Several months ago you decided that massages were good for you, and that you should have them twice a month. So you got that going and it was good. Really good, mostly, except sometimes they hurt. A lot. You finally decide that the next time you go in for a massage you will request that it not hurt so much. You think that for two weeks, practicing saying the words all day the day of the massage-to-come. You will just tell your masseur, “I need it to hurt less.” That’s all it’ll take and your massage will be perfect and you’ll feel relaxed and refreshed afterwards. Perfect.
The time finally arrives to go to the massage, and you get there and the two of you chat a little bit before the session begins. Somehow you forget to bring up the not hurting so much part. As he leaves the room to let you get ready, you remember and think you’ll tell him once he gets started. He always asks if any place in particular is bothering you, so you’ll mention it then. Sometimes you just say you need energy work this week and he does a completely different kind of massage than when your back or neck hurts. Maybe that’s what you’ll ask for this time.
He comes in the room, and this time he doesn’t ask you anything. He just starts in on your back. It feels pretty good, and you think, “Hm, he’s very intuitive. It seems like he’s picked up on what I’m feeling,” and you don’t say anything. You just relax and go with the flow. The meditation music is playing, with the little bell every so often (Is that to remind you to breathe?), and you just drift off. After a few minutes, you are pulled from your reverie because the massage is going deeper, and deeper, focusing intensely on that one spot just under your left shoulder blade that’s been hurting for several weeks. You begin to cringe. Your nose is completely plugged by being in the face cradle, so you’re breathing through your mouth, and the pain there by your shoulder is agonizing, and still it continues.
As you lay there being kneaded, you begin to cry in your mind. You’re barely breathing because you’re about to break into great slobbering tears. You are not relaxing into this. You just hurt, terribly, and it goes on and on. In your mind you begin to cry, “I need this to hurt less…I need this to hurt less!” These words become your mantra. Tears and snot are falling on the floor under the massage table, and still it goes on. “I Need. This. To. Hurt. Less!” Suddenly, in a moment of clarity you realize that you are not just talking about the massage. You need it all to hurt less. You realize that your pain is coming from a deep place, way deeper than your shoulder blade, and it’s time for it to stop. You need it all to hurt less.
Finally the massage ends, and your masseur leaves for another appointment, asking you to lock the studio behind you. You are kind of relieved when he’s gone, because you can’t talk for a while, about anything, least of all another massage. You just lay there, wondering what you’re going to do to make it all hurt less.