"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.


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!

The Third Chakra: True Power

This month at Soulstice we’ve been exploring, strengthening and balancing The Third Chakra, also known as our Solar Plexus Chakra. In Sanskrit it is known as “Manipura” — meaning “shining gem”— and is asssociated with our adrenals, gall bladder and liver function. The Third Chakra is our personal power center, influencing our strength of will, vitality, the ability to overcome challenges, make purposeful choices and inspire conscious actions in our lives. The Solar Plexus center governs our sense of self, and is the hearth of our spirit.

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When our Third Chakra is weak or out of balance we can feel confused, frozen or apathetic. We may feel shame or unworthiness and lack trust and confidence in ourselves and our choices. Our energy might be low, our immune system challenged and emotionally we may feel depressed or hopeless. An under-active Solar Plexus Chakra may leave us feeling like passive observers in our lives, helpless and reactive to life’s everchanging circumstances.

Modern society celebrates a certain type of power, related to the acquisition of resources and property, consumption, influence and ownership over others and consolidation of resources. Instead, we would focus on personal power — Empowerment — which gives one a sense of deep knowing, grounding and stability exclusive of worldly notions of power

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How will you feel when your Third Chakra is vital, healed and balanced??

Ability to Be Open, Trusting and Vulnerable

Empowered people are at ease, comfortable in their skin and thoroughly know who they are… They are steady, easy to read and able to be themselves regardless of the setting, circumstances or company. With a strong solar plexus center you’ll be transparent, clear, warm, open and able to express your thoughts, feelings and emotions openly in a healthy, balanced manner.

Ability to Weather Adversity and Loss

A balanced Solar Plexus Chakra is your port in life’s storms, an inner resiliency that can be bolstered and strengthened with spiritual practice. A strong soul can see the longview, move through loss with grace, and remain compassionate and positive during life’s challenges and curveballs.

Ability to Express Needs and Handle Criticism

When you deeply know yourself you’ll come to receive criticism and disappointment as an opportunity for personal growth, learning and expansion. Being able to communicate openly about our needs, standards and preferences creates close, authentic and lasting interpersonal bonds and relationships. The opposite of this is hiding, getting defensive, taking things personally or rejecting/avoiding. Strong souls can both share and receive open, meaningful communication.

Ability to Manifest Goals into Reality

The Solar Plexus Center is the fire and catalyst that brings our dreams to life — it begets action, animation and forward momentum. Thoughts, ideas and visions are manifested into reality by the power of our soul’s deepest intention.

Ability to Apologize and be Accountable

Individuals with a strong sense of self and center are willing to step up and take responsibility when they have made a mistake or caused hurt. They know expressing contrition doesn’t detract from their own sense of self or strength.

Ability to Forgive

Perhaps the greatest test of our inner strength is our ability to forgive the people who have hurt us. To fully live means to open ourselves to the ull spectrum, beauty and heartbreak of what it means to be human… and this means we will open ourselves to experience rejection, abandonment, betrayal and disappointment. Forgiving, appreciating and loving the people who have caused us heartache is healing for you, as well as everyone around you. Forgiveness creates a ripple effect out into the world as well as deeply into our own hearts — by forgiving yourself and forgiving others you create space for healing, self-love and a vibrant life.

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How do we heal and balance our Third Chakra?

Meditation and spiritual practice, breathwork and mindful movement like Feldenkrais and Qigong are all restorative for the Solar Plexus Chakra. Closely linked with the Fire element, bright sunshine is nourishing as well. Travel to new places and break out of your regular routines; challenging your comfort zone and habitual activities will expand and strengthen your Third Chakra. Surround yourself with upbeat, positive and supportive people. Add warming spices such as turmeric, ginger and cinnamon to whole grains, teas and milks.

Release excess energy, anger and resentments through vigorous exercise, cleansing or sweating. Practice yoga asanas, especially upward dog, bow pose, plank, warrior III and child’s pose. Express and release emotions though crying, singing, dancing or artistic pursuits. Meditate and sleep beside healing gemstones like Tiger’s Eye, Citrine or Yellow Calcite. Lastly, laugh! Nothing is more empowering than seeing the humor and levity in life — strong people are able to laugh at themselves and find light in any darkness.

Join our caring team seven days a week and nurture your chakra system through massage, meditation and movement practices — find true strength and empowerment by cultivating your own internal fire!

