Monday, June 28, 2010

Happy Independence Day!

  ©Not Me
 As of today I am out of town until Wednesday, July 7th, celebrating with my family the coordinated commission of high treason against the British crown and our resultant liberty and freedoms!  I will be back to work July 8th.

Remember!: Don't drink and drive, don't point fireworks at people or other flammable objects (like dry grass, houses, and tents), use non-toxic (to you) bug repellant, stay hydrated, and be grateful for what you have because so many people in the world couldn't even dream of 1/10th of what we take for granted.  We are greatly blessed, in spite of our shortcomings.

May you all have a wonderful Independence Day and be healthy, safe, happy, and well.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ha ha, very funny, June 18. You got me!

I posted last immediately before I left for class this morning.  I crated the dog in the garage, popped open the side door so she could have air, but blocked it partially so it would stay closed, and left.  Morning class was great, we talked about labor and postpartum and essential oils.  I considered staying for lunch to watch The Business of Being Born, but I had little cash, no packed lunch, and food at the house to consume before departure.  So I returned.

The dog came trotting out to the street to greet me.  She had chewed her way out of her crate, squeezed out the door, under the wheelbarrow blocking the hole she recently dug in the gate, and plopped down outside after who knows what exploits and wanderings.  Just great.  So I called my sister to let her know, she asked for the number for the dog rescue they got the dog from, hoping to have them pick her up and they'd figure things out after they get home, Monday night or Tuesday morning.  I had to return to class, so I just hid everything edible, closed all the interior doors, and left.  I was already fifteen minutes late.

I hit traffic.  Make that 25 minutes late.

Two of my classmates were outside the room, visibly upset, and the one's sister wasn't present for our postpartum demo/practice.  Not good.

I ended up doing half the demo practice on a classmate who had brought her 5 month old son in.  It was a great honor and a pleasure to work with them.  He was so cute, hanging out with Mom on the massage table.  He even fell asleep until I put her into seated position.  They were such a beautiful, peaceful pair.  It was an amazing experience to participate in.

Our last hour of class was spent in mixing massage oils and lotions.  We were having a ball, getting "high" off the essential oils we were blending.  It was amazing.  Such a giggle-fest.  It felt wonderful.  And then I looked at my oil bottle (carrier oil with e.o.s mixed in) and went "....There's bits of plastic in my oil."  The e.o.s had eaten the plastic.  It did this for no one else.  I went and got another bottle, repeated... same result, different kind of bottle.  I know that essential oils do that-they eat/digest/break down plastic if they're not in a carrier oil-but... they were in a carrier.  And it happened to no one but me.  I thought maybe it was because I perhaps hadn't swirled them into the oil soon enough, I let them stand for quite a few minutes on top of the oil, but when I redid it in another bottle, that layer wasn't on top for more than a minute while I was getting the blend poured before I shook it up.  Both have sizable flakes of plastic floating in them, so they're useless to use on other people.  I'll use them for diffusing and on myself, but for clients, no.  Speeeectacular.  But at least I have lotion that is hopefully uncontaminated.  That should last me for a little while.

The guy from the dog rescue just called and I'll be dropping the dog off at his place in a little bit.  I'd best get on that now.  I have no idea if I'm leaving tonight or not, I may be too tired.  I'll just have to see when I get back from dropping the dog off, since I can't go straight home from there.  I have to unload a crapload of supplies from my back seat to even make room for her.  Blah.

Well let's get this show on the road so tomorrow can be be less roller coaster-y.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Almost done

This week has been... amazing.  I've learned so much, and there's so much more I haven't learned yet.  The class ends tomorrow and I really don't want to go home, it's that good.

A little background: When I was at infant massage training back in March, I browsed through the school's pictures of staff members, and ran across a familiar name: Stephanie Halderman.  Under her picture was listed "Pregnancy Massage".  I knew Stephanie's name from around town, from my acupuncturist, from the yoga studio, and from the fact that her business used to be directly above the salon.  Well fancy that!  So, I grabbed a catalog of classes for the rest of the year.  (I love that HAI offers such a variety of classes and it's 20 minutes from my sister's house.)  Pregnancy massage would be offered in a few months from that time.  I debated and researched other programs online.  Some of them had fancy registered names and certifications to go with them, but they offered fewer hours, or were far away.  I e-mailed Stephanie after I got home to see if she would be offering the class locally (Why drive 2-3 hours if you don't have to?) and she would, but later in the year, and she hadn't figured out where yet because of some business issues.  After quite a bit of contemplation and weighing pros and cons, I decided I didn't want to wait and signed up as soon as I had the deposit.

