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Episode 7: Marnie Mohr

Marnie shares some of her loves- reflexology, podcasts, and life! She brings her amazing energy to the podcast and shares vulnerably about challenging life interactions. We are so honored to have a fellow podcast enthusiast on the show!

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR MARNIE MOHR Business Phone Number: (701) 252-3711 Business Address: 302 6th Ave SW – Jamestown, ND Facebook:

Guys, I’m really excited about todays episode. I know I say that all of the time and you’re probably like, “We get it! You’re excited!” but really, today I have Marnie Mohr with me. She is actually my reflexologist. But more so than that, she is absolutely amazing. She has a fantastic energy, her laugh is absolutely infectious, she just has a great soul and a wonderful perspective. So, we’re going to talk about reflexology and we’re going to talk about life in general. AND, she also loves podcasts so she’s going to give us the recommendations for other podcasts that you may love so you’ll definitely want to stick around for that.

K: Thanks Marnie for being on the show.

M: You’re welcome!

K: Can you introduce yourself and tell the listeners a little bit about you?

M: Sure. My name is Marnie Mohr. I was born and raised in Jamestown. I’ve lived in Jamestown, North Dakota my whole life. I’m a licensed reflexologist. Oddly enough, North Dakota and one other state are the only states that have licensing boards so it’s kind of a big deal that we’re progressive in this area. I’ve been proud to be licensed for the past ten years and have a pretty thriving reflexology business that I run out of my home and right now I’m also on the state board for reflexology. I’m the secretary and treasurer there. In my downtime I love to do artwork and I love to make jewelry. That’s pretty much me in a quick, quick nutshell.

K: Thank you for sharing all of that. It’s really interesting that we’re so progressive with reflexology because with a lot of things, not to be offensive, but North Dakota is more reactive than proactive so that’s really interesting.

M: Right. We were very lucky and I wasn’t in on any of the licensing board coming into fruition. I came on after that. But we had some very progressive thinkers and some really hard workers. It is not an easy task to get a reflexology board in a state up and running. Like I said, I wasn’t in on any of it but I have high respect for the people that blazed that trail and I think it’s such a great modality and to have a licensing board just makes you more authentic, it makes people trust you more. If there are issues and problems, say somebody was a diabetic, you want to actually have someone who’s had training working on your hands and your ears versus someone who read a pamphlet or a book. So, it’s important and I’m just proud as everything that North Dakota has a licensing board. I think it’s awesome.

K: Can you share with listeners what reflexology is and give a little background on that if they don’t know what it is?

M: Absolutely! So, it gets paired a lot with massage. It’s different than massage. Reflexology, right now, we work on hands, ears and feet of course. Most people think of the feet but hands and ears are every bit as good as working on the foot. A lot of people stick strictly to the foot but you don’t’ have to and what we’re really working on is nerve pathways in the body. They work a little bit more with muscles and we work a little bit more with nerves.

Reflexology came about probably in the late 1920’s to early 30’s. There were three doctors that mapped the feet, the hands and the ears and scientist think that it works through nerve pathways. What we’re really trying to do is bring oxygen, energy and circulation back to the body so I’m really not curing anything. I would never diagnose, I would never cure, I would never tell you I could cure anything, I would never change any of your medications. I’m not a doctor. I’m just trying to help your body help itself via your nerve pathway. It’s had a lot of success with people and I think it’s a great add on to healthcare. I always say it should feel wonderful. I hope my clients always think, “Yay! It’s reflexology day!” You should never be bummed out that you have to go to the reflexologist. It should always be a positive experience, which I hope is the case.

K: I can speak from experience, it absolutely is. I love that perspective of helping your body help itself though. Has it always been something that’s been in the forefront of your mind as you’ve been doing reflexology or with life in general?

M: Absolutely. I have always been very open to alternative therapies. I have nothing against doctors. I have nothing against drugs. I don’t have any stance on that. I think that, coupled with alternative therapies, your health can be so expansive. A lot of times I think even adding in just the human touch and relaxation – we’re so tense in our life and we sometimes don’t realize how tense we are. Reflexology gives you that safe environment to just let go and just relax, to have some human contact and some human touch. I have some clients who maybe through the death of a spouse or what-have-you don’t get enough of that human contact. I think that alone is so beneficial and so important.

K: I would agree with that. When I worked at a medical hospital in Illinois that was one of the thing that we really focused on, and in a really medically fragile state a lot of times people can get such a benefit out of maybe just a hand to hold or maybe a quick rub on the arm – something so simple as that. I could see how reflexology and really focusing on certain areas would be beneficial.

M: Absolutely. I definitely had the honor to help a family member out. My cousin had cancer and went through some pretty intensive surgeries. She had rectal cancer and I was able to be with her on the oncology unit for eleven days. I was able to do a lot of reflexology on her. I think for her to relax, she needed less pain medication because of that. It was so beneficial for her in so many ways and the oncology unit just incredible with allowing me, of course with my cousin’s consent, to be there and work on her. I think it really helped even with the pain relief aspect. When our muscles are constricted and very tight and we’re in that pain mode, if we can just be allowed to relax and be still and be open, that’s when all of that circulation can happen, endorphins start moving, you start letting go and then healing happens.

