Looking back, about –it seems like every time I receive massage or similar service, I feel like I give back to the relationship to the point that I’m often a little emotionally drained. Even though ostensibly, I am receiving (and paying for) a “relaxing” therapy. That tends to happen when someone has his or her hands on me- it is very hard not to- as I am a big sponge for feelings and ideas (even unspoken).
When I was very young, I was really emotionally needy. No one liked that. To avoid being “vampiric”, I probably overcompensate and give back more than what is bargained for. Usually I’m the coach cheering people on and feel comfortable in that role.
The time I gave Reiki to the man who became my love (daemon) angel, did I get so schooled! This time I received a big lesson- and got paid too. Wowza!
This is the back-story that led up to L.D. #1. I’ll attempt to minimize poetic license. It’s not very exciting. I’m also going to insert some possibilities now that this has unfolded. But speculations I will limit to the “comment”, section and footnotes.
It was mid-October, I had just returned from a weeks long silent meditation retreat so was feeling mostly quiet. It went so-so; over that full moon week, mostly I wept about my ex asking for a divorce and what I was losing…I hadn’t been able to rest well.
I got back to my car and phone, and there was a message on it from a chiropractor I didn’t know. He’d picked up my card at the yoga studio I went to and was wondering what ‘somatic’ therapy I was offering.
Having “nothing” to lose, I was mostly just moping, crying, and packing, I returned his call- why not?
After our pleasant and professional call, we decided to meet that weekend at the practice where he worked.
This practice is located on a particular intersection I know well; I’d already been there visiting several local businesses, a few serially. I would say I’ve been to that corner more often than any other –so I could picture the practice was right away, when he mentioned it. I was glad the appointment was on Saturday when parking wouldn’t be so tight.
Before going, I gave some thought to my attire. After all, normally I’d just wear a suit and heels. Somehow, between this taking place at a chiropractor’s office-let alone in Pacific Northwest, no way- no how was I dressing up. I’d probably just get teased for my shoes, let alone stockings and a jacket! So I dressed down – casual business casual and wore my favorite shade of blue. Typically I don’t wear makeup, so didn’t; hair was pulled back away from my facethough not in my typical bun or braid.
The interview room was opposite the clinic and everything was super casual. Not one, but two guys were waiting for me; I felt a bit shy. One man sat on a straight back chair like the one I was offered; the other was stretched out with his feet up on the table. He barely moved when I came in. He was like, ‘being one of the guys’, hanging with his friend. Both men were handsome, seemed in their forties.
Have you ever met an unattractive chiropractor? Me neither!
Dr. M, stood up to greet me and introduce himself. He was tall and lean like a cyclist, with a head of (prematurely) grey hair. He was friendly in a Mr. Rogers kind of way. I liked him immediately; this put me at ease. The other man, Dr. P, still had his legs up on the table (though he took them down later) and seemed a little gruff. It turned out he was the owner.
Maybe I threatened him, in retrospect. While I was a little taken aback he was so casual,I didn’t worry too much; and enjoyed fielding questions while we discussed wellness and health; he didn’t ask them, but his friend Dr. M did.
Usually I wouldn’t be so outspoken around men, but they didn’t threaten me- being quite a bit younger, not MDs, etc. I shared freely– including my current condition. That came up early in the conversation when they asked me, “What was I doing with my practice?” To which I answered something to the effect that I was in free-fall.
And so it came out, they were recently divorced themselves, and barely a year out from their separations, so they offered reassurance that things would sort out eventually. That was good to hear.
Dr. M had lots of ideas about wellness and we made great conversation. I can talk philosophy forever, especially with alternative therapists! 90 minutes or more flew by without noticing. Dr. M reminded me of my eager idealistic side, always exploring and questioning.
Unlike me, Dr. M liked to improve a place then move on. I’m more diehard loyal. He reminded me a bit like Mary Poppins, at least that was the impression I got from his story (and said so). He liked his freedom. I wish I had his sense of security to just pick up and leave!
Dr. P had his plans too. His were about “staffing and clinic changes” in March (about 5 months away- in 2020). I was impressed he had life so well planned; I hoped he would let whoever it was go with fair warning, though I didn’t get the impression he was too concerned.
At the end, before I was leaving, I used the restroom. It was located in the back of the building on the way through a large storage room. The path was strewn with cardboard. For a nice chiropractor’s office, it was very disheveled. It wasn’t just an impatient mess, more like things being shoved and tossed. Was that anger in the air?
Luckily the bathroom was clean and fresh with a significant and unexpectedly peaceful quality. Maybe there was a candle? Or a pretty picture?
I left feeling a bit more hopeful about my future than before- even as I walked back through the mess.
Later next week, Dr. M texted that he wanted to meet me again. Since, I was (still) hoping for a possible development of an opportunity, I did. This time, it was Dr. M and his girlfriend– a woman from my yoga teacher training; I’d known her distantly for a few years. It was nice to see her but I admit I wondered why I was asked back- I couldn’t see myself collaborating with her particularly, but you never know!
