MUSCLE KNOTS… Have you heard about this? Maybe you’ve experienced it before or you’re having one right at this moment?
This may sound weird but experiencing those muscle knots last December made me realize a number of things that were related to my heart and goals. And it’s my hope that this personal journey, no matter how strange (and long) it is would help others as it helped me in evaluating my heart and goals for the New Year.
MUSCLE KNOTS? (Please BEAR.WITH.ME.)
I never heard nor had a severe kind of muscle knot (besides having nodules here and there) until last year when I had two bouts of lower back spasm. The first time I had this was when we were heading to Los Baños. We had a stopover at a coffee shop where there were a group of guys who just finished their weekend run. Since I was already experiencing some back tension, I was limping towards them as I was finding my exit in a very slow lola (“grandma”) pace, somewhat nearly crouching like I needed to use the toilet A.S.A.P. I couldn’t blame them for giving me those weird stare. It was a funny yet unfortunate scene.
Like any other pain or body issue, I try to tolerate it and just let it pass until I was okay. Then I experienced it again. This time it was so painful that I couldn’t even reach my toes in the shower! I knew I already needed help.
I finally went to N.Y. Theraspine as recommended by a friend so I can have a physical assessment. I told my therapist that he could do all the therapies (that he thinks I need) known to humankind. I didn’t care I just wanted to get better.
Apparently muscle knots can happen all over our body especially on spots that are most vulnerable like the trapezius (that big muscle from your neck to between your shoulder blades), latissimus dorsi and erector spinae (lower back muscles), semispinalis capiti (muscle that runs to the base of your skull – the reasons for migraines and fatigue), and gluteus maximus, medius and minimus (rump or “puet”). (Don’t worry if you didn’t pronounce each word and even skipped some like I did. I’m far from being an expert but I just searched and included them here. Maybe a reader need to have himself or herself checked too. And sometimes I also want my blog to sound smarter.)
The Assessment: I have muscle knots all over my body (not just those common nodules but some banded muscles as well) even up to my quadriceps femoris (thigh muscles). And I kind of regretted what I told my therapist because he really listened to me and did an amazing job in doing every thing in one go!
As a warm up, he started placing some hot compress on my back then continued with Dry Needling (about 12 needles of 1 and 3 inches were poked all over my back). After taking out the needles, he proceeded with Myotherapy. This therapy was my favorite! It was like an extreme hard massage times 10. He made me suffer an almost unbearable intense pressure with every stroke that he did with his forearm! (I was making all those weird groaning sounds, which was OKAY because everyone who had this therapy, whether athletes or those physically more active ones do groan like babies.)
We suffer a little while but the pressure and pain are crucial for us to acknowledge and release those terrible knots.
After the treatment, I WAS SORE TO THE CORE! But it was the kind of agony that you can and should tolerate because you know that it causes something good for your body. (It was like the pain you feel after an intense workout. You know that same muscle tension or damage that leads to muscle growth and makes you toned or macho.)
After just one session, I felt an incredible difference and improvement on my movements. And just after my second visit, I was able to freely move and even dance at my friend’s birthday party.
WHAT’S THE CONNECTION?
I realized that the same muscle knots could also happen in the most vulnerable areas of our lives especially to our HEART.
How would you know if you’re experiencing some HEART KNOTS?
(Tried asking these questions to a friend too. Her comments were in between “( )”.)
- Are there any tensions in your life right now?
- Are there things that slow you down, limit you to do something that you know you should be doing? (e.g. doubts, things that steal motivation)
- Are there issues from the past that paralyzes you to move forward?
- Do you feel stuck in any area of your life? (e.g. starting a career path, the past)
- Do you feel like you’ve been tolerating something that badly needs to be dealt with?
- Are there any unaddressed issues that you were just sweeping under the rug?
- Are there any vulnerable spots in your life that you thought you already surrendered and was healed from only to discover that a lingering pain is still present? (e.g. worries)
These are just some of the questions that take time and courage to answer. I personally needed some honest self-evaluation for me to discover the areas that still need some work in my life, knots that need to be acknowledged and released.
Take time to think. Take the courage to be free.
Be open to be truthful and bring to light whatever that you think are still buried from your past and your heart.
Write them down and contemplate how to untie those knots whether to forgive yourself or someone from a past hurt, address an unresolved issue, make that call, decide to make the change, create better habits, or just let go.
Acknowledge and release. Run towards your freedom and goals.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
THE THERAPIST AND THE THERAPHY
After making an honest assessment, you may need to ask some trusted people for truth and wisdom, someone that you can be accountable with and who has the same values as you do. I’m grateful that God sent me the right people in this season that helped me realize my blind spots (areas that needed to be transformed).
Just think about the therapist that I mentioned above. First, I trust him because I know that he knows what he was doing and I know that he could give me the right assessment and therapies for my condition. Sure the therapies that he gave were painful but I was certain that they were for my good.
