We'll feature your story on our blog, in our magazine, in our groups, or right here on our website to inspire other therapists. If you have a story of overcoming a career or personal challenge, write a few paragraphs and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Add inspirational story into the subject line. We'd love to feature your story! Stories on this page will be updated quarterly.
As a person in long-term recovery, I have found that when I do what I love, serve, and encourage others, and keep my spiritual house in order, my life feels more meaningful and purposeful.
I spent more than half my life in a spiritual, mental, and physical deficit. When I found recovery in 1999, I began the journey of remembering who I have come here to be. It wasn't until I finally surrendered for the last time on June 9, 2013 (after many relapses over 14 years) that I had the courage to accept that my life was a gift, and I was worth living - simply because I breathe. The last 8 years have revealed to me that there is a beautiful life beyond trauma, incarceration, violence, drug use, suicide attempts, homelessness, and mental illness.
Beginning in 2011, I hosted and produced a radio show for four years called Soul Talk with Jahdaa. On my weekly show I asked my guests "Are you being who you have come here to be?" Week after week they blew my mind with their answers. Little did they know these immensely creative souls were helping me - reminding ME of who I AM as their reflection. One of my very last guests turned the tables and asked me, "How can you know if you are being who you have come here to be if you don't know who you are?" The mic dropped.
I get to decide who I am. As you see people doing what they love, it is an invitation to remember: When the tide rises, ALL boats rise!
My prayer for you:
May you trust yourself enough to do the hard things that will affirm your life. May you know you are worthy of love and joy simply because you breathe. May you take up space, may you be "too much", may you have the courage to be YOU.
When beginning massage therapy school in 1999, I hadn't yet received a professional massage. Shortly before enrolling, I chose to see a local private practitioner, Nicole. Her session showed me massage therapy was a legitimate career.
I quickly enrolled at the Utah College of Massage Therapy in Salt Lake City, UT. I felt like my life did a complete 180. My family didn't express love or healthy touch, so my learning curve entailed assimilating within loving, nurturing energy. Besides the professional skill set, I also grew as a human being.
I am living proof someone with a difficult background can change. On paper, I should not have succeeded. Yet with the intentions of healing and mindfulness, I could move beyond self-imposed limits to forge a new bright future.
Now 22 years later, I am grateful beyond belief and enjoy blessings of love daily. Massage therapy school changed my life. I am forever grateful for Nicole as her professionalism convinced me that massage is an integral part of our health care.
I am a licensed massage therapist, massage educator, and a massage community activist. I never thought I would be a massage therapist when I was young. I wanted to become a physical therapist, but financially, my mom couldn’t even afford to buy my cap and gown.
Me and mom moved to Texas abruptly for my last year of high school from Philadelphia after my folks separated. My dad’s shotgun had our names on it the night I was supposed to teach my peers at church for the first time. I called my sister before my dad could find and cock the bullet. We ran and drove away to my sister’s room she was renting in Philadelphia. We watched “Norbit” because it was the only movie she had that was funny. We were all in shock. A big argument broke out between my sister and mother. Me on the other hand, I was called the peacemaker of the family. I tried to settle the situation. My family knew I was different because I never raised my voice, had a unique touch and calmness about myself.
Couple of months rolled by and I received my diploma. My mom suggested I go to massage school since I massaged her quite often. Her coworker gave me her old metal massage table that was barely stable. I called two massage schools. One school hung up on us, but the other was God sent. I got interviewed and later was accepted. I was the youngest in the class and didn't really know about life. After earning my diploma, I didn’t pass the MBLEx. I was devastated. I took it three times. I had high hopes!
After working with one employer I liked, she ended up selling her business. I was homeless, separated from my first husband who was cheating on me and dealing with other obstacles. I would go to the food pantry, which is now famous, Minnie’s in Plano, TX. I would bounce around to stay with different people. I stayed at my coworker’s house, with my massage friend, and then my sister until my mom told me to move back to the east coast with my grandmother and take care of her.
It wasn’t easy taking care of everything and still having to pay her something to live in the backroom. I would wash people’s cars for money, sell scrap metal, and sell some items around my grandma’s house. The next year I finally got a job to sell cutlery and insurance part time with no car. I would take the bus. Usually, I had enough for the bus fare. In the midst, I studied and went to a school to help me review the exam. I ended up taking the MBLEx for the fourth time, and finally passed. Soon after, I moved back to Philadelphia. I went through some hard times just to become a licensed massage therapist.
Years went by and I fell in love with being a wellness professional. I worked on thousands of bodies, client retention rate was in the 90 percentile, and gratuity was on point. Even though I strived to pursue getting my license, I was overworking my body and didn’t realize it because I was so grateful just to have a job. When COVID-19 hit, I had to make a change, for me and my peers.
I created MT Banquets to celebrate, honor, connect, motivate, and entertain massage therapists and other wellness professionals around the country because there are people making positive changes in the industry everyday. I wanted to connect with the community and congratulate the ones who are making a difference.
This idea became a reality not too long ago. It was hard work! I went through challenges and quit my job to make sure my first event went according to plan. I spent thousands of dollars, but it didn’t stop me from sharing my struggles I went through as a massage therapist. I wanted to hear from others too. Together, we are here to support each other!
Take advantage of each time to come. Don't waste your spring. Don't major in minor things. Take advantage.
There comes to a point in your life that you must recognize that there is a little bit more that must be done than just complaining about it.
Join us in our Facebook group, Massage Therapists Redefining the Future. Our group is for therapists who are forward thinking, innovative disruptors who challenge the status-quo just because we can. It's for you if you're concerned about the future of our profession and want to see positive change occur that will move our profession forward. We bring the issues to light and keep our focus on finding the solutions. We lift your voices and find community in this group.
We inspire people to get motivated, encourage therapists to become change agents, challenge old thinking patterns, encourage innovation, questions, and ideas and empower massage therapists personally and professionally. We are redefining the future, and it's happening right now. Don't miss out!