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Deep and Wide

Have you ever had someone recommend something to you, only to discover that the actual experience was far greater than you could have possibly imagined?

This was my experience while attending one of my first Board meetings with the Massage Therapy Foundation. I have been following the Foundation since its inception, donating money here and there and taking advantage of some of the services over the years. Being asked to join the Board was a request I gladly accepted, knowing the dedication, passion, and commitment of the other board trustees. My hope was that I could help advance the mission of the Foundation in some way, giving back to this profession that has been my life's work for almost forty years. My moment of realization of the real breath of the foundation came on the morning of the second day of our meetings.

Arriving in the conference room, the staff had been busy organizing our meeting agenda early that morning. As I looked to wall opposite my chair, I noticed that several large flip-chart pages were affixed to the wall, each with a heading that represented an area of outreach for the foundation. Looking further, I could see that the entire wall was covered with areas of service and outreach. Seeing this was remarkable, until I noticed that the wall to my left was also lined with additional charts, making an even more impressive sight. Scanning these additional sheets, my gaze somehow kept moving to the left, to the wall directly behind my chair. It too was lined with flip chart seats, making three entire walls of this large conference room filled with sheets representing service to the profession and to the public.

Scanning the room was a stunning moment for me. There were several programs and aspects of the foundation I was completely unaware of; I realized that my experience was limited to those activities with which I had previously interacted. Having served on the community grant committee, read case studies, and watch some Research Perch episodes, I realized that my view of the foundation was entirely too limited. It reminded me of looking into the window of a house that you might consider buying, perhaps trying to get a peek before you decide to call a Realtor. If you look in one or two windows, it would be easy to assume that those rooms represent the house as a whole. In reality, what you cannot see may be far more than you ever imagined.

This is certainly the case with the Massage Therapy Foundation. The full impact and breath of the foundation is far deeper and wider than I knew; a humbling fact considering that I was now on the Board of Trustees. Looking at each of these centers of activity emphasized how the foundation is touching the lives of so many in ways that many of us in the field do not realize. Gifts to the foundation are like planting trees under which you will never sit in the shade; we will likely not personally see the fruits of our actions. My past contributions to the foundation might indeed have helped someone in desperate circumstances get massage therapy through a community service grant. It may have helped fund a research study in massage therapy or helped reward a student for writing an excellent case study. Most of us don't have the resources to make large donations to the foundation, but looking at the large sheets lining the conference room, I saw the power of many small contributions multiplied to create a very powerful effect.

In response, I have signed up to be part of the Massage Matters Research Team, having a contribution charged to my credit card each month. In this way, I know I am supporting this important cause without having to remember to do so. It is enormously gratifying to know that I am supporting a multitude of endeavors that impact the profession and the public at large. I invite you join me in doing so, at whatever level you can afford. Together, our impact will be deep and wide; something we can all be proud of participating in.

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