Re-opening My Massage Practice During the Pandemic

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

Two weeks back to work and how life is now.

A fair amount of my focus over the past two weeks has been spent on sending out new Covid-19 questionnaires to screen clients in my private practice and explaining the new protocols to them. There are temperature checks to take before they get on the table and both of us wear masks.

Three months ago, I shuttered my massage practice, pressing the pause button for what we thought would only be a few weeks. The world seemed as if it was coming to a screeching halt. My newsfeed lit up with the latest information, and many times misinformation, on the growing coronavirus pandemic.

I felt numb by it all. The uncertainty the world was experiencing exhausted me. In some ways, I welcomed a sabbatical from the frenzy of everyday life. My introverted self certainly did not mind staying home for a wee bit.

At that time, mid-March, there was much we did not understand about this novel virus……

Wild, Wet, and Beautiful

A Northwest Getaway

Tiny droplets of ocean spray hit my face as I turn into the wind. I am bundled up
warmly from head to toe; knit hat, quilted jacket, gloves, and warm socks inside my
shiny red rubber boots.
The sun is at a quarter slant in the sky, for it has been up for hours. But we chose to rise leisurely before
venturing out on this late winter morning. My partner and I have come up to Semiahmoo Resort for
a long weekend and rejuvenation get-away.

Memories of My Dad this Father’s Day

A real-life Archie Bunker or was he?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

For those of you old enough to remember Archie Bunker, the quintessential cantankerous character of the ‘70’s show All In The Family, then you will understand my father. Or at least a side of him.

But he was not all cantankerous, my dad. And like Archie, my dad was a man who saw the world around him rapidly changing from the one he grew up in.

Sometimes, neither man, the real or the fictitious character, knew how best to handle worldly topics such as; the women’s lib movement, racial diversity, or economic disparity. Sometimes, they wanted the world to stay the way it was, the way they knew it. But the times they were a-changing.

My dad, and Archie Bunker, were men of principle. They were hard-working, family men who grew up in an altogether different era.

My dad was born into a time just before the great depression hit. His childhood overshadowed by WWII. He was of the greatest generation. He grew up knowing sacrifice, not only for one’s country but also for one’s neighbor and fellowman. A quality which shaped him, becoming a thread of service throughout his life.

He watched Shirley Temple on the big screen and Dick Tracy was his favorite cartoon in the Sunday papers.

I Walk For Change Because Black Lives Matter

My personal protest in the wake of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many to list

A few weeks ago, I walked 2.23 miles.

I did so without fanfare to honor the memory of a young, black man named Ahmaud Arbery. He went jogging one evening in his neighborhood in Georgia, much like the quiet, sleepy neighborhood I walk in every evening with my partner walking next to me. He and I hold hands. As we walk, we may talk about our days or maybe not at all, but just listen to our footsteps hit the pavement below our feet.

We do not fear walking in our neighborhood will cause suspicion or alert our neighbors to caution. These notions never enter our minds. Ahmaud Arbery was not afforded the same tolerance.

Instead, he was gunned down by three white men who felt he was “suspicious” yet all he was guilty of was jogging.

Pride Month: Is It a Commercial or a Celebration?

A look at the pros and cons of corporate sponsorship

Reading the news online, I flipped by a story relaying the candy icon Skittles is removing the color from their candies in support of Pride month. They are going grey to celebrate the LGBTQIA community by giving up their rainbow colors to show that only one rainbow really matters. #OneRainbow.

This got me thinking.

Last year, I attended my first Pride parade in the five years since my son, then my daughter came out. I attended as an ally and as a mom. It truly was the largest street party ever! Everywhere I looked there were rainbows and flags and rainbow flags. Banners stretched across every building with slogans of inclusion from various corporations.

Yes, corporate America celebrated and marched in every Pride parade across the nation, some even internationally.

What began as a police raid at The Stonewall Inn located in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1969, has become the turning point of the gay liberation movement now is a month-long, shout-out to equality with businesses getting on the band-wagon. Jet Blue flies their slogan, “Love wings” while Starbucks partners with Lady Gaga’s foundation “Born this way”.

Is this rainbow washing?

A Good Book Lasts A Lifetime

My coping mechanism and self-care habit in the time of Covid-19

Like so many of us, my love of books began in my youth. Books transported me to other worlds and other times filling my young mind and imagination with the beauty of the written word. As an adult, I read for knowledge, enjoyment, and my own self-care.

During this time of Covid-19 and stay-at-home orders, opening a well-loved novel can be like visiting that old friend who you have not seen in years but has the uncanny knack of picking up right where you left off last. A very comforting feeling.

Comfort and safety seem to be two essential qualities in a time when our nervous systems are overloaded with fraught, doomsday news and our everyday world is turned upside down. When my anxiety level begins to climb, I find it helpful to switch off the screen and bury my nose in a book instead. Ever since I was a young girl my coping mechanism has been to escape into the world of words.

When We Go Back To Work

One massage therapist’s look into an uncertain future after Covid-19.

At twenty-four years old, I excitedly hold my new massage license in my hands. It just came in the mail. I am shaking as I open the envelope and pull out the light blue, rectangular piece of paper. Slowly, I trace my name printed on it with my finger as if touching it makes it solidify faster as my new reality.

Sitting there, looking at my license, I am also looking out into my future and all the possibilities it holds. Just as if I am sitting on the edge of a ridge, looking out and surveying a vast and beautiful valley. I am on a path. I can go anywhere and do anything. I see, taste, and feel my future before me, designed by this new career.

The year is 1992.

Isolation For The Common Good

Finding hope from both Eastern and Western principles

On March 27th, there was a photo of Pope Francis praying inside St.Peters square published in the New York Times. He was alone. His white vestments contrasted the dark, rain-splattered cobblestones which sat silently in front of him, where usually the faithful congregated to hear his words. Not this day. He stood alone in the vastness of the Vatican, praying for an end to the pandemic.

Perhaps it was my Catholic upbringing, but during this time of Lent, I could not help but see the similarity of Pope Francis, standing alone in the emptiness of the square and the parable of Christ praying alone in the desert.

I am not particularly religious yet I truly admire Pope Francis as a humanitarian. If pictures really speak a thousand words the first one that comes to mind with this one is Isolated. (Loneliness)

During his prayer, he said,

” For weeks now it has been evening. Thick darkness has gathered over our squares, our streets, and our cities. It has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void.”

Of course, he speaks of the Covid-19 virus. The deafening silence may be a direct result of our own isolation. The quiet, vacant streets. Is this our own forty days in the desert?

Being A Massage Therapist in the Time of Covid-19

When a common story became all too real.

My story is not unusual right now. Yet, in my telling it I hope to lend my voice to the conversation and perhaps it will have a small amount of power to evoke change. With over 12,000 massage therapists in my state, we are left to grapple with the question, “Do I stay, or do I go?”

At the beginning of February, I celebrated my birthday with my family and as I always do, I reflected on the year past as well as the one to come. I was full of hope, feeling grounded and comfortable in my own skin. I never would have conceived what the next few weeks would bring to our world or the impact on my profession as a massage therapist.

Stories were beginning to reach the news of the widespread Covid19 outbreak in China and in late January there had been one reported case in my home state of Washington. But that was an isolated case, right? Where someone had traveled back from China? How very little we understood the far-reaching impact this virus would have on each, and every one of our lives.

By late February, as cases grew, it became common to go to a doctor’s appointment, the dentist, or chiropractor and be “screened” with a handful of questions.

“ Have you experienced a fever or a cough recently? Have you been around anyone with a fever or a cough? Have you traveled overseas in the past 14 days?