Sunday, September 14, 2014

Losing One's Point of Reference Makes All Things Possible

"What's on the top floor?" she asked, peering up the twisting wooden stairway.

The owner winced. "Nothing safe. Nothing good."

"Well, then," she whispered, already on the third stair.

At the top, she stood alone, looking around at gleaming plank floors, mostly bare of furniture. Wide windows, no curtains, The light streaming in had a foreign, rushing quality; she'd never seen anything like it.

"We're at the very top, you know. We're going very fast."

She jumped in surprise. She hadn't seen the man sitting quietly on a cushion in the alcove to her right.

"The top? Of what? The house?"

He smiled, knowing. "The world." Nodding toward the window, he sat back and waited.

She was grateful she'd put her hands on the window frame, because the sight of everything flying beneath her at unimaginable speed shook her; she crumpled to the floor.

"How? How is this possible? How can you just sit there?"

"Because we are all traveling unbelievably fast. Always. We're just the ones who can see, you and I. Try again."

More cautiously this time, she edged to the window.

She was in the front seat of the roller coaster. In the engine of the train. On the back of an eagle.

"That we are standing still, safely on the ground, is illusion. No one is. But most of the time, we don't know to look out the windows. Sit with me a while. Try to hold both these thoughts in your mind: safely sitting on a rug on the floor, and at the same time precariously flying through everything we've ever known."

She sat with the small man. He inched closer so his knee was touching hers. They both sat perfectly still, racing at top speed through the universe.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Tales From the (Massage) Table: "Doing" Love

No, it's not a typo.

I didn't mean "making love." I'm not that kind of blogger.
And I didn't mean "doing what I love."

I'm talking about what it feels to give a massage. I'm certainly not falling in love with my clients, or really even getting to know them enough to truly love them. Somehow, I feel that to love someone, I have to know them. But I am "doing love."

Recently, a return client came in (I've just seen her a few times over a year or so), and said that she just needed to chill the heck out. Stress! Frustration! Tension! She was frazzled.

You know that I grew up in a family of artists, right? So even though I'm a musician by trade (and, of course a massage therapist), I think in images often. As I stand outside my massage room, waiting to enter, I close my eyes and take a few deep breaths and empty my mind of images, of words, and I stand with my palms facing the door, letting myself focus on the feeling of my own energy in my hands. After a few moments of this, sometimes I feel the skin on my face prickle a little, sometimes my tongue. I have no idea if it's real or my imagination, but it's become a tradition for me. Focus. Empty. Wait. Feel.

The moment I walked into the room, I could feel her zingy, frayed breath. I stood by her head and centered myself again. My palms warmed and felt sparkly, and as I began the massage, she sighed and settled in. Eyes closed, it felt like she was a black velvet jewel box.  All I could feel on the outside was the fuzzy surface, but there was something inside.

Halfway through the session, I had her roll over so she was face-up, and I began luxuriating through the scalp and shoulder massage. I love this part, because by then, the client trusts me and can deeply relax. A thoroughly relaxed person is beautiful in the way no one can be when awake and alert. It's a pure beauty, a simple, glowing shine.

Working through her hair, I closed my eyes again, and and image began to form again.  The jewel box was opening, and inside was a star. The star was shining through the cracks of the jewel box, and I felt it like sunshine on my face, warm and healing. Her skin was fizzing with life, and my hands rejoiced. Her hair was energized and springy. Her shoulders were pliable. She let out a long, gusty sigh and fell into sleep. I could feel it when it happened. The floating thoughts and worries and wonders and busybusybrain fell away, and there was just space and serenity and childlike contentment.

When I finished at her feet a half hour later, I spent a moment suspended between her energy and mine. I hovered my fingertips over the tips of her toes and breathed deeply, feeling the double current running through me. Silently, I asked her to release me to my own self, and thanked her for trusting me. As though a magnet had been turned away, my hands floated away, and I breathed again. Just me by myself, in that breath.

Flicking my fingers at the sky just in case there were lingering threads connecting us, I opened my eyes and whispered to her that it was time to rejoin the world. She smiled and sighed happily.

That, to me, is "doing love." It's finding my own spark, my own current, and touching another's with the intent of doing good, and then separating again, each better off than before.