K: What a great experience to be able to provide that for someone that you love.

M: It so is. Me and my cousin are very close anyway. She references often that she was glad I was able to be there and it was a gift for me as well to just be able to reach out and help her in that way. I was again so glad I was trained, so glad that I felt like I could do that and be there for her.

K: That’s so great. Would you say that that might be something that could be beneficial for all patients? Obviously, it would depend on the situation. I’m not saying that you could give a recommendation but I’m just wondering, if that was so beneficial for your cousin, that could have the possibility of helping a lot of other people with really significant illnesses?

M: I really hope that that’s where we get in medical care sometime in the future because I think exactly that. Of course, never forcing someone to do something they’re uncomfortable with. I definitely have people that would be. People have weird ideas about their feet, let me tell ya. (laughing) After getting into this I run into people who would be like, “Oh, my feet are so ugly. You could never touch them.” First of all, I’m a reflexologist so I don’t find feet appalling in any stretch of the imagination. I’ve never run into a foot where I was like, “I won’t touch that foot.” I don’t find feet ugly but people have weird hang-ups about their feet. So of course, I would never do anything that anybody was uncomfortable with. That would be detrimental to their healing. But yes, I think that in a hospital setting, in oncology units, in anything really, any kind fo care where they’re receptive to it, I think it could be an amazing add on. I hope that’s the future some day for sure, that we’re moving towards it and I think we are. I think it’s at Sanford that they have a chiropractor which was like, “Oh, that’s amazing!” because it used to be like, “Oh, don’t go to the chiropractor” and now they’re really open to having one on staff. I think the future is marching the right way for different modalities and things that help. Healing touch is another one that’s really good. Acupuncture of course.

K: Have you ever tried that?

M: I really, really want to try acupuncture. I can say that I’m pretty darn healthy so there’s nothing right now where I think I would like to try that for something in particular but I’m really open to it and would love to try it.

K: I’ve really wanted to try that and cupping, the cupping technique. I don’t know a lot about it. I just had briefly researched it but I’m willing to try anything once.

M: See, I think that’s awesome. That’s awesome! Because you never know how things can help you. Cupping I’ve actually done that and that’s been amazing.

Sometimes, it’s a little troubling, I’ll get a client that’s really enjoyed their session. Let’s say it’s a wife and she’ll want her husband to partake in it and she thinks it could help with some different things he’s struggling with or going through and I always hold my break because she’ll say something to me like, “I’m going to make an appointment for my husband.” And I think, “Oh, okay.” Because you just think, “Does he really want to be here?” I’ve gotten a mix of 50/50. Some guys are just really open to it and are like, “Let’s do this! Let’s see what it can do!” and I’ve had other guys where you can tell they don’t want to be there which is a little bit of a struggle. But, I’m happy to say, even the ones that haven’t want to be there usually enjoy their session and many, many times have re-booked a session even. So, I think that it’s wonderful but I would much rather work on somebody that really wants to be there and isn’t forced.

K: That makes a lot of sense. You know, that’s really interesting though because it makes me think about the anticipation of events that we have coming up and I wonder if that’s a portion of it for people who are giving off that energy of not wanting to be there. I wonder if it’s the anticipation of, “What can I expect?” So, can you talk us through what they could expect? Obviously, each reflexologist is different and probably has a different process but can you talk us through yours?

M: Oh, absolutely. So, right now I book about a month out. I try to keep a list of people that I can call if I get a cancellation. I want to start off with saying that because I think a lot of people think they can call me and get in the next day and then they’re very disappointed when they can’t, but I do book about a month out.

I work out of my home. I have a full room that is just dedicated to my reflexology work and a massage table so people will lay flat. When they first enter, I set them on a stool right next to the table and we do a foot bath. It’s warm water, it’s Epsom salt, there might be a little essential oil in there. I don’t always do the essential oil because someone might be sensitive to that. Maybe after I get to know them a little bit better, if they want that added in, I can put that in. And then usually your first visit I use that time to have them sign something that acknowledges that I’m not a doctor, you can stop the session anytime you want, you know things like that and then do a small medical intake. It’s not very evasive but just the questions like what kind of surgeries have you had, have you had any broken bones, let's talk about your foot problem.

Usually the first session I do try to stick to the foot for these reasons; I think it’s a little overwhelming when you go and jump to all three parts of the body at once so we stick to the foot. I give you a small talk and overview of what reflexology is and what I can do for you. I try to use about a medium pressure. So, after the foot bath then I’ll have them lay flat. I talk to them about what the session is. It’s an hour long and like I said, I use about a medium pressure and we start going from there. If I feel anything, and when I say when feel anything what is it that I’m feeling? I call it a crunchy feeling. It almost feels like their sand under the skin or cornflakes under the skin and if I feel that feeling it's usually calcifications around that nerve ending so I’m trying to break that calcification off to get oxygen, energy, and circulation back to that nerve and sometimes I’ll say, “Oh, this neck area feels a little crunchy.” Again, I never diagnosing, just telling them what I’m feeling and then good feedback.

