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December 30, 2005

Death by Shiatsu

What if he kills me? What if just suddenly decides he's going to break my neck? He's pushing on the arteries in my neck, what if he's stopping the blood to my brain? These are some of the thoughts that run through my mind while having my first shiatsu massage. What's wrong with me? As my teacher Barry would say enthusiastically: "What's right with you?" I guess I just don't fully trust someone that I've never met before to touch my body.

I'm watching the sensations in my body, the massage is like a conscious body scan, a facilitated vipassana meditation. Each time there is pain, resistance, or any other sensation, I move my mind there. At first, it's like bringing the north poles of two magnets together: my mind and the sensation dance around, keeping a safe distance, shyly fluttering eyelids at each other. I'm being with the sensation but not fully accepting it: that's part of the game, the game of living. There is a shift that happens when the mind turns to the sensation and trusts into it, surrendering itself into the experience. And then the sensation is transformed into something much more beautiful, it becomes life itself.

I'll take the risk of being killed. I don't think it's very likely, but I'd rather die being massaged than avoid being fully alive.

With a completely relaxed body, I return to the waiting area. I sit next to a family: a father, mother and two adult daughters. The mother says to me "It's like waiting on Death Row". I reply, "Isn't it? And they already killed me."


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