The day I gave 1 massage and got 2 to a meditation in return..

It was one of those days. Or week, really. When every turn of the hour is seemingly having a vendetta against you and finds you at a heart-pumping and brow-knitting tensed state.

One thing after another piles itself up on you and agitates you. You feel choked emotionally and wrung out physically.

YOU ARE TENSED OUT HOLISTICALLY.
Scary enough?

Well there always can be more adding up to the tragic buffet, of course. Unless you take this situation by the neck and wring it mercilessly and make it square and right for you. Hence, for others too.

But sometimes, others will serve you what you need. At the most unexpected times..

I had been in quite a funk that week. But on one particular day at work, I just had about enough.
After quite a frustrating episode on the home-front, a ruffled exchange at work and finding out that what I was  getting was what I don’t deserve, (thanks. I think) I found myself looking forward to meeting and serving my 1st massage client, who also happened to be a new client.

We proceeded into the realm of calm that was the treatment room, where I strive and always quite successfully indulge in the mastery of the soul; forgetting the self.

As I established the connection of touch on my client’s lean but extremely delicate body, I sought to weave a therapeutic and aromatic tale of bliss with my fat fingers and fleshy warm palms. Her whole being seems to harmoniously agree with my hands and she visibly released all her inhibitions and tensions under my care in less than 10 minutes.

Selfishly though, I admitted that I was still feeling the raw edge that my day has brought and yet I know I was on the mend.

And then suddenly, the whole sky seemed to crack and break in a thunderous loud roar! I was taken aback, but my hands were still unbroken from the contact with my client’s body. It took me a few seconds to recover and realize that there were people doing a helluva drilling job outside.

RIGHT OUTSIDE THE freaking SPA.

All hell broke loose, again for me and in me.

Now, I am a Gemini.
Astrology has it said that Gems are always the long sufferers of mind chatter, insomniac nights and we are the regular patrons in pursuits of intellectual stimulation. But today, I am feeling less like a Gem and much more a terrifying hot mess of a JAM!

I SO don’t need this. Aaaaaaarrrgh!

I almost wanted to stop the massage and shout out loud in protest! On top of that, there were many people passing by the spa and they gleefully decided to be louder than the loud drilling! Aaaaaaaarrrgh.

PLUS, this was Christmas season and the festive songs were on eternal till-death-do-us part repeat mode played by the building’s sound system. Michael Bolton was belting out “Santa Claus is coming to town” in various shades of pained gruff vocals and Celine Dion was belting out “Feliz Navidad” and it was just Oh. My. Gawd.
The OTT-and-nothing-less vocal of hers combined with Mr Bolton’s were simply weapons of mass destruction for this distraught mind at the wrong timing!

No offense, Dion fans. I love her and respect her.
No ditto on Bolton though, nah uh uh. I can pull his remaining blonde locks out really, from sheer frustration.
By each strand.

Loud next door drilling  + loud endless festive songs + loud passersby + loud ugly emotions and mind = not a happy Wati.

Just when I surely thought that I will get over my funky funk by doing the woosa with myself by performing a massage on my client… 😦

Now I am a double or triple whammy loser battling over the edge and I have to battle my ugly state for the next 75minutes while providing a semblance of bliss to my client. I felt so awfully bad for her!

But hey wait, what was that? Was that a tiny snore I hear? A little muffled yes, but it was very audible enough rolling in like little waves with the heavier and much deeper breathings of my client. A slow and rhythmic up and down of her whole back was in perfect synchronicity with all little that Nature has to offer me.

Ladies and gentlemen, Miss L has left the building and has entered the higher state of consciousness called ‘sleep’.
I am glad to say that my fat fingers didn’t stop working and kneading her body as my mouth made a huge ‘O’ and my eyes were big balls of fire with amazement at her very noble achievement.

How she did it, amidst all that fuckery noise I don’t know! But she sure did it and it brought to mind a memory of my 1st meditation class long time ago with an English Buddhist monk. That class was marred by renovation noises too and he kept on losing focus by opening his eyes to check if his students are being mindfully quiet and not bothered by the commotion. How did I know? Because I kept on opening my eyes too! Hah, that made 2 of us mind MONK-eys! Geddit?

Anyway, as I continued to focus on Miss L’s sleep-induced breathings, I got into quite a hypnotic tizzy myself. My skilled fingers danced together with the melody of her composed breathings.

When I completed her whole back massage, I realized I felt heavier on my eyelids and breathings but lighter on my chest and shoulders. Yes, these all while the noises were still going on.

When I guided her to turn over and lay supine, she did it almost robot-like and fell right back into her slumber immediately after the kerfuffle of towel draping had passed.

I was impressed.

You know what else I was impressed with? The fact that by observing her breathings, I have managed to calm my frenzied self down and get into the same meditation session with my client. I mean, I could try to get meself calm down by counting to 1000 but whoever said that that’s a charming remedy needs a voodoo poke on the behind.
Hard.

