Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Your Science is in my Art! No, Your Art is in my Science!

I've been reading a few blog posts lately about the science/art conflict in massage therapy.  I remain confused about why there is conflict at all.  I look at science and art together as the Reese's cup of the idea world -- good apart, but addictively delicious when combined.  Two great thoughts that think great together.

This came to mind again today when I saw a few Facebook posts showing results of some right-brained/left-brained quiz.  As I am a sucker for a good quiz, I took it, and found my results were exactly in the middle.  Unscientific, but every time I have taken one of these quizzes, it comes out the same.  Exactly in the middle.  Maybe I can't favor art or science because my brain abhors extremes.

Or maybe science and art are more delicious together than separate.  I call myself a "science monkey," I warn my students against talking about toxins, I have multiple Google Scholar alerts.  And yet -- Every time I lay my hands on someone I think to myself: "This is (name.) She needs (compassion/peace/comfort/whatever.)" If I don't do this the massage suffers.  When I am in the middle of a massage, especially an oncology massage, I feel a tight circle around myself and my client which physically blocks outside noises, thoughts and feelings.  I describe it as that TV blurry fade, only it just fades out background chatter.

I want to live in my Reese's cup world, where creative combination is the way to practice, not willful exclusion.  Open, but not gullible.  This is how we create new ideas, new methodologies, new relationships.  Let's sit in a balcony and let those chocolate bars fall.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Big Girl Trousers

What do you do when the right decision for you is also the one that causes the most panic?  If you're me, normally you ignore it and hunker down with the safest choice instead. Then, maybe, something happens to split open your life, and all the usual choices are blown to bits. So, what do you do?

If you're me, you take ten steps back, then run directly into the panic, waving your arms and screaming "Towanda!"

A full time faculty position recently opened up at the school. It would be that rare unicorn among MTs -- a job with a consistent salary, regular hours, and benefits. Benefits! I had those when I worked in corporatetown. They were soooo . . . . safe.

I sent in my resume for the job. The salary and benefits would go a long way to eliminate the things I worry about. But, I just started a practice that could be a beautiful expression of my work. I am getting more involved with teaching oncology massage, and I just signed a preliminary contract to provide massage at a nursing home. None of these things have benefits beyond feeding my passion and making me excited to wake up every day. None of these things have security beyond that of knowing I am doing what I was meant to do.

Benefits, though, and the hypnotic charms of financial security. I interviewed for the position, and they wanted me. They hoped I would apply before they posted the job. They saw me doing well in the job. To tell the truth, so did I.

Today, I turned them down. I will still remain as part time faculty, because the teaching makes me a better therapist, and because I do need some consistent income.  I decided to take on this new independent adulthood, and move towards the things I am best at, even if they aren't exactly secure right now. I am running towards the panic, arms outstretched.  Maybe some of you think I've made the wrong decision, and I'm okay with that.  Maybe you're right, and I'm okay with that too.  Maybe I will stumble, fall, crash and even burn.  But I'll be happier for it.