Last night I gave one of the lectures I both like and dread the most — the lecture about working with geriatric and terminally ill clients. At some point during the lecture, I can guarantee that I will see a room full of “lemon face,” which means my students are actively trying to protect themselves from the icky ideas of aging and death.
Last night, however, I got through the whole lecture with no lemon face. This very small group of students are just as young as any other class, and just as oblivious to the concept of aging as something even they are doing. They skipped lemon face, though, and went right to compassion.
There is a posture students get when they get truly excited about a topic, and start to yearn for more. They lean forward. Their eyes get bigger. They open their hands and unconsciously reach out towards me. Everyone in the room last night had that posture. I could almost feel their curiosity pulling information out of me. When we started doing hands on practice, they went immediately into their focused place and committed. To everything.
What a joy for my barely-functioning shell to see this next generation of massage therapists get excited about working with people who are transitioning out of life. I may make it through summer after all.