I really really didn’t want to do that massage.
One client* booked, right at the end of the day. At the time, I was working for someone else, so rescheduling was not an option. And this name on my schedule — I knew this name. I had seen this name before.
A few months before, I saw that name on my schedule, arrived on time for the massage, and waited until 20 minutes after the appointment time. The dreaded no-call, no-show. I lost a couple of hours of my time and got no compensation. (The downside of being an independent contractor.)
The day of the massage I didn’t want to do, just one client booked, and it was *that* client. The no-call, no-show client. I balked forcefully, and the business owner guaranteed I would be paid no matter what. (In writing, I made sure.) I arrived at the office to wait for the appointment.
Before I got to the office, though, I made a bet with a friend. If the client showed, I paid him a quarter. If the client didn’t show, he paid me a quarter.
I got to the office and waited.
10 minutes after the appointment start time, the client arrived. “Is this <business name>?” I sighed inwardly, said “Yes,” and started my intake interview.
The client seemed too young to have “pain all over” for no reason. I asked about diagnosis, and she said it was something “they were trying to figure out.” I asked, “How do you want to feel when you leave today?” She said, “I just want to feel, you know, normal for a minute.” Her lips pressed together tightly and her eyes trembled at the corners as she looked at me.
I started her massage and the past dropped away. She was not a no-calling, no-showing, waster-of-my-time. She was, is, a human being who just wants to find some peace in her body, mind and spirit. She was, is, a fellow traveler through this life who just wants to be free from suffering. I spent the time left in her hour with the intention of gently soothing and loving this person in this present moment.
After the massage, she came out of the room smiling. She said little, smiled at me. Where before the massage I felt a tightness in her aspect, now I felt flooded with sweetness. She said, “Thank you. I needed that.”
Later that night, I caught up with my friend, the friend I made the bet with. I gave him a quarter, happily and with utter contentment.
*–this client is a composite, based on several different experiences. Any resemblance to an actual individual human is purely coincidental. The lesson, however, is true.