Embracing Change, Leading with Love

Overhead vew of chalk art in the shape of a heart

Embracing Change, Leading with Love

By Angie Parris-Raney

At the beginning of every year, I think about a theme, focus, or intention I want to work on for my personal, professional, or spiritual development. And while I dreamed of manifesting all kinds of blissful experiences, this is what I wrote on my white board in January 2020:

“Embrace change. It’s constant and inevitable.”

I know. Dangerous words, right? But I also knew they were true. Change is the one thing we can count on for sure, so why not learn to embrace it? As I wrote that phrase down, I knew that if I could focus on embracing change—really embodying the ability to be fluid and trusting myself that I will know what to do in each moment—that would be my path to emotional freedom and help me to let go of fear in uncertain times. Who knew how the year was going to unfold the way that it has? But how relevant and important that statement is in this moment.

Wisdom traditions have been teaching for thousands of years that the root of much suffering is that we try to grasp the things that are ungraspable. We cling to the past, yearning for the way things used to be, or maybe harbor anger or sadness from a painful event. Often, we fear the future, not knowing where life is taking us, and project an outcome that hasn’t even happened yet.

The truth is, all we have is the present moment. Every day, every hour, every minute is an opportunity for a new beginning . . . a new possibility. We have the chance to create a new story. Right now, we are mourning. We are grieving human loss, the loss of how we used to run our practices, and how we used to go about our daily lives. Taking ourselves out of the place of fear, we have a choice of how we want to move through this and co-create something perhaps even better. We can’t always control what is happening around us, but we do have a choice on how we respond.

Which leads me to the second phrase I wrote on my white board: “Lead with love.” Our work as massage therapists couldn’t be more important than right now. We know that. And we’re seeking a way to get back to providing our services, and it’s going to be different. While we may have only perceived our work through touch, we are also teachers, mentors, coaches, leaders, and hopefully compassionate listeners with each client. Each interaction that we have is an opportunity to lead with love. We can choose to be love in action. 

So, what do we do? This may very well be the time to write a new story for our practices and for our profession. What is that going to mean for you? That will have to be a personal journey for each of us. Trust me. I’ve been practicing for 20 years and I’ve had my moments of burnout and fatigue. But I know our work has only just begun. And I’m inspired by the possibility of expanding my practice into providing other healing services that complement healing touch. My hope for you is to please not give up on your healing work. Take this time to reflect, open yourself up to new possibilities, and allow for creativity to inspire you to reshape and redefine your practice.

I invite you to consider embracing change and leading with love.

Angie Parris-Raney, LMT, has been practicing massage for two decades in her part-time private practice. She has recently expanded her practice to include meditation and ayurveda lifestyle instruction, certified by The Chopra Center. She has also taken her work overseas to work with low-income families, children with disabilities, and children living in orphanages, which led to establishing a nonprofit in Peru, Project Inti. Additionally, she has worked with a number of local nonprofits to provide massage instruction and meditation instruction to low-income mothers.

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