Life has a funny way of wearing us down before it lifts us back up, doesn’t it? And I don’t mean the ordinary tired from your job or taking care of your kids or the general busy-ness of life. That kind of tired resolves when you get time to catch up on your rest.
What I’m talking about when Life wears you down – TEARS you down – and nothing seems to make it go away. You feel like you’ve hit the ground hard and are sucking in breaths of dust. This kind of tired – worn out and torn down – has a special significance: You’re being prepared for a change. A shift. A moment of transcendence.
The most amazing thing about this is while Life is tearing you down, it’s also giving you what you need to build back up.
I’ve been ruminating on this push-pull after reading an article from my mentor, Maia Toll, “Finding Deep Soul Medicine in a Moment of Transcendence.” Her words connected me with my own story – my own FEAR story of a time when I was afraid and hated my body came to mind. It’s a tender but powerful memory.
In the article, Maia talks about her fear of horses even though she loved them. I related. I was a “horsey” girl myself and always have been. Even more, I understood her message of being afraid but still pushing onward, and that little shift which brought so much transcendence when she pushed forward.
I experienced this push-pull as part of my journey to becoming a massage therapist – LONG before I became consciously aware it WAS my path to becoming a massage therapist. Right now I’m reflecting on that time – how my previous past jobs, outlook on life, even my body were worn down by Life at the time.
That journey really started way back when I was a kid. I used to be a chunky kid. Ha! Maybe we all feel at times we are, but as I neared my teenage years, I longed to be fit and attract the attention of my latest crushes and look like the beautiful models in my magazines. I had built up an enormous field of frustration inside of me by my late teens and early 20s, frantically trying to fit in and stand out at the same time. I had become anorexic by this point. I was 5’7 and thin as a rail. I should have been elated. I should have felt like I had it all and had achieved my goal.
But instead, my mind was spinning. I was frail, my hair was falling out and brittle, my heart beat was faint and then wild sometimes. I was hiding behind baggy clothes and lying about the fact that I wasn’t eating – sometimes for months on end. I hated just about every single body part I had and always saw it lacking in many ways. It was an exhausting time in my life.
My own moment of shifting happened when I discovered massage therapy. This was Life giving me what I needed to build back up from the depths of despair. For me, receiving massage was an incredibly healing experience, FAR BEYOND what most people would realize happens on the massage table. I had always fought my body image and was never happy with it, but with massage that started to change.
As I connected with my body through massage, I started making peace. It was that small shift Maia spoke of – that transcendent moment where I left the pain and hatred of my body image for respect and love for my body. I had a strong body, a muscular body, a body that would hold up. That peace came through every massage. Every massage session I showed up for, I shifted more.
Along the way, I realized that I wanted to bring that same opportunity for transcendence to others, so I entered massage therapy training. I went into class learning about the mysteries and amazing realizations about the human body: the miracles of how we are pieced together, how we are built and structured. It was fascinating stuff to learn, and it further transformed my relationship with my body, helping me appreciate even more what a majesty it is.
Now, when I’m worn down beyond a simple nap or weekend off, I recognize the possibility that Life is preparing me for my next shift. I look for that moment to renew my body, and I still turn to massage for that.
Meanwhile, every massage that I give, I honor as the possibility of transformation for that client. For me, each session is a sacred experience that I have the privilege to participate in. Sometimes the client recognizes that too. I had a client at Zenquility tell me this week that she knew when it was time to start getting her massages again. She had moved a few times and took on yet another job and hadn’t had time to squeeze in a massage in a long while, and it finally snapped for her, she said. It was time.
Aaaaahhh, that shift happened for her.
In that session – starting when she BOOKED that session – she received the transformation that Life had set up for her. And it was my honor to support her, as it is for each of my clients, because I understand.