The story of the creation of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, The David, is yet another metaphor passed on to me by my mentors in healing. It is a story I tell patients to explain two important principles at work in their healing process. And it is one that reminds me of my role in their healing process as well.
When asked how he sculpted this masterpiece, Michelangelo is quoted as saying:
“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
Michelangelo also said,
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
And you are exactly like David.
There is a perfect YOU inside that is just waiting to be released. A perfectly functioning body, a happy and confident YOU inside, begging to be set free.
Michelangelo saw that David was trapped inside that block of marble. You might feel like your body is imprisoned in stone right now as well. But instead of being trapped in rock, you’re trapped inside stress.
As your stress accumulates, it adds layer upon layer of tension on top of you. You get to the point where you feel like you’re suffocating, you can hardly breathe. You begin to feel like you’re wearing shackles throughout your day. You can’t hear the chains clanging as you plod through your day. But you can feel the weight of these shackles, you can feel their tightness, you can feel them restricting you. These layers of stress pile up and imprison you inside your dis-eased body like David was imprisoned before Michelangelo came along to set him free.
The work I do as a chiropractor is like the work Michelangelo did to release David. Michelangelo simply carved away what wasn’t David. Then, and only then, could David be freed. The chiropractic adjustment does the same thing. It peels away the layers of stress that aren’t you.
You are designed to be healthy. Your body knows exactly what it needs to do for you to be 100% healthy. But the stress that gets stored in your body gets in the way of that natural health expressing through you. The layers of stress get so thick, that you can’t see your way out of it. But thankfully, chiropractic can carve away those layers so you too can be set free.
But of course you can’t become dependent on me for constantly peeling the layers off for you. You don’t want that and I don’t want that as a long-term strategy for you. That is what teaching you healthy lifestyle habits is all about. If you leave my office, feeling fantastic and functioning at your 100%, but you just go back out into your stressful life, those layers are going to pile back on again and you’ll be right back where you started.
Each healthy action you take helps peel a layer of stress off. Each unhealthy action puts one on. Picture an onion and how each layer can be peeled off to reveal a layer closer and closer to its core. You have to make changes in your lifestyle habits so you don’t imprison yourself in the rock again. Unhealthy habits just recreate the problem over and over again.
Eat a salad instead of fries, you peel a layer off. Go for a walk after dinner instead of plunking down and watching “boob-tube”, you peel a layer off. Take a “mental health day” off of work instead of continuing to burn the candle at both ends, you peel a layer off.
The masterpiece that is inside of you is literally dying to be freed again. It’s pleading with you to listen to the signals your healthy body is giving you to make healthy changes, to learn to manage your stress better, to allow that perfectly happy and healthy you to be released from its prison of stress.
There’s a Snowball Effect when it comes to your stress and your health. It layers up around you and you become imprisoned, just like David was before Michelangelo carved him free from the marble. But look out, Goliath is holding that Stress Snowball in his meaty hand. His angry eyes are glaring at you. His jaw is clenched and he’s ready to throw it at you.