I just came back from my morning walk with Bentley, my chocolate Labrador. We went by the lake where gentle waves rolled on the sand. The sound relaxes my mind and spirit. I thought about how different my life is today than thirteen years ago.
I used to be a busy executive working downtown Toronto with no extra energy for morning walks or time to care for a dog. For my parents, it was important I obtain a big professional title coupled with a big salary.
As an ambitious young professional, I often felt sick. The superficial personalities of my colleagues and the culture of my work environment drained my energy. When the weekend rolled around, I could take time to relax but would feel worse. I went to my family doctor who said nothing was wrong, so I started to go for Massage Therapy just to relax. One day the spa concierge suggested Shiatsu. I did not know what Shiatsu was. I pronounced it “Shih Tzu”, like the dog.
I would lie down on a mat on the floor. Patricia knelt by my side and placed her hand on my belly. “How’s life at work Julie?” she asked. I told her: “I love my job but the people aren’t friendly. Sometime they give me the feeling I don’t fit in and that’s stressful.”
“How does this feel?” she said when she covered me up with a soft blanket and started by massaging my feet. “Nice.” I responded.
Then she continued: “For the next hour, the only thing you have to do is to breath in and out, letting go of anything you don’t need with the breath.” I closed my eyes and noticed for the first time in three months, I felt safe. I began seeing her regularly and she helped heal ulcers on the cornea of my eyes. So far, only powerful prescription drugs would take care of it.
Shiatsu is different than massage therapy because first you keep your close on. Then it is a holding pressure instead of rubbing oil on the skin. Shiatsu is more powerful than regular massage because it diffuses energy blockages of the body and allows it to heal itself.
Around Christmas, another big painful ulcer appeared in my right eye. My Ophthalmologist wasn’t available. As a last option, I called Patricia. “All the meridians go through the eyes,” she said. “Also Shiatsu treats the cause of the problem, not just the symptom.”
She explained that if my ulcer was caused by bacteria, I had an “imbalance” with my immune system and that “anger” could often trigger imbalances that manifest in the eyes. But I wondered: What was I angry about?
I received my three treatments within three days and my ulcer disappeared within five days. The experience changed my life forever.
I started to use Shiatsu as health prevention. I would go for a 90-minute session every week or two. Over time, Shiatsu Therapy had cumulative effects and helped me connect with my true self.
Shiatsu had calmed my spirit and had relaxed my body to the point that after each treatment my quiet mind could hear my soul whispering through my heart: “Accept and love yourself, be yourself.” That’s what I called a “Zen moment”.
I understood over time that despite my successful career, I was living my life with other people’s beliefs. That’s what I was angry about.
Six months later, I went to Switzerland with my partner Bruno. During a beautiful hike, we stood at the top of the Alps, looking at the amazing view of majestic mountains and Lake Zurich. I wanted more moments like that in my life, and the message was again reinforced that the reason I was always sick was because I was living my life with other’s people values instead of my own.
Deep within my soul, I knew my work environment and the attitude of my colleagues wasn’t right for me. Finally, I was connecting the “Zen dots.” My year of regular Shiatsu therapy helped me calmed my heart, tamed my fears and awaken my desire to respect my own feelings.
When we came back to Toronto, I quit my high paying job and my income stopped. For a year, I decided to live on my fifteen thousand dollars savings. I became a full-time Shiatsu student. Being on a tight budget, I sold my car and bought a motorcycle. I fired my cleaning lady and stopped going to the dry cleaner. Instead I bought an ironing board.
Shiatsu became more that a new career for me. It became a way of life…
I no longer have a big title, or a big salary, but I am now a licensed Zen Shiatsu Therapist.
Most people come to me because they are experiencing physical pain. I usually give them a 90-minute Zen massage. After the treatment, I serve them an organic detoxifying tea made of basil and mint. This brief ritual gives them time to slowly come back to reality and enjoy the Zen Zone a bit longer… Most of my clients have observed how calm their emotions feel and they are amazed to see how relaxed their mind has become after receiving my Zen Massage. I tell them to anchor this sensation of peacefulness so they can go back there in their mind anytime they want.
When they live I hope the Zen effect last long enough for them to realize who they really are and experience the joy of leading their precious life with their heart.
Written By Julie Moore-Cantieni