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WHO NEEDS BUNGEE JUMPING WHEN THERE’S MASSAGE?

massage picture

 

Social media pages are full of advice to face your fears, do something that frightens you and challenge yourself out of your comfort zone.

The advice goes on to promise great rewards for your effort.

It sometimes has me wondering what’s so bad about being comfortable.

THE SIMPLE PLEASURE OF MASSAGE

As he walks out the door for his regular (monthly) massage, I all at once envy him and admire his bravery.

Hubby doesn’t consider it a brave act, more a necessity as he spends so much time in front of a computer for his job.

The benefits of massage are so recognised now that we can even claim the cost on our health insurance.

Sadly, the medical fund doesn’t hand out bravery awards for the act.

Why does it take courage you may ask?

FACING YOUR FEARS

It’s a funny thing. I love flying, public speaking doesn’t daunt me, I have respect, but not fear, of heights and I love the dark. They are the top four fears for we humans, according to the Self Help Collective.

The fifth is intimacy and I truly love that, with those I trust.

 

massage picture

I remember my first massage decades ago when I was a teenager. It was a spa like birthday treat shared with my Mum.

We walked into the classy Sydney club that offered ‘the most amazing’ massages to its members, for a small fortune.

I was escorted to a small cubical among many in a row, a curtain acting as the door, by a prune-faced older lady (she was probably younger than I am now, but everyone looks old when you’re a teenager).

She tersely told me to completely undress and lay on the little cot and cover myself with the blanket provided.

Completely undress? You mean everything? In front of this cranky woman? Right away the panic set in.

I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t struggle with the body image issues that plague most teenagers. I don’t believe I suffered from this anymore, or less than others adjusting to the transformation from child to adult.

The only thing I can put the panic down to is some distressing childhood experiences I refer to in my post, Why Parents Need to be Detectives.

Clothes can be your armour – the last little barrier between you and the baddies out there.

Despite my misgivings, I did what I was told and tried my very best to relax. That was, after all, the point.

Flash forward a few decades and I’m a mum with teenagers. A good friend has started up a massage business and gifts me the chance to destress at her hands.

I have, to be honest, I wasn’t ecstatic about the idea, but was determined to get a grip and save her feelings. I also figured my chances of actually enjoying the experience were greater, given we had the closeness of friendship.

That would have been the case too – I could feel my aching muscles relax – if it hadn’t been for the fact her own teenage sons came bounding home early and were noisily raiding the kitchen as I lay on the massage table nearby, with only a thin sheet between me and them.

DONNING MY COURAGE CAPE

 

massage picture

My courage cape won’t help me with this one.

Flash forward again to a few years ago and a trip to Thailand with Hubby and a couple with whom we are friends.

My female friend and I kept talking about enjoying the bliss of a Thai massage, recognised worldwide for being wonderful.

We talked but procrastinated until it was time for her to leave. We were staying an extra few days and on the final day, I decided to don my courage cape and have a massage on the beach. This seemed really safe. No need to undress.

I didn’t realise I’d be escorted to her table just beside the busy main road, surrounded by Thai men doing not much of anything but chatting to her in a language I didn’t understand, stopping only to burst into hysterical laughter at some funny joke. Needless to say, this was not the relaxing experience I was seeking.

A trip to Bali last year inspired another adornment of the courage cape. I refuse to be defined by my past and sometimes feel like a freak to be so tense about something that most people find relaxing.

The first massage was all that I had hoped for. A beautifully decorated and scent filled room for couples. Hubby was having one on the table next to me. Everything is better when he is there.

I actually relaxed! I was reaping the benefits of stepping outside my comfort zone because I was not only relaxed, I was proud that I had finally slain that fear demon.

Armed with this new bravery – no courage cape needed for the next dose of comfort outside my comfort zone – we rebooked.

This time, it was different. We were escorted to separate rooms and my masseuse came with a scowl.

Her expression reminded me of my first massage and the fear demon returned. I came out of that session tenser than when I went in.

SOMETIMES THE COMFORT ZONE IS THE ONLY PLACE TO BE

Why am I sharing this you may ask?