So here I am, looking at the end of the five-day course and wishing there was another five days, or wishing I could take it over, again.  I really feel like I could and get even more out of it.  I struggled the first few times we tried the massage, especially with a couple of the new stretches we've learned.  I was getting excessively frustrated on Wednesday with what I saw as "not getting it" to the point where I almost started to cry during the massage.  However, during our work yesterday, everything started to click.  I started to understand, and things began to click and become more natural to me.  I was elated.  I was on top of the world!

I can't fully express how wonderful this week has been.  I feel, I know, I am where I belong.  This is what I'm supposed to be doing.  I just found out a friend is pregnant and was able to counsel her on some solutions for her early symptoms.  The woman I worked on yesterday totally wanted to know if I'd be in the area for massage.  I ran into a pregnant cashier at Whole Foods yesterday and gave her my card and told her to call me with any questions.  I'm going to tell my classmates about her in hopes one of them will be able to pick her up as a client.  It's all just coming together so beautifully.  I need to write an ad today to post online.  I need to set aside some time tomorrow to work on my website.  It's just awesome.

I'm happy. :D

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Monday, June 14, 2010

Out of Town: Continuing Education

I'm presently out of town in Roseville/Citrus Heights to attend a pregnancy massage class over the next five days.  I'm sure I will have copious amounts of awesome to talk about and will endeavor to actually blog about it.

Take it easy!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Abundance is...

Grain by Petr Kratochvil

Leave a comment with your definition of abundance.  Thanks!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Getting selfish

Apple Blossom by Josef Petrek

It is not generally in my nature to be selfish.

As anyone knows who has been following me for at least the past few weeks, I've been going through a lot of transition lately, in business and in life.  It occurred to me earlier as I was thinking about the contents of this post that  I may have come off as self-absorbed or self-impressed.  I'm not, it's just been a very different experience  and a lot to process, so I may wax wordy.  But if you continue reading this, you get to deal with it!  Yay!

(Thank you for sticking around.)  I got a call yesterday afternoon from my boss at the bead store.  I was hoping it would be to schedule a meeting I left her a note about, but she was asking if I would be able to work this Saturday in place of her business partner who wants to hold a garage sale.  However, I have two other obligations I cannot/don't want to get out of that take up pretty much my entire day, so I won't be able to help there.  Usually I'd feel worse about not being able to contribute, but for once I don't.  I am standing firm in the knowledge that I have my own priorities, and it's okay.

Her next question was whether I'd be able to work Fridays because the same partner wants to travel again like she did last year.  I said probably-maybe but I'd have to check my schedule and get back to her.  This one's a little more complex.
  1. I would have to switch my rental days to Monday-Thursday, making the whole weekend available for another practitioner to share the space, if the salon found another.  That could be very appealing to another therapist, more than Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday.  Having invested as much as I have in time, energy, and money into making it my space, I'm not sure I'm keen on that clean of a split. 
  2. Renting the salon for five days will likely end up costing an extra $100 per month due to a gaff on my part with the rent for four days.  Whether I am presently at the point where I can afford that is questionable, but when she let me off the schedule a couple months ago, I started making plans to fill that time with other things, like work.
  3. Working at the bead store every week brings in a reliable $252 every month.  I like reliable money.
  4. I can earn from one massage more than I can in an entire day working at the bead shop.  That reliable income is three and a half hours of massage or infant classes.  With my upcoming skills and some extra self-promotion, I can make that very easily.
  5. The current part-timer is cutting back to two days (she needs studio time for her real work that pays her mortgage.  Oh, that sounds familiar!) which is what's causing the gap in people working there.  If I refuse to go back, the shop may have to close one day a week.  This is not unheard of, but summer can be a very profitable time, and I'd like to see the shop succeed.

When it comes down to it, though, ultimately I want to succeed.  As noted in previous posts, I am really close to seeing everything I've wanted for the past six years-- a little longer than the bead shop has existed under the current management, in point of fact--come to fruition.  With the small exception of wishing I had a few more square feet to operate and do some retail in, I am on the edge of creating my pregnancy-centric practice.  I'll be able to work and save and feel like I really do "specialize in pregnancy massage".  It's exciting!

And it's impossible to do if I continue trying to shuffle everyone else's needs and dreams into the deck with my own and attempt to keep everyone happy and be everything to everyone.  I've done that for so long because I could, because I wasn't really going anywhere.  Now I've reached that quintessential Anais Nin place: There came a time when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.

I can remain "selfless" (spineless) and continue to work at massage four days a week and make myself available for the bead shop and open myself at the salon to having someone else come into my space on the weekends and do what I'm not.

Or I can become "selfish", do what's right for me, grab my dreams, sprint for that light at the end of the tunnel and take my leap of faith.

I'm going to have to get selfish.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

UPDATE: I talked to my boss and let her know that Fridays are out. Whew. She called this morning to say she wants me back on Wednesdays on a permanent basis, aside from the weeks I've already marked off. While this is a step up, I'm still not thrilled by it. I don't intend to make part-timing there a career, especially when mine is taking off.

