This year has been a challenge! Unique in that is was a challenge for pretty much every human on earth and yet felt so personal...at least in my own experience.
I could rail against all the injustice. All the wrong and terrible things that happened to me personally, our country and in the world but would any good come from that?
For me, this year forced me to take a hard look at where I was in my life and where I was headed and what I really wanted. Looking back; I had a successful business, happy clients, great therapists I got to work with, a wonderful community and amazing and caring friends I had the pleasure of spending time with...then COVID!
It is amazing how much has to happen to make changes. It took this kind of pandemic to cause me to re-evaluate what was important. I've always said how much I love my son and how much I miss him and his family, but I really loved my comfortable little life without any big adjustments or having to move out of my comfort zones. Oh sure, I had things I wanted to accomplish but realistically, how much effort was I putting in to actually doing the hard work?
By September so many things had piled up that I couldn't ignore that I needed to make a decision about where my life was going and what was REALLY important to me. ACTION NOT WORDS!
Nothing was working to keep things going. Too many problems kept cropping up and the rug pulled out from under me...I was forced to make drastic choices...
In spite of all of what 2020 threw at me, I can say it was a good thing.
I have relocated to a tiny town of 5300 people in upper Missouri and am 10 minutes from my son and grand daughters. I work at a small and locally owned hardware store and I'm exploring the possibilities in a completely new culture and lifestyle.
I have no idea where this is headed, but am trusting that I will end up in a better and happier place...so far, so good.
A while ago, several family members were sitting around and complaining about all they had endured so far. My daughter-in-law said, "Not for me. 2020 has been a great year. My husband is home more, I started a job I like and my family is closer." She made a good point. It has been a year of challenge but maybe there was a lot of good that was the result?
My hope is that you also have blessings as a result of the difficulties of this year and can reflect in gratitude. Happy 2021 to all of you and a big virtual hug!!!
P.S. Yes, I took a break. Several people contacted me asking that I continue writing...how humbling. I am so grateful for those that actually read this.
Things that have popped into my head during quarantine:
- walking on the beach, woman in front about 20 feet away, wind blowing toward me..."will I get sick if she exhales and I walk into her air?"
- Is it against etiquette to pet someone's dog? Will one of us get sick?
- I've noticed at the store I swerve, turn my head away from the person and don't breath.
- How clean is too clean?
- Looking for temporary work could be life-threatening.
- Just laying awake in bed, do I get some kind of sleep points for that? Apparently my Fit Bit thinks I had a better night than what I thought.
- Are cars practicing social distancing too or it just my imagination? I've had not tailgaters since the quarantine.
- Is Corona Crazy gonna be a new mental health label?
- Is Corona, the beer, gonna have a PR nightmare when this is over?
Etc, etc., etc...
Yep, I am getting in touch with that crazy side and figured others were too and wanted to help.
There is a page on our website of information about what the Morro Bay Chamber is doing and lists of how businesses and services in our town are trying to meet the needs while their doors are closed. Mental health, fitness, leisure activities, etc. are on there and I'll be updating it as I get more. Click on the link below:
I'm still working on how to do massage while practicing social distancing but haven't figure that out yet...stay tuned.
There is a theory that the American Indians couldn't see the ships of Columbus because they had no previous experience of that kind of structure and only saw them as they got close to the beach in the smaller boats. Without something familiar and similar there was no way to make a connection to something so foreign and the brain couldn't register the large ships.
My own personal experience of this pandemic has been similar. Back when I first heard there was a flu going around China, I just thought it was another SARS and didn't really pay much attention. My sister and her husband were finishing up a sail around the world and having their boat shipped from Singapore. They were having some difficulty with that, so this "flu" began to become more of something to pay attention too, but still not here and not a big deal.
Even when it showed up in this country, I just thought it was another form of the flu we get each year and so I'd just make sure to stay healthy, still not registering how big this thing was. Even when the shelter in place came about, I figured that being a licensed health care provider, I'd just work on limited clients because several were concerned that we wouldn't be open and massage was their only relief. The numbers of infected kept growing and concern was becoming hysteria. Businesses were closing and I realized that in order to keep clients safe and not contribute to the problem, it was time to close.
