Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Out of Town: Travel

As of this afternoon, I am out of town and out of the salon until Monday, October 4th. There will NOT be a Walk-in Wednesday next week, September 29. I'm going to Utah to visit and meet various friends. I'm very excited about this trip, I've been planning it for months. I get to take my first two train rides ever, there and back (which could be awesome or miserable, depending on the width of the seats.) I'll be hosted by one of my earliest crunchy friends, and get to met a whole bunch of crunchy friends from online. Take care, faithful readers and clients, and try not to miss me too badly! I'll be back on the fourth.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Wise Woman Ways Loves Rough

© New Moon Visions & Mara Berendt Friedman
This image graces the northeast corner of my workroom.

An excerpt from Susan S. Weed's Healing Wise:

Just as receptive power seems a contradiction in terms to some, so too does rough love.  Compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love evoke a sense of squishy soft acceptance to many.  In the Wise Woman tradition, love is rough, real, truthful, and unattached to outcome.  In the Wise Woman tradition, love says "no" as often as it says "yes."

The Wise Woman tradition sees compassion as passionate.  Passion shared is compassion.  Passion is rough; passion is wild.  Screams and shouts and tears and touches are part of living with passion, being com/passionate in the Wise Woman way.

Forgiveness is focused on self, in the Wise Woman way, and believe me, that can rough.  Forgive yourself for being hurt, for suffering, and love yourself enough to tell yourself the truth about it.  Is it time to say "no"?

In the Wise Woman tradition, forgiving ourselves opens our vision to our limits, to our cramped spaces, to our self-inflicted prisons.  Keen-sighted from the truth, we see how to free ourselves by setting boundaries that truly protect our fragile aspects yet are moveable, permeable to nourishment, so we receive the intimacy we desire.  Saying "no" leads to unconditional love.

Unconditional love that nourishes the inner being does not tolerate abuse, ugliness, lies.  Unconditional self-love brings self-respect and demands it of others.  Unconditional self-love knows that it is unloving of anyone, self or other, to allow abuse to continue, no matter their age or circumstances.  Loving ourselves unconditionally strengthens our power to say "no" when our heart knows that beauty and the truth are not present.

The wise woman understands that, for most of us, saying "no" is hard to do.  We're afraid that if we say "no," we won't get enough love.  Or worse yet, we won't be allowed to give our love away, and we need to give our love away so we can expect to get love from others.  The wise woman understands that we expect love to come from outside, not inside.  She knows that this expectation, this assumption, this hope--that love comes from outside--prevents us from speaking our truth when our heart demands that we say "no."

Loving ourselves, generating love from inside, not trying to get it from outside, that is the Wise Woman way, a way that allows "no" to reveal its loving nature.

Become aware of how often you do the expected thing, the good thing, the right thing, says the Wise Woman helper, and acknowledge the part of yourself that is a liar, that is afraid to say "no."

Truth and unconditional love support each other.  To love yourself unconditionally, you must tell yourself the truth.  You cannot hear your own truth if you are lying to others.  Begin to tell the truth in the smallest thing.  This brings you wholeness.  Tell the truth often and you will be filled with beauty.  You will have health.  You with walk the beauty way of health/wholeness/holiness.  Your truth will bless all you encounter.  You will be blessed.  Do not be afraid to reveal your own uniqueness, for that is part of your blessing.

I realize this seems to be a bit of a non-sequiter coming out of left field, and in its way, it is and does.  I've been reading Healing Wise for a couple weeks now, picking it up hear and there, now and then and reading a few pages.  This is not how I usually read a book, but I find Healing Wise dense and in need of pondering, much like scripture.  In a way, it is scripture for a new(-ish, to me, in a formal sense) outlook on health and healing.  I find I agree with a lot of it, some of it I don't quite understand, and some of what I do understand, I am not sure if I agree.  Such is the nature of being introduced to new ideas, however, and I am very much enjoying the journey.

Anyway, I found the section quoted above especially powerful and pertinent to my life.  I would have quoted from the section preceding it about unconditional love, but that is thick stuff to get through, and not exactly short.  Maybe I'll type it up later, but right now, no.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Friday, September 17, 2010

Doula-ly Humbled

As my loyal readers will remember from a few posts ago, I am not a practicing doula, no matter what the blog's title said.  (And yes, I've been prevailed upon to keep it.  For now. *Dun dun duuuuuuunnnn*)  I trained through DONA in July 2008 and while I've been active in my doula group and a mostly faithful attendee to our various meetings and events-more than most-I never did certify or actively pursue it much further as part of my career.

In that time, I've had a few friends get pregnant and/or have babies (some are still pregnant.)  I've never really put it out much that I'd like to be anyone's doula, mostly out of my own insecurity because I wasn't super close with most of the women I've known who got pregnant.  A few, though, I am close with or have been in the past, three in particular come to mind.  One I was her doula for her the first baby, but will not be for the second.  One, I was kinda of... dodging because I didn't want to get asked again to be the godmother of a baby I'd have no way of taking on if something happened.  And the third...

