Nepal - A Blind Massage in Pokhara

Minding my questionable questioning.

I got a blind massage in Pokhara today. And to be honest, when I first booked it I had no thoughts or concerns about it being a spa with only blind employees other than it is ranked highly on TripAdvisor - it'll do.

When I started walking to the spa I began processing the difference in experiences that may occur at this place versus a typical spa. Still, I didn't think much in depth on the situation.

When I arrived to the spa, when I saw the five blind masseuses lined up in the lobby, thoughts began to flood my mind. Thoughts that I admit - seem even to me as discriminatory. "How blind are these masseuses?" "Are they completely blind or partially blind?" "How proper has their training been?" "Do they have any other disabilities?"

My own questions made me question my own questioning. Who am I to question their training level? I have had several five dollar massages through Asia and I am certain those were not "certified" masseuses. Not certified to the standard that I'm apparently and suddenly concerned with. What does it matter if they have any other disabilities? And if they had, what exact disability is it that I'm worried about that would impact my enjoyment of the massage?

This incident made me really stop and reflect on the constant mental reactions that are so habitually used. I had a mental reaction, a judgement, a preluding concern upon entering my massage room that I discretely discredited a completely capable being. Regardless that I did not verbally show, nor in any other way show that I began to feel that sudden questioning on my decision. But I still felt it. I felt a worry that somebody with a disability, a not your average masseuse, would make me feel uncomfortable in my massage. And I feel embarrassed that I felt that way. This massage could be one of the best massages I've ever had. And one of the most needed massages I've ever had (it was following our nearly three week trek through the Himalayas).

During my not so average massage, the masseuse and I engaged in conversation on an array of topics. A trait I don't usually prefer during a massage (talking). He asked me detailed questions about life in America. He asked if I felt comfortable. He asked if I had ever "worked" with a blind person before. Of which I had to pause to answer. My immediate reaction wanted to say, "Why yes! Of course!" But as I paused for a moment I asked myself, is that true?? HAVE you worked with a blind person before? The only thing I could come up with was my recent interaction with the blind children's hostel in Ahmedabad during our volunteers in India. But that wasn't "working" with the blind. That was observing their lifestyle. His question shined an even bigger question on my questionable questioning. Could he sense my subconscious questioning? With his question I instantly felt my unsympathetic judgments shed off my body and hit the floor. He was wiser than I was. More aware than me. He was more upfront in his thoughts. And a skilled master of cleansing the clutter of minds and tension from the people who entered his room.

Questioning isn't an evil. But I think, learning to question my own thoughts is the lesson.

-AS @travelingsnow


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