|I can relate to spring’s reticence and long, lazy wake up. This last winter was a good time to cozy up under the covers and turn inward. I often feel the season’s are a reflection of just where I find myself– and this year I notice I am not quite ready for the pace that comes as summer approaches. So I feel a genuine connection to spring’s long goodbye to winter. (But oh so grateful that she has compromised with more sunshine!!!)
As the pace speeds up, I truly want you to know that I am committed to keeping your sessions abundantly worth the pause in the frantic and fleeting season ahead of us. My hope is that you will continue to honor the call of your body and/or spirit that lead you to me to begin with. Believe me when I tell you that I understand how self care can get set aside, but as I embrace my own self care rituals like promises I’ve made and intend to keep, I continue to be rewarded with a body that loves me and that communicates with me what it needs. This is precious to me.
As you may notice from perusing my online schedule, I tend to change my hours to reflect the needs & patterns of my clients. I aim to balance my availability to accommodate a variety of client schedule needs, however, if you are ever having trouble finding what you need, please let me know and if I am able to work with you to find a better session time, I will try! What you may also notice is that planning ahead ensures you the best chance at getting what you want. My intention is to always ensure that I have room for all current clients as well as my returning snowbirds and new faces and gift certificate recipients. Leaning into summer, I am looking to strike a balance between my own self care (which includes enjoying this beautiful county!) and serving each of you with individualized, intentional & integral care.
Let’s work together to cultivate the goodness happening here at the studio so you can FEEL BETTER in each session, in each season, no matter how busy, remembering that slowing down and dropping in and connecting with our body mind & spirit allows us to restore and refuel. In other words, put yourself at the top of that “to do” list!
Thank you for the privilege of being YOUR partner in self care.
With Deep Affection,
P.S. Don’t forget, if you are a member of the Massage-a-Month Club you can purchase gift certificates for Mother’s Day at your price point!
P.S.2: Be sure to schedule yourself for May if you haven’t already!
What on Earth is Crystal Healing?
Crystal Healing works through the interaction of beneficial properties inherent to various stones found in the earth and the body’s subtle energy systems. To work with crystals it is important to understand that while all humans are biologically similar, how we suffer & how we heal can be very unique from one to the next person. Where crystal healing shines (pun intended) can be on the unseen (sometimes called the emotional body) energetic levels of animals, which is also where stress resides and also where it is believed that dis-ease originates. Regular healing with crystals can help clear stress AND prevent it from accumulating. If we can stop stress from accumulating, we can begin to focus on fundamental, long term imbalances. This is done through crystal layouts, chosen for specific healing in mind or with breathwork and guided meditation, focusing on the direct experience of grounding the body’s electro magnetic field AND visualizing healing in the energy pathways surrounding/encapsulating the body.
Millennia ago, crystals were used in ritual and had valuable significance to our ancestors and today they continue to be sought out for healing with those who resonate with the perception of healing in a sense oriented way. Unlike modern medical treatments, these techniques have no obvious scientific rationale or data and the use of gemstones and crystals has always straddled the fence between science and magic, “out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing”. Though it is wise to proceed with cautious skepticism, never underestimate the potential for deep healing. I was a skeptical novice for many years, but over the last several, have found a deeper connection & calling to embrace what my tribe and I call “The Way of The Woo”, and I’ve been rewarded with growth of my intuition and trust in my own connection to the earth & to other living things.
I employ stones, bones, crystals & essential oils/aromatherapy with guided breathwork, deep relaxation techniques such as still points & s-i-l-e-n-c-e for clients experiencing stress, illness, past trauma, dis-ease or needing clarity. As each recipient is different, some clients have an on table experience of emotional release (crying or laughing), changes in breath patterns, and sensations of light flickering or tingling, while others find they sleep hard after a session or have a strong increase in vibrancy, while still others have very subtle if not imperceptible signs that the session did anything at all. I never see this as a failure on their end or on mine, but simply an indication of the intrinsic work being done on the unseen layers, everyone of us receives/downloads energetic information differently, and even someone who experiences one session one way, one day, may have an entirely different experience at a different time with the same practitioner!
What I consistently hear from clients who use this as a tool for healing or relaxation is that they feel deeply rested and rejuvenated from the inside out. Pets, children and the elderly love it, if that tells you anything! And Spring is a great time to clear away the cobwebs after the long winter’s reflection, ensuring that stagnation has no chance to settle in.
Speaking of Spring, many of you are heading off to sunny adventures. Enjoy yourselves and remember to keep hydrated; a good rule of thumb I always encourage is half your weight, in ounces; if you weight 150 pounds, that means you should daily consume 75 ounces of good clean H2O, and more if you use caffeine or alcohol.
