A Subtle Hint

If you aren’t subscribed to my monthly newsletter yet, you might want to do that. I’m pretty excited about my upcoming August promotion, and I’d hate for any locals to miss out. You can either use the link on my blog, or sign up on my Facebook page (and give me a like while you’re at it).

We now return to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Make it Social

One of the biggest pleasures of doing Women Out Walking so far has been the social aspect. Even when I’m alone, it’s so much more fun to walk knowing that I’m participating in something larger.

How can you make some of your exercise into a group activity? Local women can still sign up for W.OW.* For my other readers, there are many ways you can make fitness a social experience.

The simplest way is to start a walking group of your own. Recruit some friends and set up a time to walk together (the more frequent, the better!). You could start a private Facebook group to arrange walks and encourage each other in between. If you’re looking to meet new people, why not set something up on  Meetup?

If you’re feeling ambitious, you could ask your city’s Health and Human Services department to explore doing something like W.O.W. where you are. It’ll take organization, time, and probably some luck, but you have very little to lose.

Fun is such a key component of wellness. We often tend to overlook how important it is to achieving our goals. How likely are you really to stick with an activity if you’re bored or unhappy? If you make it fun you’ll be more likely to stick with it, and I think you’ll be happier overall.

* Speaking of W.O.W. I am leading a group walk this Sunday, May 3rd. We’re meeting in front of Heartwood Center at 9:30 am to carpool over to the North Branch trail where we will walk for approximately 60 minutes. Please come join me if you can! (Note that this event will be canceled if it rains.)


Women Out Walking

Isn’t is amazing how much of a difference a weather change can make? Sure, my sinuses have gone bonkers, but otherwise I feel like I’ve woken up from a deep sleep. I guess it’s easy for me to get so caught up in just getting through the winter, I forget how good I can feel when I get enough fresh air.

Speaking of fresh air, I am participating in Evanston’s Women Out Walking program this year. I’ll be a satellite member of the Heartwood team, but I plan to organize a big group walk that is open to all W.O.W participants (more info later). Additionally, I’ll be helping to woman Heartwood’s table at the kick-off event on March 21st. There are going to be weekly classes at Heartwood Center for participants as well. This is a fantastic way to have an adventure on a budget.

It’s only $5.00 to register, let’s welcome spring with fresh air and exercise!

We Love Evanston Day

WeLoveEvanston Day_square

Hey Locals! This Saturday, March 7th, is We Love Evanston Day. Evanston, IL is in 4th place in the World Wildlife Fund’s We Love Cities Competition and Heartwood Center for Body Mind Spirit  is having a special Spring Renewal event featuring some of our practitioners to help get out the vote.

Dr. Kenton Anderson will talk about living with thyroid disease, Gina Griffin-Hill, CHHC, AADP will have a clean eating workshop, and Marsha Smith, LCSW will have a group mindfulness and focusing session. The program runs from 1 pm-4 pm, the suggested donation is $10.00.

I hope some of you can make it out, let’s show WWF why Evanston is number one!

Back off, ego

I recently had an interesting insight after giving a massage. I’ve been incorporating my mindfulness practice into sessions with some of my clients lately, and it seems to be improving the effectiveness of the sessions for them. I’ve really begun embracing my role as a facilitator of healing, and I’ve focused my intention away from “doing” work to creating a space where change can happen.

Many of my clients are perceiving this as energy work, and it seems like energy work to me too. There is a part of my brain that shies away from this categorization because it isn’t like the energy work I have been formally trained in. It’s not something I am actively doing (there’s that word again), it’s something that is happening spontaneously as we focus on particular parts of the client’s body.

The insight that I came to was that the part of me that wants to reject this is part of my ego. The change in my work is benefitting my clients, but it cannot be quantified or studied objectively. I cannot “prove” it to anyone, or explain it with pure logic. Therefore a part of me wants to dismiss it as wishy thinking (and star maths if any of you are fellow “IT Crowd” fans) and never tell anyone about these experiences.

Yet I know from my own experiences of receiving massage in a mindful state that it enhances the work for me. Do I really need mechanistic studies demonstrating effectiveness to accept that something more is happening when massage is given and received in a mindful state? Or is it more that my ego wants to post links to studies here to prove to you all that it makes a difference? I’ve come to believe it’s the latter.

