I am excited about the future. We seem to be making steady progress towards opening our own Institute. In fact, we might just go and look up a place pretty soon. At the time when I learnt reflexology, I was standing at a crossroads of sorts, seeking an area of work that was meaningful and allowed me to work on my own. By the end of it, I was sure reflexology was going to be a part of my life one way or the other. I had been earning good money and career wise, prospects seemed to be opening. But then seldom have practical matters over ruled my heart and within some time. I took the plunge.
I recently spent over 35 days walking through remote parts of Ladakh and Kishtwar. In Ladakh or actually, all remote Himalayan villages, tourist means medicine. Villagers are willing to barter with anything in exchange for some medical help. So you can imagine, how valuable anyone with medical knowledge is to them.
At the first village where we camped, I met a lady plagued by severe headaches. 14 years ago, she had suffered from a head injury after falling from the roof and subsequently on falling off a horse :). It seemed obvious that the old injury was responsible for her condition. After much cajoling and in the presence of a sweet Lama, her son, daughter and pretty much half of the town, I worked her feet. I knew many sessions and physio therapy would be required for her to improve, but temporarily she relaxed and slept well that night.
We carried on the next day. Lo and behold, a unique, invisible and highly advanced system of communication known only to the villagers, had spread the word to other villages. Thereafter, wherever we camped I had a steady stream of people coming to see me. Where the problems were severe, I supplemented foot work with allopathic medication. Most villagers suffered from back problems, joint aches (owing to very physically demanding lives), eye troubles (glare of the sun is very strong at that altitude) and a host of smaller issues, a result of drinking barely 2 glasses of water a day. Then of course, people with cuts and bruises, some many days old and thanks to my training in first aid, I administered a lot of dressing.
A case I remember in particular is this shepherdess who walked for 2 hours down the slopes, with a young baby barely 3 months, to reach me. She was plagued by a very severe toothache and was at least 3 days away from the closest medical centre. Her tooth had rotted completely and was pinching onto the roots. After explaining to her that there was only some temporary relief I could offer with medicine and hand work, I tied rubber bands all along the bony joints of the thumb and the finger corresponding to the tooth. Alongwith it, I continued to work her hand thoroughly. After an hour or so, she spoke her first words and before I could respond she shut her eyes, kneeled to the floor and slept off :). She was offered shelter by our kind hosts (who didn’t even know her) and was better by the morning.
Reflexology and medicine helped us bond – to women unused to putting their feet in front of another person, that too to a guest, this custom broke ice and developed a sense of mutual respect. The menfolk attempted to put up a brave face and succeeded for the first 10 seconds to not scream. After that they put their male ego aside and exercised their lungs :). The audience in this circus was the children who loved the sight of the elders being put to the test. I made many friends, gathered countless blessings, shared laughs and had great fun.
I saw the magic in it. What it could mean for the countless people living in the remotest corners of our country, with no medical aid; to those who wanted to live a healthier, medicine free life. Even beyond that, I believe reflexology can change the way we are as individuals and our relationships with other people.
Today as I act as the pathway towards healing, it gives me tremendous sense of satisfaction. Of course, there is frustration and helplessness when things don’t go as you wish. There is a lot of self doubt that creeps in. Am I doing enough, am I doing it right..In fact I am going through that phase these days..Acknowledging that healing is not a consequence of my action but of the individual has been a challenge sometimes, but one that has become easier.
I have grown as a person in so many dimensions that it seems that reflexology was only waiting to happen. As someone receiving reflexology, it has been a course of discovery all the way – I have become more accepting of myself and my condition. I recognise that it is within me that I can find all my answers and all my joy.
I am glad i took the leap and decided to follow this path. The numerous people it has brought into my life; friends that will be with me a lifetime; the many opportunities when I have been allowed to be the catalyst in some one’s life; the countless moments when I have sat in wonderment of the human body and mind; the many smiles and tears I have shared with people along the way – I have found my path.
It is my dream to take reflexology to as many people as possible. Teach, practice, have fun, make friends – all of it. Of course my practice is nascent and I hope that it will grow, that I will have many more feet to work on before I can go and teach. Someday..