That was when the panic hit...
In 2008 I had to close a mortgage business I'd loved and had for 10 years. I hit a perfect storm combining financial loss from a divorce, being new to this area and having the economy take a nose dive. I lost everything and was mostly unemployed for 3 years while the economy was recovering. It took a toll on my health and state of mind. In 2009 I realized I needed a new career and went to massage school. It has taken me 10 years to build a practice and business I love. COVID-19 has triggered old trauma, but given me a chance to practice new skills.
The panic, fear, anxiety, grief and anger have been real and red hot. The emotional roller coaster was a wild ride for about the first week and now has subsided into a pretty steady pace of calm. I realized I needed to accept the situation and become OK with the reality of losing everything and having to start over, again. I took control by calling all my creditors, landlords and vendors and talking about the possibilities so I would know what to prioritize financially. I make sure I stay on a schedule and take care of myself, my critters and my environment. Each day I have one or two things to do so I feel productive and I make sure to keep a regular sleep and wake cycle.
My breath and meditation practice has been a big part of staying balanced. Staying in contact with family and friends by phone or email has helped me feel less alone. Helping others and volunteering gives me purpose and something positive I am contributing.
I know I will be OK and get through this. This time is a gift to really examine what is important and to practice my skills while in real crisis. I am curious to see where I am on the other side of this and am enjoying learning new skills and taking up new hobbies.
Our shop is temporarily closed but that doesn't mean we aren't here. Feel free to reach out by email or phone and touch base. I hope you are well and staying healthy. I truly appreciate those of you that have shown your support by purchasing gift certificates.
WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS!!!
I'm not talking about health coverage or insurance policies. I'm talking about how YOU take care, or don't take care, of YOU.
Is your health important to you or do other people, events or "things" take first place and you fit YOU in where you can? Do you have an old injury that keeps talking and you know what needs to be done, but just can't find the time?
The other day I was wandering down the alleys of my mind and considering all the ways we see people when they come in the door...
For a good portion of clients, we perform emergency services - they come in when they are hurting and in pain and looking for immediate relief. Stress might have taken over and their body can't function under the load. The pain killers aren't working and it just won't "go away". I think James Cameron was the one that said, "Hope is not a strategy". It also doesn't work too well on muscle spasms or nerve pain either.
If we aren't performing emergency services, many times we are assisting with crisis management. Someone has a pain or injury and maybe is even seeing a physical therapist until the pain or problem is gone. Then they stop the exercises and we don't see them until the next crisis.
We have a good portion of clients that have felt how much the massage helped and are learning about taking consistent care of their body. These are usually clients with a chronic issues, trying to keep them at bay and avoid having a crisis.
We have a growing population of clients that come in for preventative bodywork. These folks see their health and wellness as the foundation of their life and know they can't do their best or be their best if they are in pain. They usually are the ones smiling when they walk in and floating out the door after their session.
Maintenance and Prevention can sometimes be the same thing. Many older clients come in, having learned how helpful massage can be in functioning physically and many younger clients are coming in because they feel how much massage helps them manage their active and/or stressful lives.
During this time of year, many of us are considering our health. How we approach it can be key to our happiness and wellness down the road. It is my own belief that the better we take care of ourselves, the better we can care for others and be in the world.
As an admirer of Martin Luther King, I believe he would agree that to be a good peace keeper and caring for our corner of the world, includes ourselves. Be kind to YOU, take care of YOU, love YOU and you will have more to give. Anger and violence will be less a part of your life if you fill it with compassion, peace and love for yourself first and it will flow more easily to others.
You didn't sleep well. You feel achy, out of sorts, snifflely with a scratchy and sore throat, maybe you have a headache and your chest feels tight. Sounds like a massage should be the perfect solution, right?