I'm considering telling her I'll do Wednesdays until the end of summer.  That will give her plenty of time to find someone (maybe a JC student who can block out a day or two for work or go at night) and I can train them if she needs me to.  It would also give me time to actually build my client base to justify that extra $100 rent expense for the five days.  I mentioned in passing that I wanted to go to full time at massage, and she seemed supportive.  We'll see.

Monday, June 7, 2010

My personal value statement for life and business

I believe we lived before this life as spirit children of God, and every person brings talents, dispositions, preferences, and challenges with them from pre-mortal spirit existence, and that each of us begins our mortal learning experience early in the womb. I believe the way we are nourished in utero, the way we are born, and the way we are treated as infants can impact our development and growth beginning to end, for good or ill, giving us tools to use or challenges to overcome. I believe also that we are each born with the ability to learn and communicate, that infants emerge from the womb as conscious, aware human beings, and do not need to "become" such. I believe that infants should be listened to; they know nothing of guile or manipulation, and thus all needs expressed are valid and warrant the best possible response.

I believe the body is divinely designed for beauty and function, to give pleasure, pain, opportunity, and experience. It is companion to the spirit, and together they form the soul of a person. I believe all have the right to choose how to use or decorate their own body to the point where they do not harm themselves or others, or give offense to God. I believe that the senses have a level of sanctity and should be treated gently, save in the defense of life and safety. I believe touch to be the most sacred of all senses and the most easily offended, and will strive to use it only in kindness, never in violence except in defense of life and safety.

I believe that God is in control of our lives as long and as often as we allow Him to be without attempting to override His wisdom with our own, and the He is the source of all truth, secular and spiritual alike. I believe that all truth is worthy of pursuit and can be found-in part or in full-in many diverse fields and philosophies. I believe that all truth is good to teach and that learning is best achieved by study and inquiry through reliable sources, personal exploration, listening to informed discourse, honest discussion, application of common sense, and inspired confirmation.

I believe charity (Godly love) is our greatest responsibility and education our greatest calling. I believe family life is the highest form of both and "no success can compensate for failure in the home." (David O. McKay) I will strive to gain knowledge, understanding, and experience and to share them with others. I will strive to promote peace and respect among all people, most especially within families and homes. I will strive to facilitate loving ties between parents and children at all stages and uphold those things I believe strengthen the family unit.

Respective of all these beliefs, part of my purpose on earth is to be a place of shelter, a steadfast refuge, and a source of peace in a world at war with itself. I will strive to hold each person in just and loving regard, to see them as God sees them, and behave accordingly. I will seek justice in all matters I can, and leave to God the matters I cannot. I will strive to behave with responsibility and accountability and live my life with honor. I will strive to have dignity, self-respect, and to never compromise my values or the values of those around me.

As I am human, these principles and goals shall be the stars by which I steer, not the sticks with which I beat myself. I will give myself room to make mistakes, to learn, to move forward and grow every day of my life.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Never be Switzerland

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”

“The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.”

Elie Wiesel

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Keeping Baby healthy through surgery: Narectomy

Pursuant to the eradication of all childhood disease and the discouragement of actions considered to be socially distasteful, a new treatment has been developed for the health and welfare of newborns and young babies: narectomy.

Research has determined that the arching cartilaginous structures that form the nostrils (nares) are most likely vestigial and of relatively little biological use today. Particularly in young children, they serve as a wellspring of mucosal secretions that tend to overflow, slimy and stretchy at a wet consistency and crusty and flaky at a drier. This leads to considerable parental inconvenience in keeping the nares clear for proper respiration (contributing to "mouth breathing" if the secretions are too prolific or left alone too long), and derogatory, anti-child phrases such as "snot-nosed kids" that can impact a child's self-esteem, or an adult's desire to become a parent. Drying and crusting mucus also lead to socially inappropriate behaviors like nose picking, and eating or depositing (often on walls, tables, and under desks) of these "boogers".

The nares can also harbor and distribute vast quantities of bacteria and viruses. Influenza, the common cold, allergens and other pathogens congregate inside the nostrils, resulting in infection. Any of these causes can create irritation of the membranes inside the nose, forcing a sneeze reflex that can launch material several feet at alarming speed to infect unsuspecting adults and child. The ability of a single child with "the sniffles" to spread contagion through a population is a well-documented cause of disease.

As a result of these undesirable challenges to daily life, parents may now choose to have their newborn's nostrils "trimmed" or removed entirely for a reasonable fee that is covered by most or all insurance companies. Narectomy will also simplify to process of keeping sinuses open and clear of infection. With proper care, the site will heal within approximately the same amount of time as the umbilical stump, with a lifetime of easy breath to look forward to. This procedure may also reduce incidence of snoring in adulthood, making people with the benefit of narectomy more pleasant to sleep in the same room with.

