Right up until the last moment I wasn’t sure I’d catch the train to Brighton for my hot stone fusion course. But I’m so glad I did. In this blog I’ll share what was holding me back, why I went anyway, and what I learned as a result – spoiler – it was a lot more than how to work with hot stones! Here are five lessons about life from my hot stones fusion course.
To go or not to go?
I’d been looking forward to the hot stone massage course for months. Not only was it an area of massage that I was keen to learn, I’d trained before with Jing Advanced Massage Training and knew it would be a wonderful experience.
Yet it turned out the timing couldn’t have been worse. A close family member was in the midst of a health crisis and most of the weeks preceding had been occupied with them and their needs. And this course was for four days. And, even worse, was hundreds of miles away – it wasn’t like I could get back in a hurry.
It would’ve been easy to say no. To wait until the next time. But I knew I needed to get away, and, besides, I’d invested a lot of money in the training. I wasn’t the only person around in my family. So, I took a deep breath, and decided to get on the train.
As you might have guessed by now, it was the right decision. I learned and experienced so much about the benefits of using hot stones in massage (the subject of another blog!). And I also learned a lot about myself and what I need.
It was a timely reminder for me of what’s important in life. And I think these things are easy to forget, so I’m sharing them with you too.
Lesson 1: Life doesn’t stop
‘Busy’ seems to be the default these days. Especially for women. I myself am in that ‘squeezed middle’ section of life, where I’m supporting both the generation below and above me, and I know many others in the same boat.
It’s not easy to make time for yourself, whether that’s time to relax or time to do the ‘important but not desperately urgent’ things that bring you fulfillment. And sometimes, if your plate is truly overflowing, it’s reassuring to say, ‘there’s always next time’.
But, equally, I’ve learned that there’s never a perfect time. And it’s usually the things for yourself that drop to the bottom of the list, or fall off altogether. Sometimes the right call is to say: ‘Yes I’m busy. But this is important. I am important. And the other things will have to wait, or muddle on without me for a little while.’
Lesson 2: It’s good to receive
The hot stones massage training was experiential. That means we actually received some massage as well as learned about giving it to others. This added such a lot to my understanding of the benefits of hot stones massage – and what they could do for me.
As soon as I felt the heat from the stones on my body I could feel myself start to relax. When the stones were placed on my feet and into my hands it felt like a gift. As Emma worked over my chest area I felt a wave of physical and emotional release. It is hard to put into words how the heat from the stones made me feel. It was a dreamlike experience, I could feel the heat deep in my body and my mind completely switched off.
Many of us feel the need to give all the time. But, just as you need to breathe in to breathe out, it’s important to be open to receiving care and relaxation.
Lesson 3: People matter
One of the nourishing aspects of my training course wasn’t directly about the massage. It was about the people I was with, and the environment the Jing Institute created. We were encouraged to relax, to open ourselves up to learning, to let go of worry or fear. Which meant we were able to absorb so much more.
I was replenished by my time away, even though it was hard work and involved taking a lot in. Because the people were encouraging, supportive and nurturing. The people we surround ourselves with have a huge impact on how we feel. This course was a reminder to choose to spend time with the people who nourish me. It also underlined the fundamental need for connection and I have many ideas bubbling away about how to create more opportunities for connection this year.
Lesson 4: There’s a ripple effect
The saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ has become a cliche. But cliches are rooted in truth. I often talk about the importance on focussing on our own needs as well as the needs of those around us. The training course allowed me space to switch off from my burdens and obligations at home. Which meant I was able to return home fresher, with new insights and more energy for my loved ones.
Time we take for ourselves doesn’t stop being beneficial once we’ve got off the massage couch, or left the yoga studio, or art workshop, or whatever it may be. It has a lasting ripple effect into the days and weeks that follow, too.
Lesson 5: we have to live our values
I’d be a hypocrite if I told everyone else to look after themselves, take time out and do things that bring them joy if I didn’t do the same myself! Ultimately I owed it to my clients as well as myself to do what’s important for me. Even if it came at an inconvenient time.
I honestly believe that by taking time for ourselves we can make the world a little bit better. Just in small ways – like being calmer with our kids. Or being more clear-minded in our decision-making. Or questioning whether we are giving our time to the right things and breaking unhealthy cycles. All of this ripples out into the world.
And if I believe that, and talk about it, then I have to do it! I’m so pleased I got on the train.
I can’t wait to offer hot stone massage to new and regular clients very soon. If you’d like to be one of the first to experience the bliss, just contact me here to book in.