Category Archives: Stress Reduction

Essential Oils – September Product Feature 2012

This month’s Product Features are OSEA and Tu’el essential oils. As anyone who has had a service at Star Brows knows, we use essential oils in every single service we do! They are truly essential to the spa experience, and I believe irreplaceable in a personal-care routine.

An essential oil is a concentrated hydrophobic liquid containing volatile aromatic compounds from plants. My favorite application is for the facial skin, and there is one for every skin type and condition.

The oils have many benefits, and each oil has different attributes. Our collection is targeted to skin types, but they are also relaxing, detoxifying, sleep-inducing, and generally tonic for the entire body. Once applied to the facial skin, they actually enter the bloodstream and go to work throughout the body.

The Tu’el lineup of essential oil synergy blends for each skin type are explained in detail here. New to our family of essential oils are the OSEA blends:

Essential Corrective Complex is a pure blend of essential oils that create a disinfecting, absorbent treatment to rapidly heal blemishes.

Essential Hydrating Oil is a 30% blend of pure essential oils that provides deep hydration, working to reduce the appearance of fine lines.

If you’re new to Star Brows, you may not know about the Product Feature or Rewards yet. To put it simply, 10% of all your product purchases, all the time, go toward free service Enhancements, like Raindrop Therapy, Lash Tint, Chemical Peels, or Star Massage.

When a product is the Monthly Feature, however, you’ll get 20% back in Rewards! Oils range in price from $28-$31, with Rewards points totaling $6. Prices quoted may not be valid after September 2012.

See you at the spa!


Choose Happy

Is anybody ALWAYS happy? No, it’s not natural. What’s natural is an emotional terrain of plateaus, hills, and valleys. So why, when we are in a valley, do we get so bent out of shape? Why not settle in for the ride, knowing there is a mountaintop on the other side of the trial?

I think it’s all in our head: the stories we tell ourselves, what we meditate on, the choices we make based on the stories we tell ourselves. One thing I am sure of, though, is that however we find ourselves, we are there because that place serves us in some way. And if you hang in there, lessons abound.

1. The Stories We Tell Ourselves

We all have a huge history behind us – zillions of experiences and interactions that are woven into the cloth called Us. When something happens or someone says something, it automatically gets filtered through all our other experiences.

What if we consciously chose to decide for ourselves, each time we experience something unsettling, to view it from a neutral place of reference, and not link it to the big picture, at least not right away.  

Here’s an example from my own life:  I had a regular, longstanding, darling client yesterday who is getting married. Great, I’m thinking, I’m doing weddings now. I can do her bridal makeup! Wrong. She’s looking online for makeup artists in the area, and they’re not me.

Here’s the back-story: I’m expanding  my business into this new arena, and moving out of what’s comfortable and familiar.  I’m feeling all kinds of angst and insecurity about it all. Everything is new. There are different skill-sets required, new tools and supplies needed, and a battery of marketing efforts to undertake.

So I tell myself this story: I’m working like crazy to establish myself as the go-to makeup professional in the area and my own client, who I do makeup on every month, isn’t even considering me? Must mean something is wrong with me or my work.

What if I choose to tell myself this story instead: For whatever reason this particular client has chosen a different direction. Period. Next.

2. What We Meditate On

If I look at the thoughts I’ve been thinking everyday around the whole wedding-thing/business-expansion, I see negativity, insecurity, and fear at every turn. Odd, huh? Seems like I’m generally pretty self-assured, confident, and optimistic. But this business growth-spurt is happening at a time when there is lots of upheaval in my personal life (and my family’s life) in general.

What would it look like if I decided to fix my mind, my thoughts, on good things, uplifting things. What if I choose gratitude for what is working? How would it feel to remind myself, when these feelings come up, of all my experience  qualifications, and talent? Why not put all that “extra energy” into the workings of this  project so I can produce the positive results I envision?

Walt Disney said, “If you can dream it, you can do it. ”

3. The Choices We Make

Those of you who read me regularly know I love the book Taming Your Gremlins. In fact I recently wrote a post called Your Financial Success-O-Meter just as I was preparing to launch into this growth phase on April 16th, 2012. I was much more optimistic then! What I talked about in the beginning of this expansion was Clarity, Focus, Ease, and Grace. What have I chosen? None of that. :/

Instead of letting automatic pilot take over, why not decide and choose how to think and act? I know this will inevitably change how I feel.

