While at the store, I stopped to look closely at a beautiful table display with collections of vases,picture frames and knick knacks and as I touched the items, the reality struck me that I really didn’t want any of things on the table.
You see, a family friend had told me just last week that she was teaching her son to build connections instead of collections and that simple comment has been stuck on my mind every since.
“Connections instead of collections.”
Let these words roll over in your mind,speak them out loud,and write them down.
Whisper them to yourself and see how it causes you to reflect and ponder,and to take a deeper look at the things you have collected.
Do you really want a collection of blue vases and bottles or do you want a good friend that you can count on to chase away the blues?
There’s something incredible about having a kindred spirit that just gets you, someone who will catch your eye and without a word,understands what you’re feeling.
It’s not just in family members or life-long friends,sometimes a simple connection is made while exchanging smiles as we pass by each other in the grocery aisles.
It is in the knowing look between two moms carrying toddlers, as one elderly couple passes another, as we make eye contact and acknowledge another’s presence.
That’s what life is really about -seeing the invisible red thread that connects each of us,seeing the divine in the dust,the possibilities in the seed, the beauty in the chaos.
It’s being open and willing to take the first step in building friendships. I think about all the people that I’ve wanted to get to know better but just didn’t. Instead of offering the first invitation, I hesitated and let the opportunities pass by.
I found excuses,instead of reasons to connect with others and, in doing so, I put up walls against the chances for wonderful things to happen.
I know that all deep connections go through hardships and difficulty and that’s exactly why I believe it’s important to reach deep within and find forgiveness and mercy, acceptance and hope, faith and trust,again, to rebuild the relationship.
Sometimes, we realize that, although relationships change, it doesn’t have to be the end. There’s still goodness,still worthiness,and yes, still reason to continue but in different ways.
There’s other connections,too, that have been formed by social media. I became part of Massage Therapy groups to learn more about my craft, not expecting to gain such insight and help for my day-to day life.
One online friend found AVA, the Audio Visual Accessibility app that has changed my life. I haven’t met JT yet, but every time I use AVA, I think of the Florida graphic artist that not only designed my first logo but also took the time to research accessibility apps after reading my post about not being able to understand group conversations.
Then there’s Joshua, the ocean lovin’, guitar playin’, skateboard ridin’, husband,papa and serious massage therapist who finds time to put together music selections on Spotify so that I- the deaf therapist- have clients exclaim that they absolutely loved the music played during their sessions.
Over time, understanding and intimacy grows as stories are shared and bonds are formed and these people become the ones that know each other well. Distance may stand in the way of gathering and sharing meals, but there’s still the “connection” that brings people together and lets them be there for each other.
Another thought that occurred to me, that actually has always been part of my “love language”, is that the “collections” that really matter to me have all came from my “connections.”
I spend hours in my massage studio room, giving others my touch and attention,
surrounded by things that I’ve chosen to display because they bring me a feeling of contentment,of love,of security, of the connections I have made.
I look around and see a painting that reminds me of blue crab dip and beer with my friend, Keri. There’s a book from Jan, a quilt from Judy, a wooden bowl, framed quotes and painted words from other friends.
The dresser and desk were my mom’s that my husband repainted a bright turquoise ,my favorite color.
So when I look around, I don’t see “things,” I see the faces of the givers, I hear their words, I feel their touch and I know they are with me, in spirit and in truth.
Truthfully I do feel something special-a sense of empowerment and confidence, of love and strength when I wear certain things. It’s almost as if I’m being wrapped in an embrace, given an encouraging pat on the back, having my hand held as I go through my day just because I’m wearing something that came from someone else.
When I feel like I need an extra boost, I reach for my mom’s amethyst ring, layer on bracelets that have been given to me, and slip my feet into a pair of cowboy boots from my collection.
I have cowboy boots from back when I was 20, to the pair my Mema bought me just weeks before she went to glory. There’s the flowered pair that I tease my clients about…one bought the right,the other bought the left when they surprised me with a Christmas bonus two years ago.
My newest black stitched boots came from a long time client who tucked a Cavendars gift card in my hand to make sure I kept on waltzing around the table.
These things I wear are more than just accessories, they are wearable memories. It’s tangible collections showing me and others what’s already carved into my heart.
I’m building collections from my connections….and I’m going to begin giving bits and pieces to others so that when they look around their space, or at their wrist,or touch their neck, they will feel my presence, my warmth,my love and gain a little extra confidence,a shot of sassiness,and waltz out to make their own connections in life!
