“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have”-Eckhart Tolle

I normally steer clear of sharing too much of my personal life online but today I feel compelled and perhaps it is just the only thing one can do when they are facing the grief of losing a loved one.  This post is to honor my ancestors who have passed and to remind us all that this life is short and is meant to be lived in love and gratitude.  The catalyst for this post is the passing of a wonderful woman, my aunt, Rest In Peace Aunt Kathy-thank you for your love, even from afar.

We all know that death is a part of this life and at some point we will each most likely experience the devastation that comes with the loss of a loved one no matter how unexpected, expected or planned for.  Today my family grieves the loss of yet another of our matriarchs, another rock that holds our walls in place.  It is so strange and amazing what times like this do to our lives: we begin to remember that this life is not forever, how important our friends and family really are, the things we have and have not said, the places that we have given forgiveness and the others that we have not, our priorities shift suddenly and every moment seems more drawn out.

I remember the first time I experienced this phenomenon, though I had known death long before this incident, it was in high school that I first understood it’s impact.  An acquaintance of mine, but close friend of my close friends committed suicide and although I did not know her well I was impacted by the way the world felt different with her absence.  I recall thinking to myself how the grass, air, sun, morning dew and just everything seemed different somehow.  The revelation that the world keeps moving despite this great loss was almost too much for my young brain to comprehend.  I have since lost many incredible people in my life and every time I am in awe of learning the same lessons again.  Each time I do my best to remind myself  to continue to give each moment that same weight but somehow that knowing slowly fades.   I see now that this is one of life’s big challenges:  to learn how to be truly present in each moment.

“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have”-Eckhart Tolle

I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my ancestors that have passed, in particular my Dad, Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle and Aunt for giving me so much:  My eyes, my smile, my laugh, my ability to recognize the importance of family, the great joy of being silly and taking things in stride, my ability to adapt, my sincerity, my generosity, my love of the outdoors, my strength, my vulnerability, my spirit, my love of life, my adventurousness and so much more.  I absolutely would not be who I am today without each of your contributions to my life.  Thank you also for your influence on all those that are still enjoying this lifetime-my family, cousins, mom, siblings, niece and nephews.  To all of you: no matter how often we see each other your presence on this planet makes my universe more rich.  I hold a sacred space for you right now as we see this lovely lady off to join the ranks of greatness that await her.

I share this because I know many of you can relate, in my personal list of clients alone there are many whom have shared with me their sadness of loss whether it be recent or long ago.  This type of weary grief sticks to you, often finding a place in your body, mind and spirit to lay it’s heavy head.  By loving ourselves and sharing our experiences we make space for healing and though we may always carry some of the pain of missing our loved ones we must do what we know would make them happiest-Live without limits and celebrate the goodness of their lives.

massage for grief

Here are some tips and resources for you if you are experiencing the massive grief of losing someone you love:

  • Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams-A book that I have read many times and never fails to make me laugh and cry, it deals with the issues of death and dying entwined with a beautiful story of the author’s life.

  • Hospice on bereavement-My dad was in hospice before he passed and I found their literature to be very comforting. It helped me to recognize the stages of my own grief as well as my families.

  • Some of my personal takes on the bereavement experience:  remember that you probably won’t be yourself for a while and that there are many stages of grief that can last for quite some time.  Cut yourself some slack, rest, remember to eat,  spend time alone but don’t isolate yourself from your support network.  Don’t sabotage yourself-ask for/allow for help when you need it.  Don’t make decisions too hastily, rely on someone that you trust who is less affected by the death to help you with important matters.

  • Take care of yourself in whatever ways work for you.  Stress and grief are hard on your mind and body which means you need to take extra good care of yourself during this time.  Eating healthy, drinking water, exercising and doing your best to get enough sleep are the first steps in keeping your energy up for what lies ahead.  Body work such as massage, acupuncture, energy work etc… can be very healing during times of loss because they allow you a safe space to be quiet but not alone.  Body work also helps with releasing endorphin’s, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, improving circulation and promoting restorative sleep.

People deal with death in many different ways and you have to find what works for you to make it through the process without self destructing, most importantly remember that it does get easier and you will find happiness again.  Above all love up the people close to you and live a full and joyful life!  Thank you for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share your tips for surviving the grief process as well as the stories of your loved ones who have passed with us.  I send each of you my sincere love and gratitude and hope you know that whatever role you play at WOTB is significant and wonderful. Have a beautiful sunny day!


Acupuncture for pain and stress

Acupuncture can benefit many types of ailments especially pain and stress!


acupuncture for pain

Acupuncture stimulates the body’s built-in healing mechanisms

Acupuncture “focuses body’s attention” to the injured area and in turn it stimulates the body’s ability to spontaneously heal injuries. As the body focuses on the the micro traumas induced by acupuncture, it also heals any surrounding tissue damage left over from old injuries.

