Question #27

I’ve been holding off answering this next CoAnQuMo question because it has felt, well, a bit weighty for me. I think I can attempt to answer it today. I took a nice run/walk through Ravenna Park and I feel, for the moment, strong enough to answer.

Here’s the question: How has your transition been from bodywork into your new ventures?

Here’s my first answer: Very hard. Like a slug to the gut.

I basically took out my steady income stream (massage therapy) and I am currently quite underemployed.

IMG_20130708_203634I took a sabbatical over the summer to assess the past seven years of my bodywork practice and decided, with much deliberation and hair pulling and meditation and journaling, that massage therapy would no longer be the main focus of my business. For now. At least for now. Maybe forever, but that feels too final. I can’t quite go there.

I developed a new menu of services that felt like more of an integration of the healing arts and creative arts and have had very little turnover from my former clients. That makes sense. People who want full-body massages want full-body massages!

So the whole process has been painstaking, heart-wrenching, and the results (in terms of overall participation), to be very honest, have been disappointing.

This is just one lens from which I look at my transition.

Here’s my second answer: Truly exciting!

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My path to move away from giving full-body massages and into integrated mind-body sessions and personal growth coaching feels in alignment with where I am emotionally, energetically, and creatively right now. These sessions are few and far between so far (see my first answer), but I am accepting that is what is right now. I am grateful for the few sessions I give.

With my schedule much more open, I have been able to help friends in need and gift Reiki sessions. I’ve given Reiki in the ICU, at hospital beds, doctor’s office waiting rooms, the ER, and more. It’s been intense, but incredibly poignant and meaningful for me.

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Most importantly, I have been focusing more on my art and writing. I’ve hosted two Virtual Art Sales for two different friends going through chemo treatments. And I have been doing a lot of soul-searching about what I want to do with my art. I’ve realized over these past several months that I definitely want my art and art products “out there,” and that I can’t do it all on my own. So I am looking into becoming a licensed artist. This new vision inspires me and lifts me up. I feel light for the first time in so long.

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To be able to affect people through the healing images and messages in my art is a way I can honor my past as a healer and integrate all of my healing experiences. Each art piece, even more so now, has a healing infusion. This is the true marriage of healing and art I’ve been waiting to witness first hand.

I want to affect people’s emotional well being through my art and writing.

There. I said it.

Am I still upright? I guess so. Speaking my truth didn’t make me pass out! (I promise doing so for yourself won’t create spontaneous fainting either!)

And some very exciting news just emerged out of all of this soul-searching and hard work. I just learned that I got my very first book contract! Schiffer Publishing out of Pennsylvania is going to publish my book/card deck called Body Cards: Insight from the Body, Wisdom for the Soul. I am elated. This has been a decade long project, that spent a few years in my closet, and now not only gets to see the light of day, but will reach many people. I am still asking to be pinched. It doesn’t seem quite real. At this point, it looks like a Spring 2015 launch is the plan.

This whole “what do I do with my life work” journey has been agonizing and delicious, painful and poignant, confusing and aligning. It’s like the past six months has been about my trying to find my north star. Now I can see my star. There is more clarity, even when I feel disappointment. Even when my bank account is low. Even when my days seem to run together. Even so. Even so.

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And even with all of this good art and writing stuff in the works, the reality is that I just can’t quite make ends meet right now. I am in search of a part-time job for the first time in over a decade. Gulp!  This is just what it is. Wish me luck finding something that will ground me financially as I dream my big artful dreams!

with gratitude and guiding stars,

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About Courtney Putnam

I first came to healing work through art and writing. Creating collage art and poetry in particular allowed me to deeply understand the benefit of self-expression in the healing process. But, I also began to see the benefit of bodywork (manual work in the form of massage and energywork in the form of Reiki) as keys to unlocking the emotional stresses we hold in our bodies. I became a Reiki practitioner in 2002, received an MFA in Creative Writing in 2003, received my massage license in the spring of 2006, and became a Reiki Master in 2010. In my practice I bring together these three areas -- the body, the mind, and the spirit (or energy body) -- so others may experience profound and positive change in their lives.
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2 Responses to Question #27

  1. Binky says:

    I’m so glad you are finding some answers. Are you interested in having some of your art in a gallery or is the internet where you want to stay?

    • Thank you, Binky! I am interested in my art being in many forms and in many places, including galleries. My goal right now is to get my art into stores, so you could buy an art necklace, greeting card, or journal out in the world. I’ll keep my online stores up for now, but I really want to walk into a boutique, card store, bookstore, etc. and see my art there!

      xo, Courtney

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