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"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it." - R.W. Emerson

I love Emerson. I came across this quote on my desk the other day, and decided that maybe I should share how I came into this new work, at this particular very good time.

I’ve been a massage therapist for over 30 years. I’ve loved my work and my clients, and have felt so incredibly blessed and lucky all of these years to have such a rewarding and satisfying professional life.

And then, of course, this pandemic began. We weren’t sure of the safety or the risks involved in continuing to practice for quite a long while into it, and my massage studio sat empty for months.

Additionally, our community, along with many others was impacted by devastating fires. We had to evacuate our home for weeks and at several points believed we’d lost everything. Thankfully our home was spared, although so many in our community did lose everything. Countless beautiful and magical spaces that are part of what we’ve called our home for decades are also now gone.

While we were evacuated, I began to sketch and paint some mandalas. They were therapeutic for me. I sketched mandalas of redwood trees and rain, of fire being extinguished by the rain. Without thinking too much about it, the simple activity and dedicated focus of drawing and painting these patterns was meditative and calming, and it seemed to help me feel a sense of order and peace in our upturned life. I had also been practicing pyrography for years, but the smell of burning wood wasn’t as pleasant as it had once been. I was happy to explore drawing, painting, and embellishing images with software apps, which were all easy to do in our nomadic state.

When we finally returned home, it was still unclear whether I’d be practicing massage again anytime soon, and so after more than 8 months without seeing a single client there, I chose to finally let it go. I felt adrift, untethered in so many ways, as so many of us have felt. Socially, without my work and the musical events I’d enjoyed with my gigging musician husband, I was limited to mostly social media and zooms to stay connected, again as most of us were. The divisiveness on social media became more depressing than nurturing for me, and I felt (and still feel) I’m healthier with little to none of it in my life anymore. Thank goodness for the deepened connections I’ve nurtured on zoom, within my family and within my household.

The struggles, pain, and losses continued, as family members and friends fell ill and passed. There was so much to mourn.

But at the same time, there was space. Admittedly more than I wanted, at first, but with discipline, it gave me room to pivot, adjust, and explore. These huge events in our lives were changing us, as they should. And eventually I was able to gather enough of myself together to discover some of the gifts and opportunities in this time.

Throughout our relative isolation as a household, we’d shared so many truly precious moments. So much appreciation of each other, our home, our animal friends, and gorgeous aliveness of this mountainous valley we live in.

I began to deliberately choose to focus more on these things more than the all of the struggles. It was hard at first, but I worked to strengthen and discipline my mind, and I meditated more to experience the expansiveness of spirit.

I also began to enjoy the art of pyrography again, and I would fully immerse myself in wood-burning mandalas by hand for days at a time. One day my wonderful husband came across an advertisement for a laser cutter/printer and suggested that maybe it was a way to create on a different scale. One piece by hand was taking me days to complete and to be honest, my body wasn’t benefiting from sitting still for so long! And although the creating was mostly about the process for me, I did still have the big question about what had become of my professional life. Just like that - that day - I was able to see the possibility of experiencing the creative process and at the same time, maybe being able to share the inspiration of these designs with people as a new business! They made me feel good to look at them. It’s likely that a few other people would also feel good looking at them. This sounded like a worthwhile way to invest my time.

And that was the moment something new and sustainable was born in my life.

So for now, I intend to create images that inspire a sense of limitlessness, of unity, of beauty, beauty, and more beauty in as many forms as I feel drawn to experience. I listen to the music of nature as I work - on my deck or out the window - the birds I’ve grown to know better during this time, the sound of the wind and the rain in the majestic redwoods surrounding our home. I listen to music in stereo in my studio, flowing and filling my spirit and heart as I create.

I can't say the door is forever closed on massage, but ...

I’m keeping it simple for now. I’m keeping my attention on the things that inspire me.

Nature, Music, and Spirit.

Who knows what tomorrow may bring.

I only know that I’m a creative force, and I intend to create inspiring beauty while I'm here.

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