"And don't think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It's quiet, but the roots are down there riotous."-Rumi
This poem by Rumi has always been one of my favorites. It has always resonated with me on many levels, but at this time, it truly reflects the way I feel in this moment of my 47 years. After nearly 10 years in massage and 6 years working for myself, I have decided to indefinitely close Jen Harrison, LMT Integrative Massage while I work through personal and health issues along with supporting my daughter during this very unsure time.
This is my winter.
Looking outside at this moment there is snow falling. The beauty in it when it starts to build atop the stark branches at my sister's house that looks out into a small wooded area before an open farmland.
I love the silence that a real snow brings, sneaking outside, late at night, just to listen.
In a way, I feel I may always be in a type of winter. Often over the years feeling not quite grown. Not quite satisfied with where I am in life yet finding an incredible sense of purpose when I decided to go into massage therapy.
Even in those early years, going to school, working full time, and raising a baby on my own was a lot. I can now look back though and see true growth and the beginning of something great.
Yet through it all my own mental health was not at its best.
For many years I have battled depression and an eating disorder.
On medicine, off medicine.
In therapy, out of therapy.
Going with what others thought I should do and what I should be, I learned to speak up for myself.
Now that I am years past that, I am learning to speak up for myself again.
Knowing that many of my ailments are autoimmune based and are obviously related to one another.
Learning I had developed a new form of contact dermatitis (dyshidrotic eczema) along with newly developed allergies was a breaking point for me and I think the beginning of a very long season of winter in my life. That was 2 years ago.
Depression, weight gain, and now a literal pandemic has put me back at a beginning. Not THE beginning, but A beginning.
To top it all off, my scoliosis and hip issues have worsened with the years in massage, and even a day of driving caused so much inflammation that I could barely walk by the end of the day. Having my feet go numb while I washed the dishes last night I knew I was not making it in for a massage client again.
I know I have canceled on many clients over this past year, and I can only continue to apologize and look to repay gift certificates and series over a period of time if I am not able to fulfill them with massage at this time.
Please know that it was not for dislike of you or massage itself, it was because of how I am feeling on most days now. Often it is the dislike I have for myself and the anxiety that comes with anticipating physical pain from giving a massage that had me canceling. Sometimes it was mental, sometimes it was physical, often times it was both. With the Pandemic hitting and having to be closed for the majority of 2020 gave me a chance to reevaluate if this was what I still wanted to do with my life.
Yes, as a single mom who is a business owner, this year was extremely difficult. I would never want to belittle anyone else's experience, as I know many more are out there just like me, but all of our individual experiences deserve to be acknowledged.
And from my own experience, or as Rumi might call it "my winter", is that last year really stunk. Like a pile-of-old- sneakers-that-got-wet-from-the-bath-water-of-a-dog-that-rolled on-a-dead-animal stunk.
Now, at this ending, not knowing a direct path, I plan on following my instinct and gut that will allow me time to heal physically and mentally and to assist my daughter on her own mental health journey and her schooling at home. Assisting one of my sisters with her cut flower business is beginning to keep me busy and has also been a blessing for me to explore another passion of mine, plants.
My riotous roots.
Taking time now to face my own issues and ailments I believe will help me be a better mother, friend, daughter, and professional. As massage therapy was such an incredible part of my life and I truly believe in its therapeutic benefits, I hope those that may be reading this will continue to seek out massage therapist professionals to assist them in their own health journeys.
I wish all many blessings and good health, mental and physical.
All of my love, Jen Harrison, LMT