Ground to Grow…get Embodied to create your best life!

This winter at Soulstice we’re exploring and experiencing the concept of getting Grounded into our bodies. “Getting into our bodies” is a phrase we use a lot at the studio, and it can be mystifying to folks new to our community. What does it mean?? If I’m not in my body, where am I?  Being fully grounded and present in your body means that you — your complete self — mind, body and spirit are intact and aligned. When you are fully in your body, you possess a sense of awareness of your physical body in space, a heightened experience of touch, sensation and sensitivity, and a much greater ability to feel the world around you.

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How do you know when you’re not in your body?? Here are some signs that you need Grounding:

  • feeling scrambled, restless or impatient

  • rushing for no reason

  • forgetting and misplacing things

  • acting busy but unproductive

  • repeating lots of unnecessary or incomplete acts

  • changing your mind frequently

  • indecision, or feeling ‘frozen’ by overwhelm

Conversely, when you get Grounded, you’ll experience:

  • being able to experience your own energy and not be swept into the moods of others

  • feeling a steady state of protection and safety

  • experience a sense of ease in your body, fluid movement to the way you move through the world and less static in your interactions

  • enhanced Creativity and Intuition

  • a more dynamic, richer experience and understanding of your own feelings, thoughts and emotions

  • a comfort and confidence in being in your own skin

  • …more luck, wonder and serendipity!

Sounds pretty amazing, right? How and where do I sign up?

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The first step to getting Grounded is being honest with yourself about the ways we get in our own way of being in our bodies — I like to call them the three D’s: Discomfort, Drama and Distraction. Once we witness all the ways in which we wriggle away from our own discomfort and layer our lives with distraction and drama, we can create the space and internal sanctuary that encourages and allows Groundedness to blossom.

Discomfort: Pain, suffering, loss, sadness. Grief, heartache, longing. All of these feelings are a necessary, unavoidable experience of living a fully, truly lived human experience. And increasingly, we’re not super great at it. In modern society entire industries have been built around getting us out of our own physical and emotional discomfort. We self-medicate in so many ways to ease, bypass or numb our way through dealing with the challenges of life. Chronic pain, anxiety and systemic health conditions can make it extremely challenging to be in our bodies and present to its conditions; however it’s vital we choose and develop coping skills that enhance feeling (meditation, massage, yoga) while easing pain rather than numbing feeling (through drugs, alcohol, apathy and prescription painkillers.)

Drama: One of our common human tricks to avoid working on our inner world is to create constant, unending drama in our outer world. We have a tendency to cling to unhealthy relationships, enable or enact dysfunctional behaviors or become mesmerized by the drama of strangers through modern media. Our quiet, inner spiritual world might seem pretty boring when compared with the entertainment, noise and stimulation of television, the internet and social media. But once you simplify your days with only what brings you personal joy, growth and purpose, your experience of life will become infinitely richer. We evolve alongside — and with — the company we keep.

Distraction: Modern media and technology provide endless opportunities for distraction from being present within ourselves. And this is even more true in areas of privilege where we have so many plausible reasons to busy ourselves with achievement, financial success, self-promotion and goal-oriented hobbies. It’s impossible to develop a healthy self-awareness, emotional intelligence and lasting connection of Groundedness when all of your mental attention is focused on the next activity, achievement and acquisition. Our media is entertaining theater, surely, but it traps us in a state of unreality and disconnection. Getting Grounded into your body is the ultimate way to sweep the mental clutter aside so you can think, feel and act from a true sense of reality and awareness. In this space we can begin to see, imagine and ultimately create the possibility of a different kind of world and lived experience.

Curious to explore more?? Please join us on Friday evening February 22, 2019 in Sausalito for an inspiring, enlightening talk by Terrie Burns. In this interactive evening, Terrie will explore and explain why getting Embodied is vital to our evolving world… Please register in advance and join us!

About Soulstice Mind + Body Spa:

Based in beautiful Sausalito, Marin County, Soulstice is an innovative massage + meditation studio offering an array of mind-body services in an accessible way. Heal, restore and renew with our diverse team of talented, professional massage therapists and world-class teaching team of meditation and movement instructors. Become part of our community and enjoy 20+ weekly classes, expert bodywork and dynamic workshops seven days a week. Experience all the benefits of a regular meditation and massage therapy practice and transform your life — mind, body & spirit!

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.