important updates from the massage studio....

Beloved clients,

This was sent out as an email to those who opted into holding space together’s email list, but I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to read it here.

I'm writing to let you know that I'm making some important changes to financial structure of my business, holding space together.

After a couple of years of experimenting, it's become clear to me that the sliding scale for massage isn't working as sustainably as I'd hoped.

Before laying out holding space together's new structure, I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your engagement with a unique business structure as I've experimented with this sliding scale system. I also want to let you know that every penny that was generously donated to the "access pot" has been put to healing use, enabling access to low-cost massage and doula sessions.

new financial structure:

After a lot of thought, a lot of mindful attention to my own needs, and a lot of sadness about knowing this will limit some of your access, I've decided to remove the general sliding scale for massage. Rather, I will have set prices for most clients, while individuals who fit more limited criteria will be able to access sliding scale massage. Set massage prices will run market rate for the neighborhood.

I hope this structure will keep my own income more stable and enable me to hone in on offering free & low-cost massage to a smaller group of clients who face multiple intersectional barriers to accessing these kinds of complementary healthcare services. So, I've decided to continue the full sliding scale for some of my beloved Adams Morgan neighbors with whom I'm already in community--residents from Joseph's HouseChrist House, and L'Arche.

To continue to keep mind-body and deathcare services as accessible as possible, I will keep a more limited sliding scale for everyone for doula sessions and home funeral support.


These are the new prices:

60-min massage: $100
90-min massage: $130

60-min doula session: $30-$80 (pay what you can, self-determined)
90-min doula session: $100

sliding scale 60-min massage & doula sessions:
Joseph's House & Christ House residents, and L'Arche core members (starting at $0, pay what you can, self-determined)


I want to thank each and every one of you for your support of my business thus far, and for giving me the honor of working with you. I am deeply grateful.

Take care of yourselves, brilliant beings. 

All my best,
Sarah

doula sessions... #2

Curious to understand a little more about what a “doula session” really is? I’ve made a video explaining it.

view here:

https://youtu.be/ShOhwjSJ6r8

Image description: a screenshot of a Youtube video of Sarah explaining. She’s mid-sentence, clearly in the middle of saying something, expressive with her hands, and sitting in front of a window with a plant. The subtitles below say, “empowering kind of soul care that a doula provides”

Image description: a screenshot of a Youtube video of Sarah explaining. She’s mid-sentence, clearly in the middle of saying something, expressive with her hands, and sitting in front of a window with a plant. The subtitles below say, “empowering kind of soul care that a doula provides”

I'm featured in an article...

I’m honored to be featured in an article in one of my favorite online magazines, Uncomfortable Revolution. The magazine focuses on fostering empowering and accessible and fun conversations about living with illness and disability.

If you want to hear a little more about what a few death doulas are up to (including me :) )—please check the article out! Heads up—I talk briefly about social justice issues in death, racism, and police brutality. It was lovely to connect with the writer, Carmen R.H. Chandler—from DC! Check out her amazing healing and writing work!

article:

https://www.urevolution.com

https://www.urevolution.com/death-doulas-talk-about-dying/

Carmen’s work:

https://carmenchandlerblog.wordpress.com/

https://mybodytempleblog.wordpress.com/

love,

sarah/HST

[Image description: a screenshot of the homepage of www.urevolution.com. It has a striking layout with a black background and white text, and an androgynous person covered with bright paint splatters, looking mysterious and somber. The big text says, “Death doulas are helping to change the way we talk about death”]

[Image description: a screenshot of the homepage of www.urevolution.com. It has a striking layout with a black background and white text, and an androgynous person covered with bright paint splatters, looking mysterious and somber. The big text says, “Death doulas are helping to change the way we talk about death”]

doula sessions

Hey brilliant beings -- life is sometimes stormy for all of us, especially amidst chaos, violence and oppression. "Deaths"-- physical and otherwise --are part of our daily lives. I believe that loss & transition of all kinds, and even the shedding that comes with welcome growth, are all moments in which we deserve to be held with care & honored for our resiliency.

I've been noticing, in myself and others, a need for support in honoring the "non-death deaths" (made that one up myself ) that are happening almost constantly. Especially when they're painful, or complicated, I've found that having someone who's present and caring and intentional beside me helps me open my heart to myself. Sometimes I need help just carving out the time to go inwards.

I've thought about this a lot from the context of a caregiver & doula. In the spirit of vulnerability: there have been so many times when I've thought, gosh, I wish I didn't have to wait until I'm in crisis to get the kind of soul care I see my colleagues providing and that I aim to provide.

All this has led to my developing a new service for holding space together that I'm excited to announce: "doula sessions." These are 60- or 90- min sessions that you can book online. They're meant to make doula-style, holistic, pragmatic, creative & soul-centered care more accessible for EVERYONE. As always, with this commitment to accessibility comes a commitment to financial & physical accessibility, too.

If this idea sparks a little light on your body somehow, hope you'll consider booking a session with me! To do so, look at the menu above, and go to Services > Doula; all the information you need will be there.

love, sarah/holding space together

Ps. That picture is the view from the massage studio yesterday!

[Image description: a shot from a window with flowers on the ledge of a big storm, raining hard and blowing a tree all around strongly.]

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Subversive Somatics: Massage with Clients with Developmental Disabilities

I aspire to conduct sessions that integrate an ever-deepening, holistic, meaningful, and intersectional understanding of Disability Justice--this is, in fact, the only way I can offer truly safe, healing spaces to my clients.

I've had the chance to explore my own assumptions about what massage "should" and "shouldn't" look like. With mindfulness of my own somatic experience as my guide, I continue to learn how to be a more creative therapist and a deeper listener of clients and their bodies.

Read More

when my great great grandma and great great great grandpa stayed up all night crafting a coffin for a home funeral... summer of 1887

Back in the summer of 1887, my great great grandmother and her father, my great great great grandfather, stayed up all night making a coffin out of whatever they could find. They lived on a homestead in the Dakotas, and when their good friend died, there was no access to the typical funeral "things." They used a board from the attic and lined it with cheesecloth. They carried it to the family under the seat of their buckboard. A simple ceremony took place. A lovely home funeral.

I've been reflecting on spirituality & ancestry, generally, and my own connection with my blood ancestors, specifically. I've been particularly inspired from listening to the podcast Bespoken Bones (http://bespokenbones.com/). And then.... my great great grandmother's personal home funeral account falls into my hands! I'm in awe.

I was absolutely delighted to receive a copy of this letter from my mom, who got it from my aunt. I had no idea that coffin-building (specifically, parent-daughter coffin-building*) and home funerals ran in my blood! I feel humbled, connected, and joyful. Thanks for letting me share. (And a special thanks to Aunt Lenore for taking note and sharing.) Read the whole story below, if you like.

love, sarah

*https://www.holdingspacetogether.com/blog/2017/9/11/my-momma-and-i-are-on-the-radio-a-story-of-mother-daughter-casket-making

greatgreatgrandma.jpg
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FREE workshop: BEING WITH THE DYING

DC Community: tomorrow I'm leading a short, free workshop, "Being with the Dying," at Potomac Massage Training Institute (by Silver Spring metro).

It will be an interactive exploration of our own somatic wisdom. We'll discuss how resting in our own authenticity can lead to the work itself being nourishing, even in the face of death and loss.

EVERYONE is welcome... please pass on the word if you know anyone who may be interested! Thanks! xo -s

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