What is Grief Massage℠: 7 Years Later PART 3
This 6 part blog series is based on an article I wrote in 2017 titled “What is Grief Massage: 7 Years Later” to reflect on the 7 year anniversary of www.griefmassage.org. Find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. This post, Part 3, reflects on the opportunities that showed up once I was willing to share my voice with the world through my writing. I also reflect on how new opportunities brought new challenges that required leaps of faith.
As you read, I encourage you to reflect on times in your own journey when opportunities (and challenges) have appeared. How do you greet opportunities? Do you trust them? Do they scare you? Reflect on how you can learn to embrace opportunities and take the leaps of faith that your own calling asks you to. -AJT
Writing about Grief Massage Led to Larger Opportunities
The opportunities that came over the next few years – partnership with a non-profit organization and Grief Massage grants from The Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) and exposure in my local newspaper, a local news channel, and a large corporate massage newsletter – would likely not have been possible if I had not taken that original step of creating this website and putting myself and Grief Massage out into the world through the written word.
These larger opportunities led to many emails from licensed massage therapists around the country (and around the world) who heard about my work, and wanted to learn about offering Grief Massage in their own communities.
This was my next challenge, my next learning curve: learning to translate my own vision and experiences into a class or training program that I could share with others.
Part of me had always known that this stage of my work was coming – but it was terrifying. Again, the feeling that I was letting someone else read my diary kept coming up. It was so incredibly personal.
I’d had the opportunity to train a small group of massage therapists in my local community through a grant program, and I had loosely organized my ideas into a course that I had titled The Joy of Grief Massage℠ - but the idea of translating my experience into something I could share on a wider scale actually led to something I never expected to experience: writers block.
Writers Block and The Void
I sat down and planned out a Grief Massage course several times. I would set aside entire days for course creation and I often ended up just feeling sick to my stomach. Writing had proven to be so easy for me in the past – yet I was at a loss for how to channel my Grief Massage work onto paper as a course.
I spoke to a wise mentor about the nauseous feeling I kept having when I sat down to write my course, and she gave me a great gift of affirmation when she said, “Well, yes - you are creating from the void”.
Those words rang so true for me. I am still so grateful for how my mentor affirmed the terror and anxiety of creating something from nothing. It was true. I was reaching deep within myself to draw forth my own insights and experiences and share them with others.
I couldn’t rely on anything outside of myself to do this. It was vulnerable and terrifying.
Taking the Leap
I knew I needed to take the leap and create the Grief Massage course by the end of 2013 because I had been accepted into an undergraduate program at Queens University of Charlotte and planned to return to school to study psychology in January 2014.
That same wise mentor (the one who articulated the terror of creating from a void) had been the catalyst for my return to school as she foresaw the need for a formal academic degree if I were to reach my full potential in sharing Grief Massage with the world.
So as I prepared to return to school and study psychology, I recognized that it would be difficult to balance the creation of my Grief Massage course with my upcoming academic demands.
I had the sensation of a clock ticking. The nearer I drew to the end of the 2013, the more urgently I felt the need to create my course in Grief Massage.
I will always remember the day that I finally broke through my paralysis around creating the course.
Learn more about my journey in Part 4.