Sunday, September 28, 2014

Each moment is an invitation to mindfulness. Sometimes we accept.

This weekend I went to a training in Motivational Interviewing -- which is a strange name for a simple and profound way of being with a client that helps you get out of your own way, explore and resolve ambivalence, and be able to make the improvements you want in your life.

Orange and yellow maple leaf in a shallow rock-lined stream
A new day, a new inspiring leaf-in-a-stream picture
A recurring theme in the training, or perhaps simply one I was especially primed to notice, was the idea of letting go of perfection, and allowing the good-enough (which “any” is, inherently) to imperfectly unfold. One person talked of the “need” to floss daily, and how this often stops us from doing it on any day. Similarly, another spoke of wanting to re-start a movement practice after an injury, but continued to not do any because she hadn’t yet found the “right” one. Over and over again, we examined this tendency, and laughed in love at ourselves, because here we were, a group of mindfulness-inclined practitioners, and we knew the futility of this line of thought -- yet experienced it anyway, because we too are perfectly flawed beings.

And so in that spirit I blog today -- despite months of “I’ll restart soon, really” and of too-good intentions blocking good-enough actions, and despite not knowing what I will do tomorrow, next week, next month.

Because as my clients and I practice in the room, there is only this moment, this “now” that is gone as soon as we think of it. “Shoulds” for the future and guilt or shame for the past pull us out of this moment, and we miss this opportunity for action.

Ah, but look -- here comes another now, and another chance. I think, for today, I will take it, and let go of when I did not blog, and the need to know whether I will tomorrow.

What is pulling you out of this moment and the action you want to take right now? What might happen if you forgave yourself, right now, for not having done it yet?

Monday, February 10, 2014

"Life is what happens to us when we're making other plans"

And oh boy did I have plans -- for expanding my hours, for continuing education, for workshops and classes and marketing, oh my.
Life is not a straight line

And then my spouse had a stroke.

First: he's doing great, and he's expected to have a full or near-full recovery. The stroke only affected his coordination and balance, not cognition or memory. After 11 days in the hospital and intensive in-patient rehabilitation, he's home, and our children (and he and I!) couldn't be happier about that.

But still: he had a stroke. And though things are getting back to normal, it's a new normal, and for a while the new normal will involve accommodations for his healing brain. Which means rescheduling workshops and classes, postponing CEs, and for a few months, reducing my hours.

I look forward to continue to work with you to reduce pain, practice mindfulness, and help you feel better in your body and about yourself.

In wellness, wherever we find it,

Upcoming events:
Chair massage at Fat Fancy
Fall in Body Love Workshop

AND: Help us set a new Well Now class time by filling out this short survey!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Introducing Well Now, a non-diet approach to improve your health and make peace with food

I don't know about you, but I had quite the busy winter break, with lots of ups and downs and life-turn-arounds. But we're back to the usual wonderful routine now, full of massage and laughter and food and family -- and soon, facilitating a great wellness class!

The Well Now course has been helping people improve their health, confidence, and compassion in the UK for years. Now, thanks to Lucy Aphramor and the USA's own Linda Bacon, I've been lucky enough to receive the training and licensing to offer it here in Portland, Oregon.

About Well Now:
Do you want to transform your relationship with food?

Well Now is an 8 session course that helps people feel better about their eating and weight using a non-diet approach called Health At Every Size (HAES). You can read more on HAES practice here [pdf].

It teaches you how to:

Tune into your body signals
Embrace body respect
Replace eating guilt with gentle nutrition
Move from food panic to food autonomy
Heal from body shame
Practice mindful eating
Explore the bigger picture of health and wellbeing
Learn compassion for yourself and others

This 8 week course will be offered Sundays 2-4pm starting February 16th, 2014.

The cost of the course is $360, but if you register by January 22, 2014, you can take this life-changing class for just $295. Class limited to 10 people, so sign up now!


  • Eating effortlessly and healthfully, without struggle or guilt.
  • Enjoying movement, rather than using it as punishment for "indulgence".
  • Feeling confidence and pleasure in your body right now, exactly as it is.
  • Improving your relationships, as compassion and justice replace criticism and judgment.
  • Taking real steps to improve your health in measurable ways, like lower blood pressure and blood sugars, without restrictive food rules.

It may sound like a dream, but it can be reality. Join me to explore how to make it yours!

Contact Arwyn with any question or to sign up. Or, for your convenience you can register online now.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

NaBloPoMo: Lessons

I've seen a whole lot of this in the past month
It's the end of NaBloPoMo 2013, and I've learned a few things about this blogging gig over the past month:

30 posts in 30 days, while working, taking classes, parenting, hosting the holidays, and having a partner switch jobs is not so much realistic. But I figure 28/30 is still pretty good.