Last but certainly not least, I am truly & deeply grateful I get to do work that I love, that I get to work with such beautiful souls, that I get to be a part of what makes you feel better. Thank you, one and all! Please, always, let me know if you ever have concerns or requests or needs that I can improve upon. I welcome your insights with open arms. I am grateful also when you “share me” with your friends, family, colleagues. and it is an honor and one of the highest compliments of my work when you buy a gift of bodywork from me for someone you honor.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
There were many years I was a practicing bodyworker who did not make my own self care and bodywork a priority. Taking care of ourselves (all of us!) is a big job and I really struggled to find the resources–time, money, inner compass, etc. to make a regular habit of it. This showed up in my personal and professional life, as I was out of alignment with the values I was hoping to illuminate for others and I was in pain from chronic tension in my body. The busier I got in with parenting, my practice, my life, the more I put self care on the back burner–the further I strayed from that center of self, that alignment that comes from practicing what you preach,
You see I truly believe that massage allows for the all too important & often overlooked somatic dialogue, that is, the body’s chance to be heard. During a massage, the body will tell you, if you listen, all of the places that you’ve over used, overwhelmed, neglected, ignored, disconnected from, and sometimes even where you have disembodied. Modern life has made it pretty effortless to live “in our heads” and ignore the signals the body sends; tired, dehydrated, inflamed, stressed, etc. The consequences of which lead to an array of lifestyle diseases, conditions, disorders, and just plain ol discomforts that are rapidly on the rise.
I have found myself, even with all I know from years and years of studying OTHER PEOPLES WELLNESS, in an endless & repetitive cycle of unease, within my body, arising primarily from a lack of devotion to self care. I talk more frequently with women about this, but I think it is fair to say that most people can relate. Raise your hand if you’re in a relay with every version of yourself; healthy you, sloth-like you, and everyone in between!?!?
After the death of my beautiful boy, I was blessed with the gift of bodywork from nearly every massage therapist I’ve met over the last 15 years in this profession. More massages than i can count, gifted to me in a time of total disembodiment. I humbly learned how to receive, a quality I had no idea was so underdeveloped in me! The ways in which this craft, the craft I myself had spent my adult life honing, helped me, is an unbelievably beautiful testament to the potency of this work. I now receive massage ATLEAST twice a month and more if I can. And I came back to doing this work again after 1.5 yrs off for my soul to try to rewire itself to an impossible truth, more convicted and more humbled to share the gospel of self care to everyone that would listen!
But I wasn’t done learning the role & impact of self care or it’s absence. While I will spare you the details of the long winding two track filled with potholes I’ve been on for 2 years and 4 months, what I see so clearly now is really very simple instructions/guidelines, that I think are good for all of us, not just for those of us in crisis. If you want to develop a relationship with yourself that is fun, friendly, loving, playful, open and non shaming/demanding/disembodied, consider your own inner resources; interests, time constraints, budgets, etc. .
For me, regular massage is non negotiable. While this is seriously not a shameless plug, I will say, the number one reason I started the Massage-A-Month Club was because I was inspired by my own monthly (then) massages, and wanted others to know what that kind of self care could feel like. Six months have passed since that began and it continues to grow primarily through word of mouth from happier & healthier Self Care Aficionados! But I think it also grows due to the fact that I am walking the talk– practicing what I preach. I am vulnerable about my path– physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I do not have all the answers but I “live the questions”, as Rilke suggests in ‘Letters to a Young Poet’, and the first question I ask myself everyday when I wake up, every time I feel stressed, every time I want to make a plan is simple; “How Do I Want To Feel?”, followed by “what steps must I take to get there?”
Try it. It’s been a game changer for me. Next level, of course may be to redefine “comfort” which can at times, currently, translate to “donuts”, “nap”, or “second helpings” 🙂 (hey, I ain’t no guru!). Don’t be afraid to make a list of things that you’ve already proven help you feel great. I’ve learned to love lists (thanks to my husband)! My (self care) list today was: Wake up without alarm, stretch long & slow, walk long and breathe deep, eat clean food, drink more water than yesterday, be grateful, use loofah, speak kindly to my body, & listen deeply for a reply…
Wherever you find yourself, may you acknowledge the highs and the lows with neutrality, resting firmly in this breath, only, and know you are loved, you are held, you are sacred, you are enough, and You Are Worth Your Self Devotion.
|I spent a small fortune on massage school and continuing education in pursuit of my mission to “help heal the world one body at a time”. I recently took an inventory of all my certifications and feel a little awe struck over my determination, blind ambition and sheer will. It is interesting to look back on these 15 yrs as a massage therapist in a small town, knowing that my drive to get better and get more letters after my name was motivated by some idea that I was not enough unless I was more.
