“Lockdown will start in 4 hours.”
A punch out of the blue. I’d been feeling so privileged, tucked far away from the world’s thrashing reaction to Covid, living with few restrictions to my daily life on the healthy land of New Zealand.
I’ve been on enough islands to know their pitfall. A desert breeds mirages and creates visions out of nothing. An island favors the opposite illusion – that anything beyond the empty horizon does not truly exist or matter.
Well, that illusion was over. The virus was back and the doors were closing again.
On the city streets there’s a low hum of anxiety as the queues for groceries lengthen. Nervous smiles all around.
A client writes, who previously could not fit me into his busy schedule. On a whim, I allow him the last session. He walks in fifteen minutes before the official start of the lockdown.
He is shaking.
It is not rare for clients new to tantric massage. But not like this. He can’t stop. The thumps of his fluttering heartbeat pound against the walls. As soon as he came in, I felt an ocean of tears well up inside me and wait, trembling, for an outlet.
I look into his eyes. I am gazing at a cornered animal, pawing the ground on the edge of the cliff.
I’m sure that under a thin layer of professional calm my eyes tell a similar story.
We breathe. We spend a long time just breathing.
By the end of the session he is incandescent. A cool silver light glows softly around him. We hug before he leaves, both of us anchored in a deep calm. I see him out and he sails back to his partner, his flat mates and the important business deal a different man – a rock.
When he is gone my gaze wonders out the window at the rows of tiny balconies where my neighbors live. Each of us instructed to isolate completely until further notice – again. I idly wonder how many people suddenly realize, when the distractions have stopped, that they are not actually happy.
Leaning over the windowsill I rest my chin on my forearms and ponder my duty. I offer tools that give clarity, resource and calm in a crisis.
At a time like this, is the greater service truly to withhold them?