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The Massage Therapist and the Cheetah

Updated: Jan 8

I took my daughter to the zoo the other day. We waited with the other people to see the cheetah walk out and stood in amazement as the cheetah did, well, nothing really. She just walked around, looked at us and then laid down. I imagined the cheetah wondering why there were people here to see her again, She didn’t feel that special. She had no idea what she was really made for, how fast she could run, what it felt like to be free, what a fierce predator she could be. She just had some sense that this crowd of spectators was interested in her so she should show up again, like she does every other day.

Then there was us, this small group of onlookers trying to get an idea of what this amazing animal might be like in the wild. We could not really tell, of course, because all we were seeing - all we have ever seen - was this shell of an animal living in a couple thousand square feet of climate-controlled misery. However, we were satisfied with the illusion and oblivious to the utter sadness of the situation.

Then I thought about myself, a massage therapist. I know I have value because people keep coming back, so I keep doing the same simple and safe things that I have always done. Though, every now and then, I wonder what it would be like to really touch and connect with my client. There is no worry about that because like the cheetah, I also perform behind a thick glass to make sure you never get too close to me and heaven forbid that I would ever get too close to you.

And my clients, they are satisfied, right? I mean they keep coming back so they must find value in my sanitized touch. Or are they like my little crowd of onlookers at the zoo? Satisfied with my domesticated and relatively uninspired touch because they have never experienced the true power of healing touch. I was made by an infinitely creative designer that obviously values human connection because I have so much capacity for, and need of, that connection. I have millions of touch receptors in my body and an almost scary level of intuition. Imagine what I could offer if I was brave enough to explore all of my capabilities and sensibilities and then share them freely with my clients. Would they ever be satisfied with the massage therapist in a cage again? Could I ever go back into the cage?

The answer is obviously and thankfully a resounding no!

Joe Lavin

I was going to start with a different writing but someone made it clear that I need to read the book, Untamed by Glennon Doyle. Yes, it is memoir written by a woman ostensibly for women, but I am just a couple of chapters in and I have been completely broken several times already. I was planning on starting this little journey of self-revelation but again find myself being drawn into more self discovery.

She tells a very similar Cheetah story in the forward of the book. It immediately made me feel this connection and assumption that she "gets me" but I quickly realized that I need to "get her" and probably many of the other women in and around my life...

*Picture from

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