearly what they are doing and to do it in good form (not merely count repetitions) and (2) they must persist in a somatic education exercise program long enough to obtain its designed-in effect (entailing, generally, some days or weeks of practice — and some hours of experience).  The result:  substantial and durable improvement — faster and more durable than by conventional therapeutic, “low-attention” methods.

If patients are impatient for relief, they must be patient so they can get it more quickly than has previously been possible.

Only once they have slowed down and made the necessary changes can they return to “the speed of life” and keep their new-found freedom and well-being — or even go faster than before and still keep it together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsxT3-YMRmM ]

“A man of true means,
whatever the day’s pace
keeps his wits about him
and however a fine offer be presented to him
keeps a level head.

What ruler of countless chariots
would make himself laughing stock,
fool of the realm,
with pace beyond rein,
speed beyond helm?”
— Lao Tzu

SO ...

I've talked about how, if you need results faster, you need to slow down; about how deliberate slowness brings depth and better results; and about how somatic education, by teaching people to slow down, gets better results faster than standard therapeutics. I've also given you a clue about relationships:  Sometimes, if you want to "get there" faster, you have to move slower.

If people don’t slow down, they end up doing things the way they habitually do them and, by repetition, reinforcing the very thing they are wanting to get out of — the movement patterns and functional habits that cause their pain.  They have to slow down enough to do the things they do in a new way to get a new experience of life.

Lawrence Gold practices clinical somatic education and life mentoring with a world-wide clientele, offering on-line sessions that teach people the ins and outs of their own body, mind, and emotions. His clients come to him for relief from physical and emotional pain for results in a minimum of time. You can reach him by email at https://somatics.com/wordpress/contact.

This article was originally published at Full-Spectrum Somatics. Reprinted with permission from the author.