"Beeing Seen..."

Our meditation studio had been open just a few months and we were wrapping up Gina Vance’s Mind/Body Journeys class — held every Friday afternoon at Soulstice. David’s face was an upturned mixture of awe (this happens a lot in Gina’s class), but also some measure of disbelief and consternation. I knelt down next to his cushion, asking how he was feeling.

“Well,” he said, “I just realized something. I realized I’ve been working at my firm for over a decade and I don’t know anyone there. I don’t really know any of them, and none of them really know me.” Boom. My heart sank and I could feel -viscerally- the emptiness of a long unending series of rote, disconnected days and interactions. How is this even possible?

As our community has grown and we welcome more people, we’ve learned that this is sadly not uncommon. Across most of our relationships — work, personal, family — it’s not unusual for people to operate exclusively on the surface… People can go a lifetime without ever really knowing — or being known by — the people they spend most of their lives with.

At the studio we call this “Being Seen” = Being Seen requires work and a practice, and is one of the bravest undertakings we can make in our lifetime. What do we mean by being seen?? It’s allowing ourselves to be fully known, open and honestly ourselves, and being willing to overcome the risk of judgment, criticism and vulnerability to get there. It’s living in symmetry and alignment, developing the capacity for the ‘outside’ visible part of ourselves to beautifully match the ‘inside’ invisible part of ourselves. “Being Seen” means allowing others to see our authentic selves — our light and shadow, our strengths and weaknesses, our bright futures and our broken pasts — and having enough trust & faith to know the people who earn a place in our lives will still love & respect us once they know the total, complete us.

Why do so many people stay hidden?? It’s safe. It’s known. It’s secure. If no one knows me, they cannot hurt me. There’s no immediate risk. It’s easier to bounce. But by staying hidden we’re taking a greater risk of never really living our lives, never knowing our true capability, and especially never deeply connecting nor loving the people in our lives. Staying hidden keeps our lives small, our ability to feel the full spectrum of emotion restrained, and thwarts our growth and development as human beings. Year after year of inauthenticity dulls our spirit, suffocates our soul and causes us to lose our sense of self, our purpose and calling. If a relationship, job or situation does not allow for you to have preferences, expectations or express your feelings and standards without fear — if it establishes hiding as the default and norm — then it is too small for you.

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“Being Seen” means doing the hard work of knowing ourselves and opening ourselves to others, to growing and evolving. Being seen means becoming aware of our light and shadows — our strengths and weaknesses — and still trusting we are still completely loveable.

What’s on the other side of Being Seen? Everything. Imagine moving through your life without any masks… of being able to feel free and comfortable in your body always — in all settings and company — and be exactly yourself. No pretending, no roles, no worry of having to be anything other than true to your highest self.

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You don’t need to wait for the wisdom and regret of old age, nor the pain of loss or heartbreak to wake you up to who you are. You just need to surround yourself with people and practices to help and allow you to get there…. Somatic practices, massage and bodywork. Meditation, breathwork and subtle movement. Yoga. Warm, authentic community. Loving presence. All of these practices help us develop self-awareness and self-discovery, ground us into our bodies and help connect our head & our heart.

Once you are solidly in touch with who you are — mentally, physically and emotionally — the more comfortable it will be for others to know and ‘see’ the authentic you. You will be clear, straightforward, open, trusting and real. Easy to read, constant, and effortlessly in integrity. Just being in the presence of authenticity is contagious and inspiring; doing nothing more than simply being yourself in your thoughts, words and actions is the best way to inspire openness and allowing in everyone around you.

Is there a downside to Being Seen?? Living life authentically means a willingness to trust, lead with your heart and stay open. Doing so means opening ourselves to risk, disappointment, and occasionally being taken advantage of... It can mean having our hearts broken, being judged or criticized and occasionally failing spectacularly right out in the open. It takes a lot of guts to stay true to the person you can become when life provides so many other easy alternatives and places to hide.

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‘Being Seen’ and growing in your own authentic power can mean letting go of people, situations and relationships that are unable to grow with you. Losing people, changing jobs and letting go of relationships can be so hard, even when we know it’s necessary to becoming ourselves and living our greatest story. Once you’ve awakened to who you are you’ll naturally be drawn to people who are also conscious, and they will be drawn to you. Being around people who are hiding, unclear in who they are, or inhibiting their own evolution will be increasingly uncomfortable to invest your time and energy. Have faith that the universe will feel your rhythm; trust that fate will place you into situations and bring people into your life that will be on your wavelength, match your resonance and continue to foster and inspire your growth.

