Tag Archives: helping others

Standing Staring at My Wall.

That would be the wall of exhaustion.

March 10th was my last sick day.

April 7th and Easter, I worked half days. Otherwise, I’ve had 8 to 10 hour days every day since the beginning of February. A few 12 hour days sprinkled in.

Last week I slowed to a crawl, now I sit in my car, knowing I should be inside the building getting my last 3 clients (2 hours worth of massage). Somehow that $100 seems hardly worth it, especially with the state I’m in already.

Saturday I think I finished the manual for my replacement at the activities job. I left it with the building manager for a once over, she quickly passed it to another employee that did activities several years ago. I told the second person that if she notices anything I left out completely to leave a note on it and put it back on my desk.

In our weekly meeting it was explained that my manual has stirred a request from corporate for everyone to do the same. They’re calling it the drop-dead manual, as in if you dropped dead tomorrow someone could pick up the manual and fumble through the job.

It’s little consolation that all my hard work merely pointed out that the manuals should have existed years ago. However, my exhausted brain is grateful that they do see how much effort I put into it.

My manual is a 3inch binder chalk full. I started with a letter to my replacement followed by a table of contents. Moving on into Job description, daily and monthly tasks broken down, budget info, all the forms needed for my position, entertainers contact info, school, church, and volunteers contacts. The second half is a monthly breakdown including my description of what worked well and what didn’t each month, with old copies of the newsletter, calendar and insert for each month. I even did diagrams of table arrangement options I’d tried in our main entertainment space. Literally everything I could think of was broken down and explained fully with as many visuals as I could muster. I even provided file paths for every form and document I regularly access.

I hope it helps the next person take over smoothly and easily. Moreso I hope it helps them understand the needs of the residents, our demographic, so they can do their job as well as I managed. The residents deserve that.

So back to now: here I sit too tired to finish my day, not wanting to go home because I know I have no sanctuary there. I love my family, but I don’t have the energy to be on for them right now.

I just finished angry texting Nathan over a stupid insignificant purchase because of my exhaustion….

You’re right I didn’t ask… I’m sorry I’m so touchy about this subject, but you know when the last time I bought art supplies was? Me neither because every time I’m tempted, I tell myself I’m not doing art anyway, so what’s the use. I’ve bought more stuff for others in the last decade than anything I’d like to use.

Everyone comes before me. I never come first. I hardly ever even come last.

So in acknowledgement of that last statement: I sit.

I need to be first for even just a little bit. That means I’m skipping out on that $100 3-client stretch. That also means knowing that I don’t want to waste money, and that I’m struggling with health again, so going to a restaurant is pointless. That means shopping is also pointless.

Right now, more than anything, I want to curl up in a fetal position and sleep… Or get stoned. And neither of those is actually possible. So I’m sitting in my car writing. This is the closest to being focused I’ve been all day.

I am so looking forward to that second Sunday in June. It’ll be my first full planned day off in over 6 months. I hope I have enough energy to do something fun for me, myself, and I that day. If only I knew what that means.

May you all find a way to put yourself first enough to count, and may we all have a perfect balance of rest and financially gainful activity.

Already on the bus.

So I’ve finished reading “The Energy Bus” and realize now that I’ve already gotten my bus going. It’s been a slow start, bumpy ride, with a few breakdowns already, but my bus is generally pointed the right direction and moving.

Really I’ve been driving my bus for a while, but just need more focus and helpful passengers

I have my committed passengers, in for the full ride- my family by marriage and by giving birth.

I have my semi-committed or part time riders, people in my daily and work life that are generally as helpful as they can be, but can’t necessarily stay for the whole ride. Sometimes they’re on and sometimes they’re busy on their own bus.

I have at least one passenger, maybe 2 or 3 that I’m hoping are like the character Michael. Where they removed themselves, but ultimately come around, and end up finding themselves wanting to make positive changes too, and join my bus again. That would be nice, not just for my bus, but for them- their state of being- and because it will validate messages I got what seems like forever ago. May we all master only feeding the good dog.