Ever find yourself there, friend?
I’m not sure if it’s the aftermath of devastating loss, or a really good therapist or turning 40 or what, precisely, it is, but something has shifted inside that allows for a deep clarity, a deeper knowing, and, a subtle nod of recognition of awakening to the potent beauty of simplicity. Sometimes it feels like a champagne buzz and other times, if I’m completely honest, it feels like a burning hot pile of coals in my belly that I have to honor. And although it has set in motion a domino effect of confronting my fears of changing the script I’ve been following for a lifetime, this sweet simplicity sprouts up in the wake of each overturned stone, a clear running stream flowing through me.
Keeping it simple in my life, personally and professionally, has meant getting very quiet and very honest about what I’m here to do and not allowing myself to get swept away by every whim if I am to stand wholly (holy?) in my truth.
‘Feel Better’ came from this space within. Simple, clear and on point. Can my long list of accomplishments serve you? Probably. Can I make educated suggestions that will change the course of your life? Maybe. But no matter who you are or where you’re at on your own healing/learning/growing/knowing/being odyssey, simply showing up for a massage will make you feel better.
This is what I know to be true–I am fortunate to spend most days getting paid to help people feel better simply by touching them. And I am simply grateful. Thank you!
In Love, Light & Truth~
PS: Massage-A-Month Members: Remember (if you haven’t already) to schedule your session for February! Also, don’t forget you can give the gift of simple touch for Valentine’s Day at your cost!
I’m so happy and grateful for each of you, for becoming or returning as a client! This work we do TOGETHER sustains me, heart and soul. I thank you from the depths for allowing me into your lives AND for giving my hands as gifts to those you love. There is no greater measure of success, for me, than when you spend your hard earned dollars on self care or the care of others, with my little practice.
I am half way through celebrating 15 years doing what I love and I’m fairly certain this is the best year of work yet. I feel focused and present and devoted like never before. Many of you are members of The Massage-a-Month Club and are enjoying the benefits of regular massage therapy. High Five yourselves on making an excellent choice! I’m thrilled to have set and reached a goal for helping my community “Feel Better”, one body at a time. Will you help me spread the word to fill my final push by sharing your reasons for joining the club? You can do that a few different ways! Check in to social media when you arrive or leave a session (look for Christina Massage on your smart device), grab a stack of biz cards from me and pass them around to your tribe, coworkers, etc, and, I’m gathering client testimonials and I would so value yours! Just send me your story in an email and please let me know what part of your identity you’re comfortable sharing, i.e; C. Ryan-Stoltz or CRS Or Christina Ryan-Stoltz or A Happy Customer in Frankfort MI or Father of 4 in Beulah, or whatevs. Send those to email@example.com, please & thank you!
If you haven’t already, be sure to schedule your January session! And speaking of January!!! I like the practice of setting an intention whenever I step into a new way/new time, and New Years is such a potent time for leaning into our intentions, allowing us to just be with our hope rather than wishing for a future outcome. Some examples are:
- Marking a threshold of some kind; a beginning or ending of how you’ve shown up in the world in a journey, a career, a relationship or a turning point in your life.
- An apprenticeship TO something; learning about your spirit guide or the trees on your land or the history of your hometown.
- Calling In or Letting Go of something or someone.
- A clear and OUT LOUD declaration that you are finished with a habitual or too small way of being in the world.
All my best to you, whatever your intentions may be. I wish you love & light & hope throughout 2017, a new year already so ripe with possibility.
A deep bow~
“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” C. Joybell C.
Although Christmas has changed alot these last 2 years, the holiday season is in full swing here at the Grow Benzie Studio House & Community Resource Center. The executive director (aka my husband) loves Christmas music more than anyone else I know & he has it on from the minute we come in each morning until bedtime at home. Lately I’ve been placing “Home for the Holidays”– an essential oil blend (from Creation Pharm) in my diffuser and making us copious cups of tea from Light of Day Tea Farm with a little honey from the honey pro’s. The tastes, smells and sounds combined with the wind and snow in all directions out the windows set us up for feeling an extra warm and cozy glow all the live long day.
