Some weeks ago I decided to treat myself with a full-body massage. It was not a usual Swedish massage I sometimes go to, but a special healing massage. It was something new for me.

When I arrived at the place, the Lady, I saw for the first time in my life, welcomed me with a smile. After the courtesy hello’s and a small talk that happens on such occasions, she asked whether we could start. I said “Yes”.

“What is your intention?”, she looked into my eyes. She was all ears, giving me a full attention.

I was surprised, perhaps even shocked. No masseur / therapist has ever asked me this question, neither in this way. And all over the years I visited various therapists on various occasions. The standard question usually evolves around “What’s your problem?”, “What brings you here?”, or “How can I help?”

I was surprised because asking about the intention is a coaching question. I loved it, of course. And you may imagine I’ve immediately liked the Lady too.

She was tough though.

“I want to release all negative emotions from my body”, I answered.

She looked into my eyes and said:

“No, this is not your intention. Look deeper. “

She was right. Negative emotions were only at the surface. They were important but not the real thing. So, in order to move closer to the real issue I decided to name the main emotion.

“It is about anger”, I said, “I feel it all over me.”
“I’m angry about the chain of events in my life that knocked down all my foundations.”, I added, “I am empty-handed. I have nothing to built on.”

Then I started to describe my issue in more detail. She stopped me half way.

“I’m not asking about the details.” She said. “They are not important.”

“What do you mean?”, I asked.

“What you describe is not about your intention”, she continued.

She was right again.

First, an intention is not about problems. It is not about what you don’t want or what you want to avoid or release. Intention is about whom you want to become, what you want to have, what you want to do or experience.

Secondly, I was not sufficiently specific. I moved deeper under the surface of my skin, so to speak, but what I was describing was not my intention. These were issues around my intention.

“Search deeper”, she commanded. “Name it.”

Of course, I knew what my intention was. I did not formulate it with words, but I knew what I came with. I was simply afraid to bring it into the light and to name it.

I was afraid because the intention was huge. The intention was encompassing the unknown. The intention was about something totally new. I was scared.

“Name it.” She repeated.

And I did. I made it explicit. Personal and positively stated. 

Suddenly my eyes were filled with tears. I touched the real thing in myself and I felt both relieved and vulnerable in that moment.

“That’s the point”, she said. “I recognize this is the truth.”

Then she continued,  “Let’s work on it.”

And what followed was an amazing massage.

***

I want to make two points with this story.

Point 1. First, there is the initial thought and/or the initial intention behind our actions. It is impossible to be conscious about all our intentions, but I believe that growth becomes natural when we realize our key intentions. We need to make them explicit.

What is your intention for this day?
What is your intention for this work?
What is your intention for this action?
What is your intention for this meeting?
What is your intention for this relation?
What is your intention for this complaint or excuse?
What is your intention for this visit/travel/journey?

Point 2. Secondly, massages act wonderfully on the whole person. It may seem that they only work to relax the body,  but it is a partial view. You may think that we can achieve similar or better results by other means, e.g. fitness, team sports such as tennis, football or volleyball, stretching exercises, prayer, going to the movies, meeting with friends and so on. I don’t think so.

Massages are a different modality that cannot be easily replaced. While regular exercises make wonders, while friends can lift our spirit, we cannot address all tense and difficult areas in the body.

In the very old times, the (healing) massage techniques were kept secret. They were available to the privileged ones, such as kings, gurus, leaders or priests. Why? Because massages were meant to re-model the person: help her to get rid of all patterns and beliefs impressed by upbringing, experiences or community. The goal was to prepare a person for an advanced and fast learning.

Nowadays we have a plethora of manual therapies and massages available, but we don’t treat them with respect. They can help you change, abandon limiting beliefs and transform the patterns that hold you in the past.

Give it a go and enjoy the flow!

I encourage you to ask around for a great masseur. Great massages can literally change your life for nicer.

***

The image above shows a beautiful quilt by Inge Duin. See more of her works on  www.ingeduin.nl.

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