Friday, November 21, 2008

Life is like...a massage

Life is like…a massage

The masseuse who performs the massage possesses an ability to positively impact the well-being of the massage recipient. He realizes the benefits of offering the service and knows that such benefits rarely include a returned massage from the person to whom he provided the massage. He conducted the massage and, for the reward, he doesn’t receive a massage himself, but instead is compensated with stronger hands and the satisfaction that the tension of another person’s life was eased through his efforts.

In life, much like rewards for a masseuse, rewards for our actions and good deeds do not always align perfectly with the “I massage your back, you massage mine” philosophy. We don’t always massage the kinks out of another person’s life with the expectation that she is going to immediately do the same thing for us. Holding onto such expectations is only setting us up for disappointment when the expectations are not met.

When our awareness is keen and the timing is right for the kinks to be worked out of our lives, a masseuse will emerge to loosen our tension. A willing masseuse may already be in our lives, or we may need to expend some effort to find the right one. If not immediately, we will eventually find he who is eager to help; or maybe he will first find us. Just as we realized the benefits of strengthening our hands and our character by massaging the tensions out of another, someone else will realize the benefits of massaging the tensions out of us.

Throughout our existence, we continuously face opportunities to play the masseuse, opportunities to help work out the kinks and knots of people’s lives and enhance their overall well-being. Metaphorically, the masseuse role can exist through a diverse array of mediums, including examples such as helping a neighbor mow his lawn, talking to a child about issues at school, assisting a family member with a project at her house, explaining a homework assignment to a fellow classmate, or giving an unexpected gift to a friend. Each example depicts a different way that we can help ease tension in others’ lives just as a masseuse eases tension in the one who is being massaged.

Although only a few are listed, countless opportunities to assume this role continuously surface. Depending upon our awareness and expectations of the role, we will approach such opportunities differently. Some of us are aware of these opportunities and act upon them, while to others the opportunities are less apparent. Some of us, although able to see the opportunities, fail to act upon them because we expect something in return that we don’t think we’ll receive.

To illustrate, while shopping we may identify an item that would help brighten a saddened friend’s day so we purchase the item and offer it as a gift in hopes that it will lighten her mood. With this mindset, we do not expect a gift in return. We understand that our reward will not be in the form of a tangible gift, but in the form of strengthened character and the satisfaction of helping to improve a friend’s well-being. Some of us, however, are unable to identify the item because we lack awareness of the positive impact that it could have on our friend. Furthermore, some of us may easily identify the item but choose not to purchase it because we don’t believe that we will receive a tangible gift in return.

We must understand that our good deeds unto others will yield us positive rewards even if the rewards do not grace us in the same shape of the deeds that we provide. We simply need to be aware of the countless forms of positive rewards that result from our doings and appreciate them as they bless our lives. As we dissolve our expectations about the rewards for our good deeds, we enhance our ability to maximize contentedness within our selves. We can gracefully play the role of the masseuse, realizing contentment without expecting an immediate massage in return.

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