Chapter 12: Reflections on Contributions and on the Art of Massage, Meditation, and Teaching

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Chapter 12: Reflections on Contributions and on the Art of Massage, Meditation, and Teaching

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In this chapter, Ms. Sumler reflects on the contributions that have meant the most to her and stresses that she loves to learn, and will continue to expand her knowledge of therapeutic massage during the rest of her time at the institution. At the end of the interview, she talks about her core identity as a meditation practitioner and an artist. She explains how these two currents combine her view of yoga, teaching, and massage as art forms.

Identifier

Sumler,PSS_02_20180910

Publication Date

9-20-2018

City

Houston, Texas

Topics Covered

The Interview Subject's Story - Character and Personal Philosophy; Character, Values, Beliefs, Talents; Personal Background; Professional Path; Evolution of Career; Inspirations to Practice Science/Medicine; Faith; Overview

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine | Oncology | Oral History

Transcript

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Yeah. Yeah. What are you—what are your kind of plans? You know, you’ve made some contributions here. What’s sort of next for you on the horizon?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

For me, I mean, I would like to stay here as long as I can, and also just to continue learning. I’m a lover of learning, and I have—I guess one thing I’ve learned is that I can expand my knowledge and improve what I do, even if I’m not doing that. And so, for instance, I became a certified lymphedema therapist, which has helped me tremendously, and helps me to just view patients differently, even though I’m not treating lymphedema. I have a lot more different knowledge of the anatomy, and kind of, it improves my critical thinking. Last year, I took a great course in scar tissue mobilization for patients after mastectomy and radiation fibrosis, and that was—really opened my mind to look differently. And so for me, I’d like to continue as long as I can here, and learn as much as I can, and I’m not sure what my steps will be after that, but I know eventually that will change. (laughs) But yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

What are you particularly pleased to have done here, when you look back and think of all the things you’ve done? Is there something that’s like, yeah, that really means a lot to have done that?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I think just our course, that we developed our [ ] oncology massage course. And I also got to work in developing the yoga course. So those—that was really phenomenal. I’m really happy to... I guess, other than that, working with patients, teaching—when I taught yoga, teaching my... I taught a meditation class that was for a symptom-based class, and that was really fulfilling. But...

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Well, it’s a very focused and niche area of practice, but one that a lot of people don’t really know exists, and don’t know what goes into it, so I’m really grateful for your perspective on that. Is there anything else that you’d like to add to help people understand what you do and why it’s important?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I think the bottom line is that massage can really help people who either have a diagnosis of cancer, if they’re going through treatment, or even afterwards, that massage can be a benefit to help people to cope. [It can help relieve anxiety, stress, pain and promote relaxation and] help people to feel like themselves again. And that people need to be mindful that they have a therapist who has proper training. Yeah.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

And here’s a weird one. (laughter) I mean, we’ve talked about a lot of things, but is there something that you’re comfortable sharing that you’d like people to know about you as a person, that maybe they don’t know? (laughter) Something that’s really a window into Sat Siri Sumler?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Gosh. I guess, for me, I’m a meditation practitioner. [ ] Meditation is—and really teaching meditation is my joy, and just helping [experience] transcendence. And so in massage I think people can experience transcendence. It’s kind of what I want to happen, but...

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

And what does that mean, transcendence? To you, I mean.

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I guess on the most kind of basic level is to have an experience that’s kind of beyond our kind of limited perception of our self and our reality. And so just to be able to relax and let that perception open up a little bit, see a bigger—see something more vast.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

What can that do for any person, but a person with cancer?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I think it can do so much. I mean, it just—even if we’re looking at symptoms, sometimes, for instance, if we are—like, if I have pain, then that grabs all of my attention, and so that becomes very intense. If I open up my perception, I become—sometimes, if I’m in pain, then I don’t want to be aware of anything, because you’re afraid the pain is going to become bigger, but if I become more aware of everything else that’s going on, then the pain becomes smaller. So to kind of take the pressure off, or just people to be able to—just to feel connected, I think, gives people more of an experience of just feeling more complete, and at peace.

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

What does it do for you to teach people to reach that?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

I think it’s... Kind of like another part of me to express about myself is that I’m an artist. So I was an artist before I started doing massage, and I worked professionally as an artist. I went to art school. And so really yoga and massage are like an art form for me, and teaching, also, is like an art form. And so teaching yoga and meditation, being able to try to connect and be aware of how everyone in the room, in the classroom, how—what is the effect on me? What am I feeling? And then just to allow that without any judging. For me, teaching is a contemplative experience. And I think that when we are [ ] purposefully contemplative in relationship with another, that that affects the other person, too. And so that is a healing relationship. And so that’s my bottom line, [ ] about me. (laughs)

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Just, I guess, at the end of the day I’m just really grateful for every minute that I’ve been here. I’m really grateful, and I thank you for inviting me, also, to partake in this, which I think...

Tacey A. Rosolowski, Ph.D.:

Well, it’s been a real pleasure. I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. So I just want to say thanks, and if we’re good, then I will just say for the record I’m turning off the recorder at 12:00 noon. Thank you.

Pamela Austin Sat Siri Sumler, LMT, BCTMB, CLT, E-RYT:

Thank you.

Chapter 12: Reflections on Contributions and on the Art of Massage, Meditation, and Teaching

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