Musings from the ever-changing, ever-amazing and occasionally ever-baffling Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Of Black Magic and Mumbo Jumbo

Black magic and mumbo jumbo, undoubtedly.

Such was my dismissal of certain things of which I was suspicious as I simply did not believe in their benefits. I was certain they were examples of gullibility on our part, signs of our fundamental human weakness for believing in absurdities.
Boy, what an idiot I can be.

It began about a year ago when I could not move my neck. Increasing tension in my neck and shoulder muscles had left me intensely envious of owls, with their ability to turn their heads 180 degrees. My head was frozen in place, and just shoulder checking while driving had become agony. Finally, realizing I could no longer live in that kind of suffering, I booked in to see a massage therapist, despite being dubious of their genuine ability to help alleviate my pain.
I will admit it took trying two or three different therapists to find the right one for me, just as one has to try a few hair stylists to find the right one. But even after my very first visit I knew I was onto something, as while my muscles ached in an entirely new way I could turn my head, even if just slightly. After finding the perfect RMT for me, with just the right touch and a growing knowledge of where as a writer I carry all my tension in my neck and shoulders, and with monthly appointments, I no longer view owls with envy. A once monthly massage has eliminated my neck and shoulder tension, and a practice that once filled me with doubt has become something I consider essential to my job as it allows me to work free of pain.

The experience with massage therapy triggered something in me, because I often outright rejected ideas designed to help as being unlikely to actually help. When I began hearing about the use of essential oils in diffusers I once again was dubious, but even so when  I was in Edmonton I found myself in a large store devoted to essential oils and their use. I left armed with two diffusers and an array of essential oil blends, once again mentally doubting their ability to help me but recognizing I needed to do something to address the restless nights I was experiencing, and the stress-related headaches.
I began loading up the diffuser nightly with essential oil blends that promised things like tranquillity, and the strangest thing happened: I started sleeping again.

It was like the weirdest form of black magic, but for some reason those soothing scents actually seemed to have an effect on me and it wasn’t long before I was relying on them when I was feeling stressed or overwhelmed, or when I needed a kick of energy or sunshine.
Suddenly I was hooked on massage therapy AND essential oils. And then I heard about adult colouring books.

Yep. Colouring books for adults, the latest and hottest trend in publishing circles. Not the colouring books of old, these ones feature patterns of mandalas and paisleys, supposedly designed to calm and soothe stressed and anxious adults.
I liked colouring as a kid, and to be honest I was still colouring long past when most children give it up, but colouring as an adult of a certain age? I was beyond skeptical and into scoffing, but when I found myself in front of a display of colouring books in a local bookstore one day I couldn’t help but be enthralled.

One adult colouring book of whimsical designs and a package of 60 colouring pencils later and I was hooked, as I watched Netflix and coloured while my anxieties and worries of the day drifted away, finding myself focused on just the right shade of crimson red for a flower and the perfect shade of soft green for the leaves. Having little artistic talent of my own to paint or draw I found it incredibly freeing to release what little I had in a colouring book, taking me back to an era when bills and deadlines were something adults dealt with and I could just live in the moment.
Massage therapy, essential oils and adult colouring books. Suddenly all the black magic and mumbo jumbo I had been dismissing made sense to me. I had never for a moment considered that any of these things, let alone all three, could enrich my life and actually increase my happiness and yet each and every one had become something I no longer considered superfluous but essential.

I pride myself on being non-gullible, one of those people who doubts everything until it is proven and who scorns those who fall prey to the obvious scams in this world – but recent experience has shown me that there is a difference between gullibility and being open to new ideas. How often do we close ourselves to new possibilities by being unwilling to consider they may be beneficial? How often do we take a leap of faith in the chance it may be a success?
All I know is I am now a fiendishly colouring, hooked-on-essential-oils devotee of massage therapy – and I am far more open to new ideas than ever before, thanks to simply considering the possibilities instead of shutting down my mind. As Shakespeare wrote: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy”, and just maybe those things we dismiss as “black magic and mumbo jumbo” are some of them.


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