It is politically incorrect to have a dog and bark, so given that I have helpers, I don’t iron my clothes, that role is delegated to my children. I was preparing for work recently and opened the wardrobe to take out a top to wear. There are two sets hanging there: the ones to be ironed, and the ones that have been. I selected a top and saw creases. I chose another. Same thing. And another. Same thing. I said, aloud, that I could not tell which tops are ironed and which are not as they all seemed to be creased. My son was kind enough to tell me that it was an optical illusion and that such is quite common. Lord have mercy on my soul with these children. I was sharing this story with someone and noted that I experienced that right-brain/left-brain complex for a moment. One part of me appreciated the message in that remark, while the other part of me disapproved that he had the audacity to respond to me in a manner that I could not do to my mother. After a bit a mental processing, I told him it is very common for things that are improperly done to be done again. So the tops will have to be ironed again. He was quiet.
So is gone 2014 gone? Some said it was a year of Murphy’s Law…crises written all over it. If you felt that way, there is good news. The air over here, in 2015, is palpable with hope for the accomplishment of great potentials. And while I am looking forward to that, I am glancing back at some of what 2014 tossed up. One student shared his experience at a Home for the aged. Two of the residents he massaged had suffered from fractured hips. While the bone has mended, there is still pain and compensation patterns that accompany such. Client B explained to him that it was near lunchtime one day and she had received no breakfast as yet. The Nurses ignored her calls. So she crawled out of bed and headed to the kitchen to make her own breakfast. Somewhere in that crawl she tripped and fell. Got herself a fractured hip instead of breakfast. She is not an Alzheimer’s patient so it was not a case of her having breakfast and forgetting that she did. While he was massaging her the Nurse came to clip the nails of Client A whom he had massaged earlier. She was seated and he had to massage her legs as is for any attempt at elevation increased her pain. He would have preferred to massage her in bed, but there was no assistance to take her there. Nurses were occupied. Once the residents are brought out of bed, they stay out until after lunch, or later. Eh-eh! Well de Nurse pulled up a chair, sat before Client A, and in one move, lifted her leg unto her lap and began clipping her toenails. The student said his ‘balls liquidized’ when the resident groaned. (He needs an Accountant to assess the frequent liquidation of his family jewels). The groan was deep and reverberated through the air. And, as if that was not enough, when the Nurse was finished she simply dropped the woman’s foot to the floor. Nurses are caregivers, so it’s either he experienced an optical illusion, or Murphy’s Law is serious business.
From my backward glance I am seeing another story. It was told during a Yuletide visit by a few Therapists. One Therapist recounted how she was painting her yard when a vehicle pulled up and a distinguished-looking gentleman alighted and approached her requesting a massage. She advised that such was only done by appointments. He made an appointment for the following day. He was allowed access to the therapy room and was advised regarding disrobing and draping. She excused herself for a while. When she returned he was on the table, draped. As she maneuvered the drape she observed that he was clad in a pair of red t-back panties, trimmed with a garter-like finish and bows to the sides. She recalled hearing a jingle as he had moved about earlier and now saw that the sound did not come from his keys, but rather a ‘willow’ attached to the panties. Baby shack-shack? Clearly she was experiencing an optical illusion. But it seemed real enough to her and she thought that he might be one of those sick men. She asked him to get dressed and leave. Isn’t it the sick who needs a physician? Yes, but this guy needed a specialist. She left the room and gave him time to get his things. He did and left. When she reentered the room the drape was on the floor. She picked it up and felt a moist sticky spot. Conclusion: he masturbated and left his business on the sheet.
The therapy room is an official place for unmasking. All kinds of mojos are seen and maybe we need to start accepting panties on men as one. Maybe in wearing a panty the man experiences a flow of yin energy that balances his yang without having to resort to sex, but spilling sperms the way he did would deplete his energy, so he is back to imbalance. Society dictates that our men be macho, but under that façade many are having much trouble with their identity. The Eden story tells us that men were androgynous. There was no finding of a wife or trying to have sex. Woman was in man. Then came that fateful day when man was stripped of his femininity. He went into surgery and came out with a missing part. (That’s prevalent these days.) Apparently man needed the optical illusion of his femininity standing before him in physical form to know that this aspect of himself is real. As women we probably need to balance our left-brain/critical thinking of men as hunters with more right-brain/empathy. A man’s hunt is like a mother’s search for her lost child, yet more perplexing because he is trying to get back a part of his soul – the yin energy. And since yin waxes and wanes, he might get the right quantity of it in one woman, but his interest in her will (temporarily) be lost when her yin wanes. Thus, through no fault of his, he is driven to hunt again, and again, for yin in the right doses…with periodic return trips to earlier relationships to utilize the yin when it waxes there. So while we accuse men of womanizing, the fun they appear to have is really tedious work. And maybe, it was Mr. Red Panty’s wife who suggested that he wears (her) panties as a means of mentally maintaining his androgynous state while they are apart. Lucky for him, they wear the same size.
