I like to think that I was just directed towards this path because I certainly never thought of Massage Therapy as a suitable career choice. My life has been a series of directed paths. I never thought I'd be living in New Zealand either.
|There's the back seat of the car. I was lucky to get shotgun.|
|You can see where my head hit the windscreen on the right|
Suddenly we came to a halt as we crashed on our side into a rock cut on the side of the road which ultimately saved us rolling down an embankment. And then everything went black.
Apparently, two ambulances were dispatched from two separate hospitals because the crash was so bad, they expected two casualties. News traveled back to the party where our friends were told we were in a very bad accident and prepared for the worst. I'd hate to be in their shoes.
But we both survived. Miraculously. The paramedics found me, crouched down beside the car, curled up in a tight ball, calmly waiting for someone to arrive . I had pulled myself out through the window. I was in shock as I was babbling away to them as though everything was alright, perky and bright as ever. I don't remember any of that. The paramedic came to visit me and told me that I gave him very clear instructions to contact my sister and not my mother.
|Drugged up on morphine|
|Shards of glass still in there.|
|They were afraid I'd lose sight in this eye|
So for months I received regular massage and chiropractic care which resulted in a full recovery. At the time of the accident I was doing a double major at a performing arts school in both drama and dance. The dancing was to my advantage as my body was supple and strong which meant my recovery time was quicker than the average.
When it was time to start applying to universities, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I was a bright student and the possibilities were endless. One of my teachers pulled some strings to get me a summer apprenticeship at a top law firm in Ottawa. I received the Gold Medal for highest average in my class and I qualified for a number of scholarships to study medicine. But I wasn't sure that's what I wanted. I knew I wanted to help people and I thought I wanted to get into cancer research but I couldn't see myself working in a lab and I didn't want to be tied down to study medicine for 8 years and then work in a hospital for the rest of my life. I wasn't quite sure which direction I wanted to go.
That's when my sister suggested the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy. I thought she was nuts but I was intrigued. My main concern was that I wouldn't be strong enough, I was pretty tiny. But I certainly proved myself wrong! I was one of the strongest therapists that graduated from the program.
The initial plan was to study massage and then figure out what I wanted to do with my life LATER. The massage would give me a strong background in anatomy and physiology and basically it would buy me time.
You see, I had been living on my own since the accident. I moved out when I was 16 years old because of my mother's alcoholism. The accident was my ticket out of that house. I got some money to make a life for myself and that's what I did. My priority was to make a decent income to support myself. I didn't want to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars of student loans - that was just way too much pressure for an 18 year old to bear. My parents were not helping me financially and the only support I had was the moral support and encouragement from my sister. The Massage School happened to be just a short 1/2 hour drive from where she and her husband lived. So much to the shock of all of my teachers and guidance counselor, I enrolled in the Class of 1995 at the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy. I was their youngest pupil at the time.
In September 1995 I opened up my first studio in Toronto and I haven't looked back. While all my friends were drinking and partying in university, spending their parents money on educations they'd never use, I was making some really decent money running a successful business in Canada's largest city. I was only 21 years old.
I feel very blessed that I found my career path so early on and that it suited me so well. Many of my colleagues have moved on to different careers but I'm still loving what I do, 18 years later. I believe a big part of my success has to do with the fact that I have always run my own business and I call the shots on when I work and how hard I work. I take time off when I need it - often taking months off at a time. In fact, I've taken years off but I always come back to massage because it's my gift and it's as natural to me as brushing my teeth.
|This is me working at my studio at Magic Hands|
I'm passionate about what I do. So when people ask me how did I know I wanted to be a Massage Therapist, the truth is I didn't. But I know how to listen and to trust my instincts and to allow myself to be directed by God or the Universe or my Higher Power - whatever you want to call it - and to trust that the path will be revealed.
If something is a struggle, chances are, you're not on the right path. So that's when it's time to look for another route.
I believe things happen in our lives to define us and help us find our purpose. I'm always grateful for the challenges brought into my life, maybe not necessarily at the time. But I can look back and see that it was definitely for the greater good.
That which doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger! That suits me perfectly.