Some will see in it a form of welcome synchronicity, others happy proof of a real talent for anticipation. One thing is certain: Michel Odoul's new book is a good thing. Released in bookstores on March 12, just four short days before the announcement of confinement, Tell me how to get better and better every day can indeed prove to be very useful to those who had the chance – or the wise intuition – to obtain it before the fateful date. Because the period, to say the least anxiety-provoking, puts our nerves and our bodies to the test: in such a context, it is therefore also necessary to know how to protect oneself from physical and psychological disorders and the many undesirable effects that could be generated... As if, d n a certain way, it was also necessary to develop its own barrier gestures against other risks – anxiety, doubt and all these factors of stress and imbalance – which lie in wait for us, discreetly, at the same time as the virus.
Faced with this, Michel Odoul strives in this invigorating essay to recall the imperative need to “prevent rather than cure”. The formula is certainly hackneyed, it is nonetheless perfectly topical, as it is so often despised! “What mainly concerns the majority of patients and leads them – even forces them – to consult, is the disease (…)
This has been a big question for me for a long time: what is it that we do not concern ourselves first and foremost with health, rather than putting mad energy into the tools and the way to cure the disease? “asks the author, in the preamble. Michel Odoul is well placed to know: he has been practicing shiatsu for 35 years, a method of relaxation and manual therapy of Japanese origin, which he helped to develop in France by founding the French Institute of Shiatsu.
“The headlong rush and the smoke screen from the outside no longer work. Confinement is an opportunity to confront something that we too often tend to want to ignore: ourselves. »
This new publication is part of the continuity of a rich editorial work, which has made him a known and recognized author for more than twenty years. On the strength of his previous work on phyto-energetics, individual ecology or body medicine, Michel Odoul is pursuing the same ambitious approach here: establishing another relationship to life, changing our outlook and our perceptions to adopt a more overall on how we operate. And better understand, in fact, that what we live and what we are belongs to us – in other words, that we are “responsible” beings. “None of our ills happen by chance. It always carries meaning and is always part of a very specific experience,” writes Michel Odoul.
Thought as the continuation of its great success, Tell me where it hurts, I'll tell you why (first edition in 1994), this latest opus calls for us to reconsider our relationship to care in a different way, by denouncing the ignorance that generally consists in betting on curation – what Michel Odoul calls “the cut between illness and health”: rather than treating the disease once it has occurred, isn't it more effective to protect ourselves upstream, through small gestures and attentions guaranteeing our balance? Because health “results from an intrinsic balance between body and mind”, as Michel Odoul defines it.
The Five “Right Behaviors”
To do this, the author concentrates, for example, on the five "right behaviours" - also recommended by Buddhist philosophy -, guarantors of this harmony of being: the right effort, the right rest, the right eating, the right thinking and the right desire. Too often forgotten, “just thinking” takes on a particular character in the current period: “To live, a human being does not only nourish his body. He must also feed his spirit. And everything feeds: feelings, emotions, experiences, happiness and trauma. Just as food needs to be qualitatively and quantitatively balanced, so too are experiences,” continues the author. And how, exactly? Thanks to various very accessible “keys”, which Michel Odoul presents throughout the book.
Sleep management, respect for the seasons and their “macrocosmic” rhythm, breathing techniques: there is no shortage of tools for anyone who would like to strengthen their immunity on a daily basis. A veritable mine of practical advice, the book is full of techniques, exercises or movements, thus deploying an arsenal of ideas that anyone can deploy, very easily, at home - like "the spam bin", which offers to empty our negative emotions to regain interior space, as one empties the recycle bin of a computer to free memory... The last chapter, entitled "The treasure box", will constitute in this respect a very useful reading, by insisting on meditation or the concept of Ikigai, a philosophy of life imported from Japan.
Written in the summer of 2019, well before the outbreak of this pandemic, the latest work by Michel Odoul therefore resonates no less with a precious echo, in these difficult times. The author readily acknowledges this himself, summing up the ordeal we are going through in this way: “The headlong rush and the smokescreen from the outside no longer work. Confinement is an opportunity to confront something that we too often tend to want to ignore: ourselves. This is precisely what this book encourages: reconnecting with all the means at our disposal, on our scale, to best live this confinement. Good news, it's well within our reach: “Basically, it's above all trust in life and in the living that we need today, concludes Michel Odoul. It cannot be measured with a scanner, but this confidence is something that is immuno-reinforcing to a point that we cannot imagine! ".