Let's add some bigger movement.
Try placing your hands closer to the ball of the shoulder. Begin to see what’s there by moving back and forth and pressing in a little bit, just like you were before. There are bones close to the surface there. Let your hands crumple against the bones. If you press on bones it’s uncomfortable for your loved one, so let your hand envelope the bone while you get to know the tissue near it. If this doesn’t fit the shape of your hand well, then you can change the shape of your hand. I like to use the thumb side of my first finger and first knuckle to make gentle contact in the smaller space between the bones.
Move your hands, closer to the neck or halfway up the neck from your original position. This depends on the size of your hands and the size of the area you're covering, just find a bit of new territory closer to the neck and see what’s there. You can press in and out like before. Let your hands crumple when they meet resistance. There are pointy bits of bone on the side of the neck and if you don’t let your hands crumple, but instead insist on pressing, then pressing the living tissue up against the pointy bone will make your partner feel unsafe, if not uncomfortable.
Let's try a few new things.
Move back to your original position and reorient your hand so that it can be on both sides of the ramp of tissue that runs from the neck to the shoulder. You can leave your hands in their starting position or shift them so that your wrists are closer to the shoulders and your fingers are closer to the neck. This allows you to place the tissues between either the thumb and little finger, or the thumb and the side of the first finger. Experiment with comfortable ways to get on both sides of the tissue without noise or effort in your own body. There are lots of potential positions, but don’t make focused contact with your fingertips. Focus on the flat parts of your hand or the pads of your fingers.
Now that you’ve got the tissue that runs from the neck to the shoulder enveloped, begin to wiggle it gently.
You might feel something distinct under your hands. You might feel an actual band running from the neck to the top of the ball of the shoulder. See how much you can feel and, without squeezing it, wiggle it slowly toward the front of your partner’s body and toward the back of your partner’s body...as though you were gently loosening a stuck handle, or slowly seeing if you could get some pliability back into a stiff bit of rope. Do not do this fast, with force or by squeezing what is in your hand.
Another thing to try.
Once again, place your hand on the side of the neck. From here see if you can draw the tissue directly away from the neck. It’s a bit of a trick to learn how to do this without using your finger tips. You are essentially seeing if you can get the skin to stick to the surface of your hand as you draw it away. You can contract your palm to make it cup shaped, and you can bring the flat parts of your fingers together, but don’t make specific contact with the tips of your fingers.
See if you can do this same lifting and drawing away on other parts of the shoulder.
Some things to keep in mind that will make this more relaxing for your partner.
At no point are you trying to change them. That is up to them and up to their bodymind. You are just the mirror and the witness. The more completely you see them, the more you help them.
You might be wondering why I keep saying not to use your fingertips? It’s been my experience that a change takes place as I, usually unconsciously, move from connecting with my whole hand to connecting with my finger tips. Time and again I have noticed that I transition from focused listening to the body with an open heart, to focusing on myself and my ego telling me that I am the one who will do something to change them. Rolling onto the fingertips is sliding into an egoic need to do something. It is a subtle form of violence--the kind that comes out of knowing what’s right for somebody else.
Leave a comment
Comment as a guest: