What does it mean to be on the leading edge in any particular field or endeavor? Is "progress" a real phenomenon, or are we just spinning around in circles—pretending that there is a linear, innovative quality to our movement through space and time?
These are important questions to me, because I do believe that progress is real, both in the specific field of bodywork and in the broader realms of self-discovery and spirituality. Though there can be no denying that life unfolds in cyclical patterns of repetition and sameness, neither can there be a denial the each moment seems to hold a unique signature that is patently different (perhaps only by the slightest degree) from what has come before.
For instance, if you have ever seen a school of minnows scrambling near the surface of the ocean, you will notice how that cluster of tiny fish operates like a single organism. As a group, they dart to and fro in perfect symmetry. Furthermore, their bodies appear virtually identical to each other. But, if we were to cast a net upon them and bring a sample set into a boat, we could observe and measure the variations in size, shape, and other characteristics.
Often, from a zoomed-out view, all appears the same, but upon zooming in, the deviations and anomalies are revealed.
When it comes to the notion of progress, we must consider the dynamic of change in relation to a certain goal or ideal. Within the context of pursuing a goal, change is not merely an arbitrary shift in form, but a transformation and evolution that is getting closer to a desired state of being and doing. So, to use an example from my last blog on disc golf, players improve when their body mechanics are more aligned with achieving the best possible throw to land the disc in the basket.
With bodywork, the most common goal is to bring a client into a condition that is not only pain-free, but full of pleasure, versatility, and the inherent capability to move as they wish. There are many modalities seeking to reach the end goal, but what modalities are on the leading edge in helping accomplish the ideal result?
Well, I think quite a few modalities are riding on the leading edge, but I will comment on what is most familiar to me, which is, as of late, reflexology.
Sam Belyea at the Foot Whisperer is taking reflexology to a new level by placing emphasis on the foot reading aspect of the modality. Foot reading engages the client in a two-way dialogue so they can better understand what their body is trying to communicate via the feet and other extremities. With the inclusion of assessment, coaching, and education (A-C-E), Sam is going well beyond the actual technique of thumb-walking the reflexes. The ACE philosophy operates on the premise that the more informed a client is, the more empowered they will be to make appropriate lifestyle changes to address the underlying causes which have produced the visible markers. Of course, such an informative dialogue cannot be forced. The effectiveness of the ACE platform depends upon a readiness and willingness in both client and practitioner.
In regards to the broader field of self-actualization (achieving the utmost potential in oneself), AYP is very much on the leading edge in that category for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons is due to "The guru is in you" mentality. AYP is an open-source system that provides knowledge for both beginners and seasoned practitioners, without the co-dependency that comes along with older guru paradigms. With AYP, we can draw from the baseline and make our own modifications as we refine our routine and pursuit of higher consciousness. It is designed for autonomy, independence, and personal freedom.
Being on the leading edge invokes an adventurous feeling. To be a pioneer is to venture into the unknown. Inevitably, charting new territory will come with trial and error. Mistakes will be made. But I do believe that the payoff will far exceed the friction and learning curve along the way. To dare to dream is at the core of the human spirit.
Thank you for reading. Be still, and flow.