Dropping Your Shoulders

Milt Lee, Student/Practitioner and Organizer in Rapid City, South Dakota, shares his experience with Dropping Your Shoulders in The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, issue Number 44, Spring, 2004:


Over the years, I’ve noticed I have a lot of pain in my shoulders. It doesn’t stop me, or even make me want to take an aspirin, but the pain is always there. My 10’s, 3’s, 11’s and 12’s start to get very full and lumpy, and lately, hard knots have started to spread all along the top of my shoulders and even into the joints of my shoulders.

Several years ago, I had a bunch of pre-cancerous moles removed from the area of the 11/12 on the right hand side. Those have not come back, but the skin in that area itches a lot. Then about 4 months ago, my right ear became congested. For a while it was quite severe – ringing, double sounds, loss of hearing. Of course I looked through my notes and found several self-help pieces to use – small intestine, umbilicus, gall bladder, kidney, stomach. My pulses told me that small intestine was the key, and for a long time the only pulse that would jump out was gall bladder. As I used this self-help, combined with weekly Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions, the hearing definitely improved. The project didn’t go away altogether, so it was time to go deeper into what was happening. Since I make my living doing audio and video production work, this has been a scary thing for me.

I noticed when I stretched my jaw down, my ear popped, and I could do that time after time. I also noticed that if I used a lot of self-help, or right after a Jin Shin Jyutsu session, the next day, my ear would feel fairly normal. The ringing stopped and my hearing improved, but why was this still happening? Where was it coming from, and why was it continuing to come back? From practicing Jin Shin Jyutsu for 5 years, I was certain that every part of what was going on was connected – it was not a skin project, or a joint project, or even an ear project. It was an energy blockage spreading throughout the area – eventually resulting in what was happening in my joints and my ear.

My next step was to add Chi Gong to  my daily practice of Jin Shin Jyutsu. With several Chi Gong movements, I also had additional relief, but the pain would still come back! What was going on? It was definitely time to look at my surroundings, and what I found was really rather simple. My computer keyboard was about 4 inches higher than it should be. Since I spend about 6 hours a day working at the computer, it’s pretty clear that this was having an adverse effect on my body. I’ve started working with my keyboard on my lap, and it has helped, but…there is even more.

Finally, I thought about my shoulders, and what kept running through my brain was Mary’s admonition, “Drop your Shoulders. Be the Smile.” I found that even moving my keyboard wasn’t really resolving the issue. Then one day while taking a walk – not sitting in front of the computer, not talking on the phone – but walking. When I dropped my shoulders, I felt a profound relaxation wash through my body, but I also realized that in just a few more steps my shoulders were up around my ears again, so “Drop the Shoulders.” As I continue this practice, I discover how many times I have my shoulders UP. Even now, I need to relax, drop the shoulders, and be very conscious. I never knew that even just standing or sitting I hold my shoulders up. Of course, Mary didn’t just stop with dropping your shoulders. Then she would say, “Be the Smile”, and that may be the hardest part of the practice. When I first started to drop my shoulders, I noticed another thing happening. My body relaxes, and as it relaxes, I feel vulnerable. I also have the feeling I am too open, unprotected – the feeling of “not going to get it done if I don’t keep trying.”

The more I drop the shoulders, the more deeply they can drop. This is a new practice for me, and of course, along with the 36 breaths, it is the most basic practice that Mary gives us. My plan is to  practice this daily and really add it into my awareness. Someone once asked Mary how she could work so hard every day – what was her practice? She said that every thirty minutes, she would think to check her breathing. “When I breathe, I also drop my shoulders.” …So simple.

A friend of mine here in Rapid City is a surgeon and a Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, and he is fond of reminding me of an old saying: “If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.” I think it’s time to change what I do.

Thank you, Milt.

Thank you, Mary.

Thank you, David.

Gassho, Namaste, Blessings

All issues of The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter are available at http://www.jsjinc.net.


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