Thoughts on the profession


I have written in this space before about the dangers of believing in our own mythology.  Clients, friends and acquaintances say lovely things to massage therapists sometimes.  They call us “healers,” or they talk about our “magic hands.”  This has been happening to me a lot lately.  Not because I have somehow changed and grown, but because I am in the process of relocating my practice to a new city, and the ends of things often make us say what we are feeling.

But here’s the thing:  I am still not magic.  And I am not a healer.  If my clients feel better after seeing me than they did before, it is because they paid attention to their bodies and because I applied hard-earned knowledge and skill to their session.  I am a facilitator.

If what I do seems so unusual that it defies the natural order, I see that as more of a problem with our version of the natural order.  I worked hard and studied long to get my practical knowledge, and whatever intangible thing I have that makes that special probably comes from the best compliment I ever received from a client:  “You’re different because you listen.”

There’s your magic.  There’s the thing that seems so outside the natural order that it can’t be explained.  Simple listening.  I’m not perfect at this, but I have had many years of practice.  And the fact that so many people call this “magic” convinces me that we all need more practice.

When was the last time you sat down with someone with an open heart and mind and just let them tell you things?  Things that maybe you don’t agree with, or things that are hard for you to take in.  When was the last time you let this happen, and just tried to radiate acceptance of your shared humanity?  Because, difficult as it is, I can absolutely with all my being reject a person’s opinions or political leanings, but I will not reject our shared humanity.

Some days I’m better at this than others. Some days it feels nearly impossible.  But it is not now and never will be “magic.”  It is simply acknowledging our drive for human connection.  We all have it.  It is the natural order of things.

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