How to Receive a Massage

Ask any therapist and they’ll tell you about the hoards of people who don’t know how to receive a massage. For your own enjoyment, here are five things to keep in mind the next time you find yourself on the table:

1. Don’t help! Your job is to lie there like a wet noodle. If we massage therapists need you to lift your head or move your leg, we’ll ask. Most of the time, however, we prefer that you allow us to lift and move your body without your assistance. We want you to relax your muscles as we work on them, not tense them up. And many times we like to use the force of gravity and the weight of your body parts to help us achieve a therapeutic goal. Here’s a simple test: If a therapist lifts your arm up off the table, and then lets it go, does it fall back onto the table, or are you still holding it up in the air? Hmm… you know who you are …

2. Relax in silence. There’s no need to try to have a conversation with us, and quite frankly, it’s easier for us to concentrate on what we’re doing if we don’t have to engage you in dialogue. Let your attention go inward. Relax, enjoy the sensations, be in the moment. Feel the massage. That doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t say something if you’re uncomfortable. Which leads me to #3…

3. Speak up if you need anything. If you’re unhappy with the way the massage is unfolding, please tell us what you don’t like about it and/or what you’d prefer. If something we’re doing hurts, makes you feel uncomfortable or uneasy, please say something. Many times I’ve found that when people are feeling discomfort, instead of saying something verbally they’ll squirm or change facial expressions. Body language isn’t as obvious as saying how you’re feeling out loud. Verbal communication is the best, most efficient way to alert your therapist that you’d like her or him to change a behavior.

4. Watch your caffeine intake. Showing up for your massage amped up after having ingested a large coffee won’t help you to relax. You’ll probably be very antsy and wish you hadn’t wasted your time and money on the massage. (Trust me, I’ve done it.)

5. Keep it clean. Don’t ask for sex. It’s not appropriate. (For heaven’s sake, people! Those days are long gone.) If you want to pay for sex, go see a sex worker. And I’m afraid this also needs to be said: for your own comfort, show up with a clean body. Do you really want your therapist to oil up your dirty feet and then drag the dirt all over the rest of your body? Whenever I get a massage, at the very least, I wash my feet in the bathroom before I get on the table, because I know that whatever I’ve walked in could end up on my face.

The Power of Mantra

The word mantra means "vehicle or instrument of the mind," so a mantra is a tool to help us with our inward journey. Mantras are thoughts but, unlike most thoughts, they have no particular meaning so, when we think a mantra instead of a regular thought, there

What a Tree Can Teach You About the Mind

I find more and more pleasure in the company of trees. Ojai, the place where I live, is something of a village, though it is called a town. Nature here is very powerfully present and I get to hang out with it every day. Every day I notice the presence of trees more strongly and distinctly, their personality, their energy is more palpable than that of many human beings I know.

As I walked my dog the other day down a deserted street lined with beautiful old oaks I felt like I was walking down a crowded street, and I realized that the presence of those oaks is so strong because they are so strongly present. They are so very much themselves.

I have written about this before, I talk about it again because it seems such a crucial distinction at this particular moment in time. I saw that the trees are completely present as themselves. They grow according to who they are, their shape is dependent on who they are, their size, color, twists of branches, are the result of who they are. Only of who they are. Nothing else.

I realized, while being present with the trees, that the way they are is the exact opposite from the way mind is. Mind defines itself based on the outside. This is what mind is, the defensive relationship to the "outside". And as long as we believe we are mind – so are we.

When I first came to America I had no idea what to do with myself. I was 26, I left everything in Poland, I had two suitcases filled with clothes and a husband. I spent a year doing nothing, trying to figure out what it is that I want – and I couldn’t. It was the most amazing sensation: not knowing what I want. I could not understand how it is that I don’t know that – shouldn’t it be the most fundamental, the most obvious, the most accessible piece of information? I mean it’s me! Who would know what I want if not me?

I realized years later that I know what I want, but my mind doesn’t. I know what I want – my mind knows what I should want. I do what expresses who I am – my mind knows what I should do to fit into the system. My mind knows how I should look, what job I should get, how I should interact, how I should relate in order to "make it" in reality, in order to "be successful", to "be rich" to "be famous" to "be safe" – but my mind cannot tell me what to do to be me.

This knowledge lies with me only, the real me, the God. And as God, I create myself and my life as an expression of who I am. There is no one and nothing that can tell me how to do this. There is no religion, no teacher, no organization, no smart-ass Pausha writing blogs, no book, no system, no government, no parents, no friends … no one and nothing can tell me who I am and how to express myself in reality.

