Monday, July 25, 2011

Five Things I Learned in Massage School, I Learned from a Pencil

Five Things I Have Learned in the Spa, Massage Therapy and Wellness Industry,
I learned from a Pencil
(Text and Thoughts during the Oath Taking and Induction
Newly Licensed Massage Therapists
June 17, 2011)
By Eunice Estipona

The original version (author unknown) of what I will share with you was forwarded to my email last May 24, 2011 by my good friend Rommel Martinez. He is a great massage therapist and was a top-notched student in the previous licensure exams. However I decided to add my own thoughts and experiences to this wonderful story. So today, I am sharing this with you as I shared it (but more articulate and profound than) during the June 17, 2011- Oath Taking and Induction of the Newly Licensed Massage Therapist at the Grand Opera Hotel in Manila, Philippines.

Nearly a decade ago, I was at our oath taking held at the Department of Health in Sta. Cruz, Manila, at the time of this writing, the newly inducted 2011 LMT oath takers have been held at the Manila Grand Opera Hotel- a great leap in boosting the morale of new massage therapists. Thanks to people who paved the way for this to happen and that includes the Committee of Examiners for Massage Therapy and his team headed by the Chairperson, Dr. Kenneth Ronquillo and Ms. Josephine H. Hipolito CEMT Secretariat, both are great pillars in the massage industry) with the collaboration of the Philippine Association of Licensed Massage Therapists headed by its President, Mr. Jevren Sibug and Vice-President Mr. Pedro Vasquez II (or Sir Pete as we fondly call him) both of whom are enthusiastic encouragers and inspiring people in the field of massage therapy in the Philippines and the Continuing Massage Therapy Education Council (CMTEC), Massage Therapy Assessors, together with all the Training instructors nationwide, for sharing your knowledge and wisdom to the industry, the amazing lives that you have touched are the inspiration for the next generation to come, all of whom I dearly admire- indeed the massage profession has gone a long way. All your efforts made a difference because you took the time to organize and volunteer. Thank you for being the models of vision, passion and purpose that this industry so desperately needs. Know that you are all represented in these pages.

Last June 17, 2011, during their oath taking and induction, as a guest speaker, I cannot help but reminisce about the past and how the profession has evolved and it helped me find my rainbow in the industry. Indeed massage therapy is a viable career as the year’s current theme states. Kudos to all of you who makes a difference in the world of massage therapy, hats off to all of you and God bless you in your endeavor to be an instrument in the progress of massage therapy profession in the Philippines. Your example is a wonderful lesson to us all. Please accept my sincere thanks.

The first lesson I have learned from a pencil and from the spa, massage therapy and wellness industry is that, everything you do will always leave a mark. An area to look into is to leave a mark or to leave a legacy, although a good ambition- it’s a short sighted one. You are not placed here on Earth to be remembered or to just leave a mark, you are here to prepare for eternity. In preparing for that, you have to use your career, your work, your license, your profession- but you might be asking, how? You have to make sure that your stepping stone with all the gifts that has been given you is spent not only on yourself but for others. This means everything you do, even simple chores or words as saying “God bless you”, “Thank you”, “I love you”, “Forgive me”- has eternal implications. I believe that one of the foundations of truly leaving a mark in another person’s life is to feel happy for the success of others. Sometimes, people aren’t happy for the success of others because they feel threatened. If you think badly of the success of others, you won’t be successful because you will also be thinking badly of your own success- you will eventually put yourself down too. So it’s very important to bless those whom you admire- so that their blessings will rub off on you. If you see a classmate, a colleague, a neighbor, a seatmate, a fellow massage therapist, a massage instructor or anyone who gets successful, who gets promoted, who gets the position, who gets an award – be happy for that person, bless them, admire them and learn from them. You need to wish blessing on others and train yourself to celebrate the success of others because what goes around comes around. That is why it is very important to say “God bless you” because with the blessing you give unto others, that is also the blessing that will be given to you.

