I am currently delving into my work as a Thai massage therapist in a much deeper way than ever before, having found an inspirational teacher, and I am really enjoying this journey. It has caused me to reflect on why I am finding giving the massages so much more enjoyable than in the past – time flies, I feel super-energised and upbeat afterwards and my body feels great, whereas in the past I could sometimes find myself clock-watching, my body often complained afterwards, and my energy felt depleted.
I have come to the conclusion that, like everything it seems, it all comes down to self-love! I have been on such a journey this year – diving back down into depression, feeling utterly hopeless and bleak about life, but then re-emerging feeling like a butterfly ready to spread its wings and fly happily into the next chapter. The depression was just my resistance to letting go of the last chapter. Change always come with loss, and loss always comes with grief.
But, I know very well by now that, when we move through a dark period of our life with even an iota of consciousness about the ‘bigger picture’ that this period represents (i.e. the death of a part of ourselves so that something new can emerge) there follows a joyful period of light, ease and flow. I’m in that period right now, and I’ve noticed how a big hallmark of this is how much I am feeling the love for myself! It almost seems like a taboo in this strange world we live in to admit to this kind of self-love. We are usually quite OK with bemoaning our various perceived flaws and issues to each other, and putting ourselves down left, right and centre but, when it comes to celebrating ourselves, this can often feel difficult. Well, at least this has been my experience.
But, my self-love is so present at the moment that, actually, it’s irrepressible; it’s just bubbling up at gloriously frequent moments during the day – I feel so grateful to the wisdom of my soul for getting me this far, for my body for carrying me through my days with so much grace, to the beauty of nature and to all the amazing people and opportunities I have in my life. After the long low, life feels like such a gift again, and I know this is my natural state of gratitude and celebration. In fact, I believe it’s the natural state of all of us, beneath all the energy blocks and wounds we carry – I feel we are truly here to thrive, celebrate and enjoy this life, but it seems that most of us have to dig deep to return to this natural state, or it comes in brief moments – well, again, this has been my personal experience.
Anyhow, it is this self-love that has caused me to revisit my Thai massage training in a new, deeper way. I was always aware, from my first amazing teachers, of the sacred nature of this massage modality, and indeed any bodywork, which requires us to come into intimate relationship with another based on trust and respect. The Thai massage tradition is very much based on ‘metta’, which translates as ‘loving-kindness’. But, I am so aware now that loving-kindness has to begin with ourselves. I just didn’t love myself enough until now to truly connect to this fundamental aspect of the practice. Of course, we fake it until we make it, and my motivation for learning to give massages originally came from a sincere desire to help others and contribute to their healing, but I see now that actually I was still relatively early-on in my own journey to help, love and heal myself, and although the will was there, the love just wasn’t bubbling up in the way it is now.
So, with all this love flowing, I had a real sense that I wanted my massage treatments to really come from the heart now, so I can share this love I’m feeling with others. Love breeds love to infinity, it has no limits, it doesn’t need to be rationed – the more you feel, the more you share and the more you receive back – it’s a beautiful thing! And, of course, the perfect teacher stepped into my life at that moment – someone so full of his own self-love and self-honouring that this just spills over into his interactions with those around him. He told me that, when I’m enjoying the massage, the receiver is sure to be enjoying it too. So, really the massage treatment becomes another exercise of self-love – I do it because I love it, and I can rest in the knowledge that the receiver is loving it too! It’s a change of focus, and one that really resonates with me now. When we deflect from our own self-care, self-love, self-honouring, then the authenticity of how we offer this to others is compromised.
So, I see now that with each treatment I give, as I dive deeper into this heart-space of genuine metta, in truth I am healing and loving myself and, in so doing, spreading this healing love vibration to another, trusting the magic of this will unfold in the way it’s meant to. Less mind, more heart – and it feels amazing! It’s a reminder of the oneness that we all are underneath the superficial separation. We heal ourselves to heal the world. It is a sacred practice indeed.