My Year in Review 2013

Every year I like to sit down to review the events of the past year and then plan out the upcoming year. It’s a fun and insightful exercise and I’d encourage you to write your own “Year in Review”.

It started with the release of the cover story “Your Best Year Ever: The 2013 Marketing Road Map”. If you didn’t use it for 2013, it will still work for 2014 and you can read the digital version online.



yir-facebookmarketingI thought I would start 2013 by taking a Facebook course by Amy Porter to get caught up on the latest developments and I invited people to take the course with me. I started the 31 Day Facebook Challenge as a book club of sorts and within a week, 800 people had signed up. It caught me off guard. I was so busy managing the Facebook group that I never even got through the course myself. Going through the course made it clear that therapists didn’t want to spend hours on Facebook every week, so at the end of it all I created a free guide called Facebook Marketing in Just 20 Minutes per Week. Feel free to download it and share it.

Last year I pissed someone off at my regulatory board and that lead to an investigation for professional misconduct, so my year essentially started off with a grilling by a CMTO investigator. It’s ironic that I was charged with professional misconduct because I helped draft the standards of practice in the early 90’s. I’ve always been a strong vocal critic of our regulatory body and it’s not a great way to make friends. It was clear from communications that someone on the disciplinary committee was taking things way too personally. I got a stern talking to, but no charges were laid.

yir-seth in franceSeth left for three months for France for on a student exchange. It’s pretty gutsy for a 13-year old to want to go to a foreign country and live with a strange family for three months. But he thrived in his new environment and met his first girlfriend. I on the other hand just had a lot of separation anxiety.

But Seth absence made travel easier for me. Throughout the spring there were lots of trips to Boulder, Colorado, as well as the AMC School Rally in Atlanta and the actual American Massage Conference,  the Massage Envy Convention in Phoenix, AZ and my first trip to experience the energy vortexes in Sedona.

Eric, Scott and Melanie in Sedonayir-amc-atlantayir-annapolisyir-travelyir-artmoreyir-az

I did my first “Ignite” presentation called Education Revolution at the ABMP’s Schools Issues Forum in Annapolis, Maryland. Essentially your slides auto-advance every 15 seconds and you have exactly five minutes to present. I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous in my life than having to present in this format for my fellow educators. I was literally shaking in my boots. But once I got rolling I started to relax and I almost kept up to my slides as you’ll see towards the end of the video.


Much gratitude to David Palmer who changed my life so profoundly two decades ago with this crazy idea of “touch as a positive social value”. As a result of that meeting I pioneered chair massage in Canada in the early 90’s and started the first massage school specializing in chair massage. With everything going on in my life, I could no longer continue to manage the school effectively and so I closed the doors on that 20-year chapter of my life this spring. It’s sad that I can’t do everything in one life. Chair Massage Techniques DVDs are still available if you want to learn how to do chair massage effectively and I’ll continue to write on the subject and do the occasional workshop.


World Massage Conference rolled again in June and once again we had the largest event in the history of massage six years running.

By the time summer rolled around, I was somewhat burnt out. I basically hung out in Boulder recovering with my lovely girlfriend (who needed some recovery herself). I spent the summer studying education and created the plan for a beautiful online education platform. It’s a spectacular platform, but I don’t know if I’ll ever take the time to develop it. It was a good mental exercise nevertheless.

I celebrated my 50th birthday in Las Vegas with Anne. I like maturing, but ageing sucks. I never imagined I would get this old. I also never imagined that I’d be sitting below a stripper dressed (or half dressed) as a cowgirl, swinging blindfolded on a saddle high above me. That’s a liability suit waiting to happen.

In August, Seth’s exchange partner came from France to stay with us for three months. Samuel Duval is a beautiful soul and fully embraced anything we threw at him, from jumping off bridges, zip lining and indoor rock climbing, to videography, chiropractic and massage treatments. I was hoping that Samuel’s parents didn’t see the “Danger! No jumping off bridge” sign. We weren’t trying to kill him, I swear.

yir-bridge jumping

Samuel and Seth canoeing on Toronto islands A half mile zip line over the escarpment Kaya in Collingwood

yir-FaintingIssueBy the end of his visit he had become my second son and it was very sad to see him go back home.

The fall was busy with travel once again. Lots of trips to Boulder. A couple more articles for Massage and Bodywork magazine including Painless Price Increases, My $18,000 Mistake and the cover article for January 2014 on the fainting phenomenon that’s unique to chair massage, Chair Massage Fainting Mystery.

Eric takes a beating from Seth

I discovered kickboxing this fall. I’ve been a fight fan for years. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is the only sport I watch, so it’s about time I get into a gym and kick butt (or more likely get my butt kicked ~ this is what my son does to me in sparring). I know people don’t understand the alter ego to my normally loving, gentle and mild-mannered persona, but what can I say: Life is just one big paradox.



As the year is coming to an end, I’m finishing a large video production. These videos will be accessory materials for the 2nd Edition of Spa Bodywork textbook. It’s been a lot of fun and as usual a learning experience.

Anne and EricIt was with great sadness that Anne and I decided to end our relationship of almost four years. I love her deeply and it’s been a fantastic growing and learning experience. The reality of a long distance relationship, however, has been extremely challenging. We decided that it was best to pursue our futures independently in the places we seem to be tied to by both circumstance and choice. We love each other and plan to continue a lifelong friendship.

The ice storm in Toronto was a dramatic way to finish off the year. The park across from the street from me was like a crystal forest. Nature is both beautiful, but devastating. There were hydro lines down everywhere in my neighborhood, but I never lost power.

ice strom 1

ice storm 4

ice storm 2

ice storm 3

What’s ahead for 2014? I’m not sure. I feel at crossroads in many ways and planning for the new year will be a challenge. Whatever happens, I’ll be embracing whatever life brings and do my best to live my life fully and with passion and I hope you’ll join me for the ride.