I don’t need a specific name for the space my client and I are making during these mindful massages yet. We can both appreciate that change is happening, and they can get off the table feeling freer and looser. Names can come later.



January Sale with Bonus Fun

For the month of January my massage packages are an extra 5% off! Massage is a great way to jumpstart your self-care routine in 2015, and this is a great price. The regular prices are listed on my website.

Now for the bonus fun portion: I am on Instagram! As some of you know, when the wrist pain started I had to quit endurance cycling (for now). So I took up running and had to quit because of joint pain (for now). I went back to taking daily walks, and that’s been pretty nice.

Now that it’s really, really winter here in Chicago I thought it might be extra motivation for me to get out there if I’m documenting my walks in some way. So I pledge to add at least one photo on Instagram per daily walk. If you want to check it out I’m “wellnessadventuring”.

I hope that those of you who are also enduring the deep freeze are finding adventures of your own!

Classic Chicago beach wear (not pictured: very warm boots)
Classic Chicago beach wear (not pictured: very warm boots)


Happy New Year!

This year I’m changing up my usual NYE plans (Watching all three extended addition LOTR movies back-to-back. I sure know how to party.). I thought it would be nice to use this change of the year to reflect on what I want for my life and my business in 2015. One of my fellow Heartwood Center practitioners shared a list of good questions to ask to help guide my vision. I thought it would be nice to share them here with you.

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Who do you do it for
  • What do those people want and need
  • How do they change as a result

Neat, right? I can’t promise that I’ll be able to answer all of these, but it can’t hurt to try. How about you, how will you ring in the new year? Any fun plans for the night?

Reflecting on 2014

Today marks the last day I will be in my office in 2014. It was such an amazing year for me; I learned so much from everyone, and had a great time doing it! I thought this would be a good time to reflect a little on this past year, and share some of my hopes for the next.

To prepare to write this blog post, I decided to read through my posts from last December and January. I was honestly expecting to get a little chuckle, or possibly even a gentle headshake, out of myself when I was shiny and new to the business world (unlike the expert I am now, naturally). Instead I was pleasantly surprised at how much is still true.

I had forgotten how much I used to have to compensate for with my wrist issues. Partly it’s normal for me now, but I realized that my wrist is very gradually healing. My flare-ups are less frequent, and my pain is much less severe in between them. One day I think it will even be weight-bearing in extension again.

Which brings us to my greatest triumph of the year: discovering that I am still capable of working deeply with some of my clients. I continue to honor and respect the gentle work I do, but I enjoy being able to work directly with the deeper muscles on some of my clients. Reading about where I was one year ago versus today, it’s clear that I have made more physical progress than I have been giving myself credit for.

Next year I plan to keep on improving my strength and stamina, I’ll keep finding new and interesting ways to practice self-care to share on here. I also plan to allow myself to speak a little louder and be more visible next year.

Thank you all for a wonderful year. May 2015 bring us all joy, prosperity, and greater wisdom. With Love, Margaret

You are Safe

There’s something about this time of year that seems to make some people feel more vulnerable (this is certainly true for me). I have some wild speculations about why that might be, but for the purposes of this post it doesn’t really matter.

One of my favorite people to give a massage to is the person who walks in my door feeling this vulnerability. The person who doesn’t want to be “fixed”, they want to be nurtured and feel attended to. When I work with this person, I am best able to embody my own sense of loving kindness. I am extra mindful of how I approach their body.

The truth about me is that I want everyone I encounter to feel safe and cared for. When someone comes to me seeking just those qualities, I feel my greatest sense of purpose. I love what I do, and these are some of the times I love it the most. Today was one of those days, and my heart is full.

Heartwood Community Night

Heartwood Center’s next Community Night is on Oct. 7th. These nights feature different Heartwood practitioners and teachers donating their services to the community. From 5:30-7:30 pm I will be giving 20-Minute clothed bodywork sessions designed to leave the body feeling relaxed and grounded. There are five other practitioners participating that night, with offerings including: auricular acupuncture, group mindfulness practice, Thai bodywork, group stress busters, and mini health assessments. If you haven’t checked out Heartwood Center yet, this is a great time to come see it!

The suggested donations $10-$30. See Heartwood’s website for a link to RSVP.