Before closing my healing practice last April, I had been doing bodywork/massage/healing, call it what you want, every day for 15 years. From my humble beginnings into body exploration as a gay boudoir photographer to massage school, Kundalini Yoga school, personal training school, sound therapy school, massage cupping school, advanced medical massage school, Craniosacral therapy school, life/self-motivated small business start-up school, and 1000's of hours of both hands-on time school and teaching time, I had been go-go-go-help-help-help. New York, New Jersey, and Fire Island kept my hands in action 24-7 as my motto and mantra was HEAL YOURSELF BY HEALING OTHERS.
Then came COVID SCHOOL, an unexpected one-year residency program on my sofa & in my attic art studio, alone with my husband and two dogs Max and Mortimer, in Bloomfield, NJ.
Now, as things are beginning to flow at the new and improved BRLMT ART & WELLNESS.
-A boutique wellness studio for men located in Montclair, New Jersey, offering a full range of wellness services from traditional Swedish massage to IN-TOUCH-MEN, our fun and dynamic men's massage exchange group.- I find myself again humbled by what this latest home-schooled program has given me.
COVID SHCOOL gave me a chance to settle. As OSHO talks about in his book TANTRA, a balanced life is already there. In all the "life" activity, we create, one stirs up so much dust. Stop, allow the dust to settle, and you are already home. I strive to find in my relationship with COVID the Yin and Yang that's ever-present. One year alone in my attic was what I needed most and would never have given myself. A retreat from healing with others was the gift of healing to myself I so unknowingly needed. I would never have stopped if COVID did not stop me.
When it all closed up last year, I packed up my office, turned in my keys, and went home. Over the year, I did not ZOOM; I did not offer online workshops, I did not do yoga or massage, I did not fill my time attempting to reach out to others, and did not volunteer or protest. I sat alone, painting, walking in the woods, looking closely at the space around me physically and virtually. I did not read or take classes; I just was.
Important side: I am now contemplating how Covid allowed me to place blame somewhere, a container for the guilt I have carried since a small boy that doing nothing, not working, working, working was wrong. How that perspective drilled into me by a working-class upbringing is the place my MANTRA of help by helping others began and how a new Mantra is now emerging.
Back to the story: My situation, blessed by a life partner who did not lose his job, gave me food, shelter, companionship, and love as I recharged. Thank you, BARRY. -My most profound heart-filled healing energy goes out to all those whose life situation took a different path along this arduous collective journey.-
I recall on the first day of LOCKDOWN sitting in my living room and closing my eyes. I envisioned my days of KUNDALINI YOGA, precisely the moments of tunning in at WHITE TANTRA EVENTS, and took a deep inhale while I set my intention. I committed in that breath to keep up and exhale when it was over. I do not think that exhale happened quite yet, but the light at the end of this tunnel makes its way closer for sure.
Yesterday, I met with another beautiful man I have known for years, Yogi EDD. We spent two hours nude on the floor of my studio talking and doing yoga, masks on, of course, so not fully nude.
Why, you ask? Yogi EDD will be IN TOUCH MEN's first teacher other than myself. He will bring his light and AMAZING subtle energy to us with his Beginners-Clothing-optional, HATHA YOGA for men's sexual health and wellbeing class starting in May.
Yogi EDD's focus is IN TOUCH MEN's focus, to create a space for ALL MEN to rest, heal, and in the words of OSHO, take some time in life to let the dust settle.
Keep your eyes on the website for DETAILS. The class will be Saturday mornings and hold six students, so when you see your space, GRAB IT! They won't last long.
Photo Brian Riley 2005 from the Broadway PLAYING CARD series.