Miss L and I were conjoined in the same realm but of separate bubbles.
It was our 90 minutes of shared Nirvana.

When the time was up, I felt almost reluctant to ground myself back into this realm.
But I did what every therapist had to do: I woke her up gently and curve my lips into a smile slightly higher than usual and  sincerely too, to her awakened but still sleepy self.

I knew I felt better than before, but she was a million bucks.

As she thanked me sweetly, I shook my head in full humility and said “No, I thank YOU. I really do.”
She laughed and asked in jest, “Did I snore, Wati?”
I replied, “You were playing spa music to my ears, Miss L!”

And we both laughed.

Thank you, Miss L

Thank you, Miss L

 

The benefits of massage and its absence..

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That's not me but it's alright!

Ok I bet the title is a misleading one..

Worry not, I am still a preacher and practitioner of massage therapies and I am still waxing lyrical about the various benefits of touch.

Its September now. I have been out of work in the spa for a good 2 months and few days. Yup, I clearly remember that. But what I do not for the life of me remember, is my last full body massage! Horror horror.. I make sure to have a well deserved massage at least once a month, preferring always to have more deep pressure focus on my back, head & feet. And oh I love to have these loving hands massaged too, truly a luxury! Its receiving time after lots of giving.

But no really, I cannot figure out when was my last massage. To think about it through, I discovered a streak of rainbow peeping out of this dark cloud. Like a well meaning easily missed secret message behind this uneventful episode of mine in the body/mind/spirit dept..

I think my body just did NOT need a massage that badly as always. Why? I wish I can say that I have converted to become a zealous health nut and working out daily but no. Neither have I been doing any much dieting. In fact, diet has been thrown out of the window since it was the festive Eid season.

It’s a mystery no more. The miraculous and almost magical oils from Young Living are the ones creditable.
My daily ritual:
1. Consume 3-5 drops of Lemon in water twice daily to balance alkaline in the body, cleanse the body inside out and really energizing my system.
2. Diffuse oils depending on need, mood and weather.
(a) Thieves oil purifies air powerfully, supports immune system.
(b) Peace & Calming calms not only my 2 yr old boy, but his parents too!
(c) RC is what we reached for A LOT these days, due to the haze and also my chest infection and son’s stubborn cough.
3. Inhaling the oils anytime through out the day. I bring a small bag of them anywhere I go. If I have to pack light, I will take 2 bottles only. And the 2 would normally be Lavender and the Breathe Again Roll On which works not only for respiratory issues but helps a migraine and nausea episode too.
4. Applying the oils when needed. This includes a variety really!

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My cutie essential oil bag!

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They work hard everyday for us!

So I think its fair to say these oils are taking care of me while I live my days without my quintessential massages. I may feel the normal exhaustion and still lament about lack of sleep but I get by. I just have much lesser body aches and tensions, plus I am free from period pains! Hurray! And if I were to feel any discomfort after the usage of the oils, it would just be a part of the healing crisis.

Case in point: After days of eating rich festive goodies, my body went on complete ‘rubbishing out’ mode after I continued consuming Lemon. My skin broke out and I went into thirst overdrive! My eczema flared up because the skin being the biggest organ is expelling out my accumulated toxins.

I would not complain to have both oils and massages though, but I am just grateful to have these precious oils with me. I know that the day to need that massage will come verrrry soon but for now lets slick the oils on.

Happy oiling!

What price, dignity?..

If you read my last blog, you will know that I had a meet up or ‘interview’ with an ex colleague. I looked up to her because she mentored me during my 1st years in the spa industry. Gosh, I was a teenager still. But yes, you read right. I used past tense on ‘look’. That’s probably because I will not know where to look anymore when I see her next..

The rate she offered me was lower than abysmal. This, even after she knows of the experience that I have collected in almost 15 years as a therapist, head therapist, trainer, executive, manager. I have worn several hats and I have tasted life as a fulltime staff with complete benefits, permanent part time staff with pro rated benefits and also the life of a carefree freelance therapist. I have been ALL that, and I am aware of the differing pay structures and rates. Heck, I sooo gotta know because one of my duties were to help hire, interview, train and also amend commission rates based on current industry rates. Now, I cannot be telling on the most basic hourly rate here but I can tell you that what I was offered in a ‘take it or leave it’ mode was lesser than what I saw in the employment poster in a fast food joint. My girlfriend and I were having pre-movie dinner there and I was aghast to realise that they offer higher hourly rate than my ‘high and mighty’ ex co! My gf was disgusted too upon hearing the harrowing experience I had. And I thought she needed the help and was looking forward to have my experience onboard her spa biz because she approached me and asked me a couple of times! I was of course just offering temporary help till I get clearance from a work contract, in all honesty.