I always tell people there’s no grinning and bearing it, if something doesn’t feel good you let me know. I’ll back off on the pressure a little bit but I might go over that area a couple more times. Some people have this weird idea that if it doesn’t hurt it’s not beneficial. Reflexology really should never hurt. It should always feel good. Like I said, there could be some tenderness but there shouldn’t be pain. I never want to cause more pain. I’m there to help you relieve any pain or help with any problems. I go over the complete foot, I go back and forth. Some reflexologists just work on one foot at a time. I go back and forth between the two, cover every aspect of your foot and then towards the end, I’ll ask you if it’s okay if I put lotion on your feet. We do that and that’s pretty much the session. If you make subsequent appointments after that, we’ll integrate hands and ears but I always tell people that’s their hour to do with what they want. I have certain clients that don’t want me to work on their hands and ears. I always encourage people that if you’ve never had that done before, to try it but I’m not going to get hurt feelings if somebody doesn’t want me to touch their ears. I’m like butter when somebody touches my ears. That’s a big release for me but not everybody is that way and some people don’t like their space invaded around their head. That’s disconcerting and uncomfortable so again, my point is never to make people uncomfortable but I encourage people to try. Some people don’t want to try and that’s cool too. We do what people are comfortable with and I’m always kind of surprised with ears because a lot of people will say, “That was incredible! I had no idea! I didn’t think it would!” Ears are quite…um, it’s more just certain holds with pressure on the ear, light pressure – never pressure that hurts. But yeah, they get a lot of deep relaxation out of ears and hands too. Let’s face it, our hands are our work horses, we work with them all the time so to get those hands and different pressure points worked on feels incredible.

K: I even sometimes, with kids that I have therapy with I have some paint brushes and when we’re painting a lot of the times kids will use the paint brushes on their hands and it’s just a soothing touch and it’s helpful to be able to teach individuals about healthy touch as well so I’m really interested to, since I’m always thinking about the mental health aspects and trauma, how would you recommend, if someone has had a traumatic past and don’t have the clearest boundaries on physical touch or even just being comfortable with it, how would they navigate that to try reflexology?

M: Well, of course it always helps to be upfront. You don’t have to divulge your deepest, darkest secrets to your reflexologist or go into your trauma but I do think it helps if you do say, “I’m uncomfortable with this.” You don’t have to even say why. I don’t think most reflexologists would even ask you why. They should be okay with you saying, “This makes me uncomfortable.” A lot of times, when I first touch somebody, if they have a lot of trouble relaxing or are very stiff, I’ll remind them to just take a deep breath in and relax. Sometimes I just assume that they have trouble relaxing. They might have trouble relaxing for many different aspects which, again, isn’t necessarily any of my business. But, as we build a rapport, when they see that I’m a professional and behave as such, most of the time they have an easier time kind of releasing and letting go. Sometimes later, through subsequent appointments, they end up telling me that this has happened to them in the past or whatever and that’s always useful information but it’s not necessarily information that I have to have and I would never feel comfortable delving into that with anybody but after doing this for ten years, I’ve really learned the subtle aspects of what people are comfortable with and always don’t force anybody to do something they’re not comfortable with. Always trust your client and they’ll let you know what they’re okay with.

K: In my practice, I’ll utilize that as well. I let clients know that if we get to a point and you don’t want to answer something or you don’t want to talk about something, that’s your right. You get the ability to say you’re not comfortable with that or not today. I tell people that it’s even something as simple as just saying, “I don’t feel comfortable with that today.”

M: Kelly, I love that because there are times when I have had people say, “Can we skip ears today?” or, “Can we skip hands today?” Absolutely. Every day is different. I hope I remember all the time to say, “Hands, feet and ears, that’s okay today?” But it’s a good reminder for me too because sometimes it’s just a day that it doesn’t feel comfortable.

K: As far as my experience, you’ve always asked me if that’s comfortable so I have full confidence in your ability to check in with people about that. You know, one thing that I’m thinking about as we’re talking is I have a dear friend who’s a hairdresser and she always mentions how people sit down and pour out their soul about what’s going on. Do you find that as well?

M: I really do. I really do. You know, I’m grateful and feel honored when somebody trusts me with something that is personal to them. I jokingly say, “These walls – this is the cone of trust. Nothing leaves this room.” That is so important because when you build a rapport with a client and I’m in their personal space. You get to know them and a lot of times they will tell you some pretty personal stuff. If they ask me directly for my opinion, I’ll give it but that’s not the point, for them to hear my opinion on things. The point is that they’re relaxed and if they open up, that’s great and I’m just there to listen and be a support. I have clients that never divulge anything and that’s fine too. They get on that table, they shut their eyes, that’s the end of the story. They’re relaxing for an hour and that’s cool. I have had people tell me some pretty personal things and, like I said, I honor that tremendously because I want to be that safe place for them to share whatever they feel comfortable with sharing.

K: I love your perspective on that.

M: Oh, thank you.

K: So, my husband is dying for me to ask you this question.

M: Oh boy, I’m readying myself for this one. (laughing)

K: (laughing) So, he wants to know – without any identifying information, that’s my disclaimer – could you share the strangest or most awkward thing that’s happened during your reflexology?