So far I’ve already ejected a few of what was termed “Energy Vampires” from my bus, and there’s one big one that needs to go yet. Fortunately, those from my biological family have mostly removed themselves from my life, so that’s one less hurdle.

With all that being said, this book leaves me acknowledging I have steps to go yet.

I have used this blog to write about Atira many times, but it’s scattered through multiple posts and partial posts, and I’m not sure I’ve ever reinforced the entirety of the complexity of that to those on board my bus, even if part time. I think it would help to get more concise with my desires, vision, and focus so that there is one document I can reference. Maybe even to give them copies.

I still have a ways to go to ensure I’m only feeding the good dog, and fueling my bus with positive energy. I have the basic idea, but have some practicing to do to maintain it, because I do let fear and stress get the better of me frequently.

Also, I totally spend too much time worrying about people that don’t get on my bus. I will get better at acknowledging maybe it’s too soon for them or they have other reasons for not joining my route. It’s not personal to me, it’s personal for them and their journey.

Additionally, I still have a ways to go on demonstrating my own enthusiasm and love. I already do both, but often allow myself to be easily deflated, especially when my efforts go unnoticed, unacknowledged, or unresponded to. Then once I’ve been deflated, I definitely still struggle to get back up and give another go.

I also need to find my purpose in everything better. It’s easy for me when what I’m doing is part of my vision for Atira, but much much harder when my task-at-hand is seemingly unrelated. That is evidence of not fully knowing that “everything happens for a reason”. I must trust more and find how everything relates. How does what I’m doing fit with my journey and fuel my bus.

Lastly, a huge must: start having more fun and enjoying the ride more. It’s not that I don’t at all, but I really succumb to stress easily. I’m latching onto the books’ phrase “you can’t feel stressed when you feel blessed”. That is my biggest new goal. To be “too blessed to be stressed”.

With that I wanted to share the list of rules the book went over:

And finally, I wanted to share an Abraham Lincoln quote (below) from the book that really resonated with me. My life journey fine-tuned to that direction after the online stranger woke my dreams up in me. I realized I may fail, I may never actually get there, but giving up all together- ignoring who I’ve become- is far worse than failing. I must remain true to who I am and where I’d like to go, if I’m to ever find consistent happiness and have any chance at all of possibly making it there. I want my light to shine bright from here until my dieing days.

Again, thank you for hanging in with me and joining at least the written part of my ride. I sincerely hope you benefit from my words in one way or another.

Creative relief.

Still no new home.

 Cats dwindled down to 3 again. One, sick from old age, was euthanized to prevent pain and suffering. Being she was having difficulty seeing, showing signs of kitty dementia, and when she tried sitting, couldn’t actually fully sit (kitty hip dysplasia) and be comfortable. We knew she was miserable. Our hearts went out to her as we helped her find a path back to god.  Salem our older male disappeared outdoors and after 2 months of searching and examining found similar stray cats we’ve given up. Social media gave us hopeful leads, but alas none were Salem.

The  2 others never took to being indoor kitties and were rehomed to a farm cat rescue where they’ll be happy as clams and well fed  in their preferred environment. 

That leaves Buddy and Missy (the brother & sister kittens) and Priss (my old fat calico). 

Buddy & Missy cuddling ( they’re the same age at about a year old, but Buddy has gotten much bigger and stockier). They are so adorable!:

The only recent cute shot of Priss I have, she was thoroughly enjoying lap snuggle with Anya.:

 

For the holidays, we have one tiny undecorated table top tree out, and so far Anya is the only one to have gifts, having gotten to use all the Walmart gift cards to buy new clothes.

So, Monday when I had my first actual day off in ages, I decided to be creative. $40 in supplies (including raw balsa wood boxes) and hours of work later, I made 2 beautiful portable altar boxes and a set of mini elemental candle holders. 

The idea was spawned from a borrowed set. The friend that helped me gain insight into my connection with the boy had loaned me hers knowing I’m never home for meditative space anymore. After almost 2 months of using hers it was time to get creative and make my own. Nathan got a box of his own as a gift.