And just like the Myotherapy that I had, your healing and recovery might take not just a session, but may include a number of sessions. And you definitely need to do your part for your healing to take place.
Healing is a choice and a process.
As nodules and banded muscles can cause discomfort, pain and limitations to one’s body and movements, so is a heart that is hardened from untreated issues. And a hardened heart can certainly make a person blinded, burdened and buried from the past.
With a heart that is wrongly positioned, it is possible to seek for the wrong things too.
You may ask why is it important to have a new heart before setting your new goals? Because our motives and intentions will make a huge difference with the things that we’ll aim for.
Having the right reasons for our goals will help us produce and act on our list in the right condition and with the right purpose. Along the way, even when things get tough or challenging, having the right purpose would give us the right motivation to keep on going.
Self-evaluation can free you from your heart’s knots, help you to position your heart right and make you set for the right goals with the right focus.
A break through doesn’t happen without a fight.
An internal Myotherapy might be painful in the process but its rewards would definitely be worth it:
- You’ll be more self-aware (about your issues and weaknesses)
- You’ll learn how to fight or deal with them (especially when you feel limited/ stuck)
- You’ll prevent your heart from having new knots
- You’ll experience more freedom and become internally stronger in achieving your goals
SETTING THE RIGHT GOALS
I remember when I was in my early 20’s (like 10 years ago, haha); I totally had a different set of goals. My goals were you could say more selfish and “worldly”. I wanted to do a lot of things, be successful and financially capable, buy things for my family, help others and get hitched. Though these things aren’t necessarily wrong, my heart wasn’t positioned in the right way. I wanted to be independent but for the wrong reasons. I didn’t have a clear purpose.
What changed? Read my story here.
So during the start of the year after having an internal Myotherapy (self evaluation), I recognized that I could have a list of goals but still miss on what’s important.
Then I thought of having a foundational guide and a simplified list that could help me not just have the right list but have the right motivation and heart to attain them too.
And I hope that this guide will help you to focus and achieve a more purposeful and lasting list of goals this 2017.
LEARNING THE 3 F’s
Do you have any unfulfilled projects or unfinished tasks?
I do. It’s hard to admit but I think I haven’t been that faithful to a number of things on my list for years. And a lot of times, for us to be able to fulfill those projects and to finish those tasks, we may need to say NO to certain things.
(Goodbye spontaneous coffee dates, goodbye T.V. series, goodbye bothering relationship, good bye…)
This dear, I am honestly still learning.
“Faithfulness is being loyal, constant, steadfast (obediently fulfilling one’s duty) and firm (unwavering).”
Motivation: YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN FULFILL your unique role and calling in this world. You have unique projects in your head, a special role to take and a purpose to pursue. And nobody can fulfill them but YOU. Don’t miss out. Be faithful.
(Yes, JM be faithful… I am definitely preaching this to myself.)
Proverbs 3:3 “Never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”
Luke 16:10 “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.”
Can you say that there was an evident GROWTH in you as a person and in the people around you?
One of the things that I really pray for is for me to be more fruitful. And for me to be more fruitful, I know that it will entail for me to remove a number of distractions and habits that will keep me from being productive.
“Fruitfulness is when you produce good or helpful and significant results.”
Motivation: Your maturity and personal growth can make a huge difference in your life and the people around you. Let your passion produce productivity THAT WILL TRANSFORM YOUR WORLD.
John 15:2, 4 “He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.”
Psalm 1:2-3 “But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
- (TO) FLOURISH
Are you in the kind of environment that helps you to grow and develop in your season now? What keeps you from completely flourishing from your role/ calling and passion?
To be faithful, to be fruitful and to flourish entails a continuous bundle of decisions. And for a person to flourish, it’s important to examine where he or she is presently planted. Just like with any flowers or trees to bloom and grow, one needs to be planted in the right environment with the right soil, right amount of fertilizer, water and sunlight.
“To flourish is to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous (strong, healthy and energetic) way especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.
Motivation: Know and be planted well according to your season. Create the environment where you can focus, be inspired and flourish. Eliminate the things that will keep you from flourishing in your present season. (Evaluate your relationships, present working / home environment, habits, and others and make the necessary adjustments.)
Psalm 92:12-14 “But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.”
What are the things that you need to work on from this list?
For me it’s all of the above.
I hope that this helps you in setting your heart and goals right for this year.
Extra questions to consider whenever you need to make a decision:
Am I being faithful when I do this or when I make this decision?
Will I become fruitful, bear fruit and be productive with this choice?
Am I going to flourish in this kind of environment and if I pursue this in this season?
“Create an environment that will support your vision”
(Learned this while studying Dale Partridge’s blog “How I built the most effective home office of my life” )