People who have the time and assets to receive bodywork notice the benefits. Repeat clients come back because they feel better. This is true even if they can’t clearly explain how. A repeat client already has a level of trust and comfort with their practitioner as well as a readiness for the session. They arrive knowing the routine and look forward to getting on the table. Massage therapists are especially focused on getting their client to the table as quickly as possible knowing the time needed to give the client a full body session. There are layers of expectations that both client and practitioner carry consciously and unconsciously about the table time, and when these expectations are met, needs are satisfied.
But there are always deeper needs, needs that one can only become aware of by slowing down. There are abundant blessings to be found by waiting until both client and practitioner are settled and ready to be in physical contact with each other. The idea that what both the client and practitioner need is essential in the approach to a session is unique to the Biodynamic paradigm – and its attention to the relational field. The waiting period in the approach to the session builds rapport and enables a depth of connection between client and practitioner to occur.
Waiting supports two essential Biodynamic skills: first, experiencing the felt sense of settling and arriving in oneself, and second, the impulse and readiness to engage with another. Using this sequence, the practitioner and client arrive more fully in the moment. From here the practitioner can more easily perceive the client’s immutable well-being, commonly called the blueprint. For the client, the process of sensing themselves and arriving in the session and then landing on the table before receiving contact is equally important. By waiting for readiness, both client and practitioner come to know themselves and each other better, not just once, but in each session. Through this process, practitioner and client together establish their relational field, an essential ingredient in every Biodynamic session. As Peter Levine, the founder of Somatic Experiencing® says, “The treatment modality is only 15% of the therapy. 85% is the relationship you develop together.”
Biodynamic courses teach a multitude of skills. Students grow their ability to drop below their thoughts and discomfort to a quieter place within. They learn to let the bodywork session be a place where it is permissible for both practitioner and client to say “not yet” or “something is not right.” In this environment, everyone’s pacing can be honored and their needs responded to. Supported by presence, authenticity and time, both client and practitioner wait for the emergence of the felt senses of being both settled and ready. Along the way, everyone learns from the unsettled places. When those places are named by both parties instead of being ignored or overridden, something new happens. For both practitioners and clients, the waiting period eventually becomes a period of transformation they expect and look forward to as reliable place of safety and discovery. When both client and practitioner are ready to proceed and agree to come into contact from readiness rather than from expectation or obligation, the door to a whole new world of healing potential opens.
As a practitioner it is normal to experience feelings of impatience, expectation or pressure to perform. Practitioners are understandably focused on the client’s needs and can feel uncomfortable recognizing and acknowledging their own experience during a session. A practitioner and a client are fulfilling roles in the session, and roles come with attendant expectations and beliefs. Biodynamic practitioners become able to wait well enough that they know how to not make contact from a sense of obligation or expectation, but instead from their own internal clarity and curiosity about what they might discover.
Clients have their own experience of discovery in the waiting period — new sensations, old memories and insights often arise. Feelings or memories of unmet needs for contact or connection may surface. Clients may experience discomfort or discover a felt sense of the lack of safety. This can be confusing for clients at first, but over time clients come to recognize that these seemingly out of place feelings are arising from another time, because of the pace and support of the waiting space.
The journey to a felt sense of our own readiness is one we are rarely gifted with in this “ready or not here we go” world. We are more accustomed to distracting ourselves while we wait than letting ourselves inhabit the space that waiting creates. We are focused on whatever we are waiting for rather than being in the moment. Experiencing the discomfort of waiting strengthens us. It helps us find and grow many capacities including patience, trust and curiosity and is a route to more deeply knowing ourselves. Waiting exponentially increases the possibilities available to both client and practitioner not just in the bodywork session, but also in their daily lives. Filled with abundant gifts and potential – waiting is worth the wait!