I’ve been posting gratitude letters here on the blog since August, and I’ve mostly made this a regular habit. This practice has greatly improved my mental perspective because it forces me to focus on what’s going right in my world. I recommend giving thanks all year round, every day or every week, someway somehow, because it will make you happier. It’s really that simple.
I’m shocked to realize after four months of gratitude letters, I’ve neglected (yet) to thank massage therapists. This week I was reminded once again of how awesome and important they really are.
Here’s the short version of this week’s gratitude letter: Dear Massage Therapists: THANKS FOR MAKING MY BODY FEEL BETTER!
Here’s the longer version of this letter:
Dear Massage Therapists,
This week I needed you. I REALLY needed you. Saturday morning I was proud of myself for getting up and going to the gym. It was cold and grey out and I really wanted to stay in bed, but I didn’t. I forced myself up and to the gym. Last week I sat down and added dozens of running races to my calendar for 2012. I was starting to think 2012 would be my year to run faster and train to get stronger. I started laying out a training schedule for the year and I was finally motivated again. Finally!
Saturday morning I went to gym, pumped up and stoked up to get faster, stronger, better, yeah! Class started at 8:00 am.
By 8:08 I was curled up in a ball in the corner of the gym trying not to throw up from the pain. I wish I could make up a really good story about how I injured myself. Anything would be better than the truth.
The truth is we were playing dodgeball to warm up for the CrossFit class. Yes really, dodgeball. 5 people per team, 5 balls in the middle of the improvised court. If you got hit with the ball you had to stop and do 5 burpees. If you don’t know what a burpee is, google it. It’s evil.
So we line up, wait for the starting buzzer, and then sprint for the balls.
Within 3 steps I was seeing stars. I mean LITERALLY I saw stars. I didn’t think that actually happened to people in real life. But immediately as I pushed off and started sprinting, my right quadricep muscle screamed out in pain. I saw stars and felt shooting pain and I was done. I got the ball, threw it and hit someone, and then collapsed off to the side of the mat. I could not lift my leg and I felt nauseous. Like I was really going to throw up.
The trainer saw me and brought me an ice pack and tried to figure out what happened. Best we could tell, I had sprained/torn/damaged my quadricep muscle pretty bad. I iced it for 20 minutes, then resigned myself to the fact that I would not be working out at all that day. I tried not to pout and I limped out to my car, where I discovered I couldn’t lift my leg to get into the car. Good times all around.
After 20 minutes with Dr. Google, I diagnosed myself as having a Grade 2 quadricep strain. It would take several weeks to heal, and I needed lots of ice, advil, rest and massage.
LUCKILY I had previously scheduled a massage for Saturday afternoon. So after a round of ice and advil, I dragged myself to the massage.
Wherein my massage therapist made me all better. Ok, she didn’t really make me better, but she made me much less damaged. She made everything hurt less.
As I lay on the massage table I pondered the irony of the fact that the day after I planned my running races for 2012, I injured myself sprinting. Was the universe telling me something? Was I being tested YET AGAIN? Was I not supposed to get back into shape? Did the universe really want me to continue getting older and slower?
But this is how the universe works. We plan a goal and then life interferes. We get motivated and then we get injured. We start a new job and then the company gets sold. Life just doesn’t follow our plan.
Which is why we need more massage therapists all over the world. Because massage therapists help us get back on our life plan. They help us heal and they help restore balance to our body. Massage therapists work out the knots in our bodies, so we can work out the knots in our life.
I’m not ready to give up on my training plans for 2012. I can’t give up my plans before the year even starts. Instead of giving in to my injury, I will ice my leg, I will take advil and I will rest. And I will schedule more massages.
Because when we take on challenging physical goals, when we stretch the limits of our body, sometimes we get hurt. Getting hurt isn’t reason to stop, it’s just a good reason to pause long enough to heal. Pain comes with the territory of change. And when we set goals in our life, we need to be prepared for the risks that come with the territory. The things worth pursuing in life won’t come without a few strained quadriceps. The things worth pursuing in life will definitely come with a few strained muscles. Growth requires change and there is always the risk of injury.
This is why I’m grateful for massage therapists: because when we push our bodies to grow, they are our partners in healing. They listen to our body and they help us heal our body so we can get on with the business of life.
Thank you to every massage therapist who has helped my body heal. I am grateful for your skills, for your patience, and for your commitment to healing.