The first time I experienced a therapeutic massage was revelatory. My therapist’s skilled hands not only provided solace to my aching muscles, but at one point during the massage, she touched a deeper chord. Somehow her healing touch reached beneath the surface deep into my heart and found feelings there that I had buried. I spontaneously cried on the massage table. At first I was embarrassed by my crying, but my therapist assured me it wasn’t uncommon. Massages nurture more than just our bodies, she told me. They also nurture our spirit.
Since the beginning of time, humans have built elaborate defense mechanisms designed to keep us from getting hurt. Sometimes we bury our feelings inside and pretend they don’t exist. Other times we lash out at loved ones as a way of expressing our own private frustrations. We’re not proud of ourselves when we do these things, but it’s almost as if we can’t help it.
I can probably count on one hand people I’ve known who have managed to evolve to a higher plane. These fortunate folks are true to their spirit and open their hearts to the good, the bad, and the ugly yet somehow remain gentle, kind, and loving throughout. I know we’d all like to be among these evolved few, but unfortunately at the first sign of crisis, we forget our noble aspirations and put up a shield to keep ourselves from getting hurt.
How do we reach that kinder, gentler place? How can we learn to be true to ourselves and not hide behind a shield, feeling protected yet unable to advance? I believe part of the answer lies in cultivating the connection between who we are inside and who we are outside. There are many ways to start the process. Massage is one. You’ll find that a good massage therapist will leave you feeling better both physically and spiritually. Yoga does the same thing. The breathing, the poses, the stillness—each contributes in its way to an overall feeling of wholeness.
In fact, isn’t that what we all seek, a sense of wholeness, fulfillment? So many of us walk around every day feeling a little lost and unfulfilled. I suppose that’s why there are so many therapists and counselors working hard to help us find what we’re looking for. But maybe the answer is as simple as connecting with our hearts, listening to the little voice that tells us when we do something good or when we’re about to do something bad. Deep inside we know the difference between right and wrong. It’s just that sometimes we stop paying attention.
As the new year heads our way, let’s try to listen more to what our hearts tell us. Let’s look for ways to connect—with family and friends, and with ourselves. Let’s seek out people who lift us up and let’s try to lift up others. If we focus on doing better, we will do better. And in the process I think we will find what we’re looking for.
Happy Holidays to you and your family from all of us here at Tidewater Family Plus!