Sunday, April 24, 2005
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This is the first massage I'm giving since I did my training, and I'm a bit nervous. But I've chosen amazing music. I'm starting of with Peter Gabriel's PLUS FROM US.
And I've got my sacred objects with me to put under her massage table. And I'm confident. So she receives first, and I'll get a ka huna massage from her after lunch.
I do my flying dance over her for a couple of minutes, and I feel the mana power building up, and any nervousness has long disappeared. I oil up my arms, and start putting oil on her. Legs first. Then back. Then arms.
I say my invocation, asking the universe for white light, healing, and guidance. And I start in on the massage.
People have asked me to describe what makes the ka huna massage different from all other massages. I'm not sure it's possible to answer, except to say vague things like, "It feels like you're being enveloped by loving touch," or, "It's very sensual without being sexual," or, "We use the entire arm to massage with, not just the hands," or, "Ka huna massage is very mystical as well as physical, so there's a large healing component to it."
None of these statements are accurate. And none of them convey the experience. What I CAN say is that when I experienced my first ka huna massage, I knew that I wouldn't want any other kinds of massage. And I've heard that same statement from several other people.
The ka huna massage is very instinctive. There are some basic strokes, and something like a routine. But it's flexible. Roughly, we work on the back of the person's body for an hour. Then they turn around, and we work on the front of their body, and their face, for a half hour.
Working on J's back, I'm totally in the flow. It's an incredible massage to do, because the entire thing is a dance. My body is in motion all the time. On the retreat, my back took quite a lot of flack, getting really sore after a little while. But today, I'm not feeling any pain. Which is quite odd, cos J's massage table is much lower than the ones we learned on.
I finish the back of her body, and hold the sarong up so she can turn over. I change the music to something softer, more of the water element. (The back of the body is of the fire element, so the music is quicker, harder.) For the front, I've chosen the soundtrack to Kristof Kieslowski's THE DOUBLE LIFE OF VERONIQUE, one of my favourite films. The soundtrack is sublime, haunting, touching, delicate. I love it.
I want to make it clear that there is nothing sexual about this massage. At all times, private parts are covered by a sarong, folded up in a near origami rectangle. Breasts are visible, but there is no nipple contact.
I oil J up, and start the massage. I'm less confident about doing the front. For one, I'm deeply aware of myself as a sexual being, and also of having a bit of a reputation as a rake. So I'm ultra respectful of a woman's front, and I don't want to make any mistakes. I don't want to do anything that could be construed as sexual. So maybe I'm being a little hesitant on J.
Also, J and I have become lovers. So I'm aware of wanting to maintain a professional distance, as if she were a client I were massaging. (And yeah... she's aware of the fact that I'm dating other women, and that I'm having sex with some of them.)
But her eyes remain closed, and the music takes me, and suddenly I'm not thinking, and the shaman in me is alive and in touch, and I'm flowing. It's a strange observation for me to make... I feel more comfortable in the gentle, water element than I do in the fire element. This is odd for me, cos I'm very much a fiery sort of dude. I'm sometimes obnoxious, and often quite hard. But here, in this setting, in touch with the shamanic side of me, I find that I'm very much at home with my water side. Wow!
I'm pretty certain I've covered most of J's front. So I move onto her face, and do an amazing rolling wrist move over her cheeks. I observed Anthea doing it, and noticed that most of the other people on the training didn't get that. But I'm pretty good with mechanical stuff, so I got it easily. I do that a good few times for J, and then the music starts winding down, and I know the time is almost up.
I do my closing off ritual, cover J with a sarong, and I offer her some water. She beams at me. "Wow!" She gets up, drinks from the glass I'd filled before starting the massage, and thanks me. "That was a brilliant massage," she says.
"Thanks," I say. "But I need feedback. Was there anything I can do to improve?"
"It was great," she says.
"Oh, it can't have been THAT great," I say. "I'm just a beginner. Are you saying there's NOTHING I can do to improve????"
"Well," she says, "when you were working on my front, I noticed that you didn't work on my arms. Did you run out of time?"
Aaaaargh!!!! Her arms!!!! I did her arms when I was working on her back, but I forgot about them when I was doing her front! Damn! Damn damn damn! I KNEW there was something!
Not that I'm coming down on myself. It's just that I really want to be excellent at this.
"Thanks. I totally forgot about your arms," I tell her. "Those were my weakness on the course. That's useful to me."
I ask her about the pressure of my stroke, about whether or not I'd hurt her in any way, about whether or not she felt that I'd been respectful of her privacy. All was well, she assures me.
So she gets dressed, and we make some food. She's roasting some vegetables lightly in the oven, sprinkled with chili and olive oil. Her brother runs a chees factory, so she puts some fresh feta in near the end, when she adds the cooked pasta I hadn't noticed.
My goodness. This chick's a national treasure. Such a simple meal, cooked in less than half an hour. But totallllly delicious. Wow!
And then it's my turn to receive. She's EXCELLENT! I totally love the experience, and I feel pretty zoned out most of the time, not entirely paying attention to what she's doing. Just loving it. (I do notice what she's doing with my arms though. And file this away for when I next give a massage, which will be tomorrow.)
At the end, I realise that the only thing not hugely satisfying for me is that her stroke could be harder. I like very firm contact, and she feels a bit tentative. So in the feedback, I tell her that. And then I show her how I get firm contact without using muscle power. I use my weight and the massage table to get leverage, and avoid using brute arm-power. She tries it on me, and the difference is vast. Next time we swap, I think she'll be perfect.
And then the end of the swap has been reached, and it's time for me to go home. She lives about an hour out of Joburg, so it's a loooooong drive for me. But it's great. I feel highly energised and totally relaxed and mellow all at once.
Now all I need is my own massage bed, and I'll be giving massages to people from my spot.