Keep it simple this holiday season!

As we move into the holidays; generally a stressful time of the year. I am reminded of a documentary that I saw years ago, called Money and Life. It discusses the dangers of attaching too much of our lives and worth to a dollar figure.

Over the years, money has lost its roots… it was created as a spiritual exchange of energy between people. Today, money feels more like something that controls our lives and divides us. Money today, causes a feeling of division and lack. The holidays feed into this feeling, causing us to spend money on things we don’t need and on presents that are forgotten within a month. Many times people will go into debt to fill this expectation of spending over the holidays.

What can you do? How can you buck traditional consumer culture?
The first thing is to start from within. Start by shifting your inner paradigm around money and spending. Trade spending and consuming for more time to think and relax.

Purchase things that are built to last, so many products today, break down within 1-2 years of purchase.  This is what we call planned obsolescence, where products are literally designed to break within a certain time frame so you have to buy it new again.  I recently, flew on Southwest airlines and they had an article in their magazine about buying products only once, and buying things that are built to last.  The idea of buying something that is build to last is good for you and the planet.  There is a website, called buymeonce that recommends products and companies that build their products to last, check them out here. 

Buy experiences rather than consumer goods, for example: gift cards for dinner, a massage, tickets to the movie or theatre the options are endless. (Even better, take your friends or family out on an adventure, you get to spend time with them and remember the experience.)

Tap into your creative side and make something this year, a photo book, knit a hat or scarf, make jewelry, make a mix of your favorite music, bake cookies.
Shop at a local small business to keep the money in the local economy.

Donate to your gift recipient’s favorite not for profit.

If you have never heard of the Story of Stuff project, watch their awesome YouTube video here!  

Wishing you and your family a very peaceful and happy Holiday!

I have a confession, I am closet Cupper!

I think this seems weird to say this, but I love getting cupped. What is cupping you ask, and why do I love it so much? Cupping is a treatment that creates a partial vacuum on the skin using glass or plastic suction cups. You usually will feel a tight sensation in the area of the cup. Depending on your comfort the cups may be moved around or left in place. They may remain on your body briefly or for longer amounts of time. Each treatment is unique depending upon what is going on with you that day. The most common area that is cupped is the back, but the cups work well on other areas.

The suction that is created by the cups increases blood and energy flow to the area, and relieves tension and tightness. The increase of circulation facilitates localized healing. Cupping relieves pain by opening up the meridians, or energy channels, of the body and improving energy flow to every organ and tissue of the body.

For me personally, when life gets stressful and intense (which is often), my whole body tightens, especially my shoulders and neck. Even my head feels tight, almost like I am on the verge of getting a headache. Cupping seems to provide instant relief and similar to a therapeutic massage I feel my whole body release and the tightness melts away. I find getting cupping on a regular basis, especially if I have a lot on my plate, releases my tension and allows me to continue to keep living life at a high level.

Cupping has numerous benefits — it can help remove toxins from the body and stimulate the flow of fresh blood, lymph, and stagnant energy throughout the body. It often works wonders for patients with the flu, colds, coughs, back and muscle pain, poor circulation, anxiety, allergies, fevers, aches and myriad other pains.
I will warn you that cupping will leave bruises, but they are temporary. The bruising typically goes away within 3-5 days. In addition, the session can be relaxing, but at times the cups can feel uncomfortable as they are moved around the skin. BUT, that means the cups are doing their job, the more tense you are, the more intense the cupping can be, if you are new to cupping the therapist with typically ease you in. Some of our massage therapists can add cupping to your massage session. I personally, love seeing our Acupuncturists. They incorporate cupping, acupuncture and bodywork all in one session, but I am also a huge fan of Acupuncture, I find it to be extremely effective for me on many levels.

In addition to regular cupping, there is also fire cupping and blood cupping. I have not tried either of these, so I cannot personally speak to their benefits. If you are like me, and feel like your body gets tight during times of stress, I would high recommend you give cupping a try.

To cupping and your health,

The Art of Surrender

I was having lunch with a friend and we got on the topic of times in our lives where we have to let go and surrender to what is. Trying to control something out of our control only stresses ourselves out and doesn’t help the situation or our stress levels.

