Finding Meaning Through Healing: Prayers on 9/11

Before I had my kids I was a preschool teacher. After having my kids, I wanted to go back to work but I didn’t want to go back to teaching. I was exhausted and physically drained from being a new mother and needed a break from caring for small children. 

I was interested in herbalism and had been experimenting with recipes for making my own medicines from plants so I began working at a local health food store in the supplement department. It wasn’t until I started thinking about a career in the field of integrative therapies that I considered going to school to be an herbalist.  

My friend and I were talking about it and she suggested massage school. I considered it because not very many people were open to seeing an herbalist on a regular basis. My concern was that I thought massage was for “those touchy-feely people”. I was not comfortable with the idea of taking care of strangers on such an intimate level. “Maybe that’s why you should do it?” my friend questioned. 

I interviewed the owner of the local massage school. I let her know my concerns and she recommended I start with acupressure. It was a hands-on practice that was done with clothes on. I could go forward from there if I wanted to, or not. 

I signed up, enthusiastic to try something new.  

My first day of class was on the evening of September 11th, 2001. That morning, I watched in a haze as the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York burned and then collapsed. The impact on the passengers on the plane that hit it, the people in the collapsed buildings, their families, and all of us witnessing felt surreal and unfathomable. I didn’t know where to file this in my emotions. Was I angry? Afraid? Sad? Was there something I should be doing? 

I called the massage school to find out if that evening’s acupressure class was still happening. She answered yes it was, so I went. 

When I entered the classroom the instructor had set places to sit on the floor in a circle with a large statue of Quan Yin in the center. Once everyone had arrived, she explained that she was the Goddess of Compassion. She went on to teach us the Tibetan Loving Kindness Prayer. 

“Begin with saying the prayer for yourself,” she advised. “May I be loving and kind, may I be well, may I be peaceful and at ease, may I be happy.” We repeated the prayer for ourselves 3 times. 

“Then say the prayer for someone you care about.” She recommended that tonight we focus on the victims and families of those affected by the day’s tragedy. “May the victims and families be loving and kind, may the victims and families be well,” and so on, again, 3 times. “Then say the prayer for someone you feel anger or even hatred for.” She suggested we pray for the terrorists who hijacked the plane and ran it into the building which resulted in the deaths of so many. We all took a deep breath. How could we wish ease and send kindness to those who were responsible for such horrid acts? She reminded us to consider the pain and suffering these individuals must have endured to become so filled with anger and vengeance that they would do such a thing. She asked us just to try it. “May the terrorists be loving and kind, may the terrorists be well, may the terrorists be peaceful and at ease. May the terrorists be happy.” 

There were tears. I realized for myself that if these terrorists had received such a blessing before all of the day’s events, if they had been truly filled with such emotions and experiences, they would not have been so likely to commit such heinous attacks. I took a deep breath. Something transformed deep inside of me from that moment on. 

We concluded with the final set of prayers for All Beings. “May all beings be loving and kind…” by then, we all knew the lines. I still know them today as they resonate in my heart. As we went on to learn about meridians and energy channels for each organ in the body, my perceptions and my reality continued to metamorphosize. I was good at finding the points. Where to put my fingers was intuitive. I learned to tune into the breath and subtle movements of the person on the table to feel into what points might need support next. As a new mother, I could feel my ability to nurture the small child inside each person I put my hands on. I fell in love with bodywork. 

I also fell in love with the idea that I could support the healing of each person I worked with by simply bringing them compassion regardless of what their story was. That I could make a positive difference for them and they in turn would bring positivity to every person they encountered as they went into their lives again. 

The synchronicity of 9/11 and my first day of massage school was a message to me. That the world needed healing and that this was my next path. Becoming a massage therapist continued to lead me to discover things about myself year after year. I furthered my training with Craniosacral Therapy and a deep spiritual version of Hawaiian Lomilomi- Keala Hoku.  

I will always be a massage therapist though the capacity at which I practice has significantly lessened. Now as a life coach, my ability to feel into where my clients are is definitely influenced by my experience with the energies and empathy I developed through doing hands-on work with my massage clients over the past 20 years. My intention will always be to bring compassion to groups, individuals, and spaces I hold for others. I am forever grateful that this is the work I get to do and I know it sends ripples of kindness out into the world like a stone in a body of water.  

I want to encourage you to reach out if you have ever been curious about receiving coaching support from me! In addition, I wish you wellness, love, kindness, ease, happiness, and peace whatever your journey is.

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