My massage school instructor warned us that taking massage classes would change our life drastically (for the better). She said she had seen it over and over again, that people who study massage therapy make huge life decisions as a result of their time at the institute. Sitting in her class, I smiled, amused at the bold prediction that surely would affect everyone in the class but me. After all, I was advancing in a high-paying, fun job in a great company, and I was merely studying massage therapy in order to become certified at something I had always done on the side for friends and family. It wasn’t like I was going to make a career change or anything…
Flash back 30 minutes, as the 27-year-old instructor hands us each a piece of paper with the title “Wheel of Life.” The in-class assignment was to rate each spoke on the wheel of life with a dot: the closer to the middle, the more satisfied you were with that aspect of your life. She then asked us to connect the dots and cut out the shape with a pair of scissors. Each of us, if we were comfortable, was to explain to the class why we had ended up with the particular shape that we did.
It immediately became clear that my shape was the smallest of everyone’s in the room. When it came around for my explanation, it went something like this: I must be having a good day today…ha, ha…Well, financially, I’m doing well right now. I have a good education, and although I believe I will never stop learning, if I were to die today, I would be happy with the effort I’ve put into my education. I’m quite happy in my spirituality. I don’t necessarily think of spirituality as belief in a higher power, but rather as knowing my place in the universe, and I’m quite content with that. My home environment is good: My brother lives with me and I have a roommate for the summer who has a dog that my cat does not appreciate, but everything is good! I’ve put a lot of effort into making my house a home, and I like being there. As for my relationships, I’m learning more about myself and how to communicate, so things are going pretty well there. I don’t necessarily think of myself as a social person, although others tend to see me that way; that’s why I put my social life a little further out on that spoke. I tend to think of joy in terms of feeling peaceful, and I do feel a very strong underlying peace about my life. The only spoke that sticks out for me is health. I went from being a 3-sport high school athlete and a full-time college athlete, to car accidents, shoulder surgeries, recovery, and not being handed a weekly workout regime, or setting any concrete goals for myself. So in comparison to where I have been in the past, I am not thrilled about my fitness level, and I eat more than I should; however I tend to eat pretty healthy foods.
I ended my introspective soliloquy on the career and creative spokes. I think I said something about that I liked my work–that although people tend to think of the oil industry as evil, that I had no issues about working for a company that produced a product that everyone uses to make their lives more efficient and easier–and that it wasn’t my fault for the unwise “consumerist” choices people make about how to use the fuel and products that we produce. I shared that I was learning a valuable skill–how to bring a lot of people and a lot of money together to accomplish big things, but acknowledged that my current career was a stepping stone to other things I may want to do in life. Finally, I mentioned that I do see myself as a creative person, both in the “creative-at-solving-problems” sense, and in the writing, art, musical sense, and that I had begun expressing that more and more so via the blog/website I had just started, but that I had recently been craving more creative expression.
Fast forward 12 days, to this past Sunday night, as I return from Home Depot with a new hose in hand, and sink onto the back patio under the weight of my future changing in an instant. I find myself Google-ing “how to quit a job,” printing out my letter of resignation, and dreadfully rehearsing just how I’m going to approach my employer the next morning.
Fast forward to Monday night, as I’m in a hotel room in San Francisco breaking down and trying to explain to my boyfriend and parents in semi-rational terms how an emotional Sunday night epiphany had so quickly led to a 2-week-notice and a complete upheaval of my life.
Why, then? Was it the mysterious powers of a massage therapy education? More likely (I’ve just now concluded) a subconscious progression toward the center of the wheel of life.