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Growth, awakening, consciousness = it can be lonely and testing and painful. Finding your tribe — a warm, loving, accepting community — is vital to your unfolding and opening. Not everyone you meet in life, nor every situation is meant to be forever. Trust that the people who really see you will still be there as you evolve into the beautiful human of depth and authenticity you were meant to become. Especially when it gets choppy, murky and hard to see beyond life’s storms — stay in the water and let your practices, your deeper knowing and your tribe inspire and sustain you.

At Soulstice our hope is to create interdependent and diverse offerings to help catalyze and support your self-discovery and personal healing. A place where you can feel completely free to be yourself, begin where you are and given the tools and practices for your own self-empowerment. When you find your authentic self and voice, you will inspire the growth of everyone around you — every part and facet of your life… your work, your friends, your family, your lover… will blossom in unexpected ways. The bravest thing we can be is our truest selves, and our talented, caring team is here to support you in your journey of discovery. Beginners are invited and always welcome — join us!

News For Our Sonoma County Friends!

To our friends in Sonoma County… We love and appreciate you so much!

+Thank you+ for all of your incredible support over the last six years and standing so solidly beside us through all the ups and downs of this beautiful life we share. We care deeply for all of you, and it’s making a difference in your lives — mentally, physically, emotionally — that motivates us to bring a little bit of softness, kindness and meaningful care into your lives.

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As many of you know we have been working to bring our Mind/Body Studio and additional healing services including yoga classes, meditation classes, sound healings and more to you all in Sonoma County. (To get an idea, please visit our sister studio www.soulsticemindbodyspa.com and click on Classes + Workshops.)

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In a very unexpected-but-happy twist of fate, we are going to be able to both stay in our current location AND grow in our current location. We know many of you will be relieved not to drive to a new location, and furthermore we’ll be able to bring you classes much more quickly this summer! We have already begun creating an amazing founding teaching team and schedule of classes. Stay tuned in the coming weeks!

Please read below for a list of Q+A that we hope will answer most of your questions…

When will classes begin? In the coming weeks, you’ll begin to see some of our neighbors relocating and the walls coming down. As soon as the demolition is complete, we’ll work as quickly as possible to build out a beautiful class studio. Our hope is to begin classes this summer!

Will you stay open for massage & bodywork while the studio is being built? Yes, we will be here for you as always.

Where will the studio be? Just next door! Our fantastic neighbors will be re-locating from the adjacent spaces, making space for us to place a beautiful, spacious studio just alongside us.

How do I sign up for classes? How much will they cost? Very soon we will be offering very special charter Memberships for our current customers and members… These are amazing deals that allow you to receive incredible savings on both massage and mind/body classes while supporting our growth.

What kind of classes will you offer? We’ve done our very best to bring you the types of classes you’ve been asking for! We will have Yoga for Beginners, Restorative Yoga, Flow Yoga and more… Meditation classes, Qigong, Sound Healings, and Cacao Ceremony. Also look for special yoga and meditation workshops, as well as collaborations with other local Sonoma County businesses and healing practitioners.

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Sonoma County, we adore you and have appreciated your steadfast support more than you know — thank you for believing in us and trusting our team to care for you… mind, body and spirit! While the incredible benefits of monthly massage are well-known to many of you, we are so excited to bring you additional healing and self-care practices that you can enjoy on a daily basis.

We look forward to seeing you all soon ~ Much love from all of us at Soulstice

Being of Service: A Healer’s Game Plan

I’ve been blessed to study, search and seek in the healing arts for over twenty years now. With each passing year, I feel evermore lucky to have discovered my path and purpose at a relatively young age and spend the majority of life within and alongside a community of healers…. I owe so much to Esalen, my early teachers and the guides around me who loved and supported my — at the time — pretty weird interests. Like many in the healing arts, my practice has healed me from my own childhood traumas and over time has deepened an inner resiliency and resolve that has seen me through life’s disappointments, heartaches and betrayals. A daily practice — with all its physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits — is what I rely upon most to weather life’s ups & downs, the strength to hold the tough conversations, and the ability to stay true to my heart in a very noisy world.

