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 Pixie's Blog 
Friday, June 25 2010
The true test of the effectiveness of our meditation is how we walk it out into our lives.

Yesterday, I had the most stimulating conversations with two gentleman about focusing and finding balance in jobs that demanded up to 16 - 20 hours a day.

Each time a 20 hour day was mentioned, I asked, "Does it really take 20 hours a day to do your job?"  At first the answer was always a firm "yes" followed by a litany of rationalizations.  Eventually, we reached, "Well, maybe not.  Maybe not if I could focus my energy more efficiently.  Maybe not if I could stop projecting my energy into the future.  Maybe not if I could become more efficient and effective with my time."

Maybe not. 

Maybe your job doesn't take all the energy and stress you invest in it.  Maybe stress has become your default and you feel more than a little bored and unimportant if you're not busy, busy, busy . . .

For me, morning meditation is the most important time of the day.  It allows me to be in a space of balance - even if just for those few moments.  The effect is that throughout the day, when life throws challenges my way, it's easier to come back to center if I started there in the first place.

When asked,  "How should I meditate?  How should I pray?  I asked, "What were you taught in your childhood?  Do that.  Allow that simple practice to be the starting point from which to expand."

However, meditation and prayer are not rituals to be left on the mat as we charge out the door to conquer the world.  They are tools that we can carry with us into the car, onto the freeway, through the door of the office, into the conference room, onto the plane . . . And very often, we do not pick up those tools until we have lost our temper, our job, our spouse, our balance - until we face a situation of chaos that causes us to yearn for balance one more.

The true test of our meditation is how we take it into the market place of our daily lives.

Photo by H.Kloppdelaney on Flickr.com
Thursday, June 24 2010
Why do I ask so many questions the first time you have a massage therapy appointment with me?
 
  • Are you on any medication?
  • If so, what is it for?
  • Have you had any injuries or accidents?
  • Do you have any chronic diseases?
  • Have you recently been sick?
  • What kind of physical activity do you do all day?
  • Do you exercise or play sports?
  • Are there any specific places where you hold muscle tension?
  • How do you feel today?
Lots of questions, huh?  Your answers are my clues that lead me to what is really stressing your body.  If you sit in an office all day at a computer, I know that your neck, shoulders and the middle of your back are probably tense.  You may have a stabbing pain right between your shoulder blades.
 
If you're an athlete, all I need to know is what kind of sports you play.  If you're a runner, I KNOW what it feels like to have tight, quads & hams and an IT band that you could bounce a quarter on.  If you're a weight lifter and you can't turn your neck, chances are that you strained one of the muscles when you were lowering the weight.  If you're a soccer player, you don't have to explain very much about your muscle tension - I feel your pain.

If you're a full-time mom, I understand what it feels like to spend most of your day standing with one hip jutted out of alignment to create a stable shelf on which to sit a toddler.  If you have a newborn, you spend a lot of time with your thoracic spine leaning backward and a newborn baby on your chest. 

See why I ask all those questions at our first session?  Don't worry, you don't have to answer every question every time.  During the following sessions, I usually just ask:

How's your body today?
Sunday, June 06 2010
Body Image - Few Women Like Their Bodies

The one thing I've learned working at White House|Black Market is that almost no woman (at least none that I've met yet) likes her body.  Somewhere in life every woman compares her figure to another woman's figure and finds herself lacking.  Or at some time in life, some jerk has given her a label or made fun of her in some way and that image is indelibly planted in her mind's eye for the rest of her life.

Over the weekend, I worked with a customer who was looking for a special dress for an event.  She wanted a short dress.  She looked good in almost every style I brought her.  Yet every time she tried on a dress, she complained about her "skinny legs".  Finally, after an hour of listening to her complain about her legs, I asked, "Did someone TELL you that you had skinny legs?  Do you know what I would give for skinny legs?"  The answer, of course, was "yes" - someone told her she had "skinny legs".  Her brain translated that into "ugly legs".  Throughout the session, She also complained about having a scar on her knee.  I laughed and showed her my left leg which has various scars from ankle to knee from surgeries to repair sports injuries.  Can you imagine two women in a store comparing scars?

 
Labeled as Children


When I was about 8 or 9 years old, my brother-in-law told me that I was built like a football player- short and stocky.  I heard, "you're short and fat."  No matter what I saw in the mirror or what anyone else told me, that was the image in my mind. 

To add injury to insult, I hit puberty and adolescence in a small Ohio town when the Brady Bunch was all the rage.  When being attractive to boys was of supreme importance, I could not meet the blonde, blue-eyed standard set by Marsha Brady nor did I have the requisite blossoming bust that acts like a magnet to teenage boys.  I had big legs and small breasts.  Once again, all the messages filtered through my mind and the image created there was that I was "short, fat, ugly."

 
Overcoming the Mind's Eye

It wasn't until I started playing soccer (European football) that I started making some kind of peace with my body.  While I was sitting on the ground, all hot & sweaty, taking off my cleats, a man approached me to invite me to play on a 7 v. 7 team.  I felt like a kid on a playground that finally got picked to play ball.  You know the kid - the kid no one wants on their team.  It was that invitation that made me grateful for "small breasts and big legs."  Over 10 years later, I've realized that I'm built for speed, short sprints, small moves . . .

Now I can see myself as I am; not as someone else tells me I am. 

One of the things I love about working in a clothing store and being a professional life coach is that I have the opportunity to work with many, many women on their body image.  Some women have lost large amounts of weight and still choose clothes for a larger body because in their minds, they're still large.  Some women are slender and cannot see themselves honestly.  Sometimes it just take a different size or a little cheer leading to help a woman feel better about herself.  Sometimes I just ask a woman to believe that I believe she can look good, and feel good in her own body.

How do you feel in your body?  What does your mind's eye tell you?  Did someone make fun of you as a kid?

Photo by Will Plant on Flickr.com

Thursday, June 03 2010
Soccer came to me here in Seattle.  All I really did was start thinking about it and talking about it.  A woman showed up one day at White House|Black Market looking for a dress to wear to a wedding.  By the time she left the store, we had connected on the soccer level and she walked away with my name and phone number.  Little did I know that I was living in soccer heaven.

Tonight I played my third game after ACL reconstructive surgery on my left knee last August.  The knee has held up well.  I've recovered my stamina if not my speed which is a big deal when playing 45 minute halves.  As luck would have it, I've joined a team that always plays short with no subs.  We lost tonight but we had some nice "give & goes".

Tonight we played at Starfire Sports in Tukwila, Washington.  It felt like soccer heaven.  Eleven outdoor fields surround a huge athletic center with two indoor fields, a pro shop, weight room and more.

It's such a luxury to play on artificial turf under lights in an outdoor league.  The surface is so smooth compared to the grass fields that are prone to potholes, bare spots and other challenges to a player's ankles and knees.

One of my favorite things tonight was the women's locker room where there were showers.  The last time I played, I wiped my legs down with baby wipes.  Tonight I took a hot shower in the women's locker room. 

It was a good night.

 
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PIXIE STEVENSON, LMP 
Licensed massage therapist, certified professional coach Learn more . . . 
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Massage & Mind/Body Therapy

Pixie Stevenson, LMP - Enigma Wellness

Locations in Kahala and near Kapiolani Park
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96816
Phone:  808-859-8088
Email:  info@enigmawellness.com