I was a young mother of a toddler and it was my birthday. My husband handed me an envelope. It was a gift certificate for Fauntleroy Massage.

I had never gotten a full body massage before. I didn’t even know what the types of massage were. I talked to some friends at work. I remember that Wendy ran down the modalities for me, Swedish, deep tissue, Shiatsu, and the last, Lomi Lomi, which she described as “good but kind of woo woo because it’s spiritual rather than just therapeutic.”

I was not very “woo woo” at the time. I was a scientist.

I called Fauntleroy Massage and was greeted, “Aloha, this is Jann.” I spoke with Jann, who was and still is a practitioner of Lomi Lomi. Yes, I was a scientist but I was also feeling the need to get my life more in balance and expose myself to different beliefs. So I made an appointment.

“You lie there and let me do all of the work. I will take care of you,” said Jann at the beginning of that first massage and many that were to come, at least a couple of hundred of them with Jann over the past 13 years.

I remember having to concentrate on not doing work.

Not doing work is a lot of work. I wanted to bend my leg instead of letting her bend it for me, for example. It took some time to get used to but once I did, it opened up opportunities for different kinds of work, the work of timing my breathing with the tense and release of massage strokes to help unclench muscles. In this way, massage is both meditative and mechanical.

Massage can also be like a dance. Jann is extremely intuitive and strong. She massages with her eyes closed. It is a meditative practice for her, as well. She massages with her whole body. She is conscious of the way she stands, uses her legs, and when her hands aren’t strong enough, she uses her elbows to massage. And I only know this because she’s told me. Jann coordinates her breathing with her exertion and when I am really in tune with her, I do, too. It is a very special experience, which also contributes to a better massage.

All of my messages have been relaxing and they knocked out the chronic pain issues I had for 12 years prior to having my first massage. But not all of my massages are great. The great ones are when I surrender to the massage.

As I mentioned, I have had an increase in energy and stamina. I am extremely happy about this. I have also done a lot of entertaining and taking care of other people. I have not let go of my self care and I have also let my husband take care of me. But I felt guilty about it. His work has been particularly stressful and further, during the summer, he drives Zoe everywhere.

Today I woke up in a fog. I have been tired for a number of days. I took today off for the holidays. I didn’t have to do anything. So I did nothing.

Sometimes doing nothing is nice. But sometimes doing nothing doesn’t do anything to fill me up. Because the nothing is really mindless stuff rather than mindful stillness.

This afternoon, I drug my tired butt to a massage. I was thinking, “I am too tired to go to a massage.” Really. That’s how brain dead I was feeling. I was having to summon the motivation to drive a half mile to Jann’s office and get a MASSAGE.

It happened about half way through the massage. I surrendered. And it filled me up.