10 or 15 years ago I would have given her some of my disgusted and shell shocked piece of mind and then some.. And oh, I would so love to that day in her cubicle of an office! But I left politely, after saying I shall consider her proposed rates. I managed to tell her though, of how freelance/part time therapists are paid normally and currently. To which she bluntly and abrasively exclaimed- (yes, she can be both blunt AND sharp, and it can be a good thing sometimes but not at this moment) that “It’s too high!!” Wow. I cannot find my tongue, so I looked at her in her challenging eyes and smiled. Then it was all the niceties of goodbye (should there be any?) and I left her establishment without looking back.

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The thing that struck me 1st was how she didn’t change at all. Never listening, solid, rash, firm and blunt. NOBODY has escaped arguing with her because she picks them often. The 2nd that surfaced was how much I have changed. I would like to believe that it was for the better. Because I do not see any good in replying her insults with mine which I know neither of us will want to sleep better with.. I also contemplated kicking her teeth in after bashing her overdone coiffure with my lime hobo bag but naaaah. I shall keep that contemplation within the perimeters of my tortured mind. Gandhi said:
“An eye for an eye makes the world go blind”.
Either it was him or a hopeful optometrist, optician or an eye specialist..

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Gandhi, the quote sage..

I am brought to a renewal lesson in this episode. That it was not my ego that rejected her, but it was my older and amplified dignity that will not take unjustified and underpaid crap like this. I know it is not my ego because I walked away with a smile that got even wider as the distance between us drew.

As I sat and have a cuppa to recover in the midday sun, I realised too that perhaps she thought I was the one being unreasonable. And perhaps she also realised that she too has dignity and it will crumble if she depended on my accounts of what is current and present. And perhaps she felt that it was necessary to stay firm in giving me the entry level rate because it was justified.

I only know of one difference though in all our probable discoveries of similar but polar things.

I am not cheaper.

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Lessons I get paid to learn

As a holistic spa therapist, I get to meet many different people from different walks of life. The socialite, the politician, the royalty, the self-made millionaire and of course the streams of celebrities. Not only do I meet them, but I am entrusted their sacred temples, their tired bodies that comes with hundreds of knots and tensions.

They disrobe, lie spread on the bed and they are all mine. Sounds provocative, but far from it-  its an honorable job really- according to a recent client that I had the good fortune to meet. That day, 31st January was really a day that deserves a place in my heart and soul. Its memory is worthy of a blog post, really.. But then again, there were just so many days in the span of my life as a therapist that’s worth remembering and retelling.

So in comes this very nice-smelling Indian gentleman, one whom I shall just name Mr SG. Really, he smells so good, musky and all peppery with a sandalwood tone. The air in the spa wafted and clung with his aroma. This guy really has a presence- with his thick and long black hair, full grown beard and Gandhi-like glasses rimming his very soulful sympathetic eyes. He asked for a massage, and yours truly attended to him and assisted him with his arrival, consultation, gathering his medical info and selecting the massage for him like any good and caring therapist would. Ahem.. 🙂

Normally, during a treatment I would refrain from chatting- unless I am asked a question. Its best to just be relaxed, immersed in the oils and music, enjoy the treatment ritual, be it a simple 1hour massage or more. But he was very friendly and very interested to know more of my job and how much I enjoy it. He shared with me that he is a very seasoned spa-goer, as his work-based travels brings him to different countries and continents that has spas in idyllic locations.

He shared an episode in a spa  he visited in Goa.. His Thai therapist was complaining about her job there and how she longed to just pack up and leave! When asked why was she there if she hated to be, she answered: she cannot stand serving Indian people because they are all smelly! Oh my! I was so shocked to hear that.. Awkward too. I asked then what was his reply. He answered, “With all my heart, I apologized to her on behalf of all the smelly Indian people that she had to come across, and I felt really really sorry for her!”..  Ok, my jaw dropped then. One would’ve thought that he would’ve clubbed that silly arse Thai therapist, but he was really very sorry for the Thai therapist’s work ordeals and his compassionate nature is truly most exemplary!

As we ended the 90min massage, he asked for recommendation for his next visit. I recommended him a herbal heated treatment that will help to comfort his arthritis and spine issues. He gave me a $20 tip, very rarely do we get tips. As he left, I told myself I will not forget this aromatic-smelling and very kind Indian man!

