Monday, September 19, 2011

Who is on your wellness team?

I have the most amazing team of healers, teachers, energy workers, massage therapists, acupuncturists and chiropractors. I turn to them often to help me heal a sore spot, expand consciousness, see where I still am blocked in my mind and/or body and/or realign me for more clarity of movement and direction.

I feel like one of the greatest gifts of having a mind and body practice is that you no longer have to worry about "doing things right." I know that no matter how hard I try on my own to be a more integrated and compassionate and fully energized person, I will get stuck. We can only see our selves in one dimension and we come to believe the stories we tell ourselves. In fact, we so much want to be right about what we think, we can work to shift the entire world so that it supports our point of view.

That's why I actively seek awesome teachers who can see me better than I can see myself. These are people I trust. These are people who are cheering for me to reach higher, find more happiness, receive love, give more, sleep better, feel no pain.

Do you have people like this in your life who can direct you away from false cures and into the shadows of your mind and body to find the light? If not, check out some of mine. Here is a short list of the people who I turn to and why.


Jeanne Kabenji is the thinking/feeling person's secret weapon. It is a little hard to describe Jeanne because what she does is so amazing and thorough and fast, it is like seeing a behavioral therapist, a psychic, a healer and a shrink all at the same time. You sit with Jeanne and meditate for a bit and she does her thing, which means she dips into your consciousness, your energy field, and she sees what is going on. Then she helps you see how your current behavior and struggles relate to some of your past energetic patterns: so how your struggle with your job is really your struggle with your 9 year old self, or how your inability to find love really has to do with something else entirely.

Then, she gives you homework. Ways to shift how you think and thus shift your patterns for higher and wider consciousness. It is an investment, your hour or two with Jeanne, but it is like drinking from a fire hose. When you are ready to quit bitching and get to it, Jeanne is who you need to see.


Want a dose of magic massage and energy and compassion and healing? Brenda Ghantous is a wonderful massage therapist who has intuitively saved my freakin' life on a few occasions. Brenda is who I tend to turn to when I am really depleted and my body and mind are feeling over worked, under appreciated or whatever version of that story/life I am running. When I had a chronic cough a few years ago, one session she put her hands over my lungs and the room heated up to about a million degrees and I cried a bit and then it was gone. For real, my stupid nagging can't-leave-the-house cough was gone.

Brenda can do straight up regular massage but I like to just tell her to do what her spirit tells her to do ... so sometimes I get a Oneness Blessing and more energy work and sometimes I get more traditional massage. Every time, I feel loved and healed. She works out of Shine Yoga and Salon DeSales and private in-home appointments.


My friend Susan Autran treated me to my first session with the amazing Suzanne Smith. She is a massage therapist, healer, genius, all-around-cool-person who works magic out of her Wyoming home. You chat for 20+ minutes at the beginning of the session to see where you are in your life and how she can create an intentional massage and/or cranial sacral session to help you integrate your thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams into your body and to release that which no longer serves. Suzanne is a lovely human and you leave feeling that you have embodied some of that easy loveliness yourself. She can be reached at 513-739-3339. Tell her Stacy sent you.


Jodie is one of my dear friends and she also happens to be an incredibly gifted massage therapist with a massive amount of training in Thai massage. She also happens to work out of Alliance Institute of Integrative Medicine so when you need some extra consultation about something that ails you, the whole team is there to consult.

(I am not kidding, if you really injure yourself get FSM - Frequency Specific Microcurrent at Alliance and save yourself weeks of hobbling around.)

But Jodie is a remarkable massage therapist in so many disciplines and she helped me discover my scalene muscles (wow!!! these are crazy muscles look them up!) and has also saved my soul on more than a few occasions. And I suggest you start now and get to be a really good client and/or friend before the holidays because you just might get a box of the most insanely delicious homemade candy ever made. Ever.


I just met Therese recently and she is a chiropractor who specializes in helping integrate the body energetically by releasing blocks in the body. She also works in trauma therapy and other more sensitive modalities, looking at what patterns may be stored in the body that are no longer relevant to the here and now.

I had a session with her last week that was really pretty extraordinary. Her adjustments are not harsh or startling. It feels like she is drawing lines on your body and then sort of flicking the air near your skin with her fingers. But I could feel each time that an adjustment was happening. I could breath better. My ribs and shoulders moved to a better location. My neck and head relaxed. I thought I new a lot about re-setting the body but my session with Therese was an eye-opener. I loved the gentle effectiveness. And I am still feeling the blessings of the energy that is now really able to move through my whole torso.

She can be reached at Ruah Hai Chiropractic, 1419 Alexandria Pike, Ste. B, Fort Thomas, KY 41075. (859)441-8700.


When I have someone who is interested in experiencing acupuncture, I send them to Robert. He is an MD and an acupuncturist and spends a good hour getting to know you on the most fascinating exploration of medical, spiritual, family, emotional history. Then he puts the needles in. I have known him to help people with debilitating migraines, back pain and auto-immune pain. He can be reached at 7911 Euclid Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45243-2639. (513) 561-5958 .


I haven't had Reiki done in awhile but when I did, I went to Bruce Davis. He is a gentle soul who really knows what he is doing and I recall some remarkable spiritual epiphanies in his energetic hands.

I also want to give a shout out to some of my movement teachers.

Alan Hundley - Check him out at Shine for Tai Chi and Qi Gong classes. He is a lovely human with a life-changing practice.

Heather Sommer - She is a world-class Pilates instructor with the best eye in the business ... meaning she can see where you need to work to truly grasp the concepts. She can see from across the room where I need to be working for better alignment. If you are not working with a hands-on instructor, you might question if you are really doing Pilates and/or get in Heather's hands and learn the real deal. She can be reached at for private instruction by appointment.

