I did something new, and maybe a bit strange. Have you ever watched a cat while they slept? Have you ever had one climb into your lap to be pet and felt the total relaxation of the whole body as they settled into your attentions?

It has mostly, if not always been difficult for me to relax in these past years. Holding my breath and tensing in the small space I occupy seems to be typical of my daily habits.

I am a big advocate of therapies and one of them is massage therapy. A local commercialized massage clinic offers a massage at a good price and when you find your match and all the scheduling works out, you are in good hands. My match recently moved away and I have had some recommendations outside this facility. And I was going to move on, but I may have discovered someone and I don’t feel comfortable leaving quite yet.

The different massages I have had since October 2010 have always brought me relaxation at the last 15 minutes, and even my match therapist always preferred the 1.5 hour sessions as he could sense my relaxation really happening in that last 30 minutes–a truth which I could not deny.

I always attempt cloud/sky/tree/sun/sparkling violet crown chakra visualization and the good advice for the final savasana from our Bikram instructor “feel the floor holding you up and supporting all of your weight.” Substitute “table” for “floor” during a massage. These are helpful techniques for me but they seem to be suited best for solitary work.

Maybe it was something about the masseuses catlike eyes…

I became one of my cats. And then at times the other. I focused on how they looked sound asleep on the bed, how the weight of their body is dead weight when they lay on my lap.

I imagined the tiny body of my tabby in my hands as he rolls over to have his belly rubbed and becomes almost jelly and I let go, and I tried to become almost jelly. I imaged his simple twist that encouraged me to continue while he remained almost weightless.

I considered the comfort and stillness of thought and body of my grey cat, her little tortoiseshell eyebrow. She has been, from day one, a most fabulous lap cat. I am very used to her weight on my legs and the way she totally puts down roots during her time there. Shameful to even think of disturbing her. Enjoying her warmth and her purr and her steady breathing.

I believe the combination of one cat always relaxing as if weightless and the other relaxing as totally weighted, aided my body’s ability to understand that both forms are important for different reasons.

On Tuesday– for reasons or triggers I can’t seem to remember– I closely meditated on these feelings. Imagining, visualizing, that I was one of these amazing animals. That perhaps I may someday nudge the hand or cry if the therapist stopped. I felt and can still remember the feeling that even my bones relaxed. I can’t say this relaxation technique will work for you, I can only share that this is the first massage with a “stranger” during which I have so completely trusted, relaxed and was unabsorbed in other thoughts. I was there in the room, the table holding me up as the lap holds the cat. I didn’t care that much about her technique or her next move. I was a cat…

On a massage table.