4. The Pay-Offs

This is the tough part of this post to “flesh out.”  It’s based on my belief that we attract to us, or manifest in our lives, that which we think about and invite by the choices we make. Sounds new-agey, I know, but it’s actually a  spiritual principle: “For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” and  “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Sometimes we have to Choose Happy, because our internal drivers, set on auto-pilot, have another agenda. And it isn’t always what will produce the best, or desired, results.

See you at the spa!


Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover

The Susan Magdalane Boyle story is so inspiring, and her rendition of “I Dreamed A Dream” is mesmerizing. Here is an excerpt from her web page: “For one brief moment, vanity itself collapsed. As that ancient maxim, ‘never judge a book by its cover,’ clanked around the globe with speedy viral intensity, it was as if the world was about to offer its first unspoken apology for prizing beauty above all else.”

Lately this whole idea about the judgments we make has been clanking around in my head. Everywhere I turn, I’m seeing and learning about what judging others – and ourselves for that matter – does to us.

Growing up, I was sometimes called “stuck-up.” I wasn’t sure if the judgments people made were based on the fact that my family was wealthy or that I was a dancer and my carriage reflected that image, if it was a protective facade I had fashioned to cover the pain I felt, or if I was just, well, unacceptable in general.

As the years went by, I thought I’d shed that image. After all, I’ve lived a modest lifestyle, have retired from dance, and have really lived a relationship-based life of connection and increasing understanding of others and myself.

But the other day someone told me that I had a very off-putting look about me, or way of carrying myself. (It’s a blur what she actually said, and I’m not going to call her for a direct quote.) 🙂 It brought me back emotionally to the hurt of those days of being labeled as something that didn’t resonate with what I felt on the inside.

I know I’m not alone. No doubt you’ve experienced the judgment of others, have been characterized unfairly, misunderstood, and likely still are by some. I’m also sure that you’ve stood as judge over someone else, just as I have. And to be fair, we do need to make certain judgments in order to navigate life successfully.

But I’ve come to understand that I must be merciful toward others in order to receive mercy. I like to remember to be in the questioning-space when I’m tempted to judge, but I am often not quiet enough, or in-the-moment enough, to navigate to that place.

I’ve been studying a method called “Buying Facilitation®,” pioneered by Sharon Drew Morgan. In fact, I recently wrote an article for Skin Deep Magazine and did an interview with her that I planned to include in my piece. But she said things to me during the interview like, “Is this question about the article, or are you just trying to get free business advice? I do charge for consulting you know.” I was so put off by her attitude and telephone demeanor that I decided not to include the interview in the article.

But I kept receiving her blog posts by email every couple of days, and was still gleaning some good info. Then the other day I got a post from her that included this excerpt:

“I suspect I’ve done a bad job helping mainstream sales understand how Buying Facilitation® offers sellers tools to help buyers navigate through their behind-the-scenes decisions and why it’s a necessary part of the sales process. I’m guessing that it might have taken a non-Asperger’s person less time (with more success) to get the thinking into the field. Maybe someone less pushy, or less obnoxious, less direct, or less annoying – all traits of my Asperger’s that I’ve spent decades learning to contain (sometimes successfully, when I’m aware), but are impossible to eliminate.”

So, there you have it. I’ve been judged and I’ve judged. Her back-story is that she has a disease that affects her social interactions. (Who’d have guessed?)

A while back, I listened to a CD by Dr. Wayne Dyer with co-host Byron Katie. She is a hoot! And the truth she tells has changed my thinking in so many ways:

“Our job is unconditional love. The job of everyone else in our life is to push our buttons.”

Mother Teresa says: “If you judge people, you have no time to love them. ”

Can you believe the sermon title at church this week was “Judging Others,” and one of the key scriptures used was from Romans, which says this: “Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself.”

Sometimes it’s important to remember that inner loveliness and well-being are just as important as physical beauty and wellness.

Thanks for reading. See you at the spa!




Cleansing Oil and Herbalizer – May Product Feature 2012

Tu’el Cleansing Oil and Herbalizer by Eva’s Esthetics  is my favorite way to cleanse the skin. It is like having an at-home  spa experience every night. This innovative two-step cleansing system features natural elements like fresh smelling mandarin oil, calming chamomile extract, healing extracts of arnica, and purifying grapefruit extract. You can experience it all in the Mother’s Day Special Offer this month!

Nothing cleans the skin like hydrophilic oil. Oil cleansers balance your skin and prepare it for exfoliation, hydration, absorption of nutrients, and protection.

As skin cells die, they lose moisture, flatten, and migrate to the skin’s surface. The face excretes a very sticky substance known as sebum that bonds to dead skin cells. In order for these cells to be released, this oily sebum must be dissolved.

