Story of Giotto and the Pope, taken from Vasari ( Page 7):

Pope Benedict sent one of his courtiers into Tuscany to see what sort of a man he was and what his works were like, for the Pope was planning to have some paintings made in S Peter’s. This courtier, on his way to see Giotto and to find out what other masters of painting and mosaic there were in Florence, spoke with many masters in Sienna, and then, having received some drawings from them, he came to Florence. And one morning going into the workshop of Giotto, who was at his labours, he showed him the mind of the Pope, and at last asked him to give him a little drawing to send to his Holiness. Giotto, who was a man of courteous manners, immediately took a sheet of paper, and with a pen dipped in red, fixing his arm firmly against his side to make a compass of it, with a turn of his hand he made a circle so perfect that it was a marvel to see it Having done it, he turned smiling to the courtier and said, “Here is the drawing.” But he, thinking he was being laughed at, asked, “Am I to have no other drawing than this?” “This is enough and too much,” replied Giotto, “send it with the others and see if it will be understood.” The messenger, seeing that he could get nothing else, departed ill pleased, not doubting that he had been made a fool of. However, sending the other drawings to the Pope with the names of those who had made them, he sent also Giotto’s, relating how he had made the circle without moving his arm and without compasses, which when the Pope and many of his courtiers understood, they saw that Giotto must surpass greatly all the other painters of his time.”

When considering adjunctive therapies such as aromatherapy, testosterotherapy, homeopathy, acupuncture, fervo-halitus cervical treatment, mud-mopping, or auriculotherapy, I AM intrigued. Reading about them makes me think of how many layers of healing can be brought to bear in a massage session and how attaining those proficiencies might be a worthy sacrifice of time to offer my [future] clients.

I love that massage is a therapeutic treatment that, at its best, might not only offer restoration to a baseline but an INCREASE in good health (boosting immune defenses, increasing the relaxation effect). To reinforce the holistic wellness of my clients is a great good and that does speak to me. Creating an essential oils aromatic cocktail for different client needs that showed attention to their particular intakes and needs could be an amazing service. Would my client benefit from a balanced mix of eucalyptus for invigoration while modulating it with lavender for balancing? Or might they be better served by ylang ylang and patchouli for sensuality and romance? [Note to self- probably refer out ylang ylang/patchouli-needing clients]. But before diving in to the study of those possibilities and instead viewing the reality of the years ahead of me, pragmatism whispers the wisdom of simplicity at the outset of my career. When I was considering the prospects of study foci I was brought back to the story of Giotto and testament it is to the pursuit of perfection in simplicity. While Giotto’s fly (buzz buzz, not zip) tells of a complex and capable genius as does the main body of his work, the number of hours of practice implied (to me) in the perfect circle he drew free-hand is the map I believe I want to follow. I hope to be an excellent massage therapist. I hope years of practice will leave me a capable journeyman and eventually master of the core of this craft. In that time, I believe I will have made time to increase the complexity and breadth of my offerings- but for now I am going to pursue a primary excellence.

*NOT A PERFECT CIRCLE. OR EFFECTIVE MASSAGE. (Pretty much a wholesale fail in the illustration department).

This entry was posted in The Middle Way- writings on massage therapy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Simplicity

  1. seregloth says:

    I definitely made up three of those adjunctive therapies.

  2. A beginner’s mind, young Jedi, a beginner’s mind.
    Always back to the basics, especially when you are a master.

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