To illustrate that everyone’s comfort zone is different and what terrifies some relaxes others. To point out that facing your fears doesn’t automatically mean you beat them. And that’s OK.

For some people just getting out of bed and facing the world is terrifying – that’s their bungee jump. Some days they’ll make it, and some days they won’t. And that’s OK.

Just breathing in and out is a challenge for some. And that’s OK.

Sometimes we need the cushion of our comfort zone. And that’s OK.

What are you frightened of?

Wishing you a comfortable and gleeful week, Tamuria.

 

 

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27 Comments

  1. Massage and bungee jumping, a piece of cake. Public speaking, easy peasy. Commuter flights in planes that I am certain are powered by squirrels chasing nuts? Not so much. I vapor lock at the thought of those tuna cans and truly must be medicated to get on one. Speaking of massage. I need to schedule one for myself! 🙂

    • I have a niece is feels the same. She had to get her doctor to prescribe a sedative so she could go on her honeymoon.

  2. I have found that my fears have evolved and changed over time. Right now they are rooted in business growth but in the past they were acceptance by piers or things of that sort. It seems that if we just keep taking steps forward we will be ok.

  3. Great article with a lot of good tips for taking time for yourself. In the busy days we all have, massage is great, I have to take some time for myself and family to keep myself healthy . Thanks for the article.

    Lori English

  4. What a great way of pointing out that our fears all come in different forms, Tamuria! I love that. But you left me with a longing for a massage!
    Laughing too–if you really want to take this all the way, go to one of those Korean spas where your clothes are taken at the door 🙂
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…Should You Really Do What You Love?My Profile

    • Oh NO! I would totally freak at a Korean spa, Susan. 🙂 It’s true, though, our fears are quite different and it’s important to respect that.

  5. You are not the only one who has this issue. But that’s great that you still keep trying.

    I love massages. I have been having them done for years. When I tell people I was going for a massage, they would say, “I won’t do that.” I asked them why and they said, the undressing completed bothered them. I would explain that you are under a sheet, they only reveal the part they are massaging and you leave you bottoms on. They still didn’t care. Interesting. I don’t mind the undressing part. If they told me to remove the bottom, then I may be concerned.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…Easy Turkey Chili Freezer MealMy Profile

    • I have a few friends who share my fear of undressing around a stranger and it’s good to know I’m not alone. I think it’s not just about the clothes, though. I don’t have a problem undressing at the doctor’s if I need to. Massage can be quite an intimate thing, as any form of touching can, so it probably has to do with trust issues as well.

  6. Although I continue working on being comfortable with intimacy, (the one-on-one relationship kind), I have included massage in my health and healing protocol for as long as I can remember. Of course, I have the most brilliant rhythmic massage therapist, who is schooled in many other modalities as well. Even in the days when I had a male massage therapist, I don’t remember ever being uncomfortable. Interesting, actually. What scares me? Hmm. Nothing that is particularly physical to be honest. No fear of insects or snakes. Horror movies are the closest I come to being scared. Although I don’t watch them, as my vivid imagination precludes that. I think it is true, Tami, that everyone has their own comfort zone.
    Beverley Golden recently posted…Rediscovering Our Humanity Through NatureMy Profile

    • I think it’s the intimacy thing that puts me off with massages, Beverley. I’m big on hugs and kisses with just about anyone (I’ve been known to hug homeless people I’ve never met before), and am super affectionate with those I love, but combine touching with the vulnerability of undressing around a stranger and I get quite stressed.

  7. You can claim massages as a medical expense? I am so jealous! I try to schedule a massage once a week when time permits, but never less than once a month. It would be great if I were able to have my health insurance absorb some of the cost.

    Although I am open to try most things at least once, bungee jump has never been something I would consider. I never once hesitated treating myself to a message but the bungee is out of my comfort zone…and I am fine with that.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted…5 Main Mindset Changes for Entrepreneurs – Part 1My Profile

    • I think that’s the point, Rachel – being fine with what you know puts you out of your comfort zone and giving yourself permission not to force it. We are always complaining about our health system in Australia and there are aspects that need a lot of attention, but we are lucky to be able to claim things like massages. It does depend, however, on what kind of insurance you are paying for.

