Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Massage Therapy

So massage, huh?
Most people are a little curious as to why I decided to become a massage therapist and what it entails.
How it all started—After my first two semesters at BYU, I decided I wanted to get a job and work that summer. I spent a weekend in St. George, hoping to find a summer job. I applied to many places, mostly spas. I was looking for front desk/secretarial work. A couple days into applying at various places, I decided I wanted to become a massage therapist. Yes, it was rather random and a very quick decision. The best decisions I’ve made seem to be made like that. After my little weekend trip was finished, I went back to Provo and started researching massage therapy schools. Within two weeks, I’d researched different schools, their programs and costs, made my decisions and presented my plan to my parents. (Little side note here: My parents are just amazing. They are supportive and loving and trusting of me. I love them so much!)
So massage therapy school began. It was a rather rigorous program, taken over 7½ months. Classes started at 9am and ended at 5:30pm, Monday through Thursday. We learned different modalities including: Swedish, Reflexology, Cranial Sacral, Trigger-point, Structural, Hydrotherapy, Sports, Russian, Acupressure and Shiatsu. We were able to take anatomy and pathology and, let me tell you, the human body is amazing. I’ve gained such an appreciation for the body. God knows what he’s doing concerning our bodies.
A few weeks into the program, we started Saturday clinics, which is where the school provided discounted massages for the pubic. We as students were required to give 5 massages in a row every Saturday for the next consecutive 21 weekends. The last two months I was able to work in Friday clinic. It was an interesting and hard experience, but so amazing. Never before had I had the chance to work with people (my clients) to achieve the purpose they had in mind. It was so great. Learning to really listen to people, while incorporating listening to what their body says while working on them, is one of the coolest experiences.  

This is where my late night mind wanderings and philosophies on life come out. A little peek inside my mind, if you will. So enjoy reading what I think I know about life. :) 

I will never be able to write or express everything that I learned during this period in my life, but here are a few personal realizations that continue to influence who I am:
It’s one of those experiences that has so much behind it that has influenced me formed me, but what is seen is only the surface. I think that is an amazing thing. Behind what everybody says or does, are the experiences that shaped them. And we only get to see that very small part that they choose to show (and sometimes what they unconsciously show. I love it when that happens). It’s amazing and humbling to realize what people have more to them than we initially see. Friendship is an amazing thing, because you learn to love them for who they really are, not just as what they appear or initially say. When you judge someone, you cut off that opportunity to love them. So no judgments here.
Throughout this whole experience, I’ve realized that there is a higher way of living. There is so much more than we can’t even grasp in this life! I’ve learned to listen to my body and spirit. Everything is connected. Our thoughts, our feelings, our emotions, our beliefs, our actions, what we see, what we say, what we surround ourselves with. Our body is inextricably bound up with our spirit and our mind. I’ve learned to connect with something larger than myself. And to pay attention the tiniest details. I’ve learned to open my mind and heart. I‘ve learned to love.
As massage therapists touch is, obviously, a very significant part of our practice. If we understand how important touch is and how easy it is to communicate emotion through touch, we could help facilitate healing through out therapeutic emotional connection others.  Professional side aside, I’ve learned how much a hug can mean, how reaching out to hold someone’s hand can mean. It’s amazing that our physical bodies have the capability to touch another’s soul. It’s a sacred and beautiful thing that should be used to show love on many levels: parents, brother, sister, acquaintances, friends, spouse.  
I hope to remind people that they are important and beautiful. To remind them that life is beautiful.  People can be broken, sad and hurt. In this world of judgment, hate and pain, I want to help people realize that they are so much more, through love and acceptance. Because life is so much more. This life is here for us to actually live. We can’t do that if weighed down by whatever we let weigh us down.
We won’t find ourselves in someone else.  Living inward to establish, then outward to experience.  We must be stable in our beliefs, thoughts, opinions before we can serve others. Never as a superior, but as an equal with different understandings. This idea of self-actualization fascinates, sustains and invigorates me. Living on a higher plane, a transcendent way of living.
I hope to become more than I am. 
There is so much out there. There is a world with billions of people on it. People that have grown up in different places of the world, been in diverse situations, had many experiences and hardships, seen views of the world, formed opinions, know languages, phrases, words and had ideas that I have never even thought of before. I want to experience this, through people, with no judgment and no restrictions to hold me back from expanding my mind.
 Every experience I have will continue to open my eyes to everything I want to become.  It’s another opportunity to improve upon myself.  Always striving for better. By no means am I perfect in practicing everything that I’ve learned. But I’m so thankful the Lord has opened my eyes enough to at least see these things, if not incorporate them in my life.     

