In 1998 I left my home in Phoenix, my marriage, my job and my self esteem and moved to San Francisco. I did it because I had to. My life had hit rock bottom and I had nowhere else to go. Fortunately I had a brother who let me stay in his sunroom for months while I sorted myself out. And believe me, there was a lot of sorting to do. When I arrived I was completely lost. I didn't know who I was, what I was going to do or where I was going. I only knew that I was on a completely different path than the one I had been on. I was spiritually bereft when I arrived and knew, without a doubt, that that needed to change. While I had no idea how to begin, I did have a friend who was meditating everyday. She seemed to be getting something out of it so I thought I would try it too. I would sit silently and try to quiet my mind. What a joke that was! But even though it was difficult, I kept doing it. I needed some guidance about the direction I was heading and I hoped that meditating would give me that information.
I heard about Shakti Gawain and her guided visualizations. The first book I read was called "Creative Visualization" and it helped me understand how I could begin to create my life instead of having it happen to me. As I worked with these visualizations, I got clearer about I wanted next in my life. I wanted to find work that was meaningful to me. I wanted to know what my purpose was. So I started asking the Universe to give me some signs.
As soon I asked during my meditations, the oddest thing started happening - my hands started tingling. That was interesting but I had no idea what it meant. The first thing I thought about was learning massage therapy. Now that was an unexpected thought for a couple of reasons. One, I didn't really like touching people and two, I wasn't very fond of naked bodies. I spoke to someone who was doing massage but she said some things that I really didn't understand. She told me that, as a massage therapist, you exchanged energy with your clients and also that you had to love them. Well, that freaked me out so I went back to meditating and asking for more signs about the work I was supposed to do. My hands kept tingling.
I was having dinner with another friend and we talked about my situation. She was studying somatic bodywork. When she suggested that I begin by studying massage I realized that this was the Universe talking to me again, delivering the signs I had been asking for. I decided to let go of some of my fears and just check into it. I did some research, found a massage school in San Francisco that looked liked it would be a good fit for me and applied.
I went to school and loved it. I started with Shiatsu because the clients we worked on wore clothes! Yes, that's the truth. But within just a few months I realized that I wanted to learn Swedish massage too. I quickly got over my discomfort with naked bodies and hung my shingle out. I became a successful massage therapist and continued my studies for years.
The most important part of this was that I had found my way. I was learning what my purpose was. I was here to help people feel good, to feel connected to their bodies and to open them up to what I had been learning -that there is a connection between body/mind and Spirit.
And the good news is that was just the beginning!