Sometimes you just have to quiet your thoughts, excuses, and rationalizations, and listen. Really listen.
For the last few weeks, that little voice has been telling me to stop teaching the advanced massage therapy classes I’ve been teaching since 2005. It’s not a regular thing anymore; I’ve cut down on my teaching schedule in the last two years and now teach only about five classes a year, most of them one-day classes that deal with chronic injuries like thoracic outlet syndrome, shin splints, and sciatica. And with one more class to go before I make the decision to teach for the rest of the year – or not – I had to decide whether I’d finally listen to that little voice or not.
Yesterday was that day.
From 9 am to 5 pm with a lunch break in between, I taught my final class on massage techniques to address rotator cuff strain/injuries to six eager students, five of whom were practicing therapists while one was a newbie. And I loved it. I loved teaching and sharing information and experience gleaned from twenty years of doing what I do which began as a way for me to heal from years of abuse and the need to seek a healthy way to touch others.
And this time, there was nothing bittersweet about it. Well, maybe a little bit but on the whole, none. The students would like me to teach more and they’re the ones I get along with, the ones open to learning new things different from the textbooks that advocate only one way (or it’s the highway); instead, the lessons and techniques come from experience and mentorship learned from Lakers’ physiotherapists and Thai massage masters. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case for each class and when I get the students unused to my more laid-back non-bookish style, I’m miserable and wish I’d quit yesterday.
But yesterday’s final class felt like life’s gift to me; she gave me students who were open to my style of teaching, not the ones who were used to learning muscles by memorization only and going through the same routines again and again until it’s the only they know how to do.
Yesterday’s class also allowed me to see how far I’ve come to where I am now, and know that I’m making the right decision. I’m not teaching bodywork anymore. I’ll still see clients, the ones who’ve stayed with me all those twenty years, and by the end of this year, I’ll end that, too. It’s time to go back to my true passion and that’s writing (ideally without the stress of book promotions).
So yesterday was a day of listening to what life had to say. And this time, I heard it, loud and clear.