In June of 2006 I graduated from massage school and at the age of 34 embarked on a new career. Having received both the distinguished title of being an Honors grad and the Honora Wolfe award for Community Service my quarterly emotional breakdowns were more than justified. I worked my butt off in school, some of my classmates may have described me as being competitive. To those folks I say, ‘you’re damn right’. I was competitive, I wanted to be the best. As far as I’m concerned when your job is to relieve suffering and increase the health of another you better always strive to be the best. Although my confidence and validation of credentials certainly didn’t prevent me from having an ‘Oh Shit’ moment. I remember it well, ‘Oh shit, I just spent $13,000 on a career that I’m not even sure I’m going to like. I hope I like it’. But with everything I do, I jumped in wholeheartedly and never looked back.
I’m joyful to say that the last 4 years and 2.5 months in private practice has been one of the most fulfilling chapters of my life. I was blessed with a loyal clientele that challenged me every day to be there for them, to be strong and to communicate with their bodies through my hands. Thank you to all who allowed me to share my skills with you.
You have consistently moved me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to learn how to become a better practitioner. You supported me through my training for Ironman – holy crap, how the heck did I give massage after a 6 hour workout? – and helped me smile every moment of that 14+ hour day. You gave to me when I was raising money to travel to India to touch the lives of Tibetan Refugees who have suffered tremendous sorrow. And most recently, you have helped me spread the word to fire victims that they have a safe place to come for relief of their pain through massage. You have told me that I feel like family to you, you have shared your deepest pain with me and you have allowed me to grow as a person. The list is endless and so is the gratitude that I hold in my heart.
But before I sign off from this chapter I wanted to leave you with my Top 5 unsolicited pieces of advice. This is for each and every one of you to practice each and every day.
1) Be Positive
The day before I left for India – scared out of my wits and equally as excited, by the way – a client said to me ‘There is no good or bad, only experience’. There is a lessen in everything and an opportunity for growth, embrace the challenges and celebrate the joys. And through it all always look to the positive.
2) Be Aware of your Posture
You wonder why your butt is tight. You wonder why your low back hurts. You wonder why your neck is sore and you want me to fix it in one hour. Here’s a tip, be in tune with your scaffolding, is it sagging? Are your ears lined up with the tops of your shoulders or is your face falling into your computer screen? Be aware of how you hold your body and strengthen up to hold yourself effortlessly. Don’t rely on physical compensation to get the job down. I can promise you that if you are not addressing your posture now, you will pay for it later in a painful way.
3) Listen to your Body
It talks to you, I recommend you keep your ears open and I also recommend that you talk back to it. Find out what it’s telling you, find out what it needs. The body has wisdom far beyond what any of us could ever comprehend, it does talk and you should listen.
4) Become a Compadre of Pain
As Ken Chlouber, founder of the Leadville 100 once said, “Make friends with pain and you’ll never be alone”. Recognizing and experiencing pain is an opportunity to learn. Pain is not always bad, make friends with it and understand more about what it is telling you.
5) Get Massage
I have seen lives change and grow for the better because of massage. You are receiving it now, stay consistent and give back to your body. Before you leave your massage, make sure your next one is scheduled. Do not use this change as an excuse to fall of the wagon, or table in this case.
As I pass the torch this morning to the new owner of Massage Boulder, I say congratulations Maia and congratulations clients for you are in good hands. I wish smooth transitions for all.