Springtime bulbs 🌷
Some flowers I've been planting are starting to spring up. Want to stroll through my garden for a moment?
|| home base ||
I live in Wilmington, North Carolina now!
I thought I moved here for the beach, but maybe it was actually for the live oak trees…
// bodywork //
I’m continuing to hone my bodywork style and how I talk about it. For starters, I have landed on “bodywork” and “bodyworker” as monikers... I now use the word “massage” as sparingly as possible. That’s because massage therapy tends to have a limited scope, or at least that’s the popular conception of it — that it’s about manipulating the soft tissue of the body.
Well I’m doing something really different from that in my work.
What I really want to do is help people along awakening paths or spiritual paths or honest, reflective paths or [insert your personal language here] paths. I like doing this by connecting with the physical body, because I’m awed by the power of loving, receptive touch, but hands-on work is just one of many methods.
What do I mean by awakening? I’ve just recently started to put words to it:
It means being relentlessly honest with life.
It means looking at the things we have not yet been able to look at.
It means being very open to the ways we hurt and the ways we hurt others. The ways our necks have been and continue to be stepped on, and the necks we are also stepping on.
It means committing to our fullest and truest self-expression. Alignment with life.
It means feeling the full range of feelings and emotions.
It means pursuing meaning, art, and beauty.
It means knowing ourselves.
It means iterating and growing.
It means relationship, learning to love, learning to dissolve obstacles to love and compassion.
It means ditching coercion and force and shaming as tools, with self and other.
It means kindness and respect, with self and other.
It means an ever-deepening capacity to hold more and more realities and truths and paradox; and an ever-deepening capacity for intensity of feeling.
It means endless kufu, or creative problem-solving.
So, bodywork. (Unfortunately most people don’t know what “bodywork” means. I told the woman cutting my hair the other day that I’m a bodyworker and she said, “so you work on cars?” 😂)
You can read all about my bodywork here.
At the turn of the year, I launched Ecdysis Bodywork. ‘Ecdysis’ refers to the process by which snakes shed their old skin, which is perfect imagery for what I aim to do… inevitably, connecting deeply with our experience will involve shedding old, outdated perspectives and tensions.
Ecdysis is operating out of a dreamy office space a few minutes from Wrightsville Beach:
In addition to my bodywork and journeying offerings, I've recently added a new offering at Ecdysis, that I'm calling End-of-Life Visits, putting my death-doula training into practice. It's an experiment in finding a path within deathwork that feels resonant for me.
All of this has been a bit surprising in how vulnerable it feels for me, but I guess not all that surprising considering the newness. Launching my first business, entering a completely new career space, all in a new town. Honestly it is a bit hilariously precocious of me to do all that at once, especially when the work is healer/doula-esque, which I think entails a pretty robust level of emotional nourishment and resourcing. Thanks to everyone who supports me, in one-off or ongoing ways, in person or from across the world.
\\ book a session with me \\
I offer Deep Release Bodywork sessions in Wilmington, NC Fridays through Mondays.
I'll be visiting Asheville, NC in a few weeks, and working while I'm there. If you're interested in booking a Deep Release Bodywork session with me in Asheville between April 24 and 26, please get in touch!
If you're somewhere else in the world and interested in receiving a session, definitely reach out! I am on the road often and I'll see what I can do.
Here’s a tweet testimonial from a friend I worked with last week (I’m @joespurpleshirt):
More beautiful testimonials for my work here.
|| events ||
I am attending and co-organizing a stillness and movement retreat in Little Switzerland (near Asheville, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway!) from April 27 through May 1. It will be led by Ichigen Corey Hess. Corey has a unique background combining many years of deep practice within Zen Buddhism, healing modalities like craniosacral therapy and Structural Integration, and various movement practices. I was immediately hooked when I tried one of Corey's movement classes, and it's been a daily practice for me since then (about seven months now). I also love talking bodywork with him, as I deeply respect his ethos and skillset (and I don't say that lightly!) I can't wait to get together and practice in person with Corey and other practitioners of Qigong, Zhan Zhuang, and Non-Directed Body Movement. He's been a profoundly important teacher for me and I'm always grateful for the passion and energy he brings to his teaching, day after day. It looks as though we’ve just filled the last spot for the retreat, but if you’re interested in what we’re up to, drop in for a Zoom class sometime. (Message me for details.)
