This is the text box!

click here



Why Even Keel Exists - 15 years later....

Why Even Keel Still Exists - 15 Years Later 
You may find this hard to believe but it was a negative comment on my company that sparked my positive desire to write this blog. I value all of our client reviews so much that I pay to request them and a brief response wasn't enough for yesterday's feedback. I really had to think hard about it because if it’s important to one of our clients then it is important to us! Appreciative clients shower us with detailed accounts of what we do right (thousands to be exact) and we get all warm and fuzzy. Sometimes they tell us where we can improve and we become very serious doing all that we can to quell their concerns. Room temperature off, got it, more soundproofing in one of the treatment rooms, got it, scheduling online requests, done…. and on and on. But yesterday’s feedback really made me think. Years ago I would stay up all night worried about what to do and I might have reacted defensively and too quickly. Now, almost 15 years later, I slow down and meditate on it. Sound weird? Maybe, but that's just who I am and that is part of who we at Even Keel proudly are. A unique little boutique spa with highly qualified employees and a strong desire to provide an outstanding service to our family of clients and remain in business. It is not easy to run a small business; in fact, it’s very hard work. 
The client’s concern surrounded their "treatment" and not their actual couples massage, which they enjoyed. They felt that their "experience" was not the same as when they visited last February. My staff held their breath as they read the review because they care about their client’s experience as much as their individual performance. Last year the couple booked on Valentine's weekend and we served cookies and champagne, which they described as luxurious. I feel awful that they didn't receive the same treats this year. We only served champagne on Valentine's Day, which fell on a Wednesday this year while they came in the following Sunday. Darn, we should have been serving it all week for the holiday (note to self, won't happen again!). In addition, the flu epidemic has filled our local hospital and knocked many of our clients and staff to their knees...cookies and any unwrapped food was not entering Even Keel this year. Too many pregnant women walking around, including a staff member. BUT, we could have done something... 
In the last paragraph I did what I said I wouldn't and fell into excuse mode. I apologize! When it comes to client satisfaction there are NO excuses. The reason I am so appreciative of the only review that ever drove me to write a blog about it is because it made me think about who we really are. What does Even Keel represent? We are about to expand and add a meditation and mindfulness center. Years ago I added the word "wellness" to our name and we are currently trying to learn what our clients desire that we may not be giving them. Are we on the money? In this review we were compared to another spa whose pricing structure is on par with ours and always serves goodies… not just on Hallmark Holidays. I thought "Do they pay their staff excellent earnings, do they have very little staff turnover, do they use top quality (stupid expensive) products and not charge extra for "deep tissue"? Well we do…. but who cares, as what really matters is: do our clients come back time and time again for many years? Do our clients trust us enough to bring their children, grandparents, uncles, and aunts? Do our clients allow us to touch their newly replaced hips, do they breath a deep sigh as we care for their body that is battling cancer, do they say “help me calm my troubled mind and also my body” and most importantly…do they care enough to tell us when we fail and hug us when we succeed. The answer to all of the above is a resounding…. yes. And if I have to find a way to add cookies and champagne every day, well I might… but I doubt it. There are so many spa choices in the world and we are grateful to all who choose Even Keel.  May your choices fit your needs and may we serve our clients another 15 years and keep getting better at it every day.  
May your day be filled with peace and a body that will last, 

Who is that Lady in the Airport? I want to be her!

Did you ever play the game "What are 5 traits of someone you deeply admire?"
If so, patronize me and play again. It only takes a moment but is worth a dozen.
Get a scrap of paper and pen. Here we go:

Pick someone (or multiple people) you look up to: famous, historical, your neighbor, anyone you deeply respect or maybe would even love to have as your mentor.
Write down 5 of their traits that you most admire.
Now look at the list. I bet you think those traits are incredible-- maybe even unattainable. What if you were told those traits you admire are actually who you are?  You may be thinking, “that's not me, that’s who I wish I could be.” In reality, you are those qualities that you deeply admire but perhaps they need to be cultivated and made stronger so they are available whenever you want or need them. By nourishing these qualities, you are building your life in a way that brings you to your greatest potential as defined by "you" and no one else.

