Investing in Yourself
It was a first for me.
And, while I knew it would likely be a good experience, I didn’t anticipate that it would also be quite so emotional.
The occasion was my first ever therapeutic massage.
A badly broken ankle several years ago has managed somewhat insidiously to impact my gait and hip, ultimately throwing the right side of my body off kilter.
Over the past few years I’ve flirted with physiotherapy, orthodics, and acupuncture all of which provided some, but not a lot of, relief.
Although not a good thing, over the last six months, realizing that exercise ramped up the pain, I’ve gradually become less active distracted by exciting work and the challenge of putting roots down in a new community.
Ultimately things got worse, and with warm weather prompting a desire for outdoor activities, I knew I had to be proactive about getting healthier.
This time my search led me to a wonderful chiropractor who is working to adjust what turns out to be a one inch difference on one side of my body. It’s a painful and slow process but there is progress. The same chiropractor also recommended therapeutic massage.
While I know some people swear by it, I’ve never really felt the pull. Although a part of it might just be the idea of getting naked and being touched by a stranger, I think I did see it as an indulgence I could do without. Instead, influenced by my strong Ukrainian peasant roots, I chose to soldier on.
However, I’m now at the point where I feel I have to exercise all options for getting stronger. As a result, I decided to expand my comfort zone and put myself at the mercy of a massage therapist.
The force was with me as I lucked out in being referred to a woman who has truly been gifted with healing hands.
As she moved her hands along my body, I could feel tension being released. I could also feel hot sensitive points in my neck, spine, and hips that were extraordinarily uncomfortable. Initially tensing as she hit the hot spots, I learned to relax into the pain and even scoop under it so the pain could be released and pulled away.
She finished the one and a half hour session with gentle soothing motions that brought tears to my eyes and raw emotion to the surface. It was moving and somewhat surreal.
Caught totally off guard by my reaction, I realized that there were much deeper lessons playing out for me.
It taught me how much actual pain as well as memory of pain we hold in our bodies. It also reminded me that as much as I like to think I’m growing and evolving, I’m never going to get there until I learn to nurture and take care of myself.
Like many others, especially women, who put themselves last on the list, we need to get better at making ourselves a priority if we are to be strong, healthy and vibrant.
Easy enough to say, but how does one actually do that?
Well, I’m learning that it means airing your feelings rather than keeping them bottled up inside. Using “I” words to share good things as well as anger and disappointment with someone you trust is essential. Partners as well as good friends who listen, support and can “be there” for you are invaluable.
We also need to take time to play, knowing that we deserve to do things just because they make us feel good.
I’m trying not to forget to laugh, especially at myself. I’m way too serious sometimes and will work at occasionally just being silly.
I’m also working at embracing the idea that it’s okay just to relax. It is relaxing that will help my body heal as well as sharpen my mind.
Getting comfortable with saying no is okay. One of my techniques now is to respond to requests that I’m not sure I can handle by saying, “Can I think about that and get back to you?”
I’m going to work especially hard this summer at stretching my muscles and breaking into a sweat. I will walk more, ride my bike more, park further from the door, and take the stairs. On the other hand, I’m also going to have more manicures, pedicures and candlelit bubble baths knowing that pampering pays good dividends.
Probably though the message that the massage reinforced most strongly is that I need to pay more attention to my spiritual life. Although my life is rich and meaningful, I need to slow down, practice sitting quietly, listen to my inner voice and spend time thinking about the things that will bring peace and serenity.
Oh and there’s one more thing…. I’ve booked weekly massages.Posted on 06-28-08
How wonderful and how true Brenda, you brought tears to my eyes. We do forget about ourselves in the midst of life. Thanks for the reminder.•Posted by Cathy O'Donoghue on 07/17/08 at 07:51 AM
Feel so good when I read this post. Thanks for the reminder. Helps me a lot.•Posted by Sofia Carter on 08/19/10 at 05:41 PM
It is good to read a truly genuine response! Life pulls at each of us and we really are our best advocate. If an individual doesn’t place his or her own well being first, no one else will! By the way it does help to be well adjusted along the way.•Posted by Russell Berg on 04/19/12 at 07:53 PM
Happy to hear you’re utilizing chiropractic care to correct structural problems along with massage! As a Milwaukee chiropractor, I see patients embrace one while ignoring the other too often. Keep up with it!•Posted by Milwaukee Chiropractor on 02/10/13 at 07:46 AM
It’s great to hear that more and more people are searching for the “cause” of their problems, vs. using band aids. Thank you for sharing your story and I’m glad that your chiropractor is working with posture. The better one’s posture is, the better one’s nervous system works, the better one’s health.•Posted by Jon on 07/02/14 at 07:06 AM
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