about gina loree marks

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I hadn't always wanted to be a bodyworker.

The only thing I ever was sure about doing when I grew up was graphic design. Which I went to school for. Pre-computer. Meaning, I got left behind in the job market very quickly.

No matter. I kept busy being a mom of four boys, while my (then) husband worked to grow his business to keep us fed and housed.

The idea of touching total strangers as a livelihood was far, and I mean way far off my radar, and yet, I know now that everything I was experiencing and learning about would later become the foundation for my practice.

Most obviously was my discovery of macrobiotics, which began just after art school and just before marriage, which would set the trajectory for my immersion in holistic health.

Parenting, of course, is one of the hardest schools you can attend.

And when you choose to do things a bit off the beaten path (homebirthing, homeschooling, family bed, etc), you may find your community support system to be a bit meager.

Had I known then that I was getting a deep education in the stressful effects of sleep deprivation, isolation, hormonal cycles, deep simmering resentment and non-negotiable idealism I might have weathered the whole thing a little easier.

Or at least taken better notes.

Somehow, we survived (well, the marriage didn't….).  But by the time my husband and I had decided to part ways, I had been practicing shiatsu for about six years.

I tell you all this because I know first hand how the body processes stress (or not). How years of running, caretaking, second-guessing, worrying, smiling even though your insides are combusting will eventually break you down.

How you know, and even preach, that self-care is SO important even though you rarely do it yourself.

I know how hard it is to move more, eat better, breathe, think better thoughts. To avoid drama and confrontation and junk food. To learn how to listen to your heart and body when it's trying to tell you it's time to do something drastically different if you want to have a vital life after parenthood.

So, I don't offer that advice glibly, but I still do offer it.

I ended up doing bodywork not so much because I had a burning desire to rub people. I'm not even sure what my reason was, other than it seemed to choose me.

Shiatsu theory made total sense to me, but the practice did and continues to challenge me. (I take the invitation to be in another person's space very seriously. I know first hand the power of touch, trust and intimacy and how they can be horribly misused.)

So, maybe it was because I needed the healing.

What also made sense to me (and this was a thread through all my interests that only became evident in hindsight) was the idea of our bodies still being attuned to the cycles of nature. It's our 'innovations' and attempts to improve on nature, rather than work in harmony with it, that seem to keep getting us in trouble.

This is evident in our dietary habits, our physical activities, our work habits, our parenting, our consumption habits.

Shiatsu, and its Eastern philosophical underpinnings, view health as a relationship - as in, us in relation to the world we live in. That made total sense to me.

So much so that the basis of my practice, or even the basis of how I've been approaching my own healing, is not about choosing the right diet, or the right exercise regimen, or the right meditation practice.

But about how to bear witness to my relationship with all the parts of my life. And is that relationship keeping me close to my reflection of nature, or distancing me from it?

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Other fun facts:

How to pronounce my middle name: 'Lor - ee'.  Named after Annette Funicello's daughter, Gina Luree.

Formal training:

~1984 - 1986 - Art Institute of Philadelphia, Associate Degree in Visual Communication

~ 2004-2007 - International School of Shiatsu, Shiatsu - Shin Tai Practitioner Certification

~ 2010 - Freedom from Pain Institute, Advanced Myoskeletal Therapist Certification

~ 2014 - Restorative Exercise Institute, Healthy Foot Practitioner™ (required text: "The training involves a thorough education of foot mechanics, how foot function affects whole-body health, and the role of footwear on foot health and foot pain.

The Restorative Exercise Institute is a science-based education facility dedicated to optimizing long-term health of the human machine through proper understanding of how habits of posture and alignment affect organ and system function.")

~ 2015 - Currently enrolled in Restorative Exercise Institute's REX-CPT training program. (That's 'Certified Personal Trainer' in Restorative Exercise... whoo!)

~ Also in 2015 - Became a Desire Map Facilitator

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Less formal (but every bit as valuable) training, experience and dabbling:

~ Coupla cooking classes with macrobiotic chef Christina Pirello, before she got all famous :), as well as Marilyn Moser-Waxman and Michelle Dirks

~ Canvassed for Greenpeace (as well as tabled for their cause at many a Grateful Dead show)

~ Started a small art-based business

~ Birthed and raised four wonderful boys (three at home), while homeschooling, learning how to grow food, supporting a business, and doing art

~ Championed and then volunteered for the Liedloff Continuum Network (and started a CC based mom's group)

~ Dabbled in East West School of Herbal and Aromatic Studies. Completed Susan Hess' first Homestead Herbalism course

~ Maintained several blogs on peace, mothering and, of course, my practice, as well as created several ecourses (which WILL become available again..!)

~ Co-directed the Lionville Holistic Health Center (2009-2015)

~ Michael J Cohen's Project Nature Connect, Ecopsychology Orientation

~ Town Crier for Coatesville DOES (2013-2015)

~ Teaching and co-teaching (with Bill Bryan), courses on stress conversion based on qigong principles, natural beauty, cooking, shiatsu for couples, natural movement

~ Started a new venture with aformentioned Bill Bryan, called "Posturing for Health", which is where our practices are located and is the launching site for our combined classes and workshops.

~ Chair massage for fun and profit in various corporate settings, wellness expos, yoga centers, spa and moms-day-out events

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~ Big Juicy Goals: My dream/non-retirement plan is to have a lil' piece of land, with a lil' holistic/retreat center with my anam cara, with gardens and chickens and bonfires and potlucks and outdoor qigong classes and friends over often for music and merriment.