So, who is that lady in the airport? I have been asking myself that since 2012.  To make a long story short, I hired a kick-butt, brilliant, amazing coach (holy crap, maybe I have the qualities of my coach!) who asked me how I saw myself in the future. I said, “I want to be that lady I saw in the airport.” Done, that was easy! For some reason, she needed more information. Here is the story-

One day, I was racing to catch a flight to Chicago for a meeting; I was late, frazzled, sweating with the weight of my backpack heavy on my shoulders, angry that I didn't get any coffee, I hated the suit I was get the picture.  And there she was: a tall silhouette of a woman drifting effortlessly through the airport looking as if the light from heaven cast down on her. She was well dressed-understated, tailored yet comfortable- gliding at a pace that looked slow while still covering a lot of ground.  She wasn't on a phone, or searching for that darned Starbucks- she looked like she was on a mission, but a peaceful one. She had places to go and people to see but she appeared grounded in her own being, as though at that moment no one else existed- but she was present for all that existed. So, now you’re thinking, “Lex got that out of a two second sighting of a woman in an airport?”  It may seem strange, but I did, and I’ll never forget her.

Now, being the slow learner that I am, 2017 is winding down with 2018 around the corner and, suddenly, it all makes perfect sense! I am that woman in the airport!! I just need to work at it, a lot. I'm wired with a high idle and a busy entrepreneurial brain but it serves me well (most of the time).  Today I woke early, meditated, mindfully cleaned the kitchen, fed 5 dogs, made steel cut oats, brought coffee to wake up my loved one...all before 8 am!  And, I glided gracefully through it all. I AM that peaceful, grounded, clear, beautiful woman in the airport, I just need to work on it every day. For me, it’s an early start and meditation that grounds me in who I want to be, in who I am.  Now I best go take a shower, I'm not quite ready for the airport in my robe.

Look inside
Find stillness
Be present
Be who you want to be

Much Love,

What’s love got to do with it? Well, frankly everything.

We wander our way through life feeling moments of joy, days of happiness, a sloshing of love, four hundred meters of confidence and then BAM you can’t seem to find it. It was there when you woke up yesterday and even when you went to bed.

And then today, according to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and all the freaking smiling people in spin class, they all have it and you don’t; you can’t even find an emoticon on your iphone that can project how totally crappy and unloved you feel today. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is illegal to post anything but shear joy on those sites.

How can this be and how do I get my mojo back, fast, because this feeling just isn’t one I am up for today. Or maybe it is all ok. Is there something that I can have, right now that will make me feel ok to feel not ok? Hint: four letters, rhymes with dove.

Maybe what makes us feel loved or worthy or, my favorite, vulnerable, is the same as what makes us feel fear or shame or generally like a flipping loser. Ok, yes there are many studies about who feels worthy and why and I completely idolize Brene Brown but right now I really need this feeling of crappy panic misery ‘ishness’ (not a medical diagnosis, but it darn well should be) to go away. I need to wake up and figure it out fast before the day really gets away from me. Because, be real, we are busy people who need to get it all done so we can relax.

I have been deeply loved in my life, and I have been deeply hurt, I have even loved others deeply and hurt the ones I loved (gee, has that happened to you before? No? Liar.) Oh, and then there was the one I wanted to love but they couldn’t love me back for some ridiculous reason that they couldn’t explain. That one really sucked. And how about the friend that was your BFF but decided to Un-BFF you? How does that happen? What happened to there being no weakness in forgiveness? Darn we are all so weak that it’s sort of endearing. Let’s capture and embrace it like a big sunflower patch. Are you throwing up yet?

Maybe that’s it; we need to embrace the weakness. Our weakness. Be the golf ball with dimples missing from the twenty trees you hit, all on the front nine; be the squirrel who forgot where he hid his nuts and can’t admit it to his pals; be late and just tell them the truth that you really wanted a Frappuccino™; tell the person who gets in the elevator that no, it was not your dog who farted.

