Unconditional Positive Regard-- found it!

I almost didn’t go to St. Thomas Hospital last Monday to do volunteer chair massages in the family waiting room. I was very busy, and really didn’t have time. But something made me go…

A woman signed up and got in the chair. She told me that she had been sleeping in the waiting room for days on end because her husband had a heart attack and was in critical care (not uncommon around there, unfortunately.) And when I laid my hands on her… I don’t know if I can explain it… it was like I was touching something in this woman’s soul. I didn’t know her; she could have been a great human being or absolutely awful, ambitious or lazy, dumb or smart… but I truly felt Unconditional Positive Regard for an adult I didn’t know. It’s easy to feel it for cute babies or adorable little kids, but this was IT… the pure, unadulterated thing. I knew I was connected to every part of humanity, and that God was other people. That massage was like a prayer.


Tell us more about her?

Well, she was a very ordinary, grey-haired, overweight, late-middle-aged woman. I don’t think it was the specific person anywhere near so much as it was a kind of breakthrough for me. In massage school, we’re taught that we’re going to have our own opinions about what’s attractive or unattractive in a person, and that can’t be helped. But when we’re doing bodywork, we need to see the person with unconditional positive regard-- regardless of what we’d think of them in another context.