I’ve been asked that many times and each time I think I give a different answer. The truth is that there were many catalysts that lead me to this work.
In the 1980’s I was living in New York City, working at a bookstore and as a writer and copy editor. I had a lot of friends who were actors and dancers. These people had strong, beautiful bodies and they took care of themselves by getting regular massage. I decided to try one, and was immediately hooked. Massage put me in happy, peaceful state of being.
This was the beginning of the AIDs crisis in New York. It was a new disease and people were very, very scared. No one knew exactly how it was transmitted. Some of the ways were known, but people worried about all sorts of other possibilities. As a result, patients were getting very badly treated. Nurses would place food trays in the hallway and quickly run away. Very sick people were left to die alone.
I was upset with how these people were treated, and in spite of my fear, I decided I wanted to do something about it, so I joined one of the first groups of people who came together to help people with AIDs. We were assigned people to work with to help them in whatever ways they needed help. One of my clients was a very intelligent and kind man named Ray, who lived not far from me, whom I kept company and did odd jobs for. Ray introduced me to many new spiritual and healing practices that he had found as a result of his journey with AIDs. I found that I really enjoyed working one on one with a person in a way that challenged me physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally. I liked being with someone in the quiet space of meditation or just caring support.
While I love the world of books, and words, I found that the isolation and strictly mental challenge of it did not fully engage me. I wanted to do work that was not just about exciting ideas but would also stimulate my heart and soul. I wanted work that could add to the peace and joy in the world, and so I thought of massage. I first got “my feet wet” (pardon the pun) by taking a course in reflexology with Laura Norman & Associates. Loved it. When an opportunity came to visit New Mexico, I jumped at the chance and before I knew it I was enrolled in massage school in Santa Fe.
I graduated from the New Mexico Academy of Healing Arts in 1992. Since that time I have continued to be fascinated by the human body and the many ways of health and being.