Year Of The Phoenix

January 7, 2013

The Chinese Zodiac says 2012 was the Year of the Dragon, but here at The Massage Den it was the year of the Phoenix.

When you spend your life working hard in a career you love, investing your time and energy into building a business, only to see it all go up in smoke…. needless to say, it is devastating. Early in 2012 the business I had built, The Massage Den, burned down. To nothing. Just like that all the hard work and effort was reduced to a pile of rubble, ash, and soot.  The Den was completely water logged and just…gone. What’s worse is not only had *I* lost everything, the therapists I had on staff were suddenly out of work as well.

In the immediate aftermath I called a meeting with my friends and colleagues.  Over pitchers of beer and through tissues and tears I shared my determination with them to rebuild immediately. I looked at a few places and explored my options.  Eventually the shock wore off and I was just stunned.  I felt immobilized.  It is so hard to lose what you worked so hard for!  A recurring theme in my life since moving to Louisiana has been learning how to recover from loss.  I thought I was past all of that…and experiencing it again was faith crushing. I lost my momentum for re-building and replaced it with self doubt; I questioned myself, my abilities, my calling, my vision. All at once it just seemed too hard and my idea of creating a business that provides a respectful working environment and a living wage for all involved seemed like an impossible endeavor.

I had to keep working and serving my clientele and started The Massage Den up at home, back where I had started it the previous year. Grateful for a space, it still was far from ideal.  Sure, I could keep working, had to, but the stress was incredible. I mourned the loss of my professional space while trying to balance home life and work life. Through the tension headaches and hours of worrying about how I would continue on, serving my clients became my saving grace. Able to provide the therapy they needed and called upon me for became my impetus for re-building. As I grew more confident and had some distance from the devastation of the fire, a voice of reason (yes, this voice was my significant other) spoke to me and said, “Maybe it was just a wiring issue and poor building management?”

Maybe. Just maybe… Maybe it wasn’t a sign from the Universe that it was all impossible and I shouldn’t continue to try, but just faulty wiring (duh, it’s not always all about me!). I was hopeful to see the situation in a new light.

Shortly after that I received a text from a close friend and client; there was a nurse practitioner who worked in the building I worked in that burned down. The nurse practitioner decided to move out TWO weeks before the fire hit.  Her reason?  The wiring had blown out an expensive piece of her equipment (ding! Ding! It really WAS the wiring, maybe I AM supposed to do this work!).  She decided it would be best if she bought her own building, and she now had a space to rent.  My friend gave her a glowing review of The Massage Den, the connection was made, and I was on my way to a new space!

The Den reopened the week after Hurricane Isaac.  I had nothing but my table, some sheets, massage oil, and my hands. What I also had was my faith in my vision restored. I was able to explore the possibilities of my business and once again ask the questions that led me to this work; how many more lives can I touch in a positive way?  How much more healing can I facilitate in the world?  And after so much loss, is it still possible?  I think so, yes. In the darkest of moments we must still be willing to see the light. In the darkest of moments everything is still possible.

2012 closed out at The Den much different than how it started, and business is better than ever! While I cannot go so far as to say I’m ‘glad’ for the fire, I am happy to have had the chance of renewed faith in my vision, for not only my own business, but for the massage industry as well. The fire was a huge loss, but to know that I can rise from the ashes and continue to do what I have been called to do:  Serve my clientele and one day provide a respectful and viable working environment for my colleagues has been the greatest gift.

The Massage Den wishes you and yours a happy and healthy new year!

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