Written by Rosa Leonardi
You know that saying about life happening when you least expect it? Well that’s what happened to me: life snuck up on me (like a cat after prey) and before I realized what was happening, I was turned in a totally new direction.
I began working as the Front Desk Coordinator at Oregon School of Massage’s Salem campus in April 2010. This job was very important to me after two years of unemployment. My college roommate and dear friend was also a student here, which gave an additional warmth to being here. I knew I would enjoy the work since I like helping people ~ but I was about to be surprised.
I never gave ‘massage as a career’ any thought, until three months after being hired. It never occurred to me that massage was something I wanted to do or, could do. After all, isn’t 62 a little too old to begin such a physical career? (The cat saw me.)
Several things happened in those first three months that helped change the course of my life’s flow.
~ I was required to be present at the monthly Training Previews. When it came to the part where everyone says why they’re thinking of going to massage school, I listened as people spoke of their reasons and was struck by a common denominator: each person wanted to help others feel better ~ genuinely. It was their earnestness toward others that touched me. (Now the cat was crouching.)
~ Early on Ray, OSM Director, assigned me to write several articles for the school’s web site. One of them was titled, ‘Massage School and the Older Student.’ I interviewed two students (58 years +) who captured the two main issues of the older student:
1. can my brain handle the coursework and
2. will my body hold up?
As they spoke to me, it became clear to me that they had worked out the problems for themselves. The one who was worried about his brain, studied longer. The one whose shoulder was sore, learned how to treat it.
Want something? Go after it. Got a problem? Fix it. (The cat was slinking toward me.)
The tipping point came when I was asked to donate my body for a student in the Shiatsu class. I received many Swedish massages but never a Shiatsu, and was extremely curious about it. The relaxation response was unlike anything I had ever experienced: it seemed to reached past my muscles and into my core being. I felt like someone had opened a window inside me and let out my life’s worth of stale air. (The cat was very close.)
I’ve not felt the same since that massage: the breath work along with the massage did something indescribable-it stood me still. That’s the only way I can describe it. Not that I was tired or sleepy, rather I felt a deep and peaceful stillness inside me. It was unlike anything I’d ever felt and I simply luxuriated in its embrace. (Here kitty kitty.)
And so began a time of imagining. Could I do that to someone? How would my body feel afterward? But my brain has probably rotted away by now. Maybe I could take one class? I know: I’ll start with something difficult, like Anatomy & Physiology. This way if I don’t pass, it’s only one class and, at least I know I tried. Right?
Anatomy & Physiology I was two terms ago, last term I took Communication/Ethics and LOVED IT. So, maybe my brain hasn’t completely rotted away. Soon I’ll know the answer to question number two question because this term, in addition to A&P II, I have my first body work class in Shiatsu. I think my brain can handle it. Will my body hold up?