When I first went to massage school, I had a vision. I wanted to open a healing clinic for women that was run on a sliding scale. I wanted healing it to be available to any woman, regardless of her ability to pay at the moment. I believed that if I created this, the women who could pay more would do so, and subsidize the ones who could not. I wanted it to be beautiful, as beautiful as any spa, but totally available to all. I was so excited about this idea. It felt good and necessary, down to my bones.
When I began my training, and told the teachers about my vision, they discouraged it. I am sure they had my best interest at heart, but they said sliding scale was confusing for people. I needed to choose a price and stick to it. They talked about "abundance consciousness" and getting away from my "poverty mentality." After all, it was 1997 in San Francisco. The dot com bubble was still expanding, money was flowing, young people were getting rich all over the place. My original vision began to vane. I worked for weeks, months and years to change my attitude about receiving. I read books on abundance, I took classes on it, I fiddled with my pricing, tried to convince myself that I just needed to "get over" my tendency to "over give" my services and "undervalue" myself. I never went for the sliding scale, and money continued to be something difficult to discuss and awkward. As with many things in my life, it was an up and down relationship. Sometimes feeling awkward and uncomfortable and and others feeling good and powerful.
Jump ahead to 2012. I like to get my acupuncture at the Tucson Community Acupuncture Clinic. I so appreciate their idea of sliding scale services. They offer acupuncture in a group setting, everyone in one room, so they can serve many people at the same time. They charge $15-$35 per session. Some days I have more to give and can pay their highest price and other days, I can give their lowest. They never make me feel like my current bank account status is the measure of my worth as a human. That is the feeling I would like to give to you. Now my work does not lend itself to that kind of practice. I see clients one-on-one, so I cannot create a group setting; however, I would like to believe I can create a practice that serves me and my community.
So here I am, attempting to be true to that ideal and to myself. And MYSELF wants to return to my roots, return to my original plan:
A healing clinic for women run on a sliding scale... Of course, I do not want to run myself ragged being there for everyone else, but I enjoy my work. I enjoy being of service and I am aware that sometimes my community may need support in paying for their sessions. So I am trying it. I am opening myself to the chance to share what I do with my tribe at a rate that I hope will encourage people to take care of themselves as well. Maybe I am being a fool. Maybe this is a huge mistake, but I am making it none the less.
So I am committing for the next 6-months to run my practice on a sliding-scale.
I am offering:
60-minute services for $40-$80
90-minute services for $70-$110. Pay what you can each time.
I hope this will resonate with the people who need to hear it. I hope that people will not see this as me not VALUING myself. I DO. I also value you, and value my connection with my community and want to serve in the most authentic way possible for ME. I ask that you be honest with yourself and honest with me. I am also open to hearing feedback. I know that money is a touchy subject for many of us, and I am attempting to just be honest about it, honest about how uncomfortable it can make me feel. Our greatness is not measure of our bank accounts.
Joanna Carichner, Intuitive Healer
Akasha Healing Arts