Massage hands (2) I did it. I’m taking a massage course from the Costa Rica School of Integrative Massage. Three days a week, 9a-2p, for 12 weeks, $10/credit hour. If I do all 500 hours required for licensing, that’s $5,000. Since I don’t intend to be licensed in the US, I’m not concerned about cramming it all in. The plan is to do the mods I want as they come available.

These first two weeks are Connective Tissue Massage. Here’s what I learned the first day: everything in your body is surrounded by connective tissue, right down to the cellular level.

Saying “cellular level” makes me sound pretty smart, doesn’t it? Use it in a sentence and impress your friends. I do.

Massage hands (3) Those are my teachers hands in the photos. Just looking at her hands makes me relax!

You know when you are skinning a cooked chicken, that slimy stuff between the skin and the meat? That’s connective tissue. It covers every organ, every muscle, every bone, every artery, vein, ligament, tendon, cell, thing inside you. Gross, huh?

Stress, overuse and injury, among other things, causes that connective tissue to get all jammed up, knotty, stuck to the thing it is supposed to be protecting. This is not good. Not only does it keep you from having sufficient range of mobility to reach the peanut butter on the top shelf, it prevents good blood flow and causes pain when you do reach. Not good at all.

A connective tissue massage releases the jammed up tissue, allowing your body to function as it should. Releasing the tissue can be a tad painful. It should be good painful, though, as in, “Oh, it hurts so good.” Hmmm, that reminds me

Massage hands (4)Bodies are funny things. Or rather, how we feel about our bodies is a funny thing. We take them for granted. We all talk about how great living is, how much we like it, how much we like doing things. Like skiing, hiking, going to the feria, even how much we like just sitting in front of the TV. But, for the most part, we ignore the very vehicle that allows us to have all that fun. We feed it junk, pesticides, hydrogenated fats, GMO corn chips, high-fructose corn syrup, vaccinate it, filling it with mercury and aluminum and God knows what else. We don’t exercise it, stretch it, give it enough sleep. Of course, we don’t pamper it! We don’t even thank it. We expect it to get us out of bed and carry us around and not ever wear out.

Here’s something else: we expect it to get old and stop working. We expect that. So when it does, we think, “Oh, right, I’m getting old. Guess I can’t do that anymore.” Self-fulfilling prophecy? I mean, there are things I can’t do anymore, as well as things I have no desire to do anymore. Like run 6 miles a day… There are things Mom can’t do anymore that I can still do, because bodies get older and joints less lubricated. But I’m thinking we could keep doing many more things than we think if we just took minimum care of the vehicle. Minimum, as in eating healthy foods, shunning unhealthy foods, a tiny bit of exercise and stretching, moment of silent meditation once a day, laughter, fun, occasional massage to work out the kinks.

No matter how beneficial massage is, most of us – me included – think of it as a luxury. Se la vie. I’ll never be rich giving massage but the healing arts call to me. I’m not even sure I want to “be” a massage therapist, but, whatever healing I go into, touch is essential. I love touch. Knowing massage is an excellent foundation. I can expand from there.

Despite what I said the other day about living the life of Riley without a plugged nickel to our names, I do need to make money. It’s why I’m not blogging so much: I’m working. A guy hired me to do t-shirt designs for his websites, so I spend a few hours a day doing that. (If you see a good t-shirt slogan, tell me!) I’m also writing articles for some affiliate websites and posting those. Actually working on my book Advice From A Broad: the first 100 things you need to know about coming to Costa Rica. And a few other projects.

One of the ways I make money, er, used to make money, is managing Key West rental properties. I have ten properties I’ve been managing for a number of years, never had a problem getting a tenant. But that rental market is going through somewhat of a slump. To put it mildly. I’ve had one property empty for five months now. Another one is going on its second month. Both have lowered their rent significantly. Apparently, more is needed. Two other properties are losing tenants unexpectedly because the tenants found work elsewhere.

I can’t say I’m surprised at this turn of events. The sales market has been plummeting there. In one area of town, homes are down more than half what they were at the peak. The real estate market fed a lot of people in Key West. Now that the money has stopped flowing, people stop eating out which means waitresses and cooks are not making money which means they aren’t moving to Key West like they used to… they are moving away. Bummer for me and my landlords. Nothing to do but keep putting one foot in front of the other. And learning new skills. I’m sure to find tenants: as Hal likes to say, there’s a butt for every seat. Yeah, the guy’s a poet.

So while looking for new tenants in Key West, I started a Costa Rica real estate website. I’m learning massage. I’m taking a class in Focusing with my friend Suzanne. I’m studying EFT. There are a few other modalities that warrant a closer look. Poco a poco! In the meantime, I have a body to massage. I’ve kept him waiting too long… I think he’s already asleep on the table! Is it kosher to wake someone up to give him a massage?

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