Oh my goodness, it has been way too long since I have spoken from this blog site. My time in Vermont was beautiful and centering. In the experience of living through the seasons, I found the grounding and centering I needed and craved. Precious time with my family, and hiking in the mountains brought me peace and time to reflect on the value of simple living, and the importance of keeping connections with friends and loved ones. I am back in Ft. Lauderdale now, still doing massage and developing CE classes for massage therapists. Now, I am called to expand my teaching.
Last night, I was watching the news, and saw a group of young men who had formed a movement in response to the #Metoo movement. They were so sincerely concerned about being good men, good citizens, and sensitive to how they communicated with women. They struggled with trying to learn a way of being in this world that our society never taught them. A friend of mine, Bob Schwartz, a retired psychologist had the following relevant observation: "Living in a country where the straight White male has always had unquestioned power must be confusing for many of these young men. Women, racial minorities and the LGBTQ community have always suffered disproportionately in an unbalanced hierarchy of power, and have had to develop ways of self expression and self identity that these young White males never had to do."
Over the last year I have been watching with a mixture of deep pain, horror,and amazement as both men and women have come forward to share personal accounts of being a victim of sexual abuse or harassment. I have admired the courage of those who have publicly shared their stories, knowing that for each story shared, there are countless stories untold. I feel comfortable to share that my choice of a career in massage therapy was directly related to the pain of being a victim of sexual assault. Through giving massage to strangers who made themselves vulnerable to me, I was able to relate to my own wounds. In receiving massage I became vulnerable and was able to find a way to love myself. For me, massage has been a tool, a life skill to connect with my deepest essence as a human being and to connect to the deepest essence of another.
"Toxic masculinity" is a phrase being used which sums up the societal and individualized abuse of power seen in acts of male aggression, sexually predatory behavior and misogynistic attitudes and practices. There seems to be a growing acceptance of racing to the bottom when it comes to forming an appropriate response in addressing these behaviors, attitudes and practices. I have seen what I would label as a rise in "Toxic femininity" as a back lash to toxic masculinity. Basically, this is when women feel entitled to categorize men as being "all the same" while using THEIR sexuality as a weapon to provoke desired attention and outcomes. It is also insufficient to only focus on abstinence and restraint for men, and protection and self defense for women. It is limiting to teach in a "THOU SHALT NOT" format, which teaches what NOT to do. What we need is a shared acknowledgement of respect for the beauty and mystery of the human body we live in. Period.
I BELIEVE MASSAGE IS THE RIGHT TOOL FOR THIS REVOLUTION!!!
I am now making myself available to teach community groups how to relate to one another respectfully through the power of healing touch. Some of the classes I traditionally offer to licensed therapists for credit will be made available for people who wish to learn about the body we live in and the amazing energy system we have. Watch my blog post next week on the human heart. A timely piece for Valentine's Day! We have so much more in common than you can imagine, and so much power to heal ourselves and one another. Let's do it! Love and peace, Maryah