There are many times in my life that I have surrendered, now don’t get me wrong surrendering is an art form and must be used at the right time. Some people can use it as an excuse for giving up on something. I don’t want surrender to be misconstrued with giving up.

There are certain things that we can control in our lives. We can try to make good choices, with what we eat, how we treat our bodies, how we spend our free time, which people we choose to spend our time with, and lifestyle choices that support us or sabotage us in our daily lives. Life is certainly tricky and unique to each and every one of us.

There are many things in our lives that are out of our control; how we grew up, our parents and family we were born into, and hard times that we face in our lives, racism, sexism and classism. Deciding when to surrender can be a powerful tool to use in your life, to help get you through the really tough times.

I made the very difficult decision to file personal bankruptcy back in 2008, once I made the decision, I surrendered the decision to the Trustee who oversaw my case. I could have lost The Wellness Center and my home, but amazingly I walked away with both intact, and created a payment plan for my debt and paid it off within a few years.
When I served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal, after a year into my service I went into a deep depression. I was crying every day, I couldn’t get out of bed and was obsessed with food and calories. I was sent to the Capital of Nepal, Kathmandu for a psychological evaluation. After seeing a few counselors, the medical nurse, Debbie that was in charge of my case, with certainly said, “pack your bags you are going to be transferred to Washington D.C. for evaluation.” In peace corps terms I was going to be “Pysch Vaced” Yes, it is as bad as it sounds a psychiatric evacuation, for a Peace Corps volunteer it is equivalent to getting discharged from the military service. It feels like you are a failure and it is something to be ashamed about. This was another time I had to surrender. To make matters worse, my whole family was planning on visiting me in just 10 days and I would be in Washington D.C., instead of Nepal! The timing couldn’t have been worse.

I surrendered and accepted that I was going to be sent home, and most likely would never be back to Nepal. The amazing thing that happened, was the Medical Nurse’s request for a medical evaluation was denied! She said in the 10 plus years she had worked with the Peace Corps she had never been denied a medical evacuation request. It was very humbling. While I am not religious, I do believe there are angels that are above looking over me.

I suppose part of surrendering, is surrendering to things that are beyond our human control, and instead surrendering to a higher spirit or power.
All we can do is our best in our day to day lives. To show up for ourselves and for those we care about and love. We will make mistakes (lots of mistakes), take time to reflect on those mistakes and in turn make better decisions for the future. Without reflection, we continue to do the same thing over and over and expect different results. This truly is the definition of insanity.

Work hard, be thoughtful and conscious in your decisions, be disciplined (there are too many temptations in our society, learn to say no and your life will transform) and at the right times… surrender. When you make mistakes, don’t berate yourself, give yourself limitless self-love and compassion, recognize you are human and move forward.

 

Onwards and Upwards,

Last Minute Massage Text Club Update!

We wanted to let you know that effective August 15th, 2018 our regular rates for a hour massage will move from $99 to $109.

As a participant in our “Last Minute Text program”, you will still receive $30 off of our regular massage rates. Reminder that this program cannot be combined with any other discounts.

For massage members on this program, you will still get an additional $5 off member rates, which August 15th, 2018 will move from $69 to $79.

If anyone you know is interested in joining the last minute massage have them TEXT: WELL to 77948

Your cell number will not be sold or used for any marketing practices and you may cancel anytime by texting STOP to 77948.

If you would like to read more on The Wellness Center price increase please click here.

The Myth of Consumer Self-Care

Today I was in yoga class and my teacher brought up living a life without excess, without extremes. To bask and embrace the mundane, steadiness of everyday life.  As humans we sometimes feel like we have to always be moving and always striving. There is a lot to just “being” in the world, there is profound healing in being “seen” in the world by someone else.

I talk about self-care often, and recently I read this post from Brianna Wiest in Thought Catalog. Where she discusses how self-care can often be a very unbeautiful thing. That many times people mis-interperet self-care as a way to “escape” your life and indulge by spending money, buying more things and living a life of excess. Advertisers have used manipulative advertising campaigns to try to convince you that self-care is all about spending money and extreme luxury. In Wiest words, this is “consumer self-care.”