M: Wow…okay. Um, strangest, oddest…I am really glad that I’m having to think on this, you know what I mean? Not tons of things are jumping forward because I’ve really had an easy time of it. Most sessions go how they’re supposed to go. I did have one person, and they came from out of town, who might have been using some illegal substance before they came and the conversation took a weird turn. A really weird turn. Really, really weird. And I have to admit, I was a tiny bit afraid.

K: Ohh, yeah.

M: I wish I had something really funny to say. I mean, I have clients tell me funny things all the time but that’s one where I held my breath until the end because it was strange and odd and, like I said, I’m not good with knowing if that person was taking something, but I really think they were. It was nothing of a sexual nature or anything like that. It was just…she really was just seeing things that weren’t there and things like that so yeah, it was okay when that one was done. (laughing)

K: Absolutely. That’s such an uncomfortable feeling. And then having known you, you had shared that you were good at picking up on people’s energies as well and I am one who very much feels that if you pick up on a negative feeling, there’s a reason for it. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right. So, if you have that and you’re stuck there for an hour, that’s really-.

M: It was uncomfortable. I was worried about her. I was worried about myself because when you feel like anything could happen here with the things she was saying and maybe seeing, yeah. She started to cry towards the end and it was very early in my career. I wasn’t sure I handled it correctly. I made it to the end of the session. Maybe I should have stopped and said I didn’t think it was working out. But it was fine. She never re-booked. Like I said, she was visiting from out of town so it was a one-off thing. But yeah, that definitely was the strangest thing that I ever had happen.

A funny thing I had happen though, I had a gentleman whose wife had made the appointment and you could tell that he didn’t want to be there at all. He said “How long do I have to come here?” And I said, “Well, I don’t know. When you’re better on dead!” (laughing)

K: (laughing) Oh, that’s too funny.

M: So, that broke the ice and we both laughed like crazy and I think he got into a better headspace and I was able to help him, so that was great. That was a funny moment and he reminds me of that often. He still comes to see me.

K: Well, that’s a testament!

M: Yeah. He’s a really great guy.

That’s really awesome. So, like we talked about earlier, you’re able to really pick up on people’s energies. But the other portion of it is you have a really great energy yourself.

M: Oh, thank you.

K: I’m wondering, how best do you think we can support and encourage others. You seem to really nail that. I’m wondering are you really aware of that? Do you focus on that a lot or is it just natural for you?

M: Well, I do think I’m naturally a pretty upbeat, happy person. But I definitely work on it. I definitely have a morning routine that I go through, I’m a big meditator. I do a lot of meditation. I do some yoga, I do some working out – those aspects. I try to keep myself physically healthy. But really, I think you have to set that intention for the day and meditation helps me do that. I have a whole little inspirational book routine that I do, and then I sit and meditate and I think that helps me get in the right headspace. Because you’re right - you’re in somebody’s energy field and I’m bringing my energy field to your energy field. So, if I’m having a really rough offbeat day, I’ve got to try to turn that around, you know? And I’m human. Everybody’s got their off days now and then, me included. I’ve had a couple of things that have went on in my life. Like others, I’ve lost a loved one and that’s not the day to be working. I’ve had to call clients and cancel because they don’t want me crying while I’m working on them, you know? Some people can compartmentalize and put those things to the side. Yes, there are some things I can do that with but losses of loved ones, pets, what-have-you…I have definitely had to call.

But setting that intention for that day, getting that day off to the right start. I’ve even been playing with the idea of not watching the news in the morning. Sometimes that’s not always the best headspace to be in with a half an hour of news. But yeah, I really try to start my day off right and of course I try to practice what I preach. I always talk to my clients about getting good sleep, drinking enough water, getting exercise – it doesn’t make much sense if I’m not incorporating that in my day so I really try do all of those things so that I’m at my best, healthiest for when they come in. They need me on my game and I need to be on my game.

K: I love that - setting your intention for the day. I am a big supporter of that as well. I have a routine that I do and when I get off that routine I do feel like, “Ehh, um…this isn’t how my day normally starts.” A lot of times for me I know if I’m going into the day and I’m feeling a little bit off or I’m going into a session I’ll often remind myself that I need to show up as the best version of myself for this person in this moment and try to reframe it like that. Most of the time it works but like you say, I think it’s good to know your limits. If we have lost a loved one, if we’ve had a really traumatic experience happen to us, I think it’s great to be able to acknowledge that and just say we’re human and we need to take a step back.

M: Absolutely. That’s self-care. It’s self-care. If I’m going to tell you to have self-care for yourself, it’s important that I do that for myself as well.

K: It’s good to model that. That’s great. So, how would you say that you or we should encourage clients or strangers, excuse me, strangers that we meet throughout the day. Say your shopping at the grocery store, you run into someone-.

M: Well, smiles are huge, let's face it. I’ve never been a fake it ‘till you make it person. Sometimes I think that’s kind of phony but on the other hand I will say this about the whole “fake it ‘till you make it” thing - Let’s say I’m having a kind of having off day and I have a client that comes in, when I can focus on them and, just like you said, show up for them with the best version of myself, even if I’m not feeling one hundred percent at the top of my game, it really kind of catapults you into that next level. It gets you out of, “oh, what’s going on with me” and it puts the focus on somebody else. Now, is that healthy to do all day, every day, 24/7 and never thinks about yourself? Of course not. That’s not healthy.

