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Lying on a massage coach, wrapped in warmth and bergamot and drooly euphoria.

“Your body is extremely tense,” my masseuse says.

I raise a dreamy eyebrow. “Uh huh.”

“I think your collar bone is misaligned,” she adds.


“Which has forced your hips out of place.”


“Think it would be good to see a chiropractor …” she continues, her voice drifting in and out, finger walking through various subjects and landscapes and cloudscapes, until eventually arriving at … “And last summer he said I needed to consider closing this place down.”

“What?!” I jolt up my face, very awake. “What did you say?”

“That this place wasn’t making enough and –“

“But you can’t!”

“Yes, that’s what I said,” she replies. She fills a glass of water from the jug with the crystals in and places my post-massage drink on the table with a soft clink. “I told him, I can’t do that. This is the place where … I don’t know …” She pauses, looks around the cosy little room. “It’s where I am most real.”

She chimes a small bell to indicate that the session is complete.

“So you’re not closing?”



I blow out a breath of relief and lay there, now fully back in the real world, then get dressed, sit on the edge of the couch and drink the water whilst staring unseeingly at the wall and thinking about what the masseuse had said. Not so much about shutting (I was reassured about that). No, the thing lodged in my mind is about a place where a person feels most real.

What does this mean?

To have a place where someone feels real?

Was she referring to the same realness I feel when I run cross country up my favourite hill and my most beloved woodland?

Or the real I feel when I’m with certain friends?

Is it the sense of authenticity I get when I’m in the flow with a piece of art or writing that delights me to my bones, irrespective of what the world says is acceptable?

Is it that feeling of being complete, whole, fully fulfilled when you’re at home in your skin, wherever you are?

It occurs to me that the different pockets that stitch together the hours in our day aren’t necessarily filled with us feeling real. Sometimes we hang out in places, frequent relationships, consume life experiences that feel utterly misaligned with that feeling of being true to who we are. We may be so accustomed to those places, people and activities that we don’t even question whether they’re truly us or not … and then hours turn to days and days turn to weeks and weeks to months, to years, to decades.

One day, we might stumble across a situation where we remember who we are and we feel REAL again. And realise, with stunned shock, that our entire lives have been lived without real.

Misaligned, out of place tension has become the norm.

Surely, the only solution to this, is to make sure our lives are filled with REALNESS daily?

As much as possible.

I thank the masseuse and pay her. Head reeling with realisms, I walk to my car, wafting bergamot and euphoria and wrapped in this weird, lilting epiphany that I want my life to involve as much REAL as I can possibly muster.

In the car, I grab an envelope and make a list of where there’s real, where there needs to be more real and how I can eliminate arenas of lesser-real-being.

Then I drive home feeling realigned, quite suddenly “in place” and Relaxed about what’s coming next.

I don’t call the chiro.

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