I was on the phone with the other night.  She's probably reading the post right now.  (Hello, my lovely.)  Anyway, we were talking about an upcoming appointment with a midwife that I'll get to attend with her, and she mentioned her dismay at reading that I'm not actually a doula because she had been considering asking me, on top of wanting my advice during said appointment, as a doula.

Yeah.  That kinda hit it home.  I know I admitted it myself, but that just made it very, very real to have it come from someone else.  I feel like I have and am missing these opportunities to be with my friends as they go through this transformational experience, and they (I speak of women in my circle in general, not these exact friends only) were my inspiration for being a doula, the ones I primarily want to serve.  I don't resent any of their perceptions or decisions, because... well, I kind of knew it would happen.  I set myself up for it, really, and lo and behold I'm reaping what I sowed.  It's no one's fault but my own.

But that really got me thinking again.  I do love the work of doulary.  I believe it's important, and I'll never have an "easier" time than now fitting it into my (unmarried, childless) schedule.  DONA may not be the right fit for me, even if I love their program.  I think I mentioned once quite some time ago, my desire to learn through Birth Arts International.  Their program encompasses herbalism and the Wise Woman tradition on top of the doula training, which checks off a couple little tick marks in my head.  The requirements are also more extensive than DONA, which is at once daunting and exhilarating.  I know I couldn't likely finish any certification by the time my friend is due, but I feel like I need to get back on the path and move forward, you know?  (Same goes for my infant massage certification, too.)

Ah, my scatterbrain life.  Nevertheless, it was a kick in the butt to know, "Hey, you're disappointing more people than yourself," and one I probably needed. So, I'll have to humble myself here, and start to reading, and getting going in all the directions I should. 

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Even worse than formula: Screencaps from "Ads that just don't work anymore"

My voice teacher forwarded me this email with just over a dozen vintage advertisements that "just don't work anymore" because of cultural shifts over the past 60-70 years, particularly in the realms of "don't treat women like crap."  (Spanking your wife for not "store testing" the coffee to see if it's fresh?  Seriously??)  Among these fourteen laughing stocks were these two gems I just had to screen cap and consolidate for your viewing pleasure/amusement/horror/ridicule.  Click to enlarge.


The first time I ever heard that even today there are people who bottle feed toddlers and even infants with cola, I was horrified on the teeth-rotting factor alone!  I think I was in my early teens at the time.  Now I'm just... oh man.  The rationalization advertising companies have to put up to "justify" feeding your kids crap is mind-boggling in its outlandishness, aggressiveness... and consistency.  We still see ads like this for food replacement products and poisons that "Won't kill you immediately!™" all the time, including formula.  I call this one worse than a formula ad because at least formula-while it is extremely inferior to breastmilk-does have nutritive value; Sodas can't even pretend to be a form of natural foodstuff.

Well I guess they can pretend, but until they advertise it as a replacement for water...

Oh.  Never mind.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Amethyst Network: Summoning the power of Tweeps

This post is specifically for my Twitter followers, so hopefully a good number of you have clicked my link and are reading this now. PLEASE DON'T STOP READING AT THIS POINT! Keep going, I need your help.

As mentioned a couple weeks ago, I'm one of the founding members of The Amethyst Network, a non-profit that will help provide doulas for parents going through miscarriage.  We barely have a website, we're coordinating via Facebook and a forum that's not even public yet, we haven't filed any paperwork, I don't think, and we already have a call.  This work has a lot of people excited, but while we're getting the organization put together, we can't afford to lose steam, and we want to start helping where we can.

Unless I get nixed by the other founders, I'm going to set up a Twitter account to help get the word out if/when we get more of these calls.  Twitter has a much further, more effectively targeted potential reach for us at this point: each of us only has a few hundred FB friends, and we only have 140 Likers so far.  We're growing, but we're far shy of our goals.  However, many of you, my dear Followers, have an existing network of birth lovers, doulas, midwives, moms, dads, and other people whose lives or hearts have been touched by the pain of miscarriage and could be willing and able to help.  You are spread out across the United States and across the world, and you can get the word out.

What I'm asking from you is to follow @amethystnetwork, add it to your lists, do whatever you need to keep an eye out for us.  Then when you see a call come for a RT... Retweet!  You may have someone in the area that we need, who can help us help mothers, fathers, families, and friends cope with the pain of losing a cherished baby.

Thank you for your attention.  You can go forth, now.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Adieu to No-Poo

This post is not scatological, I promise.

