My path to meditation began with skepticism. If you would have asked me a few years ago if I have ever or could ever practice mindfulness meditation, my answer would have been a swift “no”. I never thought it was my kind of thing. I always thought I could find plenty of other ways to de-stress and recharge my body, but truthfully I didn’t really know what meditation was, nor had I ever heard of mindfulness as a practice of stress reduction
It was not until I left my previous career and began to study massage therapy, that all of that changed.
I spent my days learning about the structure and function of all of the areas of the human body, especially the brain and nervous system and the importance of relaxation and stress reduction in overall health and well being. I was also taught the importance of using touch to help create self awareness for another person, which in turn began to teach me about my own awareness.
I believe that working as a massage therapist allowed me, for the first time in my life, to truly be present in mind and body. It seemed so much easier to shut off from the outside world when I was doing it for another person’s benefit instead of my own. There was no email, no phone calls, and no wandering thoughts while I worked with my clients. My only focus was on their body, starting at one end and working all the way to the other while noting their breathing and any areas of discomfort they might be experiencing. I was paying attention to what was going on at that very moment, What do I feel beneath my hands? What does their muscle tissue beneath the skin feel like? What do I see? What is their posture telling me? When an unrelated thought would creep into my mind, I would acknowledge it, but quickly let it go. I felt I would be doing my client a disservice if my mind were to be anywhere other than with their well being at that time, so it was easy to refocus on the task at hand. As I look back on this now, I see that I was beginning to teach myself the building blocks of Mindfulness Meditation by focusing completely on my clients.
I was also beginning to experience the benefits of meditation. After a busy day working on clients, I didn’t feel mentally drained like I used to in my previous career. I felt energized, focused, happy, and all of my relationships outside of work began to improve. I started to really wonder, “to what do I owe this new found clarity?” As I look back at this question now, the only words I can think of are not my own, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” –Ghandi.
If you have ever wondered about mindfulness meditation and how you can use it in your life, you don’t need to become a massage therapist to figure it out 🙂 You can simply register for our Mindfulness@Work Webinar
Alice Dommert, deliver me wellness CEO, will guide you through this 4-week series based on the work of Jon Kabat-Zin’s Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program. It will help you learn about and develop a mindfulness meditation practice that can be used for wellness, calm and clarity at work and in life.
Be well…it’s a state of mind.
Sarah Murray, LMT, NCTMB
deliver me wellness