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Massage Today
August, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 08

From the Editor's Desk: When Will We Get a Clue?

By Rebecca J. Razo

Author's note: Cliff Korn is taking a much-deserved break this month...probably sitting on a beach sipping a Mai Tai right about now (sigh). Not to worry. He'll be back in September, well-rested and tan.

For the past year and a half, I have been part of a small women's writing group consisting of only four members, including me.

At first, our discussions were traditional in that we focused solely on the craft of writing. But as time went on, our discussions became less about writing and more about life's challenges and how they affect the writing process. Despite its unorthodox nature, the group was a supportive and nurturing environment where we had the freedom to come together and just "be." We formed friendships and grew close.

So, imagine my surprise when I received an e-mail message from a member, speaking on behalf of herself and one other member, that the group was no longer "meeting their needs" and was disbanding. I was infuriated. After all, those two women weren't the only ones who had invested their time, energy and emotion. At the very least, they could have included the entire group in the discussion, rather than notify us of their decision through e-mail. I contacted the other group member who had been the recipient of the "break up" e-mail to vent my frustration. Although she too was taken by surprise, she was very forgiving, summing things up this way: "To everything there is a divine beginning and divine end."

Sometimes, I think we forget that everything in nature has a cycle. In our attempts to "control" our destiny, we (in our infinite human wisdom) set up blockades and detours, hoping to thwart the natural, inevitable processes of life. And though our actions may temporarily derail nature's plan, the fact is that nature will prevail one way or another, and often in less desirable ways than if we had just let things happen the way they were supposed to in the first place. It is one of humanity's greatest flaws: We hang on when nature intends for us to move on. We resist and fear change. We get angry when life doesn't cooperate with our plans, instead of riding the wave and allowing the tide to take us where we are intended to go. We all, of course, are guilty of this. The key, however, is to recognize those moments when we find ourselves at a crossroads or in the midst of a life-shaping event, then step back to allow the universe to do its work. How, you ask? By being open to new ideas and possibilities; by listening to our instincts; by letting our consciences guide us; by respecting the feelings of others when we might not agree; and, lastly, by realizing that we don't have as much control as we think we do.

I'm not advocating that we abandon our core beliefs and principles in favor of apathy and indifference. But I do believe it is important to recognize when our actions, whatever they may be and for whatever cause, have ceased to be productive or unifying or personally satisfying. And generally, the universe sends us some very strong warning signals when the time comes to let go and let nature do its job: elevated stress, a disrupted home life and family conflict, insomnia, and myriad health problems, to name just a few.

In terms of the massage profession, I am in a unique position of objective observation, and what I see is troubling. The fundamental purpose of massage and bodywork - in all its various forms - is to promote physical, mental and emotional health. The typical massage therapist has but one objective: to facilitate those levels of health in his or her clients. Still, there is an entire population of massage therapists and industry "professionals" (a term I use loosely) who are involved in turf wars, lawsuits over the almighty ®, ©, and ™, arguments over which professional organization is bigger and better, and infighting over mere words - yes, words - and who is entitled to use them.

I am not pointing fingers here; these are just the facts that reflect the true state of the profession. But my question is: Why? Why has the profession become so competitive, underhanded, and, dare I say, cutthroat? Wouldn't it be easier to accept each other and celebrate the diverse blend of people who comprise this glorious profession? What stops us? Is it out of fear that we'll lose money, status or perceived exclusivity? It is indeed a sad state of affairs if those are the reasons the profession is in this predicament. For one, I can think of few things less important in life than money and status, and exclusivity is subjective.

Despite the efforts of many to control the destiny of this profession, little has improved in terms of unity and morale. Massage therapists - many of whom, ironically, got into this profession to escape corporate political strife - are fed up with the constant negativity and mudslinging that has pervaded the industry. Perhaps the time has come for those "in charge" to relinquish some of that control and ask the massage therapists what they want. Because the constant fighting has only been successful in fanning the flames that have ignited more fighting and caused further alienation - nature's first clue. And, so far, attempts to steer and control the course of massage and bodywork have been to the detriment of the profession - nature's second clue. How many more clues will it take before the profession folds in on itself, leaving in its wake remnants of a once vibrant industry that was destined to surpass everyone's wildest expectations had we allowed nature to simply have its way?

I have been the managing editor of Massage Today for over two years and have loved every minute. But, as my friend says, everything has a divine end. Indeed, my journey is taking yet another turn and my time here has come to an end. While I look forward to an exciting new future, my departure from Massage Today is bittersweet. It has been such an honor to contribute to the growth of this wonderful profession. I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of you, and I can say with all sincerity that I have never met so many people so entirely dedicated to their life's work. Thank you for welcoming me into your family and allowing me the privilege to work on your behalf. I look forward to watching the profession grow in new, positive directions and I am confident that the best is still yet to come.


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