The Spring issue of the International Therapist (journal of the FHT) carries an article about storytelling during massage being an effective tool for reaching and bonding with children. I too can recall drawing shapes on one of my friends back in Primary School. She so enjoyed it that she had tokens to offer in return. She would put her head on the desk and I would draw with a covered pen, finger tips, and the whole palm. When I was finished, she would ask me to draw something else, and some after that. She had nothing to offer that I needed, so I never took the tokens. The drawings did something for her and when I was in the mood, I participated willingly. I said she was my friend, because that’s what she called me. In my head she was not. She was fair-skinned and very pretty with thick long wavy hair, but that did not make her East Indian.
We attended a Hindu school and the cast system played itself out every moment among the various shades of Indians, but they remained tightly knitted enough to keep the ‘black swines’ out, a category that both my friend and I fell into. My son recently discovered a scar on my neck and asked how I got it. I told him it came from the days when the black swines had to stand at the back of the line in school. The Head Mistress came to inspect us one day with her long bamboo cane in hand, and the shuffling began, and someone at the front pushed the line and a domino effect took place and I fell backwards. The merciless barb wire on the fence behind me ripped into my neck. My mother went to the school and the Head Mistress mumbled a few words that were not satisfactory, but that was okay. Being black meant you could take whatever was dished out, but had I done the pushing from the front and one of those little Indian dancers had gotten broken skin as a result, I would have been suspended. The truth is, to be called a black swine by someone who is darker than you but has straight hair is amusing, but instead of laughing at such, puddles of self-esteem could be found on the floor in every classroom. So in a way doing back drawings created taunt-free moments that allowed my mind to focus on something pleasant. If that made us friends, well, so be it.
In retrospect I was using massage techniques and telling stories about them. I drew flowers mostly, and she would be the one to suggest a house, or a dog, or something like that. I diligently carried out the Massage and Talk Therapy as I concocted elaborate stories about where the flowers came from and what colours they were, etc. Our society is still making up its mind about massage. Well not massage, but touch. Cyber-sex is okay, but a genuine hug makes us vulnerable. Some advancement. Anyway, for the Therapists who conceptualize massage in schools, this is a safe way to go as it is done through the clothing. With stories incorporated, students can experience the relaxation or pain relief of a mini massage and be educated about its benefits. Depending on the age range, the stories could mirror fairytales on one extreme, and relate psychological and physiological advantages on the other. The activity is fun and creative and affords wholesome express, which positively replaces some of the time students spend plotting or engaging in fights. The Physical Education Teachers have an advantage in that they could suggest peer massages pre or post assigned activities. Further, it carries over to the home as some students would seek to demonstrate what they learnt in class. I recall one student bringing his little daughter to the massage class. She sat quietly, but was observing. The following week he reported that she performed hacking strokes on him. While it might not seem like much, these are moments of trust and bonding that families need.
I was hoping to have a massage-specific story to share, but I keep getting stories arising from bonds formed during massage. Guess that is just as good. Having left one job site, I was approached by a tout at Curepe who advised me that I should join a particular maxi because it only needed four passengers. I told him okay. When I got to the vehicle, it only had four person inside. Hmmm. I sat at the front. We waited, and waited, and waited. Other maxis came and went and collected the persons who were on the way to ours. We waited. Then the tout was paid and he tried to get at least one more. He got two, then one. The driver pulled off. A vehicle passed us. The driver commented that just now they would have no work to do. I asked if he was speaking to me. Yes. Then he pointed to the vehicle ahead. It was a hearse. He made every effort to get ahead of it. I said I can’t imagine why they would be short of business when folks are dying every day. He said Jesus is coming soon and there will be no more dying. Ah-ha! Just what the Doctor ordered for me… A Jesus conversation.
I had just come out of one with my client who was saying that she does not understand why people say no one has seen the face of God. She said there is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, and once you have seen the face of one, you have see the face of God. Excellent. Better still, we exchanged views on the possibility that a face does not need to have a certain shape with eyes, ears, mouth and nose. And maybe, the landscape before us is a face, we look at it and it is looking back at us, but we don’t know what it is looking with because it does not have eyes like ours. The sky could be another face too. She said the only thing that kept her from going crazy after being hit by Alzheimer’s (ain’t that crazy enough?) was looking at the sky. It always calms and reassures her.
