I received a request today to share an interesting article on this site, and I realized that the blog is the only place I currently have to do this, and I liked the article, so here it is:
I myself struggle with sleep and find that the massages I receive from the various therapists I see are helpful. Other practices, such as avoiding stressful stimulus before bedtime, making sure my bed is comfy and my pillows are appropriate and that my room is quiet and dark-these things too assist my ability to get to sleep, and especially to stay asleep, or return to sleep after waking to use the restroom.
And I need to do that for sure, because I tend to drink warm milk or Yogi-brand Bedtime Tea before turning in. Very soothing. As is the use of certain topical applications; I really love using a CBD rub to calm my irritated nerves, moisturize my skin, and give myself a gentle massage as I lie in bed to ready myself for sleep.
So this unexpected article that landed in my inbox is informative. If you'd like to know more about my own practices and my work with clients in regards this matter, shoot me a message and I'll be delighted to discuss it with you. Lymphatic massage is a very rhythmic and soothing technique; it can really help. I'm getting sleepy just thinking about it! ;-)
Stores were open again today in Barcelona and traffic cruising the streets. Aside from the 10 PM clanging of pots and pans for 15 minutes, no overt displays of pro-separatist sentiments were noted by me as I resumed my basic duties as a tourist, visiting the Picasso museum, paying a fortune for a bowl of soup in the Gothic Quarter, riding a double decker bus around town. A full moon peaks between the clouds over the Ramblas, and I suspect the citizens are holding their collective breath as they wait to discover on Monday if Independence will be declared. I must admit that based on what I've seen of the reactions of the central government here, I am glad I will be back in Tennessee at that time.
But oh, how I hate to leave! Isn't there some way I can find a life here? Any room for an old American massage therapist? A private lymphedema therapist to the English speaking population? Any ideas are welcome; I love my life in Tennessee, but have yearned for a time of living in another culture. An experience my husband had in his teens; I have only ever been a visitor.
At this time in world history however, it does not seem an auspicious time to dive into ex-pat living. But if not now, then when?
Tonight we ate dinner at a sweet little restaurant and strolled back along the rambla. One of the best ever meals.
I can't keep walking the streets with the protesters...I'm exhausted. And the scenes from the balcony of my hotel are totally worthwhile anyway. Thank goodness for the 24 hour Tapas bar here...I have been using it for lunch daily and will probably have to dine here tonight as well, although among the few businesses that are open today, most are eateries.
I'm struggling to get my iPhone pics to the computer...not sure why that happens sometimes and not others, but I will post some shots here once I have access to them. This is what democracy looks like...I repeat over and over, and although this fight is not directly mine, I feel it deeply personally as the works is so blatantly and widely divided these days. I had a very interesting conversation with the young ladies at the front desk of this hotel one of the past few days, and they expressed the opinion that technology is benefiting citizens in exposing the deceits and failings of government; I contended that it is also creating an opportunity for democracy to be subverted...see November 8th USA as a day in question, for example, when Russian technological intervention is still potentially a factor in our current administration. I enjoyed hearing the thoughts of these young women, and they stated that they also appreciated my perspective. I really need to have more young people in my life!
The opportunity to talk and walk with people of all nationalities and ages on this day is invigorating. I know I won't easily forget it, but have the benefit of technology to help me remember the sights and sounds. Hopefully, no one will be able to tamper with my own recordings. And it remains to be seen if I will interpret the events of this week differently after the passage of some time. For now, I approve of the right to vote, and the right of citizens to not be attacked by their own police forces!
The general strike is happening; thousands in the streets all over Catalonia, including the firefighers, students, children, the elderly, the local police...a moving site. The busses and trains are on severely limited schedules, the parliament is closed. We are still in our hotel at midday, not on the winery tour that had been scheduled for today and that is goos as we have seen video of highways blocked, and Spanish flags being torn down off public buildings. I think we will stay with our local area today. I am hopeful that perhaps the tourist buses will be running, but we'll have to get down to the plaza to find out. Its a short walk, alongside the young people draped in their Catalonian flags.
