Saturday, November 2, 2013

The aloneness of writing, the silence of massage, and the is-ness of being

Dreaming of Writing, CC image courtesy Lyn Lomasi on Flickr
I used to be a blogger. (I used to blog? Tricky thing, that "to be" verb -- was blogging something I did, or a function of who I was? Why does my language make me choose between these?)

Anyway, I did. Regularly, moderately popularly. So diving in to blogging for massage -- something about which I am at least as passionate about as what I used to blog about and which has the added incentive of a significantly higher return on investment -- should be easy, right?

But it's not been, and I, being me, have been trying to figure out why.

Lying in bed, brain stuffed full of Google+, social media strategies, business plan writing, branding advice -- all those things I need to master in order to do the thing I already am great at, apparently -- and turning the question over in my head, in the dark and still and soft snoringness of night, it came to me:

The me-of-massage doesn't talk.

I mean, I do, obviously -- I talk with my clients, I talk about the session's plan, I talk about the reasons and benefits and risks of proposed treatments -- but mostly, mostly, I am silent. I listen.

I listen to you, to your words, to the things left unspoken. I listen to your questions, and your complaints, and your exhaustion-frustration-celebrations about your body, your day, your life.

I listen to your body, your tender spots and pain and patterns of holding, your thickness and depth, your beauty and resiliency and willingness to live.

Writing can put me in touch with many, but it's essentially a solitary act: me, alone, with my keyboard. Massage is mostly silent, but is innately you-and-me, together -- emphasis on you, and we. There's little me, and she is quiet, watchful, attentive, present, not at all the declamatory I I'm using to pulling out when writing.

But here I am -- me, you, I, she, we, alone-together. Just like I struggled to master a more social way of writing when I first started blogging, just like it challenged me to reconnect with quiet presence when I first studied massage, I am committed to showing up, to making mistakes, to forgiving myself and trying again. Declamation, yes, and compassion too, sending words into the wifi and waiting in stillness for you to unfold: this I will do.

Will you join me?

This post marks the beginning of my participation in November 2013 NaBloPoMo, where I attempt to put up a new blog post every day for 30 days. If you'd like to make sure you don't miss a day (unless I do), you can follow the RSS feed; if you'd like to see what I deem the highlights, as well as updates about the practice and future tips on improving your relationship with your body, subscribe to the Holding Space Massage Newsletter.


  1. Looking forward to it!

    One of the problems of massage blogging is that you can't write about specific massages without violating client confidentiality -- and what good is writing without specificity? If I talk about specific massages, I'm either writing about trades with other MTs or experience with friends & relatives. Or else I'm disguising, conflating, generalizing: which is good professional ethics but bad writing. Never have quite figured out a satisfactory way of solving that.

    1. I consider that problem all the time, Dale. What I've come around to is I'll have to save the memoir-ization of massage until after I retire. Like the midwives whose memoirs I love, mixing and matching and sometimes making things up (that are entirely true, even if they didn't exactly happen), decades later, will likely have to be how I get the words out about specific massage experiences.

      I've started reading many amazing massage bloggers (including you), and realized there are lots of ways to blog about massage and related topics. It's only challenging, I think, for people like me (and like you, I'd hazard) who want to use the art of writing to explore our experience of it.

  2. Any Arwyn blogging is good Arwyn blogging. I am also committed to showing up, making mistakes, and moving forward <3


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.