...and Now, the Good News! (Part 1)

Around the time that the "bad news" began (mid-February), I had a simultaneous occurrence of good news.

I have always dreamed of opening my own healing center. At the beginning of this year, I decided to make the slow movement towards making this all possible, in time. I recognized that the first step would be to make some additional income through renting out my current treatment room. I decided that I was ready to find someone in preparation for creating the healing center of my dreams.

But the thing was, I didn't really want to put an add on craigslist and solicit to strangers. Ideally, I wanted to find someone that I possibly already know and could trust. Someone that had good energy and intentions and who's goals matched mine so we could work on building something together. I didn't really have anyone in mind, but I did desire for this person to appear sooner rather than later.

So I was driving to work one day in early February, thinking about these things, and I said to the universe, "Universe, I really want to make this happen but don't want to put an add on craigslist, and I would like it to happen soon. I'll give you a month. If no one appears within 30 days, then I will put out an add. But I will give you the chance to send someone first."

No kidding, two weeks later I received an email in my inbox with the subject "New LMT." The email was from Deran, the brother of a friend of mine who was recently licensed in massage and was asking if I was interested in taking a new therapist under my wing. Well, hot damn, I thought, my request totally worked! Deran and I had actually had a phone conversation about 6 months before when he was interviewing me for a project while he was still in massage school. I didn't know that I did already know this new therapist, but then I asked and there he was. Magic.

So as of a few months ago, Deran officially joined the Upward Spiral team. We are spiraling upward and onward and it turns out that this is just the beginning of a whole new project for Upward Spiral. More soon!

Days 88-95: Time that Flies By and a Whole Lot of Gratitude

I can't believe it is already Monday and that by the time I get to actually posting this Monday will be practically over. It might already be Tuesday, who knows [and as it turns out, this didn't get posted until Wednesday]. All I know is that it seems overnight, all of my time has gotten accounted for.

My last post was Wednesday and everyday since then has been filled with productivity and a whole lot to be grateful for.


: This was my doggy's dental appointment which turned out to cost me much less than I thought it was going to. In addition to this great financial outcome, I saw one of my regular client's this day who bought herself a new package and included in her check a VERY large tip. Having seen me for over 100 sessions, she has given me a gift like this once before and both times my jaw dropped. In the note on the check she wrote, "Happy Thanksgiving!" Happy Thanksgiving indeed. Let's just say that it would pay for several doggie dental bills, but it will probably just pay off my credit card debt, which is such a blessing. My day ended with an amazing open mic night at Cafe Hey where I felt honored, cherished, and loved. I left early because I was exhausted and had several long days ahead of me.

I was thankful

to have someone else who can run the show and give me time to go home and relax, since that time has been few and far between lately.


: I started my day at Gaither High School, my second school this year in the Arts Council's Poetry Jam program that I get to do every year. I am one of the Arts Council's poets that visits schools around the county and share a love of writing and the power of poetry and the spoken word. AND I GET PAID FOR THIS.

I am eternally grateful


Gianna Russo

, my poetry teacher, who suggested my name to the Arts Council when they were looking for poets.  These often involve me being at high schools before 8am, but I don't care. This is one of the best jobs I could ask for; the only part I would change is to be able to do this all year long. I was at Gaither until 2pm, then had a little time off before an evening client. It gave me time to go to the bank, stop by Kaleisia for some tea and a snack and take a little time to review the final proof of my chapbook that will be debuted this week. What an amazing Friday...

Saturday and Sunday

: I spent all weekend in the first workshop in the CranioSomatics training program. Back in 2006 I started studying Structural Energetic Therapy, developed by my teacher Don McCann, who combines cranial releases with deep tissue bodywork.  Don learned the cranial work from Dallas Hancock, the creator of CranioSomatic therapy. Now I am learning the cranial work for my teacher's teacher, and it is blowing my mind! I am only at the beginning of the training but will say that touching the cranium will never be the same again. I spent two days filling my head with all this new awareness of the cranium, and it is a good thing we did some releases on each other because frankly, I need a little more room in there to fit all this information! It was great to reconnect with some of my previous class mates and fellow therapists and I am SO excited to integrate this work into my practice. Six months ago I decided that this would be the next step for my practice.

I am thankful

that it is finally coming to fruition (and I should also mention, that my mom helped me pay for the class!).


: Here we are at Monday. I am writing this is the morning but know that the day will bring me more to be grateful for. I know this because I welcome it. If there is anything I've learned from this continuous gratitude practice is that when you are open to the world, it opens for you. I have had so many opportunities emerge in the past few months that I can't do anything but be thankful. Something that takes almost no time at all, makes the biggest difference. So

I am thankful

for today and the time I had to write this post.


Now it is Wednesday and I haven't even posted all this yet! Let's recap and get back on track.


(revisited): Monday turned into a great day! I saw three clients and got to try out some of my new techniques, with great success.  My day ended with seeing a bunch of my family at Skipper's for a big fundraiser concert. Though I am sure the musicians that night were super talented and deserved respect, I was really only there to hang with my family.  And I was glad they were there because I made a bad choice for my parking spot and got my car stuck in a bunch of sand. My male cousins knew exactly what to do and got me out of the hole, which involved rolling back up over a steep step, scraping the bottom of my car and popping off the corner of the front bumper. But here is where gratitude comes in:

I was super thankful

that it wasn't any worse (like leak-inducing or something) and that I already had plans to take my car in the shop the next day for routine maintenance. All in all, it turned out okay.