My American friends are leaving today and I have another couple of days to try to experience the museums and monumental sites. My friend encourages me to stay safe but "have loads of fun". Interesting what one finds "fun"; Webster's primary definition of the word is "what provides amusement or enjoyment; specifically :playful often boisterous action or speech
It will be ironic if we end up returning to Nashville without seeing the main sights, but it will be okay. We will have to return to Barcelona. I'm okay with that requirement.
What an interesting 24 hours. No game at Camp Nou, at least not for us to view yesterday. The football club tried to cancel altogether and the League would not allow it. The opposing team, just to throw fuel on the fire, had special shirts made for the game that bore a small Spanish national flag, and the Barcelona team marched onto the field in a shirt bearing the stripes of the resistance before changing into their regular uniforms. But we were not there to see it; the game went on "behind closed doors", not even shown on TV unless I suppose one had a subscription to it? Over the course of the day, hundreds of Catalonians were brutalized by the Spanish police in attempts to vote; the scenes on local, national and international television were horrifying. I decided to experience a traditional Hammam in effort to calm myself and find a new way to allocate the time.
That too was a unique experience; the Turkish baths here are co-ed, with all wearing "bathing suits", which for many of the young women were simply thongs. Many young couples were not openly engaging in coitus, but were quite openly petting. Not what one would find in the US, I think, but again, I was under no threat and it was interesting.
Tomorrow we had been scheduled for a wine tasting day in the countryside of Penedes, where there are Cava wineries, organically producing the local bubbly, and I was eager to learn more about the stuff, but now there is a general strike declared. It is not expected to be safe on the roads, many wineries and restaurants will be closed and we will not be going on that journey after all. I don't know what we will find here in town, whether busses will run or if museums will be open, but somehow it will all be interesting, I'm sure! May we all be safe.
Although I managed to sleep through it, helicopters kept the town on alert through last night. As we traveled to a concert at the Palau de la Musica Catalanes through drizzly streets, our cabbie dropped us off a half mile from the venue due to police closure of the way to our destination. Supporters of Spain marched with their flags and banging drums to protest the vote scheduled for the morning, and I found myself limping with the wrong shoes and my heart pounding with anxiety that something would break out in the streets and we would be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But it was all well; some bandaids allowed me to walk adequately, a light dinner and convivial conversation with another English-speaking traveler and a mind-blowingly beautiful concert both visually and audio-ly sent us strolling through busy streets back to the hotel. Through the bar crowds of the Barri Gotic, and the Passig de Gracia we wandered to our home for the week. I recommend the young Spanish-style guitarist Ali Arango, who moved me to tears with his encore version of Brouwer's "A Day In November". One of the most poignant musical moments I've ever experienced, I hope he will come to the US.
Today we are horrified to watch the police action trying to control the local vote. I have not witnessed any of the violence personally but it is all over the news here and the tension in the streets feels as though it could turn at any moment. "May you live in interesting times" they say, and these sure are those! Now we head out to the game at Camp Nou and hope the only conflict we will see is the sports match.
Wednesday, 9/27/17 Barcelona, Spain
Truly, this city is unbelievable. And the conference is blowing my mind! I realize that I have to reconceptualize how I do my work and what I share with my clients. But once again, I am too tired to write it.
This week, as Catalonia protests the Spanish government's attempts to quash a vote on independence, is an exciting time to visit the region. As we ate a sublime al fresco dinner at a lovely local restaurant sitting outside on a corner lit by antique converted gaslights, the locals clanged their pots and pans from 10 to 10:15 pm to protest the Spanish government's control and declaration of illegality of their vote. We joined in with the neighborhood and our fellow diners, tapping our forks on our plates for several minutes. I know the audio recording of that moment will be a vivid reminder of our evening.
One more full day of the conference, then we will move into the main part of town to join the tourist throng in the area of the Plaza Catalunya. But I have enjoyed the suburb, Les Corts, far more than I would have imagined. I never want to return...viva Barcelona!