When hydrophilic oil is massaged into the skin, it bonds with the sebum and releases the dead cells. This release of the dead layer of skin achieves exceptional pore cleansing and decongestion and a more refined skin appearance. Adding the correct Herbalizer, a sugar-based extract with essential oils, creates a custom cleansing system. This unique method balances the skin and eliminates the need for astringents or toners.

There are four custom formulations of Cleansers and five Herbalizers based on this cleansing system to ensure that, regardless of your skin type – dry, combination, oily, impure, or reactive – your skin will feel the profound difference of cleansing with Tu’eL.

If you’re new to Star Brows, you may not know about The Product Feature or Rewards yet. To put it simply, 10% of all your product purchases, all the time, go toward free Service Enhancements, like Raindrop Therapy, Lash Tint, Chemical Peels, or Star Massage.

When a product is the Monthly Feature, however, you’ll get 20% back in Rewards! The Cleansing Oil ($28) and Herbalizer ($23) duo are  $51 with $10 in Rewards.

See you at the spa!

Your Financial Success-O-Meter

Lately I’ve been itching to expand my business. (What’s new?) I thrive on new projects, on change. Not that I want to do away with the old, but rather to enhance, add to. After all, isn’t that the purpose of life here on earth – to grow? What do we plant that we don’t expect to grow?

I can hardly believe Star Brows has been in its new location for one year!? I’ve gotten busy and I’m loving it, but one thing good ole dad taught me is that what remains flat will head downhill eventually. Like water, which finds the lowest ground naturally. “Oh, you are so happy now. Your business is thriving. Why not bask in that – let well enough alone?” they say.  That kind of thinking reminds me of a person saying “I’m in such great shape, why don’t I just take a break for a year and enjoy it?”

Let’s talk about growing in the area of financial success.  According to Maria Nemeth, Ph.D. author of The Energy of Money, financial success is doing what you said you would do with money consistently with:

ClarityBe clear about what is important to you and has meaning for you. This takes thinking, looking at your values and what you want your legacy to be, and real honesty. No one else can determine what success is for you. If you are going to succeed, you need a road map. Did you ever try going to MapQuest and getting directions somewhere without a destination address?

FocusYour energy and attention need to be focused where they will do the most good. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADD, but some of my behaviors fit that disorder. My mind is a big-whirling-dervish of thoughts, ideas, and feelings. That’s why I’m writing this post – to focus. Focus and how to keep it is a whole different subject. Suffice it to say for now, you don’t need to dance with every random thought that floats by. If you do, you will never get anywhere.

EaseDo things the easy way, taking small steps instead of running headlong, getting exhausted, and then being too tired to enjoy your accomplishments at the end of the day. The opposite of ease is struggle, not working harder. This is a tough one! Peace, joy, and gratitude all require a state of ease, and yet ease is as slippery as an eel.  The conundrum is how to be “in action” and still at ease.

GraceThis is linked to your capacity to experience gratitude, to be grateful for what is in front of you right now. That’s it – end of subject. It all boils down to this very basic, fundamental premise: Be grateful – in the moment – for what is now. This state is like a launching pad into change and growth.

I was telling a friend the other day that my Success-O-Meter was at about a 4. “What?” she said, “You’re so hard on yourself. You work harder on your business than most people I know.” It got me to thinking about what success means to me and how I can redefine it so I feel ease instead of anxiety about it. So I ask myself – and now you – these questions:

1. Know yourself. What are you passionate about? What are your talents and gifts? What brings you joy and gives you energy?

2. Treat work like your life – not as separate from it. Are you tapping into your natural gifts to make a living? If not, it makes me wonder how happy eight hours (more or less) of your day are.

3. Change is the unalterable norm. If you are doing what you are passionate about, ask yourself – are you treating it like a living, breathing entity that changes and grows as you do? You may  be doing exactly what you want to do, but you’re not making enough money or it’s getting stale and you are bored with it (or don’t feel the energy needed to keep at it).

4. Don’t listen to the negative “voices” within. In the book, The Energy of Money, the author refers to the Monkey Mind, like the Gremlins in Taming Your Gremlin, or the Stoicheion in Greg Boyd’s video sermon. This force, entity, mindset, can prove destructive.  That critical, negative, nagging voice inside you that hates growth, enlightenment, change or happiness is always buzzing. We can’t stop it, but we can choose to ignore it, or even have a conversation with it that may look like this: “I know you see my efforts as below average and not good enough, and in some ways I think you’re right. But overall I choose to look at my efforts in this endeavor as successful and I’m patting myself on the back right now for all the hard work I’ve invested!”

