I received my first massage many years ago. I was living in the UK at the time. I believe it was sometime in the sixties and I discovered a small massage and facial salon had opened above a shop near my parents home. I very tentatively booked an appointment and remember how my heart sang and I knew that I was hooked from the very first touch. There is nothing quite like a massage for relaxation, de-stressing, pleasure, and coming home to yourself. Massage does for the body what a deep relationship with God does for the soul.
I probably received one or two more massages during the next few years because I really couldn’t afford more than that. Then, about five years later, I moved to Sardinia, Italy with my first husband and our two boys. In 1970, we helped to open a large holiday village called Forte Village in the southern part of the island not far from the capital, Cagliari.
There were many holiday agency reps working in the village and the two girls from the Swedish company, Vingresor, were extremely grateful for the “extra mile” that I went in order to help smooth difficulties for their customers. They came to me one day and said they would like to show their appreciation in some tangible way and asked me what I would most like. I knew they had their own massage therapist on call in the village, so I requested a massage. They were gracious enough to gift me with a series of four massages, and my love affair with receiving massage was rekindled. Since then I have received many massages and eventually, when I was fifty three years young, I trained to become a massage therapist myself. I feel as much joy giving massage as I do in receiving them.
Fast forward to April 2011. As I mentioned in my previous posting Traveling- Las Vegas & Sedona Rich and I enjoyed a wonderful visit to Sedona, AZ. I knew that I wanted to receive a massage in Sedona because it is a place of natural healing and there are many alternative therapy healers in the town. As Rich and I were settling into our condo, he checked out a file of information about various activities and points of interest in the area, and called my attention to an advertisement. The wording in the ad from Sue really spoke to my heart and soul, and I knew that this was who I would book my massage with.
A few days later found me in Sue’s studio. Little did I know that I was about to have a very significant and life-changing experience. For the next two hours Sue worked intuitively with my body. I have never received a massage quite like it. She used many different modalities during the course of the massage and I knew that something very special was going on, especially when she started chanting as she worked my heart chakra. I remember thinking, “I hope she is going to tell me what that was about”, as I felt a kind of a “whooshing out” feeling from my chest. Then shortly afterwards, as Sue worked on my lower abdomen, I could feel “something” going on and a great deal of heat.
At the end of the massage, when Sue gave me some water to drink, she asked me if I wanted to hear her perceptions. My heart lifted and I said I wanted to hear everything. She checked first of all if I believed in past lives and also asked me if I was familiar with any of the ancient civilizations such as the Mayans or the people of Atlantis. When I assented, she shared that while she had been working on my heart chakra she was drawn into a vision where she saw me as a tall, regal person, dripping with golden jewelry, and knew that I was one of the ancient wise ones. She felt that I was royalty of some sort and told me that whenever I walked into a room people were enveloped in a sense of tranquility and felt healed. I told her that many people told me this today also.
She then went on to tell me that it was no longer enough to just “walk into the room”, that I was “being called to more”. She said that I needed to be ready for more work and not to be afraid. I remembered Kevin’s words just a few weeks earlier at the Lenten Healing Mission. Sue then explained that while she had worked on my lower abdomen she had felt “something birthing”, and she encouraged me to be ready, to prepare myself for some new work that I was going to be called to undertake.
As I left Sue’s studio, I felt very blessed. I was filled with a sense of peace and yet was also aware of a very heightened sense of energy. I felt like I could have run for ten miles. I was very grateful for this because later that afternoon Rich and I went to experience the energy vortex at Bell Rock and I was able to climb about three quarters of the way up the rock formation without feeling tired.
I will always remember my massage experience with Sue with much gratitude. My main personal work since that time has been to quietly prepare myself for whatever work Spirit wants me to do. Just two weeks after this experience, I attended a Qigong event in Orlando and a complete stranger there repeated the message: “Margo, you are being called to more. Do not hold back.” I will share more about this experience in another posting.
I don’t know whether I have shared the water story yet. After searching through my archives I have come to the conclusion that I have not and feel compelled to write it now.
It all began a couple of years ago as I was dealing with the latest “bombshell” from our daughter. I knew to the depths of my soul that I was in deep trouble internally, because I wanted to “shut down”, run away, not see or talk with anyone. Those are all danger signals for me.
I immediately alerted my support network and began what turned out to be two years of intense personal work. I firmly believe that God provides – always, even when we are not quite aware of it. In the month or so before the “bombshell”, I had heard about a couple of people who offered new-to-me alternative therapy, and I had put them in a file for future reference.
Well, now was the future, so I contacted them and made appointments. They have both helped me tremendously in my personal growth, but more importantly they gave me incredible support as I dealt with very difficult times. I also began working with an amazingly skilled and talented male massage therapist who was referred to me by a very trusted friend/female massage therapist. There’s nothing like male energy to “shake things up a bit”.
At the time, I was also involved in some special one-on-one work with one of my very dear friends. As I spent some time with her one morning she suddenly said, a propos of nothing that we were talking about in that particular moment, “Margo I read something this morning and I think you would like it.” She then proceeded to show me the 78th Verse of the Tao Te Ching written by Lao_tzu, as presented and commented on by Wayne Dyer in his book Change Your Thoughts – Change Your Life, (which I then had to promptly go and buy!!).
I am going to write out the verse as it appears in the book:
Nothing in the world is softer
and weaker than water.
But for attacking the hard, the unyielding,
nothing can surpass it.
There is nothing like it.
