Wisdom: Having Good Judgment + Making Sound Decisions Isn’t Always What you Think

Near the end of 2020, and reaching nearly 17 years in private practice, I made a bittersweet decision to give up my massage therapy license and shift how I work with people.

Bittersweet is such a perfect word to capture the paradox that we often experience in making a growth move, isn’t it?

This choice was bitter in that I had not lost my absolute love for the modality of touch nor my one-on-one work with really amazing humans, and that felt confusing and sad, like saying goodbye to a friend who’s moving across the country.

But it was sweet that I was listening to the need for my body to rest + heal from years of physically + emotionally giving so much of myself, and that felt nurturing, loving and right for me.

The choice was bitter in that I was giving up a busy, profitable and impactful practice, and that felt scary and hard to justify to my wallet, and to others.

But it was sweet in that helping Tribe recover from the pandemic and making it successful again necessitated this change, and that pull of possibility felt exciting and totally worth it.

Knowing this was a big change not just for me but for my clients as well, I meticulously planned how I would “close” my fully booked private practice in mid-January. I’d send everyone off partnered with and well taken care of by my fellow massage therapists at Tribe. I’d write heartfelt letters to my longest-standing clients. And in my last appointments, I’d give each person a thoughtful takeaway gift crafted by my own hands.

I also deliberated on how after my practice closed I’d consciously shift my mind, heart and full attention and time to up-leveling Tribe and all that we provide for holistic practitioners and the public. I scheduled my 2020 work weeks and days down to the hour and was sure to include affirmations for success and abundance and love, and built in time for yoga and reading and meditation. All the things. All the way. All in.

Then, on the morning of January 5th, 2021, someone I love died.

And the world seemed to shift on its axis.

Priorities changed in an instant.

Much of the planning and intention and attempts to soften the bitterness and deepen the sweetness of my business changing… Well, it all went to shit.

Now, I didn’t NEED to let it go to shit. I am a resourceful and resilient woman. I am the type of person who tends to be the strange calm in the eye of the storm. Even in sadness and tough times, I manage to keep a sense of balance or harmony in work and life. My decades of meditation and self-development have given me that “edge” if you will. One might call this edge “wisdom.”

And even so, something deep within my heart and palpably within my spirit knew that this was a big loss to stop for. To stop, In a big and different way.

Another Loss to Stop For, a poem by Jill Bialosky goes:

Against such cold and mercurial mornings,
watch the wind whirl one leaf
across the landscape,
then, in a breath, let it go.
The color in the opaque sky
seems almost not to exist.

Put on a wool sweater.
Wander in the leaves,
underneath healthy elms.
Hold your child in your arms.

After the dishes are washed,
a kiss still warm at your neck,
put down your pen. Turn out the light.

I know how difficult it is,
always balancing and weighing,
it takes years and many transformations;
and always another loss to stop for,
to send you backwards.

Why do you worry so,
when none of us is spared?

The experience and knowledge I had gathered and absorbed in my lifetime about running a business, about self-help and self-care, about organizing my life, what I’ll call “wisdom of the mind,” was suddenly not on the path.

No, in this loss, the unconscious wisdom, that which seems to be intangible and unexplainable, yet FELT, was longing to be heard. The wisdom of my soul.

Meaning, something within my spirit wanted everything to stop moving. Something in my heart longed to unravel and lay threadbare. Something in my mind wanted logic, planning, people-pleasing and “going out on a high note” to be tossed aside. And something in my body had to break down.

The unconscious undefinable ALL of me knew that this was the answer, and that it would all be okay. But the conscious, “rational” me went into a bit of a tailspin.

Letting go of my practice meant letting go of an empowered identity I had held for so long. And let me tell you, an identity crisis is MESSY.

Letting go of my loved one in the midst of a big transition meant layering grief and loss upon grief and loss. So messy.

And now, nearly two years later, and after many more losses to stop for in such a short and exquisitely painful span of time, “wisdom” has redefined itself to me in a stunning and meaningful way.

I have to believe that the wisdom that comes forth from unimaginable heartbreak is steeped in wildly good judgment and sound decision-making, even when in the moment none of it makes much sense.

I think my body was “wise” to break down. In its good judgment, my body forced rest that my heart wouldn’t allow.

I think my heart was “wise” to unravel. This sound decision forced my mind to feel (and not think) its way through darkness.

I think my mind was wise to toss aside all the planning and logic. In its good judgment, my mind showed my spirit the suffering that perfectionism and people-pleasing had caused me.

I think my spirit was wise to let everything come to a temporary stop. This spiritual pause was the deep and jagged breath I needed to fully let go of what I thought life should be so that I could transform and heal into what life is meant to be. Change upon change upon change. Fleeting, like a leaf upon the wind.

Against such cold and mercurial mornings,
watch the wind whirl one leaf
across the landscape,
then, in a breath, let it go.


PAUSE + REFLECT: How has “wisdom” guided you in business, in loss or in transition? Do you feel a difference between wisdom rooted in your mind and unexplainable wisdom that comes from your soul? Or does this all just read as overthinking nonsense. 🙂

Written by Cari Rogers, co-owner of Tribe and founder of HealThySelf. Cari loves to partner with people who believe that the body has an incredible capacity to heal under the right circumstances and with the right support.

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