Your immune system is already working overtime to fight off what ever bug got you. Massage can be beneficial in stimulating an increase in immune response but if you are already sick, it will be like pouring gas on a fire and can actually make your system overload, thus you will feel worse. If you are having any sinus issues, laying face down for any length of time will only cause sinuses to be congested and increase nasal drip and coughing.
Massage is best when you are no longer contagious and symptomatic. Maybe you have a lingering cough, but it has been at least 10 days since you felt sick. This is when massage can help loosen up tight areas that had all those aches and pains and when you will feel better. That is when massage can give your system a boost in getting rid of any lingering aches and pains.
Not sure if you should schedule or cancel your appointment? If you are too sick to work, you should NOT get a massage.
Our culture seems to think that "powering" through pain and illness is some kind of greatness. No. It is bad for you and inconsiderate of those around you. Are you really asking a massage therapist to lock themselves in a small, warm room that is the perfect environment for bacteria and virus to grow and expose themselves to whatever you have? When you go to work, school, shop or out and about when you are sick, you are sending out the message that you don't care about anyone but yourself.
I know you don't mean to, but please don't expose me to your cold. I am a self-employed person that can't afford to lose days of work. Your cold might cost me hundreds of dollars, not to mention the discomfort.
Things to Do When You are Sick:
Take a lot of vitamin C
Echinacea is great to take at the first sign of a cold. It stops the virus or bacteria from growing.
Wheat Grass tablets have natural antibiotic qualities
Garlic - any form and lots of it
Astragalus - great for the immune system
Reishi - another immune booster
Zinc - assists immune system
(Sunshine Market has all these and more that can help you fight a cold. I would suggest you talk to Tim, in the supplement department.)
Laugh - it stimulates immune system. Norman Cousins cured himself with it
Look for Youtube videos on self-massage (there are tons of them)
Read that book you've been trying to get to
Have someone buy you tea: we have several that will help...Sniffle Tea, Feel Better, Throat Therapy and more.
Oh yeah, you know me, especially if you are pretty active. Runners and cyclists usually know me, but most the time we’re not very good friends.
I am tough and well connected. I like to keep things under control and monitor all the action, so treat me nice. If you just rub the outside of your thigh you’ll find me. If that is uncomfortable, then you haven’t been taking care of me.
Let me tell you a little about myself…
I am not muscle, but a tough fibrous fascia. I am that thicker part of the thin tissue that encircles all the muscles of the thigh. A good friend of mine, the Tensor Fascia Latae is a small muscle that is attached on top of me and to the hip crest. We are very close. From there, I am on my own, down the outside of the thigh and connect to just under your knee cap on the outside of the calf. You know it by the tenderness you usually find when you rub right there.
I like running, walks on the beach, cycling, hiking and just about anything that is active. I’m not a big fan of just sitting around and if any of my surrounding neighborhood pals get out of balance, I can be a real pain. I told you about my friend, Tensor Fascia Latae, but there is also Gluteaus Maximus, who can be an ass sometimes, but we all love him. I am neighbors with Vastus Lateralis and we work together too.
I’m the one that gets everybody working together. I help these guys with lifting your leg away from the body (abduction), rotating your leg, flex your thighs and stabilize your knees. In other words, if I’m not happy, you’re not happy and I can make your life miserable.
I’m usually easy going, but you’ll know I’m unhappy if you feel pain on the inside of you knee, tightness on the outside of your leg or discomfort with extending your leg forward or sideways.
A good way to keep me happy is to stretch using the long muscles of the body and yoga. Using a foam roller only smashes me into my buddy, Vastus Lateralis and doesn’t really do much good, so don’t use a foam roller on me. A good massage using fascia release will work too.
So the next time you go for a walk, run, bike ride or any activity where you use your legs, do some stretching AFTER and you’ll keep the whole body, not to mention the muscles in the leg neighborhood, much happier!