I've been doing No-Poo for about six months now (it was one of the first posts on this blog) and the first couple of months, I really enjoyed it.  However, about half way between then and now, I stopped having the same spiffy results.  I've carried on boldly in spite of it, figuring that I had caused it by shampooing after Independence Day and it just had to stabilize, but that never really happened.  My hair simply continued feeling grimy and heavy.

Therefore, today I gave up the baking soda and lemon water, and bought some Lavender-Ylang ylang shampoo and conditioner.  I lathered twice, and I think it may taken another application to get back to the texture I like, but I'm feeling much more normal, now.

So after my six month experiment, I'll say this: As a once-in-a-while thing, maybe it wouldn't be so bad.  If I get to a time in my life where I must live on a shoe string, I know I can get by with baking soda and lemons for at least part of my hygiene routine.  Actually with various scarves and bandanas, I can cover any bad hair days, too.  All hail the lazy!  But no-poo wasn't a horrible way to b for a while, and I feel confident that I gave it a good, fair try out.

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Friday, September 10, 2010

Pondering a name shift, and hosting shift

If it's before September 14, you may (or may not) have noticed my poll.  So far, my results are one for No! and one for Why?

The only one I can address is Why?, so here it is.

I love doulary, I really do.  I'm passionate about birth, I believe every woman who wants one absolutely deserves access to a doula, I believe the presence of a doula can really augment and improve the birth experience, whatever that experience is.  I believe in the work... I just haven't been participating in it, not once since my training in July of 2008.  I have a doula heart, but not the street cred, if you will, and out of respect for the work and the professionalism of my fella doulas, I'd prefer not to refer to myself as one "professionally" (this is still technically my business' blog) until and unless I get my ducks in a row.  When it comes down to it, I'm a birth junkie massage therapist more than a doula.

I know I just included myself in the world of doulas while excluding myself just a moment ago.  I do still consider myself doula, but in a very casual way.  If someone came to me and said, "I really want you to be my doula", I wouldn't automatically turn them down.  I would be honored to be there for them, especially someone I love.  I know perfectly well that being certified or not doesn't mean a lot from a legal standpoint; no one's going to come and say "You can't call yourself a doula because you're not certified!"  However, I'm making my own distinction.  It's a little like saying, "I sometimes go hiking with my friends" rather than proclaiming "I'm a hiker!"  I love the work, but it's not my Work; massage is my Work and in time I hope to add labor massage to my repertoire, but that's not doulary.

Added to the above, the subjects I like to talk about here in my blog and on Twitter have a range that extends beyond pregnancy and labor into general health, herbalism, healing, spirituality/religion, child development, and life in general.  I try to look at life via the Wise Woman way: very holistic, working toward healing/wholeness/holiness with (shocking enough!) wisdom, and compassion, and looking at "problems" as opportunities to progress, rather than something that must be fought against and conquered.  I've been reading Susan Weed's Healing Wise, which is a fabulous book that helps outline what the Wise Woman way is, and serves to remind us that very often, we already know it.  I'm learning a lot, and gaining deeper understanding of a lot of things about this way, but it's not necessarily new; these are mostly concepts I've been introduced to before, whether by others or by my own pondering.  Given all of this, I'm feeling this reawakening urge to be a Wise Woman, to heal in ordinary ways, to nourish, teach, and follow the invisible traditions of my foremothers.

Healing doesn't always need to be an elaborate concoction of expensive mechanical protocols.  Sometimes those measures are called for, even in the Wise Woman way, and when they are, aren't we all glad we have them?  I wouldn't have some very dear people in my life without mechanical protocols, but they are not always indicated, and it is that path--seeking for healing/wholeness/holiness even as you accept the truth of what is--that I want to follow and present in my eclectic way.  It is that very eclectic nature that says to me that I need a broader term than only calling myself a doula (when I barely am one) or only a massage therapist (especially since that's such an awkward term; can you imagine a blog called "The Abundant Massage Therapist?"  Where's the subtle poetry in that?)

So there my long-winded reasons for considering the name change.  Huzzah.

In other news, I'm waiting to hear back from my current hosting company about canceling my service.  I've been with them since their start-up in 2006, and they're a very good company with a good service for providing massage therapists with user-friendly, decently attractive websites, especially if you don't want to spend gobs of money initially paying someone else to build your site.  However, I've found the amount of money I've spent in four years compared to the clients I've received as a result of the site to be, shall we say, grossly disproportionate.  I also want to integrate some features on my site that are impossible to achieve through their service.  Therefore, I'm hoping I will have authority over my domain by tonight, or Monday at the latest, and can begin building a new site.  You might even see this blog become the front page of in the interim!  We shall just have to see.

UPDATE: I have control of my domain name.  Woo hoo!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Ring of Stewardship

I'm a bit of a geek, I admit, and I love the Lord of the Rings. The whole ring concept that the trilogy (quadrilogy, if you count The Hobbit) hinges on fascinates me, that the rings were not only symbols of power, but tools of power, as well. They represented authority and the ability to act upon the will of the bearer.

