Here’s a fact that will surprise exactly 0% of you: starting a new business takes up a lot of time. One consequence of this is that I’m getting behind in reading my professional organization’s bi-monthly magazine- Massage & Bodywork. It’s a great membership bonus, and I was reading it sporadically back before I even went to massage school. One of my favorite columns of recent years has been “Q & Art” by Art Riggs.
His final regular column was in the November/December 2013 issue, and it was basically a summary of the things he’s learned in his decades of practice. The things he says have always resonated strongly with me: stroking away from the heart when appropriate; soft hands (still working on that one); not being overly fastidious with the draping*. These are just a few pieces of his advice for massage therapists at all stages in the business. His columns were one of the first things I would read when each new issue came in. I’m going to miss them.
The part of his farewell column that I wanted to share the most was about self-imposed limitations. Here’s a snippet of his wisdom,
This right/wrong dichotomy is terribly limiting, and the feeling we are doing something “wrong” can prevent us from trying something new…We all need to take the time to look inside and realize what mind-sets may be stifling our growth and the rewards that will come with that growth.
Source (subscription required) Riggs, Art. “Never Quit Growing.” Massage & Bodywork. Nov.-Dec. 2013: 31-32. Print.
It felt like the perfect time in my own career to read those words (as well as the rest): I’ve been actively trying to let go of some of the limitations I placed on myself years ago. I have definitely outgrown them, if they were ever really appropriate. And so far it has been a very rewarding experience. The image that comes to mind is of a ziggurat before me. The bottom step is “great” and at the top is the very best massage therapist I can be. I feel like I’m finally ready to make that climb. I plan for it to take the rest of my career, but I’m taking that first step. Freeing myself of the weight that was holding me down. The weight that I chose for myself.
*By overly fastidious, I mean taking the 30-60 seconds to make a textbook-quality diaper drape 4 times a session to work on the legs. I believe in protecting the modesty and comfort of my clients 100% of the time. I also believe in asking clients who need lots of leg stretches to wear athletic shorts. It’s just better for both of us, and doesn’t waste valuable time.