Sit back, relax and enjoy the sensation of giving while you get

October 5, 2014

“This may sound like a fantasy, but its not. Every month, the Bodyworks Collective holds a special weekend and donates goods to local charities…”

Being involved (some might say spearheading) the Bodyworks Collective in the early 21st century was one of those things in which I was involved that I could have stayed with for the rest of my life. It was that satisfying.

It failed because, internally, others allowed there fear to over ride their faith in what we were doing.

Externally, Rohanna Laing, the United Church minister, was sufficiently threatened by our mandate that she preached a sermon against collectives. It was so absurd to me that I stopped attending church services. It was as if she was ‘scraping the bottom of the barrel’ as she ran out of steam as a minister.

It was all good, though, for me personally. The end of the collective was the way that the Universe showed me my Capricorn personality was better suited to going it alone when it comes to developing my passions. By myself, there is no one to hold me back.

We had some terrific ideas and practices, though. Read about them:

The Barnacle
Tuesday,December 19, 2000
Sit back, relax and enjoy the sensation of giving while you get
by Kelly Waters

Kate lay on the massage table, a blanket tucked under her chin, covering all but her feet. Soft music played and the scent of incense wafted over to her. She took in the beautiful art on the wall next to her and the glow of candles nearby, then closed her eyes. Strong, gentle hands massaged her tired feet, releasing tension. Kate relaxed into the treatment, almost falling asleep to the soothing touch. This, she thought, is the best way I’ve ever supported the food bank.

This may sound like a fantasy, but it’s not. Every month, the Bodyworks Collective holds a special weekend and donates goods to local charities. Clients receive half-price treatments when they participate in the theme of the weekend. During the summer, the Green Conscience Fund got much-needed cash. This fall, the food bank received three large boxes of non-perishables after a weekend called “Simple Abundance” and Transitions (the store that supports Tradition House) accepted four big garbage bags of second-hand clothes after “Seasonal Transitions”. For Tanya Lester, a member of the Collective, it’s important that people know about these events. She said, “These weekends let people know who we are. They draw like-minded people to us.”

The idea for the events was born of necessity. With five people sharing a space, rent was either going to be paid individually or as a group. The very nature of a collective is to work together, so the members came up with a plan: work together to make these once-a-month weekends special and use the money earned to pay the rent. According to Lester, this plan has worked out great. “We never have to worry about our rent each month. It’s looked after,” she said. This way the Collective also has the chance to support the community and give a focus to the weekends.

The Bodyworks Collective is comprised of five practitioners, all with their own unique approach to healing. Anna McColm does reflexology. Lalita Lane holds healing conversations, works with healing mantras and body awareness, guides meditation and practises reiki. Tanya Lester is a reiki master and does tea cup readings. Julia Lerner does reflexology, reiki and bodywork. Terra Dimock also does reiki and is a certified earconing practitioner. Each healer has particular house to use the shared space but on the special weekends they share the room. Occasionally, they will give what they call an Emperor’s Treatment. This is when a client will get one treatment from each of the Collective members one after the other. They will also give a Cleopatra Treatment: all five members working on the client at once: a luxurious experience.

This treatment symbolizes the nature of the Bodyworks Collective: the sum of five healers is greater than the individual, practitioning parts. Together, the Collective members found a space. Together, they have made it an oasis (as one client put it). And together they are creating an opportunity for Islanders to heal and grow. Along with offering services outlined above, the Collective members also conduct workshops, bring in speakers, host special events, share books and provide information to clients about various healing strategies.

Their goal, said Tanya Lester, is to become known as “the kind of place that promotes a freer, more progressive, healthier lifestyle.” The group doesn’t have a particular focus, but rather wants to provide a place for people to heal themselves in different ways. “Anyone who doesn’t want the staid, uniform type of healing — you’re welcome here,” said Lester.

Most anyone would feel welcome in the Bodyworks Collective space. Located above Apple Photo on McPhillips Avenue, the room doesn’t feel like it’s right downtown. It’s quiet and filled with light. There’s a bookshelf near the door, reverseosmosis water to drink, a comfortable seating area (used also for tea cup readings) and two curtained-off massage tables. The art on the wall, plants, candles, music and incense all add to the ambiance. Collective members have often been told their space feels very relaxing and full of good energy. “I think that’s important when someone is wanting healing,” said Lester. “It’s easy to get to, but also an atmosphere that can make people feel in harmony with nature and the universe.”

Kate was certainly in harmony within her body. After opening her eyes, she looked around at the sun gently streaming in through the window. She felt warm and relaxed. She sipped some water to ground herself and listened to the last strains of the quiet chant playing. This is going to be a good day after all, she thought. And slipped out the Bodyworks Collective’s door.

The current special, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, is a gift from the Bodyworks Collective to their clients — old and new. Simply call…

To read the first posts in this blog, go to
Facebook. LinkedIn. Twitter. Google.
Confessions of a Tea Leaf Readerby Tanya Lester can be purchased from the author or go to the title and author name to read the first few pages and to purchase it at
Tanya Lester’s other books are Dreams & Tricksters, Friends I Never Knewand Women Rights/Writes which are available in some library systems and elsewhere.


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