So, out in public, I think it’s the same way. If you could try to be encouraging to somebody who looks like they need it to reach out even if you don’t necessarily feel that way about yourself, it gets you out of your own headspace to look outward a little bit and be that person, that one little touchstone that day that maybe they need to get them in a better headspace and move them into a different way of thinking. It’s always shocking and incredible to me too if you can make somebody laugh. Let’s face it – laughter’s the best. The best!

K: Oh, yes! I love funny people in my life. They just give me life.

M: Yes! Absolutely!

K: So, I definitely agree with that. Do you find that when you’re in the store people maybe come up and tell you their life stories?

M: Yes! All the time! That must be a thing like there are certain people where yes, I get that a lot.

K: So, how do you navigate that? Let’s say you’re really busy and you’re like “ooh, you’re telling me your life story and as much as I am very grateful that you’re taking the time, I also need to get home and make dinner.”

M: I probably don’t navigate that real, real well.

K: I appreciate your honesty! (laughing)

M: I’ve been late for a lot of things and I’m always straight up honest like “Oh, somebody was telling me about this and I didn’t feel comfortable saying listen I’ve got to go.” So, um, I could be better about that and work a little harder on that but on the flip-side of that, being that my office and my work is at home, when I am out and I feel like I get out so rarely, it is kind of nice when somebody will take the time! It’s like, “I’m out of the house and people are talking to me either than somebody who’s under my roof!” So, that’s kind of cool too. Sometimes I feel like I don’t get out and get as much communication out in the public like some other people because I don’t transition from…my transition from work to home is from my room to the couch or to the living room so yeah, pretty short commute for me.

K: Also, though, you taking that time and being willing to listen to someone’s story – you may be the only person who’s listened all week. I think back to when I was at the store and I happen to run into somebody that I did not know and they were telling me about how they’d applied to college and they went through the whole entire class list. They were like, “I’m taking this class and I’m taking that class.” So, we’re taking, I’m bagging stuff up; they’re bagging stuff up and, in some ways, I was like, “I really need to get out of here.” But on the other side, they were so proud of that and how cool is it that they want to share that so I tried to leave them with some encouragement. It is hard to navigate that. I’d rather take a few minutes and talk to them than to just look the other way. There are enough people that feel really isolated.

M: Exactly. I think too, because I was born and raised here, you just tend to know so many people and so I laugh…there’s a game, I don’t know if you’re familiar, it’s called nine degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon-.

K: Yes! (laughing)

M: (laughing) I don’t know how poor Kevin Bacon got wrapped up in this game but I always say in Jamestown, there’s two degrees of separation. You can usually find somebody who knows somebody else and what-have-you. I try to remind myself of that. If I’m going to be short with somebody or rude with somebody, let me tell you – they probably know people that I know, you know? So, I think when you live in a smaller community it helps to keep you on your p’s and q’s and just be polite and respectful because you’re going to run into those people again.

K: That’s very true. I lived in the suburbs of Chicago when I was in grad school and having grown up literally in the country and then moving to that – it was a great experience. I met some amazing people. But, what’s really interesting is there are a lot of amazing people that live there but when you know that you’re probably never going to run into somebody ever again, it’s a lot easier to be harsh and to response in a way that you really want to versus the way that you feel you really should and so I think. That makes a lot of sense that being in a smaller town it would probably keep you more in check.

M: Exactly.

K: So, we’re kind of talking a al little bit about boundaries and things like that. How have you been able to create healthy boundaries in your life? Not just with people that you meet in your career but maybe family, friends-.

M: You know, I think boundaries have been a murky situation for me. I tend to be pretty open about myself so sometimes I think like, “Oh, overshare, overshare!” I’m guilty of that a little bit but I have learned that healthy boundaries are good not only for myself but they’re good for the other person as well. It’s that old adage – you treat people how to treat you.

K: I love that.

M: So, you know by having healthy boundaries there’s I think with our technology today it’s really murky because we’re so available all the time and sometimes I’ll have people say, “Well, don’t you have your cell phone on you? Why didn’t you pick up your cell phone?” Well, I might be engaged in something that’s important to me that doesn’t require me to stop and pick up the phone. A healthy boundary is being okay doing that and to say I don’t need to be accessible to the world 24/7. That’s been really, really good for me to remind myself of that and to work hard and putting up those boundaries. There’s things too where it’s okay to say, “I’m not comfortable with this. I’m not comfortable with this conversation. I’m not comfortable with going there or doing that.” I struggle a lot with people-pleasing so I’ll share quick that I’m a compulsive overeater and I have a history of that. I actually go to a twelves step program for that. I go to OA (Overeaters Anonymous). We work a lot with boundaries, with setting healthy boundaries for ourselves and so that has been a struggle but a worthwhile one. It’s something that I’m getting better at – saying, “Yup, that’s not cool with me so I’m not going to take part in that.” Or it could be something that I’m cool with but I just don’t feel like doing that or feel like going to that and it’s okay to be honest and just say, “Tomorrow, I’m not available for that. I’m sorry.” And just let it go at that. Because I also tend to over explain.

K: Me too!

