Holding Patterns

At the start of the new year, it’s common for people to be forward thinking. To create resolutions and goals for things they want to accomplish, or change, in the next 12 months. However, sometimes it can also be useful to reflect on what’s happened. Or how we’ve arrived at the place we find ourselves on December 31.

Several months ago I started seeing an osteopath. I went for one thing that I thought was the problem. Surprisingly, I learned that something in my spine needed work first. As the treatments took effect, my body shifted and changed. Some of the changes were new and different as a response. Others were familiar. After a couple sessions, the osteopath noticed some old holding patterns taking place in my body. Though I couldn’t describe exactly what she felt to indicate the changes, there was likely something routine and habitual about how my body responded.

It was the kind of thing that I wasn’t consciously aware of. This is likely because the holding patterns are etched into the fibers of my body, reinforced through years of experiences. Incidentally, this is part of the inspiration for my “Human Archives” series. Since the patterns feel comfortable, or recognizable to me, I’m not always aware of what’s happening. It’s as though my body slips into its old routine in response to any new shifts of changes. A silent form of sublte resistance. Even if the shifts are welcome and expected, it can be hard to resist the temptation and allure of sinking back into what’s familiar and known.

I contemplated all this after my last appointment. What were my holding patterns? How did they develop? And since they feel like the “norm” to me, how would I ever increase my awareness of them? Or learn how to tell if a holding pattern was hurting or helping me?

Though I gave up on new year’s resolutions long ago, I’ve been mindful of learning more about my holding patterns. The new year provides inspiration to reflect on the experiences and how they molded my body over time. And to think about which ones to carry forward for the next 12 months, or consider ways to redirect them into something new that feels more beneficial.

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