During the editing process of the abdominal training videos, Angela and I had to watch ourselves and each other over and over again on the screen, making sure there were no awkward transitions, that what we said made sense, etc. And during that process, we got to watch each other work, over and over again. We got to listen to what each other said about how we each work, over and over again. And that simple process of observing and listening changed me.
I felt so enriched, so much more connected to my work and my client’s bellies. After watching Angela’s hands on screen so many times I noticed myself unconsciously incorporating some of her techniques into my sessions. There was no sense of, “I’m going to try this new technique,” it just came through me completely naturally and suddenly I had incorporated a new skill, or at least a new way of interacting with my client’s bodies. It was exciting and inspiring.
I think that as practitioners we forget how important it is to really listen to each others’ experiences – to really listen to how we each experience doing our work. I don’t think we spend enough time really observing and taking in how others do the “same” work we do. And of course, it’s impossible to think that any of us does the “same” work. Even if we are addressing the same area of the body, the same symptoms, or even the same client, what we do will be fundamentally our own because of our perspective, our personality, our understanding of what it is we are doing.
Without a doubt the most impactful thing I’ve observed in every practitioner I admire is this: they love the belly. They love their own belly, they love the physical and energetic and emotional structure of the belly, they can spend hours studying and talking about nothing but the belly. When you meet a really wonderful belly practitioner, chances are they are smitten.
I love this aspect of abdominal care. Possibly because the belly is such a rich seat of emotion, possibly because of the sheer capacity to fundamentally contribute to overall health through belly massage, possibly just because it affords almost endless learning opportunities, I find that practitioners who work in the belly are reliably some of the most inspired and inspiring people I know.
So, to end this in the cheesiest (yet most sincere) way possible, let’s hear it for the power of love, and the power of loving what you do and passing it on to others!
- Isabel Spradlin is a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT), and abdominal adhesion specialist in Portland, OR. She specializes in educating people about manual treatment (massage) for abdominal pain and dysfunction, especially when it is adhesion related. Please see the "Programs" page to see her offerings.