Come exactly as you are, and be seen and held and loved.

I had the absolute blessing and privilege of attending a Zen Thai Shiatsu Massage 4 day intensive course last weekend. The course was held at the Mt Ninderry Healing Centre by the inimitable Gwyn Williams, and it was an honour to spend four days with him and 20 other people, learning the art of healing through conscious touch.

I’d had a pretty miserable week before I left town, so I skipped the tunes and did some yogi chanting as I road-tripped. There is nothing quite like the sound of your own voice breaking up the silence with sacred words to bring you back to yourself.

The next day, Gwyn’s beautiful presence began to unpack all the layers I’d begun to build up. The way he teaches and holds space is sublime. Gwyn speaks to your higher self from a wide open heart, so much that you can give and receive with joy as your heart peels open effortlessly.

The style is a blend of Thai massage and Shiatsu, designed to work the energy lines, or meridians, and release blockages. It’s fluid, yet penetrative, mobilising and opening the body of the practitioner and the receiver, using body weight in a pouring-in technique – not force. Together you create a beautiful harmony, and the treatment becomes a healing. The intention and presence you both bring shapes the treatment completely.

The weekend was about more than learning a massage technique. What I experienced deeply was connection – with myself and others.

This weekend, I felt truly seen, truly heard and safely held.

I was able to give wholeheartedly, and it felt so good. What a blessing, a true gift, to see and touch someone with your whole true self and have them receive you.
Sensing someone’s limits, tuning in to their energy moving under my hands and forearms – the treatment became a meditation in motion, a fluid dance of effortless effort.
To be a conduit for all that joy and love was an intense experience. I was able to really see myself – all my pain, my heaviness, my love, my joy – and experience the vastness of myself as a being, not just Emma.
I saw such beauty in others, felt such love and nurturance as I witness their humanity, as I witnessed my own. The experience was one of courage and vulnerability, meeting each other exactly where we’re at with pure acceptance.
The weekend wasn’t without its challenges. The ‘bumblebees’ (as Gwyn called them) of self-criticism and doubt plagued me at times. However, I found that receiving a treatment was the most challenging. It’s easy to lie back and starfish. But to let someone in, to allow them to sense you and explore your limits, to fully engage with the experience was a constant process of letting go. I practiced awareness not just of my body but my heart and mind. Wherever I noticed I was holding on, I breathed into it, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
On the last day we partnered with one person and swapped the full 90 minute treatment. My partner and I shared a similar experience. We both felt a sense of loss whenever we noticed our hearts close off. I don’t know if I can do justice to the experience of being fully centred in your heart space and feeling so much love and joy – and then to feel your heart close for some unknown reason.
The weekend brought me a sense of clarity of who I am and what makes me happy, and a desire to honour myself completely. I saw parts of myself really clearly. In terms of actionable changes I intend to make: my self-doubt needs to take a hike; and I want to include conscious touch more in my life, so prepare yourself for epic hugs!!!!!
You can read more about Zen Thai Shiatsu and Gwyn HERE.
I want to know – have you ever had an experience of being touched really deeply? If you feel comfortable sharing, please comment ❤
Lots of love,
Emma xox
PS I’m offering a limited number of treatments for free, so I can practice. If you’re interested, email me emma.shields88@gmail.com and we’ll hook it up. This offer is limited to 7 spots and only until the end of July.
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