All Rhythm & Motion Teachers - Whether you are with Heather or Julie or Susan or Alena or Rachel you will spend the most high energy and inspiring hour of your week. Visit the Cincinnati Ballet website for more info about this as well as Ka-Ron Brown Lehman's extraordinary Modern class.

Yoga - Cincinnati has some of the best yoga teachers on the planet. Check out Meredith Hogan, Donna Covrett, Rachel Roberts, Matt Eshlemann and countless other inspirers at The Yoga Bar, Shine, Clear, The Breathing Room, You Do Yoga, It's Yoga plus newer comers Moksha and Covington Yoga. I am sure i am missing some stellar places and people.

Pilates - check out Ian Forsgren, Kristine Kolzing, Rachel Appel, Nicole Gunderman, Shannon Faith and others at Pendleton Pilates, the Yoga Bar and around town. Again, there are so many lovely teachers here in Cincinnati it is hard to get them all down in one blog post! Ooh. Susan Autran too. She teaches out of her home and has changed more than a life or two with her lovely practice.

NOTE - The beautiful photo is by my friend Ron Hamad. Check out his work here. Whenever I think "what does wellness and beauty and serenity look like?" I think of these photos. Thanks, Ron.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A place to be loved.

I was in LA this past weekend to celebrate Kristin's life with her friends and family. More than 100 of us gathered on September 10th, one day after what would have been her 42nd birthday.

Her husband Jeffrey created an extraordinary slide show and a beautiful eulogy that explored Kristin's many lives, her early life, her professional life, her family life, her life as a mother, as a wife, and as a friend. After Jeffrey spoke, her son Simon climbed up on the step ladder and told us all how much we had meant to his mother. Not a dry eye watched that happen, I can assure you of that.

I sat on the floor in Kristin's living room with her family and friends and listened to everyone speak about her. I looked at her beautiful art books and the sun streaming in and the couch I have slept on in countless visits. Later, we danced in her kitchen, where I have spent hundreds of hours curled up on the corner couches watching Kristin cook or Simon do homework or just in silence, with Kristin, each of us reading some crappy pop culture magazine, sharing on occasion a particularly noteworthy tidbit about Katie Holmes or Lauren Graham (she loved them!!) or a reality show personality (We do not agree that they are celebrities. They bug us.)

The next day, we went through her clothes to help disperse them. So I sat on her bed where I spent countless days reclining with Kristin watching crappy TV shows. (Gilmore Girls, you are not crap TV) and in the end, holding Kristin's hand while she slept.

Kristin loved to travel. She loved to keep her ideas on the move. But more than anything, she loved place. And the homes she created became my home too.

I am a mover. You are more likely to see me breezing by on the way to something than sitting still, enjoying the quiet of the day.

Kristin gave me a world class friendship AND she gave me a place to love and be loved. For that, I am eternally grateful and momentarily sad.

For those of you out there who create warm spaces for friends and family, good on you.

It matters.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reboot, Reflect, Recharge.

I have this notion that it is my job to be truthful, to illuminate the dark and the light in my own life so that it might be helpful to someone else.

In the 12 step rooms, they refer to it as sharing your "experience, strength and hope." That bit of indoctrination has been seminal for me. It is all I have to offer.

(A pause here. My fingers stopped typing. I took a big inhale and exhale. This next part is a little hard.)

I had my bankruptcy hearing today with the U.S. Justice Department. It sounds bad. But in truth, the hard stuff already happened. It is akin to the moment I finally decided I needed to get sober. Walking into a 12 step meeting was merely punctuation to the long and grim sentence I had been crafting for years. This feels the same. It is a truthful and examined expression of where I have been so that I may move into the future with more grace.

My entrepreneurial spirit got caught up in the cross hairs of a changing economy. The amount of debt I had accumulated to start and grow a business became unacceptable and untenable. I know many of my entrepreneurial friends know the drill. You often don't get paid in order to pay others. And you borrow a little to make it through. And over time, that little can become a lot. Especially when the bottom falls out of the credit market.

I feel lucky that I was able to leave a business intact and to help more than 10 people get their start to opening their own studios in Cincinnati and beyond and scores more find employment in a field they were passionate about. I feel lucky that I was able to work as an activist with girls and teens. I feel lucky that I was able to publish and travel and collaborate. I feel lucky I was able to see my son graduate from college and take on exciting adventures of travel and service.

I wish I could have make it work better financially. This time, I will be more careful and more accountable to all 360 degrees of wellness.

But honestly, I hope to be no less optimistic about the future and no less engaged in movement, writing, collaboration and activism.

I have a deep appreciation for the structure of wellness as it relates to the body and mind. I know what it takes to stay well. I get those practices. I am adding new ones to my life that assure me financial wellness too. It is also a practice. And it takes mindfulness.

When I was working at MOCA in Cleveland more than a decade ago, the artist Lee Mingwei exhibited origami dollars which you could take so long as you replaced it with something you felt to be of equal or greater value. Mine is pictured above. I took this dollar in exchange for a photograph I had taken from a series I did where I took snapshots in the space and time where I might be feeling inclined to have a panic attack. It was my first foray into expressing myself creatively (as opposed to drunkenly or sleepily or irritably!) I feel like it was a fair trade.

I am working on being as thoughtful as I was with my Lee Mingwei origami dollar sculpture with each monetary exchange I make in the future. I will be of service and I will be fair. I will be accountable.

And there will be enough.