The end of this day came about as my husband and I were parked outside the supermarket, buying stuffs for my son. I waited in the car with Shaqil, feeding him his milk. I suddenly saw a figure of a heavily-build man lumped and hunched over at the kerb, shivering and and trembling in tremors of pain. It must be a lot of pain, because his face was wincing!
I wanted to go out and reached out to him as fast as I could, but I couldn’t with feeding child in tow and car parked illegally too. As my husband came back to the car, I commanded to him to go to that man and help him in any way. My husband went to him and spent a good 10 minutes talking to him, and after that he helped the stranger into our car. Turned out that this elderly Malay man was scheduled to have a kidney operation the very next morning, and he has several medical conditions apart from his kidney disease such as heart failure and Parkinson’s too. And he is homeless. And hasn’t eaten the whole day too… 😦

I suggested that we drive him to the hospital he was bounded to go to, and to assist him with admittance. Funny thing was, the nurses and administrators in the hospital have to repeatedly asked me if I was related to this man. I hated to say no, because I am really not related to him by blood. The staff there were giving me dirty looks, as if I was abandoning my father/uncle/relative as quick as I can to the nearest hands able to take over. It pissed me off, really. I don’t think they buy our help-a-stranger story!

Anyway, we got hold of his identification details and promised to call him the day after to check on him.
He was very grateful, and we were only too happy and humbled to help.. My dear son was way past his bedtime but its all worth it. Before we said goodbyes though, I remembered that he hasn’t eaten.. I asked my husband for some cash but unfortunately he used up the cash in the supermarket earlier. With Shaqil still firmly planted on my hip, I rummaged through my battered wallet and found $20. Yes, the $20 that I got from Mr SG earlier that day as a tip.

I almost cried! The hairs on my hands stood on its ends. I am not inclined to carry a lot of cash, preferring to just withdraw money whenever I need it. That’s the only $20 I had really! It’d be another fuss to go looking for an ATM. And Mr SG had personally came all the way to the spa, booked and paid for a treatment and handed out this tip to me so that I can help this homeless, ill and hungry elderly man.. I was so humbled and lost in the magical moment..

I am so grateful for this lesson. What have I learn? I learned that I have a new answer to the skeptical hospital staffs who badgered me on my relation to this pitiful man. The answer is: YES, YES, YES. We are all related. We are all interconnected, and we are all responsible and rightful to the connection. Blood connection is merely a poetic way of introduction, but we are all related through unseen webs weaved by higher reason.

Another lesson: I learned that this nice-smelling Indian gentleman deserves a retelling of how his presence affected my whole day, and also for others whom he wouldn’t have a clue about. But I suspect that he has a clue, for a kind man like him deserves a clue and so much more!

Groundbreaking Connection

I love my work as a spa/holistic therapist very much, most would know that.
I am the irritating one who will preach “Love your work, and you don’t have to call it a job” or “When you are passionate about the thing you do, you’ll be darn good at it”. I think Confucius said something similar like the former too, but correct me if I am wrong.. 😉

In numerology, 6 is my life path number- the ultimate nurturer and gung ho maternal/paternal peacemaker. It is also not surprisingly, my favorite number since I was in primary school.
So being a therapist, I guess I landed myself  with the right work role. And these are stressful times in need of plenty nurturing, surely.
(Calculate your life path number here. Thanks so much Laurie Buchanan!)

I am tremendously grateful always that through out the many ups and downs that life brings me, I am at the right place at the right time. Or the negative-sounding positive cynic in me would say that I would just be somewhere else and still be fine. But whatever it is, I am contented. (Duh. If  I am a positive cynic, then am I a cynic at all?)

Born 29th January 1954. A Life Path Number 4.. The practical fixer. Next career option: Home builder perhaps?

Oprah Winfrey (I L.O.V.E her!) quoted: “I define joy as a sustained sense of well-being and internal peace – a connection to what matters”.

I truly can relate to that. Honestly. Even though in the sense of physical well-being, I could really do with some weight loss amounting to the size of a planet, really. Effects of post-baby weight, post-breastfeeding and too-much-love-for-food is a combo that no fast food chain can achieve and serve on a plastic tray even if they ALL combined forces..

Nevertheless, Miss O struck a similar chord when she said those words. If I may add, THAT ‘connection to what matters’ is what grounds me at many times when I feel more vulnerable, less focused and uninspired.
(OK, I used that “U” word in my previous post too, I realize..)

Thankfully, THIS is not the grounding I’m talking about.

And I am never one to spew nonsense like “Oh, I am a perfect human being”. I mean, we were ALL born perfect but it didn’t stay that way obviously, did it?

We ALL have demons, and it takes turns to show its various prowess at different times. I learn to tame and find a way around my demons, if not through it. And THAT connection again, helps.

Through this grounding with what matters, I learned to have more capacity for sincerity and faith in the work that I do. Trust me, if you are working back-to-back with clients with various ailments, moods and sizes, you will treasure a bit of sincerity on your part. And a whole lotta trust and faith! Not to mention some carbo intake too for the energy you need in yielding the release of tension on the client’s mind/body/spirit.. 😉

Practically, this grounding connection sustains me and keeps me sane and checked in all areas in my life.

So what grounds you? Is it faith and/or ambition? Or is it a constantly ever-changing source?

🙂