I’ve made it a tradition to blog on my birthday.
Birthdays make me even more introspective than usual, and I often feel compelled to write around this time of year. This year is no exception, except…I don’t know what to write about exactly.
(and now I sit here watching the cursor blink for about 5 minutes, give or take)
I just got a massage (another birthday tradition of mine) and now I am sitting in a Starbucks (Tradition #3) feeling my caffeinated blood ooze past my loopy muscles and greased-up skin. I suspect my brain has been turned to mush as a result.
During my massage, I desperately tried to stay in the moment and focus on how my body felt. Part of this is because I want to get my money’s worth. To me, massages are expensive and I usually only get them once a year. But I also just want to be able to quiet my mind and get my body to freaking relax, or more accurately, to allow my body to surrender to the relaxation that is happening to it.
Because I spend most of my time with a screaming, whining, giggling toddler, my adult mind is often off in left field having some imaginary conversation with an adult – any adult – I wish were there with me. It’s hard to stay in the present, and I feel disappointed in myself that I often seem to be wishing away the present and fantasizing about being somewhere else, some time else. Because I feel bad about this, I try very hard to highlight the times when I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else – when I want to be right here, right now.
One example of me wanting to be here now pops up from my past life as a therapist. I was with a client I had seen longer than any other and to whom I felt particularly dedicated. She was chronically depressed and wouldn’t admit to having many strengths. In my office, this client picked up a broken kids’ toy – I think it was trying to be a toy ukulele or something, but it was missing strings – and she made music with it. It was incredible. I remember thinking to myself, This is why I do therapy. This, right here.
Another example from the recent past: my kid is just starting to say Mama and Dada in context and with meaning. Oh man, how amazingly wonderful it is to hear my boy call out my name. Recently, we’ve been playing this game where I ask Dylan what my name is. It goes like this:
Me: Hey Dylan, can you say Mama?
Me: Yay! Now what’s my name?
D: DADA!! (we both laugh)
Me: Noooo, Daddy’s at work!….Can you say Mama?
Me: What’s my name?
We collapse in giggles, and I savor the moment. I don’t want to be anywhere else.
So, mindfulness. I had to reel my mind back in several times during today’s massage, and I did my very best to enjoy the time, to enjoy the feeling, and to enjoy my body.
That’s the other thing, is that during the massage I found myself thinking about how in awe of my body I am. The last time I got a massage, I was about 8 months pregnant with Dylan. I was hot and sweaty and swollen and in pain and huge. A lot has changed since then. My body has morphed. Transformed. Been made new. And so I found myself saying thank you to my body through the massage, as the therapist moved her hands over my body that felt like waves gently lapping on my fleshy shores. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
My mind wandered again—> The first time I ever got a massage was after my cancer surgery. My roommate heard me complain (a lot) about how sore and broken I felt, and she got my friends together and they all gave me a gift certificate for one. I want to make a joke and say that she got it for me just so she wouldn’t have to hear me bitch about it anymore, but she just wanted me to feel better and I think she knew I’d never go and get one for myself. Another thank you is in order.
So, on the anniversary of my body becoming my own, here’s to loving my body and thanking it for the places it’s taken me and all it’s given to me.
And here’s to celebrating the here-and-nows that make the time in between well worth it.