When I look at a persons’s body who has come to see me for massage, there are often things that are obviously out of alignment or imbalanced in some very apparent way. There are also things that are much more subtle and require more discernment and hands on and exploration to find and work with. Then there is a whole category of things that show up or shift during or after the massage that are a direct or indirect result of some specific area I am working on. Often I have a sense of how one thing will influence another, how working with some muscular, fascial, or postural imbalance may affect another area of the body. But since our bodies are never static and always shifting, the results of any type of work must be continually evaluated to see if it is bringing about the desired effect or not, and if other things are emerging that I didn’t anticipate to start with.
The point is this. The best I can do for my clients and myself as their massage therapist is to focus on and give my complete attention to that which is under my hands in the moment. I can truly only directly affect change in one place at a time, and it is most effective for me to put my energy into that place at that time and to continually check in with my client to see how they are doing, what they are feeling, and what other things are coming up in their body. Then we can together look at the big picture to determine where to go next, both in that session and in their overall massage goals as well to affect the most positive change that is possible through our work together.
It is no small jump to apply this to life as well. It is in the moments of specific focus, of truly being present in each moment of life to the degree possible, that I can tackle the big picture of my life one piece at a time. I often have no specific knowledge of how one thing will affect another, and the uncertainty is sometimes huge. But what I know to be true is that it is most effective for me to give my all to the thing I am doing, in massage and in life, and to be curious, open to, and ready for whatever may happen as a result. And the next step, whatever it is, usually becomes clear rather quickly when I approach my life and my massage practice that way–one moment, one massage at a time.