It’s been an international frenzy of feet and friends these past few weeks.
In a short 10-day span I befriended an Estonian woman, had a psychic reading from an Irani woman, shared Moroccan food with a German and Polish friend, just posted about a Chinese reflexology client and then met a fascinating woman from Russia.
Wait until you hear about the secret numbered cities and secret scientist…
This is the face of corporate burnout. A colicky baby. That’s what I was.
Many of my former corporate colleagues felt the same way. They hurt. All over.
But, they would contend, “you just have to grind through it.” Or, they’d say, “the grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s just a new set of problems in new clothes.”
There was no consoling this sick baby with any of those “pep talks.” And those colleagues? I could see their mounting pain all over their faces.
So, when I decided to “jump ship,” I jumped like a white man trying to dunk a basketball. I didn’t get very far.
I quit a corporate job only to take a freelance project doing THE EXACT SAME JOB. I thought it would be different. It wasn’t.
That was my epiphany. I just let go of needing to be a marketing guy to earn money. I turned to my savings account and for months nursed myself back to adult form. My colicky baby stopped crying.
Along the way, I tried every imaginable form of stress relief and natural medicine.
I was probed, electrified, wrapped, unwrapped, poked, jump-started, lasered and modified. From neurofeedback to SAD lights to drugs, I tried it all.
Then, one day I became a client of a reflexologist. My wife had found this little place here in Portland and we had a really nice time soaking our feet and receiving some pretty impressive foot work. Like a massage. Not like a massage.
This was the beginning of truly transforming my stress.
I visited this place like 10 times over 2 months. I was hooked. Reflexology gave me something nothing else did.
One day, as I was receiving a treatment, the owner said to me sheepishly, “maybe YOU should become a reflexologist.” Whatever would give her that idea? That I would be good at this, let alone want to do it? What had I said to her to prove my viability as a practitioner of feet? I didn’t even like feet!
And, wouldn’t you know that mere weeks later my wife enrolled us in a basic reflexology class? Serendipity. This was going to save my life.
We took that class and more classes, and when I felt comfortable I called that little reflexology shop and said, “You remember me? I took the reflexology training and wanted to see if you needed an extra set of hands.” Did they ever.
October 2013 I began my career as a reflexologist. I became an instant trillionaire.
Richness is not about money. For a slight introvert, richness is being in service to people who appreciated me. Richness is being requested by a client, over and over again. Richness is meeting people from every industry, of every life circumstance, from the world at large. I found passion in the very people I sought to avoid when I was so stressed in my corporate job. It was like reflexology turned me into an extrovert, and created this whole new community of people that support me as much as a I support them. Reflexology saved my life and made me rich.
Over the past year and a half I have given treatments to 700+ people. I have made friends – some quite good – of all ages. I started this blog as a creative labor-of-love to document the stories people would tell me. I would find myself weaving in the other parts of wellness business, and gain new clients for the reiki, essential oils and even guitar lessons I also offer.
All of this – the healing I’ve witnessed – the friends I’ve made – the love exchanged – is because of reflexology. A career I never would have dreamed could change me so profoundly.
“I used to play with the fairies and my mom would write letters like they were from them. I had a great mum.”
“But, by the time I was a teenager I decided I couldn’t live in the same house as her. You know, two people so similar it hurt.”
“I lived on three continents by the time I was six.”
Victoria is dark-skinned, brown-eyed, with feet that looked familiar. “I think your feet are South American,” I said. “You’re right, they are,” she smiled back.
“My brother was adopted first. But, my parents left Argentina during it’s Civil War even though they wanted to adopt again.”
The story of her adoption is bathed in synchronicity.
“The night before we left they told me were going to the U.S. I was six. We flew into Vancounver, BC and stayed a month until my family hired an attorney whom drove us right to the edge of the U.S. border and told us to all get into the trunk. Ahead of us were several other cars full of people doing the same thing. We made it into Seattle and immediately flew to Georgia where I wound up growing up.”
A woman with a thick, working-class, English accent filled the room with music of her native tongue.
“Can I give reflexology to you today?” I asked of the English woman, intrigued by the bit of gruffness in her accent. Her friend quickly addressed me: “Only if you are really good.” I said, “I’m confident.” And so began the journey meeting and treating Sue, originally from Blackpool, England. “You know Liverpool, the Beatles, yeah? Like that, except BLACKpool.”
“I want to open a music school that is free for all kids in Nepal. Music is everything!”
Sabita, a cultured 15-year old with a gorgeous accent, was born in Kathmandu into the Brahmin branch of Nepal’s caste system. Brahmin’s represent the very top of this social scale, often becoming scholars and priests, and you could tell she was on one hand proud of her lineage, and on the other, yearning to be set free from class structures.
“The American Dream. That’s why everyone comes here. I lived in NYC working in a food cart, but that wasn’t the American Dream like you see in the movies. It was dirty and people were everywhere. Portland is different. People here are so friendly.”
Is it any coincidence that my recent client, Lourdes, wound up moving right next to Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church in a small Floridian town? Especially after fleeing Catholicism and unsustainable conditions in her native Cuba?
Born of Argentinian parents, with a complex lineage of Italian, Spanish, French and Irish genes, this is a woman of heart and soul. I was thrilled to work on her feet side-by-side with my wife. That’s right, Liliana received Reflexology from 4 hands at the same time. And, she soaked it up!
To the east, The Virgin Islands.
To the west, The Dominican Republic and Haiti.
And sandwiched in the middle of pristine, warm waters of the Caribbean Sea is Puerto Rico. It’s a place teeming with diversity of land, food and people. And, it’s only the size of Connecticut. That’s pretty teeny. But if Carmen’s personality is any indication, Puerto Rico is much bigger than it’s geography suggests.
Munich, Germany is today’s stop and it’s a place that’s come up a lot in my life. I’m finally making the visit, through Bea’s feet.
We had a really nice chat about life, career and spirituality. What a perk to this job in being able to connect with big-hearted people.
At 3 years old she was adopted by an Oregonian family from Korea and although she hasn’t been back to Korea since, she feels a connection to the country and hopes to return.
It was so fun meeting this awesome Swedish family!
Sometimes a global foot just lands in front of me – and as soon as my client mentioned she was Swedish, we chatted awhile over some Reflexology.
Erika is an English/Swedish translator born and bread in Umeå, Sweden, a northernmost town about 700km north of Stockholm.
My name is Joe Shoemaker.
With a last name like that you may find irony in me being a Reflexologist. I work on feet. But I don’t make shoes, unfortunately.
Feet are fabulous. They are your drivers. They are your props for cool shoes. They carry you to victory. They pick you up when you are down. Your feet are pretty important. To you and me.
Your dogs are also doors into your health, emotions and even, your connection the world we can’t see. They speak in texture, shape and sensation. A lot can be learned from them.
So far I’ve given probably 250 different people Reflexology treatments. That number is growing everyday. And a funny thing happens when you are giving treatments…people tell you all sorts of stuff! Like, where they were born and where they lived.
I learned that many of the soles I greet have traveled vast distances to see me. Columbia, Australia, Mexico, France…The world is at my feet. Literally.
Join me as we travel the world of feet through my Reflexology practice.
Help me find feet from every country around the globe. And I’ll help you to feel your best.
We’ll start with my feet. If I can find them…