There may be some loss of smell, but this is estimated to be marginal and will never be missed, as much of this sense is accomplished in the sinus cavity and the tissues above the soft palate, which is unaffected by the procedure. Some children may encounter curious comments because their peers look different from them, but if you inform and empower your child early with the knowledge that you love them and you have provided them with the very best care and have always done what you know is best for them, they will have the confidence to easily give an appropriate response to bring them out on top. In fact, there is no doubt that as the public becomes more aware of the benefits of narectomy, we can all look forward to a future where all children enjoy lives free of the dysfunctions associated with an intact nose.

Sounds ridiculous, right?  Who in their right mind would cut off healthy pieces of their brand new child's beautiful face (arguably the singular area of the body most closely tied with sense of self and identity) just so they don't have to wipe snot or teach not to pick boogers.  Who would hamper a child's immune system by leaving an orifice completely open to the outside world without the protection of nose hair and mucus?  Who would deny their child full use of a sense for their own convenience, or in the hopes that they won't sneeze, get colds, or snore as adults?

No one.  Unless there was an inescapable medical reason for amputation, Child Protective Services would get called on a parent who had such a procedure performed on a newborn as a cosmetic alteration.  Even in the event of a medical need for such surgery, great expense and effort would be made to reconstruct and restore what was taken. 

But there are benefits, aren't there?  Sure, maybe some of the claims made above are exaggerated and a few are complete fallacies, but...  No, you can't really justify excising a child's nostrils.

So why do we--speaking of secular English-speaking cultures--persist in carrying on the practice of infant male circumcison?  Benefits of cleanliness, ease of care, cosmetic appearance, disease prevention, and more are frequently circulated as justification, but the fact remains: Circumcision removes highly vascular (lots of little blood vessels), highly sensitive (lots and lots of nerve endings), functional, useful, healthy tissue from arguably the area of the body most closely tied with a male's sense of masculine identity.  Without giving the penis owner a choice.  Without asking for consent he is also unable to give.  It is an act of mutilation that removes approximately one-third of what would otherwise become mature penile tissue, can alter brain function/cause brain damage, hamper the ability to bond or breastfeed, can lead to sexual dysfunction, and can even result in death (something you will almost never be informed of by a doctor.)

We are doing better: 56% in 2005 compared to 70+% in previous decades.  However, it's still more than half.  It's too many.  Why?  "So he looks like Dad" and "so he doesn't get infections" are not sufficient excuses to do this to your baby. (Warning: Graphic video with sound.)  Children are not exact replicas of their parents; no other permanent, surgical alteration is made to attempt replication.  Children get infections (even chronic ones) in lots of places that we don't cut up to prevent them.  The logic does not hold.

Girls are spared from this indignity in our society.  Boys should be, too.  Let's do better.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

The light at the end of the tunnel

After this post, what follows might seem a little "well, duh, what else did you expect?" but it startled me, nonetheless.  This has been happening to me a lot lately.  At the ripe ol' age of 28, I've been coming to terms with the fact that ten years ago, I did not walk across my graduation stage with my Senior class, but received notice of my graduation the next day.  (Ooo, that still kind of stings.  Stay in school, kids, and do your homework and turn it in.  You won't regret it.)  Half of my life ago, I was a Freshman.  I am closer to turning 40 than I am to having been a Freshman.  I graduated from massage school six years, one week ago.  The crease between my lips and the apple of my cheeks is becoming my noticeable when my face is at rest.  I'm becoming increasingly aware of the fact that I don't feel that different than I did at eighteen, just with the experience (or lack thereof in some cases) of the intervening years.

And now, at long last, I'm accomplishing some of my goals.  I'm finally getting this business thing down after three or four failed attempts.  In two weeks, the final Giant Bill of Doom will be paid.  This Saturday, I'll have students.

Students.  I'll be a teacher.  People will look to me for information.  It's a whole other ball game from teaching in church, let me tell you, where most people have a knowledge base on which to expand.  There's still certification ahead of me, yes, but I'll be educating people.  I'll be fulfilling a goal six-plus years in the making.

Now what?

Pregnancy massage.  Infant massage.  I'll have the chance to succeed and live the life I've dreamed of for years.  No more massive goals and desires and plans arching over my head.  It's as if July is looming, rushing toward me with tremendous speed and brilliant light.  This is the leaping off point.  This is where my running start ends and the work of flight begins.  Yes, there's still doula work waiting in the wings (no pun intended), but I have this profound sense that everything is about to change, that I have only empty, open, blue sky before me, a great expanse of opportunity.

Awesome. :D

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage