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Reflections Massage Therapy

Claiming Self – Vision Fast reflections July 8, 2014

Filed under: Balance,Uncategorized — Reflections Integrative Therapy @ 8:30 pm
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“But you can bury your past in the garden by the tulips, water it until it is so alive, it lets you go, and you belong to yourself again. When you belong to yourself again, remember that forgiveness is not a tidy grave, but a ready loyal knight kneeling before your royal heart.” – Andrea Gibson

A month ago today I was on the final day of 4 days and 4 nights spent in the wilderness, alone, fasting. For those of you who have not experienced a Vision Fast, sitting alone in the woods with nothing to distract you from yourself is a lot like handing a glittery invitation to all of your monsters, letting them know you’re having a 4-day slumber party and they’re all invited. They come in and make themselves at home, taking big gulps from the 4 gallons of water you’ve carried out with you and making themselves comfortable under the tarp that is serving as your only shelter. And so, with nowhere else to be, you talk. You listen. You argue. You fight. You cry. You surrender. You accept. You reject. You bury and cut away and take in and throw into the air. You dance. You come to know the texture of these monsters, the way their skin folds slightly at the corner of their mouth when they are telling you their story – the story they want you to believe is also your story. You listen to these stories with your whole being resting into the ground, being held by the earth and the words are familiar because they are stories you have, in fact, been telling yourself for years. Their stories are the ones that you have long held on to, stories by which you have defined yourself. Their stories are the ones that kept your voice hidden, tucked tightly into your socks, convinced that it was safer that way, easier that way. Their stories are the ones keeping you awake at night, watching the way the shadows of the moon move through the trees.

But the more you listen to these monters, the more and more those stories that they’re telling you start to sound like fables. The fundamental un-truth of them begins to get louder than the words themselves and under all the listening you start to hear another set of words, another story bubbling up. This story is tentative at first, testing the ground that it is stepping out on to make sure it’s solid. And once it is certain, it begins to get louder and louder until finally you have to strain to hear the monsters’ stories. It is then that you realize that you’re trying to hear these stories that have kept you small and in fact it might be easier to hear this one that is building in volume and momentum, that rings with a truth that you know in your bones like the soil beneath your feet. And with your naked self, you slip first one leg and then the other into this story, pull it up and button it around your waist. Both arms in and it slides down over your head and then your torso. And it is here, in the clear light of day, with a breeze rustling the nearby branches and encirlcing you with the sweet butterscotch scent of Ponderosa Pines, that you step into and claim this story. This is you. Not those loud and pushy monters, guzzling all your water and shoving each other for the best spot under the tarp. This. Clear. Strong. Capable. Unapologetic. This story that you wear with the utmost east, because fundamentally it is you. You claim your story. You claim yourself. And finally, again, you belong to yourself.

And in this belonging to yourself again, you are your own witness, your own cheerleader, your own critic, and your own lover. In the month that has passed since those sacred 4 days, I have stepped in the incorporation phase and that has involved a practice of unconditional embodiment. Wearing myself, owning myself, belonging to myself, embodying this vessel I am blessed with. And if I’m being honest, it isn’t always easy to connect to the blessing. Sometimes it’s just hard, hard to be in my body, hard to be in this world with all of its microagressions, hard to stay with myself. But I’m learning to listen, even when it’s hard, and to not force it but to practice remembering that story that demanded to be heard over the cacophony of monsters. That story that every cell in my body knows to be true. The story that is me.

It doesn’t take 4 days alone in the woods with no food to belong to yourself. It takes quiet. It takes patience. It takes staying with yourself, even when you want to leave. It takes listening, and listening deeper to get beneath those stories that keep you small. And so I invite you, too, to explore this space of unconditional embodiment, this space of listening and knowing and owning your story, this space of belonging to yourself. Even if only for 5 minutes every day. That is enough. You are enough. My hope is that, with this practice, you, I, we all begin to bring a little more of ourselves into the world.

To quote one of my wonderful guides, Pedro, “The world needs more of you in it!” I couldn’t agree more.

 

 

Why I Love My Job April 5, 2012

Filed under: Balance,Massage Therapy — Reflections Integrative Therapy @ 10:13 pm
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I’m a massage therapist, right? So why don’t I write more about massage and bodies and things that are related to bodywork? Well, I’ll tell you. I do. Want to know what I love about being a bodyworker? Yes, the flexible schedule and short work-days are a plus, as is the fact that I’ve got a skill to trade that 99% of people looooove. But what I really love about the work, what actually motivates me to walk to my office regardless of my energy level or whatever else I’ve got bouncing around in my head, is the chance that I get a few times a day to be a witness to someone else learning themselves. Because underneath it all, that’s what bodywork is. It’s an hour or an hour and a half where our main focus is on our felt sense experience of what it means to be in this body. I am working on your quad and as I’m pressing into the muscles, you feel your edges – that’s your physical boundary. And sometimes, when I’m working and I’ve moved on to somewhere else and it feels like I’m still where I was a moment ago, that tells you something about your energetic boundaries, too. When I get into a good place and you say, “Wow, I didn’t even know that was sore.” Well, guess what? Our bodies get tired of talking if no one’s listening. So when you receive bodywork it’s like learning to listen to yourself. It’s learning what feels good and what doesn’t, for yourself, not what someone is telling you should feel good or not. It’s slowing down enough to listen to your nervous systems, and for you and me to let our nervous systems talk to each other. And sure, a massage feels good, I will be the first to own that, but what if some of what feels good is not just the kneading of muscles but of the time and space to connect back to ourselves. To shed the ego for just an hour and rest into the essence of who we are. What if that is actually what gives us that jello-y feeling at the end of the session.

And I, as a practitioner, am endlessly grateful for the opportunity to be witness to such learning, to such connection. I am grateful to get to hold space for another’s process, knowing that this, this knowing, this is what will help our community and our planet. This shedding of the shell and accessing true nature, that’s where we connect and that’s where change occurs. So, any opportunity I have to be a part of that, to witness that, I’m there. And any opportunity to share what I’ve learned in that process (both my own and others), I’ll share.

So, sure, I don’t talk a lot about massage stuff, but I do. Because it’s all related. Massage to me is about connecting: to ourselves and through that to one another. So when I write about community or I write about balance or I write about boundaries, I’m connecting to that hour where ego gets hung up on the coat rack with your shirt and pants, tucked neatly away with your shoes, and what we’re left with is beautiful connection to self and other. And that is where revolution happens.

 

 
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