Creating Peace Amid the Chaos
As a massage therapist, I can do so many wonderful things for my clients. I can help them manage their pain, alleviate tension in their body and quite simply make them feel good. However, in the last couple of years I have realized that there was something else that I am facilitating during each massage - I am creating a moment of peace in the midst of a chaotic world. This may be the most powerful aspect of my work in these turbulent times.
There is a lot happening in the world that is upsetting, in fact I think it would be difficult to NOT be disturbed about something that is currently happening in our world. Fires are destroying Australia and her beautiful creatures. Talk of another World War is looming. Families are torn apart by dangerously polarized political viewpoints. People have to dedicate 40 or more hours of their week to a job they might resent and still never feel like they are getting ahead. It is estimated that 17.3 million Americans are depressed and 1 in five suffer from anxiety. From the macro large scale picture of the world all the way down to the micro level of the individual - the world and her inhabitants are suffering. There seems to be danger and chaos lurking around every corner. It is easy to feel hopeless and powerless in the uncertainty of it all.
When I was an instructor at the Finger Lakes School of Massage, the school fell apart. My experience with that place seems like a bad dream now and the school sadly no longer exists anymore. I found myself in the center of a complete shitstorm with the responsibility of teaching my students how to to do massage while the walls of the school were crashing down around us. While I’ve had a blossoming relationship with “mindfulness” for quite a long time, I found that this time of my life made it impossible to stray from being mindful. Although not all of my actions were handled as gracefully as I might have liked, I had to really focus on each moment and the task at hand. Despite the ever pressing feeling that I was on the Titanic and the water was rushing in under the doors and through the windows, I had to find my center and teach. This experience also highlighted for me how important massage therapy and light work truly are. To me, “light work” means doing anything that brings peace into moments of great turmoil.
I bet anyone could give a massage in a quiet room, with a candle lit and soft music playing. That's easy. But giving a massage when it feels like your heart is on fire, when the world feels like it is disintegrating all around you - that's where the magic happens. I feel like all of my students who endured the tumultuous ending of the massage school were given a great gift of this understanding at the start of their career. For me, it took me several years of life experience to learn this for myself. There have been many times in my career when I’ve done massage while I felt destroyed. Through heartbreak, family turmoil, difficult working environments, grieving the loss of a good friend - I had to show up and give someone else a massage when I might have felt like I needed it more than my client. Often times those are the most poignant sessions for myself and my client, when I am needing healing too. That's the beauty of this work - the healing goes both ways.
This isn’t exclusive to massage therapists. I’m sure you have all had a similar experience. No matter what your occupation is, I am certain that you have had to show up in your life in a similar way. You don't need any special training or a devoted meditation practice to be a lightworker. All you need is to be present and have a loving heart. From there you can bring heaven to earth, you are an angel doing the work of forces greater than yourself.
When we bring the graceful peace of heaven into the earthly realm we help ourselves and others remember that our true essence is always at ease. Stillness is the place from where our souls originate and it’s where we are headed when our time is up. It is our beginning and our end. If you’ve ever spent time in the woods or in nature you have likely had a moment of quiet noticing, a recognition that the peace of nature is closer to who we truly are than the noise and fears of the busy world we’ve created for ourselves. Stillness is our true “nature”, pun intended.
I feel that it is important to note that I’m not talking about setting your own needs aside completely or turning a blind eye toward injustice or abuse. That could be detrimental to yourself and others. What I’m talking about is accepting the so called “bad” for what it is, looking the beast directly in the eye while remembering your own light in the face of darkness. For a moment you are the calm in the storm. You can anchor the stillness by holding space, accepting things exactly as they are now while trusting that this too shall pass. No storm lasts forever and someday it will be clear as to why it all happened the way that it did.
So my offering for you today is to remind you of your true essence, which is stillness. You are the pause between your breaths, the moment of rest between the beats of your heart. If you find it difficult to remember this, then it may be time for you to pause and take good care of yourself. Our society emphasizes the importance of activity, rushing around, getting everything done. I want to remind you that it is safe and also necessary to take a restorative break. Take a personal day, go for a walk to connect with nature, take a break from social media, book a massage (ahem, I have availability next week). The world needs peace now more than ever and the only way we can do that is to remember our own peace amidst the chaos and hold it dear.