M: And sometimes I feel like I’m going to tell you my life story and why I don’t want to do this. They don’t care. They don’t care. They’re just like, “Do you want to go? No? Okay, good.” Then they’re onto finding the next person to go. I need to learn just to say no and leave it there. That’s a work in progress.

K: Thank you so much for sharing that. I really appreciate your perspective on that and I agree that it is hard sometimes to not over-justify why you might not be able to do something. I did hear something once, and I can’t tell you where I heard it. I told you before that I read and listen to so much stuff but it had talked about how you saying no to something gives somebody else the opportunity to say yes to it and that may have been something that’s better suited for them anyway.

M: Oh, I love that!

K: That really helped me a lot because I was like, “Okay if I say no to this, is it so much…well obviously the world's not going to end with me saying no but you still feel pressure, you know, like this is really problematic but actually that may just give somebody that’s much better suited than me the opportunity to do whatever it is.

M: Oh my gosh, I’m totally going to use that. I love that. Me saying no might be opening the avenue for somebody that a connection being make or something. Totally! Love it.

K: I wish I could tell you who said it. (laughing) If they’re listening, they can certainly let me know. So, we’ve talked a lot about podcasts. Both of us really love podcasts.

M: Love them.

K: We’re podcast enthusiasts. Can you share a little bit about what your favorite podcasts are or offer some recommendations that you might have?

M: I love podcasts. Podcasts are just an avenue for information in a world that seems inundated with information. Podcasts are just a way to delve into any subject you love even deeper. Right now, I’m listening to Russell Brand’s “Under the Skin.” ( I subscribe to that. I subscribe to Truth and Justice – they do a lot of wrongful conviction work. ( I’m kind of a big True Crime person. Like Date Line, I watch all of that. I love, love, love Darkness Radio ( It sounds spooky and dark but they get into the paranormal realm which I’ve always had an interest in and I really love that kind of thing so I listen to a lot of that. Oh gosh, really so many. Oprah puts out a wonderful podcast for her super soul Sunday stuff that I love to listen to. Oh! And I want to mention the Share Podcast ( and that’s Omar Pinto. He does a great recovery twelve step podcast that is just…I just love his work and love him. I also love the Mental Illness Happy Hour ( with Paul Gilmartin. I can’t say how great that podcast is. The names a little kooky but they use doctors, therapists, addicts from all walks of life that have all kinds of different things going on. Some are alcoholics, some abuse drugs, some are overeaters – all different areas of life and there’s something to learn from everybody. The people are so open. I don’t want to get emotional but sometimes I almost cry listening to these podcasts and thinking how strong and brave and open these folks are to reach out and just open their life up and let people know they’re not alone. You’re never alone. There’s somebody out there that knows what it’s like to have the same kind of thing go on in their life. That’s something comforting in and of itself. If you’ve got nothing more than to hear that somebody can relate to the things that you’re going through. Mental Illness Happy Hour – that’s one of my favorites. I love it.

K: That’s great. You know, I always think to be able to own our truth is so empowering and to be able to be brave enough to share that is absolutely impressive because how many of us, a lot of times, sink away from that? Maybe we do feel like we’re the only ones or other people might judge. For whatever reason – there’s a variety of reasons – but I think it’s great when people are willing to be open and honest about that. What are some things that you’ve been reading about or researching lately?

M: Well, I’m in the middle of Yamaa Anzans book about trust. It’s amazing. Trust yourself, trust God. There’s four of them. Trust yourself, trust God, trust other people and I think it might be trust your journey but I might be messing up the fourth one. I’m halfway through that book. It’s amazing. I don’t read a lot of books over and over. Once I’ve read them, I’ve kind of gone on but the book I think I’ve read – I don’t think I ever quit reading it because it’s so good. It’s “The Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. I’ve given tons of copies away. I can’t get enough of anything by Michael Singer. There’s one with Surrender’s in the title but “The Untethered Soul” is an amazing, amazing book.

K: I’ll have to check that out! Thank you! That’s really helpful. I’m always looking for recommendations like that and one thing for me, and I often share with clients when they struggle as far as reading and comprehension, that’s an issue for me as well so I love Audible. I use Audible all the time. I can’t remember what it’s called but there’s an app that I used to use that you can actually rent your books from your local library, which of course is more cost effective. But there is some option there that I think is one of the great things with technology right now. Information isn’t just provided to you one way. I’m sure there was books on tape when I was young. I remember going to the library and seeing them there but I never got them. So, books on tape were an option, I just always thought, “Oh, I’m not a reader” until one of my friends asked me if I’d ever tried audio books. I was hooked! And I wonder too if that’s part of the reason that I like podcasts as well? It’s just the auditory way of learning. The other thing I was talking to my husband about is that there are so many really neat pockets in this world if you really think about it. We were talking about something as simple as making a pencil. We go to Walmart and buy a pencil but how many people did it take and how many specialties did it take to make that? Or a book. We could use anything. It’s just really interesting that there are so many experts in so many fields that we don’t even think about.

M: I think that’s so funny because I tease my husband a lot when he is home. He’s a firefighter with the fire department here and when he his home he likes to watch the History channel and it’s usually “How it’s Made.” We will watch shows about making duct tape which, I have to say, I don’t find riveting but it is amazing to know the ingenuity and the amount of people it takes to make duct tape! So, your point is well taken.