And through this life long process I want to come to know me.  I want to glimpse the potential and always strive for better. I want to find what I love. I hope to reach higher and expand and learn. I hope to be happy and truly enjoy everything that life has to offer, every moment. And help others do the same. Making connections through people, places, food, experiences, laughs, cries, the love felt and the healing and happiness that occurs by and around people who have found this peace in their life. And help people realize this same thing, and thus assist in healing them. We’re here to be happy. And happiness comes from love, comfort, peace, service, honesty, respect, vitality, self-actualization, transcendence. What a beautiful thing to be able to experience life. 


All right, here is the backstory to my deciding to go on a mission, for those of you who are interested.

First off, here’s a quick summary of my life as of late—After graduating high school, I attended two semesters at BYU. At the end of my second semester, I was accepted into the BA art program with an emphasis on illustration. Receiving that news was one of the most exciting times of my life. I was, and still am, amazed that I was accepted and so grateful that I’m provided this opportunity to attend school and learn about what I love! That summer, I enrolled at massage therapy school. (More about that indescribably amazing experience in my next post.) After graduating in December and receiving my massage therapy license, I was blessed to get a job as a massage therapist at Modifi Salon & Spa (check them out here-Tricia, the owner of the business, is an amazing lady. She was such a support as I started up my business. It has been such a blessing to work with her and the other ladies working there). I also returned to BYU and attended Winter and Spring semesters. I was fully intending to continue taking classes until I graduated. I love what I’m studying. I love my profession and my job. I loved where I was living. I found friends that love me. I met so many amazing people. My ward was amazing. I was having a great time learning and loving. The Lord truly is in every aspect of my life. He blesses me with so much. Life was good.
And then it got better.
I was visiting home from college for a weekend. May 18th (my brother’s senior piano recital). Serving a mission was the farthest thing from my mind. It wasn’t actually even in my mind at all. I attended my home stake conference where the theme was hastening the work and furthering the Lord’s kingdom. After the Saturday night session, I thought to myself, ‘Okay. Why have I not considered going on a mission?’ I remember when the announcement was made that sisters could serve at age 19 in the April 2013 General Conference, and I didn’t even consider it. I heard the announcement and it just flitted right through my thoughts. So now, I decided to actually face the question. And I realized that I was letting small fears and insecurities hold me back. This is a constant lesson I’m learning, but I realize how inhibiting fears can be. How much energy do we waste on being scared? On worrying and fretting, about whatever it may be? That energy can much better be used towards more uplifting directions in our lives. And then I realized that by putting my faith in the Savior, those fears do not matter! Yes, I believe there is a place for awareness and the right amount of stress is a very good thing. But faith in the gospel and an understanding of the Atonement of Christ puts everything into perspective and allows for those fears to be absorbed into his great and everlasting love. Once that idea was firmly stationed in my head, I decided to actually face the question of whether I should serve a mission. And the second I considered it, I knew that it was the perfectly right thing for me to do.
How important it is to learn how the spirit speaks to you! Just with my decisions to study illustration and attend BYU and massage therapy school, and I’m sure other major decision I will make in the future, a calm, peaceful, steady feeling came over me, letting me know that this is right! Nothing could ever, ever shake me once I have felt that feeling. ‘Oh, remember, remember’…I’m learning the meaning of that phrase more and more. When those insecurities and fears start to creep in, I just remember the affirmation I received when making my decision. Remember how it feels when you have the spirit testify to you! Remember and foster that feeling and many of the distractions of the adversary will be deflected. Remember that our Father in Heaven and our elder brother, Jesus Christ, loves us and wants us to be happy! Remember that the Lord has a plan for us! His timing is always the right timing. Remember that being open to the Lord’s influence in our lives allows us to have a happy and fulfilling mortal experience. I am just so grateful for the Lord’s influence in my life and am so grateful for this experience to serve a mission.


