Slow Down, You Move Too Fast…

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I went to Phoenix, AZ for a training last weekend. It was a great class, continuing my training in Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. I learned 2-footed strokes. Yes, I use my feet as well as my hands to massage! I had previously learned seated and 1-footed strokes. Now, we pulled out all the stops and just stepped right up onto our clients. Ashiatsu is intended for larger bodies and those who like deep pressure. I’m really excited about what I learned. It’s very fun.

As class progressed through 3 days, it became a joke that I was always going too fast. I laughed, realizing over and over that I was ahead of my classmates. I thought about my lifestyle and how I feel like I’m always dashing off to pick up my son or head to cook team (that’s another story I’ll tell sometime). I don’t have a lot of down time or pure leisure. Anyway, as I tried hard to slow down my massage strokes, I would take a deep breath, remind myself I didn’t have to cook dinner right then or hurry for carpool. As I slowed my feet down, I could feel more of the back or legs I was working on. My feet came alive in a new way. I relaxed my arms and brow and enjoyed myself a lot more.

After 4 days away from my endearing little family, I was eager to hit the road and get home. Sunday evening at 5:25, I zoomed out of class and merged into westbound traffic. The plan was to make efficient, minimal stops and get home by about midnight. At 8 pm, I had made it about half-way through the desert. I pulled off the freeway to fill my tank and drink the strategic coffee that would keep me awake for the monotonous drive to LA.

At the end of the exit ramp, my car died. Huh?? It took me a bit to figure out that it had clunked out; I was so surprised. We have an older car, but it’s been very reliable. For the first time in my life I had to put on the hazards and literally push my car out of the way of other cars. I was able to coast down the hill and turn into a gas station. It wasn’t the best parking job, but it worked. What was I going to do next??

Phone calls to home base, a couple of helpful strangers, a pack of chocolate donettes…nothing made that car work. “Jr.” helped me push it into a good parking space for the night. Then I headed off to find the one hotel in Quartzsite, AZ. Please see link below. This is a very humble town. I spent the night in Quartzsite and started fresh in the morning.

Our instructor informed us in class that there’s always someone who cries. There may be countless reasons, but it’s inevitable. I had calculated just enough energy to drive home that Sunday night. I had not factored in getting stuck in a small town on the edge of the desert. I cried like a baby. After checking into the hotel, I finally calmed down and recounted many blessings in my unexpected scenario. 1) car breaking down at a town instead of in the desert 2) ability to push it into gas station 3) Chris’s and Jr.’s help and kindness 4) Fransisco’s ride to the Super 8 5)existence of the Super 8 6) AAA membership 7) cell phone reception 8) husband.

After a great night’s sleep, my (long-distance) husband and I tackled the situation with the help of AAA. The day ahead involved an almost nerve-racking amount of waiting for this restless mama. I became an expert at waiting by day’s end. The hardest part was waiting for the busy mechanics to eat their well-earned lunch before they diagnosed and fixed my car’s problem. God bless the mechanics, truly. But as soon as I had paid up and gassed the car up, I was on the road like a bat out of the desert. I drove all the way without risking stopping again until I got into Pasadena. (I believe that was 207 miles, but who’s counting?)

I was 500 feet from my driveway when a cop redirected traffic down a side street. I nearly collapsed in maniacal laughter. It took me about 15 minutes to get around our long block. By then the last of an unfortunate traffic accident had been cleared and the police detour was gone. I entered the driveway, parked the car, practically fell out the door as my leg and backside were so numb, and ran into the house. Hugs and kisses all around. Within 5 minutes I was wrestling with my son.

Slow down indeed. I hadn’t realized how accustomed I had become to the hustle and bustle of greater LA. I am far from the fast lane, but you know you’re in the middle of nowhere when the 1 Burger King in town is listed as a top employer on the municipal website. Where there’s 1 taxi driver, 1 hotel and 2 mechanics. If I hand’t had an adventure in Quartzsite, AZ, continued in Blythe, CA, I wouldn’t have really known they existed. If there hadn’t been only 1 (unavailable) taxi driver and 1 hotel, I probably wouldn’t have walked past and truly admired the colorful wildflowers growing on the side of the freeway.

Hopefully, as I weave my new massage technique into my practice I will remember this very vivid example of slowing down. An unhurried massage is often a very good one.


Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy

At the end of the week I’ll be heading to Scottsdale, AZ to attend the second part of a training for a massage technique called Ashiatsu Oriental Bar Therapy. A rather long name, I know. It’s a great modality where I use my clean, smooth feet to deliver a great massage to the back of the body. It’s perfect for those who like deeper pressure (and aren’t put off by feet!). Here’s a link if you’re intrigued.

I learned the first part of the modality in June ’09. The first part involves what are called seated strokes and one-footed strokes. Some of the strokes are delivered to the back while the therapist is seated on a high stool. The one-footed strokes are performed standing on the table with one foot anchored on the table and the other foot surfing around on the back, hips and glutes, and back of legs. What I’ll be learning next are the two-footed strokes. There are lovely, deep strokes up and down the spine as well as up and down the back of the legs. It almost looks like the person is getting rolled out like pizza dough (happy pizza dough). I’m excited to not only have the chance to learn more of the Ashiatsu technique, but also to have a few days off from mom-duty.

I decided to start the conversation with my son early. “Mommy’s going to be gone next week for a few days,” I offered during a cuddle time.  “Yes!” he replied, raising his hand in the air enthusiastically. “Now Daddy and I can implement our secret plan!” Oh, gee, I’m so sorry you’ll miss me. Seeing as how he gets at least 50% of his trouble-maker tendencies from me, I asked “What’s your secret plan?” “I can’t tell you, Mommy!” rolling his eyes. “It’s a secret.”

A couple days later my son asked if we could go to In ‘N Out Burgers instead of eating the fantastic meal I was preparing. “No, but I bet when I’m gone, Daddy will take you there.”  “Yes!” was his reply, cunning in his eyes as he began to realize what amazing potential there could be in Mommy leaving town. Will I miss him/them? Sure, but I will enjoy a few days off from making lunches, nagging him to get up, get dressed, brush his teeth, get in the car….need I go on? Parents are always working. We only get paid for some of it.