Still in 2014… A gentleman called to share the nature of his condition with me. He gave his full name and the names of the Doctors who had treated him so that I know he is serious. He fell on his romp. Has lower back pain, but also developed a curious lump in the perineum area that wants to develop into a third testicle. Well that is quite an optical illusion. He had to fork out money for an MRI scan as the tests he did before were all inconclusive. No fractures and no proper explanation from his Doctors. Medication was prescribed as well as massage and physiotherapy. In his opinion the physiotherapy was aggravating, but the massage helped a little. He mentioned this to the last Doctor who suggested that he sticks with the massage. His only concern was the indirectness of it. He felt that as time passed a more direct approached could be used, but the Therapist went no way near his groin or coccyx areas. Even his buttocks seemed a problem for her. As I listened my mind was saying: nerve impingement by the tightly contracted muscles that are pressurizing them, and trauma to the tissue inferior to the coccyx, so much so it could have descended – hernia (maybe he is an androgyne and his womb dropped). What I said to him was that the swelling could be edema as the broken vessels would have spilled their contents in the tissue space, or it could be an abscess biding its time. I told him it would be helpful if his Therapist tries to drain the area, but most of us prefer not to spend the hour working every angle of all the coccygeal muscles.
I recommended some homework. He could assume the childbirth posture in the ambiance of his bedroom, get a tennis or golf ball handy, and gently roll it around the area. For the sake of variety, I advised that he could he could try kneeling on the bed, or doing a side-lying position with the knees drawn up. As the pain reduces, he could be as direct as the felt the other Therapist should have been. Focused massage will help to reduce the swelling and prevent atrophy. Now, we don’t want atrophy, do we? No, no, and no. He said that there are different degrees of pain in sitting, standing, walking…which he tries to manage, but the worst part of his condition is its effect on his sex life. I told him I am surprised that he has a sex life. He was quiet. Am I being unrealistic? No. Oh-ho! Because I know of similar cases in which the partner either had to exercise extreme patience, or took a hike from the relationship. He understands that I will not be working with him, but appreciated the conversation. I think I will save his number and call him in one year to see what’s the story. Don’t you think he’d make an excellent case study?
Well, eh-eh! Yuh girl sat in class with a straight face discussing the topic for the day and somewhere in there managed to fit Mr. Coccygeal’s story. Eyes were downcast while they snickered. Did I say something funny? Come on people, be serious. I offered to give his number to anyone who wished to log hours with him. I continued with the module. By the end of the class I got a volunteer. A Nurse. Good! After class I called Mr. Coccygeal and referred to our conversation. He spoke in whispered tones. Will call me back. I waited. He called. He was in Church and using the Church phone. Excellent. I told him that there is a Therapist who is willing to work with him. He was excited…until I referred to the Therapist as he. Said he is skeptical. I told him the Therapist is a Registered Nurse and if he wishes he could have his wife present during the massage session. I waited on his decision while he returned to the details of the injury, which varied quite a bit. No two moments are the same, so I guess the recount of a recount cannot be 100% consistent. It turns out that he had jumped a few feet down onto an area that had water, which he did not realize until he touched the ground. In trying to break his fall he pulled all kinds of muscles. By the time his butt actually touched the ground he was already in pain. There were other adjustments to our initial discussion, and in the end, he decided that he wanted competence at the hands of a female, but a professional is a professional, so he took Therapist’s number. One week later I learnt that he did not contact the guy.
I’ve heard a saying that goes something like this: The cat eats the rat. None of them exists. Don’t tell them. What are these experiences that we have as Therapists? Are we truly having them, are they having us, or is someone else having them through us? If we don’t exist, why do we take our non-existent selves so seriously and get stressed out? Distress is evidence that we don’t know ourselves. If we had, there would have been no surprises and everything would have been prepared for in advance so there would be nothing to stress over. The solution to stress/illness/imbalance is to know ourselves. Our Doctors know that stress triggers chemical reactions that cause inflammation. Inflammation causes pain, so they fill/kill us with painkillers while the inflammation thrives because our stressors thrives. A tiny bit of inflammation on the tip of a boil can be painful. When that boil bursts we experience relief. We cannot see through our skin to determine how little or how much inflammation has accumulated in a particular area, so when pain strikes we might not initially consider small amounts of inflammation in the tissue as the culprit. As Therapists we are in the stress-relief business and the benefits of lymphatic drainage cannot be overstated as we knowingly or unknowingly try to combat the effects of inflammation. A group of person exposed to the same level of stress can exhibit anything from mild discomfort to frozen shoulder to a complex issue like fibromyalgia. It seems to me that self-knowledge is our best, if not only, medicine. If we know ourselves, then we’d know how to keep all our causes and effects in perfect balance and would not need to seek help outside ourselves. But then it is a complicated matter in that there is no us, no cat or rat, only God by Himself experiencing Himself. He knows Himself, so He has the luxury of becoming all things without them becoming Him (the height of androgyny), and every cat and rat, or whatever form He chooses to take, would be reabsorbed back into Him when it pleases Him. It should bring us some comfort to know that our elations and distresses are experiences being had by God. Remember the story of the man who was born blind and it was not his fault or his parents’? Just God experiencing…at our inconvenience.
This phenomenal existence will consistently test our perceptions of reality, (through the thoughts we harbor in our minds, the persons with whom we interact, etc.), with its million paradoxes. And while our illusions permit us to feel real and in charge, let’s be careful how we entertain or dismiss our clients, for it is God or God either way. How does it affect us to consider that a massage session truly entails God healing Himself through Himself? It might be this factor that explains why, after filling our shelves with a million books on how to effectively manipulate the body to facilitate healing, the best treatments remain the in-spired ones. The ones in which unwritten knowledge pours into us in the moment and there is a direct knowing that has nothing to do with our brain, and when this knowledge is given the reins God is able to maneuver, and we are usually pleased with the results, but are restless, for we can’t explain what exactly we did to achieve the healing our client experienced. It can be humiliating to not have an answer if asked about the specifics of our method that affected the change. But we can choose the humble approach and say to God be the glory, and know at least one thing about our profession: the efficacy of each treatment is dependent on the One who exists. There is no illusion about that.