Monday, April 26, 2010

Be Willing to be Touched by Others

There is a place I noticed called, Blind Massage. The blue sign would be darkened, the shades drawn, and I would exhale deeply at the missed moment. I was drawn to this place like a magnet, because I like to find things that are in plain sight. The title intrigued me, a new mystery for me to discover, that seemed to taunt me on my evening walks.

Sometimes, you forget things when the door appears to be closed, and it just seems like a missed opportunity. On one night, I peered in because I just couldn't let this place go. Every time, the same scene; a strange foreign girl (me) peering in at the massage tables...only three of them...and a darkened room. Blind Massage seemed like a strange name. I would have easily forgotten it, had it been named something else. I could have gone anywhere else, but I would look at the glitzy spas and just keep walking. The young women dressed more like call girls, rather than masseurs. Long red lacquered nails and gowns with furs that said nothing of any deeper ability. Sure, I shouldn't judge them. I don't. I just kept thinking of a little place where only the locals frequented.

After, I returned from teaching today, I decided to take my walk earlier. My messages to friends and family could wait, after all I was filled with thoughts of a lecture I had just given on our need to create and to imagine. It was a strange walk, one of those walks where I just felt like everything was magic. Those too happy moments, that tend to irritate people. I was in a strangely great mood on a Monday, a day that everyone hates, and I always have loved (yes, I love Mondays). Mondays were a day were I would think about how I could improve on something, during the week...an attitude, a belief, a habit gone wrong - in short, a day of new beginnings. Instead of once a year, I got 52 opportunities to recreate my life. That was the way I used to view Mondays...the placebo effect worked, because that mindset spread to everyday.

A PhD student was staring at me in class, and he apologized, "I'm sorry, I just realized you are beautiful." Every teacher with gray hair should be so lucky to hear that from a student, let alone from a culture that doesn't believe Western women are 'hot'. I went into a store and found a pair of pants I liked, but they were too long. "Wait, try them on and I can shorten them for you in 20 minutes." Ah...OK? Yes, look at the map...ah...yes, I am in China. I went down the block a little further, and there was a make up store...ladies...I can't tell you how hard it is for me to find foundation...yes, foundation in this country...I have been looking for 3 months. A lady was making up a young girl. I smile, and look around, and then pull out my compact...and let her know what I need..."Oh, of course we have that here..." REALLY? I went through a search of at least 50 stores...not a one...OK... The next, had a scarf I was looking for...the right fabric too.

It's Monday...a special day. And the blue light was on. Blind Massage was open. Oh, no, this was tooo good. Not for a moment did I hesitate or even worry that I might be turned away. I walked in and there was a line, but oh, just enough space for me to sit down. I didn't know any Chinese, but I saw with my own eyes...why...the blind were giving massages. I was excited...and became willing to be touched and not just touch.

I pulled out my practice script, and showed a lady my limited ability...and was encouraged by them. "Look...she's learning..." I took a picture and realized what I was seeing. I learned how to stop seeing when it was my turn and closed my eyes and surrendered to feeling. A massage with my clothes on...that felt like I had been invaded with healing fingers. A man articulated every muscle and I realized the journey in that moment.
A beauty that surpassed the girls I walked away from, to the beauty of their sighted hands in this little place. I felt I learned how in this moment to be touched by people who are normally either stared at or walked away from. I was the first foreigner that had ever come into their business, who wasn't afraid to be touched by their hands.

9 comments:

Aine Butler-Smith said...

How fascinating and wonderful. Great post, thank you for sharing the experience.

marci-me said...

Nice to hear from you again Marilyn. Their sensate abilities must be rather enhanced as they use them to see...how wonderful that they found a meaningful practice that can utilize their unique talent!
M.

Heather Conroy said...

An auspicious Monday indeed! I enjoyed hearing a snippet of one of your 52 opportunities to grow.

Katherine Jenkins said...

What a wonderful story Marilyn...I imagine the touch of someone who sees through their hands or body must be very powerful. It has been wonderful to read about your experiences in China here.

Marilyn said...

I was inspired by the way they came together, to create a business that showed their strengths. The freedom to do that. There was something else that struck me about this business. Customers could just be themselves, not worry about their appearance. The feeling of comfort was saturating that place, a welcoming atmosphere that felt like home and not a business. A very wealthy man was there and he said to me, "no one can touch like the blind."
As far as my view on Mondays...I used to hate them, and realized if I kept that mindset, I was hating one/seventh of my life...wasting it on a negative feeling...just because it is "Monday". The gratitude for being able to work, do, move, whatever I needed to find to change little mindsets, bits of selfishness, unforgiving attitude....or being late...everything went on the table. To use imagination to turn around something I didn't like. 365 days of opportunity...of seeing magic in ordinary events.

A 'good for you' attitude can come. But it raises up joy. It raises up love. It kills jealousy and greed. There is no lack, no want, no envy, no strife.

A gateway to contentment...in just being. A hard concept for a competitive world to grasp...when we see our own beauty is beyond comparing because we are all beautiful creatures hiding behind masks. The revolutionary thing is to love.

Much love to all of you ladies...

Mansi said...

You know your words are powerful when you inspire someone into action. I baked brownies for all my office colleagues and interns after reading your post. I was asked by many people "Anything special?" especially since treats are usually reserved for Happy Fridays not Gloomy Mondays. And my reply was, "Yes, it's a Monday and we can look forward to a wonderful, productive week." I decided to make 1/7th of my life happy again, and thanks to you, Marilyn, I was able to share that joy with other people. Indebted to you more than you know :-)

Marilyn said...

Wow! That hit me in a good way...thank you...I love those boomerangs of goodness...
I felt the ripple of your joy all the way over here.
Amazing...

Lynne Walker said...

I had a "blind massage" once as well. It really is amazing. Thanks for sharing this.

Marilyn said...

It was also a humbling experience for me. There are things you realize about yourself as you make yourself vulnerable. How free are you to allow yourself to be touched by another soul? I like the question.