Trees don’t need to be told how to grow. They grow. They are who they are and they expand, grow larger, more distinct, more beautiful, more engaging. They are more and more themselves with every passing moment. They don’t need help to be themselves, they don’t need teachers, support, encouragement – they are simply who they are. No amount of systems, economics, market rules, moral values are going to influence the shape of a branch or the color of a leaf. No amount of approval or disapproval, judgement or praise, is going to determine how the tree grows. The tree grows how it grows. The tree is only itself, defined from inside – not outside.

I observe how reality changes lately, I talk to people who get lost in those changes. People who do everything "how it should be done" and it doesn’t work, They don’t get the results that they were supposed to get. They ask me what they should do, what actions they should take, and every time the answer that comes to me is: What do you want? What do you want to express? What do you want to create?

Who are you?

Chaos and Order

Dear Friends,

Greetings

Chaos and Order

Our life doesn’t always unfold as per our plans. There are always some unknown events that show up in our life and throws our life into chaos. What I mean by chaos is when these events show up in our life, we are under pressure/tension, we are scattered, we don’t know what to do, what choices to make, don’t know how these events would turnout. Chaos can come in the form of unexpected health issue, unexpected turn of events in our work or in our relationships, unexpected demands from life and this list can go long. Leaving aside our personal life, if we observe what is going on in the world around us today – natural calamities, financial crisis, fuel crisis, food crisis, environment crisis, poverty, social injustice, wars, terrorism etc… it may appear that we are living in times of chaos and suffering.

And the other side of chaos is order. If you are reading and making sense of this message, it presumes a certain sense of order in your life. Order exists in creation, as much as chaos. An event of fatal thunderstorm or tsunami or flood appears to be chaotic and random and yet the same nature follows order bringing day and night, cycles of seasons. Our earth rotates on its axis bringing day and night. Earth goes around sun bringing four seasons. Sun brings light and energy to our planet. Moon goes around earth in lunar cycle influencing life on earth. Gravity and other natural forces holds the planets together.

When we were conceived, we were only a single cell – fusion of sperm and egg. Yet the same single cell develops into a full blown human body following a certain order. Our lives actually unfolds because of certain order in creation. Food for our body is given to us, in the form of plants, natural elements and ecosystem. We are blessed with mind and senses to experience joy and sorrow of this life. We are also blessed with intelligence to make sense of this world, to be creative, to choose differently. All this body, mind and intellect, capacity to will, capacity to know, capacity to act is given to us following a certain order.

Our lives may seem to be chaotic at times, but everything that unfolds in our life is in order. Everything that happens in our life is following a certain order. No event is an accident in our lives. According to yoga scriptures, everything that unfolds in our lives is based on our choices. All our past choices unfold consequences in the present. We may never know what choices we made in the past to produce our present, but we are blessed with the capacity to choose differently and learn from these events. Instead of resisting or resenting the present, we can accept the present and be creative to influence a better present or future

Chaos and Order exists simultaneously. Chaos and order both are necessary for our growth. Order is necessary so we can taste the beauty and joy of life. If our life is stable for ever we can become complacent and stagnant. So chaos is also necessary to wake us from the deep slumber of our delusions and make us grow.

You can read all the previous messages posted at http://www.intent.com/venky/blog

Peace,

Venkatesh

Aafia Siddiqui

What struck me as interesting in the Aafia Siddiqui story is NOT
that she is considered the most important wanted woman in the world
right now – OR the fact she graduated from MIT a venerable American
Institution, but the fact that the two news agencies sounded so
divergent in their reportage of the story. It broke on Wednesday over
the NPR (National Public Radio) airwaves

Support system

Parenting is a work-in-progress — changes are constant. I’ve been doing this since I was 21 years old, yet with all I know and all I’ve learned over the past 36 years I don’t think I’ve ever felt as if I had all the answers. I may, however, sometimes act like I do.

I am currently in Chicago, learning about this city with my college-bound daughter. It’s a thrill to get her all to myself for a couple of weeks. But it’s bittersweet as well. I see her coming out from her high school personna and stretching into the adult college-woman individual she wants to be, and actually is. She’s a beautiful woman-child. She’s strong in spirit, but tender too. I know she doesn’t want me to see her being weak – being afraid. Funny, at this point in my life, I have no problem showing her how afraid and weak I am. Problem is, it’s not about me. It’s not particularly helpful for me to mention all the things I did when I was her age, or to compare her world with mine.

Part of me can’t help it – I’m in some ways more excited about this transition than she is. But that excitement can get me into trouble, as it can allow my perspective to color the entire picture. In reality, this "moving away to college experience" is about her – and I need to tune down my desire to be a directive part of the experience, and permit myself to be her constant, calm support system, instead. I am learning that there are appropriate things to share with my daughter, and other things that at this juncture in her life just aren’t helpful or wanted by her at all.

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