What is Grief Massage℠: 7 Years Later Part 4
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, Part 2 here and Part 3 here. This post, Part 4, reflects on finding my way out of writer’s block and tapping into the sense of urgency that reminded me life is very short - that when the time to create my course had arrived, it was vitally important for me not to wait.
As you read, I encourage you to reflect on how short life can be. Are there gifts you feel called to share with the world? What would the world miss out on if you didn’t share those gifts before your life ended? How can you tap into a sense of your own limited time on earth, in order to create the urgency to resist procrastinating on your calling? -AJT
Creating a Course on Grief Massage: The Joy of Grief Massage℠
Here’s how it happened: I realized that unless I shared my Grief Massage vision with many others, it would likely die with me.
Specifically, it occurred to me that, if I were to die young and with unfulfilled potential (like my brother did), all of the insights, and experience, and knowledge I was supposed to share with the world would never reach the people who were supposed to receive it.
A Sense of Urgency
When I really felt that fact in my bones, I was energized and nearly possessed with a sense of urgency.
Suddenly, it wasn’t just about creating my course before I started college in January 2014. Rather, it became all about recording my vision for Grief Massage so that others could learn from me – even in the event that my life ended unexpectedly and I was gone.
Because of my personal experiences with untimely loss (my brother Chris died unexpectedly in an accident in 2005 and my Mom died suddenly by suicide in 2009), the reality that life could end abruptly was very real to me.
And, I didn’t want to die with unfinished business - I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to express my calling.
Inspired by this new paradigm, I fired up my computer and just began speaking from the heart into my webcam. I recorded several hours of largely unscripted Grief Massage instruction – I simply imagined that I was speaking directly to someone who needed to hear my message.
I said everything that I would regret not saying in the event of my own untimely death.
There was an incredible sense of relief when I finally felt that I recorded everything I needed to share about Grief Massage!
It’s ironic that in the beginning of my Grief Massage work, speaking was difficult but writing was easy. But then, in creating my course, I found that writing had been a struggle while speaking from the heart on video was actually quite easy.
Once that original series of videos had been created, I was able to easily translate the Grief Massage information into a written training manual (The Joy of Grief Massage℠ Training Manual). My writing abilities were called back into service as I edited, cited any sources that had influenced my approach, divided the training manual into several sections (modules) and then organized the course into a combination of video instruction and written instruction.
Sending the Course into the World
I submitted the course manual to the United States Copyright Office on December 23, 2013 – just one week before my personal deadline of the course completion by the end of the year.
And then I began sharing my course online, free of charge, with any massage therapist who wanted to help others through Grief Massage (and who agreed to volunteer 10 hours of their time working with grieving clients in their own community).
After some time, I began charging a small fee for the online course, but I ended up refunding most of students who paid that small fee for the class -- because there were still small technical glitches that I felt needed to be worked out.
Of course, the truth is, the technical side of things weren’t so bad. I just wasn’t comfortable charging for the information. I was so passionate about sharing my work that I wanted to give it away.
Read more about my journey in Part 5.