What do death & massage have in common?
"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself."
(as translated by the brilliant Coleman Barks--who I recently got to meet at the Art of Dying conference!)
First I was a caregiver for the dying. Then I was a massage therapist. Now, I do both. Though they may seem disparate, I consider my work a single vocation, not two.
My work is to support clients in their own form of surrender.
Perhaps it is the dying of the body; perhaps it is the relaxing of muscle or nervous system; perhaps it is releasing a belief that no longer serves; perhaps it is something like the mystics talk about--a "death before death." I strive to offer a safe space for clients to access safe release of the strongholds of ego and patterns of trauma & shame. If only for a little while.
It is hard to be embodied. Physical, emotional, & energetic pain all show up in our bodies, sometimes unbearably so. Experiencing the physical pain of depression, anxiety, and other chronic mental illness for years, I've often felt like my body was against me; trying to harm me.
Yet, I believe this: if the way the pain shows up is somatically, then the body is also a path to safety & freedom, too. It's a two way street.
Therapeutic touch in safe, affirming spaces can help the nervous system relax and rewire. That means we can be more present with what is, without being so stuck in fight or flight mode. To me, this means: loving, safe touch can be a route to surrender. Kind of like how the dying process, when honored with love & safety, can be an amazing route to spiritual surrender, too.
Touch is simple and real. That's why I went into bodywork after being in deathcare. I realized that there was a direct link; that the body whispers to us secrets to follow towards our own safety; and that I could continue support individuals in profound moves toward surrender even before they reached their deathbeds.
It means, death and massage have more in common than at first glance.
Thank you all for allowing me to do this work. As always, please share if you like. Mine is a referral-based practice.