As many of you know, I'm pretty passionate about massage therapy and bodywork, having dedicated much of the last couple of decades to this beautiful art, science and craft. Soulstice Spa grew out of my own love of massage and individual practice of many years in San Francisco, a desire to make this meaningful work available and accessible to more people and wish to create a community where our clients and staff alike could relax, improve their health and well-being, and be cared for with loving kindness. I've seen first-hand the power of touch and its ability to heal the body and spirit, and every day I pinch myself that I get to work alongside my incredible staff, do this wonderful work I believe in so much, and do so in two of the most gorgeous places on earth.
Since Soulstice Spa opened in Sonoma Wine Country in 2012, and more recently in Marin County in 2015, we have been blessed to have the most enthusiastic, appreciative and supportive customers. Over the past few years we've listened and learned, cared for people through life's ups and downs, and tried to figure out what we can do to help bring more comfort, growth and happiness to people's lives. Our answer is Meditation.
Personally, I've dabbled with meditation off and on over the past twenty years, but it is only in the last year or so of regular, daily practice has it had a remarkable effect on my happiness and well-being. Massage Therapy has myriad, amazing physical and emotional benefits, but nearly all of us could use a mental "check up from the neck up," and this - more than anything else I've come across - is where meditation can change your life.
Here are a few of the reasons why I meditate:
- Meditation builds resiliency. Research has shown that regular meditation is beneficial to brain health and healthy aging. It keeps your memory sharp, your attention focused and ability to remain present in the face of distraction. When you are mentally strong, you're much better able to handle and cope with stress and adversity. You'll bounce back more quickly from disappointments and bring your best to your daily life and interactions.
- Meditation yields equanimity. Many people mistakenly believe that regular meditation numbs or sedates your emotions... quite the opposite! What meditation does provide is a little cushion of space between your emotions - and you. Instead of feeling overcome by your emotions, you still feel them - purely and deeply - but no longer react to them so strongly. Meditation allows you to feel calm, balanced and grounded, and you'll naturally notice yourself becoming more patient, tolerant and forgiving.
- Meditation, for me, has had an unexpected cleansing effect for both my physical and mental world. Always sensitive, I've had a lifelong struggle of balancing a passionate personality with a delicate nervous system that gets easily overwhelmed with too much stimulus or stress. I notice now that I need a lot less... of everything. When you feel full - of love, of contentment, of peace - you don't feel the need to look to other people or to things (food or alcohol, shopping or consumerism) to fill the gap. The gap grows more and more shallow with regular meditation; one day you'll simply notice yourself craving less of everything external as your inner self becomes fuller and fuller.
Meditation creates space and time in your life. Many people I know are genuinely concerned about carving time out of their jam-packed days for the time it takes to meditate. Trust me: a daily practice of just ten minutes a day will create more space, time and ease in your day and actually provide you with a sense of more, not less, time. After months of regular meditation you'll notice yourself rushing less, stressing less, and doing everything more slowly and meaningfully. Everything you do will deepen and lengthen very naturally, whether it's the pleasure of a meal, hugging someone you care about, even a simple hello and brief interaction becomes more significant. It's not as though any of these things have changed; it's that your perception of them has now changed completely for the better.
- Meditation = increases joy. For real. I've always been an optimist to the point of idiocy at times, however I have a bit of a serious streak, a slight Scorpio intensity and tendency to take myself overly seriously at times. Thanks to meditation, I am more light-hearted, swifter to see the humor in situations, prone to smile for no particular reason and by default more grateful and content. When you aren't reliant on other people or external conditions for your happiness, you can be a more authentic and true partner, friend, colleague and lover.
Glowing Health. I have never felt healthier, emotionally strong, physically healthy and comfy in my own skin than I do today, and I credit meditation as one of the daily foundations of a healthy lifestyle. By decreasing one's perception of stress and anxiety, all of your physical systems - immune, digestion, detoxification - are able perform in concert and at their best, keeping you feeling good & strong. Meditation helps keep you young, vibrant and resilient... mind, body and spirit.