Yesterday I decided to massage strangers in public with a few friends. I learned that when we respectfully touch others in this way, we are subconsciously and consciously sending a message that says “I see you, I value you and I care for you”. I discovered there is a tremendous healing power in creating tangible experiences like this.
We gathered in our finest office wear in the city centre to invite strangers to experience the calming and grounding beauty of massage. Our aim was to improve Perth citizen’s sense of trust and love for one another.
There was a young street kid with a blue baseball cap who appeared to come from a troubled family, he was hanging out with his two friends. At first he came up with his guard up, like “Oi, are you guys feelers!?” One of my friends calmly replied “we’re handing out free massage, you should give it a try” The kid ran off, and he ends up coming back with a cigarette in his mouth and the two ladies who were gifting massage at the time kindly asked him to smoke further away as we were trying to create a special space for the people of Perth. The kid actually listened and gave them their space. Then he ended up coming back, actually willing to give it a go. He received the massage from Shantaram. He eased into it and relaxed. While that was happening, the young kid’s mates came up to him and said, “oi, are you gay or something?”. The kid, now feeling blissed and quite special said…”you should totally try this, it’s great”. Instead of trying to be tough amongst his friends, he found the confidence to follow his intuition about what he needed and enjoyed in that moment. Before long, the rest of his mates sat down to receive the same treatment. You can see the kid in this image here.
Shaun, a dear friend dressed in the white lined suit jacket had a number of touching moments with the public. He mentioned he’s culturally not a touchy kind of guy coming from Singaporean family, however he’s been changing over the years and mentioned his ability to ‘feel’ peoples stories. One that stood out was with a 90 year old Polish lady who at first tried to speak English with him before completely easing into the experience and reverting to speaking Polish all the way. Shaun mentioned, he could feel her tension melt away. He couldn’t understand all of what she said, but he did notice mention of communism, the war and her 5 grand children. After sharing a moment of shoulder and hand massage, she proceeded to write her address on a piece of paper inviting Shaun to come over to her place to say hello on Saturday or Sunday. She said she’d remember his name.
Another moment was with an older, stylish South African man who spent over 10 minutes circling the area, quite clearly showing interest and intrigue before having his pants metaphorically charmed off by Shaun. It was discovered that man who had never received a massage in his life.
In conclusion, countless stories and lives were positively influenced by our simple act of kindness in the public space. I learned that when we respectfully touch others in this way, we are subconsciously and consciously sending a message that says “I see you, I value you and I care for you”. It is with these words and actions, that bring a deep healing to ourselves and our fear of trusting one another. To give and receive this gift so publicly, also inspired hundreds of people in the space to consider just how simple it was to make a positive ripple like ours. Even if they didn’t have the courage to step forward, they went home with a new insight about what they are truly capable of. As one of the young teenagers said herself, “This is exactly what the city of Perth needs more of”.
Full photo album can be viewed here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/156103965@N03/albums/72157694055790635/with/39574786235/