massage therapist | photographer

Posts Tagged ‘witness’

really listen … don’t hashtag

In Business, covid-19, CT, landscape, self care, Uncategorized on April 6, 2020 at 7:44 PM

Today was one of the tougher ones. We are all facing our own challenges and changes, ups and downs. I’ve confided to friends how hard it is to be living alone through all of this. No physical contact with another soul, no one to talk with in the middle of the night, when the anxiety often shows up. No other income to rely on. They tell me how hard it is to be stuck at home when they are fighting with their partners, when the kids just told them they suck for the hundredth time, and the dog just ate the meal they cooked when they had to leave the room for five minutes.  We are all riding a roller coaster.

 

I am self-employed and single. When I was forced to close shop on March 15th, and stopped having any income source – I still had two properties to support. Home and business expenses kept coming, and I started a slow, quiet panic. I knew I’d be OK – for a short time… but for how long? Most small businesses, as I’m sure you know by all the people asking you to not forget them during this crisis, run on very small margins.

 

I filed for unemployment as, for the first time, self-employed folks are eligible to apply with the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. I got word that my claim was approved and filed my first one yesterday.  When I checked on the dollar amount this morning, it was …. ZERO. I applied for one of the SBA disaster loans. My claim number was 3,302,753,XXX.  A friend told me that number represents the number of claims that have been filed. Even if that’s not possible … Yikes! Didn’t leave me feeling very hopeful.

 

So, I did what I do. Cried for a few moments, and once I got it all out of my system, began looking for other solutions. Then took a walk. In the woods. It never ceases to be a healing source for me. As I walked down the trail, these tiny landscapes kept catching my eye.  I had to get down on the forest floor to make this image. Look at all the growth that’s going on there! Saplings, blades of grass, flowers … It brought me so much hope for some reason. Maybe it’s the restorative effect of spring, trusting in the cycle of life, regrowth, and rebirth. These small shoots having the courage to find their spot in the larger forest. Or maybe it was just crawling on my knees to get eye level to this scene that reminded me to change my perspective in general. The image isn’t in focus … but neither are our lives right now. Everything is a little fuzzy. And that’s OK.

MiniLandscape4-6-20fb©TaniaPalermo

I’m sharing this in hopes it reaches someone else who may be in similar shoes. To let you know you’re not alone. It can be tough to repeatedly, sometimes mindlessly, hear

#we’re all in this together

when, while yes, we are all staying home in a united effort to protect the collective health and well-being of all – no situation is the same. And I think people really need to be seen. Witnessed. Acknowledged. Not just thrown a hashtag.

 

To some this is an inconvenience. It’s hard and a struggle, but they are working from home, maintaining an income, and will largely be OK.  To some people it means being in danger. There are many in domestic violence situations right now who are living their days in fear. To some it means not being able to buy food for their children.  To some it means losing their livelihood. I’ve already witnessed small businesses closing for good. Not just temporarily during this pandemic.

 

Please know wherever you are, however you’re felling – it’s OK. It’s OK to have decided you’re going to get in shape to run a marathon during this time – and it’s also OK if you’re going to eat cookies and binge watch TV. Nobody else knows how your new life is really affecting you – except for you. So please don’t compare yourself to others. Try to find ways to be gentle and kind to yourself, and reach out if you’re feeling alone.  And try to really witness the people who reach out to you. Don’t just throw them a blanket statement of how we’ll all get through this. That’s not going to look the same for anyone. You may not be able to fix anything for them, but acknowledging their personal struggles throughout all this may help them feel held, truly connected, truly seen, and bolstered up to trudge forward.

14 things I’ve learned since leaving massage school : #5

In CT, Indulge, Manchester, Massage, self care, Uncategorized on March 22, 2016 at 5:44 PM

(March 15th marked 14 years since my first day of massage school out in Port Townsend, WA. I spent a little time reflecting on what I’ve learned from having my hands on countless bodies of all different shapes, sizes, and levels of health over the years.  In random order here are some of my observations and things I wish my clients knew.)

#5  It’s an honor to work with you.

Back when I started my first practice in CT, over 12 years ago now, I had a client come to me to receive massage while she went through her treatment for cancer. I felt unqualified and a little bit nervous to lay my hands on this beautiful soul. At the time I was still fairly fresh out of school and I hadn’t done any long term work with anyone battling that disease. For various reasons, at that time there was still some lingering debate going on about whether or not it was even OK to do certain types of bodywork while a patient was receiving treatment.  [The landscape has changed a lot since then.]

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Needless to say we proceeded mindfully and with approval from her doctor. We were intentional about communication, not doing work that was too deep for her to be able to process, etc.  As the months went by we were doing less physical bodywork and more laying on of hands and energy work because that was all she could handle. My client was losing her battle with cancer and continued to come see me week after week because she needed a safe place to be. She needed to be witnessed. She needed a place to fall apart before she went back to her husband and children at home.  The simple, but powerful art of therapeutic touch gave her comfort and helped fill her spirit just enough to get through a few more hours.

I was heartbroken when I heard she lost her battle with cancer. All these years later I am still awed that she choose me and trusted me to share those sacred moments with her. I consider myself lucky to have spent that time with her and I still feel that way today any time a new client chooses to trust me with their well-being for an hour or so. It is an honor to work with you. ♥

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