K: We’re going to change gears a little bit here. I recently found out about your love of art. I did not know this. Can you tell us a little bit about that and what you’ve been doing?

M: Sure! So, I love art. I mean, you know so many different genres of art. I can’t get enough. I bought a welder…well, a plasma cutter and a welder because I watched somebody on PBS do some metal art and that’s all it took! I thought, “Okay, now I have to have a welder and a plasma cutter.” I saved my dollars and I have one and I’ve done some metal art. I love that. But what I really think I love most is the mixed media art because with mixed media, that pretty much encompasses it all. You can do welding, you can incorporate that in. I do a lot of jewelry making; I love to make jewelry. I also have a glass kiln and I do some glass fusing. If I see anything that really sparks my interest, I just really go for it and I encourage other people to not be intimidated. When people say art, they immediately think of painting and drawing. I can’t even draw a stick figure. That’s not for me. But what I love about art is that nothing’s wrong. Whatever you create is awesome because you created it! There’s no wrong way to do art, you know? So that alone makes my heart sing because there’s no wrong way.

I’ve been watching YouTube which is another great way to learn anything, Laurie Marie Jenkins has some great videos of mixed media art and she does these videos called Smash Books which I think are amazing so I’ve kind of been getting into that. What I like to do also is take found objects from thrift stores, the back of my closet, whatever. It doesn’t matter. Something I haven’t used and I like to put it together in a new way to make a new, fresh piece of art. I really love to do that and I think it’s a great way to decompress, to get lost. They call that the zone when you don’t know how much time has passed an you’re just lost in that. I love art for that reason. It puts me in that headspace of not always thinking, thinking, thinking. I’m working on this and I get lost in it and it’s wonderful. I’ve been blessed enough, there was at the Hjemkomst Center I had three pieces of mixed media art on display there. It was a number of years ago, almost ten years ago was the first one. It was women putting their art out – armature artists. To my knowledge, no one was a professional artist and you could enter this show. It was so cool just to have something you made on display in this setting. Our art center in town is phenomenal for that. I had some glass work that I had on display down there.

K: That’s great! Thank you for sharing that! You can tell, as you talk about it, that you’re really passionate about it. I love that so much and I love what you said about really encouraging people to jump all in and just try to figure it out as you go. I heard something earlier this morning – part of my morning routine is to listen to something positive that encourages me and stretches my mind in some way. One of the things I was listening to was Rachel Howe – she’s an author and motivational speaker. She mentioned something about anything that you’re going to do when you first get into, you’re probably going to suck at it. So that takes away a lot of the pressure! Thinking you don’t have to be perfect because you’re probably going to suck at first and then eventually, you’ll be able to develop your skill and your craft and that perspective, I feel, gives a lot of freedom. I’m hopeful that people will take that to heart because I really don’t think there are any limits in what we can do or believe you can do.

M: Nothing at all. And you’re right, the very first time you’re doing something awkward be open to that piece crating itself. Anything that you do, there’s nothing wrong about it. It might not necessarily look like the vision you had in your head but as time marches on it might even be different and better. There are so many things that I’ve plotted out thinking I was going to make it this way and it took a giant left turn that, at first, I was upset about. I did not want it to take a left turn! But then I thought, “Oh my gosh, this turned out better than I imagined.”

K: Right. I think that’s a really fantastic thing. So, in wrapping this up I’m going to ask you a couple questions that I’ve been asking everyone. I know that you’re very familiar with Brene Brown.

M: Oh! Brene Brown! I love Brene Brown!!

K: Isn’t she so fantastic? I want to go to lunch with her one day and just pick her brain. There’s a lot of people in the world that want to do that but maybe someday! So, one of her books, “Braving the Wilderness”, I don’t know if you’re read it.

M: I have read that, yes.

K: Okay, so I really love her perspective of stepping out there and feeling really isolated and alone and not knowing where you’re going and being able to find other people in that wilderness. I’m curious to know if there’s been a time in your life where you felt like you were really stepping into that wilderness and you’re not sure how it’s going to turn out or where it’s going but you take that leap of faith.

M: Definitely the first thing that springs to mind was starting my reflexology business. I had a business prior to that that I did very well at. To decide to leave I was kind of late in life. I didn’t get this going until almost my 40’s. I think I was 38 when I got my license. That was a time of just stepping out. My husband was actually deployed in Iraq when I decided to do it. We were emailing back and forth and I told him I wanted to go to school for this, that I wanted to quit the thing I was doing and do reflexology. It was so new to him really. I had been thinking about it for a while – a few years. I knew people in that world a little bit but it was a big leap of faith. It was a big, “Ooh, is this going to work?” I’m so glad I jumped. I love every day. Every day! I could pinch myself how much I enjoy my work. I just think I have the best job in the world. People come and they hopefully leave feeling better. We got to be in each other’s space and they’ve helped me sometimes as much as I’ve helped them. It’s a win-win. That I think is probably one of the biggest things. The big “Jump Forward.”

K: I love that. I feel very similarly about going full time with my private practice as well. I don’t think that I could have even dreamed how much I would have loved it, you know what I mean? It’s so scary in that moment thinking is it going to work? I don’t know what I’m doing. And then it turns out in a wonderful way. Not every day has been peachy keen. There have been hard days certainly but to be able to wake up and do what you really love – that’s so invaluable.