 Acupuncture releases natural painkillers

Inserting a needle sends a signal through the nervous system to the brain, where chemicals such as endorphins, norepinephrine and enkephalin are released. Some of these substances are 10-200 times more potent than morphine!

Acupuncture reduces both the intensity and perception of chronic pain

It does this through a process called “descending control normalization”, which involves the serotonergic nervous system.

 Acupuncture relaxes shortened muscles

This in turn releases pressure on joint structures and nerves, and promotes blood flow.

Acupuncture reduces stress

This is perhaps the most important systemic effect of acupuncture.
Recent research suggests that acupuncture stimulates the release of oxytocin, a hormone and signaling substance that regulates the parasympathetic nervous system. You’ve probably heard of the “fight-or-flight” response that is governed by the sympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system has been called the “rest-and-digest” or “calm-and-connect” system, and in many ways is the opposite of the sympathetic system. Recent research has implicated impaired parasympathetic function in a wide range of autoimmune diseases, including arthritis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.

by Joy Earl, LAc


Joy Earl, LAc

Choose acupuncture for pain and stress and book your appointment with Joy today and learn about the benefits of acupuncture first hand!

Monthly Community Wellness classes begin this Thursday

We are now offering monthly wellness classes on the rooftop deck!

This months class is all about learning how acupuncture can ease your pain and it includes a free cupping demonstration


Why Acupuncture is so great for pain: The rivers of your body

Acupuncture is all over the news lately, everyone is talking about how great it is for pain. Shoulder, knee, back, hip…so long as you have pain, acupuncture is the natural alternative to harsh medications. But why? Have you ever wondered why acupuncture works? How the parasympathetic nervous system is your best friend and your body can, with a little help from acupuncture release the best pain killers around. This is your opportunity to learn how Chinese medicine and your health are mirrored in nature. When you see how the flow of energy or Qi in your body is just like a river, you will soon understand why acupuncture has so much to offer on your path to getting pain free!
Why not join us Thurs June 5th for a fun and interactive talk on Acupuncture and pain free living!!

Join us on Written on the Body’s rooftop deck on  Thursday June 5th from 6:30-7:30pm

Cost: Free!

Please Register HERE now-space is limited

Avoid daylight savings induced zombification

Saturday night I had the pleasure of hosting an incredibly fun 16 year old’s birthday party that included a super cool game called “essence” where one person internally chooses another person in the room and everyone else has to ask questions about the mystery persons essence to find out who it is ie. “If this person were a flower what type of flower would they be?”.  After several rounds of essence, snacks, two delicious types of cake and much fun and laughter we had a fabulous time beating the crap out of a homemade piñata!

piñataHow is it that teen parties can be so much more fun than many adult birthday parties?

This party would have normally ended at the reasonable hour of midnight but of course with daylight savings robbing us of our precious hour we were still cleaning up around 1am.  Needless to say I was shocked when I finally met the pillow a little after two and didn’t wake up until almost noon the next day!  I never sleep that late! I don’t know about you but the week after we spring forward is one of the most difficult weeks of the year for me.   I tend to spend the week in various stages of sleep deprived zombification, so if you interact with me this week please know that my brain is only half alive.

With that said my intention was to write a few tips and tricks on how to survive the insanity of regaining our evening sunlight, however, someone beat me to it.  Massage Book wrote an excellent blog post with great tips on a few ways you can avoid becoming one of The Walking Dead.  Instead of re-writing what has already been done very well I thought I would share:

Don’t let Daylight Savings take away your sleep!

-excerpt of blog post by Massage Book original post 3/5/14


Nap the right way

Taking a nap during the day can be great for productivity and fabulous for health, but you’ve got to do it right. Aim to nap for 20 to 25 minutes; any longer than that and you’ll feel groggy when you wake up and you risk not being able to fall asleep when it’s bedtime. (If you really want to get good at power naps, there’s a whole kit to help you get it right.)

Be mindful of the temperature.

Take a warm (not hot) shower or bath about an hour before bedtime, and keep your room cool at night. The drop in body temperature signals your body to calm so you’ll fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

Turn off the electronics.

OK, so you’ve heard this one. But it’s the most important and the least followed piece of advice.

Get an old-fashioned alarm clock, so you don’t need to use your phone. Turn your phone, iPad, Kindle, or whatever you’ve got off, and put the devices in another room. Yes, a completely different room.

You may think a phone on silent, hanging out on your nightstand, won’t disturb your rest, but it will. Just knowing it’s there puts your body on alert. It’s far too tempting to reach over and “just check a few emails” if you do wake up in the middle of the night. Save yourself. Break this habit.