Laugh at your weaknesses, embrace who you are, actually embrace your weaknesses since you are the one who put a label to them. We need to embrace the gift of love no matter how small or how big it is. Hug your dog, smile at a stranger, pay for the woman’s coffee behind you, be grateful for your friends even if you only have one.

So, what’s love got to do with it?


But first you need to learn that there is an order inherent in this action called love. First you have to start with yourself, once you start loving yourself you can give it away like a bottomless bowl of popcorn. Just keep sharing it and never worry if you get any back because heck, you already have an endless bowl. Maybe the guy next to you will even give you some of his sour patch kids (which by the way are fantastic in popcorn) but if not, no big deal because, well, you have popcorn.

Perhaps you think this is a stupid blog on self-love, and maybe it is, but it would be the same blog if I substituted a feeling like fear, anger, insecurity, or jealousy; except, who needs those? Those feelings are also learned but why waste time on that education. If we are born with none of these and we work so hard to learn them then I choose to put more of my education in love and not the rest of that, not-so-fun stuff.

Here is the scenario; you wake up and your body feels great, you slept well, you feel clear headed and calm. Then what? Most likely you will have a good day because “where the mind goes energy flows” right?

Ok, again we need this to be a lot simplier, because we just don’t wake up that often with all that good stuff going on. At minimum if we wake up and think, I love me, no matter what I love me. Actually right now I am writing and screaming “I love me” and I scared the dog and he bit me, but it was out of love, I think. I digress, I love me, then guess what, I can love you. As a matter of fact I have no idea who you are but I can honestly say, “I love you”.

So yes, love has a lot to do with it. How do we get there? Plant the seeds. Start today. We live our lives fighting fires, we weed our gardens only to find another weed popped up. What can we plant instead? Ahhhhh, now that is the deep question. But again, let’s start real simple, ok? Look in the mirror; better yet write it on your mirror in hot red lipstick (yes especially you guys), “I LOVE ME”.

If doing that is too hard, then start small. Check out yourself on your way to work in the rear view mirror, just at stop lights, start small; give yourself a wink. You are pretty darn cool. Love is pretty darn cool.

Now go give it away like popcorn.

It’s not broken, it just needs rearranging.

My grandmother told me you can’t die of a broken heart. But I never got to ask her if you could die after several broken hearts. She also said that you could only cry over something for 24 hours and then you needed to stop it and move on. I never got to ask her if the 24 hours applied to broken hearts or anything in general. There is a big difference and I am heartbroken that she is no longer around to ask the answer.

When she was sick she would put on multiple nightgowns (at once), put a pile next to her bed, drink tea, honey and whiskey; crawl under a mountain of blankets and “sweat it out”. Sweat, change the nightgowns, sweat some more, drink more homeopathic brew and repeat the process. The key in the process was to leave her completely alone. No coddling, no helping, just leave her in peace. (And it was peaceful, she never complained.) Her bedroom had only three walls and the other wall was a long curtain that ran the length of the hallway, which was just over the open staircase. It sounds strange but it was all we knew so it seemed completely normal. It was probably a sitting room, which later became a bedroom as the family grew or guests took up space. What it really meant was that you had to climb the creaky stairs carefully as not to disturb her. This was not easy.

Before we visited she baked, she cooked, she canned, she supplied an army of food even if it was just for my small four person family. I lost my grandfather when I was little so this process, in my life, was just one that she did alone and she seemed to love it. I sure did!

As I live my life, as do most, surrounded by people, technology and an endless to do list, sometimes I find myself in pieces. Then add something like a broken heart or confused mind, and the pieces seem to scatter like a bottle dropped on a craggy sidewalk. It doesn’t matter who agrees or disagrees with my emotions, doesn’t matter whose fault anything is, the emotions are mine; no one can really walk in another’s shoes. No one can ever truly know what is on your mind, nor can you know what they are thinking. It is all you; beautiful you.

