My own healing journey began in ‘96. Like most therapists, it began with debilitating pain. It led me to discover therapy I hadn’t heard of before, Massage Therapy. It wasn’t a style of massage you’d find in a spa, but a more medically based therapy. You know those “Aha!” moments? Well, that was an “aha moment” for me. I was forever changed, and I was inspired!
With my heart alight with a desire to help others get out of pain and back to doing things they enjoyed, I found my purpose and was determined to get the best education possible. I put all my savings together, went into debt with a student loan and made it happen. Nine years later, my path and I collided with JonPierre and his. At times I feel like I'm "looking" in the mirror and other times, well...it's more like a Fun House. But we were soulmates on the same journey. We were inseparable (and still are!).
With JonPierre’s eternal optimism, adventurous spirit, and let’s do it enthusiasm, my Virgo drive for precision and detail was free to create. TEAM! We had the vision, the motivation, and quite literally the tools and experience from previous congruous careers in construction to make it happen. What can I say, we like to work with our hands!!
And before I go any further, you must know one of JonPierre’s favorite movie lines, “If you build it, they will come.” ~ Field of Dreams. And “they” did! People heard about us, decided to come see for themselves and found relief from chronic pain they’d had for “years” and they had “tried everything else.” Well…they in turn told their friends. Then those friends came and they found relief too! So, they told their friends and so on and so on. Word of mouth for 15 years drove in over 95% of our clientele. Demand for our unique work grew and grew.
Often, we would be asked if there were other therapists like us and “why haven’t I heard of this therapy before? It’s like magic!” We even began to change the words we used to describe our work, as the words "massage therapy" always brought on a preconceived idea of what we did. Our work is unique to us…our experiences, our intuitive touch, our approach…kind of like being an artist, I guess. No two therapists are the same! Perception, interpretation, intuition, education, experience, interpersonal skills make each of us unique AND together we make a great team! Often, we work with the same client, sometimes at the same time! Very powerful! Anyhoo…
Eventually, these conversations sparked another vision, to teach other therapists our approach. So, we embarked on creating a space in our practice to teach. We began working with a local massage therapy school to mentor students and alumni with the intention to expand their “toolbox” and reach even more people with this life altering work. We were changing lives!
Then it stopped. Everything. Just. Stopped. CoVID. You were there. We were all “there”.
The reality now is our clinic is typically empty. We may see only a handful of clients in our clinic each week. The pandemic has altered everyone’s lives and the perception of “safe”. And since everyone and everything went online, we did as well. We started online classes to teach clients movement practices to help them stay out of pain while they were sheltered in place. However, there is no replacement for the power of healing touch. There was no demand for a “virtual session”.
We have been unable to pay our lease on our own since this all began. PPP gave us enough to pay only one past due month. We have been trying to negotiate with our landlord. They suggested they take back some square footage and decrease our lease that way. But the new adjusted amount together with the payback schedule they wanted for back rent would be more than our original lease. They have otherwise offered us no forgiveness. Debt is mounting.
Grief has been a common theme to my days. I breathe and try to focus on the positives I am sure of; I am grateful to have my family and, thankfully, we are all well. I am grateful the world is still turning; the sun still rises and sets. I am simply grateful to be. I know this storm won’t last forever. Eventually, there will be balance. Eventually, the perception of what's "safe" will improve. And since we have the skills, the knowledge and the experience of having been successful at it for more than 15 years, we will build back up again.
Yet, in this moment right now, we are so far under water that we must make difficult decisions to avoid potentially losing our house before we see balance. Something has got to give.
So, we will give up our beautiful, newly expanded and remodeled clinic. With the lease ending, we have given notice and will close our doors on January 31st. Our hearts ache as we prepare to leave a space filled with such positive emotional energy, and oh so many exhales! Happy elated faces born out of painful grimaces. Healing “aha” moments and the deep satisfaction knowing we helped improve so many lives. Yet, this is not the end of our vision or our journey!
So, what now? How do we get through this? JonPierre suggested crowdfunding. Again, his wonderful optimism and faith in how these struggles will bring together our community inspired me. We can do this. We can get through this! We can "get by with a little help from our friends” ~ John Lennon and Paul McCartney. We can 1) pay off the debt with our landlord come lease end January 31st, and 2) secure a temporary, part-time location. We can continue our work through our concierge services exclusively until a location can be found, so we may continue to be of service to our surrounding communities during our transition. When life gives me lemons, I make a Lemon Meringue pie!
Now....back to being a “healer”. That word doesn't resonate with me. I do not stand alone, above all others, all-knowing with some sort of magical power. Nope. What I do have is my hands, my knowledge and the power of my intentions, healing intentions. JonPierre and I work with our clients. It’s a cooperation. Together with our clients, we create space where innate healing can take place. We don’t “heal” people. Our work is an exchange of energy, creating the optimal environment for the body to heal itself.
This is our Dharma, our life’s purpose. And since we are all connected energetically, lifting others up has a ripple effect. Thank you for lifting us up that we may continue to create ripples.
We are deeply grateful to continue to connect with so many wonderful and compassionate souls on this healing journey.
Peace and love to you in 2021 and beyond.
Tirzah and JonPierre (and for those who know us well, our little ‘Munchkin’ too)
Updates to follow. Stay tuned!
- Matt Venturi
- Sally Lehrman
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