It was much needed creative relief, and yielded beautiful results that I know at least that I’ll use.

The mess I made of our bedroom trying to work in tight quarters:

The green box left of buddy is the borrowed inspiration:

Nathan’s box with his favorite motif on the top:

inside:

outside top:

My box, Inside:

My box outside(s):

& the tiny candle holders:

I even got tiny statues of Ganesh and Shiva for both boxes. I want Kali ones too, but haven’t found those yet.

Being creative literally is not only enjoyable for me, but helps clear my head completely. I lose time, and don’t eat- not because I’m starving myself, but because my brain doesn’t even think about getting hungry. I don’t watch the clock, and I’m always surprised at how much time has passed. It in and of itself, it is often meaningful and meditative giving my brain a much needed tiny, tiny vacation. When all is done and my brain returns to “reality”, I get starvingly hungry very quick and then crash from fatigue. This instance was no different and was welcomed acknowledgement of my creative mini vacation from life.

I do have to confess that the insides are decoupaged papers, and the outside circular patterns were stencils that I then repainted over to cleanup edges. I could have done them manually, but it would have taken even more time to sketch out the designs and paint them completely from scratch. It’s something that I chose not to rush, knowing it was my only chance to complete the project anytime soon. Besides that I love the look of the metallic paints, and I’m super  grateful that I had beautiful custom altar boxes for the two of us by Yule. They’re perfectly appropriate.

The only little one left, that I need to find at least one gift for, is Ian. In theory that’s the easy one.

As much as I’d love to get gaggles of goodies, I simply can’t bear to cram anything else into our current situation. So gifts will wait for the New Year and a new home (& I foresee new organizational furniture first too). Besides I still want to get those beds I’ve had my eye on for ages. We’re all over sharing bed space with a tossing, turning toddler.

Beyond that, I got to play Santa for a friend that needed the emotional relief, if not the actual financial relief. I had great fun, and it felt really good to do something significantly good  for someone else. I’m very appreciative of that and hope that my future holds the ability to do a lot more of that.

Otherwise, I just keep trucking. Day after day, work and more work. I’ve worked 32 out of the last 35 days, and the only 2 days off in the near future are Christmas Day  and January 2nd. This schedule is already old, but until the divine manifests whatever it’s been trying to tell me about, it’s pretty much my only option.

 I’m grateful for the work and the income it provides, but I’ve had many conversations with thin air about how it’s not really my ideal, far from it in fact. 

I really hope that whatever is gestating in the ethers brings relief and moves me much closer to my ideal. I’m hoping the messages I’m getting about Valentine’s Day time frame (including my birthday) are clues of that something good, but I simply don’t know. Just that February is important somehow. Looking forward to better days.

Business is booming- in my brain!

This week beyond thinking about my rebirthing experiences, I’ve been contemplating my Elder Care Massage business, and our Atira goals, especially how they might coincide.

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It really did throw me a bit when I had the conversation with the other massage therapist. I knew she was working on retiring when the referral was given to her by a person I work with. I had no idea though that it would end up resulting in me being the only therapist in the metro doing this line of work. I just assumed there was still a handful of us doing geriatric massage, and that this therapist might not even have to give me her building, that it could have gone to someone else. I’ve been enjoying relishing in the fact that I have a monopoly on such endeavors, even making it a point to tell others my/her discovery.

In the process I have spent a significant amount of time contemplating what it is I like about what I do, and what the downfalls of such work is. I have to say that I always come up with more bonuses than negatives. I have thought about what the steps might look like in moving from sole proprietor to a full fledged business with employees doing the same work. It does seem a bit daunting, but contemplating that process does get me a bit excited, in the realm of I could potentially build a significant business that would be the first of it’s kind. I could end up, long term, being the first Massage-Envy-like business that solely travels to provide elder/geriatric care. Which, even if it wasn’t a huge dollar producer, just having that niche market would be a success.

In the process of acknowledging this possibility, I’ve clarified things that would need to happen.