Picture from
I think we all need our own Rings of Power in life, tokens to which we attribute a special meaning.  Most married people have one already, in their wedding ring.  Graduates often have a class ring.  There's promise rings, engagement rings, purity rings, CTR rings, WWJD rings, friendship rings, signet rings, claddagh rings... the list goes on.  There's just something about a ring that is a powerful part in the human experience.  (Or hobbit.)

So, I've produced for myself a Ring of Stewardship.  I've been thinking about stewardship for a while, and come up with this working definition: The responsibility to make wise decisions and the power act upon them on behalf of one with higher authority on the matter in question.  This has been of particular interest to me with regards to my personal health, as well as my finances, business practices, etc., but mostly health.  I feel that I should be and am accountable to a higher power for the way I use and treat my physical body, a fact that is very easy to forget when I'm bored-hungry in the evenings and go for the closest, most convenient piece of something edible in the kitchen.  This has not been a particularly nourishing way to live; I've gained quite a bit of weight lately and I'm definitely feeling it.  Instead of saving for a gym membership, I've been eating cake.  This is not the path I wish to travel, for yonder lies an early grave at the end of many uncomfortable, preventable complications.  I need a reminder to help keep me on track, an extra visual cue, something I can give a meaning to that will help me stay true to my desires.
Picture from

I don't wear rings in general because I can't wear them while I work, and I'm afraid I'll lose them if I remove them.  However, I'm not always working, so I one from my small collection, a favorite that I wear even less than the others. I had been doing my monthly fast anyway, so when I prepared to break it, I included an extra dedication in my prayer.  The ring became my Ring of Stewardship, my reminder, my permission to be great and true, my empowerment to make the right decisions without fear.  I plan to wear it as often as I can.

Fickle being that I am, I will likely change my mind on which ring embodies the symbol for me on a given day, and I say that's okay.  I give myself that permission.  The greatest importance I lay on the matter is that I wear something that makes me feel beautifully whole, the best quality I want to emulate as I exercise stewardship over my body. It may be as elaborate as my water ring or as simple as an Argentium band.  (Not that one, but I really like it.)

Here's to personal rites and ceremonies.  While you're go about your days as our world rolls toward a new season, consider making up a few rites and ceremonies of your own.  No one else has to know, and they don't need to mean anything to a single other soul in the world.  After all, it's not like you need to blog about it, too.  (But if you do, come back and leave me a link in the comments so I can see!)

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Monday, September 6, 2010

Go Local: Milk & Honey

Just a quick post to show some love for a local business: Milk & Honey: Treasures and pleasures of the goddess.

This charming little shop has been in Sebastopol almost as long as I can recall. They have books, artwork, clothes, home decor, and jewelry fit for a goddess, Pagan or not. The latest addition to the shop is the Goddess Lounge, an arrangement of comfy couches, chairs, and tables for resting and/or taking in a refreshment from their cafe. They have all local and organic coffees, teas, and elixirs. I just had a hot (coconut) milk and honey drink with a shot of their Sanctuary elixir. Oh my gosh, so yummy. I will be ordering that again! They also have a small selection of nibbling things, and free wi-fi, which I'm taking advantage of while my home internet has completely crapped out on me this weekend.

It's a great little shop, just about 50 yards door-to-door from the salon, so if you've got time and inclination, I highly recommend popping in and saying hello to their friendly-yet-low key staff!

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Amethyst Network

I've been keeping mum on this subject until now (for all of about a week) but since the lady who kicked this idea off the ground announced it officially on her Facebook page, I feel it's appropriate to blog about it!

A couple weeks ago, an idea started to form in my friend Jenni's mind, an idea about doing good in the world on a matter close to her heart. She researched a little and found a blog post related to her idea. Someone out there was thinking about it, too. She contacted another blogger she'd been following for a few years, and myself (I had expressed interest in helping when she mentioned this idea originally) and the four of us became the founding members of The Amethyst Network: "a nationwide network of doulas working together to support parents during and after miscarriages."

The need for this work is so great that interest is exploding, and we're not even fully functional yet. We don't have a website beyond the Facebook Page, we don't have a bank account or PayPal to accept donations (hopefully we will by the end of the day), our logo is still in development, and our idea is constantly shifting and evolving as we decide what we are and what we'll do. We had people joining the Facebook page before we could set it to Private for the admins to build it. The idea of a doula for miscarriage is really resonating with a lot of people.

Our plan is to officially launch the website in October, on or near the 15th for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and the International Wave of Light.  I'll keep you updated as we go along, and let you know what's new.

If you are a certified doula or a mother who has been through miscarriage, and are interested in joining our doula network, please contact us at theamethystnetwork at gmail dot com

Jena Vincent of Abundance Massage