Massage Table Musings

I’ve seen my massage therapist, Wendy, for years. She’s a gifted healer, intuitive and I trust her explicitly and feel safe in her care. But for some reason, during our session last week, I could feel my body fighting against her best efforts to release the tension in my neck and shoulders. I realized I was guarding those tender areas from the threat of future pain, and at the same time, sabotaging the healing my body needed.

As I became aware of what was happening, I began to silently repeat mantras to relax my body: “smooth like butter” and “yield to the discomfort.” It might sound corny, but as I did this, I could feel the tension in my shoulders releasing. Allowing myself to lean into the discomfort led to a greater sense of health and well-being in the hours and days following that appointment. I experienced the relief that came through getting comfortable with my discomfort.

Could it be that its the same with our emotions? Because what we resist persists. What if allowing ourselves to feel our emotions, even and ESPECIALLY when it seems like they will swallow us whole, is actually the doorway to a healthy emotional life? Perhaps feelings just want to be noticed, acknowledged and experienced so they can move through us and transform into something new? And transform they will. If you need proof, just observe the emotional life of a well-adjusted toddler. Notice what a healthy emotional range looks like.

Don’t get me wrong, surrendering to what 'is’ can be uncomfortable as hell, but, what’s worse - experiencing uncomfortable emotions temporarily? Or getting stuck and being owned by them?

I’m convinced there’s no way out but through. Straight through the middle. I’ve learned there’s no bypassing that elephant in the room. Because all that built up grief, anger, anxiety, sadness, loneliness? We can’t outrun it. Pain always catches up to us. And by the time it does, it has snowballed into all manner and kind of dysfunction, masquerading as addiction, binge eating, rage, depression, anxiety, martyrdom or constant busy-ness, Try as we might, we can’t outplay nor outlast it. I spent years trying. Not any more. I now know that if you don’t ‘do’ emotion, emotion ‘does’ you.

What if the feeling monster knocking at our door isn’t really a monster at all? What if it is more like a big dog who looks intimidating at first glance, but once you approach him and gently offer out your hand, you realize he’s all bark and no bite? What if we invited him in for a bone and welcomed him to stay until he’s taught us all he showed up to teach us? What if we had the courage to ride out the waves of our emotions, knowing they will not overtake us, firmly rooted in the faith that calmer waters lay ahead? How would our lives transform as a result?


By reading my website and blog at, you acknowledge that I am neither a licensed psychologist nor health care professional and my services do not replace the care of mental health or other healthcare providers. Coaching is in no way to be construed as or substituted for psychological counseling or any other type of therapy or medical advice. I cannot guarantee the outcome of recommendations on my website/blog and my comments are expressions of opinion only. If you are struggling, please reach out to your doctor.