When I receive bodywork - most notably acupuncture and massage, my therapists remark on how loudly my body speaks. They say that it almost seems like my body is yelling sometimes - "I want you to focus here! I want you do do that!" And when they check in about what they think the bossy body is saying, it's almost always something I am thinking while I'm on the treatment table. The health providers that I trust and stick with for the long term, joke about my very "bossy" body. These excellent practitioners are not intimidated by the prolific non-verbal and sometimes out-loud verbal directions that help them focus better on helping me. And vice versa, when they say my body is "bossy", I take it as a compliment - a bossy body is one that knows what it likes and needs.
My acupuncturist, Polly, often finds herself in the middle of a session puzzling why she is putting in so many needles or why she is leaving them to "cook" for so long or so deep, then she realizes - "oh its Marian" and she can relax. She remembers that my body happens to like all that focused sensation and takes it's sweet time to process it.
And last time I went to my bodyworker, Katharine, she started telling me how "they" were telling her not to push so hard on my belly to give it relief. At first I thought she was talking about her spirit guides - she has told me that she talks intuitively to a bunch of exotic healing entities. But when I asked her point blank who she was talking to in regards to my body, she admitted she was conversing with my intestines.
Its not just nonverbal, mystical, intuitive messages that make up the way my body communicates, I can also use my mouth to flat out say what I want. It is not uncommon for me to request, "Could you apply kneading or jostling so that my pain has somewhere to go, instead of pushing down on it? I don't like the way that I feel with static force. It feels like that kind of pressure traps the pain in my body." (I have been teaching, writing about and applying massage for so long that I can be very specific in my requests.) Good health practitioners are grateful for my specificity. They realize that my bossiness actually makes their job easier. They don't have to wonder what is the right thing to do. They don't have to pretend that they can intuit what I want when I am right there clarifying everything for them. They don't get caught up in their own ego.
I love my bossy body. I revel in its voice. For many years that voice was muted by confusion over my medically unexplained chronic pain and the prescriptions that I poured into my system to drown out the intractable hurt. I didn't understand at all at any level, conscious or not, what could help me climb out of that morass. I was at the mercy of therapists who didn't care how I wanted to be treated and who proclaimed conflicting diagnoses and treatments. Heck, one local PT known around town for her "intuitive" bodywork met me and then arranged my body on the table like Jesus up on the cross. She then started yelling at me "There, there!! you are a martyr!". (Needless to say, the dramatics didn't help me and I didn't return.) Over years of dealing with personalities and agendas in alternative health that tried to boss me around just because I was sick, I learned that developing my own bossy body is a good thing.
So now I am so grateful for my beautiful mixed up crazy "bossy body" and any help it wants to share..
Marian Wolfe Dixon
MA, LMT (OR #3902)
NCTMB Approved Provider
Continuing Education for Massage Therapists, CHt, TCMBB.