Last week I got my winter’s supply of pure beeswax candles from Sharon at Beedazzled, my client greeting cards at Gwen Frostic’s, and some shopping done at Crystal Lake Alpaca Farm Store. This week I hope to finish up with my list at The Market Basket, Posh Beauty Bar, Stormcloud, The Bookstore & Beyond Salon while sipping on a spicy chai latte from my favorite coffee shop, (who, by the way, host a FREE community brunch on Christmas Morning if you need a meal or good company or want to serve those who do!). Which local businesses do you shop for gifts?A few of my favorite littles will get some Shine On Gear, benefiting The Isaac Julian Legacy Foundation and we also like to make charitable contributions as gifts, now in honor of our beloved Isaac,to: Gift of Life Michigan, IPR, SEEDS, OTG, Third Level, To(get)her Rising and this relevant and hopeful agency. This year I became an official member of Grow Benzie, but will make another donation to their end of year fund raising efforts and our family is excited and looking forward to supporting the development of Frankfort’s Lockhart Field project. Last but not least, our friends at Standing Rock are still accepting donations on behalf of the Water Protectors who continue to protest the pipeline. I am so grateful to all those who purchased gift certificates from me during my Thanksgiving appeal! I’d love to hear where your family gives!
Over Christmas break, I hope to take my niece, nephew, and friends visiting from NYC for a treat at Crescent Bakery after sledding down Hefron Hill, and then meet the grown ups at Stormcloud or The Mayfair for good eats and cheer. How/ where will you gather with loved ones?
I’ll still be spending some time in the studio over the holidays, with limited hours each afternoon (until full & going quick!) so you can be sure to make time for self care to replenish your energy reserves during this season of extroversion & giving! And if you want to give the gift of health and peace…. by all means, consider (a) massage session(s)!
I hope you make wise & earnest investments however you spend your time and your money–and may love and joy come to you and yours wherever you are, in this season of light. This Wednesday, on Winter Solstice, I will be burning a candle in deep gratitude all day long for the blessings of love from here to the great beyond, from my heart to yours. If you’re new to celebrating solstice, you can find some great introductory ideas here.
In Lak’ech Ala K’in–
(“YOU ARE ANOTHER ME” or “I AM ANOTHER YOU”. The traditional Mayan interpretation simply means “I am you. You are me.”)
“Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” ― John Wesley
Raise your hand if you want to help but you aren’t sure where to start?
I ask myself this frequently. Sometimes I get stuck chasing my tail, spinning around in circles trying to think it all through. I know help is needed but I’m not always sure how to respond to the needs– given that such great needs exist. I am only me. What can I do?
This morning I called my mom and asked her to meet me at the green houses at Grow Benzie to help me pick the remaining produce, to wash and package up to send with my super human(itarian) husband, who is driving out to Standing Rock with supplies and to have Thanksgiving Dinner with The Water Protectors. I chose to stay home because my unease with the stability there was bigger than my yes to go. It wasn’t an easy choice for me, but after much thinking and praying and consulting with a trusted advisor, I am at peace with it. Picking and washing and packaging greens, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, herbs– that was something I could do. Sending Josh off with a big breakfast and food to share and ear plugs was something I could do. Not begging him to stay home where its safe & warm, is something I can do.
I want to do more.
Saturday is Small Business Saturday. I’m offering gift certificates now through Monday only for just $55 per hour session (thats a $10 savings!) and I will donate $10 from EACH certificate sold to the Michigan Canoe Cold Water Rescue Team. SO you can give good, do good, and save money all in one fell swoop.
Another thing I decided that I could do is based on the magic that I am already blessed to witness everyday inside my small studio. Ligaments are stretched, muscles are tended to, breath is deepened, pain is acknowledged, hope is restored, and sometimes, inevitably, tears are shed and/or laughter is released. On the macrocosm, I know that I do very little for humanity as a whole, but I can earnestly claim that for an hour several times a day, the clients who have placed themselves in my care get 100% of my heart and skilled hands and each hour is very important and very sacred work, to me.
When you spend a good portion of every day in devotion to bringing relief and deep listening to others, you can see the power of this work on the microcosm. Perhaps I am the microcosm and the transformation is within just me, but I feel and see it in my clients, too. While I try not to take myself too seriously, it is impossible to be nonchalant about the intention I set for each session; that the highest good be possible and for my work, my hands, and my heart to be guided to be a blessing to every body I touch. It seems as if more than ever, everyone of us could benefit from the healing arts. It is with this in mind that I’m creating two new opportunities to reach out to those I see needing skilled and affordable services.
- Students. Preschool through college, ages 3-21: it is important to recognize the stress & uncertainty children are currently faced with as well as the effects of long term stress on developing brains and bodies. We are living in an era of great change, fast pace, and high demands. Massage is a great tool for empowering young people how to slow down and listen to the wisdom of their own bodies, allowing assimilation of input while forming habits of self care. All students are encouraged & welcome in my practice for just $45/hr or $25/ half hour.