Connections AND collections….this just might be the beginning of something wonderful!
Feel with both hands, Jeanna’
Two weeks ago, I sat on my Thai mat,face to face,hand in hand,with a beautiful,young woman after her session.
As always, I ended the session by thanking her for trusting me with her body and explaining the emotional and physical connection of Thai Massage.
As she begin sharing her story with me, I heard myself say some words that just resonate with my own soul,my own feelings,and my own life.
“Make more love. Make love because you love this man.Make love because it feels good.Make love because it’s an physical expression of your heart.Make love because you desire each other.and because it fulfills your needs and wants. Make love simply because you want to.”
Tears rolled down her cheeks as she leaned forward and hugged me.
Sometimes, when trying to conceive, couples feel such pressure,and making love-having sex- becomes a scheduled science project-driven by temperature,timing,and numerous other factors instead of the spontaneous,joyous expression of love that it is intended to be.
“Make more love.”
After she left, I folded up my Thai mat, while wiping my own tears,and I realize just what I said doesn’t apply to only sexual intimacy between couples.
No,make more love also applies to all of us. It’s a conscious decision that we can each make every hour,every day to respond with love,with kindness,with joy to others.
Life isn’t an exact science. We can’t guarantee that we will conceive if we do this and that on such and such time. We can’t be absolute certain of the weather,the traffic,the outcome of almost anything but we can choose to make love,intentionally,passionately,randomly,and without expectations.
Too often we hoard our love and affection,holding back,waiting for someone else to give love first.
It’s that mindset of “what’s in it for me?” that often pulls the brakes on our actions. We keep records of gifts given and received,of time spent with others,of hugs and kisses, and we jump at conclusions if we think it’s unfair or uneven.
Isn’t that a shame? To have and not to give? In the end of the day,don’t we realize that the more we give out,the more we get back? It’s the greatest investment,and the return rate is phenomenal.
We can choose to smile at a stranger,to allow another car to merge ahead,to open the door for someone else.
We can touch a child with kindness, give a bag full of bulbs,buy a drink for the guy in the car behind us, and take cookies to a friend.
We can make more love when we look for opportunities to show up,when we sit down and listen-really-listen to what’s being said.
We make more love every time we send an encouraging text,when we acknowledge another’s presence, when we are attentive and mindful.
There’s this thing called “The Five Love Languages” and it’s based on the belief that we each have a primary love language that we are fluent in and respond to best.
The languages are defined by Acts of Service, Quality of Time, Physical Touch, Words of Affirmation, and Receiving Gifts.
I was raised in such a loving home,by people that each had a different love language and has a result, I’m multi-lingual, fluent in every language of love, and able to give and receive in the language of others.
Yet.I’ve been guilty of withholding love.too.I’ve hesitated instead of leaping at opportunities to love, and I’ve denied myself and others the pleasure of love just because I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate or would be misunderstood.
I’ve held back when I should have given,said “no”when my heart said “yes” and made excuses when I knew love was calling me to act.
That’s just not right,it’s simply unacceptable and so, I’m going to declare that this is enough of that foolishness.
I’m going to make more love today,and tomorrow and the day after that and maybe,just maybe,it’ll be like a little spark, and others will start making love more.
Like confetti,like sprinkles,like glitter-let your love making scatter wherever you go,and touch whoever you meet.
I’ve been a massage therapist for over ten years and I’ve been receiving massages for even longer than that and there’s one thing that I’ve learned really matters when it comes to giving and receiving massage.
It’s mindfulness-the simple,profound act of being absolutely present and mindful of the person you are with.
This isn’t something that only applies to massage,though, in all situations, giving the gift of our mindful attention makes the difference.
It is felt by the body it is instinctively known by the soul when we are with someone.
As a therapist, once I enter a room with my client and place my hands on them, I become present,mindful,completely with that person. It’s my honor,my privilege,and my gift to be able to touch,to massage,to hold space and in order to do that, I focus with intention on who I’m with and what my purpose is at this moment.
Massage touches the body,the mind and the spirit and every touch matters. We simply can not touch the body without also touching the soul.
That’s one of the many reasons why I my clients come to me.
They can feel that my attention is centered on them and they know that I’m focused on giving them the best massage,each and every time they come to me.
Mindful massage-it doesn’t just sound good,it feels wonderful.
Experience it for yourselfMindful Massage