About Riza

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I have had the immense pleasure of being a Licensed Massage Therapist for the past 13 years and in that time I have deepened my understanding of the holistic value of massage as a healing modality..  

In the beginning I felt that it was enough to help people feel good in their body.  

While I still believe that, I have come to believe that the most important aspect of my job is to create a safe space for people to be with their body.  Often our bodies can feel like the deep blue sea; dangerous, painful, unknown, and scary to be with.  

I still aim to help people to feel good in their body, but I have also come to see the significance of helping people feel like active participants in creating that connection.  And that is why massage is only one of the three main modalities I employ when I work.  

I also have extensive training in creative process facilitation and meditation guidance.

I often will start with a guided meditation to take a client on a tour of their body and give them permission to release their minds from duty for the duration of the session.  Instead of letting their mind have free range to discuss all the things it is planning, fearing, and trying to remember, the client is asked to release all thoughts and gently draw their focus back to the body.  I find that this prompt can have a profound effect on a client’s ability to be present and self-compassionate.

I follow this intention into the other aspects of my practice where I am a process guide and teacher.  My greatest joy is helping people to awaken, witness, and reflect the divine teacher within.  It is an exquisite experience to see a being unfold into their Truth and begin the process of bringing that Light out into the world.  Currently my work is focused greatly on the Advanced Skills Training Series that works with groups of 3 folks at a time for a 10 week intensive journey.  Sitting each week for three hours in a sacredly held container, we journey, contemplate, create art, and learn new skills for healing ourselves and others.  It has been a magnificent new manifestation of work I have been doing for 10 years with individuals, and seeing it within the context of a group container is stunning.  I look forward to where this new work will next lead!

I want to preemptively thank you for your curiosity, willingness to approach change, and open heart!  I look forward to working with you!

With Love and Deep Respect,

Riza

Timmy and Riza Time 175

A little pre-herstory . . . (written in 2011)

As a child my parents lovingly referred to me as the “singing surgeon”, reflecting my passion for creative expression coupled with my intense fascination with the inner workings of the human body. I was never able to satisfactorily answer the common question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” without listing a long litany of possibilities: obstetrician, actor, pediatrician, writer, architect, geneticist, or director? To remedy this apparent lack of clarity, I pushed myself to into all directions at once. Fortunately, growing up in Chicago afforded me a multitude of opportunities to explore my many interests.


By the time I packed my bags for college, I had already spent ten years dancing ballet, two years working in Northwestern’s Neurology and Genetics Labs, four years of competing in city and state science fairs, four years of acting my heart out in productions ranging from Shakespeare to Noel Coward, I had written two unfinished novels, and had happily participated in the dissection of three human-cadavers. As I entered my freshman year at Smith College I was no nearer to answering the question of what I wanted to be. I did know, however, that I did not want to be something that would afford me no time or energy for other endeavors, and so hesitantly “doctor” was crossed off the list. I devoted myself to the theater, working as an actor, director, playwright, stage carpenter, electrician, sound engineer, and stage manager. By the time I left Smith I had four years of experience educationally and professionally under my belt and was off to start my career in New York. I worked as a professional stage manager with a slew of off-Broadway companies until discovering the crushing truth – to make a living in this field meant trading-in my precious creative time and energy for someone else’s vision, until my own creative well had run dry.


And then it happened – The Burn. While cooking a simple meal one day the unthinkable happened; through a serendipitous and catastrophic series of events, a half-cup of bubbling hot oil levitated out of the cooking pan, through the air with slow-motion directness and ease, landing like a soft ball directly into my eye and over a third of my face. Shocked and confused, I walked into the bathroom to look in the mirror and saw the skin falling off my forehead and into my eye. It was then that I registered the pain and severity of the situation. Unclear of what to do, I instinctively reached for the lavender oil, doused a washcloth in the stuff and held it over my eye. I started energy movement out of pure need, sending cooling energy into my eye and trying to draw the hot energy out. I was in so much pain that when I reached the emergency room I could not speak for fear of screaming uncontrollably. I was placed on morphine and fluids, my eyes were irrigated thoroughly with saline, and I was told I would be transferred from Brooklyn to the Manhattan burn ward. After three hours of laying in shock, focusing on my instinctual understanding of energy movement, my face began to itch. The doctor was amazed, since itching signified a level of healing that was unlikely given the newness and severity of the injury. None the less, he took out his flashlight and checked my eye. He gave me a funny look; head cocked, furrowed brow, and sideways grin. It was three in the morning and the hospital was nearly empty, but he asked if I’d be willing to be taken on a tour to the eye examination room. Once there, the ER doctor took special care to examine my eye with curiosity and amazement. “I didn’t want to tell you this before because you were in such a state of shock,” he said, “but when you came in you had a pretty severe blister over part of your sclera [the white of the eye]. The blister seems to have disappeared”. With amusement and slight confusion, the doctor offered to release me into my own care if I would promise to visit him for a check-in as well as make regular visits to an ophthalmologist and plastic surgeon throughout the recovery period. I was told that the skin on my face would never be the same, most likely I would always be sun sensitive with possible discoloration and keloid scarring. I spent over a month in my darkened apartment, sitting, sleeping, and meditating. Amazingly, I experienced a complete physical recovery within several months and an energetic / neurological recovery over the next few years. Most importantly, I experienced an extreme shift in awareness, a shift that primed me for a grand realization. . .