True self-care is the exact opposite. Self-care is about creating a life that nurtures and feeds your soul. To love and accept exactly who you are in the moment, and in many ways to enjoy being normal and ordinary. Self-care is not about “fixing” yourself it is about supporting your life and living with intention.
If you are up to your ears in credit card debt, getting massages, going to expensive yoga classes, and eating out might seem like the right thing to do for yourself… but if you can’t afford it, then you are actually self-sabotaging yourself.
Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive, it can be…
• picking up a good book
• taking a bath
• going out for a walk and enjoying nature
• having tea with a good friend
• turning off your electronic devices at 9pm and getting a good night sleep
• cooking healthy meals at home, packing your lunch for work
• having time in your day, what I call “time margin” to talk to your neighbors or help a friend in need, to not feel rushed

The biggest gift we can give ourselves in this fast paced world, is time!  One of the best self-care gifts you can give yourself is the gift of time.  How can you create more downtime and margin in your life?  Rather than watch TV, can you choose to go for a walk instead? Rather than be on social media, can you call a friend you haven’t spoken to in awhile?  Rather than go on a shopping spree, take a nice hot bath and read a good book.  Making wise choices is at the root of true self-care and it requires intentional effort and discipline, but the benefits are infinite.

Here’s to being “true” to your self-care journey.

In Health,

Be kind and gentle with yourself…

Owning a business is like birthing and raising a child.  It needs A LOT of energy, care and attention at the beginning years of its life.  As the years pass, it gets easier.  Businesses are all about people, especially in service businesses, the people create the “culture.”

I have owned The Wellness Center for over 17 years, I will say that the day to day running of the business is 10 times easier today than it was 10 years ago.  I work less hours, I have more confidence in my management/leadership abilities, and I have amazing team of employees and practitioners that have been with me through thick and thin.  Longevity and trust are paramount to any successful endeavor, because they contribute to the cultural fabric of the organization.

The greatest lesson I have learned over the years, is that even though the “bottom” line is important in any business, being compassionate and kind is even more important.  This can be difficult for service businesses.  When a practitioner is sick or injured, it affects the “bottom” line, but at the end of the day if you show that practitioner compassion and kindness, especially when they are at their weakest, they generally will be loyal to you over the long haul.

Putting human needs over business needs is not intuitive to American capitalism and corporate ideology, where money and materialism rule.   I have personally found that being kind and compassionate is one of the best ways to run a business and a good way to “be” in the world.  To see everyone’s humanness, helps me to have even more empathy not only in those around me, but also in myself.

What is the message here?  Be kind, gentle and loving to yourself.  We are human, and imperfect beings.    When you are kind and gentle with yourself, you have more compassion towards others and you lead in a very different way.  Don’t get me wrong every business, family and organization has to set clear, reasonable boundaries and rules, but we make exceptions to the rules when “life happens.”

Happy Summer!

 

Being at Peace with Your Choices and Your Life…

Manis/Pedis, Massages, Yoga, Gym Membership, Nice Dinners, Vacations… what do you choose?  Do you choose it all?   

When I was writing, “do you choose it all?” it brought back memories of the rah rah Tony Robbins or the Millionaire Mind motivational seminars, that I would go

to 10 plus years ago, where they teach you, “you can HAVE IT ALL!”  This thinking is very emotional and intoxicating, through experience, I know better.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think people can “have it all”, but not in the way the media portrays, where having it all means buying whatever your heart desires.   This may be attainable for Hollywood movie stars and rock stars, and hedge fund managers, but for the rest of us, our abundance is found in our choices.  When you know what your core values are, your spending habits will reflect them.  The need to “HAVE IT ALL” falls by the way side, because you make the choice to have exactly what you want. 

Life for me has been a string of choices… if I truly embodied the philosophy, “I should or deserve to have it all”… I would probably have nothing in savings and still be in debt.  Because that is truly what this type of, “you can have it all,” thinking teaches us, to continually spend on whatever we desire, because we deserve it or “have to have it.”

