Where We Call Home

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Last month, the blog posts here dealt mostly with the theme of self-love.

It's such a huge topic that I'd like to continue with it this month, specifically dealing with our feelings toward our bodies.

I was reading an article** in my latest bodyworker's magazine, in which the author, massage therapist Lee Ronald, describes her first professional contact with real bodies:

"Therefore when I was confronted with my first bodies for massage practice, I did so with an awareness that these were both bags of skin and profound receptacles of a lifetime of being human."

"Profound receptacles of a lifetime of being human."

Does that not conjure up a deeper sense of respect for this bag o'bones that we so take for granted, and sometimes treat with feelings of ambivalence, or even disdain?

Ronald was using this metaphor as a reminder to bodyworkers of the wonder of the human body, and that what we do is an honor and a gift, and an opportunity to see and feel past the societal standards of beauty, to embrace the life stories in the form of flesh that we are presented with daily.

I believe, as Ronald does, that as bodyworkers, we are capable of bringing this awareness of inherent beauty to our clients, beginning first with holding this awareness in ourselves while we lay our hands on them. Her lamentation, and the point of the article, was that this perspective was not taught in massage school, but instead a stance of 'objective' detachment.

But while detachment may be necessary to a degree on a professional level, with it, she observed, came judgment for the 'less-than-perfect' bodies, and how could this really help the people we were trying to serve, as well as continue to stoke our own passion for chosen profession?

The human body is truly a thing of beauty to behold... both the external appearance and the astonishing inner workings.

I intend to explore this theme in the coming weeks, proving the case made in the previous statement, and I hope you will offer your thoughts and contributions as well.

** The article mentioned above, "Honoring the Body", by Lee Ronald, appears in the March/April 2009 issue of Massage and Bodywork magazine. This article will be available online (http://abmp.com) in the coming weeks.