We had the good fortune of sitting down with Sarai (pronounced like hurray) Goodwin this summer to talk about life, massage therapy, and existence as a single mother.
Does anyone get your name right the first time?
Sometimes! People can be uncomfortable with my name, and I totally get that. I help them out by telling them that my name rhymes with hurray, that makes it a lot easier for them. [laughs]
Actually, the funny thing is that I was born “Sarah”. It’s an Old Testament name. My parents changed it to “Sarai” when I was two, because there were so many “Sarahs”. People often want to know what my name means, and I was always told that Sarai, like Sarah, meant princess, so I’d always feel a little embarrassed telling people that because I wouldn’t describe myself as a princess. I found out a few years ago that the root of “Sarai” has a much cooler meaning, along the lines of captain and chief, which I can identify with more!
Are you Jewish? Is that fun to talk about?
Yeah, my mum’s grandmother was Jewish. And it’s matrilineal so my mum and I are also both Jewish. But I don’t follow the Jewish faith, although I love it and am proud of my jewish roots. My dad is a pastor here in Victoria, so I was raised Christian, but it’s great to have a two beautiful faiths to draw from.
Are you from Vancouver Island?
No, I actually moved here from Halifax in 2000. Have you been? It’s beautiful! I try to get back there every year to visit family. I have five brothers and sisters, and we are spread out all over the world! Luckily I have family here in Victoria. I went to high school in Calgary and have lived in Woodstock Ontario and Miami Beach Florida as well.
Do you have other family here?
Yeah, I have a thirteen year old daughter. Her name is Alorah. [laughs] I got that name from an old movie I love.
That is awesome! What movie?
It’s called “Willow”, have you seen it? It’s a classic!
How long have you been doing massage therapy for?
I’ve been doing massage for going on 8 years. I graduated from the West Coast College of Massage Therapy, here in Victoria.
Have you been doing any fun summer sports lately?
We went boogey boarding when we were in Santa Monica the other day! That’s how I got these bruises [points to forearms]. I love to swim, so beaches are a common destination during the summer.
Do you get in the ocean often?
I’m in love with the ocean! We went to Kona the end of last year. We got to snorkel with all sorts of amazing sea creatures. Mantarays, dolphins, sharks, turtles…all out in the wild. It was incredible!
You sound like a sports person, yes?
Not so much. I like to be active, but I don’t consider myself athletic. I kayak, and canoe, and hike and camp, fish. I love to be outdoors.
When I was young I was more into full contact sports. But now as a mom and an RMT I’m not into risking injury [laughs].
Do you treat a lot of people with injuries?
Yes, for sure. I love helping people who are recovering from injury or who are experiencing pain.
I have chronic hip pain, and I think it helps me be a better massage therapist. The thing about pain is it’s invisible so people don’t always see what a person experiencing pain or living with chronic pain is going through. So in a way, having chronic pain has helped me relate to the client better.
Do you have a favourite kind of client?
No, not really. But I do appreciate when clients are committed to their healing process.
What is your most challenging client?
My most challenging client… well, I don’t mind challenging, really. I like when someone presents with something I’ve not seen before and we have to work together to find the source. There’s also the challenge of working with a client who doesn’t yet trust me. For some people, trusting a health practitioner is not a stretch for them, and for others, it is. Maybe they’ve had bad experiences. Maybe they’ve spent a lot of time and money with a health care professional and they felt they never made the progress they had hoped for. I don’t know. I actually really enjoy the “challenge” of earning someone’s trust. And when I do earn it, which usually doesn’t take long because it’s common to see results right away, I don’t take it for granted. I’ve had bad experiences with health professionals, and it means a lot to me when I can earn someone’s trust. It’s a great feeling.
And when people tell me their pain was like, an eight out of ten and now it’s only two out of ten… that’s really the best! I find great satisfaction in that. I love my job! I love it! And not everybody can say that about what they do. I don’t take that for granted either.
Besides work what’s keeping you busy right now?
Hah, life is full! Parenting and work keep me pretty busy. I’ve got lots of family in town so we are always trying to get together. And I’ve got amazing friends. They keep me pretty busy too.