The weak overcomes the strong;
the soft surpasses the hard.
In all the world, there is no one who does not know this,
but no one can master the practice
Therefore the master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow;
evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is the people’s greatest help.
True words appear paradoxical.
The ensuing chapter was titled “Living Like Water” and Wayne Dyer comments on the verse in the following way. “Be like water seems to be repeated throughout the Tao Te Ching. ……..Water is elusive until you cease grasping and let your hand relax and be one with it – ……… Overcome the unyielding parts of your life by yielding! ……. Remember to stay flexible, willing to lower yourself in humility and appear weak, but knowing that you are in harmony with the Tao. …….. When you stay soft and surpass the hard, you too will be indestructible. There’s nothing softer than water under heaven, and yet there’s nothing that can surpass it for overcoming the hard.”
I knew in that moment that this was a huge lesson that I needed to take to heart. I needed to practice being soft and flexible rather than being tough. I needed, just like water, “to find my own level below all strong things”. I needed, just like water, to return to my own Source (which for me is God) and allow Him to use me over and over in ways that He sees fit.
After reading this passage and processing my thoughts, I came to a great place of peace. Even though I was in the midst of great spiritual, emotional, mental, and consequently physical, turmoil I could feel God’s love and grace surround me and sustain me.
My husband was in San Diego at the time. Later that day he called me and I was able to share my “water experience” with him. As I was telling him the story, he suddenly said, “Oh my God, Oh my God!”. In somewhat of a panic and with my heart beating wildly I shouted down the phone, “What’s the matter? What’s happening?”
His response sent chills up and down my spine, and I get goose bumps all over again as I recount these events. He replied, “It’s OK, everything is OK. It’s just that a girl is walking past and her T-shirt logo says ‘Water is Life’. Needless to say I felt the hand of God right there. I felt His presence and I knew that no matter what, He would always be there for me.
Just recently life has thrown a few curve balls into my personal space. Nothing drastic, but enough to throw me off balance. And then, of course, there’s the dratted weather, which has thrown enough curve balls into everyone’s territory to create disruptions galore.
My last posting (yes, I know, it’s been two long weeks!), was on 7 March Musings- Freedom, and I shared how sick I had been and how much I was enjoying the freedom of wellness. We had a short interlude of a few days of good weather as I regained my strength, and the first call of order was the garden. So much needed to be done in the way of general tidying and clearing before beginning on the major project which would completely remodel my front yard.
I have to admit that even as I experienced the joy of gardening, I struggled with a certain level of frustration. As much as I wanted/needed to be out doing the garden, especially as I had lost so much time due to bad weather and we didn’t know how long the warm weather was going to last, I also really wanted to be writing. Having two passions is sometimes difficult to manage and the garden passion and the writing passion each carry about equal weight in my heart.
Well, I chose the garden and managed to get a few days good work in as well as immersing myself into the the general mainstream of my daily life. I was on about day five of this readjustment back to normal when the next curve ball arrived and truly took the wind out of my sails.
I had just arrived in St. Augustine for a Body Talk appointment. I pulled into the parking lot, took my phone out of my bag to put it on silent mode, and it rang in my hand. It was my husband calling to let me know that he was in the ER with chest pains “but please don’t get alarmed”!
In hindsight I have learned that my reaction to crisis/alarming news is to back off, disconnect if you will. In that moment I said to my husband, “I’ve just arrived at my appointment in St. Augustine, do you need me there?” He kind of muttered around for a few moments as I cautiously allowed my mind and my heart to re-approach the reality of the situation, then he said, “Yes, I think I’d like you here.”
As I ran in to cancel my appointment before turning the car around and racing back to Jacksonville, I realized what my comment must have sounded like to my husband as he lay on a gurney in the ER. I called him immediately and left a message (they had made him turn his phone off). I told him that even as I had asked that ridiculous question, there had been no doubt that I would go right to the hospital to be with him. I had just needed a moment to allow my fear to subside so that I could get on and do what I needed to do.
I guess for me it is a defense mechanism. Stepping back so that I can allow my head and my heart to kind of sync up together and work in harmony. It’s the kind of mechanism that has us go to numbness or disbelief in the face of personal tragedy. We need that small space of time so that God can step in and hold our heart and our hand, or even pick us right up into His arms, and walk us through the pain and the difficulty of any given tough situation.
I spent the whole of the drive back to Jacksonville in prayer mode. I asked God to protect my husband and surround him with His healing grace. I made a couple of phone calls: one to my daughter to put her in the picture, and two more to dear friends so that I would have my support group in place no matter what.
By the time I got to the hospital I was calm. They had done a bunch of tests on Richard and were beginning to administer some different medications. His EKG’s, chest X-ray, and blood work were OK, but he was still experiencing tightness and pressure in his chest as well as shortness of breath when speaking. They kept him in for observation for a couple of days before sending him home with more medication and instructions for follow-up, including an appointment with the Cardiologist.
It is amazing how a couple of days and a crisis can affect the human system. It was only after getting Richard home and seeing him slowly return to normal that I realized how exhausted my body was. As I went through the process of letting go of the anxiety all I wanted to do was sleep. I also noted how I felt generally irritable, and irritated toward Richard. (Like how dare he put me through that!!).
Stress is a very hard task-master that produces strong emotions and reactions. I am grateful that I know how to recognize stress fairly quickly and can take positive steps to reduce and eliminate it from my life. I booked a massage in the next few days and also returned to my beloved garden, two of the best therapies for stress that I know work for me.