5. Don’t be afraid to cross the border.  If reality as we know it were divided into two parts, the top part could be called the physical reality (objects, stuff) and the bottom, the metaphysical reality (intangibles like hopes and dreams).  Between these two realms is a border, and guess who guards it? The entity in #4. Turning your ideas, hopes, and dreams into reality requires that you cross this border, negate or defer the voices of opposition, and set to work step by step toward realizing your dream.

See you at the spa!



Massage at Star Brows


I do massage, and I love the work, both the giving and the receiving. 🙂 I have been getting massage since I was 15. My mom used to sneak me into her health club in MN – The European Health Spa. I’d sip smoothies at the bar, lounge in the pool, bake in the steam room, nap by the pool-side, and luxuriate on the massage table.

I’ve been doing massage professionally since 1994. I started out as an employee at a clinic and moved quickly to self employment. I began hiring therapists in 2000 when I went from one treatment room to five.

I guess it’s been a big circle, as today I am a Solo Spa again and life has never been better!

My Massage/Bodywork Philosophy:

  • You need to be completely relaxed in order to enjoy a session. That’s why I use the bodyCushion™ and essential oils.
  • Customization of every service I do is essential to a great experience.  I offer Enhancements, which include deep muscle work and a treatment I developed called Star Massage: A facial, neck, and scalp treatment using aesthetic and massage techniques. Clears sinuses, reduces puffiness, and brightens skin tone. The service is customized to each individual skin type to relieve swelling, waste in the tissues, and holding patterns that create tension and lines on the face.
  • Some people want the work so deep that it is actually harmful. While I am able to work deeply into the body’s fascia, I only work as deep as the body itself allows.
  • I studied EsalenCraniosacralMyofascial Release, and Zen Shiatsu. The Shiatsu training was a private apprenticeship with an instructor over an intensive, daily, three month period. It taught me one of the most important lessons that is the hallmark of my practice: The Western therapist and client usually wants neck, shoulder and back work predominately, but the work really needs to be focused on the lower body to achieve real balance.
  • As a former professional dancer and movement educator of twenty plus years I believe that movement is the number one remedy for what ails the physical body. Analyzing how an individual moves and helping them maximize their potential and ease, has been a lifetime study.


Here’s what Star Brows clients have said:

“Linda does amazing body work. I have been to many therapists over the years and she is definitely an expert in her field. I would not hesitate to recommend her.” Steve Tullius – Chiropractor

“I received a pre-natal massage that I can still remember almost three years later” Allegra Birtcher Parreira – Workin’ Wife & Mama

“Linda takes a massage experience from the ordinary to the extraordinary! I felt instantly at ease with her the first time we met. She made me feel welcome and comfortable. She spent time asking me where my problem areas were and what concerns I had. Her spa is private, cozy, and warm. Linda’s gifts are her intuitiveness, technique, and knowledge of anatomy. She combines these beautifully and expertly!” Marilyn Rivas Tate – Photographer

See you at the spa!

Lenten Musings

Photo Credit: Amanda DeBello

I was hunting for inspiration this morning to start a fresh day when I came across a post from local author Susan Gaddis, who reminded me that lent is coming, in her blog Holy in the Daily. Lent will start on Wednesday, the 22nd of February and will continue for 46 days until Saturday, the 7th of April.

I’ll agree, the liturgical calendar seems a bit obsolete these days, but this season of Lent inspires me. I spend a good bit of my time reading faith-based books and blogs. My daughter Valery and her husband Jonathan are writing one called Hoekmania from Ethiopia right now, a blog that is not necessarily faith based, but it and its followers are truly faith-filled. Jon’s  dad, Larry writes God2Me, which shows up in my inbox each morning. I also like Daily Manna from the Net.

That’s the easy part: reading the inspirational writings and teachings that others post. But it is in the doing, the being, that the struggle lives. I can easily become like the Dead Sea: things flowing in, but nothing flowing out. My life can become too salty for anything good to live in.

The purpose of the infilling I think, is to enable the out-flowing. Both parts: filling and emptying, need to be very conscious decisions. Truly, the choice to be happy, grateful, giving, does not come naturally.

Lent then, becomes a special container – a time set aside for this process.  What we fill the time with, and what we give are unique to each of us. My hope is that I don’t sound too super-spiritual but that my life truly reflects my words. Here are some of my ideas. Maybe they will inspire you to create your own.