To my friends and colleagues in the Healing Arts… the Yoga Teachers, Massage Therapists, Meditation Guides, Studio Owners, Counselors, Therapists, Caregivers and more: We’re in the dawning of a time when our work, our art and our contribution are vital to our collective future. Every day we are waking up to the fires and floods of our earthly and inner worlds, and can no longer hide, dismiss or delay the deep healing that is called for right now. It’s all-encompassing and undeniable — and it’s going to take all of us, together, to shift the paradigm and evolve.

Creating a Safe Space + Sanctuary: Ask anyone in the healing arts, and they will agree…. healing can only happen once your soul feels safe for that healing to occur. Healing cannot be commanded, rushed or controlled. Rarely is it convenient, well-timed or predictable. In fact, deep healing typically happens when your spirit is finally in a comfortable place to feel, express and be; it’s rarely easy, never pretty and oftentimes when you’re in the thick of it you’ll wonder what on earth is happening to you. Only in hindsight will you see the wisdom of experience, learn the body’s way of knowing and reach the deep well of compassion that exists within us all. As healers, the very first thing we must do is create a true, authentic and safe foundation for people to simply rest their hearts, minds and spirits.

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Valuing Our Work: The work of a healer is to assist the transformation, blossoming, positive growth and flourishing of an individual, community and society. It’s kind of important, no? Vital. As healers we must begin to appreciate our work and service in how we present, value and honor ourselves and each other. For generations past we have aspired to and held up the lawyers, the bankers and those professions that move and leverage other people’s ideas and creations. Focused on achieving and amassing, wealth and self, these professions do little to cultivate empathy, instill meaning or create beauty in the world. So why do those professions command respect and deserve greater value?? Simply because they have demanded it.

It’s vital that moving forward we as healers begin to reshape how we value our work, price, prioritize and present what we offer. How much would you pay for a happier, more joyful and meaningful life? Let’s stop nickel and diming ourselves with sliding scales, outdated “by donation” payment models and treating our healing sanctuaries like a 24-Hour Fitness. Treat your time and contribution with the honor and respect it deserves, and by doing so we help shift what society values and attaches meaning to in life.

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Don’t Teach, Model: At our Soulstice studios, we have never seen our community more in need of care and healing. Anxiety, depression, hopelessness and despair is epidemic. Approaching our professions with the intention of saving people from their pain will only lead to burn-out. Healers need to Show, not Save. We do this by being brave enough to live differently. Being happy with what we have. Enjoying the freedom that comes with having less stuff. Spending our resources on experiences over acquisitions. Valuing rest, spaciousness and stillness. Being willing to call out unethical behavior and stand up for people who can’t stand up for themselves. Modeling kindness, sharing and curiosity to learn one another’s stories.

We’re on this planet to achieve and contribute, but we’re also here to enjoy, laugh and experience the ease, humor and beauty of being human. As Healers we need to show — not teach — balance, priorities and a new way of being in our world.

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Lose the Guru: As people grow more desperate for a path out of their pain, it is our job to help remind people that every individual already has everything they need within themselves to heal. Our role is to be a catalyst, a spark, a means, a sanctuary, an inspiration to empower people to heal themselves. To pretend or imagine “our way” is the only route or method to healing is doing society a disservice and more of the same limited, ego-centered thinking that got us here in the first place. There is not just one type of Yoga that’s ‘better than’ or Massage Therapist that is ‘most effective.’ We’re all in this together!

We believe everyone’s path is unique, and therefore everyone will have their own very personal experience of healing. Each has their own method, place and timing and none of us truly know what’s best for another person. This is why we will always champion diversity, difference and exploration at our studios, trusting that people can and will grow through making their healing a priority, accessible and available to their daily life. Whether through bodywork, yoga practice, breathwork, meditation, dance, music, mantra, art, qigong or more, we give ourselves the best opportunity for growth when we’re open to a diversity of experience. Healers, we have so much more to gain when we support, respect and learn from each other and come from a place of interdependence and sharing.

As with all healing, once the smoke clears and land beneath us settles, we’ll understand why it was so necessary to live through this incredibly challenging moment in our collective story…. Grateful for our amazing healing community who wake up every day and work toward a more beautiful, giving and kind world. We see you ~ and we thank you.