“It’s best if you don’t fight me, ” Maggie said, sitting across from me in a yoga-pretzel pose that advertised her massage therapy occupation. “Because when I find the trouble spots, I go after them aggressively, and it can either feel really yummy or really awful.”
I like yummy, so I said, “Sure.”
“You’ll need to be very present with your breathing.”
I think I breathe in the present tense, so I said, “Ok.”
She was still warning me, looking me in the eye. ”If you tense up we won’t get the desired results, you understand.”
“Got it.” And with that, in my exhaustion of not having slept the night before, I lay on her table with one thought above all others: “Sweet sleep, come to momma.”
But there would be no sleeping on that table. Maggie began her kneading and must have found trouble from the get-go because I had to fight not to CRY for my momma when she started working out the knots in my neck and shoulders.
I’ve had my fair share of massages, and when they ask what kind of pressure I’d like I usually say firm or deep, because I figure, go for the gusto. But Maggie redefined firm. Mother of our Lord, she left no muscle unviolated with her powerful hands.
At about 5 minutes in I knew what she meant by being present with my breathing. I couldn’t lapse or daydream and draw a few lazy breaths whenever I felt like it. She was working every deep seated ache in the depths of my muscle structure and I NEEDED OXYGEN TO SURVIVE THE AGONY!! Seriously….I almost cried twice. I had to deliberately inhale and exhale for my body to stay in sync with the rhythm of her work.
Painful? YES. But I could feel the pain achieving a purpose I’d later experience as a loosening, relaxing, realigning of where things ought to be before I’d worked them into a state of such tension. That was the yummy part.
I gingerly walked out to my car after that session and couldn’t help but see the NEON SIGN of a spiritual application…( I can’t help it, I think in metaphors a lot)
In Scripture, God is called the Potter and we are the clay. His hands twist and knead into the core of our personalities and thoughts to shape us. We’ve got spiritual and emotional knots that need intense pressure to loosen and smooth out. AND OH, HOW IT HURTS! But if we stay present with our breathing–stay open to the Spirit, take in His peace, His comfort, His promises and continue exhaling His life in us to others–we can endure it. And sometimes even transcend the pain, knowing it’s transforming us in ways that are necessary.
I’m learning that it’s best if we don’t fight Him.