I was the Lovely Owl yesterday

My blog post today has nothing to do with challenges, or aging, or commentary on the psychology of pushing myself beyond my limits to maximize my life enjoyment. Today’s blog post is all about surrendering to forces on your body to maximize enjoyment: specifically, 90 minutes of skilled deep-tissue massage therapy.

Good cod, was it good. It was like fat, fluffy puppies good. It was like melted cheese on soft, warm bread good. It was Lovely Owl good.

owl gif

And for an hour after, I had no pain in my body, and I was blissed out. That was my birthday present from my family and it was in the words of Macklemore, “f*cking awesome.”

As Dawn (one of my new favourite people because she is an AMAZING MASSAGE THERAPIST) skillfully stretched and manipulated each gnarled point, I imagined what each knot was made out of. I know (thanks WiseGeek! Boo to you Wikipedia!) that knots are muscle tissue that are in a continual state of contraction and knots have an abnormally high protein content. So basically, something I always suspected is true—I am literally never relaxed. There are parts of me that hold on to tension like people hold on to bars on a rollercoaster.

I imagine the moments my life that caused that muscle to initially contract and stay that way. I feel like I can dissect and identify each part. Say the knot in my right shoulder is made of trying to haul ten bags of groceries in one trip from the car up the stairs into my house on a day when I have exactly 20 minutes to start dinner so that it will cook in time before I have to drive my irritable kids to their lessons before we have two must-do social engagements. But before that, the dog threw up on the rug and someone needs to clean it.  Meanwhile, I had someone tear apart my work at work that day and make me doubt my competence. My commute, normally half an hour, took an hour and 10 minutes. No reason. It just did. The night before, I lay down with a migraine and prayed that it would be gone by morning.  My prayer had been mostly answered, but I felt hung over with a post-migraine achiness that threatens to roar back to life with every flashing light or strong odour. As Dawn kneaded the knot, I imagined the pain, self-doubt, and the traces of that long day be pushed out and into the soft dark corners of that massage room where I can only hope they die quickly and are vacuumed out at the end of the day.

Of course, each knot wasn’t built in a day. I have many days like the one I just described. And I think I lied to you at the beginning of this post. This post may be about growth, after all.

Are we not supposed to make lemonades from life lemons? Maybe it’s time to just weed out the knot-causing annoyances and start from a smooth place. Maybe it’s time for me to take the rotten lemons and throw them back, or maybe throw them at the sh*tty drivers on my commute home instead of flipping them off (maybe one of those drivers is a really nice person at work who tells you that you flipped them off when you’re introduced). Maybe one of my lessons this year is to take what I hold to be true and unravel it. Maybe I push it, and knead it and stretch it until I get to the centre, and make it smooth. And then start again.

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