Wednesday, December 29, 2004

A beautiful gift...

Dear friends...

My father passed away last night around 8:00 pm. My wife, Bhaktirose, and I were present for his last breath. He was having difficulty releasing, clinging to every heartbeat. I spent his last hours in deep concentration, providing him morphine, saying prayers, doing zhikr... letting him know it was ok to move on... letting him know just how grateful I was for this life.

After a certain realization struck, I grabbed a drum and began playing. Through drum and voice, I celebrated through his dying sigh, carrying him into the next life with music.

I cannot find the words to express the beauty, the sorrow, the joy, the stillness.

We chanted hu and left the room.

Tuesday morning we'll have a gathering at the funeral home, then transition over to Willamette National Cemetery where'll my father will rejoin my mother, receiving a 21 gun salute and full military honors.

In little over two months, both of my parent's have chosen to depart and the world seems a bit smaller.

I will miss my dad... it was nice to have him home for Christmas...

Blessings and love to you all... may you soar beyond dreams...

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Monday, December 27, 2004

Our truest calling...

Dear friends,

Life gives up opportunity to grow and learn, showing us our truest potential, if only we remain present to these gifts.

My father is now out of the hospital, returning home Christmas eve. Since he has returned, he has rested in relative comfort... far more so than when under the hospital's medical care.

Through this, the moment's truest calling is found. I find my heart at my father's side, holding the space for his death. He provided me with the gift of life... it is the least I can do, stepping into the role of his primary caregiver.

With sadness, I will be putting the massage practice on hold and not taking appointments. Until my father's passing, my priorities have become clear.

I look forward to renewing our work together once this chapter of life is ready to move on.

Hafiz once said... all your joys and suffering along this arduous path are lifting your worn veil like a rising stage curtain...

I have to agree... Every breath brings us closer....

Blessings and love to you... May you soar beyond dreams, dear friends....
Hamid : )

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Presence in every breathe...

Dear friends,

Life never gives us a challenge that we are not ready to receive.

Well, it’s been a challenging year. Two months after my mothers passing, my father is in the hospital preparing for his passage out of this world. He came down with pneumonia which has complicated his pre-existing pulmonary hyptertension. It’s been, and continues to be a truly amazing process that I am honored to witness.

My father’s breathing has been difficult for some time. Six months ago he starting taking a new medication, newly released to the US market and long-used in Europe. It proved transformational, giving him the strength to care for my mother during her 4 month grapple with cancer.

He’s lost his wife of 37 years, has lived a life-filled 83 years and is ready to depart, though he is frightened. My father’s steadfast care of my mother has been an inspiration and I have decided to care for my father in the same way. When (and if) he comes home from the hospital, my wife, Bhaktirose, and I will move in and care for him.

We may hire a part-time caregiver to supplement Hospice services so I can keep the massage practice going. Working with you wonderful, creative, beautiful spirits have been invaluable in working through the loss of my mother and I hope to continue through this new transition.

I will be scaling down my schedule, though I have yet to determine just how. And, I may need to reschedule appointments, perhaps last-minute. I will keep you informed as soon as I find clarity. Thank you for your understanding.

I wish you and your family the warmest wishes during this holiday season. Thank you for blessing my life with your presence.

Love and joy to you, my friends... may you soar beyond dreams,

"Let the beauty we love be what we do;
there are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Sunday, December 19, 2004

When it rains... pours! Well, my father seems to be getting over his breathing distress. We're still quite concerned, since he's not eating. He's sleeping a great deal and growing ever more weak. He'll be in the hospital for a good bit longer.

My sister and my niece (she's 10 years older than me!) came down yesterday to visit dad. Later in the evening we ended up making another trip to the hospital. Kim, my niece started having intense pains in her lateral abdomen. Turns out she has kidney stones.

All this time in hospitals! I should have known. 2004 started out with me with pneumonia in a hospital in upstate New York while visiting my wife's family. Let's just say, it's been an odd year with plenty of adjusting to new experiences.

All the while, my massage practice is going fairly well. I sold a couple business cards to a lad in Maine! His son lives here in Portland and he wanted to get him some bodywork for Christmas. I took his credit card info over the phone and sent the gift certificates via priority mail. Didn't even charge him for the shipping...afterall, it's the holidays!

I must say, having the ability to accept credit cards with a massage therapy practice is a big boost! I've been accepting cards for just a bit over a month now and it's paid for itself without any problems. My merchant account charges a scant $5 a month and a small percentage for each transaction. I don't even need a special machine. I just use my cell phone (or any touch-tone phone) to call in the order, punch in code or two and enter the credit card info. The money is direct-deposited into my business checking in 2-3 business days.

