12 May Why I came to Thailand to start with
When I first started working as a career coach in 2013, I read lots of books on “performance enhancement” techniques and kept bumping into meditation and some alternative treatments as a tool for better performance and results. I’m not talking about the religious meditation practice, but the “mindfulness exercise of meditation”.
There is no way to achieve good career results without talking about mental health, stress and anxiety. Minor depression and anxiety problems can already affect most of us and our ability to make decisions and cope with stress. So, when we notice our clients are having trouble making the needed decisions and action upon them, we can’t help but feel we could do more than only recommend they go see a doctor or a therapist. Some simple exercises and habits. Simple, but not easy.
Most of the high performers I read about were into the same things, being meditation the number one mentioned. I had always wanted to try it but I was too anxious. And as they say, the ones who find it harder to meditate are the ones who need it the most. I know I did.
Then, I read a book called “Instinct to Heal“, by David Servan, a young and brilliant french neuroscientist who practiced medicine in the US and ended up coming to Asia where he became fascinated by the results of alternative treatments and developed ways of taking some of these practices to the west in a more practical, less spiritual, form, so it was more easily accepted. He developed a course teaching business executives how to “breathe with their hearts” for 30 minutes per day and bring their heart rates back to a more productive level that became really popular in the US. Huge corporations offered the training to their employees to reduce common stress and heart problems. Another way of meditating, right? But during the training, he plugged them into heart rate and blood pressure control machines so they could see the results in their bodies immediately. So western, huh? We need to see it, to believe it, don’t we? Something that we don’t do here in Asia in the meditation retreats. I bet the monks would have fun with those machines. Here is a good review in case you’re interested in knowing more about this author’s fantastic work. You can read his book in one weekend easily.
The best part for me, was how he explains that our emotional brains (yes, we have more than one, in different parts of our body) are linked to our body much more than to our language. This was a wonderful surprise to me. I had been trying to help my clients through language, only. And I learned that we can only go so far with language. We can only really cure our emotional brain taking care of our bodies. That meant I had to come here to Asia, to the source, to try this out before recommending it.
Now I am here, celebrating my first year of meditation practice in this beautiful country, having done my first (of many to come) 10 day meditation retreat and now starting to study a bit of therapeutical massages. I can only see the tip of the iceberg so far but I’m already fascinated by this way of curing and communicating. I don’t have many friends here yet, so I am using my free time to visit some of the best massage teachers and gurus and try to learn how to give a good Thai massage! Friends and family don’t get too excited because I can see that I’d have to stay here for 10 years to advance in this skill.
Love, breathe and get some massages, you, too! Ah! Don’t forget the acupuncture, the fish oil and the career coaching.