  • Stay in the moment. Projecting ourselves out into the future or dragging ourselves back to the past are futile efforts.
  • Let yourself feel. Author of Taming Your Gremlins, Rick Carlson, tells us that The Zen Theory of Change is in this simple notion.
  • Be angry, but sin not. I used to be afraid of anger, but I’ve learned that anger is natural, needful. If we don’t allow anger in our lives or the lives of those we love, we will experience its outlet in secret ways…much harder to deal with.
  • Be your own mom. This notion came to me one day and changed my life. Treat yourself well, love your body, don’t be critical of yourself, be fully you.
  • In everything give thanks. As you embrace and work with what is, you will grow and mature and your life will flow.
  • Forgive yourself – forgive others. This sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? But it’s not so easy, for like love, forgiveness is an action. It starts with an intellectual choice, but until it permeates your actions, it is empty.
  • Mind your own business. Pretty self-explanatory. I’ve got enough work taking care of my own issues, shortcomings, challenges. I can listen, reflect, and empathize…then stop. It’s not mine!
  • Treat others as you want to be treated. It’s not just the Golden Rule but the only way to true happiness for yourself. For hidden in the way you treat others is ultimately what you will attract, and in the end, the way you will be treated and judged.
In the final analysis, I think the Lenten season is a talisman for living your life. It’s not about a diet, exercise plan, cleaning regime, or good-works campaign. It is about the holy in the daily, in the moment. It is about celebrating the gift of you and of those in your life. It is living, breathing, and choosing in each moment. Pretty easy, huh? Just think: If you fail in this moment, you’ve got another chance almost immediately!
See you at the spa!

Count It All Joy!

I am asked all the time, “How’s business?” by clients as well as fellow business people. My answer? “Wonderful!” In hard economic times, when so many business owners and individuals are struggling, how could this be? Am I that special – or just trying to “put on a happy face”? Neither, really. So, what’s up?

The answer is two-fold: I’m not so special – well not more special than anyone else. 🙂 And, my business – ditto. What is true however, is that there are two very doable elements that make me successful and can make you successful too.

1. Be grateful. Eucharisto – this word contains within it three elements: Gratitude, grace, and peace. Being thankful is the single most important element essential to achieving and maintaining happiness. Are things always the way I want them? No. But one act of being thankful when things aren’t going your way, is worth many times more than countless thanks when things are. Thankfulness, then, is a choice – and not a response to your situation.

2. Bring your “best self” to everything you do. Seth Godin, a favorite author/blogger, says this about business: “The extra, bonus part of your business activities that are over-the-top for no good reason, and going out of your way to build that into your brand, make your business remarkable. And today, people are ONLY responding to remarkable.”

Are my services always remarkable? Probably not. But I do bring my best self to every single interaction. Granted, sometimes my best self is just plain not enough, or maybe no matter how good it is, some won’t count it as such. So be it. After all, I do my best work with those who truly value it, and those who don’t will find someone and someplace that gives them what they want.

I moved Star Brows last year to the wonderful town of Grover Beach. I love this town for many reasons, mostly because it is on my beloved Pacific  Ocean. For this, I am beyond grateful. This location sets the stage for a spa-setting extraordinaire. Not only can I take a break and head out for an invigorating, uplifting stroll (instead of feeling grumpy about a no-show client), but it is a free gym where I can work out and clear my head of all negativity, worry, and exhaustion and commune with my Creator and His creation.

My work is fulfilling to me:

I am honored by the people I meet and get to know.

I love the spectacular products I bring to them, like the newest in my lineup: Heather Gardner jewelry.

The services I offer are diverse and gratifying to perform. I can help create beautiful skin, give someone a new look, relax them completely, and provide a place for people to escape. Plus, I make new friends every day. Who could ask for more?

In the end, although the spa business is magical, your business – or for that matter, your life – contains magic, too. The trick is to show up each day looking for it – simply noticing it in the everyday moments.

See you at the spa!



I recently read a post by Seth Godin called No. It expressed exactly where I’d been for about a week. And I was feeling guilty about it. You know, “the customer is always right,” “turn the other cheek,” “grin and bear it,” “don’t sweat the small stuff,” be the “bigger person”?

In the customer service industry, and especially when providing spa services, it is my job to please, to provide comfort, to accept people as they are, to go the extra mile, and to provide a calm environment.

But what is also true is that part of my brand is authenticity: to show up real, to relate truthfully, and to provide luxurious services from a place of personal peace, joy and contentment.

