A Blissful Return To An Old Friend In New Times
My first post COVID massage
Before COVID to ensure my body performed well, I had a regular fortnightly massage. I work my best when my body is relaxed. My clarity is at its peak when I am limber.
I pretty much stand in a static position when I work. This can be taxing on my postural spinal muscles and places undue stress on my neck and shoulders.
A massage literally rubs all my cares away. It shifts the kinks. It is one of my zen zones. But it is so much more.
As a massage therapist myself, I can attest to the fact that my regular clients don’t just come for a rub. They share more than parts of their naked skin.
You see there seems to be an unwritten thing when you are partially naked and allowing someone to touch you. Undressing is like providing consent to that vulnerable part of you to let go of anything emotional that has been brewing. You lie down on the table covering yourself with a towel and instantly begin to chill out.
Today that’s what I did. I have been setting my intention to surrender to ordinary thinking. With that intention comes significant unpacking of old, unwanted and heavy emotions which had grown stale, and no longer serving my higher purpose.
In true letting go style, I felt hot tears dripping down my cheeks as I drove to my appointment. This was the first normal routine appointment that I used to do before I was diagnosed with cancer.
Every single appointment I’ve had since November 19, other than the hairdresser washing my hair after surgery because I couldn’t do it myself, has been oncology related. I’ve exposed my body in a whole new way, and one I still can’t get used to. Get a ‘cat’ scan here, go for an MRI over there. Consult two surgeons. Visit the oncologist and physiotherapists.
So the thought of visiting my massage therapist to rub out the kinks was bloody fantastic. It felt cathartic and strangely different all at once. My body wasn’t the same anymore and I’m still getting used to that, let alone getting myself into a headspace to allow others to touch me.
I’ve known my own massage therapist for nearly two decades. When you find a good one who makes you feel like putty you never change or seek another.
We go way back. So I felt comfortable discussing and showing her my scars. We discussed the technical aspects of what I needed in this session. We chatted therapist to therapist and talked shop for a bit.
I warned her there would be tears. We both knew they were coming. She was ok with that, smiled that familiar smile and I felt the relaxation begin.
I was in a safe place and I could trust this person. This hasn’t always been the case in this cancer chapter.
My therapist is beautiful and she began with slow strokes and hot rocks. I melted into the table. I felt my defences lower immediately.
It was then my story flowed, as did the tears. I can’t begin to describe how a simple massage reinstated my ability to trust. Firstly that I could trust someone to touch me without causing trauma. Secondly, I can trust that life will resume some sense of normalcy after experiencing cancer. Thirdly, that I can trust that I am moving forward bit by bit, meaningful life will, I won’t be trapped in this trauma vortex forever.
PTSD is no walk in the park. The flashbacks and anxiety are now are getting easier to manage because I understand them better. I’m learning to embrace and accept myself more and what the patterns are. The surrender to the release gets easier and easier.
I told her about my shitty experience. As I found my words she simply held a silent space and continued with the therapeutic strokes. The more words I found and expressed, and the longer she stroked, I felt lighter and more relaxed.
Our rhythm had returned. The tension held in my body subsided and it was delightful to have some normal back in my life. Up until that point, I hadn’t realised how much I had been craving normal. Thanks to COVID, many of the things before cancer had been taken for granted and I’ve been either housebound or attending oncology appointments for months.
We barely spoke of the cancer chapter, because she knows I am so much more than that. We talked about my evolution what I do with my days. Mostly we laughed about boobs. It was a delightful way to spend an hour nurturing both my physical body and my heart space.
What I learnt from this experience is this … there are some things that will change drastically after COVID, much like the extensive cleaning process my therapist now has to do between each patient.
Some things blissfully don’t change, like the services continuing to be offered within our local communities. They continue to be genuinely heartfelt and sincerely and best of all nurturing to our spirit. Use each and every one of them. Grab a cuppa to go. Click and collect locally.
Do what it takes to support your local business and possible future employer of your teenage kids.
I am excited about the opportunity for life to return to a new normal. One whereby nurturing ourselves with amazing practitioners is our highest priority.
I am excited to return to a world filled with positivity. Whilst the external world may be filled with worry and doubt, I can assure you mine is filled with hope and a wish list. Once the restrictions are lifted don’t get in my way, I’ve got shit to do! I have love to give and laughter to share and there’s an evolving list of recipients who have put up their hand to partake!
I am finally excited to feel hope towards the possibility of one day returning to my own clinic. There was a time recently I felt too broken at just the thought. I look forward to when I am strong enough to hold space for another once again.
For now, I focus on practising holding space for myself. Once I get better at that I’ll share it cautiously with the world!