I meditate in my own way every day. It might not be what is considered traditional meditation practice but it works for me. The sequence more or less goes like this:
Wake up about 30 minutes before alarm and dose a bit with the cats purring in bed each it their own spot: Gary nuzzled in my neck, Poe at my side and Smokey by my feet sucking on the blanket with the associated slurpy sucking sound. This lasts about 15 minutes and then the bladder becomes insistent enough that I have to get up.
As I sit up I wiggle and stretch a bit while also reflecting on what day it is since I don’t always remember.
Once up the real meditation begins.
Morning medication and put the tea kettle on.
Feed Cats-Ha the cats. I feed them and they sit on me (or sleep with me) and purr. It is worth all the cat hair.
In spring, summer and fall go outside and wander around picking mint for tea
Make tea and let it steep.
Feed water and clean parakeets named Chirp and Tweet. Play them YouTube of chirping parakeets to keep them entertained.
Clean kitty litter.
Drink tea while wandering around in garden (spring, summer, fall) or wandering around house (winter).
Feed and clean Bunny Rabbit who just hopped into my house about a year ago. This includes wandering around the yard for greens for Bunny and collecting bunny poo for fertilizer.
Feed outdoor birds: orioles grape jelly, humming birds sugar syrup, suet for wood peckers, chickadees, finches and the rest.
Wander around the garden and collect greens and other veggies for breakfast omelet. Eat.
Get ready for the day.
This whole process takes about an hour. It includes lots of feeding and cleaning of me and critters and lots of wandering around. This morning as I was wandering I got to thinking about a concern I have for the massage profession. I am wondering about the future of massage practice. A lot has happened in the past few years resulting in a consolidation of a pathway for professional development. Because of the Massage Therapy Body of Knowledge (MTBOK) and Entry Level Analysis Project (ELAP) we now have a workable entry level education point for massage with curriculum recommendations that should begin the process of standardizing entry level skills and knowledge for massage therapy licensing. The Federation of State Massage Boards released the Model Practice Act for massage licensing and while it will take time for it to be implemented by individual states finally after over 20 years on my wish list we have it. Advanced practice and a gateway to specialty certification are in place with the Board Certification provided by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. Board Certification also can be used to obtain degrees both associates degrees and a Bachelor’s degree in Massage Therapy.
The organizations representing massage are working together finally. We need all of them but they need to speak with one voice while each doing their individual role. AMTA is the membership organization, ABMP, while a for profit organization, offers insurance alternatives and support for the massage therapists and educators. I am pleading with both of these organizations to put all of the resources they currently allocate to massage education into backing the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education (AFMTE). I ask others to contact the AMTA and ABMP and encourage them to endorse the Alliance as the organization representing education and educators. COMTA (Commission on Massage Training and Accreditation) service a necessary roll in the massage profession. Unfortunately accreditation costs are often beyond what small independent schools can absorb. I wish for a process that can be used by small independent schools that do not want to participate in financial aid. I know those at COMTA are trying to work out something but they are held to requirements by the Federal Government. The National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB) is an organization that the profession must have for recognition of advanced and specialty training. It is necessary for a respected profession to have a certification process beyond entry level licensing.
And we have the Massage Therapy Foundation which is the research arm of the massage profession. Thank goodness.
So what does all this have to do with my morning meditation sequence? This is the time when thoughts move randomly and this morning I realized that for the first time in my professional massage career of over 30 years all the pieces are in place for true professional development. WOW.
There are some very important issues to deal with for sure:
A realistic but sustainable income for massage therapist based on level of education and experience.
The professional desperately needs an independent ergonomics study to determine the best way to do massage without hurting ourselves.
There are unethical practices at schools and by the leadership organization that continue to confuse what is charged for massage and how that actually translates into a hourly income. This creates unrealistic expectations in massage therapists especially those just graduating.
The individual massage therapist does not make enough money to afford to go to tons of meetings so I suggest that conferences and convention be web cast somehow. I know it can be done.
The education for entry level and continuing education for massage is in desperate need to oversight and professional educator training and certification.
And there is more however I can see the potential. As I do my morning meditation there is a lot of care and feeding of my critters and me. The massage profession needs a lot of care and feeding right now as well. I also clean up lots of crap and the massage profession certainly has crap to deal with. However my Bunny Poo is really good fertilizer for growth. I can hope that the years of quagmire that the massage therapy organizations have been in have produced the fertilizer needed for growth now. We need to acknowledge what day it is and the time is now for those of us who love the massage profession to commit to developing the next generation of leaders, educators and massage therapists.
I have to fold laundry and get ready to see massage clients.