Hence my Grandmother’s teaching in taking time alone to care for yourself finally makes sense to me. Be with yourself and no one else. You are the whole, you are the pieces, you are in charge of the rearranging. You may think that finding this time is impossible, but it is imperative to a human’s ability to feel whole again, to be creative, to be insightful, to do gre­­at things. It is the only way to get to the ocean of who we are and hear the wisdom that lies within; to find the knowledge and insight that we have stored away too deep to access in a fleeting moment.

The old adage “the answer lies within” is quite true.

This is where meditation and mindfulness for over thirty years has helped me at times keep my pieces all in one place and over time to be able to rearrange, reassess and recreate a life of wholeness. At the end of the day we are blessed to be surrounded by good people, but the best of those is you.

Thanks Grandma, I think I finally get it.

We can all withstand many broken hearts, illnesses and tearful moments with a little time alone; be it in bed, in the kitchen or just writing it down.

Meditation rocks as you can use it in small doses each day without having to lock yourself in your bedroom. Of course if you do have the chance to escape for a few days alone … do it!

Peace, Focus, Patience - Gotta get me some!

It really is that easy.  SEED Meditation®

Plant it and watch it grow. 


For over 10 years I have heard people say, I start to feel better as soon as I walk in the front door of the Keel.  Is it the music, the lighting, the people, the knowledge that soon you get to lie down, the fact that we ask you to turn off your phone?  Perhaps it is a combination of all of those things, but most importantly, it is the permission you have given yourself; the permission to selflessly take care of yourself, put your oxygen mask on first, be at home, if only for an hour with the most important person, you.


I have always felt that I have been blessed with the skill of massage.  However over the years the number one thing I have found is that most healing starts with watching a person slowly quiet their minds, slow their breathing, go inside to a place of pure consciousness and allow their own healing to begin.  This magic can be found in a daily meditation practice.  


My career, starting as a CPA, then 15 years later a Massage Therapist was not a whim or an accident.  It started as a very, very, anxiety ridden kid which later grew into an anxiety ridden adult.  I was lucky to land in the hands of a good counselor who introduced me to the nurturing silence of massage and It was a gifted Massage Therapist who introduced me to the healing silence of meditation. For almost thirty years I have been on and off my meditation pillow, reading books and quietly wondering what the heck is this meditation practice is that leaves me feeling calm and courageous, peaceful yet powerful, loved, focused, creative and closer to my soul?


So why did it take until four years ago for me to get serious and make it a part of my daily life?    Because it was a quest I took on by myself that was necessarily accelerated by the lovely thing that life throws at you called stress.  You know the thing that you don’t see until perhaps your immune system tanks and your hair falls out.


I was a closet meditator who didn’t want to be labeled.  I needed to understand the “why and the how” of it.  I needed to learn that thoughts were normal and you can’t stop them, you don’t need to sit in lotus position on the floor and you don’t need to change your religion or even have one for that matter.  I always enjoyed helping a client discover a 4:4:2 breathing technique to ease stress or perhaps experience a little guided meditation but I really wanted to learn how to teach meditation.  Having an experience of meditation is great but actually learning to meditate at home is knowledge you can use forever.  Experiences are nice, knowledge is powerful.


I have been studying with the McLean Meditation Institute in Sedona and after a whole lot of learning and practice, from an amazing teacher named Sarah McLean, I am now proudly certified to teach a meditation method called SEED Meditation®, “Simple, Easy, Every Day Meditation”.   This is the practice I have been searching for to share with our clients for years.  Again, I got lucky and found this one before thirty more years had passed.


You may not see me in the massage room as much and it is not because I don’t believe in the power of massage.   It is because my path to wellness leaves me obligated to share what I know is missing in many lives.  That feeling you get when you walk in the door of the Keel.  A little peace that I know I can teach you to find in your hearts, every day of the year. 


Coming Soon……..Even Keel Living