Substance and Sustenance

Substance: what something is made of.  Sustenance: support, maintenance, nourishment.

On a personal level, I have a tendency to think that whatever your character traits, your qualities–your personal substance–is all about, has a lot to do with what you do to sustain that. I don’t intend the word sustenance just in the context of what you’re having for dinner…rather, in the context of what is it you do that sustains not only your body, but your mind and your soul.

On a business level, I think the same is true…if you’re a basically positive person, and you do things that sustain that, it’s going to carry over into your massage practice, or whatever it is you do for a living. If you’re steeped in negativity, you’ll remain there, unless you take some action meant to change that, and that will carry over into your business as well. We all have our off days. When we go too long without taking care of ourselves, we have more of them!

I’m taking care of myself this week. That actually started today; my husband and I enjoyed a boat ride, swimming, and a picnic at the lake with some friends. Tomorrow we’re heading off to Ireland. I’m fortunate to have an annual class there, so it’s a few days of work and a few days of pleasure. Actually, the work is pleasurable to me, too. I look forward to it every year. It’s one of those things that sustains me. The day we get there, we’re heading straight to a spa for a day of rest and restoration.  After the class is over, we don’t have a plan. I like to travel that way, just go where the wind blows.

It’s good to get a change of scenery, and be around some new people. I enjoy hearing how others run their businesses and about their lives. One thing that I always ask when I’m teaching a class is how often the therapists get a massage themselves. I’m mortified at the people who admit to not having had one in months. And most often, those are the therapists who are struggling in their businesses. I offer the suggestion that you have to practice what you preach. Otherwise, you’re not nurturing yourself, and your substance will suffer.  You’re like an instrument that needs tuning. You can still play a song, but it’s off-key, if you’re not giving yourself over to that same feeling of well-being we give people when they come to us. Don’t let a tight budget keep you from getting massage. Someone will trade with you.

Make time for whatever it is that sustains you…whatever it is that you enjoy doing. Don’t use the excuse “I don’t have time.” If you knew that today was your last day on earth, would you spend it at work? Probably not! I’m an admitted workaholic, and I’ve found out the hard way that if I don’t do the things that sustain me, the universe will usually end up knocking me flat on my butt. Usually, if I get sick or run down, or some business woe is driving me crazy, it’s normally a kick in the pants that says “slow down, it’s time to stop worrying about everything else and take care of yourself.”

Substance and sustenance. They go together. I’m going to be busy sustaining myself, so I’ll see you when my vacation’s over.

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