Monday, June 27, 2005

Massage Monday

We're at the end of Session II at the massage school, and I received 2 student massages today as part of their final exam. Now, before you go off and start ranting about what a hard job I have, let me explain that we as testers not only have to stay *awake* for the full treatment, but we also have to expound intelligently to the student afterwards, with insightful criticism and helpful suggestions. Do you have any idea how hard it is to know if someone is using good body mechanics with your face in a face cradle? (Actually, you really *can* tell once you've had several hundred massages....)

I'm happy to say that I had 2 very nice treatments and my lower back feels great. Last time I tested, one student gave me such an insipid massage that I felt worse afterwards than before. That's a sad thing. We try so hard to make sure all the students "get it," but of course it's not just up to us.

There is one student in this class who is in the category of "never going to get it," as the tapes in her head have her geared towards failure, and that's something that is hard to dislodge. We have all tried to give her special attention and tutoring, but something seems to prevent her from ever feeling confident in herself.

I know that it isn't our responsibility to mend her broken fences, but in general the course of study in a good massage school lends itself to personal transformation--if one has the desire to 'go there' and learn this stuff from the inside out, rather than vice-versa. So there are times when we see a student break down and then somehow arise from the debris stronger and more confident and more able, because something inside shifted, and they were able to build on it.

It always amazes me that people come to school not even thinking about *receiving* massage, which is what starts the interior wheels a-turnin'. Any issues you have about touch, about self-image, or about worthiness in general tend to bob to the top when you're getting 3-4 massages a week. So many students come in and want to learn how to do this to others, but leave themselves out of the equation. As we all should know by now, one can't give what one can't receive. There are enough co-dependent folks in the helping professions (I can say that since I am one, but I'm in recovery....) and we've all met them in other walks of life as well--the ones who put themselves last, time after time, until they are completely used up/broken down/in the hospital with a serious systemic disorder, etc.

I say compassion begins at home, and from that deep root in one's heart can spread out and affect lives in a profound way. I try to offer that to the people who come to my table. I try to teach it to the students whom I guide through this class. And I try to live it outside of the clinic and classroom, in traffic jams and long lines at the grocery store, in communicating with my dogs and my son and the world at large.

I talk big but in real life I struggle with it too.

ciao for now!


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