How I Learned to be a Rubber Band
By: Gail Okray
Have you ever stretched a rubber band so far that you thought for sure it would break, only to have it return to its original shape and size as if it hadn’t been stressed at all?
Have you ever felt the bliss that comes from cheering the underdog to victory?
Have you ever been inspired after hearing a story about someone overcoming unbeatable odds?
That rubber band has something in common with the underdog and the survivor: resilience, the ability to rebound from adversity.
We all know life has its ups and downs. During those down times, it’s important to dust ourselves off and get back up. If we don’t, we can easily get trapped in a cycle of misery. Resilience is the key to overcoming despair. What is it that sparks our children to pursue the answer to a math problem or reach the end of the story when reading is difficult? Edison tried 1000 times to figure out which type of wire to use in his incandescent light bulb—now THAT’S resilience!
Is this kind of resilience an innate quality only certain people possess, or is there some way to support this attitude? There are a few characteristics that resilient people possess: optimism, problem-solving skills, and perseverance. The good news is, according to the American Psychological Association, these are all behaviors that can be learned.
Another way to improve resiliency is through the art of Jin Shin Jyutsu®, which comes from ancient tradition that works with the vibratory pathways which feed life to the cells in the body. A blockage in one or more of these pathways leads to an imbalance of physical, mental and/or emotional well-being. By harmonizing the pathways of the body using simple touch, balance can be restored. Since Jin Shin Jyutsu, similar to acupuncture (but without the needles!), is completely non-invasive, it makes an ideal complement to Western medicine. One major distinction between Jin Shin Jyutsu and various other modalities is the self-help component. In addition to receiving sessions from a certified Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, clients also learn self-care routines to maintain harmony.
A great self-help tip to aid in resiliency is to hold your index finger. Jin Shin Jyutsu teaches that each finger is associated with an attitude such as worry, fear, anger, sadness, and pretense (trying to). Holding the index finger can indeed help us to hang on and persevere. Sounds way too simple, doesn’t it? From a Jin Shin Jyutsu philosophy, encircling each of the fingers and thumbs opens up a whole new world, rejuvenating us. After holding both index fingers, follow up by holding both little fingers to bring the task to effortless fruition.
Embrace your inner rubber band by making a conscious effort to become more resilient. It may not prevent adversity from finding you, but it will certainly make it easier to bounce back from it!
Key Elements is owned and operated by Gail Okray – a Jin Shin Jyutsu teacher, author, and practitioner with over 14 years of experience. Gail is a 3rd generation student of Master Jiro Murai, who recovered and first systematized Jin Shin Jyutsu in 1912.
Gail has received personal Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions directly from Mary Burmeister, who originally brought the art to America at the request of Master Murai, and has studied under all three of Mary’s original senior instructors, including several trainings that have not been offered since. Her training has taken her to California, Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota.
Gail is a prolific author and instructor on topics of Jin Shin Jyutsu. Her work appears locally in Nature’s Pathways and Saving Green magazines, and in Main Central – a quarterly magazine published by Jin Shin Jyutsu Inc., the certifying body for all Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioners.