A Little Gratitude

It’s the time of year when we think about being grateful. If you’re like me, this is an ongoing practice. It’s not something we ponder once a year around a food-laden table. It’s not something we do each day of November because Facebook told us to.

Admittedly, it’s not always easy to stay in the grateful mindset. There are plenty of petty annoyances as well as honest-to-God, Big Boy/Girl problems that we deal with each day. However, I do believe that in the course of an average day there are numerous things to be truly grateful for, if we care to focus our lens in that way.

A particularly pleasant employee at the coffee shop, (or spa!) can shift my attitude all day. That person who let me go when I was trying to get back onto Camino Del Rio after that quick errand, the text from a friend who just wanted to let me know they were thinking of me, my kids not arguing about who’s turn it is to do the dishes, all of these things make me happy. does that mean I always stop to acknowledge the gratitude?

Alas, no.

But I find that when I do, I carry that attitude around. It makes me more patient, more kind and more helpful to everyone else in my world. In short, it’s worth doing, for yourself as well others.

A quick survey of our staff members reveals gratitude for friends, family, food, yoga, hummus and cinnamon rolls. (not necessarily in that order)

What are you grateful for?

Who is Your Durango Hero?

DH shield

It’s Your Call Durango!

All during the month of October we want YOU to tell us about someone in the area who has made a difference. A difference in your life, or a difference in lots of lives. A teacher, parent, friend, boss, mentor or neighbor who has gone above and beyond the call, just because they could. We’ll be collecting your stories and at the end the of the month we will choose three winners. Those lucky folks will receive a free spa treatment as well as a gift bag from our retail store.

Email us at durangohero@gmail.com and tell us about who deserves to be recognized and why!

The Edge


In bodywork we often refer to “the edge”. It’s that place where you start to come up against resistance. We also refer to “the wall”, which is the place where no further movement is possible. In massage the edge is where we do most of our work. I’ve been reflecting lately on what other places in our lives we find this place, and the short answer is…


In our workouts, in our relationships, in our jobs, in whatever we do for personal growth. It’s the edges that we need to find to enact a change. Sometimes they’re sharp and we come up on them abruptly, causing us to shrink back and wonder what just happened.  Others are more familiar and are worn smooth by repeated visits. Sometimes it feels good to work with these places, challenging ourselves, pushing that boundary ever close to the wall. (and that wall moves too, but that’s another story)

At other times that edge is so sharp and so scary that we just can’t work with it at that time. Sometimes just taking a seat a little ways off and acknowledging it’s presence is enough for now. Sometimes the awareness is all it takes to begin the work.

No matter where you find yourself as you approach these places, be gentle. Knowing when to stretch just a little further and knowing when you’ve reached that place where enough is enough is important.

Whether you pushed the edge on your mountain bike or you jumped off a metaphorical cliff and really stuck the landing, we can help you recover, soothe, rejuvenate and celebrate.

See you soon,



I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty…


What are your goals for this visit?

This is one of the questions our intake form at the spa asks you. We get a variety of responses, as we should since no two people’s goals will be exactly the same. We do see some overlap though, and one of the more common responses, especially for nail appointments, is “to have pretty toes” or to “feel pretty” or “pretty nails!”.

It’s true, we are in the business of prettying up your fingers and toes, and we’re really good at it. But it’s more than that. It’s self esteem. It’s confidence. It’s getting ready for your wedding, your job interview, a first date, a last date, a court date, whatever you need.

It’s not about your nails, it’s about how you feel about yourself. It’s not shallow, it’s not self-centered. It’s knowing what helps you feel your best so you can go out there and get it done.

We’re here to help, see you soon.

Thanks For All You Do!

woman with apple

It’s getting towards August and around here that means back to school. It got me thinking about all the teachers and school personnel that make a difference in our lives. Like most people I had my share of amazing teachers, as well as those who should never have been allowed in the building. To be honest, it’s the extremes that seem to stick in my mind. I had one high school history teacher who would have the guy sitting next to me (who I swear must have been in his 20’s) give me a slug in the arm if I got a question wrong. One day he told this guy to throw me out the (thankfully) first floor window. I went around to the front of the school to get back in and got caught by the principle. I told him what happened and I ended up getting in trouble for being in the hall without a pass. Ah, the joys of a public education.

Thankfully, I also had amazing teachers in my life who taught me to love a variety of subjects. They were passionate, tireless, and truly engaging individuals. How they put up with us while still maintaining their sanity is a mystery to me to this day. I had English teachers who brought life to ancient text, science teachers who knew how to keep our attention even when they weren’t lighting things on fire, and an art teacher who was so beautifully and fervently irreverent that she will forever by my hero.

We’ve all had those teachers who changed our lives. It’s hard to imagine where we would be without them. For the month of August we’re honoring all the folks that work in schools by offering a 20% discount on any spa treatment. Come on in and let us thank you!

The Power of Touch


Humans need touch, this has been established many times in many different ways. Babies can die without it, and adults cannot thrive without it. An hour of caring touch can do wonders for people who may not have been touched for weeks beforehand.

Think about that.

Think about not being touched in a conscious or caring way for weeks or months.

Some of my favorite massage clients are over 70. They come for a variety of reasons including but not limited to pain management, rehabilitation, relaxation, stress reduction, and, not least of these reasons, just to be touched. The elderly are some of the most touch-deprived members of our society. For many of them an hour of therapeutic touch can be transformative.

Moving from the touch deprived to the touch intolerant, massage has been shown to be very helpful for both children and adults with autism. Often autistic folks cannot tolerate light touch. However slower, firmer work can be tolerated, and even enjoyed by many, helping to facilitate greater tactile integration. An inability to tolerate many kinds of touch doesn’t mean it’s not needed or wanted, and in many cases it’s just the opposite. Often it’s a matter of hanging in there long enough to figure out what works and being mindful of how you measure success.

I used to work in a high school in Maine that had a program for students that enabled them to come in and receive short bodywork sessions free of charge. So many teens in our culture just don’t get much touch that is not either sexual or violent. For them, like for some of my elderly clients, a short amount of healthy therapeutic touch can make a world of difference. I have seen surly, depressed, exhausted teenagers drag themselves into the room looking beaten down and defeated. I have seen these same kids get up 20 minutes later looking like…well, looking like kids. Shy and goofy and happy kids.

We all need touch. Often we can benefit from focused work that addresses a particular issue. On the other hand, sometimes a “relaxation massage” is just the ticket. Massage of this kind can calm our “fight or flight” sympathetic nervous system and engage our “rest and digest” parasympathetic system. The effects can last for days, lowering blood pressure, helping with digestion, and combating insomnia and anxiety.

Here at the Spaaah Shop we have four talented massage therapists who work in a variety of styles to accommodate whatever your needs are.

See you soon.


Yes Sir, That’s my Baby

Fathers Day is here again. Facebook presented me with “19 things dads do that you won’t see in popular culture”. The list included things like changing diapers, driving their kids around, getting up in the middle of the night, dressing and bathing their kids, and “showing their kids affection”.

This is where I take a big, deep breath, close my eyes, and slowly exhale.

That Facebook post was accurate, dads do all those things. It’s just unbelievable to me that we still have to call it out. My comment on that post was this:

Kind of ridiculous that this even needs to be said, but I suppose it needs to be said. I still remember the poor woman who smiled at my infant daughter in the grocery store and asked me “oh, are you babysitting today?”. I’m afraid the smile on my lips didn’t reach my eyes when I responded “no, I’m her father”.

I have two girls, 12 and 14. When my oldest was born it was a rough birth and my wife Anna was bedridden for 5 days. I changed my daughter’s first diaper, gave her her first bottle (of breast milk, since she wouldn’t latch on), I learned to swaddle her. Together we figured out what worked and didn’t for her to sleep, eat and poop. Anna and I arranged our work schedules so that one of us was home with her at all times. This arrangement continued when we had our second child. There have been times throughout the past 14 years that one of us did more parenting than the other because of work or school commitments. However, it’s been pretty evenly spread out. Neither of us wanted to do all the parenting, or thought we should.

More importantly, neither of us ever didn’t want to parent.

I’m a white American man. In the grand scheme of things, I have it pretty good. I’m generally not the subject of discrimination, judgement or marginalization of any sort. But this idea that men are not caregivers makes me nuts. I’ve always been a caregiver, I don’t know how not to. It’s part of me. It’s not “the feminine part”, it’s not an aberration, it’s just part of being human. There are people who have more or less inclination towards nurturing another human being, but I believe that has more to do with past experience, societal expectations or psychological hard-wiring than gender. When two people create a child together, who cares for that little human is not a matter of male or female. One partner is not innately more equipped to nurture that child. It’s time we let this expectation go.

Thankfully I work at a place where nurturing yourself and those you love is our business, regardless of gender.





Who’s Your Daddy?

I can’t let June slip by without a post about being a dad. Our family has never really celebrated Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, that’s just how we roll. However, lots of folks like to mark that third Sunday in June, and I want to tell you about my experience.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve always wanted kids. Happily my wife and I have this in common. I feel unconditionally blessed and humbled that we were able to conceive with relatively little effort. Despite what they tell you in high school, it’s not usually that easy.

I have two very different daughters. I love them both equally, and to the very depths of my soul. My oldest is 14. She’s a super shy, critically-thinking, amazingly brave, out gay teen. My youngest is 12. She’s more outgoing than her sister. She’s uber-competitive, loves to challenge herself and effortlessly moves through the popular crowds in ways that her mother and I never did. (ok, my wife says she was “popular”, but her class in high school had 7 kids, so I’m not sure that counts) My youngest will belt out a song lyric and lay down a dance move without a second thought, wherever she happens to be. My oldest would rather clean the bathroom than talk to the person bagging our groceries at the store.

How did two such different kids emerge from the same union? I have a social sciences background and lean heavily toward the “nurture” side of the nature vs nurture debate. But there you have it. I have no clue.

Where am I going with this? Parenting is a mixed bag. You have these little beings, helpless and completely dependent on you when they arrive on the scene. Many new parents feel as helpless as those infants at first. It’s a learning curve. Through trial and error we find out what works and what doesn’t for that little human. The next little human that comes along may respond totally differently. Maya loved to be swaddled super tight. She was our little burrito, the less she could move the happier she was. Lydia hated that. She would scream like she was being run through with swords if you tried to wrap her up. Lesson learned, and on it goes.

Parenting is a dance to be sure, but it’s improvisational. It’s more like jazz than classical. Read all the books you want, get all the advice you can, but when that child arrives, and for the next 16 years or so, you have to dance to the tune being played in that moment, and with that child.

It’s cliche to say that parenting is a journey (or a dance for that matter), but I’m going to say it anyway. It fits. One step at a time, never knowing quite what is around the next turn, you move along with your child. It requires a great many things, and none of them are ever quite what you expect. There is one thing I do know though, the only thing you really have to do to be a good parent is this:

Just show up.

Everything else gets worked out along the way.