Massage & Intuition

Massage is teaching me a lot about intuition. That gut feeling. “Lose yourself.” Let go. Be in the moment. That thing actors and performers are always talking about.

I’ve made a great effort to “center” myself before each massage, and each time I do it really pays off (sometimes literally). Yesterday, a woman (a writer) left me a comment that said something to the effect of: “Did you say a prayer before the massage or set an intention? because I really felt it in the massage, very powerful & meaningful.” Many other comments I’ve received have been along the same theme, but each relayed to me in a unique way by that individual. It’s a pretty awesome feeling to know you’ve made that deep connection with someone. I’ve experienced it myself in a good massage–it’s like the masseuse knows exactly where your pain is, and it sometimes feels like they are reading your thoughts because their hands seem “guided” to just the right areas of your body.

I’ve struggled for many years with living in the moment. Mostly, I think it was due to self-criticism and fear of judgement from others. I would choke when performing piano pieces that I had memorized and played perfectly 100 times by myself. I would miss a basketball shot game after game, a shot that I had perfected in practice over years of repetition. I would sabotage my own volleyball serves, hits, hammer, discus, javelin, and shot throws by actually talking myself out of performing my best–by distracting myself from the moment at hand. My coaches and teachers knew my weakness and encouraged me to stop holding myself back–but I didn’t know how. I felt like, when it got down to the moments when it counted, that a fear of success would overwhelm me, time after time, and instead I would fail.

The one-on-one environment of massage has given me a chance to redeem that part of me that wants so bad to succeed at something physical without my mental processes getting in the way. For the past couple months, I have been able to practice, one hour at a time, the art of accomplishing everything by doing nothing. I’m closing my eyes and allowing myself to be open to the subtleties of my interaction with another highly organized mass of molecules, and letting intuition guide my hands. Borrowing from the blind was a similar trick that I used in college competition. When I knew that my nerves would get the best of me that day, I would leave out my contact lenses and throw “blind”. My vision is bad enough that without my contacts or glasses on, people’s faces 3 feet away are blurry enough to disguise any subtle judgements or body language that I might perceive as negative. Thus, in throwing blind, I was centering or guarding myself against the distraction of the perceived judgements of others.

For someone as driven for results as I am, it is very difficult for the mental side of me to get out of my own way and let the intuitive side take over. But I’m learning that it is possible for me, and I look forward to applying what I learn here to other physical endeavors.