Some people are comfortable and well connected with their bodies. Some are not.
One of the many reasons I love being a massage therapist is I get to meet a lot of people. On an individual basis. I love people. In groups, not so much.
I have the pleasure of working with other, body workers. It’s an honor to have them come to me, on a regular basis. To me, that means I know my stuff. It is so lovely to be a part of someone’s self care. It reminds me to do more for myself. It’s also a fantastic, learning experience. To have such clear and honest feedback is helpful and keeps my mind on my work. The body is fascinating!
My favorite clients are the ones who take an active roll in their health and well being. I love hearing about their healing journey. Others, just come in for a maintenance, feel good. They know their bodies well enough to know what keeps it running happily. I always recommend a little anatomy research. It’s good to know the mechanics. To know the why and where of pain.
Then, there are the challenging clients. I love them, too. We’re all on our own paths.
These people, for whatever reason, have disconnected from their bodies. They’ll ignore warning symptoms their bodies send out. Then, end up in the hospital, bewildered. I had a friend, who hates being touched. We worked together and he would power through flu and other illnesses that should of had him in bed. He ended up in the hospital and nearly lost a kidney. He also drank a lot and seemed to be hell bent on numbing himself. These are the clients who want DEEP tissue massage. Now, I can go deep without hurting you. If you let me. Some people are so armored, so disconnected. They need to feel sensation. It’s almost a dare to get them to feel. “You can go deeper.” Is what a lot tell me. As I’m sinking into an angry muscle. “Not without breaking a rib.” I’ll say to some. For others, I gently guide them through some breath work and try to get them to be in their bodies. Some of these clients refuse. They just want me to “fix” them. They don’t follow through with stretches or other, self care instructions. It’s frustrating! They take no responsibility for their health. They want to take a pill or have a surgery.
This is a good lesson for me. Several, actually. Being patient and compassionate for one. Being better to myself is a huge one. I spend so much time taking care of others. I always seem to be at the bottom of the list.
“You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” Some wise person told me, once. It’s a mantra I often recite to myself.
I am grateful for the gymnastics and dance classes I had in my youth. They gave me a good sense of being in my body and loving it. Whenever I feel out of sorts and can’t book a massage of my own. I turn on the music. Get my yoga mat out and move my body. People ask if I practice yoga. Not in the traditional sense. My body work consists of a mix-up of yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, belly dancing, and moshing. I’ve never been one for routine. So says the woman with a chaos symbol tattooed around her naval.