Tuesday, 9/26/17 Barcelona, Spain
I am in Barcelona! A city I've dreamt of visiting for years and a conference that I have planned on attending for months. Dave and I arrived on Sunday, and are now, late Tuesday, getting over jet lag and starting to really enjoy this environment. I don't know how I will be able to return to the states; the air, the architecture and the Mediterranean climate are so primal to me. This reminds me of my roots in California and the early days of my marriage by Venice beach.
And that doesn't even mention the conference! The purpose of my trip. I am here along with friends I have made over the past several years as a CLT attending conferences in the US, and with some therapist friends from Nashville, and hundreds of other "lymphomaniacs" who are sharing new discoveries and working together to move the field of lymphology forward.
Much as I want to write of this experience, I am too tired to do this now. I hope to blog throughout the journey, and will try to write in more detail tomorrow. For now, to bed.
When I was in High School, age 15, I started becoming interested in massage during a Comparative Religions class. We discussed the roles of touch in different cultures and belief systems, and a group of us became so interested, in those social-revolutionary days of the '70s, that we started the "Massage Therapy Club", much to the horror of school administrators. There was nothing they could do to prevent us from this pursuit-there was no dress code, we were allowed to wear bathing suits to school (which we only did under our clothing, exposing them only for the club meeting at lunchtime) and we were able to find a faculty sponsor, which made us in compliance with rules regarding school clubs. Despite the assumption by many of the opposing adults to our activity, we were not after hormonal gratification, but were truly interested in massage and its benefits. We were ahead of a groundswell of enthusiasts, back in the bad-old-days when being a masseuse was often considered synonymous with being a prostitute.
Our group found journal articles on bodywork, we bought the few books on massage that were available at the time. We practiced on each other on beach towels in the California sunshine on a secluded lawn in our high school that was built on the campus of an old military base in the San Fernando Valley, and to my best knowledge, all of us went on to some sort of career in the health related fields. One a nurse, another a doctor, and me, a massage therapist as well as a singer/songwriter.
Now that I am to the point that music performance is a hobby, and having come through several years of work in Physical Therapy along with my own cancer experience, I am focused on helping those with chronic disease, chronic pain, in cancer rehabilitation and managing lymphedema. I think often of those days on the lawn with my young friends exploring the ways that touch can be soothing and health-promoting. Next week, I will begin a course in Oncology Massage, something that I already know quite a bit about as a giver and a receiver, but something that I want to really understand at a deeper level. I'm excited that our field has grown to the point that a few hospitals employ massage therapists on their staffs. I love my work and am so grateful to be alive at this interesting time in history.
Our Nashville Lymphedema Support group is comprised of patients, therapists and community providers of materials, etc. We have been meeting for about a year, a project instigated by my friend and former patient, LCSW Larkin Oates, at the Estuary in Nashville. Its taken a while to build momentum, but the last couple of months have been just terrific, well attended by an enthusiastic crowd, and I am so proud of what we have created!
Last night, Dr. Paula Stewart came to speak with us. A brilliant and compassionate physician specializing in Lymphedema, she helped all of our group, from the patients to the researchers, review the mechanisms of Lymphedema and recognize signs and symptoms that may indicate other issues. She answered as many questions as time allowed and then we decided, at an hour past our usual end time, that we will have to reconnect with her in the future! I'm very sorry I don't have a photo to post of our meeting last night. Thanks to all who attended. We are so excited about our current momentum that we have abandoned plans to take a summer hiatus; we will continue to meet until the end of the year and will probably take a break over the December holidays.
In conversation later last evening, I heard myself say that I don't think of myself as a healer. I think of myself as a facilitator, helping my clients learn how to take care of themselves and to manage their pain; I'd not really thought of that before. I, of course, do think that massage is healing, just that the recipients are the ones that heal themselves; it is my privilege to be allowed to provide the touch-factor that is involved with that transformation. I wonder what others think of this concept? Certainly in the support group format, we are all seeking our own pathways to wellness and learning to heal ourselves, sharing the knowledge we glean with others. What a treat.