- Giveaways. I am now accepting nominations for free massages! If you or someone you know ages 21+ could use some free bodywork, email me a name, phone number, email address and a few sentences on why this person might benefit. I will select one giveaway for each of the next 6 months, and I will notify the winner on your behalf. Submissions can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
I am so grateful to be able to do work that I love. I am so fortunate to work with clients who become family. I am so fortunate & privileged in this way and I am trying to never take it for granted. I have many to thank always, but am feeling particularly reverent for you all during this reflective season. Thank you for your support, sharing, showing up, needing me, believing in me, spreading the word, and of course, all your love beams.
Love Is All
Love Is All Around
Love Is All Around You
Love Is All Around You Look
Love Is All Around You Look Around
I’ll take just a moment here to address what seems to feel heavy on the hearts of those coming into my studio, those asking to, and those I come into contact elsewhere in life. Taking care of ourselves and each other is really important right now. Listening to our still small voice, breathing in deeply, filtering out the fear mongering. Lately I’ve been trying to just get very intentional with the question “am I a blessing to everyone I meet?”. I’d like to be. Believe me when I tell you that I understand it can be so tempting to just recoil from all the discomfort surrounding us like a cloud. I have had to work hard at this every single day since the impact of great loss, and I understand the instinct to isolate in these trying times, take sides and feel the division, acutely.
But I encourage you to seek out your neighbors and community members, your young relatives and your friends. Let love in rather than build a wall of resistance around you. I see a lot of rhetorical advice right now and this is not that, because I do think it is important to honor your process. Instead, I simply want to share that the act of holding space for others while you are in pain or shock or confusion can help you heal in profound ways. Don’t be afraid to reach out or reach in. You don’t have to know the right words. You don’t have to have solutions. You don’t have to “fix or fade” anyone’s experience, including your own. It’s ok to just be with these feelings. Breathe. And proceed with caution. What works for me, oftentimes, is to just get really clear about the next right thing I can do, or step I can take. The next moment, the next breath. This is mindfulness in action, but I see it more importantly as survival skills/coping mechanisms. Interestingly, they are instinctual in fight or flight situations. I love that; the wisdom of the body is so innate that it knows precisely what to do when the mind cannot bear the burden. And let’s face it, the news is traumatizing. Raising children right now feels frightening. Just thinking and feeling and standing strong can feel scary! But the light in all of this, the invitation, the opportunity, as far as I can see, is to trim the fat– get very clear, very focused, on what actually matters and on what we can actually do. And it is quite a lot, I have found, for the time I have spent feeling disoriented and confused after darkness threatened my light from shining. It starts with you. If you want to offer peace, if you want to have anything left after giving, you must learn or remember to replenish. Here again are some tools that have helped me tremendously to replenish myself in times of trouble and strife:
- Make art. Whether you think you have talent or not is not the point. Just gather supplies and let your inhibitions have a day off. Try to find colors that match your feelings. Try repeating patterns that represent your thoughts. Move your paper or canvas around for a change in perspective. Drop your agenda or any instinct for perfection or control and just be a creative conduit from source to pen, market, crayon, paintbrush.
- Write. Journal. Keep it to yourself and say whatever you want. This is not a status update. Steep in a strong brew of your feelings and allow the potency to run through you. Burn what you write, using a candle, a gas stove or a Bon fire. Release it all in your writing and release it again into the fire– allow for alchemy or atleast liberation.
- Get bodywork. Seriously. This is not a shameless plug– massage and energy work are essential tools for profound healing of angst and uncertainty. They allow for the wordless realm, where fear resides to be reached and responded to. Your kids need it too.
- Spend time outdoors. Leave your phone behind. A teacher/writer I adore recommends you sit on the ground and let yourself cry. And then mix some dirt with those tears and make effing warrior paint. I am not afraid to tell you this works. It works.
- Be a love warrior. Hug everyone you can– everyone who is open to it. Stand on the sidewalk with a sign that says free hugs. And then hug like your life depends on it. Because it does.
“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
I have been a massage therapist since 2001. Passionate & curious by nature, I have cultivated my understanding of health, healing & spirituality—personally & professionally—by adding breadth & depth to my skill set with advanced studies & certifications:
- Master Bodyworker
- Holistic Health Counselor
- Natural Health Consultant
- Family/Folk Herbalist
- Feminine/Earth Based Energy Work
- Karuna & Usui Reiki
- Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Practitioner
- Doula Bodywork for the Childbearing Year
- Women’s Spirituality & Healing
- Ordained Minister/Officiant
- Mourning Meditation Facilitator
- Ukelele Student!
- Herbal Medicine Maker