Dr. P wasn’t there, but came in towards the end with his son. They were going floating in a salt tank nearby, to help with some anxietyissues the boy was having.
The four of us briefly chatted while the boy went back over to the clinic. Dr. P sat along side me at a distance, his spot being taken by Dr. M’s girlfriend, and made snippet remarks- specifically, I ‘didn’t need evidence to write about what I believed’, which in twenty-twenty hindsight, is another example of him giving me agency!
That he would say that to me is laughable. My approach to describing (my) reality, up until then, was based on rigor- and scientific evidence. My undergraduate work was all math and ‘hard’ science. I approached medicine that way for a long time too, believing that a combination of evidence-based ‘tweaks’ were the magic solutions for ‘dis-ease’ and ‘I’ll-ness’. Being unempirical is unsettling (to say the least); it is so hard to trust in what’s not seen or measured (still).]
At one point I mentioned, “Chiropractors had hurt me”. By the way Dr. P responded, probably some nonsense about the timing of being seen (sarcasm), it struck me he was a healer- and I said so. He denied it, but under his beard I’m sure I saw him blush. My friend Miu-mui from ballet calls chiropractors “voodoo witch doctor healers”. Maybe there’s truth in that statement. Chiron is master of the healing arts, according to mythologies (Wikipedia).
Later, Dr. P said he’d make an appointment for Reiki. Sure, why not? But since I no longer had my space, I’d have to explore for an alternate. I also had some obligations coming up besides moving – specifically a mystery school/ sacred arts training, I was really looking forward to that at the end of the month.
I figured he was gauging Reiki for possible modality for his clinic; though I did mention it was spiritual, and might not be a great fit.
That was really about it. You see, there were no red flags. It was all on the up and up, or at least so I thought so when I went home that day- and until Dr. P came for his appointment a few days later.
I’m speaking of living and breathing people, after all. I sent a copy of this essay to the clinic for their comments before publishing.
Plenty, and there was no doubt I was moving out. Money was tenuous; as I’d retired already. At one point, a little voice said really clearly and conversational-like, ”everything is going to change”. A part of me braced. Another voice said, “Surrender, it’ll be easier”.
My relationship with chiropractors goes back a long way. I’m not going to burn bridges with anyone- I figure they know spines-and the day ins and outs of managing back discomfort. I need them, or at least occasionally my back feels better after treatments and their counsel. I have had a couple of bad reactions that nearly crippled me, so I’m cautious and only go rarely, for peripheral issues.
There are times, not always, that I would love, love, love to wear a head covering! I’ve wanted to for years. My husband and friends are aghast – that it would set me apart as a religious zealot. Maybe this is accurate?! So of course, to honor them and their feelings I didn’t; being chicken I still don’t.
Until recently, handsome men surrounded me at home and at work. Both my sons, as well as their friends- are also six feet tall and look like natural leaders. Maybe that’s a woman’s version of harem. Either way once I got over being flustered, I felt pretty comfortable.
Usually I’d have this degree of ease with men who were gay- men who wouldn’t threaten later me for sex. My listening ability gets me into trouble with men who adore being listened to, unless I am in a clinical setting where it’s warranted.
This was a true statement; from the combination of losses I’d had the two years prior, I was objectively untethered and had no commitments to anything!
My much younger self used to be so interested in everything- I always wanted to know the “whys” of a situation. I can’t imagine having the Internet; Encyclopedia Brittanica was loads of fun growing up! My mother was an anthropologist and I am just like her- fascinated with people.
I ‘d been hydrating after my ballet class that morning.
For the record, I would not recommend a very sensitive person go into a more sensitive space. Try horses or other large animal exposure instead. They let us interact with things (people, places, and situations) we can’t control – which is often what (reactive) anxiety reflects.
Which words, I wonder, does he rue?
One of them put me into a sort of vise-grip contraption for spinal multifidus training; it disturbed everything and my back went out for a couple of weeks (requiring lots of narcotics); I almost called 911. I should mention that my husband had just deployed again and I was ‘adjusting’ to that too.
Later Dr. P offered his space- at the end of his clinic hours but I wanted a chaperone and a space that was energetically (more) clear.
Reiki is spiritual in meeting you at your own level. At the very least, you will be deeply relaxed after a treatment. That said, I naturally “channel” during sessions- and offer that, though I may soften what I “channel”. Sometimes when I’m receiving Reiki, I have to start saying (silently), “la,la,la,la” during appointments if the energy starts being weird (practitioner going into their own story for example).
In my practice(s), I was/am committed to a patient’s autonomy; that my treatment will help them get so much better they won’t need me but will refer all their friends. Obviously that strategy DID NOT work, since I’m now not earning any money! Of the chiropractors I’ve seen, IMHO, most like lots of return visits and encourage dependence.