Okay friends and family...here is said mission blog. :)
My papers will be submitted this week! And two to three weeks after that, I will receive my mission call! I thought I'd start a blog now, to keep everyone updated. 

I would like the purpose of this blog to be 1) to uplift and inspire others through my experiences and testimony 2) to provide a type of connection with my family and friends while I am away serving the Lord 3) and an opportunity for me to practice ordering and expressing my thoughts and opinions clearly and concisely.

I will try to make this blog as coherent as possible. If you've tried having a serious conversation with me, or even just listened to me speak, you know my thoughts and my trying to connect those thoughts as words that make a cohesive statement is like unraveling an endless ball of knotted yarn. Sometimes, I don’t use complete sentences and random words are thrown about, hoping they’ll land somewhere and convey what I’m thinking. I hope that writing with the purpose of sharing will help me learn how to gather my thoughts and express them clearly. I am also learning that my opinions are valid and important. I’ve decided I need to do things that scare me. And sharing my thoughts scares me. (I’m going to learn a lot on the mission, huh?) This blog is as much for me as it is for my friends and family. I just hope my words will influence you who read this for good. I am very grateful and excited for the opportunity to serve a mission, as I will definitely learn so much, including how to communicate and express myself clearly, so as to let the spirit work through me to reach other people.

My writing style is rather wordy, so free feel to scan and take what you will from my probably over-lengthy posts. :) 

This blog is meant to keep in touch with family-I can't even begin to say how much I love you! The support you’ve shown me throughout the years has really touched me. The more I experience in life, the more I realize how large a part family is to our Father in heaven’s plan. And I am very grateful to have you as my family. Not to mention that fact that you are just amazing individuals! You’re off doing and learning cool things and growing in your own way, and I truly appreciate your examples and your willingness to support me in my own adventures. 

And friends-Just let me tell you, I love you all so much! if you have the slightest feeling that you are a friend, you are. If you have made the slightest imprint on my life, let me tell you, you are my friend. If you have showed any kindness to me, let me tell you, you are my friend. And I love you and care about you! You are important to me. I can’t tell you how it has impacted me to have people in my life that care about me. I only hope that I have returned that to you and been a gracious and accepting friend.

I do hope that my experiences will uplift and inspire those of you who read it. I hope that I can communicate the love I have for you and the love the Savior has for you. I know this blog is one of many, many other blogs dedicated to sharing the experiences of elders and sisters as they serve missions for the Lord. So, as one of the thousands out there, I add my testimony to theirs.

I know this gospel is true. I know Christ lives. He walked on this earth and suffered for my sins and heartaches and sorrows. He provided a way for me to return to our Father in Heaven. I know that I cannot do it by myself, and I have a testimony of taking advantage of the Atonement, not only to repent of sins, but also to continually better myself. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon. I know that the essential truths of the gospel were restored to him, and we have those truths available to us now. I know that we have inspired leaders and a prophet to direct this church through this changing and fallen world. I know that everything will work out. I know that each one of us is loved and understood by our friend and Savior, and I end in his name, Jesus Christ, amen.

Look at my handsome brother. He is serving a mission also! What a blessing to have such an amazing brother and example! Check out his mission blog here.