December 11th, 2015 by Jan

Kim, Jim, Erica, Rachel, Jeff, and Art.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to get massages from these fine folk. The cool part of this is they all have a background in Tai Chi. They are all are good push hands players as well. And while, they’ve all had formal training in massage, the training they have because of push hands is what I look for when I get a massage. The best touching in, in my opinion, is cultivate by pushing hands.

These six people also know me quite well and I know them. Not only are we friends, they know my body’s history. They know my injuries and stress. They know my joy in having massage and they not only make sure I feel good — they also do good body work.

Each has been a huge part of my healing from everything from a ripped up hamstring, to a fucked up family resentment, and big giant knots in my shoulders. I count myself a very lucky person whenever I get on their tables.

Food, clothing, shelter and massage. I’ve said for a very long time these are the staples, if not the basics of a life well lived.

There is no doubt that Ken and I live well, but it took us a while to seek out a massage therapist when we moved to the coast.

The challenge was we didn’t know anyone here. We had one recommendation,  but the woman was in Gibson’s and neither of us wanted to drive 30 km after a massage. The tai chi I’ve seen over here sucks and I doubt very much anyone can push hands with any skill. Okay, I’m speaking with prejudice and not actual knowledge, but I have a hunch.

Anyway, finding a massage person depended on two things for us. #1. They had to either come to our house or be close enough, that we could get home after without spacing out on the ride home, and ruining all the good, and #2. They had to know what they were doing.

We found a guy named Patrick on the google. He works just one street over from us so he was good for #1. The second requirement would take a visit before we could decide.

Even though his web site says he does this and does that, I asked for a “feel good” massage for our first time. I didn’t want him messing with me and Ken if he didn’t know how.

It’s weird going to a stranger for massage after all these years of going to friends. Taking off your clothes, climbing on the table, groaning and letting someone I’ve never met rub on me is… weird.

I’m grateful for all the practice Kim, Jim, Erica, Rachel, Jeff, and Art have provided me with this, and I’m grateful for professional practices as well.

The first massage was right after my dad died. I was a little tense and yes, he made me feel good, but petting a cat would have done the same thing at the time. Neither I nor Patrick said a word. An hour later, I paid, booked another one, and was gone.

The second massage, again I asked for a “feel good” massage. It was right after spending three weeks in the van. Yes, the massage felt really good! Again, no one said a word. I still know nothing of this man except, I can tell his hands are educated and practiced.

Today was the third time on his table. Ken and I had to remind ourselves of his name, that’s how little we interact with Patrick. On the table, massage, massage, here’s your money, thank you, see you next month.

But, today, I asked for a “bit of work,” not just a feel good massage. I asked Patrick to focus on my legs. Yup! Legs.

Now, Tai Chi people know what this means; get the chisel out! Now, I haven’t played Tai Chi in a while, but I’ve still got the legs. I walk a lot, so while my legs are still strong and big, my calf muscle, shins, feet, and thighs crave work. But, I asked for “focus” because of my hamstring. I wrecked it 20+ years ago and it still acts up at times, especially when it’s ignored or given attention.

Patrick and I still haven’t spoken much. I don’t know anything about him really. I did find out he has a nice dog, because there was a pooch lying under the table yesterday. I kind of doubt he knows push hands or Tai Chi, but I will say… he does know how to touch in.


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