Massage Schools - Florida - “On Bodywork & Awareness”, Paul Davenport, and Navigating Personal Unfolding - Florida School of Massage

“On Bodywork & Awareness”, Paul Davenport, and Navigating Personal Unfolding

Mary with Frontal & Ethmoid Less Closeup

By Mary Reis LMT

FSM Instructor

I graduated from FSM in 1993 at the age of 24, inspired by school and excited to begin my Massage Therapy career. Now at 48 years old, I have been practicing Massage for half of my life and the profession continues to be immensely satisfying and intriguing. Recently I stumbled upon some of Paul Davenport’s* old writings and I have been reflecting on the power of awareness and how it has enriched my life and continues to inspire my career.

Currently, I am working on becoming an Approved Provider with the NCBTMB and have to update my resume. While combing through my old paper massage files, searching for dates and evidence of my education and various roles, I stumbled upon an unnamed file and discovered that it was filled with a piece of FSM history — it was my cherished stash of the old paper version of this electronic newsletter, the “Connective Issue”.

Rereading the first issue, produced in the summer of 1992, I re-discovered Paul’s regular column — “On Bodywork & Awareness”. It was one of his platforms for sharing his philosophy and beliefs. This quote from his introduction of the column speaks volumes on his orientation to life and teaching:

“… This column should not only be a measure of academic or intellectual understanding, but should also be a tool for personal unfolding. I am inclined to take it that the latter is the only purpose to which I need to attend…”

He valued our personal unfoldment, how we did what we did, and the deepening of our personal awareness almost as much, or maybe even more than, the A&P material. FSM’s mission statement reflected this inclination: “To improve the quality of life through the vehicles of touch and awareness”. He’s been gone now for over a year and rereading his words brought back my deep sense of appreciation for him. I am forever grateful to Paul for his “take” on life, his skill in articulating it, and his fearlessness in sharing it with us all. The internal “navigations” he took us on as FSM students opened a new world — they deepened my sense of self, enriched my education, and opened a part of me that had long been closed.

Looking at my updated resume now, seeing the long list of CE courses I’ve taken over the years, I realize that the courses which had the deepest and most lasting impact were the ones which opened up my senses by encouraging an inward orientation and personal unfolding. Most recently, Giorgia Milne’s courses on Biodynamic Cranial Touch and Embryology have enriched my skills, but also my appreciation for life itself.

If you too appreciate courses that provide an opportunity to explore inward, then you may be interested in Giorgia Milne’s new course happening in November. Entitled, “Navigation Skills: Presence and Tonality of Verbal Touch”, it provides a unique opportunity to dive inward, exploring how we navigate our internal processes and making them more conscious and accessible. Much of the course is experiential in nature and will provide a welcomed down-shift from everyday life. The grounds at Casa Micanopy further support the slowing down and turning inward, and lend to a more retreat-like atmosphere. The lessons you learn will enrich your bodywork and perhaps map a new course in how you relate with the world.

Here’s a link to the flyer and the workshop page. If you want more information or wish to register, contact me by email at, or by phone at 352-246-6280.

I hope you find enrichment within,

Mary Reis

*Paul Davenport and his wife Josie have been the owners of FSM since the 1980’s. Paul was the charismatic “leader” and philosophical inspiration for thousands of students and many generations of staff until his death in 2016. His presence is sorely missed and Josie continues to carry forth their shared mission.

Our next massage program at FSM begins in January click here to learn more.