The second lesson I have learned from a pencil and from the spa, massage therapy and wellness industry is that, you can always correct the mistakes you make. We will always fall short out of others expectations or even our very own expectations. We are not perfect but there is no reason not to strive for correcting our mistakes or giving ourselves a second chance. Your past doesn’t matter, your mistakes doesn’t matter- what matters is what you will be doing after your mistake. After we have fallen. If a pencil makes mistakes, it doesn’t worry, it doesn’t whine, it doesn’t blame- not because the pencil does not care- but because the pencil knows that it can always correct the mistakes it has made. The pencil can always depend on its eraser (or its correction fluid- whatever..). When we make a mistake- erase. Erase. Erase. Erase. How do we erase? by forgiving ourselves, by forgiving others, by starting all over again, by saying “sorry”, by learning from our mistakes and by doing it right the next time around. How many times do we need to forgive? In Matthew 18:21, 22 said we must forgive seventy times seven. Jesus is saying we should forgive other people abundantly more than we could ever forgive. Madaling sabihin pero mahirap gawin so what do we do now? We should train ourselves and practice it daily to get the muscles of forgiveness strong- na madali tayong makapagpatawad. Make it a part of our habit to get less and less angry, less and less resentful everyday. Another angle to look at it is with our mistakes and our weaknesses- these are God’s way for us to work with and look for others who are strong in areas where we are weak. Why do we have weaknesses? In order for us to form teams, help each other and cooperate with each other. Our strengths maybe the weakness of others and our weaknesses maybe the strengths of others this is why we need each other. That is precisely why we have different systems of the body because each of our systems serves different function but every cell, tissue, organ and system works together to make our body alive. Each has its own function even though we make mistakes. So, believe that even if we are imperfect, together with others, you can still achieve what God has placed in your heart. As a pencil, we always have an eraser with us. Erase. Erase. Erase.

The third lesson I have learned from a pencil and from the spa, massage therapy and wellness industry is that, what is important is what is inside of you. No matter what appearance we have. No matter where we graduated. No matter what we have achieved what is important is what is inside of us. What is your purpose for living? What is your unique role in the world? Just like a pencil, the outer doesn’t really matter as long as the pencil writes. Kahit maganda at mamahalin ang pencil kung hindi naman makasulat – wala ring function. Yun naman talaga ang function ng pencil – magsulat, for drawing, for marking, etc. Pencils are not meant for display, to be thrown away or to be a weapon. As a pencil we have to look at what is inside of us- what we have to offer, what we have to give and what we have to contribute. Do not be trapped by other’s expectations and other people’s opinion- drowning your dreams and your inner convictions. Have the courage to follow your heart and your gut. A large percentage of our lives will be spent on work and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you truly believe is great work. The only way to do that is by loving what you do, loving your clients, loving your profession and loving what you are contributing to others. If you haven’t found your one true love (whether this be at work or matters of the heart) then keep looking and never settle anything less than what you really love and have passion for. And when you find it, take care of it, nurture it and cultivate it so it will get better and better as the years go by. Discover what is inside of you by discovering your passion, discovering your core gift, discovering your true purpose, discovering your mission, discovering what you are excellent at, discover your core competency and discovering your hunger. You need to work at that gift and spend your entire time to develop your gift, your talents and your skills. When you try to answer: why do you want to be successful? Why do you want to be wealthy? Why do you want a license? Is it for our own selfish gain? Is it because you mother or aunt told you so? Is it to prove your self? Your reasons, your why, your purpose will always direct you. Because if your “why” is big enough you will always succeed in achieving your goals. The reasons must always come from the heart and not just from the brain. Establish your mission and the driving force in you life. Keep looking inside of you and get to know yourself deeply until you find what moves you and don’t settle for anything less than what you truly love to do. After this, move on into different avenues of career development. Never stop learning. Continue to hone your skills, your strengths and your talents, huwag magsawa sa pag attend ng mga seminars and trainings and do not be tired of learning. Learning is an investment on yourself, do not look at learning as a burden or as “gastos lang yan”- continue to learn and be hungry for things that will make you a better person- inside and outside. One way of learning is to be able to read a lot and if you can afford it- travel and learn from other culture. If you can afford it or your family supports you, start planning to travel. My travels both locally and abroad also gave me the privilege of appreciating and understanding that every tribe and culture worldwide should embrace diversity and converge on a common goal of being a flowing well for others to benefit from. We learn from history and the practice of other cultures. Its been an amazing experience. Because you cannot give what you do not have. Look for people who will inspire you, the insights and the wisdom to advance your career. Focus on what is inside of you: your character and your attitude because what is inside of you will be shared to others.

