My 7 1/2 Minute Lesson

For how much longer
will his little hand seek mine,
earnestly, in love?
”””””””””””””””””””””’
At work today there was a celebration – a “thank you” for everyone for their hard work. One feature was free chair massages, and I happened into the room where they were set up just as a cancellation came in. Bonus! I got my massage straight away.

It was a very good one. She instantly found the knot in my shoulder-blade that keeps lighting off every time I lift my arm. She had a firm but gentle touch. I could hardly believe I was at work.

And then I started to worry… how long had she been at this…were my 15 minutes up yet… wait, was that a “wrap up” move… she’s working on my hands, that must mean she is almost done…damn, I wish this could go longer… 15 minutes is so short…I wonder if I can have another appointment…

And that’s how I ruined the chair massage. I spent half the time in my head asking myself all these questions and worrying about the next moment. I wasn’t enjoying the massage itself or how relaxed I was able to get. I was thinking and thinking and thinking.

In a flash of insight, I realized a terrible parallel and asked myself a question I didn’t want to answer: How much of my life do I spend not in the moment, enjoying the sensations, but “in the worry”, anticipating what’s next? The answer? A lot. And I’m not ruining chair massages with this worry, I’m missing the small, intimate moments with those I cherish most. I have worked a lot harder the last 3-4 months to be more present with my husband and kids. To not work through my “to do” list mentally while with them. To actually just hang out and watch TV and not also feel compelled to dust or straighten up at the same time.  To not ask about what’s next while in the middle of what’s now. It has been hard.  I’m not used to that level of intensity and focus (or, for that matter, self forgiveness for things not completed). I am the product of our times, addicted to moving from one thing to the next, not penetrating (with attention or action) any one thing very long. Or worse, I’m a guilt-ridden working mom trying to do a little of everything to seem like I’m able to handle it all.

But my 15 minutes in the chair helped me understand the tragedy of this. Here I was at a physical level, feeling the difference between a massage where I was present and one where I was worried — and the difference was astounding.  I grew sad that I never fully recognized how diminished my mental, emotional and/or spiritual engagement was in other situations where I was sacrificing my present focus.

I know I’ve been doing better, being more present, and yet I still have capacity for more.   I’ve decided I’m done ruining the metaphorical chair massages of every day life.

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9 Comments

  1. Wow great insight! Thanks for sharing / reminding!

    Reply
  2. What an incredible post for all of us! Thank you so much. It parallels a lot of what the last two days of my life have been like. Missing out on the full experience of enjoying yoga, a steam room, and hot tub, as well as being treated to lunch! Half of me was feeling guilty about not being home in case my disabled son or husband needed me, and as it turned out, they did. But they got by. They weren’t traumatized, hurt mentally or physically or harmed in any way. So who benefited from my guilty neurotic brain splitting? No one! Again, thanks so much. Blessings and peace to you and may we both welcome the wisdom of staying in the moment!

    Reply
  3. ldmccormck

     /  February 15, 2012

    Beautiful!!

    Reply
  4. This post is awesome and congratulations, I just nominated you for the ABC Award, check it out here: http://allaboutlemon.com/2012/02/15/abc-award-1-and-2/
    Enjoy and have fun 🙂
    Dolly

    Reply
  5. Such wisdom and insight. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  6. And, a great haiku, too!

    Reply
  7. I hope you get a massage again, now that you have learned the lesson that all moms have to learn at some point.

    Reply

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