Like most women, I wouldn’t mind losing 10 pounds but in general I don’t get overly caught up in my appearance and I tend not to be overly critical of myself. Today was an anomaly for me: I had a moment of complete personal panic and it took me by surprise and threw me off guard.
I took the afternoon off today and used a surprise gift certificate from a good friend to take advantage of a little pampering – a massage and pedicure. While I am a HUGE fan of pedicures and I regularly indulge, massages are a very rare treat. That being said, I have certainly had them before. I knew the routine – strip down to your underwear, lay on the table, get under the sheet…typically I can step outside myself, practice yoga breathing and enjoy the relaxation. Today I struggled – as the therapist lowered the sheet to massage my back all I could think about what how my sides probably looked fat. When she moved down to my legs I hoped she wouldn’t see the cellulite. It was a very rare moment of complete self-doubt and criticism but I couldn’t get myself to stop thinking negative thoughts.
I was able to regroup and push the thoughts (mostly!) out of my mind but it definitely made the experience less enjoyable. As I waited for the technician to get me for my pedicure I tried to refocus myself and take a few moments to settle my thoughts. When my pedicure began I was feeling a bit better but was also ready for some relaxing and quiet foot pampering.
The technician began talking almost instantly. I quickly realized that she needed an ear and found myself more than willing to provide it. She was an older woman (probably in her early 60’s) and was talking about life and its challenges. She talked specifically about her son who is currently in a bad relationship and is mostly out of touch. I found myself very moved by her story – particularly her personal background having coming to the United States as a young woman from Yugoslavia with her family. I listened with interest and compassion as she vented – she didn’t seem to really expect a response. When we were nearly finished I simply said that I would think good thoughts that her son would come around and reconnect. She responded by thanking me for finding my way into her chair and sharing my “beautiful spirit”.
As I left the salon and drove home I thought a lot about what she said. I was almost embarrassed by my massage self-doubt since the conversation and compliment from my technician seemed so much more important. I believe in karma but I also believe that people who put good out there will receive good in return. I would like to believe that by giving my ear and compassion to this woman, I received in return exactly what my soul needed – a reminder of what type of beauty really matters and how important it is to share with others.