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SAVVY SELF-CARE best practices C h e c k o u t A B M P 's l a t e s t n e w s a n d b l o g p o s t s . Av a i l a b l e a t w w w. a b m p . c o m . 29 Back to Center By Jennie Hastings In the career of a massage therapist or bodyworker, there are many repetitive movements. We effleurage, petrissage, pin, stretch, drain, feel what has changed, and repeat. We gain knowledge and insight with every pass we take over a client's body, and with each treatment, we learn something—no matter how subtle or nuanced— that helps to refine our practice going forward. This constant learning is a beautiful part of our profession and means that with the right attitude we are never trapped or stagnant. There is always something new to explore, whether it be the energy from which we make contact, the frame we give our work through our marketing and intake, or the way we actually place our hands on our client's body and the pressure we apply. At some point, though, for every therapist, there will come a moment when it feels like this work is overwhelming us. Inevitably, we will get tired, distracted, or bored. Our interest in our clients will wane, and we will begin to feel like a robot—a massage machine going through the motions of the treatment, but not really there. This is when we need to come back to center. Because life is an always-changing balancing act, finding yourself out of your center is no reason to be hard on yourself. There is no blame to be placed, no guilt to be felt, no fear to let take over. It is simply a time to notice what is happening with the eye of an objective observer. Think, "Oh, this is interesting …" and not, "This job just isn't for me." Noticing you are out of your center is a victory in itself and means you are quite an advanced practitioner. Like everything in life, and in our clients' bodies, nothing can be changed until awareness is achieved, so noticing is a great first step. RECLAIMING YOUR CENTER Once you have arrived in nonjudgmental awareness of being out of your center, what can you do about it? Pay attention. What is it that is taking you out of the present moment? Is your mind racing and full of thoughts? Is your body in pain somewhere? Do you feel angry at your clients or yourself for some deep hidden reason? Explore yourself. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and ask yourself what is going on.

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