M: Absolutely.

K: The next question. Can you think about who sticks out in your mind as your biggest encourager? Or maybe not just one person but encouragers in general?

M: Okay. I’m going to say, no surprise, my husband. He has been a phenomenal rock and encourager to me. I’ve had my best friend Christy since I was twelve. Can you imagine? She couldn’t get rid of me if she tried. (laughing) That’s the end of that! You’re stuck with me now!

Because I’ve lived in the same community, I have a lot of family that I’m surrounded with. I have two brothers that I adore and sister-in-laws that are just my sisters. So yeah, it’s so hard to pick just one. There are so many. My mom and dad have always been supportive of what I decide to do. I’ve had my son – oh, I could never forget my son who’s been the biggest encourager in the world! He is so much a support system. He is 23 now and even if he doesn’t always understand his whacky mom and her crazy art and her weird job. He lovingly refers to me as the oldest hipster he’s ever met. (laughing)

K: I love that! (laughing) I love that so much!

M: He is my rock and keeps me grounded because sometimes I can fly off into the clouds pretty good. But he is so supportive of even stuff he doesn’t understand. He’s like, “Oh, that’s got to be some weird hipster thing.” (laughing)

K: He sounds amazing!

M: He really is. He’s the best kid in the world. So, I’m blessed a million times over with all of those people and a good circle of friends. You know how important that is. They’re just supportive, wonderful people that, again, maybe don’t always get what you’re doing but get you. They get you and know your heart and know that if you feel this way about it, there must be something to it because I know you and I know that you’ve got a good heart and wouldn’t do anything detrimental to anybody else or yourself. And those people too, when you’re in that dark place, are the ones to remind you of who you really are. I’ve had that happen too – where I’ve just gotten into a hole and it’s easy to in this world. We’ve got a lot of things coming at us all at once and can easily get down and to have those people be like, “This isn’t who you really are. This is just a bad biorhythm day.” I used to have a friend that would tell me that all the time - this is just a bad biorhythm day. So, I kind of adopted that. They kind of remind you of who you really are.

K: I love what you said about how they may not get it, but they get you. I really love that perspective of things. I also have a few friends that I’ve been friends with since I was five years old. We went to preschool together and we’re all so close. In thinking about how to make friendships like that work, a lot of times you just know each other so well so even on those bad days or those rough days you give each other grace because you know them. You know them well and you know their intentions so if you have a crappy day or you have a crappy interaction, you’re able to work through that a lot more.

M: Yeah. I’m kind of a big sign believer. I believe in signs. I think when you look for signs you tend to see them more and more. When my husband was deployed, he got me a diamond for my wedding ring when he was on leave and I never had a wedding ring. When we got married, we were pretty broke. So he said he wanted to get a wedding ring and I said jokingly that I wanted a diamond for my wedding ring because I had just had a band and he said, “Okay!” Well, you never saw somebody get in a car so fast when he said okay. I was like, “Oh, my gosh. Are you being serious?”

When he went back to Iraq, me and my best friend were out somewhere and the diamond had come off my ring. We found it, luckily, but because I’m such a sign person she knew immediately that I thought that was some kind of sign that there might be something wrong with my husband. She was like, “This does not mean anything. The diamond just wasn’t in your ring tight enough. Sheldon is fine.”

To have somebody know that that might be something very stressful at that moment and be able to say,

No, come on. That is not what’s happening here. He is fine.” I didn’t even have to say I thought Sheldon was hurt. She just knew and so I’m so grateful for her to know that we have hung in and know each other so well and have been able to be there for each other.

K: I love that she knew you so well that she knew that’s where your mind was going and could stop you by saying no, this is not the case.

M: Don’t’ take it too far. It’s just a loose diamond. But you know when your husbands at war things can happen and your head can go to some scary places.

K: That is definitely a challenging time for sure. I’m glad that you had her support. So, can you tell the listeners where they might be able to follow your reflexology journey and even check out your artwork and jewelry?

M: Sure! My artwork isn’t on display anywhere right now. I do have an Etsy site for my jewelry and I’m going to be kind of embarrassed about this. There’s only three pieces up right now. I thought that there was more up but there isn’t. There’s just three pieces. But it’s Marniejewelry. It’s all together as one word so if you go to Etsy, you hit on jewelry and then you just type in Marniejewelry, it just comes up. I need to put more on there. Um, and then my reflexology business is called A Sole’s Journey Reflexology. Then the phone number for that is (701) 252-3711. I do have a Sole’s Journey Reflexology FaceBook page where you can also get a hold of me but my phone number is the best way to get a hold of me. If I’m in session, you have to leave a message but I’ll get right back to you.

Like I said, I usually book anywhere from three weeks to a month out, roughly right in there. I don’t work weekends. Just Monday through Friday so keep that in mind.

K: Certainly! Thank you for sharing with us and thank you so much for being with me on the podcast today! This was so much fun!

M: Oh gosh, it was! Thank you. I’m such a podcast fan and to be on a podcast – dream come true. Check! (laughing)

K: I’m so happy! I’m happy that you were able to join us today, so thank you!

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