// podcast //
In June of 2022 I launched a podcast that I am immensely proud of, called Subterranean — so named because I like the imagery of going underground, cave-diving, spelunking, submerging into the darkness in order to explore and inquire and dig around with people who inspire me. People in all kinds of healing and helping professions, from massage therapy to yoga to astrology to death care. Crafting good questions in order to draw out someone's magical wisdom turns out to be one of my favorite things! The latest episode was a banger of a conversation with Hawk Grubb, magick astrologer. (I honestly think every episode so far is a banger.) YouTube playlist below, audio-only links here.
\\ teaching \\
I am stepping into a few teaching roles in the coming months, which is new for me in a formal capacity but very familiar to me in an informal capacity. Anyway, the distinction between 'healer' and 'teacher' has been dissolving for me for a while now. If you find a difference between healers and teachers, let me know, okay?
My friend Rosa Lewis is developing an awakening course, based on this 16-part model she created:
Rosa assembled a team of 11 teachers to cover these 16 sections; I’m teaching the Subtle Body section, right at the start of the map.
Speaking of which… some of you probably noticed that I sort of disappeared from the world for a lot of the last two years, especially the calendar year 2022. Much of that time I spent in solitude, exploring my internal world, developing emotional and relational skills, seeking out resonant and integrous teachers and mentors (including Rosa), emotional processing x1000, resting and rejuvenating, studying bodywork, forging some of the deepest relationships I’ve ever had, and constantly re-orienting around the question of what I deeply care about in life. I’m so excited to bring what I’ve learned in that time to the Subtle Body course. I’m far enough in to know that this is a lifelong journey that I’m only just beginning, but I can also see how much I have to give from how far I’ve already come. Here’s an intro conversation Rosa and I recorded on the topic of the subtle/energetic body:
All of the intro conversations for the course are worth checking out. It’s so cool to see Rosa step into each person’s vastly different world and play around in it. It takes a special being like Rosa to have both the breadth and the depth to facilitate such a wide-ranging course. Take a gander below… I especially recommend the “Present Awareness, Absorption and Surrender” convo with Joost:
My friend Sam Sager is running a pilot program this month called Foundations of Intuitive Fitness, based on the premise that fitness can be fun, non-coercive, and self-guided. He's invited me to do a guest spot on self-massage for the program!
Self-touch is an important part of my everyday life and I love encouraging people to play around with it. I know it can be a bit intimidating to start, and there's a tendency to leave touch to the "professionals" like massage therapists. Fuck that! I'll be sharing some creative and simple ideas for incorporating self-touch into an already busy life.
The pilot program has already started, but keep an eye on Sam for future programs if this sounds like your kind of thing. He has tons of good written and podcast material out there too — he is a really curious and reflective being and I think he's the perfect person to be doing this important somatic-focused work within the fitness space.
|| travels ||
As I write this post, I'm just returning to Wilmington from a 12-day stay in England, where I got to spend time with some of my favorite people, across London, Bristol, and North Somerset. I got to trade bodywork and energy work with many of them, talk shop with others, and share meals and talk life with the rest. A feeling that keeps coming up for me lately is that life is good when I have my people around to figure it out with. The heart and soul nourishment that I feel when I'm with my people, even in the face of great challenge, is hard to put into words. It becomes clearer and clearer to me all the time that this is what my life is built and based around, and what everything else in my life bubbles out of.
(Massive shout-out to my friend Evelyn for flying to Wilmington and dogsitting/housesitting for me for 12 days, saving me about a gajillion dollars and taking incredible care of Nyla.)
On my last night in London I got to attend an Alexander Technique training that rocked my world a little (in a good way), so I'm excited to see how I'll carry that into my practice going forward. In chatting with one of the teachers at the pub afterward, I was reminded (as I often am) that so many of us seem to be getting at the same thing, dressed up in different clothing. I'm a "bodyworker," technically, but I feel like I'm doing the same thing as this Alexander teacher, which is to say — helping people connect more honestly and fully with life, and to their own aliveness and expression.
I did an epically bad job of taking photos on this trip, but here's a picture my friend Rosa made (with Midjourney) to illustrate the bodywork session she and I did:
Lots of love and happy spring blossoming to you all.
If you're seeing this in your inbox, hit 'reply' and let me know how you're doing! I'd love to stroll through your garden, too.