Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Massage Gently

Healing is a stubborn exercise. It will not be rushed. Any attempt to do so may result in an extension of the process. This goes for the body as well as the heart. The deeper the wound, the longer the time to heal. Some wounds heal faster than others, some require surgery. Some leave scars.

I am an inpatient woman at times. I want to get from point A to point B. I have no intention of stopping to smell anything let alone roses. Or breath deeply. Or live in the moment. Or just be. I don't want to enjoy the journey, or listen to people that tell me to enjoy the journey.  I even get annoyed brushing my teeth at night, I just want to be in bed.  I am a destination person.

Especially when it comes to healing. With healing it is worse. If I am injured I get angry. Slow down? What? Delay further? I look at my broken bicycle as car after car zips by on the highway of "Insert goal/desire/dream/lifemarker here." I don't want to face the fact that I am a late bloomer prone to injury. A turtle with a thin shell. I don't want to confront my vulnerability. I want to scream at my fragility. And when I hit a bump and fall, I will do everything I can to hurry up and heal.

Such was the case a few months ago.

I was bracing for the pain. Well, that is a bit dramatic. I was getting ready for a massage at a local spa. I saved my money and was looking forward to a 90 minute escape. Candles, maybe a nap, completed with the elevator music playing from the CD player in the corner. It was going to be a rare "moment of being" for me but something had changed. A week before I injured myself while jogging. (Not running mind you, jogging.)

"Great," I thought, now I can have the masseuse work out the kinks of my injury, perfect timing." I laid myself down and waited. I heard the door open, and I glanced up. The Healer was standing over me. I mumbled something about my injury and the masseuse simply nodded. I scanned the room for a last minute mouth guard (no luck) and positioned my hands to grip something. The masseuse began to work, inching close to the injured area. I was bracing myself to feel the "working out" of my wound.

It never happened.

Instead, the healer pushed gently and wrapped their hands around the area as if giving it a hug. Slowly, tenderly. And then moved on. I let out a slightly confused, slightly annoyed, mostly grateful deep breath. I didn't want more pain after all. I needed a gentle touch.

I forget that. I forget to give myself grace. I forget to allow my heart to heal for as long as it needs to. I forget to simply nod, embrace the pain and tenderly allow it to take its time. A long sweet time.

I forget to the do the same for others too. I wonder what would happen if we all remembered. To embrace instead of press. To love instead of rush. To massage tenderly.

My injury was healed a few weeks later. I was pain free. Ready to jog again. This time, I may just walk awhile instead.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

For the love of libraries

I love the smell of books. Not new books. New books I love to hear the small creaking sound when I crack the pages open for the first time and run my hand down the crease of the spine, lovingly, a few times over.

I love the smell of old books. It smells like grandmother’s attic. It smells what I would imagine Sherlock Holmes’ house to smell like. Or the 1800’s in general. I grab one and inhale. Inhale again, sigh, a musty story-lovers high.

Where I am? The library. It may be a slowing fading modern relic to some but not for me. There is nowhere else in the world where I get the same feeling as I do when pass through city hall’s courtyard and walk through those doors. So many books! So many smells! 

And then? The treasure hunt begins. I go to a magic portal. I type in a few words about a story I want to know more about and wah lah! A code pops out! I know where to find it. I write down my coordinates on a scrap piece of paper with a small eraser-less pencil and I am off. Moving through rows and rows of other treasures. Passing by fellow treasure seekers until I get to THE row. I slow down my gait and creep forward wanting to extend the search just a little bit more. I kneel down to look and, oh no! It’s not there! I look down again and re-check, breathing a sigh of relief. I was looking at the 3 when it says 9. I creep forward, looking again and… X marks the spot!

Tablets don’t give you a treasure hunt. Kindles don’t smell like grandma’s attic. Technology just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe its because I am just so tried of staring at a screen all the time. I stare at work, my computer, at Netflix, on my phone. My frenemy phone.

Where else can I go and walk into a room weighted with action packed silence? Where else can I walk by that antiquated cabinet full of local high school memorabilia? (Or in my case growing up, visiting the back corner where the headdress and arrowheads were kept.) Where else can I wonder why exactly does that person need the private soundproof see-through study room? Where else can I see people from all walks of life?

And tonight there is much to see. A gentleman wearing sunglasses with a side missing while indoors. Two ladies with funky hats giggling in a corner. A man designing a beautiful geometric construction on the computer with a large suitcase at his side. The lady at the desk with the white blinged-out nails. A man with tattoos flipping through pages.  An artist working furiously with his pastels. I creep closer pretending to look at tax forms. He is drawing a Picasso-like sea creature. His case is almost as old as my book.

My book. Not my treasure. This is something I picked up along the way. I grabbed the oldest book I could find. Partly to assure it that it still matters. This one is called “For the Children’s’ Hour.” It was written by two women kindergarten teachers published in 1917. Copyright 1906. Who were these women? Why did they write the book? What happened to them?

This is why I love the library. I get to be alone and quiet without really being alone. I am surrounded by thousands stories and the people who wrote them. All treasures to someone.
I open a page to bonus treasure and do what many have done. Open in the middle and read the first line I see. “I wish I were a prince. I want to ride in a carriage with a golden umbrella held over my head.” I smile and close the book, lifting it to my nose. I continue walking through the rows of treasure, the golden umbrella over my head.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

A Virture

Deep breath...count to 10. One one thousand, can this line go any slower. Two one thousand, 137 days until Christmas. Three one thousand, get in the car now!  Four one thousand, how long do I have to stay here? Five one thousand...

In our everyday fast-paced lives we want what we want right now and if we don't get it we complain. 
The definition of patience according to Google ( I don't miss the irony) is this: 
Patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

I am always wary of working on patience because I am scared to see what life is going to bring my way when I do. In certain Christian circles, they are jokes about praying for patience. You just don't do it unless you want to spend the next three years in some horrible circumstance. Or so we think. Or fear. 

But all kidding aside, patience is one of the best things that we can have, and one of the greatest expressions of love for others that we can give. 

I only remember one time I slammed the door when I was growing up. I know I did it more. It was strange because it was my parents bedroom door not my own and I have no idea why I was upset. I had a smile on my face when I did it. Proud of my defiant act. Waiting to see what my parents would do next. Looking back on it I probably needed sleep. What happened? My parents let it go. They didn't punish me. They never even mentioned it. They extended patience in my curious rebellion. I never remember slamming a door again.

We all have moments when we are not at our best, when we disappoint, get cranky and fall apart. It is these moments when we need people to be patient with us. So... I challenge you to return the favor. Practice patience. Be patient with others. Be patient with yourself. Be patient with God if you believe. In doing so you will be practicing love too. 

"Love is patient..."