It was with a start one day when I realized that perhaps it was time to put some effort into learning more about the healing arts. It hadn’t occurred to me until that point that healing was another very powerful creative form of expression, and as I had devoted my life to the arts in all its forms, pursuing a career in massage therapy might be the answer. Massage therapy was a doorway into working with the body in a fulfilling and personal way, affording me the ability to see the body as it truly is – a complex and infinitely surprising work of art. It was with great excitement that I began my education at the Swedish Institute in the fall of 2002. By January of 2004 I was opening a private practice in Brooklyn, NY. After over a year of treating stressed out New Yorkers, I realized that I didn’t have the tools of energy generation to become the practitioner I knew I wanted to be. This motivating factor led me to Portland, Oregon where I quickly found Dr. Allison Bradley and the Blue Fire Project. Through working one on one with Allison over a six year apprenticeship, I was able to develop a personal practice in consciousness expansion and spiritual evolution that has brought me closer than ever before to being able to help others. In addition to treating people in body, I was invited to be trained as a Blue Fire Facilitator, a facet of my practice that I have found to be extremely fulfilling and close to my heart.

In 2008, my work as a facilitator inspired a new process that I call “The 17 Point Series”.  The whisper of this creation had been talking to me for years, but could only emerge into form after I had grown enough to see it clearly.  This new focus in my practice has been a huge discovery, blessing, and constant inspiration.  I am consistently humbled by the opportunity to assist on an individual’s seeker’s quest of self discovery.

My own seeker’s quest has led me in many unusual and surprising directions.  The most recent chapter of this journey has eased me into the arms of emerging motherhood.  I am six months pregnant with a special being who I’ve been in contact with for over a year.  His approach, my process of contemplation, the agreement to join as mother and child, and now the process of opening my body, energy, and life path with this being I have come to know as Ivan has been one of the most radical, miraculous, and emotional transformations of my life.  I have come to believe that the full spectrum awesomeness of the childbearing process is too big for our human minds to actually perceive.  Its like a light of the Sun, so bright that I can only focus on it for a moment and then I must deal with the mind bending consequences of trying to actually contain the reality that from a spark of love between to people, another human body was created!  Not only that, but every human on this planet was brought to life through the body of a woman.  Maybe some of us were made under less loving circumstances, but somewhere some great limitless love guided us down into our human bodies, into our human lives, I’m not sure that part could happen any other way.  That each of us was grown inside the body of a woman, expanding, opening, and allowing her life and reality to be completely shifted into a new and miraculous form, is in itself mind-rattling!  The only way I have been able to come back to earth with my thoughts and the experience is to travel into my body, into evolving state of this human being within me.  I have felt him from the beginning, like a little quickening of a heart beat, butterfly wings, a little sgwiggle fish, and now a monkey.  He moves his four limbs wildly, I can feel him on the other side of the veil of my skin, stretching and massaging me  from the inside.  Feeling his hands grasping my uterus on the tail end of a full body hiccup.  I am on a path of physical growth, no where to grow but out.  And although from early on I wasn’t sure how I could get any bigger, feeling my skin stretch like it was Thanksgiving every day, I have indeed grown and suspect I will not stop now.  Life is a miracle, a gift, something to be cherished and enjoyed.

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Charles Zee says:

    Very nice, MaRiza! Best of luck. Is there such a thing as grand uncle?

    1. rizazee says:

      Of course you can be Ivan’s Grand Uncle!

  2. Charles Zee says:

    Alright! Can’t wait.

  3. Matt says:

    So nice to read this chronicle all in one place, Riza!

    Looking forward to meeting this Ivan gentleman you mention…

  4. Roya says:

    This is such a wonderful story, Riz. My memories of the summer we lived together and the connections that we made then and back at school dovetail so perfectly into this story of the woman that you’ve become. Your photo is wonderful – you are absolutely gorgeous and radiant, which is no surprise, and I cannot wait until Ivan is ready to come out and start growing a personality!
    I miss you and really hope that we can visit sometime soon.
    I’m so happy for all of the blessings you’ve shared above, the ones that came to you and the ones that you created through your beautiful spirit and love.

  5. I just read this autobiographical sketch and I am in love. Well done! As a writer and a healing artist I so appreciate your use of narrative and sincerity to show the world who you are. As a survivor, your tale of being burned and resurrection resonates with me.And, now the next chapter will be written…with a beautiful child in hand. Blessings.

  6. Stella Zee says:

    I was very fortunate to be there with Ivan’s when he arrived and for the first week of his journey on this planet. He already knew then how to communicate and send love with his eyes.

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