It was three o’clock in the morning, and I was perched in a bath, both warm and comforting, on the edge of a cliff overlooking a restless, moon lit ocean. I am at the Esalen Institute, unable to sleep, so I sit, in my watery nest, a languid witness to the moon’s caress on blue-black water.
And I begin to notice that, just as there is ebb and flow to the waves below me, there is a corresponding ebb and flow to my breathing, as well as an ebb and flow to life, as people, places and things move in and out of my awareness. It occurs to me that the same fluctuating movement exists in the bodywork I am doing, the sacred dance between myself and my client. I think of the circular movement of the breath, the fluid releasing and “re-finding” motion of muscles releasing and relaxing under my hands, the deeper, sacred circular flow of energy moving with, through and in the chakras. I recall the fluid movements of the soul, as it slowly unwinds, opening more fully to grace; the sometime words that fall from my lips as they circulate through Creator’s Heart and into the heart on the table beneath my hands. And in contemplating the beauty of this work I find myself praying: my hands in yours, Lord, your hands in mine; my heart in yours, Lord, your heart in mine, my eyes in yours, Lord, your eyes in mine.
My massage training, which began in grief, occurred originally at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California. It was here, in this otherworldly place, that I was introduced to the transformative effects of compassionate, intentional touch. Because of this, and the nature of my grief, which had me walking in two worlds at once, my awareness was heightened, my intuition strengthened. I spent five years in Big Sur, working with other talented body workers, then moved to Oregon, where I picked up a more medical aspect of various massage therapies. My style of bodywork, which I like to call “Loving What Is”, has developed from this metaphysical/physical combination.
I have come to believe that healing on every level: subconscious, conscious, supra-conscious, as well as mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, begins when the body is able to achieve a deep level of relaxation. The body does this by letting go of everything except the awareness of being present on the table. I facilitate this state by creating sacred space, by breathing, by use of the imagination, and by employing relaxation techniques. In relaxing we release, in releasing, we become open to other possibilities, other realizations. We also open to the joy inherent in life.
When I prayerfully place my hands upon my clients, I am inviting them to experience the benefits of this philosophy. There is no such thing as “just a massage”.