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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12 thoughts on “Substance and Sustenance

  1. Cape May Masage Therapist

    Laura, I just happened upon your blog today and found some of the posts very enjoyable. While you are on vacation, it will give me time to do some reading! Have a great trip and I look forward to your posts upon your return!

  2. Cape May Massage Therapist

    Laura, this comment is not for publishing, just wanted to let you know I made a type when I entered my first comment and hit submit by mistake. If you could please delete that one and use the second one with massage spelled correctly it would be appreciated, thanks!

  3. Seattle Massage School

    This is so true! I try and communicate this to our students every class, especially when they’re getting ready to graduate. They get so caught up in the worry/ panic of finding a job and building their cliental they forget about themselves. Next thing I hear, they’ve hit burnout within 2 years and don’t have a desire to continue their practice. This is also why we offer yoga and qi gong for our students during school, to get them in the habit of taking care of themselves each week. If only for 1 hour, it makes such a huge difference. Thanks for talking about this and have a great trip!

  4. Rajam Roose

    Great post Laura!

    I’ve never understood why folks want to separate art & science when they are both one and the same. Change is quite difficult, especially when it’s time to overhaul old ideas and replace them with new. Most are scared of that process, but there need not be any fear, so much more can be accomplished when we let go of our egos.

    Rajam Roose, HHP

  5. Rajam Roose

    Hi Laura,
    Not sure how my comment for another post of yours ended up here, but I posted it in the right place if you want to delete my above comment.


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