  8. What a fun read, and Oh! You poor dear! Roadside massages! Teen boys! Laughing idlers! Scowling masseuses! Gak – it’s like a bad dream! Maybe some things are just not meant to be, but good for you for trying, and I’m so glad you had that one wonderful experience!
    Reba Linker recently posted…Get Into the BodyMy Profile

    • Hahaha, reading my massage calamities that way really made me laugh, Reba. Yes, it has been an ordeal. I too am glad for that one great experience so at least I can understand what all the fuss is about.

  9. So crazy. I do have a girlfriend who doesn’t get massages, her reason is she just doesn’t like others touching her.. so that I get too. I love me some massages and I would LOVE to bungee jump too.. off a bridge over a streaming huge river.. that would be awesome. Way to conquer girl. love it
    Kristen Wilson recently posted…Search Engine Friendly versus Search Engine OptimizedMy Profile

    • I admire your courageous attitude, Kristen. For me, it’s not just about the touching (I love facials), but combining that and the need to undress around a stranger is the perfect recipe for stress, which kind of negates the reason for the massage.

  10. As someone who loves massage & has a daughter who was a masseuse, I feel for you. Your experiences were not ideal & I never had any that resembled yours. It does take courage to disrobe, trust your body to a stranger & all the other issues it brings up. I hope the next time you book one you make some requests. This was a great illustration of how we all have different experiences & reactions, fears, disappointments. Show compassion & understanding.

    • That’s the key Roz, showing compassion and understanding for other people’s fears – no matter how lame they may seem to us. I believe we attract situations into our lives to learn from them and clearly, my bad experiences have something to teach me. So I will continue, at a slow pace, to don my courage cape in pursuit of a massage that is actually relaxing instead of stressful.

  11. I’m with you, Tami. I’ve always been uptight with having a massage by strangers. I recently found one woman who I am comfortable with. I admit the stress it takes out of your body is well worth it. As for bungee jumping, no way.
    Joyce Hansen recently posted…5 Things Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Simone BilesMy Profile

    • I may have to persevere until I find someone I’m comfortable with too Joyce. I would love to enjoy the benefits of a relaxing massage. On the other hand, I can’t think of one benefit to bungee jumping.

  12. I love a good massage, Tamuria, especially if I’ve been under a lot of work pressure. My weekly shoulder massage got me through the fear and stress of working in Doha during the Gulf War and I endorse it as a great tool for stress management.

    I’m not really frightened by anything per se, except for snakes, after seeing a boa in our garden in Port of Spain when I was a teenager. The way I see it, if I leave God’s creatures alone, I’ll be fine.
    Vatsala Shukla recently posted…Procrastination is an equal opportunity habitMy Profile

    • It’s funny how varied our fears can be Vatsala. I live in a country famous for its many venomous snakes and have nearly stepped on some during various bushwalks. I have a healthy respect for them but they do not frighten me. They actually fascinate me. But put me in a room with a stranger who want to give me a massage…..

  13. Wow. So true. It is amazing the things we are afraid of but never admit to. Congrats on trying to conquer that fear. You are very brave.
    Krista recently posted…Blueberry Banana MuffinsMy Profile

    • Such a lovely thing to say, Krista. I felt anything but brave during those crazy experiences and even when I was writing about them.

  14. Hi Tamuria 🙂

    Great post! Getting out of your comfort zone and dealing with your fears (whatever they may be) is so freeing and just helps you to have more confidence in your own abilities to learn something new or to just break through those barriers of fear and discomfort in your life.

    For me, it was video marketing…..I love being on video and it helps people see the real me and to know that they can relate to me, is worth getting out of my comfort zone and embracing my fear 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…7 Steps To Successful Instagram MarketingMy Profile

    • Hi Joan. It’s great you have been able to embrace your fear with those videos. I’m sure it will pay off.

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