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Monday, December 13, 2004

There times are when running a massage therapy practice seems especially difficult. Just a bit over a month and a half after my mother's passing, my father has given us a scare. He's in the hospital right now, struggling with pneumonia. Along with his pulmonary hypertension, each breath is a hard-fought battle. We took him to the ER Saturday evening. He'll be in for several more days. After meeting with his doctor, I feel a bit of relief. His should recover from the infection. Though, similar bouts to this have been promised in the future.

These are reminders to stay centered in the moment and present on the breath. Though these are challenging days, I say to the universe, with all the loving compassion I can muster...bring it!

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Yesterday I went out to Reed College and massaged nine student in two hours! Four other massage therapists were there, two with massage chairs. The event was very well-organized. The fellow that set things up had schedules for every therapist and conducted the entire event, pointing his students towards the right LMT (licensed massage therapist) as they finished up with a client. The students were incredibly appreciative as finals week was just about to begin. A lovely break from the stresses of school. Lot o' fun!

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Holiday Massage Special - amendment!

Well, after a bit thought, I've decided to change my holiday massage special, even after sending out postcards. Instead of having to purchase a massage and then get a discount on gift certificates, I'm just gonna offer $20 off gift certificates! No catch!

A gift certificate for massage makes the perfect gift for friends, family, coworkers or that special someone in your life!

Happy holidays!

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Search engine optimization for massage therapists!

I've finally completed the third article in the Internet marketing for massage therapists on a budget series. It's a basic primer for website optimization that both new and experienced webmasters could get a bit of knowledge from. There are some really simple techniques illustrated, with examples. Plus, some proof that they actually work, using keyword searches on all the major search engines. Hope they come in handy!

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Holiday massage special!

I'm currently offering a discount special on gift certificates. Between now and 12/31/04, if you come in for a 60 or 75 minute massage and bodywork session then you can earn $20 off the regular price of a gift certificate. Go to my homepage for complete terms.

I'm also trying out a new concept in gift certificates. Gift certificates are a great way to increase income, especially during the holiday season. But, sometimes they can be a waste of money. I've heard it said that more than half of gift certificates are never redeemed. This is great for the therapist, but not so good for the buyer. So, I've decided to offer "No-Loss" gift certificates. The certificates are valid for 90 days. After that, if they are not redeemed, then I'll contact the originaly purchaser and they'll have an additional 30 days to use it for themselves! If you're going to spend the money, it might as well get used.

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Saturday, December 04, 2004

After a decent night's sleep, I decided I really didn't like the site revisions. So, back to the drawing board. After many hours, I'm now very pleased with the overall design, bringing a new level of professional feel to the surfer's experience. I just wish my wife's Dell notebook was here (eek! did I really type that?!!) so I could check out the layout in Explorer. Looks great in four different Mac browsers. I really like the new homepage graphic. Photoshop CS...gotta love it!

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Thursday, December 02, 2004

The retooled site is up and running! Now with spiritual quotes on every page! It looks pretty good, but I may fiddle around a bit more. Running a web page is a neverending process.

I've had a lovely day off. I haven't had a real break from massage for quite awhile, even though I've worked on other aspects of the business (i.e. the site). It never ceases to amaze; my client schedule clears just when I need a rest. When my energy is back and I open up to the universe, the phone rings and I book a bodywork session.

I just booked a couple hours at Reed College. Some fellow is trying to get 6-8 massage therapists to each work on 6 students an hour. I had to explain to him that this would realistically mean about 5-6 minute massage sessions per hour. I've very used to giving 15-30 minute table massages and offering my full presence to the client, holding a sacred space for release. A slightly shorter session won't be much of a stretch. It's like a sample of cheese at the grocery store... just a nibble to wet the appetite. The event is next week so I'll let ya know how it goes.

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

I'm working on a revamp of the website. It's really not much of a change, just re-doing all the header graphics and background images. I'm also widening each page to fill out an 800x600 resolution monitor a bit better. That's as wide as I'll go since there are still quite a few peeps using this resolution. So, the next massage article will be put on hold until I get all the changes published, which should be next afternoon.

Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Self-expression is a wonderful path to inner discovery. I've recently added 2 new pages of poetry that the universe no longer wished to keep hidden.

I've also begun a series of articles on internet marketing for massage therapists on a budget. The first two volumes are complete and are intended for absolute beginners, covering the basics of what's needed to design a website and get it online as well as content to add to your massage therapy site.

I'm currently working on volume 3, which will be a bit more advanced, discussing fundamentals of search engine optimization (SEO). In less than six months I've watched my site rankings go from #387 to top 5 for certain keywords in Google, so I know the validity of these technqiues. This is my first website and it's taken a great deal of trial, error, research, tweaking and re-tweaking.

The lack of website optimization in other massage therapist's sites has been an inspiration. Now I want to share these not-so-secret secrets so you can create a web presence and get found on the major search engines! A marketing tool is only good if people can see it... and there are web surfers out there looking for your unqiue massage practice! Get found!
Hamid LMT - Massage therapist in Portland, Oregon