Let It Go!, Silver Linings

Ebb and Flow ~ the Art of Holding On and Letting Go

Ebb and Flow can be described as a recurrent or rhythmical pattern of coming and going, or decline and regrowth. Or perhaps you look at it as taking the good with the bad. I consider it an art. It’s the art of holding on and letting go.

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Even Kenny Rogers sings of ebb and flow in The Gambler:  “You’ve got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them.” Ohhh Kenny! Most think you are talking about cards, (and maybe you are), but to me it’s about life and the questions put in front of me. Do I leave the man I love? Should I leave this secure job and move with my kids for a quiet life? Do I have another beer and shot of Jägermeister? The answer to last question was normally the biggest gamble of all. No Heather, do NOT do it! If it involves Jägermeister, walk away! 

Anyway, ebb and flow can bring out some real mind fuckery for me. I’m normally really good at using my self-talk and intuition to help me through the tides of life. Recently, one situation has brought waves of emotions and resistance of the flow.

Two years ago, in the Fall, I decided to go back to school (not like Rodney Dangerfield or Will Ferrell). I had been practicing Reiki for quite a while and I began to realize I needed more.

In Reiki I could hover my hands over the client, but I wanted to give more. I would feel the need to lay my hands on their feet or shoulders, to get that energy flowing. My hands would go to joints where the energy would “bunch up” and would release it to flow once again. My clients didn’t know it, but I need a new “tool” in my bag of tricks and I knew that massage was naturally my next step.

I spoke to my friend Tonya as she is my massage guru goddess, asking when she was going to start teaching massage. She would kindly tell me it was in her plan, but not yet, and encouraged me to look at other schools. I would eyeball other schools but they didn’t offer me what I knew Tonya would. Of course, I continued to ask Tonya the question. Persistence!  Tonya’s big leap to become a massage teacher happened two years ago, and I was part of the first class.

School was terrifying and exciting! I was 46 and going back to school. I had three kids, shit tons of activities, a full time job, and one me. My love and wonder of the human body began to grow, as well as the healing that massage brought to people. School pushed me to my limits at times but I rocked the shit out of it and graduated last July. It was incredible and I was on top of the world!

The act of massaging is incredible. I can close my eyes, let my hands glide down a back/arms/legs/neck/shoulders, pause to provide a little energetic love, and flow back up. My hands can feel the subtle changes in the muscles. I get lost in the flow of massage as I listen with my hands and tune out the world. The feelings of joy hit when my client tells me how they feel like jello. Then when checking in with them a few days later, having them tell me how they felt rejuvenated and the pain was gone or lessened. It fills my soul with love. Healing is my shit.

I began with practicing out of my home, but I quickly knew that I wanted my own space where I didn’t have kids running through the house, the dog barking, or the phone ringing. Eventually I found a spot in a town close to me, with more people, and more opportunities to heal and grow. It was a huge leap in faith for me since I would have to pay rent, renovate my space, and get new clients. I said to myself “Do this now Heather. This opportunity is so good and it’s yours for the taking.” There wasn’t one doubt in my mind that I was making the right decision, when I signed the lease and paid my deposit and rent.

My friend Jen helped me with renovations, and thank goodness for Jen! She helped me grow in a way that I don’t even think that she realizes. I’m no wizard with power tools and Jen showed me that we were able to do anything! That laying a damn stubborn, laminate floor was really no big deal. There were days we swore as we laid four rows, days we breezed through six rows, and days that we sat there drinking Starbucks and having fun with her son. We were two women, winging it, having fun, and creating my vision. Jen unknowingly instilled such confidence in me and helped me to grow in my skills. Everyone needs a Jen in their life!

In November, the room was completely transformed into a calming and nurturing womb, and I was finally ready to take on new clients. The flow I felt as I worked on my clients was like it had never been. It was bliss and I felt enveloped in the lightness of it all. Time in the room seemed to disappear and I often lost track. Walking out after a session was energizing and powerful!  However, the feeling was very short lived because in December, I became sick.

My space ended up sitting there, dark and unloved. At times, I would go to the space and sit there on my table. My once healing space, made myself feel like I was suffocating. I couldn’t move and flow like I had been doing with now having a colostomy bag, and the thought of chemotherapy lurking in the future. To try and help myself, I asked my landlord if I could have someone use my space and they would pay him. I explained what was going on and he immediately told me that he would let me break my lease, but I had two weeks to move all of my stuff out.

The joy that I had felt creating my space, was soon replaced with the urgency of bringing it all home. Through the tearing down of my once dream, I was very together and reminded myself that I was so lucky I was getting out of it before my chemotherapy began. I wouldn’t have to worry about paying rent or the space sitting there unloved. On the last day came the wave of emotions.

I had pulled everything out except for my table, the crystals underneath it, and the gray, soft, shaggy rug. After picking up my crystals and wrapping them, I picked up my table and flipped it on its side. As I folded the legs in, the tears started streaming down my face. Just like they are now as I type this. I folded the bed and locked it shut. Rolling up the rug that I feel had been pulled out in under me, I felt my dream come to a temporary end.

It all really hit me at home as all of my items lay in the old massage room, strewn all over in the haste of moving it home. I can’t even look at it as I walk by as it breaks my heart and I get choked up and discouraged. Soon I will have to face it, and get it packed up, since it’s almost time to move. But not quite yet.

I know this is something I have to face. This ebb is just that, an ebb and not an end. My self talk is like this: “Let it go Heather, so it can flow.” My answer to myself is: “Soon, very soon.” And when I pack it all up, the tears will flow for one final time.

Change is not painful. It’s the holding onto the resistance that is. Even as I type that I think “I’m not ready.” I’m sure as you read this, you can tell that my mind is screwing with me since I keep saying “Not yet.”

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A new flow came to me with this blog. I knew that blogging about my health journey, and my silverish linings would help people. And myself. I have released so many emotions and situations by hitting “Publish”. A cleansing happens as I click that button. The posts have been helping others too. How do I know? The emails of stories, comments on the posts, and the in-person conversations. That was my intention for this blog: reaching out to others, connecting and letting them share their stories with me. Never did I realize how much it would help me.

So as I go to hit publish on this, I know that I’m not releasing my emotions attached to my massage space. I am, however, allowing all of this to surface so I can begin the process to release it. Healing is a process and not one that is done over night. Remember to always be gentle on yourself and let yourself feel what you feel. Your feelings are valid and you will release them when you are ready.

Life is ebb and flow. The good and the bad. One door closes, and another one opens. Have faith.

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