 

One being that Kansas, as well as a few other states, need to be required to have reciprocity laws. Right now there are not many metro areas that fall on state lines, but every one that does creates a complicated situation.

For instance when I first started working as a Massage Therapist I worked in the Council Bluffs/Omaha area. Nebraska had stricter regulations than Iowa by 200 hours, not a huge amount, but they would not allow therapists to add on, a therapist would have to start over with their education to meet Nebraska laws. I fell in the middle having more hours than Iowa required, but just shy of what Nebraska wanted. Nebraska also refused to honor Iowa licensure, even though Iowa would accept Nebraska licensure. So, I was relegated to staying on the Council Bluffs side, which had a notoriously low economic base with high unemployment and vast areas of poverty. It was not a pretty employment picture and one that ended hazardously for me.

When we moved to the Kansas City metro I was faced with a similar picture. Missouri is state licensed; Kansas is not. Each individual city on the Kansas side of the line can have it’s own licensing requirements. What is interesting to note here is that nearly all of the regulations for all of the cities are the same, with a very small handful of exceptions (like Shawnee doesn’t require a license if you work under doctor or chiropractic supervision). The difference lies mainly in the amount that is charged for a therapist license and what determines if they are also going to charge you for having a separate business license. I know this because I have held a license through 4 cities and contemplated another 3 cities, and there are only 9 on the Kansas side of the metro. They all require 500 hours &/or Board certification, CPR/AED certification, to carry liability insurance, and pass their police background check. I have 800 hours, I am nationally certified, keep my CPR and insurance current, and have a record so clean I used to carry a government “Classified” clearance.

So, I can step back and acknowledge 2 things:

-Licensure is supposedly in place to create safety through knowledge. Acknowledging training and board ethics is important: it keeps clients safe from bad practices and it reduces risks of sexual activity in a therapy setting.

-Licensure allows for taxation of the licensed party. If one city can offer a license and background check for $85 (Shawnee), then there is no reason that other cities charge more except to make money off of someone.

Where this gets my goat, and the reason why it needs changed, is that if I can meet the standards for all of the cities in the metro, then there should never be a fear of being caught “without a license” because I crossed an imaginary line (city boundary). Yet that is a very real reality. If you don’t carry a license for every city you work in, you can currently be prosecuted for working without a license, and if found guilty it can prevent you from ever being licensed again. Yet, I’ve already demonstrated that I have the education and physical ability to carry any license in the KC metro. So what does it boil down to?

Money.

I have chosen to not carry every license consecutively because it would cost me nearly $3,000 a year to do so, and if you’ve read my blog you would understand how ludicrous that is. I gross $33,000 a year, that is a 10% local tax, on top of state and federal tax.  My AGI falls closer to $16,000 with mileage and business expenses, so now that $3,000 becomes a 20% local tax on top of state and federal taxes. I count that separately because paying Massage License tax (fees they call them) happens directly at a city clerk and never makes it onto my tax return except where I can note business licensing as an expense.

What I’m going to say next might piss some off, but I’m gonna anyway.

If you required that same process of Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers, IT professionals, or any one of another high salary positions, it would not fly. The second a lawyer faced 20% local taxes on top of their regular state and federal taxes, bills would be created and laws would change. Yet, massage therapists, aestheticians, and cosmetologists regularly face just that through the risks inherent in failing to carry multiple city licenses when a state doesn’t require reciprocity. The lowest income, and generally female held, positions are the ones penalized the most. That screams discrimination to me.

Yet, it has nothing to really do with safety. There have been and will continue to be all manner of “professionals” that lose their jobs, and often licenses for having sexual relations in their office. I’ve noted in just the last year, dentists, Md’s, and psychologists that have gotten in trouble just for that very reason. I know that CEO’s and upper-management also experience abuse of power through sex, and are quietly asked to leave their positions. It may not be frequent, but it is frequent enough that if that were really the only reason for the licensing requirements like I deal with, then the same licensing procedures would apply to all professions. It’s simply not the case.

I believe that really, it is old biased thinking that created outdated and ludicrous laws, and those in power are simply too lazy and blinded by dollar signs to care about changing it.

