Body Awareness

“The physician must be experienced in many things, but most assuredly in rubbing.” ~Hippocrates, The “Father of Modern Medicine”

Thank you Madam Contest Chair, fellow Toastmasters and welcome guests.

I’m not a physician, though I have been a regulated Health Professional in Ontario as a Massage Therapist.  I would like to introduce you to an analogy that came to me a couple months ago.  Consider what you think of ‘I’ in consciousness as the Chairman of a multi-national corporation.  You are each in control of trillions of employees, trillions of individual cells.  They’re divided into teams, or organs, which all work together 24/7 to keep ‘you’ functioning in balance, or homeostasis.  Imagine that because I’m not sure any of us can even conceive of it truly; trillions of cells! Your employees are all connected with a communication network; connective tissue.  Everything is connected, all the time, soft and hard copy.

Would you agree that most of the time we take our companies, our bodies for granted?  We get so caught up in our heads that we’re not aware of what our body is really feeling.  We need to have open dialog with our employees, truly and honestly giving and receiving feedback.  Body awareness is crucial to survival.  For example, we get sick when we get stressed.  A fire can be burning within one division, or an infection can present; the sooner you know about the issue and apply correctional manoeuvres the better.  Better yet, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” ~Ben Franklin.  He also is credited with coining “honesty is the best policy.”  I share with you now three secrets of learning body awareness; Management, Meditation and Massage.  The 3 M’s.

To maintain your company better, you need policies, rules.  Proper Management is in order.  Documentation of communication is a good start.

I suggest a journal.  Document the tools that are used in your company: what are you eating and drinking?  Are there social events where smoking is acceptable?  Keep a record of health habits; be conscious of what your team ingests.

Is your team exercising regularly?  Stretching range of motion?  Write it in a journal.  The more you document, the more you’re aware of.  Are there patterns?  Is there strategy to prevent and fight fires?  Are you going to focus on healing the company, or choose to go play golf today?  Ignorance works for a while but eventually the Chairman, even the most egotistical, has to listen.

Meditation is the practice of quieting the mind, to listen in silence to spirit.  Hear what your company building; the physical manifestation of body has to say.  We live in a world where external factors dominate our attention span; Meetings, parties, family, movies, news. Only when we quiet and listen within can we hear the important truth.  Please, now close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Breathe in and out.  Bring your awareness to the basement; your feet.  Can you feel your socks and shoes on your feet?  Is your company grounded?  One meditation technique is grounding; imagining your breath energy connected to roots in the earth.  The grounding technique gets us out of our heads, where it is common to dwell in this society, and into our bodies.  Do you work better with harsh discipline or appreciation?  Offer your company your feedback, offer gratitude for all efforts.  You may open your eyes.  Body awareness is a big aspect of maintaining optimal communications within the company; Meditation is a limitless tool to practice with.

Massage is my personal favourite aspect of body awareness.  In a massive company, maintenance is an important aspect to keeping the machine running.  We so often get stiff and sore, wouldn’t you recommend massage to your employees?  Massage improves breathing; your ventilation system.  Massage improves the circulation system; internal email messenger.  Massage improves the immune system; your security force.  Best of all, massage offers an opportunity; massage encourages your employees to offer instant feedback on their wellbeing, which in turn allows you insight into the health of your company.  Massage enhances company spirit and moral.

Improved body awareness allows us an advantage within ourselves.  A profession in massage gifted me a policy in benefits of awareness.  Upon getting sick, I usually know early-on, and have learned to use tools of wellness to facilitate healing before I explode into full blown symptoms.  For example, I was aware my eye was unusually itchy and sought medical attention with a diagnosis and treatment for conjunctivitis or ‘pink-eye’ before my eye even had a chance to turn pink.  My point is, the better we know and trust our employees, the more efficient the company; the better we know and trust our bodies, the healthier we will be.  I encourage one and all to get to know your body better using the 3 M’s: Management, Meditation and Massage.  Hippocrates also quoted “A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.”  Awareness is just the beginning.  Madam Contest Chair.

~Presented by Eleanor Hayward RMT to First Oakville Toastmasters International Speech Contest on Jan 24, 2013