But what happens when I am in a challenging place? When I don’t have extra to give? When people push my already challenged boundaries or act disrespectful? Do I suck it up? Do youalways?

Remember when you were two – or so? You learned that you could choose, you could have an opinion, you could say no. I once dubbed one of my kids “Mr. Opposite” because of his habit of saying no to almost everything.  (Sorry, probably not my best parenting moment.) But I raised my children to have a voice, to be able to articulate their needs and boundaries, to be in “choice,” to take personal responsibility, and to be honest.

Hopefully if we “get” to say no in these developmental years, we will be able to do so as adults. That’s not to say there is never a time or place to put aside our own personal comfort, opinion, or desire.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dag Hammarskjold (Swedish Statesman and United Nations official): “Never for the sake of peace and quiet, deny your own convictions.”

When you think about it, you’re not just saying no; you’re also saying yes. Yes to what you would rather have. Yes to what would work for you. Yes to honoring your own limits, boundaries, and things that are important to you. Yes to what you perceive as a healthy interaction or way of doing business.

Truly, there needs to be “no” if there is ever going to be “yes.” Just like the day needs the night, light needs the dark, black needs white, love needs hate. It is the yin and yang of the universe. Saying no to even the good thing allows you to say yes to the best thing.

Now, I’ll admit, as a customer, I want businesses to say yes to me, even when I’m wrong, even when I’m asking for more than they really want to give. It’s the American way, right? And some may say, “If they won’t give me what I want I’ll do business elsewhere.”

That’s not how I do it, and I hope my customers  feel the same. If I like a place, product, or service, I’m going to allow for give and take. It’s not much different than my personal relationships, really. Each party gets to choose, each gets to say yes and no. Reciprocity is my desired model of interaction.

In the end, let your yes be yes and your no be no.  Practice saying yes to more of what you want. And when you say no, be still and breathe. It’s OK. Really.

See you at the spa!

Be Alive!

Dancers Among Us Project by Jordan Matter

“BE passionate joyful sad euphoric angry intense desperate ecstatic intimate present ALIVE.” Jordan Matter

Right now I’m sitting at the computer nursing my one and only cup of joe for the day and feeling happy (but moderately deprived). I’m thinking of all I am thankful for and excited for my day to unfold. I’m getting a facial this morning! Also walking the beach, getting my husband’s car an oil change, and seeing some clients at the spa.

How about you? Are you living life to its fullest? If not, why not? I don’t want to preach, judge, or lay a guilt trip on you – I’m just curious. (You know me.) Maybe you hate your job, have a relationship going bad – or no relationship at all – are sick or dealing with a chronic health condition. Could be you are out of work, have a wayward child, have experienced a betrayal, or are wrestling with an addiction. If the issue is clinical depression, that’s another ballgame.

And yes, there are seasons in life where things are just not OK for a while. What I’m wondering is “Are you living the life you want to live, and if the answer is no, are you willing to change that?”

My life was kind of tough growing up. Maybe yours was too. I’ve had to do lots of work to recover. Two of the lessons I’ve learned stand out. They both relate to the opening sentence of this post: “BE passionate joyful sad euphoric angry intense desperate ecstatic intimate present ALIVE.” I guess when you have to block bad stuff out to grow up and survive you end up blocking the good out too. Here’s my story of recovery:

In the early days of my massage career I did out-calls. I was asked to pack up my table and come to an island in Minnesota to do massage for “Wild Women’s Weekend.” I spent the weekend with a bunch of hysterical women. They were laughing, playing, joking around, and really enjoying themselves.

I was, of course, working and having a good enough time myself. But I had this niggling question: “How are they able to laugh so much?”

When I got home I decided to learn to laugh (I know, weird, right?) but true nonetheless. Imagine me sitting at the dinner table with my husband and four children practicing laughing out loud. Oh yeah, real funny, huh? But, I did it! I learned how to laugh out loud, and even if I sometimes forget to laugh (which I often do), it’s like riding a bike: One never really forgets how.

The other lesson I had to teach myself is to be angry, out loud. My husband was a great role model – lol. Once I gave myself permission to express anger (I was about 35), he suddenly became much less angry. I guess he was doing my anger for me – geez!

To be fully present and live the life you were meant to live, you need to recover those lost parts of yourself. Those parts you had to cut out to survive. Reclaim your sense of wonder and joy, let yourself feel desperation and anger, follow your passion, let your inner-child out to play.

And next time you get to work, try doing the splits on two desks, I double dare ya. 😀

See you at the new spa!