So full circle: IF (a huge IF), I decided to take my job and turn it into a full fledged business with multiple employees, I would have to take that on. I would have to figure out a way to mandate at least Kansas and Missouri to have reciprocity laws in place. Further yet, if I plan on building my business to have multiple locations in the future, it is likely that I would need to do that for any state I functioned out of. Better yet, I would want all states to have reciprocity laws. There is no reason that a therapist should have to carry multiple licenses consecutively. If doctors and lawyers don’t have to, then neither should massage therapists or any other profession. There should be a blanket acceptance that if a professional met the requirements to hold a license, especially one that requires repeat renewals, and background checks, then that license should be good regardless of the location of their works activities.

Now reciprocity laws are specifically designed to address traveling professionals- that is people that technically have one source of employment, but multiple locations where the physical work is completed (roofers, traveling nurses, hospice works, etc.) Reciprocity does not count in a professional moving or taking a new job (i.e. I used to live in Iowa and my Iowa license is still good, but now I live and work in Kansas)- in that situation any professional still requires new licensing. So, if my business ends up having multiple locations in multiple states, I would still need multiple business licenses, that is natural. I just want to ensure that my therapists would only need one license, and I could still send them to multiple buildings regardless of where those buildings were physically located. That is the goal of reciprocity laws.



Another thing I have been actively working on the last couple of weeks has been researching grants to see if I, or my massage business, or Atira might qualify for grants that are currently available. I’m discovering there is a lot of free money to be found. However, most of the results I’m finding so far are either directly research related, for the purpose of promoting hiring diversity, or location specific. For instance I found grants for diversity building in cooperation with one of our consulate locations in Japan. Cool but not helpful to me. The search will continue, there are thousands of grants just through the United States government to wade through. Maybe I’ll find a good one!


 

So finally, how does all of this wrap together with Atira?

Well I thought about things that we want to do, how my massage practice has always been a part of that. I think this really is just another avenue to explore. but it led me to thinking about names, and how businesses can be subdivided. I thought more specifically about my ideas, and inspiration began flowing. Mostly with names and building my website. Which, by the way, I have put adjusting my current website on my new priority list.

Anyway, here were my inspirations (FYI- I consider this to be copyrights as my blog is part of me and my arts):

For Elder Care Massage-

name: Atira ReLive

sub-title: Helping our elders find comfort and peace through Relaxation and DeStress.

I thought that this provided just enough ambiguity that I could incorporate art and music therapies into the list of services offered by our traveling therapists.

I also contemplated naming the parts of Atira as a whole:

Atira Group: where I am at now, already a registered name with my EIN attached, represents my business umbrella.

Atira Community: Honestly I’m stuck at coming up with a more creative name for this one!

Atira Arts: Studio and Gallery: Atira In the Making, and Atira’s Hung…. I’m not sure Nathan will like the latter one!

Atira Cafe: Une Boisson D’Atira … you know like the french phrase for a drink of water- une boisson d’eau.

Atira Restaurant: Graze on Atira… that came from my mom referencing vegetarians as grazers.

Festivals: Atira Explorations… I’m not sure I’ve convinced myself of that one. I was going for the feel of playing, having fun, enjoyment. Needs some work.

And the store… I’ve got little nothing inspired for that yet.

 

Regardless, I have miles to go, I’m still just scratching the surface of getting started. The difference is that this topic interests me and excites me. Even if I don’t have any tangible evidence of manifesting it, I’m still enjoying it. Thinking about the millions of details is fun. Trying to be creative is even more fun. I’m going to keep doing all of it, while I function in my current constructs. Life keeps rolling, and I’m going with the flow now. It’s nice. Perhaps, I’ll find the magic grant that will launch part of this, or maybe even all of this. Perhaps I’ll win the lottery and will be able to put it all into effect soon. I just don’t know, but I’m doing my best to look forward and keep positive while trudging through the current mess I’m still wading in. Somehow, somewhere, a way will be made for improvement, and September is still significant from what I can tell, just not sure how or why.