What does it mean to say everyone is welcome here?
You hear a lot about social causes from #MeToo, to #BlackLivesMatter, to #Stop AAPI Hate, just to name a few. With June being Pride Month (Happy Pride Everyone!), I wanted to take this opportunity to share how individuals from these, and other groups come together here at AMBI to form the neatest collection of do-gooders on the planet!
People enroll at AMBI’s award-winning massage therapy program from all over the world. We have been so blessed to now have students and alumni that represent more than 45 nations across the globe. We’ve had students start here right out of high school, and as mature as in their 70’s. We’ve had every known education and professional background you can possibly imagine, as well as people who were so scared to start because of English being their second or third language. The only characteristic that ties this diverse group of students together is their desire to help other people feel better. What an awesome common goal!
Starting massage school is different from starting most other collegiate programs. You bring a collection of strangers together. Most of the students don’t know anyone else in their class. Two days a week, you are online for lectures with your instructor and classmates, and two days a week, you are on campus with your classmates practicing the new bodywork techniques that you are learning.
Here at AMBI, you practice bodywork on your classmates, and they practice on you. You are in a room with 10-15 other strangers, of which half are on a massage table, and the other half are massaging them. You work in these classrooms in various degrees of undress on your classmates for the first six months of the 7-month (28-week) program before you perform on a new group of strangers to complete your clinical requirements over the last 4 weeks.
Now, there is no nudity, there is nothing inappropriate taking place, AMBI is a safe space. But if you have been the victim of a previous sexual assault or have been targeted because of the color of your skin, or your sexual orientation, being vulnerable on a massage table under a sheet and blanket takes all kinds of courage. The person you are when you come here is not the person you will be when you graduate. You are facing your fears and taking action in spite of, and perhaps because of what has happened to you, and that is true power.
What do you choose to learn as a profession to help you deal with your previous or current pain? You choose to learn how to place your hands on people to help them feel better, reduce pain, to help your clients live a better quality of life, and to spread love in a society that so desperately needs it. Your giving of yourselves is one of the greatest gifts you can share. Our students are amazing, all of them.
AMBI takes students from every different ethnicity, color, race, age group, sexual orientation, every social and political background and you bring them together because they are looking for a better tomorrow. We take in all the second career professionals who are tired of what they do and strive to do something more meaningful. We bring all the people in who didn’t grow up with the advantages that I did as a white male.
AMBI welcomes all the people here who were told they would never amount to anything but yearn for more. We bring in people from all over the world who strive for their piece of the American dream. We bring in people who have wanted to do this for years, or decades, but listened to someone else who told them what they ought to do instead. AMBI brings all these people here because they belong here.
In her book Braving the Wilderness, Brene’ Brown states that “True belonging is the spiritual practice of believing in and belonging to yourself so deeply that you can share your most authentic self with the world and find sacredness in both being a part of something and standing alone in the wilderness. True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are; it requires you to be who you are.”
You bring in all these people, and you teach them how to help their clients and themselves. When you are ready to be who you are, we’d love to hear from you. We’d love to know what inspires you to consider becoming a Massage Therapist. Most of all, we’d love to have a conversation with you to see how we can best help you in your mission in joining one of the most in-demand careers in the entire country. You are all welcome here at AMBI, and you all matter so much. Thank you for sharing your stories, for your courage, and for making this a special place. After all, the school is only as great as the people that make it up. Thank you for reading this.
To take the next step in your journey, please feel free to contact us today by calling or texting Erin at 571-635-5121. We can’t wait to hear from you!
For more information about Brene’ Brown and her books, please visit: https://brenebrown.com
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