I have a variety of maladies – the most troublesome of which is Fibromyalgia.    It’s an autoimmune disease that attacks your joints and makes them ache. The body is a wonderful machine.  It tries to compensate for pain and weakness by shifting posture, weight and pressure around to quiet the discomfort.  But that shift often stresses other areas until you ache all over.

I love my chiropractor and visit often but he recommended a masseuse to me that has been a miraculous addition to my life. Her name is Senada Zackariasen and she hails from Europe.  She takes her craft very seriously and has studied nearly a dozen massage therapies at clinics worldwide.  Her walls are festooned with certificates and degrees in her specialties – one of which is Fibromyalgia.
I began to visit her a little over a year ago in a suburb near my home.  Since then she has retreated to a tiny town about an hour west of Minneapolis where she and her husband operate a bed and breakfast.  It’s a bit of a drive but worth the trip. 

Let me tell you about my first visit.  I’d never met Senada before I stepped into her office for that first visit.  We made small talk for a couple of minutes about weather and my stress level.  I was then ushered into a dimly lit room and asked to undress and crawl under several layers of covers onto a heated table.
She quietly entered the room and turned on an ethereal tape entitled Angels.  On my first visit I experienced enormous relief punctuated by sheer agony as she marched from pressure point to pressure point probing the deep tissue inflammation.

I’ve had many massages in my life several labeled “deep tissue”.  They mostly hurt and caused discomfort for days.  Senada inflicted pain but she seemed to reach in, find the source, wrestle with it and extract it.  I left the table after an hour and a half pain free.  I was astounded.

I am degreed in Anthropology.  I like studying ancient civilizations,  I tell Sonada that I believe her to be an ancient Shaman.  This is why.   Within the first ten minutes of knowing Sonada, she placed her hands over my breastbone and suddenly stopped.  She said, “What are you afraid of?”  I said, “Perhaps failure”.  She didn’t move.  She said, “No, there is something here.  It is very old – male – good looking.”  I said, “I have no idea.”  We moved on.

About an hour into the massage I was face down on the table and Sonada was working on my right foot.  She hit a pressure point on the back of my heel and I came four feet off the table with a loud scream.  It really hurt.  I told her that I knew of the belief in pressure points related to organs and asked what that one was.  She said, “It’s your female organs”.  Then again, she stopped cold and said, “Oh, my God you lost a child and it was a little boy.  You need to let that pain go. That is what is trapped in your heart”  I immediately began sobbing uncontrollably.  I miscarried my first baby and it was a little boy.  That was more than 30 years ago.

I see her as often as my schedule allows.  I love Senada.  She brings me great relief both physically and spiritually.  If you live in Minnesota or ever find yourself visiting I highly recommend  a visit to Montrose and the Butterfly Inn,  Here is her website http://www.butterflyinnmn.com

I am a huge proponent of volunteerism.  For the past few years, one of the organizations to which I belong, has participated in Hearts and Hammers.  It is sort of a mini-Extreme Makeover.  The Hearts and Hammers organization interviews needy homeowners who, for financial or physical reasons, cannot manage the upkeep of their home.  One Saturday morning each September 40+ volunteers descend on their assigned home and completely repair and paint the exterior and totally re-landscape the yard of a chosen recipient.    Hearts and Hammers has concentrated on two blighted neighborhoods in our community for the past two years and the transformation is beginning to have a dramatic impact.  I thought you might enjoy viewing the video from last week’s event.  When we began it was raining and cold.  We’d brought spare siding, plants and paint but the 100 year old home needs far more than we had anticipated. 


I dedicate a couple of hours each week to give back to my community and my church for all that they have given to me.  I strongly encourage you to do the same.  I guarantee you will be given back far more than you give, you will feel a joy that comes with almost no other gift giving and you will set an example for other family members, neighbors and especially your children and grandchildren.  As a matter of fact, take them with you.  If you can’t find an organization that appeals to you, call nursing homes, hospitals or just start your own!


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