Get a massage

Yup. Massage can help with sleep issues. There have been several studies demonstrating the efficacy of massage in people with sleep problems, especially when treating secondary issues that may impair sleep, like back pain, pregnancy and migraines.

For more tips check out Massage Book’s full original article here:  http://blog.2book.com/2014/03/dont-let-daylight-savings-take-away-your-sleep/

Sleep like a baby

It’s time to get some sleep

Self-Care for Survival

Self-Care for Survival

I was walking down the street today drinking water, thinking about my to-do list and returning an email on my phone when I happened to almost run into someone who was, I assume from the phone in their hand, doing the same thing.  At this moment I looked around and realized that more than half of the people around me were multitasking in their brains, on their phones and with their bodies.  It occurred to me that this is our world right now; busy, rushed, bursting with activity, layered with tasks and not enough time.  Not enough time especially for ourselves, being a massage therapist has placed the concept of self-care directly in the forefront of my world.  I notice every time I work on someone just how important caring for yourself is and just how low on our priority list it has become.

How many people do you know that are affected by chronic stress, pain or just a general feeling of discomfort?  Perhaps you can relate to some of these feelings?  Lack of self-care in one’s life can lead to stress and pain, stress and pain can lead to disease, depression and an inability to fully function in one’s day to day life.  You may be asking yourself how the heck you are suppose to work self-care into your already overly demanding schedule?  My question is: How are you suppose to keep up with such a high intensity schedule without taking care of yourself?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What in your life is more important than you, your health and your well-being?
  • What are you putting before your own health and well-being, where are you on your “to-do” list?
  • Is the way that you are living your life right now sustainable from the age you are now until retirement?  Do you already have aches and pains, imagine how those might become worse in 5/10/20 years.
  • What will your body/mind/spirit look and feel like long term if you don’t make yourself a priority?
  • Do you want to function at an optimal level in your life? Have more energy now and in the future? Live happy and healthy for many years to come?

Common excuses that might arise at this point are:  lack of funds, no time, family/work comes first-or by giving to work and family I am giving to myself, I can rest when I retire

I challenge you to re-think these excuses and make yourself a priority now by realizing that you are as or more important than anyone or anything else in your life.  The only way for you to be happily successful, functioning at an optimal level and to be healthy and full of energy for many years to come is to treat your body, mind and spirit with care and consideration beginning right now-no matter how young you may be.

Here are a few suggestions on how to treat  yourself with the care that you deserve so that you can stay in the best condition possible for as long as possible:

  • Do what you love and love what you doThis can be a difficult task because it is not always completely easy to accomplish or 100% within our control.  My advise is if you do have the option to make a change into a profession or situation that is fulfilling DO IT even if you will be taking a risk.  If you don’t have this option keep your eyes open for opportunities and make the best of your situation.  Positivity attracts positivity and changing your perspective could change everything!
  • Take time for yourself every single dayEven if you can only set aside ten minutes a day, make those ten minutes only about you. This means putting away the internet and distractions, getting quiet or loud, giving yourself space to breathe, grow and hear what your own internal self is saying.
  • Take mini vacationsIf you find yourself with a busy schedule that doesn’t allow time or resources for regular vacations, take mini breaks instead.  You need space from the demands of life to renew your commitment to your responsibilities and to regain energy for your life.  Don’t underestimate the power of a weekend getaway or day trip-just remember to leave work and the to-do list at home.
  • Laugh, dance, play Finding joy in the small things can make a big difference in your day.  Notice the sound of the rain, the way someone smiled when you gave them a compliment or the sweetness of your pet when you first arrive home.  Life is made of moments, don’t allow them to be wasted.
  • Take care of your healthExercise regularly by finding something you enjoy such as dance classes, martial arts, gardening, boot camp, acrobatics, basketball, weight lifting etc… Get a friend to go, get in a routine, just do whatever it takes to get yourself in shape.   Stretching is one of the most overlooked things that we should be doing for ourselves.  Our muscles should be balanced and working together, this means strong AND flexible.  Get massage and/or other forms of bodywork at least once per month and more if possible (I may be biased). I can assure you that adding massage into your health care routine will improve your quality of life, the quality of your skin and muscles and I am certain it will not be a decision that you soon regret.  Eat Healthy, you will never hear me say that you should never eat anything sugary again, I love junk food and food in general, so my philosophy is everything in moderation.  With that said, the majority of your meals should be healthy and well balanced.  View the American Diabetes Association food guide here for more information.


Self-Care is Health Care

*For an affordable way to get regular monthly massage sessions check out Written on the Body’s $50 VIP Monthly Membership here!