: I woke up not feeling too well and wondering if I needed to cancel my work. I went to work anyways and was relieved to find out my first client wasn't feeling well either. I moved my second client (who was coming in for a double session) to another day and had the whole afternoon to catch up with things. It was just what I needed. Though

I am grateful

to be so busy with work I am also grateful for understanding clients. I felt good by the afternoon and stayed to see my last client for the day. It was the second time I had seen her and the session was incredibly powerful.

I am thankful

to be increasingly working with clients on all levels, mind, body, and spirit.  This is truly what I am here to do.


: Now, here we are. Today I am thankful for some time to just be. My days have gotten really full, as the rest of this post explains, but I am learning more and more the lesson of finding that quiet time within. I was able to take some time this afternoon to just enjoy and breathe, which was a great way to get ready for another Tea + Meditation at Kaleisia this evening.


Yay! I am glad to be back on the wagon. Only a few more days to go before the end of this project. I suspect, though, gratitude will continue to be a driving force of positivity in my life. After these past few months, it seems like I can only see it as essential.

Days 76 & 77: Good Times and Good Friends

I took my

friend's biking accident

as a sign that I needed to go visit him.  It turns out I haven't been to Gainesville in over six years. A crime when I consider that two of my best friends live there.

So this past weekend I drove up to this town, with my two dogs and massage table.  I had wanted to work on my friends because it is the best I can do in a time of stress. We talked, made great food, and had some healing sessions. Healing for me too.

I've known these friends since elementary and middle school. There is something so comforting about knowing someone so long. I think to myself, "Well, they must like me or else we wouldn't have been friends this long..." and they do. They do.

Day 60: My TBI Clients

Years ago, I was hired by the VA hospital to come in twice a month to offer chair massage for family members in the poly-trauma unit. This meant mostly moms and wives of traumatic brain injury victims, who had left their lives from often across the country to be the main care-takers of their loved ones.  Talk about people that really need massage. There were  few who started to see me privately; several of them then asked if I could work on their son. This was how I began my experience with working with people suffering from a TBI.

It has now become one of my specialties. I have three clients I see regularly and cherish my time with them. These sessions have made me think outside the box of typical massage and learn how much communication can take place without words.  Though I can not "cure" them of their condition, or even guarantee that I can make them improve, it is obvious that they enjoy our sessions immensely. The mom of the client I saw today said once, "I think this is the only therapy that he really wants to come to."

These clients may not know it, but they teach me so much. Learning to connect with someone that can not talk, has severely limited mobility, and only sometimes is able to answer a yes or no question with gestures or facial expressions is possibly the most valuable lesson in human connection that I will ever get.

When I see them I have two main goals beyond relaxing them. The first is helping them to feel seen. Not just looking at the traumatized body in front of me, but the person within that. Though I am working with their body I left them know through words but mostly eye contact that I am acknowledging them as a person.  And it goes both ways, I know they see me too.

The second goal is to make them laugh. I'm no longer surprised by their ability to pick up subtle humor or remember a story I told them months ago. I know when they laugh I've connected with their spirit, and its in that moment they may forget their limitations or condition. Its in that moment that I do and all I see is a dear friend expressing joy.  

They've shown me that the way to deeply connect with another isn't through words or touch or anything that complicated. Looks and laughs, that's it.

Day 32: My Job

I don't think I posted this gratitude exactly yet, but it was coming. I've said it before and I will say it again:


This is what I did at work today:

First I saw a client who is recovering from a concussion.  He has been seeing me every week for therapeutic bodywork, which has been fun because I have been experimenting with various techniques and approaches. Today I incorporated vibrational healing from a Tibetan Bowl and a chime, both with sounds that evoke the sacred space within. After the session he said that it was the best session he's had so far. Yeah!

Then I saw my weekly Traumatic Brain Injury client. I've wrote about him before on the Upward Spiral blog.  Though his movement and communication is limited, we've worked together so much that I feel a fond friendship with him. Today when he came in he said hi to me for the first time. It may not have sounded like that to someone else, but I heard him. For an hour I got to help him feel relaxed in his body that he may often otherwise feel trapped in.  I even got some good laughs from him in sharing some funny stories.  He may not say much but he sure loves to laugh.

Last I saw a client that came to me originally for physical pain and in that we've found other emotional traumas that were tied up with it. We had a long discussion about where she's at and where she'd like to be. She left saying that it was like counseling and massage all-in-one place, and that she feels like she can get through the rough road she's been traveling. We brought in some light where there was darkness. To top it all off, we helped make significant difference in her chronic pain.

And I get paid for all of this!  That's just the icing on the cake of transformation. More please!

Day 5: Therapy for Me

I've learn how important it is to make sure that I am receiving regular massage sessions. Even still, there is a part of me that resists it sometimes.  Just like with yoga, the rational part of me thinks that "I could get so much done with that time." Somehow that part forgets that taking the time out for self-care IS getting a lot done.

This afternoon I had a session scheduled and leading up to the appointment I was resisting getting on the table. For those that don't know, SET sessions are not always the most enjoyable massages but are also the ones that make the most change. Sure enough we found some pretty uncomfortable spots that had me breathing heavy and even shed a few tears. And you know what? I feel better and have been more productive in the time since the session than I feel like I would have been if I worked the whole time.