Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2009

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spotlight on education—bill and michele morgan BY KARRIE OSBORN A LOMILOMI LIFE power of the lomilomi work, but also was intrigued enough to start planning a trip to Hawaii to learn the modality on an even deeper level. "That was on the first day," she When massage therapist Michele Morgan traveled to Austin, Texas, in 2006 to be part of a 32-hour lomilomi continuing education (CE) class, little did she know she would change not only her life, but also that of her husband, Bill Morgan. Living in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Michele—a massage therapist since 1987—had tired of the CE offerings available there and was ready to explore new paths. The four-day trip to Austin to learn lomilomi from Donna Jason and Tom Cochran of Sacred Lomi fit Michele's needs exactly, air travel and all. Her hopes were immediately realized, when, on the first day of class, Michele not only saw the says. "On the last day I was moved— changed in that way that sits you down for reflection and makes you wonder what just transpired." The change was so intense for Michele that on the return flight she called Bill, who is also a massage therapist, asking him to set up the massage table because she was coming home and giving him a lomilomi massage. Michele says she realized that letting her husband experience the work was much more powerful than trying to explain lomilomi to him. "Interestingly enough, Bill will tell you that first four-day class I took affected him and his massage [work] more than even myself," she says. "It was truly the beginning of a complete ideological life transformation for both of us." FROM THERE TO HERE The path that brought the Morgans to lomilomi is rich and diverse. It was inspiration from her earliest teacher that helped Michele explore her profession and its educational opportunities. "In 1987, under the tutelage of Sherry Elkins, a masterful, amazing teacher and Esalen therapist, I was introduced to the art of massage," Michele says. "Sherry took the time to teach her students the art of dealing with people on a very intimate level and how to, through touch, intuitively communicate and understand the emotions trapped in the tissue. She also taught us to be the very best at our craft, to believe in ourselves, not to be afraid to guarantee our massage, and how to create a professional therapeutic and relaxing space for clients." In addition to learning how to live and work without judgment toward others, Michele says the education she received from Elkins was so valuable that it continues to mold the essence of her work and her life today, and is the main reason she launched head first into lomilomi. When Michele met Bill in 1992, he was a tree-planting, organic raspberry farmer who ironically had his first lomilomi experience in the 1970s with Hawaii's grande dame herself, Auntie Margaret Machado. Bill and Michele eventually married, and one day he surprised her by announcing that he also wanted to become a massage therapist and leave the farming life behind. Today, the two have pooled their therapeutic talents and have plans for a massage retreat they hope will one day combine all their passions in work and life—from living green, to intuitive touch, to growing healthy, clean food. A huge part of that dream is lomilomi, a technique in which they now both have been trained and inspired. A TRANSFORMATIVE KNOWLEDGE After the four-day workshop that transformed Michele, the couple began taking advanced trainings from Sacred Lomi: Hawaiian Temple Bodywork. Michele says their goals in exploring this work were initially to be better therapists. "Since then, we have come to incorporate lomilomi as a way of life … for example, it's impossible to cook dinner without Lomi impacting the way I think and the way I move. It is a whole body, mind, spirit transformative experience." Bill says when he reflects on what he's learned from lomilomi, he's left feeling that a profound shift has taken place. "Interactions are deeper and connect with your colleagues on 129

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