She greets me with a confidently genuine kindness. Her shiny black hair pulled back and up in a tight bun, done with business, ready for business. She’s a petite  bird of paradise with a firecracker center. I admire her strong presence, as she graces into the foyer as if she hasn’t been working her tail off all day, even though I know she has. It’s near the end of her day, and the start of my evening, as I know later I’ll be getting up with my son through the long night. It’s been two weeks since I have visited. It will be two weeks again from today. She is my guiding angel that will walk me along the path of physical and emotional relaxation for this again anticipated  session.IMG_3052

Having been taught my whole life not to judge a book by it’s cover, I allowed myself to step in to the Oregon Massage Clinic in downtown Newberg. The name resounds a sterility about it, and the marketing is not of the day spa kind, but it is as “zenny” as any tastefully decorated massage place. The dimly lit and wide-open entry room is surprisingly inviting. I have found that I enjoy sitting on the couches and watching out the window as I wait for my turn that is “if” i have to wait. It’s about 2 or 3 blocks from my home. I have to admit sometimes I drive. I know, I know. Once I am not worried about getting back to my son, I’ll enjoy the privileged high-walk score that I am so blessed to have moved into. Even though I drive, I always find a spot, quick and easy, and leave only 3 minutes before my appointment.

IMG_3049I have previously been asked what type of music I prefer, and it’s always ready for me, enticing me to find my calm center from the thrill of the day. I fill out a small form to describe today’s aches and am gently guided to my room. The room has a candlelit glow to it, and I smell pleasant aromas of essential oils and fresh linen. I know I will hit the table like a lump of clay, but when I leave I’ll float off and away like an autumn leaf on a crisp October afternoon, half in a daze of excepting my return of presence to this physical realm.

She notices I am rubbing my lower back even though I do not. I love that about her, I can see my world in her eyes and she sees right through my ache. She assigns me a verbal note of this, as this is the repor we have built, and I know to let her apply her gift. You see, she isn’t just a massage therapist in Newberg, she is a gifted massage savant. A goddess above the table, hovering over me as a sister by brain wave or some psychedelic connected aura, her petite frame is not to be underestimated, as she is no less than a Goliath in strength through her fingers, hands , and limbs, yet in this strength dwells the delicate dew drop of discernment in touch and intuition of care. I have nothing to fear in disappointment or injury.IMG_3048

I breathe in the oils. One breath. Two breaths. A deep third and hold. It’s as though her hands become one with my body, never leaving, and taking away all the accumulated stress I have endured in my busy and sometimes seemingly relentless days. This is an innocently sensual and intimate experience, bringing to mind the relationship of Madonna and Child. I have become the wilted body in Mary’s lap, an image of the Pieta in St. Peter’s Cathedral in Rome, my favorite of the Pietas. I am cared for and being yearned back to life from a limp and tired state of being. I drift in and out of awareness in a subtlety only experienced during the kind care of the body. She is firm, and yet I know her eyes are closed and she is “feeling” how I feel so that she can do the best she knows how, which is the best I know. Then my mind moves to that of an english muffin, as she sleuths all of the nooks and crannies and works out the butter. Then I drift on my mind water back to imagining her hands dancing as the 4 hands of Shiva “The Great Destroyer”, destroying every last rupee of stress that I have saved up in my mental piggy bank of daily revenue.

IMG_3050I always choose a 90-minute massage, so I don’t have to worry about “when it will all be over, and when I have to drop back into the reality of this hard-working shell I call a body”. It’s never the same, and yet somehow she reigns in all the areas I needed. I like the calm surprise of not knowing the pattern of the work being done.  It’s not predictable just as my aches and I are not. Every aspect of temperature, music, scent, the days hurts have all been taken into consideration before hand. There are no doubts or worries involved. I relish the eventual sigh of when I truly start to relax and just be. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes a little more. It all just depends on my day. I daydream of that sigh of relief and relaxation before I even arrive. When I leave, I am always sure to tell the massage Goddess Shannon, how thankful I am for her gift and that I believe her gift is a divine one indeed.