As I lay with my face cradled in the padded halo, my body begins to relax. I'm warm under soft heavy blankets. Although I'm naked, I feel at ease, safe. He places his hands on my back allowing his own energy to mix with mine. His hands walk down my back until his palms rest gently on my feet. I feel my anxieties seep away, possibly entering his body, and then disappearing altogether. He pulls the blankets back and his hands multiply as they circle my back, caressing each knot, each place where stress is stored. I breathe in and out releasing the tension and pain. He massages each muscle, each wad of fibers, promising that every muscle will get his full attention.
I lay there wishing the attention could go on forever. No one knows the pains, the tension, the stresses I carry as well as he knows them. They do not need to be named, he simply attacks each with gentle insistence until the knot yields and releases its anxiety. At times I want to cry. I have been carrying that hurt for so long. I am so used to that anxiety, I no longer recognize it as a burden. I had forgotten I wore my stress. How do I let it all go? He keeps kneading and insisting that I release what I no longer need to carry.
After an hour my body and soul have become pliable again. I have sunk into the table and melted into his hands. I have space within my body. I move more freely.
This time he works his way up my back towards my head. I feel my energy mix with his. I do not know him and yet he has taken my pain and allowed it to dissipate. He places his hands on my feet and says, "OK, take your time. Lay here as long as you need to. I'll wait for you outside."
(I had the great gift of receiving three massages in my seven weeks of sabbatical. I was struck by each persons gentle attention to my body. This is my reflection on those experiences.)