This is not business as usual


This has been a long month for me. And I’m not alone, judging by my Facebook news feed and shell shocked faces of the clients on my table who seem to be suffering from actual trauma due to current events. Many of us can’t even yet articulate what exactly has happened. We just know that something has changed, and it is something big.  To me, it  feels like I am coming apart at the seams without any recipe for how I will come back together again.

This is not going to be a political blog post. I’m not writing to discuss my beliefs or where I cast my vote in the election early this November. What I want to write about today is how I plan to stand back up when there seems to be nothing left to stand on.

You see, I happen to have spent most of the past month in bed (more on that later) glued to my Iphone, watching in stunned attention each of the horrifying news updates as they trickled in through the always present layers of social media propaganda.  I became overloaded with information and misinformation, completely incapacitated by simultaneously knowing too much, and knowing too little.

Frustrated and terrified, worried that maybe I had become part of the apathetic problem, someone who would stand idly by while those around me were picked off one by one by hate and bigotry, one day I just decided to put down my phone and stop watching. After all, what good was it doing for me to know?

I stood up. I took a walk. I thought about the world I wanted to live in. I thought about my small business and about the dear clients it supports, and how much I want it to keep growing, serving and supporting spiritual growth, transformation and healing. I thought about promoting, and how hollow I had been feeling running ads, posting specials, and keeping up with all my marketing efforts while publicly ignoring the real distress in the world and in my clients lives.

It was then that the pieces began to fit back together. I realized that I can articulate one thing that has really changed for me. And that is, there is no such thing anymore as “business as usual”. Everything means something now. Everything matters. I must begin living my life, and running my business, with the same conscientious integrity. I can no longer, for example, resist Black Friday consumer hysteria in my personal life while running a Black Friday special on bodywork on my business Facebook page.

What I can do is make it undeniably and absolutely clear where I personally stand, and where my business Awaken Integrative Bodywork stands:

  • shutterstock_357412781webWe stand for truth.
  • We stand for the earth and for the water
  • We stand with inclusion
  • We stand with peace
  • We stand with equality among all people, regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation
  • We stand with justice
  • We stand for accountability
  • We stand for non violence
  • We stand up to oppression
  • Above all else, WE STAND FOR LOVE

And love does not mean silence. Love can take a stand, and love can have a voice, and love can even be fierce and strong and loud. And it matters. It all matters.

Pete Seeger says it better than I could ever hope to, and with far fewer words.  It may move and soothe your soul to  watch this beautiful video recording from so long ago, of his beautiful song, If I had a Hammer. The lyrics are pasted below.

Before you move on to the song, I want you to know that we mean what we say. There is one place where we would like to make a humble offering, and it is a way we can integrate our business with our world and what matters in it. This holiday season, we will not be doing business as usual, but we will be doing business. Christmas is a popular time to buy gift certificates for bodywork and massage, and we have decided to donate 10% of all gift certificate sales in December to the legal fund for Standing Rock, to support accountability and justice for the violence that has taken place against the native water protectors in North Dakota. It is a small gesture, but something for me to stand on while I get my bearings again.

Much love and light to you this Holiday season and always. Don’t despair. You matter. Your voice matters. Love matters. Please enjoy the song …”it’s a song about the Love between my brothers and my sisters all over this land”… and don’t forget to sing!

If I had a hammer,pete-seeger
I’d hammer in the morning
I’d hammer in the evening,
All over this land.

I’d hammer out danger,
I’d hammer out a warning,
I’d hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a bell,
I’d ring it in the morning,
I’d ring it in the evening,
All over this land.

I’d ring out danger,
I’d ring out a warning
I’d ring out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

If I had a song,
I’d sing it in the morning,
I’d sing it in the evening,
All over this land.

I’d sing out danger,
I’d sing out a warning
I’d sing out love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Well I got a hammer,
And I got a bell,
And I got a song to sing, all over this land.

It’s the hammer of Justice,
It’s the bell of Freedom,
It’s the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

It’s the hammer of Justice,
It’s the bell of Freedom,
It’s the song about Love between my brothers and my sisters,
All over this land.

Update: January 18th, 2017

I am pleased to announce that with many clients participating in gift certificate purchases in December of 2016 we raised $185. Here is a copy of my donation letter.

Dear Jessica ,

Thank you for supporting our legal work in North Dakota to assist the Water Protectors in their efforts to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. The Civil Liberties Defense Center is a 501c3 nonprofit and all contributions may be tax deductible. Our tax ID number is: XXXXXXXXX

Thank you for your donation of $180.00 you will receive a thank you letter and membership card in the mail soon!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Thank you for your support!


Charles Denson

Associate Director


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Jessica Gutierrez

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