So the driver sped past the hearse and told me of the human’s lack of patience that prevents him/her from waiting for Jesus. I told him I believe Jesus has always been coming (most ecstatic) as it is understood that He has to chaperone those who are His when they leave this existence. So he comes, but privately to the individual in need. He said he get my point, but he was thinking more of the public coming. Fine. And he told me of people wanting to go somewhere, but if all the good people go to Heaven, and the bad people go to Hell, what would happen to the Earth? I said it would get a much needed vacation. He said that is logical, but Jesus intends for us to remain right here in a better state. I said since there are many levels to any one thing, maybe there exists an Earth in a better/purer state to which we will be elevated, while this Earth continues to be inhabited by those who require the experiences here to grow to their next level.
He asked where I go that from. Where is the scriptural basis for that? Does it need to have one? Yes. If it is not in the Bible then is it void. I asked which bible, as all scripture is a combination of chapters/books and are therefore bibles. He said that is logical, but there is only one true bible. I asked how he knows that. He said Jesus said it is the Word of God and it is therefore true. I asked how could Jesus have said that when our Bible is not necessarily the Bible He used. He said he sees where I am coming from, but the Bible is true anyway, and no other book could boast of that as their teachings are contradictory. Really? The last time I checked, the Bible was the epitome of contradiction. He said take the Koran for example, it says that God has no son. And? But He has! His name is Jesus. I said spiritual leaders have emerged among us with messages appropriate for the time we are in, so that message has merit. He said no. It is a lie and Satan has people believing it. So why would God send a Prophet with a lie to His people. God send him? Well I think so. He laughed. No. No? No. Then who sent him? Not that I wanted him to say. I would hate for him to have to give account for the little knowledge he has that threatens to put him in danger.
I told him I live in San Juan, yet I know very little of the village. I don’t know the population size, how many religious, educational, or business institutions are therein, the literacy rate of the people, or their various backgrounds. I don’t even know how many banana suckers are in my neighbour’s yard. Given that the spirit realm greatly exceeds the physical, how can we claim to ‘know’ the many ‘villages’ in it and the various representatives from those villages who are sent to us by God to make us wise about methods of salvation? He said if we believe in God we will know the truth. Very well, then we need to back off and let every man exercise his own belief and find that truth. He insisted that it cannot be that way because we have inherited a rebellious nature, so that even if a man knows the truth, he will do otherwise. I see. That has to be corrected. Maybe not. We correct things that are wrong, and a man exercising his free will for which the angels envy him and which his God who sees and knows all chose to give him is not wrong. It just means he will have he will have a different experience (painful maybe) to the person who does the political correct thing. No, it is wrong, that is why Jesus came. Listen honey, Jesus said his Father’s house has many mansions. A mansion in the spirit realm could be the size of our realm multiplied by a hundred. Jesus did his best to represent his mansion, and He is entitled to His followers. The other Prophets who have represented their mansions are entitled to theirs too. In my opinion, if God is Infinite, then having a son and having no son are both within His range. Pick one, or both, you still have truth. For that matter He has many sons. I am one…still working on appropriate genitals. I know that! You like yuhself. You want to live here forever with that good looking body you have. Really? I have a good looking body? I watching you all the time. Everything alright. Everything? Trust me, everything. I thought you were only looking at the road and for the coming of Jesus. He laughed.
And I wondered…what was all that evangelism about? Maybe he picks one person on each trip and tries to sell his truth to them and I took the bait, found it tangy, and eschewed it. But I gave him credit for effort, and representing what he believes. And I looked at this not merely from the perspective of his religion, but his profession. He believes that as a maxi driver he will get passengers, so he patiently waits, and probably experiences half a load in off-peak hours, but it is better than none. And I thought of me and how I am selling my profession (the belief part is dicey). Am I selective based on faces, personalities, affluence, etc., or am I seeing that whoever sits near to me is potentially my next client? If that’s the case then I’ll have to couch a range of massage stories in preparation. For starters, if I sit near that driver again I will effleurage his thigh while recounting how the serpent slithered down the tree to tempt the woman who could now only receive redemption by means of an erected pole, the process being known as crucifixion. Then using gentle tapping, I’ll map the path I would journey to the place where I mount the sturdy pole on which I’d stay for hours until the earth quakes. Then I’ll do palmar compression to represent my dead-weight body, so exhausted from the experience that I have to rest for three days before resurfacing in public again.