At 20 bucks an hour, medicinal back massages are a steal. Last furlough I vowed to indulge in this overseas luxury more often. Cross cultural life stresses the body and the mind. Massage works wonders…if you can stand the pain.
Massage in America surrounds you in an experience of soothing luxury. Relaxing smells and soft music with a fountain trickling in the background usher one into an experience of stressless comfort. Not so in Asia. A successful massage in Asia uses one hour to hit every pressure point and problem area with torturous force. No music or fountains…just hard work. It is not for the faint of heart. If I scream, which I do, I only communicate a job well done, not a request to stop!
Two words describe pain in this language and we learned them from the masseuse. There are more, but these two strike me with meaning. Pain and sore pain. Pain is just what it means…pain. No purpose. Negative. Undesirable. Bad.
Sore pain…now sore pain is good. The masseuse explained that sore pain means new blood flowing to the knotted muscle and washing out the toxins. Sore pain eventually allows the muscle to release the poison and relax resulting in more freedom of motion without limiting pain.
Sore pain is why I get a massage. Sore pain serves a purpose. Sore pain yields. Sore pain is not futile. Sore pain leads to loose muscles that enable me to enjoy daily life without as much plain old pain.
As in my spiritual life there is pain that leads to more pain and serves no purpose. That kind of pain makes me act funny as I protect myself. And, then, there is sore pain. The word a friend speaks that brings to light a sin issue I need to face. Or, maybe it is doing the thing I fear will incur disapproval from others. Pressing these areas brings sore pain. But, sore pain is worth it. Sore pain brings new life. Sore pain gets out the poisons. Sore pain eventually brings peace and freedom.
Sore pain still hurts. I scream when the masseuse hits certain pressure points. I cry and can get angry when someone pushes on a stiff spot. But the promise of cleaning out the toxins and moving unencumbered by a stiff soul makes me crave it even as I want to scream.
When I visit the masseuse I always try to go with a friend. We bond as we listen to the masseurs grump about our physical problems and as we hear each other yelp. Taking a friend along on the journey of sore pain of the soul helps me endure.
Between the screams, and sometimes through them, we laugh a great deal.
What stiff places in your soul need to experience sore pain these days?