It was day two, 3:00 in the afternoon, and time for a break. Dr. Gordon instructed us to stand up; he was going to play some music. We closed our eyes and were told to shake our bodies. We started from the ground up, gently bouncing, moving our ankles, knees, and then hips. Continuing up the body, we moved our torsos, shoulders, arms, and head. We shook like this for six minutes to music that had an almost hypnotic beat. Dr. Gordon counted the minutes and encouraged us to keep shaking, keep moving! Even though the last minute felt like eternity, my eyes were closed, my body was shaking, and for a moment I felt as if I were alone in the room (I should mention that I was actually one of 400).
The music stopped; we opened our eyes and took a few slow, deep breaths. Ready for part two, I was hopeful that it would not involve more shaking; I was worn out! Dr. Gordon instructed us to close our eyes and move our bodies in whatever way would feel good. The music started; I started to move my body and then I started to cry. The song was Three Little Birds, by Bob Marley. Even though I’ve heard this song a million times, this time was different; I drank in every word as if it were brand new. As Bob Marley sang to me, “Don’t worry, ‘bout a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright.” a huge weight was lifted off of me; I felt lighter, I could breathe! At the time, I was a medical mess, lots of tests, waiting for results, and fretting about the future. Obviously, I was letting my personal situation weigh on me more than I realized. I wasn’t fully present and I needed to let the worry go.
The importance of being free and in the moment cannot be over stated; I realized that I was not a participant in my own life; my body was in the room but my mind was elsewhere. Now I know that I need to welcome myself and allow myself to be present. Hello self, I’m so glad you’re here!
Author: Kelly Rulle
In June of 2012 I attended the Center’s Food As Medicine conference in Bethesda, MD. At the time, I was unfamiliar with the Center, so I was not sure what to expect. This conference started unlike so many other conferences I have attended. Instead of jumping right in because there would be lots of ground to cover in a short period of time, Dr. Jim Gordon began with a relaxation breathing exercise called “soft belly,” a slow, deep breathing meditation that allows the belly to rise when breathing in and fall when breathing out.The sole focus should be on the image of a soft, relaxed belly. He instructed us to say to ourselves “soft” as we inhaled and “belly” as we exhaled. We started every day of the conference in this fashion. I will admit that I was a bit skeptical at first, as I wondered what breathing had to do with food and when were we going to get to the good stuff. But by day three of the conference I found myself ready to start the day relaxed; I was looking forward to “soft belly!”
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