Posting every day is not only challenging/impossible, it's also neither most effective nor most enjoyable. I'd say the point of blogging is to connect with you, the reader -- and to that end, having a new post every single day isn't particularly effective, as each gets lost behind the other, and particularly good posts, ones that have the potential to be truly useful for you, have too short a time in the sun and get too easily skipped. And while I've loved getting back into the blogging habit, the artificial urgency of posting every day isn't compatible with the calm, centered, supportive tone I want to offer you with this blog and in my practice (nor that I want to live with daily!).

Writing about massage just takes a shift in thinking. My previous blogging life was significantly more introspective (and yet also declamatory), which as +Dale Favier and I discussed early in the month is not so much compatible with the discretion and confidentiality we promise our clients. Yet when I shifted my thinking from me (my natural state as a human/American) to you (my natural state as a massage therapist), I realized there's so much I can write about, that feels both important to me and useful to you. Which brings us to:

There's a lot more I want to say, and I mean to say it. I'm nowhere near out of ideas for blog posts, for articles and suggestions that can help you with your health and body-positive journey. I think I made it maybe halfway through my collected-ideas list, and those were only the ones I thought important enough to jot down when I happened to be by the computer. So while the once-a-day posting schedule is officially over, stick around, because there's lots more blogging to come.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Holiday Shopping? Try Massage Gift Certificates!

Quality gift certificates for quality massage
Although I'm firmly and obviously of the opinion that massage is so much more than just a luxury, I know it can be hard for people who haven't yet realized the physical and mental health benefits of massage to lay down the money for that first appointment.

That's where you come in!

You, this gift-giving season, have the opportunity to offer the people on your list a chance for pain relief, for radical acceptance, for relaxation, for anxiety reduction, for feeling better in their bodies and feeling better about themselves.

I know you know someone who could use all that. And if they, and you, are very, very lucky, they're in or near Portland, Oregon, and you, smart cookie!, get to avoid holiday traffic and crowded queues and wrapping paper origami and tape entanglements and scissor accidents, because you, lucky duck!, are reading this now and get to cross that special someone off your list with just a few simple clicks.

See, I'll make it super easy for you:

What service would you like a gift certificate for?
Who is the lucky recipient?
Gift Message (Optional)

There! Now you can relax with your shopping done, knowing they get to relax in the care of fully capable hands (and elbows). Have some nog.

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

How to Eat Leftovers

You don't have to eat leftovers like this
(but you can, if you want)
Eat leftovers alone, with family, while laughing, because they're there.

Eat leftovers in candlelight, in the container, microwaved, creatively remixed.

Eat leftovers until you are full, until you remember that the pie will still be there tomorrow (or at least again next year), until you're done.

Eat leftovers even though you ate past comfort yesterday, because that was yesterday and today your body still needs fuel and you still deserve to find pleasure in nourishment.

Eat leftovers if you're lucky enough to have them, if you enjoy them, if you choose to.

Eat leftovers that have been properly refrigerated because food-borne illness will ruin your weekend.

Eat leftovers the way you eat everything else: for nutrition and with joy, because it's there and because you love it, slowly and mindfully if you have the time, with compassion and care and quickly if you don't. Eat until you have accomplished the goal that is your reason for eating: until you are no longer hungry, until you have sopped up that last bit of soup, until you're ready to go out and dance (or shop, or parent, or work, or walk the dog), until you can taste grandfather's pie and political rants and feel grandmother's gnarled hand holding yours.

Food is culture, food is care, food is calories, food is nutrition and nourishment, food is memory and family. And today, leftovers are food with all the work done yesterday. So eat leftovers without guilt or shame, in pleasure and compassion.

Bon appetit!

Picture by semarr, Creative Commons licensed.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Radical acceptance and frozen pie crusts

I've been sprinting for weeks, it feels like, pulled by business, family, household, partner, and personal needs. I've mostly stayed on the healthy-productive side of the line, but there have definitely been days when I veer into the frantic-counterproductive zone.

So today, I bought a pie crust. I bought croutons instead of loaves of bread to cut up and dry. I picked up a bottle of oil at the store I was in, rather than traveling to another store to refill a bottle I already had.

And I forgave myself. Laughing-loving-nonattachment compassion, for the beautiful ridiculousness of my desire to make an entire traditional turkey dinner from scratch, for my heartbreaking unnecessary guilt at "failing" to do so, for the way I pout and whine and resist forgiveness, resist rest, resist guidance back to center. How lovely I am in my messy humanity. How funny. How worthy.

I won't be making a pie crust this year. But I will be making space to breathe and be.


I'm also forgiving myself for not having a picture on this post.