Archive for July 6th, 2007

One of my long term clients came into my place for her weekly massage, and asked me how I was doing.   I said, “I feel like my head is about to explode.   You are not allowed to tell me any deep dark secrets today!”

She laughed, and asked me what had brought that on.  I told her that in the course of the last four hours I had received several pieces of information that had been accompanied by the statement, “I haven’t told this to ANYBODY.   My family doesn’t even know (or my best friend).”

Obviously, when someone feels comfortable enough in my massage room to reveal intimate details of their lives that they cannot talk about to anyone, not even their husband or best friend, it is quite a privilege and an honor to be so trusted.   And of course, I would not consider revealing even a little clue about such subjects to anybody.  

But what am I supposed to do with such information?   Some of it is personal, intimate and embarrassing.  And quite often it is so startling that it is virtually impossible to forget.   If they have revealed it to me in the course of trying to find a solution to a problem, I sometimes find myself turning the situation over in my mind, trying to find a better solution than perhaps occurred during the one hour of the massage where it was brought up.

This seems to be happening more and more frequently, as my clients learn to trust my discretion.   They don’t hear me gossip, I rarely discuss anyone else, they have never heard their secrets come back to them on the grapevine.  They know I won’t talk.   So they feel more and more comfortable opening up to me. 

As I was getting my own weekly massage today I asked my friend who was giving it to me if she was receiving a lot of this sort of revelation.   She said, “Oh my, yes.   I don’t know what is going on, but it seems like there has been a lot of that going on lately.”

I replied, “I feel so honored that my clients trust me with this sort of thing.   But what do you DO with it?  I can’t forget it, but I know it isn’t My Problem.  And sometimes I feel like the burden of the knowledge is almost intolerable, like my head is just going to explode.”

She said a very wise thing.   “I think of it this way.   They are trusting me with their secret, in a way it is their treasure.  So I think about putting it into a treasure box.”

I said, “What a great image.”  But as I pictured it, I wasn’t comfortable with the image of all those secrets jumbled together like pirate’s booty in a treasure chest.   I felt like they needed their own space, somehow.   Suddenly I thought of the ritual I have to go through when I visit my safety deposit box:  presenting my key, signing the card, going into the vault with the bank officer who has the bank’s key to my box, using the two keys to unlock the door that protects the box, taking the box into the private room before I open it.  I realized that I could create my own imaginary “vault” where I can store away those secret treasures that have been revealed to me.

And so I now have a wonderful image to use in meditation.  I visualize a vault filed with beautiful and secure lock boxes.  Each secret has its own box to contain it, with a key for the person who owns the secret.  Into this secure niche I place these treasures, these intimate secrets, these little (and sometimes not so little) peccadillos that have been revealed to me.   I slide the laden box into its place, close the door behind it, locking it inside.  Then I leave the vault, and close the time lock safe door behind me.  

The amazing thing is how clear this exercise has made my head, and how much easier it has made it for me to not dwell on problems that are not mine.  My head is no longer in danger of exploding.

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