There are some expenses that are non-negotiable, food, health insurance, retirement and rent/mortgage, Welcome to adulthood!   I know, it can be hard to grow up!  Then there is the “extra” $ that we have a little more flexibility in how we choose to spend it, but we still have to choose, and choosing can sometimes feel like a sacrifice.   I still pout when I “choose” not to buy something, instead I opt to wait until I have the money saved.  Even though I know it is the right choice for me in the moment, the little 5 year old in me still wants it NOW.   I know what my priorities are, I generally choose to buy organic, fresh food and I have a yoga  membership, I like to travel and I get monthly massages.  BUT I have chosen not to get monthly pedicures (I do my own nails), we occasionally eat out, we never go to sporting events or concerts, when we go on vacation we rent our home out on Airbnb to offset our travel expenses, and I enjoy buying clothes and furniture second hand.

These conscious choices, have given me a “rich” life.  I still want to put a new deck in our backyard, eventually finish our basement and redo our kitchen.  I certainly understand that these things take time and money.  While my 5 year old brain wants to do all of these home improvements NOW, my adult self feels grateful to just be in a home in a neighborhood we love, the improvements can wait….  there are other things that come first. 

What choices are you making today?  Are they helping or hindering you towards living your best life?

 

Creative Valentine’s Day Gifts Denver

March 1, 2018 will mark The Wellness Center’s 17th birthday!  It is hard to believe how far alternative health and massage has come.  17 years ago, massage was relatively new and considered a luxury treatment only for the wealthy, or a massage “parlor” that um…maybe wasn’t the most professional place to get a massage.  Today, there is a massage center or spa on almost every corner, much like coffee shops. Previous to 2008, anyone could hang a shingle out and call themselves a massage therapist, now massage therapists are now required to get a license in the State of Colorado before they can practice.

The industry has come a LONG way and it much more affordable to the average American. Massage is really a perfect gift this Valentine’s Day, or any special occasion.  Here is why:

Massage relieves stress and boosts your mood: 

Massage calms the nervous system and assists the release of feel-good chemicals and hormones. A Valentine’s Day session might include energy work such as reiki or polarity therapy, which will add a level of deep relaxation to your time on the table.   Massage has been shown to aid the release of oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, which leads to feelings of social bonding. It also increases production of serotonin and dopamine.

Massage Reduces Pain and Induces Relaxation:

Massage alleviates pain. Massage makes a body feel better by increasing circulation, improving flexibility and releasing those knots and crinkles that can seem rooted in muscles. Massage has been shown to reduce low- and upper-back pain, neck pain and headache, and to be effective for chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. When combined with aromatherapy, the pain-relieving effects of massage can be even more profound and long-lasting.  Massage therapy is a gift to the emotional heart, as it has been shown to reduce anxiety and increase feelings of well-being. According to an article published by the American Psychological Association, the relaxation response is “a physical state of deep rest that changes a person’s physical and emotional responses to stress”—and massage therapy is one practice that induces this response.

Massage increases connection: 

Massage fosters self-connection. Even those that are single, should treat themselves on Valentine’s Day. Booking a massage session reinforces that you love yourself and allows you to become fully present and blissed-out while receiving care and nurturance. A massage session offers a deep respite from everyday stress, and sends the body the message, “I am taking care of you.”

This year give the gift of massage to yourself or the one you love! You are worth it.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

Living an abundant life full of “Wealth”

The other day as I was winding down for the evening, I was struck with a feeling of gratitude, a feeling that I truly live a “wealthy” and “rich” life. 

As I was reflecting on why I felt this way, I came up with the following reasons:

1) I felt great over the weekend, I had a lot of energy, which made the busy weekend flow much smoother. We take for granted how feeling good can make a huge difference on our experience and outlook on life.

2) I spent time in community with others. This past weekend was exceptionally social, as we marched on Saturday with 150,000 other people, then I hosted a surprise birthday party for my husband Ross, who turned 40! We got to hang out with wonderful friends and we took some time to Facetime with our families since they all live out of state.  My cup felt “full” of joy by the end of the weekend, amazingly I did not feel exhausted.

3) Spent time giving back to others and helping when I could. Something as simple as helping to watch my friend’s son for the weekend, or buying coffee for all the volunteers who helped out at the Women’s March.

