Holding Space

Thinking of you all. Missing you. These hands and my heart are still yours! Even if massage therapy is not possible, right now.

Holding space for you, virtually, every day. Let me know how you are doing.

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Your New Role

“In this crisis we are all first responders. How you act can save lives.”

– Andrew M. Cuomo, NY Governor

This statement, spoken during the governor’s daily press briefing, landed on me with the weight of truth and seriousness.

If I’m in danger, I protect myself and don’t want to be hurt by the actions of another. The second is only possible if we all take serious precautions to eliminate the source of danger.

Seeing images and hearing conversations with people who aren’t taking it seriously is terrifying. I’ve faced personal uncertainty in the past and walked around with my own collection of worries, fears, and concerns. This pandemic is heavier because it’s compounded by the local, national, and global fear.

BREATHE. We are all facing this threat. No one is immune. As it unfolds, no one will be untouched. The sooner we all take it seriously, the sooner we will feel the solidarity necessary for our survival and recovery.

What can you do to help?

1. Take it seriously.

2. Follow mandated precautions.

3. Secure yourself first with clean hands and spaces.

4. Do no harm by protecting the vulnerable members of our community.

5. Support the existing healthcare system by not contributing to its overload.

Get used to being a first responder. This lesson is long overdue, but it’s here now.

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Given the current state of the world, it’s imperative to pause any hands-on massage therapy practice. So, let’s dust-off this blog and use it to stay connected.

I’m also preparing videos to keep our focus on selfcare, during this transitional time, for the world and for our local communities.

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The RJR Self-Care Story

Mike Wolpert of  Social Jumpstart is a brilliant guide to business owners, solopreneurs etc who can help us articulate what we do, why we do it, and how our clients benefit from our work.

He invited me to sit for a demonstration of how the personal story, behind RJR Self-Care, can clarify my own goals and growth. Check it out.

The Self-Care Story: Ruben J. Rocha: More Than Massage

Contact Mike here.



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Happy “Give Yourself to Love” Day!

“You must give yourself to love, if love is what you’re after.
Open up your hearts to the tears and laughter,
And give yourself to love, give yourself to love.”

These lyrics are from a song by Kate Wolf. Click the link below, to listen to her sing it live. She was born in San Francisco, and a deep influence, in the Bay Area folk music scene.

Give Yourself to Love (Live) -  Kate Wolf
Give Yourself to Love (Live) – Kate Wolf

Valentine’s Day seems to have been hijacked by the florists, restaurants, card and candy makers. But what if we re-claim it, as “Give Yourself to Love Day?” I’m  setting an intention, throughout that day, to keep my heart OPEN, to receive, as well as share, Love.

Our past hurts, disappointments, and loss can keep us from truly opening our hearts to daily beauty and joy, which balance our sad days. Make self-care part of this week dedicated to Love, starting with the wonderful capacity, in your own heart, for gratitude and peace.

Original artwork by my dear friend, Tamara Holland

Original artwork by my dear friend, Tamara Holland

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Four ways to keep stress away

Great thoughts from a fellow body worker:

Four ways to keep stress away.

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Look Who’s Here!

“Bells and whistles” usually refer to “technology and stuff” but do you have real ones that announce reunions, arrivals, or old-fashioned face-to-face time?

My Mom has a loud brass bell, on the wall, at the back door, leading in from the patio. It’s been there almost 20 years. Why? The grandkids pull on the long cord, to announce their arrival.

My eldest nephew is almost 18, but we have new toddlers, in the grandkid group, so I’m looking forward to hearing that bell, for several more years.

When I visit, even if the grandkids aren’t around, I look at the bell and smile, because I remember their happy expressions, as they announced their arrival.

We have a loud flood horn, in San Anselmo, that gets tested every Friday, at noon. Two weeks in a row, Sally showed up at my office at the exact moment the horn blasted. The second time it happened I decided to call it the “Sally is Here in San Anselmo Siren.”

It used to annoy the hell out of me. But now I associate it with a friend showing up at my office for lunch, or a labyrinth walk, or face-to-face chat.

And in a world of smartphones and texting, an encounter like that deserves a bell, a whistle, or in her case, a happy horn blast.


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Today is the Day

You must express love, appreciation, and BE with those who become your “logical” family, through unconditional love and acceptance.


One day, we run out of days.

We all come from a biological family, but it’s the creative, diverse “logical” family we form that gets us through the hard work, and ecstatic joys, of this life.

I lost a friend forever, Sunday night. I’m glad he was with someone he loved, surrounded by wonderful dogs. The text message I received said,

It was a relaxed fun evening. We ate take out Chinese and watched a game on tv. One minute he was teasing me about something and the next he was on the ground. 911 operator walked me thru chest compressions and paramedics arrived within 5 minutes. Just couldn’t get him back.

I’ve felt sick about it.
Angry about it.
Scared by it.
Hopeless about it.
Sad about it.

Tom was someone who interacted with me nearly every day, despite the distance between Texas and California. I’ve caught myself grabbing my phone to text him, or make sure he’s seen something on FB. Proves he was part of the funny, frustrating, and mundane things. You know, daily life.

He would usually start our text chats with “Rubs!!!”

It always shook me out of my routine, and made me smile, given that the first three letters of my name describe what I do, day in and day out, as a massage therapist.

Tom didn’t run out of days, I did.

He was not shy about texting “Come see me!” As my brother, his college roommate said, Tom “always asked when you might be coming to Houston so you could get together.”

I ran out of days to accept his frequent invitations.

He enjoyed the simplicity of sharing a good meal, talking about the latest accomplishments of his dogs, who are agility superstars. Or asking about my biological family.

He was family to me, and I’m glad he knew it.

Now go text yours. Especially the last one who asked for some of your time.


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Self-Care makes everything else possible.

Following up this great massage, from Trevor Bridgewater, with acupuncture tomorrow, from Tao Community Acupuncture. #selfcare

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A Lasting Touch

About a month before she died, my grandmother and I sat in her garage apartment, had snacks, and a nice long evening conversation.

Our talks, on the patio, or in her apartment, were always tender, funny, and memorable. And I never came home from school without stepping in, to kiss her forehead.

I’m grateful she came to live with us when I was 10 years old.

That evening, after a couple of hours, I looked at my watch and said, “OK Grandma, I need to go. It’s getting late. Goodnight.”

But she put her hand on my forearm and squeezed it saying, “No te vayas todavía. Estamos platicando tan a gusto.” Translation: Don’t leave yet. We’re having such a nice chat.

So I stayed another half-hour, but to this day I can feel her firm hold on my arm. I had no idea she would be gone a few weeks later.

It was a privilege to be 25 years old, having a real conversation with my Grandma, feeling loved, and knowing that my presence was all she needed, at that moment.

There is power in touch. I can still feel the warmth of her strong hand, 23 years later.

When she died my Mom comforted me, saying, “You listened to her stories.”

How could I not? Her story was my story, our history.

If someone you love grabs your forearm, and asks you to spend a little more time together, do it.


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