The best and most beautiful things in the world
cannot be seen nor touched, but are felt in the heart.
In the late 90’s, I qualified as an Aromatherapist after two years of extensive studies - while retaining the role of mother, wife, nurse maid, family chef and chorister. I was thrilled with my new sensory career, relying on touch, smell and intuition as my guides. Then my fourth child decided it was a good time to arrive on the scene, bless him…and a year later, my children and I had moved to Melbourne.
With several mouths to feed, it was now a priority to establish my aromatherapy business to earn extra income for the family. I partitioned off a small area of our new home and made a cosy treatment space for my business endeavour. I had cards made, leaving them wherever I could - in ladies boutiques, hair and beauty salons, doctors’ waiting rooms, cafes and with parenting groups (hoping that the squeaky wheel would get the oil). I soon learned however, that it was word of mouth that brought in regular clientele more than advertising. My first client was a partially deaf woman, Barbara, who was a writer and performing clown – known as Lady Fruit Loop. As my first weekly client, we learned a lot about each other and became good friends. We loved going to the cinema together because we both played a very special role for one another: I was her ears, she was my eyes. During the movie, Barbra would ask me,
‘What did they say?’
And at times, I could ask her, ‘What are they doing?’
I loved my sensory work. Before each client’s treatment,I prepared a warmed room, placed soft clean towels on the massage table, selected an ambient CD, cleansed the air with fresh oils – and created aromatherapy massage blends like a cosmic wizard. My favourite oils were geranium, lavender, palmarosa, mandarin, sandalwood and vetiver for soothing emotions. Invigorating oils were rosemary, juniper, eucalyptus, lemongrass and bergamot. For a splash of sensory luxury, I would indulge my clients with frankincense, rose damascus, jasmine and neroli: I could not go past peppermint, tea tree, cedarwood, clove and sweet marjoram for muscular ache.
When measuring out the correct proportions of essential oil to carrier oil, I had to use a strong overhead light to see while carefully pouring the potent brew. I could either see the drop breaking the surface of the shiny oil or the tiny drops sparkling in the bright light as they hovered and dribbled drop by drop, from the fragrant bottles.
Some of my self-conscious clients were comforted by the fact that I could not see all their imperfections – but the truth was, I felt them with all-seeing hands! Working from home, my teenagers were expected to keep their death-metal music to an inaudible level but my toddler had a curious tendency to wander into the massage room to check out the stranger lying beneath sky-blue towels. I knew he was peeking when I heard the quiet turning of the door handle, a pause, a soft click as the door shut again and then the sound of thunderous little feet running down the hall. Luckily, my clients did not mind his inquisitive interruption.
There were the odd times when I received very strange phone calls from men who were, shall we say, looking for more than just an aromatherapy massage. Their tone was a dead give a way and the conversation did not last long. My policy was to only treat male clients who were related to a friend or existing clients. I did get caught off guard on one occasion when a male caller asked if I did ‘hand relief massage’. Thinking it to be a new form of therapy I had not yet heard of, I naively asked,
‘What sort of massage is that?’
The male voice was silent. Suddenly, his thoughts hit me loud and clear. The suggestive penny dropped. ‘Definitely not!' I said as if a dazzling bolt of lightning had passed down the phone, and added quickly, ‘I suggest you look elsewhere in the classifieds,’ not able to put down the phone quick enough…
Our bodies are our gardens –
our wills, our gardeners.