Work + Love: two words we don’t see together very often

a downtown window by the bus stop
a downtown display window by the bus stop.

i was so happy to finally get out of the house and grab me some proper Me-time yesterday! the last time i went to the spa was…naku, last winter pa yata! my sister-in-law, joliet, and i drove to yorkdale, parked our cars there, and then took the subway downtown.

we ended up in body blitz on king street east by 11AM. after registering and getting the first-timers’ tour, i was buzzing with glee especially as my tight muscles touched down onto the first of the four pools of the water therapies : the dead sea pool.  ahhh, bliss!  my mommy-stress officially floated up and out of the building right there and then.

by 1:15PM, i was in room #9 and on my massage table. finally…hello, self-love!

my masseuse, jocelyn, and i were sharing kwentong buhay / life stories. i like having short chats with my masseuse to create a bond of some sort. our initial conversation started with the usual “where are you from?”

Jocelyn was born in the Phil but was raised in Toronto since she was five years old. our kwentuhan slowly weaved its way into career choices. it turns out that we have parallel stories. she, too, was told by her caring parents to choose the course that was “stable”. economics for me, chemical engineering (CE) for her. not her choice but the “wise” one to make, said mom and dad. “practically everyone has an engineering degree in my family. four out of five of my siblings are engineers.” she stuck it out, graduated with that prestigious engineering degree and ended up entering numbers into the system of the mutual funds company she worked for. what does this have to do with CE, you ask? i asked her the same question and she said, “Nothing. It had nothing to do with my course but since i typed very fast, they hired me. my trainer, at one point, actually told me to slow down!” headline reads: chemical engineer gets hired for her fast fingers. we both laughed at the absurdity of this – both the asked to slow down and her ending up in this numbing, number-crunching place.

but, this is not an uncommon story of the diaspora. we hear of migrant doctors who end up nurses’ aides and corporate execs who serve coffee at tim hortons. it’s the accepted story. nurse aides and coffee servers are honourable jobs but i highly doubt that these are the preferred occupation of doctors and business managers. that’s a story for another time, though.

as much as i wanted for this to just be a full, concentrated massage, my gut pushed for the deeper bonding, konek opportunity. i asked her the more important question of the moment: is this a love thing or a just-work thing then? referring to her being in the health services.

jocelyn’s answer still gives me warm-fuzzy feelings almost 24 hours after i heard it. “this is definitely a “Love Thing”, she told me. i left a very stable ten year corporate job for this.

in spite of it being dim, i felt the light in the room. i felt the warm ooze of joy in her voice as well as in her healing hands. she continued, “it took me a while to find this path. i deliberated for a couple of years. but when i finally made my decision and entered this field, the fulfillment, the feeling of “happy-tired” after a long day of taking care of clients was priceless. i was so unhappy in the corporate world. miserable even. now, when i see my clients feel better because i helped them, that’s fulfilling for me.”

i love hearing stories like this. it takes balls to do what jocelyn did. she got questioned by family and friends and i imagine, could have even been called stupid for choosing to leave the very shiny and glamorous corporate world. but her joy in and of itself, the way she smiled, the way she took care of my achy, tight back muscles, the way she was engaged and present told me that she was definitely and absolutely in Love.

we see them everyday. the tired, the weak, the disillusioned of this world. these are good people and i don’t knock what they do. sure, man-hours of hard labour need to be put in sometimes. it teachers us valuable stuff like hard work and humility. but i’m talking specifically of those who have already put in the hours, days, years. i’m referring to those who hear the Voice, the prompts, the niggling nudges daily but choose to do nothing .

the walking dead.

i know them. i know them because i was once them. jocelyn was, too. she chose life. so did i. it’s not an easy choice to make because it takes guts, and blood, and tears. oh, my, lots and lots of tears. i tear up as i type these words just thinking about my fight for my own loves: art and creativity. oh, i love being mommy. but i love being a creative mommy even more!

today, on this bright and cool 15ºC monday morning, i wish you, dear reader, the same kind of Love Life. if you’re already living it, hats off to you. you are a warrior and doing the best work in the world for yourself and for all of humanity simply because you are putting out JOY instead of suffering. that counts for a lot of precious jujus!

if you’re thinking about it, i say this wholeheartedly: i believe in you 100% and so you must, too. if you’re at the edge of your cliff and you’re just about to take that step into the unknown, scared, hesitant, quivering with absolute fear and loads of self-doubt, i tell you this: it’s okay. the fear is your friend. and i’m sorry to tell you that it will never, ever leave you. and yes, there will still be pain. but it will be worth it. the athlete plays hurt. the warrior fights fearful. and so you must take the leap with fear at your back. take that step and see for yourself what awaits you on the other side.

because living a life of what-ifs is not living at all.

as for living the LOVE life, ahhhh….there are no words.

jocelyn shared her true love by her warm and trained healing hands.

i choose to share mine in my art. in a song or two or three…or a hundred and in my photography.

as always, thank you for being here.

with lots of and courage in creativity,


My Special Request: I would love to hear your “Love Story”. Are you in it? Moving towards it? Just about to dive in? Please share YOUR story – either with me here in the comments section, with others in your blog, on FB, anywhere! I believe the world needs more brave stories like Jocelyn’s.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s