No doubt about it we are living in interesting times. The length of time you’ve been on this earth probably reflects your level of disappointment in the direction humanity seems to be heading. Being middle-aged, I am not only concerned for my future but my son and granddaughter’s too.
Reading social media posts and talking to people, I get a sense of apathy, frustration, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness that there is any hope of making a difference. It is easy to believe that we have no power for change, so why bother. It seems only big changes will help and being just one person…well, how can that do anything?
Actually you do have power, lots of it. You can make a difference in your life, every day and in the lives of those around you. Morro Bay is a small town, if a few people take this attitude, it can have a benefit to our community. Even in big cities, this can be powerful.
For example, last night I was in the checkout line at the grocery store and the guy in front of me was ready to pay and grabbed a lighter off the “impulse buy” shelf and put it on the conveyor belt. The clerk rang him up and it turns out he was a dollar short to pay for everything. I offered to pay the dollar and the guy was more than grateful. Now was the lighter for cigarettes and I could have lengthened his life by not buying the lighter? I don’t know. He was scruffily dressed and could have been without shelter or limited shelter and that lighter might have helped keep him warm. It was not my place to judge, but to do something nice. A dollar isn’t much, but who knows how much it was worth to that guy. I ended up feeling pretty good about that gesture and even though it was so little, it might have been huge for him.
You never know how a smile, a kind word, an unexpected gift of food or service might make a difference to someone. At the Morro Bay Community dinner last month it was amazing to hear how grateful people were for the food and sharing with others. I was just the “mashed potatoe” girl and Kim was the “veggie” girl, but we sure saw a lot of smiling and happy faces. Many of them were people that are homeless or shut-ins that don’t go out much. It was so wonderful to see the room full of anyone and everyone sharing a meal regardless of circumstances.
With current circumstances in the world, we need more kindness and where better to make a difference than in your own community and with those you share it with. Look for the stranger; the young over-whelmed mother, the senior that needs their trash put out, the person walking in the cold, the down and out person that could use a dollar to eat.
1 – Expose yourself to something inspirational; walk, music, books
2 – Sit in a quiet place
3 – Breath
Notice I used the word, “improve”. These are some simple things to improve what might be a terrible day or just make a good one better.
1 – It has been proved that connecting to nature in the form of a walk, working in the garden or just sitting and admiring the view can help calm anxiety, lower stress and release the feel good hormone, serotonin.
Music is another source of raising your vibration. In fact, it is reported that listening to classical music will increase your IQ by 15%. Is it true? I don’t know, but when I was a teacher, I used music to quiet down my students in the class after lunch and saw a huge difference in behavior and temperaments.
Reading something inspirational is somthing I do almost every day. Some of my favorites are “Peace Is Every Step” by Tich Nhat Hanh, “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by Florence Scovel Shinn, “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Some people find reading the bible or other spiritual writings to be soothing. Find something that raises your spirit and just read a chapter or so in the beginning of your day or when things spiral out of control and you will find it helps reset your attitude.
2 – Removing yourself from chaos or negative spaces and/or people has an immediate effect on how you feel. Finding a quiet place can really help remove distractions that knock us off balance. Go to a place that you find attractive; a well decorated room, art gallery or a place outside. Sit or walk and admire the surrounding beauty. By letting your mind focus on something beautiful instead of where you were, you will find the effect calming and balancing.
3 – Breath can be the simplest and most effective calming tool. No matter where you are or what is going on, you can simply change your focus to the sensation of the air flowing in and out of your nostrils and lungs. Feel the chest expanding and contracting with each breath. Really concentrate on the feel and movement of the body as it breaths. Breath is the basis of most meditation exercises and yoga. It is a very powerful way to transform your energy and mind.
Don't use the excuse you don't have time because everyone has 1-3 minutes in their day to take time out and your breath anyway so what if you put a little calm intention behind it?
Did you see the movie, "Cake"?This movie stars Jennifer Aniston as a woman suffering from chronic pain due to a horrific accident. It is not an easy movie to watch due to the amount of pain she is in emotionally and physically and how she punishes the world around her as a way to cope.