The fourth lesson I have learned from a pencil and from the spa, massage therapy and wellness industry is that, in life you will undergo painful sharpenings, which will only make you better. Sometimes, you will feel that life is awful, that there is nobody there for you, that there is no hope and that life gets to hit you in the head with a brick- yeah… BIG TIME- but these bitter pills will ultimately make you better. These are learning curves which will tilt you either to become bitter or better. In every problem- dapat nagiging mas mabuti tayong tao at nagiging mas mature. Never lose faith. We will never know what tests will come your way: you might not be earning enough, you might be in a difficult situation, you might be in the cross roads of your life, you might start with a daily wage of just fifty pesos a day (I was earning only 50 pesos a day), you might receive a harsh remark, an undeserved criticism, friends turned enemies, money concerns or seemingly impossible problems. But in all these please remember that how you react is how God looks closely at you. Everything will soon pass. Everything is for your character development. These are opportunities to either demonstrate love or hate. Every year, every month, every day and every minute is an important moment to bless others. Just like a pencil, in order to be used- we need to be sharpened.

The last but not the least, the fifth lesson I have learned from a pencil and from the spa, massage therapy and wellness industry is that, to be the best pencil, you must allow yourself to be guided by the hand that holds you. Our lives are like an empty canvass and in order to make the best of who you are, we are to submit everything to Him. Remember that life is a trust, being a massage therapist is a trust, being a massage instructor is a trust, being a spa therapist is a trust, having a license is a trust- Everything is a trust. A pencil will not be able to write no matter how expensive or how beautiful your pencil is- if the Hand that holds it will not use it- it will not be able to serve its function. That pencil is us. The hand that holds us is our Creator. Our time on Earth and our energy, our money, our intelligence, our resources, our friends, our colleagues in the industry, our family, relationships, our talents, our abilities, our skills, our instructors, our license and our profession and everything we have now are a gift from God that He has entrusted to our care. We never really own anything during our brief stay on Earth. God is temporarily assigning it on our care while we are here. Two years ago, I have been diagnosed with myoma- a non-life threatening disease (in most cases) and that time, even if it’s not a case of life and death, I have come to realize that I have to focus on things that matters most. Remembering that everyday we are closer to our graves and we’ll be dead soon is the most important tool to help us make the big decisions in life. Because almost everything- success and even failures, sama ng loob, our titles, our diplomas, our certificates, our position, the wealth that we accumulated, the education we reached, the Earthly accomplishments- everything we cherish or enjoy- are all temporary- it will all fade away in the face of death. What is truly important is our relationship with the Creator and relationships with our fellowmen. You will not face death with your awards or diplomas or money – if that is the case then focus on what is really important and nothing is more important than relationships. If relationships are most important then decide now to grow old with each other- grow old with your colleagues, your classmates, your friends and instructors. Grow old with the one you truly love. Just prepare your heart and the Hand that guides you will give you the right opportunities, the resources and the right people that will prepare you for success. So keep preparing, keep sowing- the Hand that holds you will always have a right timing for you to give birth to your great aspirations.

In conclusion, your first job after this oath taking and induction is to take care of everything you have been given. Your time is limited so do not waste it living someone else’s dream for you or waste it with petty things and disagreements. Follow your rainbow, follow your heart and follow the hand that holds your future. Everything else is secondary.

God bless you more and more!

This is a prepared text and thoughts of Eunice Estipona on the recently concluded 2011 oath taking and induction of newly licensed massage therapists in Manila, Philippines. To download a copy on your computer, click on the link below: