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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Massage Massage and more Massage

What about massage makes us feel so damn great? You know, it's the feeling of the oil against your skin, its the warm hands caressing your body parts, and the sweet smell of lavandar oil. Now that sounds delicious. It's more like a body dessert if you ask me.

So, why am I talking about massage? Most people who have had them, report great findings. Those who don't, don't. But for the people out there that either haven't tried it, don't want to or prefer to get rubbed another way, this article is partly for you.

Yesterday as my body ached I entered my gym (name not mentioned) in order to facilitate what I believed was the first of many massages I would receive here. However, the massage wasn't at all like I expected. Instead, it was rough not smooth (they used their knuckles, not their fingers, and by the way, if i wanted a "knuckle massage" i would have asked for one). Then, I felt a sharp impeding scratch like pain against my back. Yup, it was his fingernail for G-ds sake. I mean, come on, can't you remember to trim your nails? What's up with you guys these days?

So, instead of lying dormant like some mummy in an Egyptian cave, I decided I would speak out. I mean, how many times were they doing it too soft, too hard, not in the right place, and you didn't speak even a peep? This I now know is true because I've taken a poll and found that up to 95% of people don't, wouldn't and or will never speak up while getting massaged.

Now, as you know, I'm one for speaking the truth- even if it hurts sometimes. Furthermore, you are paying an arm and leg for this treatment, so I advise you SAY something! It's almost like people don't say anything because they are afraid. Afraid of what? Afraid he'll spit on you? Afraid he'll hold you hostage? Whatever the reason, it is essential and important you speak up before, during and after the massage to get your best rub.

Sometimes a massage therapist will go on and on about his life, his wife, his whatever and if he wants to talk, then so be it. But, the unwritten rule in massage is that you talk "when and only they ask you to". So, please therapist, don't tell us your childhood story, don't give us the facts about when you got out of jail and certainly please don't talk about the fact that you just ran the Boston Marathon! Wow, i can really feel my back getting looser by the minute.

Please, therapists, be discreet. We have enough of our own problems, which is exactly why we are there.

So, if a customer, these are three things you can do to make sure you're getting the best rub:
1) tell them upfront you like the pressure light, medium and/or hard.
2) tell them what body parts to NOT massage. Be clear and articulate.
3) ask them if it's okay you tell them if something is bothering  you. That is a good way
to ask their permission, even though you know they have to say yes. however it puts
you back in the drivers seat, which is where you want to be.
4) make sure the massage is not just a template or generic. Often students just coming out
of school will do only the exact moves they were taught, without remembering to tailor it to you!

Hope that helps you feel better and get what you want!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tribal-Truth-or dare?

I am proud to have been asked to be on blog talk radio with Tribal Truth's co-founder Tanya on Monday, October 11th, 2010. I am excited about all the possibilities that can come from such inspirations that are mentioned on their site, "Tribal-truth"- The Total Female Package. I believe they are focusing on the right subject: how to be authentic and fabulous and above all, how to be true to yourself. There seems to be many women, (including myself) who teach *empowerment* and are inspired themselves to lead passionate, fierce lives. I feel it's safe to say that most if not every women wants and/or need that. The question then is, *how*? How do women become more fierce? How do women support each other? How do women collaborate vs compete?

Body Fierce: The Ultimate Women's Empowerment Circle, was grown out of this need that I have just mentioned. Women are fierce and women are by nature competitive. What I wanted to do in forming this group was free up the competition and help all women realize that the power is really not only inside themselves but moreover, the power we have is really in the relationship we have between us. Once we realize that we really are in this process together, linked in and in alignment, we will really be able to be the leaders of the modern world. "It takes one woman to make the man, it takes two women to rule the world." quote by alison leigh

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

What does it mean to be good?

In life, pain is inevitable, the suffering is ...Image by tapperboy via Flickr

Being good could mean a lot of things. What i mean is that you are good to yourself first. That means that no matter what, wherever you are, *you* are the most important person and therefore need to understand that *your* self is what matters most. This is the hardest lesson for many women including myself. We tend to overcompensate, always say yes, and have a hard time when it comes to saying no.

One thing you can do today to empower yourself:
the next time someone asks you to do something you really don't want to do - pause for one second and say, "let me get back to you". You're not saying yes or no, but just taking a breath to inhale and exhale. That is it.

This exercise is *not* to piss off your boss or someone who really needs your attention, but more for you to *take* a second of time to breathe and feel yourself before you answer. If you haven't done this today, please try it. Even for a minute.

Mindfulness in everyday actions like minding yourself first, is the best way to get a start on discovering how to take care of you!

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

How do I protect myself emotionally from him?

Big Heart of Art - 1000 Visual MashupsImage by qthomasbower via Flickr

Prtection is defined as "The act of protecting, or the state of being protected; preservation from loss, injury, or annoyance; defense; shelter".

So, here we are talking about your heart, not your home, although that might need some protecting too. Protecting your heart is an art and science. Protecting your heart is an art because you have to keep in tune with where it is at at all times. Example: I'm feeling vulnerable, sad and just broke up with my boyfriend. Am i protected? Probably not. You need to survey: first, how long ago did you break up? What was the pain like? What kind of relationship were you thinking you were in?

In other words, protecting ourselves means 1) looking back to the history of your heart. (Take a heart history). Emotionally speaking, you would know if you felt protected because every single comment the guy said on the date wouldn't rip you apart or set you on flight to Bali. You wouldn't feel the extremes of down and high all the time while trying to ride the rapids of fate. You would feel protected if everything he said didn't reverberate through your head when you got home so much that you obsessed about every little detail on his lapel. (don't date men that wear lapels please).

Okay, so you're feeling *not* protected. GOOD TO KNOW. You see, mark this down on your data sheet as an "aha" moment. You now know you are not protected, and you know that you are still vulnerable. Entering into a relationship with either of these characteristics can be considered "danger zone-like". That is not to say you can't go for it, but having safety, peace of mind and protection from within are all mainstays to your getting what you need and want. Capice?

Okay, next. Protection of your own heart comes in many forms. One is to be GENTLE with it. Don't yell at yourself, don't ridicule yourself, GOD Dammit be nice! Seriouslsy, the nicer, gentler, and kinder you are with yourself, the better you will feel and the more safe and protected you will be.

Rule #1 for protecting the heart
1) Be kind to it, it's the only one you have!
2) Go within doesn't mean going without. You don't have to *give* up *anything* to keep your heart alive. True love is when you aren't taking anything away from yourself in order to give.

What does this mean? Just because you are looking inside of yourself for the answers and not depending on his every whim, doesn't mean you don't take him to heart. YOu can have your heart open, and vulnerable without getting trampled on. The deal is this. Ready?
it's a matter of degree. IT'S A MATTER OF DEGREE to which you let him in. The barameter is this: the more vulnerable you are (let's say you are 8 on scale of 1-10
the *less* you let him in at first. If you are a 4, then you could let him in a bit more. Does this make sense?
So, how do you know where you fall on the scale?
That is next...stay tuned, gotta go counseling.

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A very dear person wrote in today to ask some pressing questions..


I have been counseling people (women and men) on relationships for over 15 years, and these questions struck me as compelling. I am going to answer them as soon as possible. In the meantime, please keep posting questions and in good time, I will answer them. (I can only type so fast).

My main gig here is to answer your questions with honesty, integrity and compassion. Sometimes i will be bold, fierce and seemingly ruthless, but I want you to know that losing time contemplating these thoughts is painful enough. Why would you want to waste one more moment in the air of despair? I wouldn't want that so i'm not going to give that to you! Don't you worry. It will come to you as fast as i can type (and when i'm not sitting with clients) you will have the answers you need. Of course, I can't promise anything but pure heart counseling. If that is good enough, then we have a deal.

All in all, I just want you to be happy with *you*. So, stay tuned in- here are some answers to these lovely but daunting questions:

1) When should and shouldn't you sleep with a man?
A: The first thing that hits me is, "when" and "should". Those are two words that describe fear I'm sorry to say. When should you? You *should* when you *want* to. However, and I say this with a huge caveat because before doing that you do need some practice in gearing up the salon (that is you on a roll and in full makeup, heels, the whole 9 yards). So, with that said, we need to really back up a bit.

FIRST: ask yourself, *who* is this person? Answer that on a sheet of paper. Is he *worth* your time? What will he give you? Then ask, *what* am *I* getting out of this if I do sleep with him? What can i expect from him? From me? From the experience?
Capice? Probably not yet so allow me explain. Men are easy. That is just a fact. I'm not saying they sleep around and are always easy, except that may be the case with many, but let it be a known fact that men are *predictable* when you know understand what YOU want. You see, it's not them that are hard to figure out. It's you! It's you! True story. Let's continue. Are you having trouble with your own emotions? I bet you are. That is okay though as if you admit this, you are even better off because you have to start somewhere and right now you are here! So thanks for seeing that.

In trying to figure out the *other* I would like you to acknowledge your yearning and burning desire is really to figure yourself out. Sure, it doesn't seem that way plus it's much easier to see and concentrate on him than anyone but the fact is, you are about to enter the intimacy zone. The intimacy zone is one with yourself. The study is about YOU and YOU. No joke. Real story again.

Here is why: you will never be able to study, get, have, date, pursue HIM if you don't know what the hell you are up to first. That is the plan- okay? We are going to help you help you! (hopefully that didn't sound like a quote from Saturday night live). In any case, the study for women is to become more comfortable with *your* gender, not his. You see, if we study men, we put them first. No kidding. If we study *us* we put us first.

So, you might ask, what does this have to do with that question? Well, when you ask, "when should" it reminds me that I think, you are thinking, there is a specific time that is *good*, proper, or okay. Let's see if we can not think that way if possible. Let's ask ourselves, am i hungry for sex? When is it good for me? If I had my own selection, *who* would *I* choose? You see, we put too much power into thinking about the other (and this goes not just for men) but for anyone else you might be trying to pursue. The idea behind this is, first take care of yourself, then the rest will follow. So, to sum it up, "when should you sleep with a man"...answer, when you *want* to, when you feel it is the right *person*, when you feel hot and sexy, when you're protected (this is a big one). Protection means: sexually i am protected, (from diseases) and emotionally i am protected. What does that mean? It means that if you are not emotionally protected, you will get a big huge horrible feeling (BHHF) in your gut afterward when he doesn't pay attention to you, or he pays *too* much attention to you. So, i think the next question i need to answer is, "how do you protect yourself emotionally from him?

What can you tell him up-front about your expectations if you do sleep with him? Why don't women confess their real position up front? How can we get the courage to do that, and be fine with friendship (or rejection) if he says he isn't down to wait?
Is it true that many men tell you everything you need to know about their availability/goals at the beginning of a relationship?
What is Man-speak? (what he means when he says "I'm really not looking for something serious", or "I just haven't met the right woman" looking into your eyes")
How can I best respond to man-speak? (asking him "Can you be more specific?" when he says he's not looking for something serious)
How can I protect my physical-emotional being? across various stages of a relationship
What is the best strategy for dating IN THE BAY AREA?
What are the biggest mistakes you can make (and worst things you can say) to a man in the "getting to know you" stage?
What does it really men when men say they are 1) simple and 2) like the hunt?
What are the most important differences between men and women?
What are the Top 10 Scenarios in dating and how can you best prepare yourself for each situation? for ex:
First online date
The blind date
You asked a man out
Interested in a colleague
He doesn't call after you've been intimate
Seeing someone on the street/grocery store/MUNI
How does a man evolve over time? i.e., a bachelor at 20/30/40 and how can I exploit his emotional weaknesses and insecurities? ;)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just being, being present and what it all means.

Being Mindful
by Alison Leigh Siegel, MFT, Mindful Coach

what does that mean, to just *be*

Many people wonder a) what does that mean and b) how to get there and c) what good does it do me anyway to just be?

In this blog post I will attempt to explain the "just be manual" for people who are new to this and want to taste a little bit of something new. I think you all know what "just" means, however the question really more inquiring minds want to know is "what
what does it mean, to “just be”? If you think you are the only one who knows the answer to that, take faith. You're not alone. Even Buddhist monks who sit on the mountains of Tibet contemplate this question for years, and still some haven't come up with the answer.

In addition, if we talk about just being in the context of a hurried world based on instant gratification, you can forget your contemplation time. Contemplation time comes with either old age, the fact that you are conscious and taking some very necessary time out to do this work, or you are forced by aliens to contemplate your very existence on this planet before you get beamed up.

If contemplating just being was that easy, our world and the humans in it would look very different. In fact, take a second to think of everything in slow motion. What would that look like? What would it look like if all humans stopped for a half a second before shooting their mouth off? I remember my grandfather saying "that is why God gave you one mouth and two ears Ali". And, i listened to that. (punned). So, with that said, let's get back to the definition of just being.

For our definitive purposes here (my own definition not to be called out by Websters) is that just being = being present. Now, being present is a very different, but similar experience but semantics does play a huge role here.

In my words, to be present means you *are* in the here and the now. It touches on philosophical semantics, "I think therefore I am". To be present means owning yourself, your experiences and your ideas of those experiences. Being present means I am here now and I am responsible for the things i do and say.

What does just being NOT mean?
It doesn't mean you have to be still, peaceful or someone other than who you are. It means being yourself *no matter* what even if it is ugly, repressed or scares the shit out of you. It's *real*, it's *authentic* and it's just you.

If you want an image of just being, take a look at children and they way they *are*. Have you ever noticed how they don't contemplate their existence like we do, but instead, just *are*? They don't say, "well, this is where I'm coming from" and they don't just not say that because they are 3, but rather because their limbic system has not developed the cognitions to make them feel *crazy* just yet. I'm half kidding.

Truth is that children know instinctively *how* to be present. They get off the bus in the morning (hopefully for most) and they walk, skip or run to (or away) from school. Their animal instincts are just that. They know they have to *be* somewhere just like us but the difference is that 1) they don't try and control their actions or behaviors according to some preset notion of *how* they are supposed to do it. Naturally engaging children *just do*.

It's not until much later they develop cognitive patterns in their heads that say, "not like that!" or "don't do that, do this!". Now, I'm not blaming the parents here, merely pointing out a fact that children, until they are taught differently, will just *be* naturally without a mere thought of why they are like that or how they can change to make someone else happy.

Your homework assignment is to go out on your lunch break, sit or walk past a playground (don't lurk if you know what i mean), and just see how they are. Watch the children laugh, cry, get up from being knocked down and just resume child position. They are facinating really.

Why are children so present? most children stay in the present, because they 1) don’t have a past to mull over and 2) because everything is new. it’s the first time for everything. they have not yet built up enough stamina, character, etc, to have any burden yet. That is our job (kidding)

My point is, children are reactive and active. sure, there comes a time where we need to grow up, however our little kid inside of us is always knocking (or banging) on the door to let them in. So, point is, we still have our little kid inside us. Let's knock on in and see what we find.

For the record: Alison Leigh's Life Coaching comments

Some of you have been asking me where they can find comments others have made about my life coaching services. I've included them here for your convenience.

Life Coach, Somatic Educator, Sex and Relationship Therapist
Just Be Good To Yourself: Empowering Women Through Self Awareness Education

“Alison equipped me with valuable tools to manage stress on a day-to-day level. My time with Alison was invaluable.” March 18, 2009
Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
Suzanne Lee
hired Alison Leigh as a Career Coach in 2006, and hired Alison Leigh more than once
“I had a crisis that I needed to resolve and I thought a person who had no connection to me would be the ideal way of resolving the matter at hand. I really enjoyed my time with Alison. I went in with an idea of results-oriented advice needed from her and she dug into the crux of the matter rather quickly. She was a tremendous resource in helping me figure out how and why I had found myself in this situation and how to get out of it. If you are needing an unbiased third party to help you figure out anything in your life, Alison would be highly recommended by me.” March 18, 2009
Top qualities: Personable, High Integrity, Creative
Lisa Hardy
hired Alison Leigh as a Therapist in 2005
“Alison Leigh, is extremely focused, detail oriented, highly professional, and an effective Therapist. With a few sessions her intense healing abilities, worked on serveral levels, to aid in recovery and healing. I am very impressed with her abilities and will highly recommend her services.” March 18, 2009
Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, Good Value
Darrell Lasky
hired Alison Leigh as a Therapist in 2007, and hired Alison Leigh more than once
Trauma Release Bodywork Specialist
Alison Leigh Siegel, Trauma Release Bodywork Recovery Center