It is interesting how money and material possessions was not on the top of my list for why I felt so “rich” by the end of the weekend. I am not naïve, I certainly understand how if you are struggling to pay your bills, that certainly affects your life in a BIG way and money is the #1 stressor for families. Often times, as Americans we live beyond our means.  We buy a house, where the mortgage was a bit of a stretch for our monthly income, we own nice cars (typically 2 or more), we go shopping for expensive clothes, furniture and the latest tech gadget.  There are an abundance of ways to spend money in our culture.  We end of racking up credit card debt.

Awhile back, I read the Millionaire Next Door, I was struck by how simply many Millionaires live, now I am not talking about actors, Hollywood stars, the Oprah’s of the world, but your everyday American working class families, that have made conscious choices in how they live and spend their money.

Here is a quick overview of the book: When Authors Tom Stanley and William Danko went to investigate on how people get wealthy, they found something odd. Many of the people who live in upscale neighborhoods and drive luxurious cars do not have extreme wealth. Many people who have great wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods, they do not drive luxury cars, typically do not buy new cars and hang onto their cars for many years.
During the author’s investigation, they discovered seven common denominators among the people who become wealthy

  1. They live well below their means
  2. They allocate their time and money efficiently, in ways conducive to building wealth.
  3. They believe that financial independence is more important than displaying high social status.
  4. Their parents did not provide economic outpatient care.
  5. Their adult children are economically self-sufficient.
  6. They are proficient in targeting market opportunities.
  7. They chose the right occupation.

I think the biggest thing on this list is living well below your means and valuing financial independence more than going out to expensive dinners, driving fancy cars, taking luxury vacations or buying designer clothes and jewelry.  These items are nice, but if it straps you financially it only creates more stress in the long run.  When you live within your means, you know what is most important to you and your spending reflects that.  Things can be taken to the opposite extreme, where a family  or person never spends any money because they are so afraid they are spending too much.  There is a happy balance between these 2 spectrums.  When I realized how peaceful I felt when I finally paid off my last credit card (after being in debt for 10 years), I knew I never wanted to go back to that life.  So when I feel like “over” spending or feel like buying something expensive that I don’t need, I remind myself the gift I am giving myself in exchange for not spending money is peace, and a “wealthy” life not based on material items but based on what I value most, time, health, freedom and community.

There is a lot of self-love that comes from making good choices for yourself.

In Health,

Accepting What IS

Recently, Kris our Director of The Wellness Center, said that she is “accepting what IS” in her life right now.  I really appreciated this sentiment.

This is a powerful mantra for life, Accepting What IS.  Sometimes in life, we may want something TODAY, but in reality the timing isn’t right, or we just can’t afford it yet.

This reminds me when I was in my 30s and was ready to settle down and get married, but for one reason or another the men I was dating just were not the right ones for me.  Finally, when I turned 36 I had to come to terms with “accepting what IS” and for me it was the possibility that I could be single well into my 40s.  I had to be OK with that.  This letting go was one of the best things for me personally.  It took the pressure off and allowed me to totally accept who I was and where I was in life.  I also embraced the mantra that I would rather be happy and single, than unhappily married to the wrong person.

Accepting What IS, this mantra has guided me in many other areas of my life.   Currently, I am being attacked by a former massage therapist.  She has falsely accused me of forging her signature and breaking the law.  Of which I have done neither.  I have put up a good fight defending my position, but there is a certain point where I have had to be ok with the final decision that a Judge will make.

This year, we wanted to make some improvements to our home, but the reality is that it may not be in the cards, since I am paying a hefty sum in legal fees and depending upon how the judge rules in the case that has been brought against The Wellness Center by this former therapist, there could be expensive changes that need to be implemented.  Accepting What IS, which being more fiscally conservative is the best thing to do.

What in your life do you need to, Accept What IS?  I know accepting reality is hard for our human brains, but it is so liberating to Accept What IS, rather than feel bad about what you don’t or can’t have.  Instead, Accept What IS and be grateful for all that you have today.  Because life is a spectrum, there is always someone with more than us, and there is always someone with less than us.  Being grateful for ALL THAT IS.

Happy New Year!

In Health,

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