The New American Dream by Nancy Recant
For Evolve! Fall 2007
I was living the American dream; happily married with two children, our own home and a successful filmmaking career underway. Everything was working out and yet I felt a calling to go deeper; a strange unsettling urge to know more, to help myself. That is when I discovered Jin Shin Jyutsu, a profound ancient Japanese Art of balancing energy in the body. This simple Art would eventually turn my worldview upside down and heal me from the inside out. It would redirect my career and most aspects of my way of being in the world. I embarked on a journey of transformation, self–discovery and healing.
My regular Jin Shin Jyutsu sessions of clearing and balancing began to shift my awareness and allow me to let go of stored emotional baggage. As a child of two Holocaust Survivors, it seemed that I had accumulated enough sadness and trauma in the cells of my body to block my energy pathways for many lifetimes. I attended my first workshop in 1991 when I became a true devotee of this Art. As I lay on the massage table, with five practitioners laying hands on me, I felt a surge of energy and tears started streaming down my face. My instructor, Philomena Dooley, commented ironically, “tears of joy?”. I began to laugh and then proceeded to release heaving waves of sobs which overtook me. Time stood still as I surrendered to the event. The tears eventually subsided as I felt a peace come over me. I felt lighter, younger, more present, and alive than I had ever felt. And the loving support of those around me moved me deeply. I relished this newfound bliss and proceeded into the workshop zealous with hunger to know more.
It was unlike anything I had ever experienced or studied. There were two basic premises that set this learning apart from any of my former studies. First of all, it wasn’t about acquiring more information; in part, it was about remembering what I already knew. Like an archeological dig, I needed to uncover the layers of my being to find my wisdom and my knowing. By letting go of the excess holdings and baggage, I could harmonize this energy body and find peace and balance. But it was in the experience, not the mind. I couldn’t figure this out because I was smart. I had to wait patiently and surrender to the process; allowing my awareness to lead the way. It was my first encounter with holistic learning and it was clear that my ego mind was not welcome here. This growth had more to do with integrating all my energy centers including the gut, the heart, the soul and the mind. Wow! And it also contained an empowering aspect of self-help. I did not have to rely on my sessions to bring me back to balance. I could use my own hands to do that.
Secondly, it introduced me to a new concept of “being” in the world; not about achieving, amassing, competing and proving. There was even a new parlance to match this philosophy of what they were calling, “effortless reality” of being instead of doing. Philomena reminded us that we were not human doings. But from what I witnessed in our culture, this seemed impossible. It would take me time to absorb this new philosophy.
With each session and class to follow, my awareness and outlook began to shift. I learned how to arrive in the moment and practiced it for longer periods. After my sessions, I was brought back to balance and wholeness. The old way of being was no longer acceptable. This was a profoundly deep and beautiful Art that inspired me to go inside. And like a sculptor, I needed to keep chiseling away at the layers of baggage and beliefs that stood between me and my essence.
Before I knew it, I was sharing this Art with everyone from my family to friends. As I applied my hands to the energy centers on my girls, their symptoms melted away and their bodies relaxed. Fevers would dissipate and bellyaches disappear. Visits to the doctor lessened. My friends were stopping by to receive more. Their chronic ailments were fading. My private practice had begun before my eyes and unlike anything I had undertaken, I was in the flow of my life. And my work emanated from sharing what I loved. My hands went from editing films to balancing bodies. And it felt just as creative a process.
I attended more workshops where I set pen to paper, attempting to absorb more about how this mystery unfolded. The instructors talked about creation and the depths of energy in our bodies; illuminating how this body of mine is connected to a source of divine energy. The energy centers, where consciousness and matter meet form vortexes or safety energy locks. When locked, they result in pain or discomfort and create our bodies advanced warning system; our body’s way of communicating deeper meaning about what is up with us. Pain, illness and disease were projects that needed tending, not symptoms to suppress or fight. They were opportunities to learn and grow. Having suffered from so many chronic ailments throughout my life, this Art presented me with a magnificent invitation to explore the deeper meaning of my being. It began to answer my questions about spirit and energy and what it means to be embodied. By understanding my emotional attitudes and lifestyle choices, I could learn about how my energy gets blocked and more importantly, I could learn how to live in the flow of life, in rhythm with the universe.
Excited beyond words, I was moved to combine my two passions – making movies and Jin Shin Jyutsu. I felt an urgency to capture the story of the Art and especially to pay tribute to the woman who brought Jin Shin Jyutsu from Japan to America, Mary Burmeister. It took me five years to complete the production and weave the strands of this story together; discovering yet another manifestation of this Art in my life.
Over the years of continued receiving, sharing and teaching, I have been greatly humbled by the miracles that have unfolded before my eyes and by the power of the Creator that moves through us, through our hands and our hearts. It is through our awareness of this connection that I believe lies the power to overcome all obstacles. It is my experience that when I am at peace, I bring peace to the world. Let us all make this our new American dream!