“Alison is a trusted colleague of mine who is a talented, creative individual of utmost integrity. We have know each other for several years and I am consistently impressed by her expertise as a therapist. I highly recommend her to anyone needing support in integrating internal and external life experiences.” March 18, 2009
Lucia Miracchi, Owner, Massage Therapy Center
worked with Alison Leigh at Alison Leigh Siegel, MFT
“I tend to shy away from traditional talk therapy. So Alison's methods were a refreshing change. There is certainly the opportunity to vent, talk, discuss and explore things, but she also adds real-world advice and suggestions on how to improve one's life. I strongly recommend her services to anyone in need of an intuitive, creative and overall exceptional therapist.” March 17, 2009
Top qualities: Great Results, High Integrity, Creative
Kerry Evensong
hired Alison Leigh as a Therapist in 2006
Director of Education
The Feel Institute™

“I have been a friend and colleague of Alison Leigh for over 8 yrs. In that time I have known her to be a gifted healer and counselor. Alison is uniquely gifted as a mind / body healer. Her ability to intuit and tap into the core issues of her clients is unmatched by anyone i know in the field of healing / personal transformation. I highly recommend her to anyone who seeks healing at the deepest level of their being or to be liberated from long-standing behavior patterns, traumatic wounds or limiting beliefs and painful life stories. No one is better at getting to the heart of the matter in a safe, loving and effective way than Alison Leigh.” June 22, 2009
Jeff Wright, MFT(MFC41427), Psychotherapist, Red Road Counseling
worked with Alison Leigh at The Mind / Body Studio
Marriage and Family Therapist
New Perspectives Center for Counseling

“In the years we worked together I appreciated and enjoyed having Alison Leigh as a collegue on many levels. Aside from her engaging personality I was most impressed by her professionalism and her passion for bringing the body-mind connection into her work with clients. Her background in bodywork and her extensive training and experience in traditional as well as experience- and-body centered methods of psychotherapy allow her to bring a very special blend of grounded expertise and intuition into the therapy process. I appreciate her directness, her ability to quickly cut to the chase and her refreshing sense of humor.” July 24, 2009
Meriana de Jager Dinkova MFT, MFTI, New Perspectives Center for Counseling
worked directly with Alison Leigh at New Perspectives Center for Counseling
“Alison is a bright, intuitive and gifted healer. You'll find yourself in very good hands.” March 18, 2009
Thomas Faupl, MFT, Marriage and Family Therapist, Private Practice
worked with Alison Leigh at Alison Leigh Siegel, MFT
Oral Historian, Psychotherapist, Interviewer
UCSF Principle Investigator: The Life Tapes Project

“Alison is a skilled professional who also exudes warmth and compassion. Her ability to meet people in the midst of their own personal health crises, and engage them in a life-transforming experience of producing a legacy, is truly exceptional. I would recommend Alison highly to anyone seeking individual psychotherapy or assistance with an oral history project.” September 19, 2009
Kerri Keough, Clinical Social Worker, UCSF Medical Center
worked with Alison Leigh at UCSF Principle Investigator: The Life Tapes Project
“Alison is a terrific colleague whom I met while she worked on a very innovative project known as the Life Tapes Project. My impression is that she was involved in a wide range of activities on this project, from conducting interviews with great sensitivity and compassion, to collecting analytic data on the impact of these interviews. Alison is terrific at networking and very resourceful in getting things done. On a personal level, I really enjoy her company, and she is committed to making a positive contribution to society. I am happy to serve as a professional and character reference for Alison.” September 18, 2009
Jeff Belkora, Director, Decision Services, UCSF Cancer Center
worked with Alison Leigh at UCSF Principle Investigator: The Life Tapes Project
“Alison, I owe you the biggest recommendation possible. You came into my life when I was faced with a prognosis that was not favorable. You offered me a way to reflect on my life and leave a legacy for my family. It's hard for me to fathom that such a service was free. I will always be in your debt. Thank you for all you do to help those in need. You are a blessing.” September 17, 2009
Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Expert
Kelley Mullin
hired Alison Leigh as a Oral Historian, The Life Tapes Project in 2004
Guided Imagery Specialist
Institute of Health and Healing

“I have had the pleasure of collaborating with Alison on the alumni marketing of her major spring workshop. I found her always approachable and very quick to provide any deliverables or insights that were needed. I would highly recommend Alison and her company.” June 22, 2009
Cynthia Frierson-Mitchell, Alumni Associate, California Institute of Integral Studies
worked directly with Alison Leigh at Alison Leigh Siegel, MFT