Growing up, my nanny used to say, “Be careful, your face might freeze like that!” Terrifying. Imagine your tongue stuck out; eyebrows ready to engage in battle with one another and your chin disjointed and asymmetrical. Forever! Terrifying truly. Make that face and imagine it stuck there forever.
Are you horrified? (Okay, I was.)
This theory was validated by my 7th grade science teacher. She talked about skin and muscles. She said, “All you have to do is look at an old person to tell if they were happy, sad, kind or ruthless and nasty. It’s all in their wrinkles. Keep your facial muscles relaxed at all times and smile. That way, when you are old, everyone will know how wonderful you are.”
Needless to say, that was all I needed to know. (She was very focused on muscles, muscle memory and appropriate planning. When we got to reproductive systems, she also talked of keagaling. But, that’s a different set of musings.)
From that moment forward, I understood the value of “The Neutral Position.” We do not wear our hearts on our sleeves. Whoever thought that up was a silly-pants. We wear our hearts on our faces and our hands and our feet.
The face is such a tiny portion of our body. It can’t even begin to contain our internal truths and myths. Our myths and truths show up as a twitchy finger. Or a clenched fist. But, it always starts in the face.
From time to time, I will be at the shop, squeezing lemons or fondling a new shirt. In these times, I employ “The Neutral Position.” Invariably, somebody brings a very loud discordant energy. There I am fondling peaches and deciding which ones are best for my family and suddenly a marching band of anger storms into the aisle.
Suddenly she (yes, it is usually a she) slams food into her cart. She’s got a scowl on her face. If she is with children, I know one of them is just about to employ familial patterning in age-appropriate way. (Or plainly said, they are gearing up for a temper-tantrum.) It is highly likely, that her tantrums were beaten out of her as a child. That is why she is in mega-chain store slamming things into her cart silently and angrily.
Chances are, no one ever told her she could just curl up in the fetal position and weep silently at night. No wonderful grandmother told her to wake up every morning and give herself precisely 10 minutes to feel vastly and profoundly sorry for her self, and then get about the day. It is not her fault.
Which is why the importance of “The Neutral Position” as a beginning stance for any woman wanting to learn “Mom-Fu” is essential.
“The Neutral Stance”
1. Wake up.
2. Set the timer for five or ten minutes.
3. Feel tremendously sorry for yourself. Weep a little. If you have time (best done at night) curl into the fetal position and heave sobs. Moan. Lament.
4. When the timer goes off. Dry your eyes., splash water on your face, stretch a little.
5. Relax every facial muscle.
6. Adjust to a mildly amused position.
7. Straighten your spine.
8. Square your shoulders.
9. Put one foot in front of the other and get about your business of the day.
10. Repeat until another stance is required.