As a massage therapist and someone that has "been there, done that", I thought this movie was right on in depicting the mind/body connection. In the end she is able to accept her life and how to work with the pain. If you get a chance, see it. It didn't get the best reviews because this was such a different role for Aniston, but I think she nailed the role and the script was good too.
Why am I telling you about this movie? Her thoughts are full of anger, rage, grief and frustration. Yes, she was severely injured, but the pain her body is in goes deeper than just the physical. There is emotion buried in there too. Shame, guilt, fear and internal conflict are emotions that can be conscious or unconscious feelings no one wants to acknowledge. As a result, our unconscious mind creates distraction in the form of pain to avoid the discomfort of these kinds of feelings. The body then has a physiological response; lack of blood flow to an area, accumulation of waste product which creates pain and trigger points.
So now let's talk about those thoughts in your head. Thoughts are energy, positive or negative, they create an outcome in the body. Whether you create the thoughts yourself or someone directs negative words at you, you will feel a drop in energy and might even feel a twinge of discomfort in some area of your body.
As a child I witnessed this in an older couple. The husband was upset with his wife and let her know it in front of several people and he had no problem continuing to embarrass her. Not long after his tongue lashing, she started to experience chest pain and needed to take some medication and go home to rest.
At some time maybe you have experienced a negative situation and felt your body respond. Or maybe you experienced something positive when you felt low and it made a change for the better. Either way, this is reinforcement that thoughts are energy and have an effect.
So many times when someone comes in for bodywork because of discomfort and pain it has an emotional component. I am not talking about injury. I am talking about pain that comes and goes or is always there, sometimes worse, sometimes less.
Dr. John Sarno wrote a great book, "The Mindbody Prescription" that talks about unconscious emotions and the effects on the body and how to make changes. Meditation and mindfulness have made big differences for me and are part of many chronic pain programs. Not any one thing will solve everyone's issues, so it takes some exploring to find what works for you, but I encourage you to make the effort.
Are you missing out?
Almost every day I go for a walk on the beach with my four dogs and we explore, run around and contemplate the adventure called "life". This week I had a great reminder about paying attention to what is around me instead of being locked in my own little life and dramas.
In the middle of the week, I saw a pod of dolphin off shore about 150 yards, just beyond the breaking waves. There was a good size group of them splashing, frolicking and jumping out of the water. It was really quite the show. I looked around to see if anyone else was enjoying this and saw a family of mom, dad and two kids, all with cellphones in hand and the daughter had an iPad. Not one of them was looking around. They were all too focused on their electronic devices. It was sad to see.
Today when I was enjoying our walk, the dolphins were putting on a show again, only this time I wasn't the only spectator. Several people had stopped to watch and were taking photos or video. A couple of bike riders on the highway were stopped and watching too. The experience seemed richer just by the fact that so many had taken the time to enjoy the fun and beauty of these creatures.
Are dolphins important? Maybe not, but I think that family missed out on something special.
Life moves fast and if you aren't plugged into technology in some form or another, you can feel left behind. I am not gonna lie, I am VERY plugged into my computer and phone. They are necessary for my business and a source of education and entertainment. I really work to stay balanced in my use of them and not let them take control of my attention and life.
Some things can not be replaced by the fast pace put on us by technology and the computer culture we all live in. Having a face to face conversation instead of "facetime" on the screen, a hand written note of thanks instead of a text or email. Spending time and our attention on those we care about feeds something deeper within us. We all need connection and to be seen and heard by others. I don't think that need will ever be replaced and I am determined to stay connected in real ways.
Being a bodyworker, it is important for me to pay attention and listen to what is "ujnder my hands". So much of what a person experiences is held in the body. Interesting too, that I could tell two different clients were pregnant before they knew or told me...I am always amazed by the messages of bodies!
So take a moment to really see what is around you. Look for ways to connect on a real human level. You might experience things in ways you never thought possible!
Book your massage by clicking here.